Tag Archives: selling

Questions Wanting Answers

Well now this isn’t one of my questions, but instead a wonderful answer by Stacy Casteneda to the cover for A Shot and Futile Life coming soon from Second Wind publishing. – Thank you, Stacy!

S&FL Frnt-Thmb

O.K. 2W family, I really would like to know what you think.

Question 1 – Is there any empirical evidence that sequential excerpts from books engender sales, or are we just desperately hoping that some people will be so enamored with our writing that he or she will be unable not to buy?

Question 2 – If we conclude that excerpt do create awareness if not actually leading to sales (and no one will buy anything they haven’t heard about), then what is the optimum post length?

Question 3 – If showing them our wares themselves does not lead to sales, then what kind of blogging does get them interested in our books. The same identical hat in a dingy store will not get the same attention as it would if it were in an “upscale” store. So, what “storefront” if you will, induces the blog reader to walk in and look around?

Question 4 – How did I get “over the hill” without getting to the top? – No, no, that’s not my real question, I just had to throw that in there to lighten things up a bit. But seriously, now in my 80’s I know I am out of touch with modern reality. Hell, I don’t even have a cell phone, but why would I need one when I don’t get a dozen phone calls a month and half of those are some someone wanting to sell me something, or the drugstore reminding me that one the chemicals that keep me alive needs renewing.

My question has to do with modern communications technology. I gather from Google that MOBI is an eBook format that along with EPUB, AZW etc. are designed for small screen formats. Can DOC and / or PDF formats be converted to MOBI and if so what is a good converter.

Oh dear, I fear I have over loaded you with questions, so if you would answer any one of them I would be “over the hill” ecstatically happy. Hell, I’ll be happy if you just have a great day and don’t answer a single one of my questions.

Anyway; Good Luck, or May the Force Be With You, or Blessings, or Happiness and Light, or as my Irish mother used to say, “May your troubles be less, and your blessing be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door.”

Blessing and Aloha – pjs.

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Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00023]Final MSS Cover frontPaul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing is now available on Amazon and from the publisher. Kindle and Nook versions just $4.99. – Soon to be available as an audiobook.

Murder Sets Sail  now available from Second Wind Publishing and on AmazonKindle and Nook versions just $4.99,

 

churchstepsS&FL Frnt-ThmbBody On the Church Steps now available from Second Wind Publishing and on AmazonKindle and Nook versions just $4.99,

A Short & Futile Life coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.

 

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Pitching in a Good Way

If you are going to a writers’ conference to pitch a book, here are some  “pitching rules” that I discovered in an article by Kerrie Flanagan, the director of the Northern Colorado Writers and a freelance writer.

1) Remember: agents and publishers want to find good writers as much as writers want to find good agents and publishers. With that thought foremost in your mind, act confident even if you don’t feel it, and try to stay relaxed. The more desperate you seem, the less you will be taken seriously.

2) Make sure you’re pitching to the right person. You don’t want to pitch a young adult book to a publisher who only handles romance.

3) Practice your pitch many times before giving it, and be prepared with a notecard of memory triggers if nerves make you forget where you are. It helps if you can explain the story in one sentence, giving character, goal and conflict. Maybe “The Hunger Games” could have been pitched like this: “Katniss is a teenaged girl from a futuristic, ravaged America who must win the Capital’s twisted and bloodthirsty version of the Olympic Games to stay alive, but whose win would mean the death of her good friend—possibly boyfriend—Peeta.”

4) After your hopefully stunning one-sentence pitch, use the rest of your time to explain what makes your book stand out, and which writers you can compare yourself to in terms of style.

5) Dress professionally. You don’t have to look corporate, if that’s not your style, but make sure that whatever your style is, it’s well-groomed and projects confidence.

6) Be polite. Take time to shake hands and make a bit of small talk before jumping into the pitch. Continue being polite afterward by sending a thank you note—regardless of how the pitch turned out. You want to make a good impression and cultivate relationships, even if this pitch didn’t go as you wanted it to. Leave editors and agents with a positive impression for next time.

7) If all or part of your manuscript is requested, make sure you send it out in a timely manner. Don’t let more than a week go by before sending it (which is why you have to have it finished before you pitch it).

Does anyone have any other suggestions? I’d love to hear them!

Lucy Balch, author of

Love Trumps Logic

Second Wind Publishing

Also available at Amazon.com

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Home is Where the Mama Is

I’m in the midst of selling my childhood home. As nostalgically sad as it may sound, I’m not having a problem with it. On this path, I look neither left, right or behind; I keep my feet pointed forward.

The roses were in full bloom a few weeks ago. A solid line of red blossoms climbed along the side of the house as bees busily buzzed in and out. I checked the permanent nine-year old bird’s nest to see if any new babies were in it, but it was empty this year. The coalition of mother birds had moved on to other places.

Maybe it was a sign.  Not a sign for me, though. I don’t have sentimental attachments to structures I own.  The sentimental attachments I carry are for the structures I build.

My relationships are my buildings. My family and close friends are my houses. I furnish my homes with my heart, and, though I may move from place to place over the course of my life, I carry the hearth with me. I have always told the kids, “Home is where the mama is.”

Lately, world events have dominated most conversations. Beginnings and endings over the past several days give one pause to reflect. Selling my childhood home is an ending and a beginning. I know what the ending means; the beginning, eh, not so sure, yet.

At the beginning, I write a book. At the end, the book is published. I see it on its way and then I don’t look back. I’m sure that’s a character flaw for a writer, but it’s how I am. Rewrites? Oh, yes, I’ve had my share – before the novel flies out to the publisher. After that, it’s pretty much, goodbye, baby bird.

All of the things happening around me, in my own world and in the bigger one, remind me of a line in a song by The Three Degrees:

Is this my beginning
or is this the end?

Although the sentiment is slightly morbid (considering the world is scheduled to end next year – guess I better get busy . . . or not), beginnings and endings are necessary for the entire scope of the human experience.

With the Monterey Pine, fire serves to end and begin the life of this tree. The cones stay closed until the heat from a forest fire pops them open and scatters new seeds upon the burnt ground. Our own personal fires signal our starts and stops throughout life.

Goodbye, childhood house. May your next journey take you on as many adventures as the first family who lived within your walls did. You and I will never cross paths again in this life, but I will speak of you fondly to those who ask. Goodbye and godspeed a quick sell.

J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch

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Don’t Sell Yourself Short

When I was 10 or 11, my parents decided to sell the tent-top camper we’d had for a number of years and buy a bigger one. They put an ad in the paper and had a few responses, but no buyer. Then, one Saturday, while the ad was still running, they had to go somewhere. I was the oldest child in our family, so before they left, they said, “If anyone calls about the camper, tell them we want $500 for it.”

I was in awe. That was  a lot of money back in 1967.

Well, wouldn’t you know, an hour after they left, the phone rang – someone had seen the ad and was interested in the camper. I told them the price, answered some questions, and told them where we lived so they could come and see it. A short time later, the phone rang again – someone else wanted to come and see the camper. I gave them directions to get to our house (which was 6 miles from town, on a gravel road) and went back to my other job, which was to make sure my younger brothers and sisters weren’t wrecking the house.

An hour later, I was standing in the yard, showing the camper to both couples, who had coincidentally arrived within minutes of each other.  After looking the camper over and asking a few questions, the first couple offered me $450. The other couple jumped in and offered $500, the asking price set by my dad. The first couple was still hanging around, so instead of saying yes, I told a little story about one of our camping trips and how much our family had enjoyed the state park where we’d camped.

The first couple countered with an offer of $550.

I mentioned how easy the camper was to put up and tear down. Working together, my dad, my sister and I could do it in 10 minutes flat.

The second couple offered $600.

I showed them how the table could be folded down and made into a bed. The first couple upped their bid to $650. That was more money than the second couple had, or was willing to offer. I pronounced the camper SOLD, got $650 cash from the winning bidders, wrote them a receipt, and waved goodbye as they drove down the road, pulling the camper behind.

You can imagine my parent’s shock and glee when they came home and I handed them $650.

It was at that moment that I first experienced the joy and exhilaration of selling something.

As writers, pitching, or trying to sell our books may or may not be part of our comfort zone. But like it or not, published or unpublished, if you’re a writer, you have something to sell, and you need to pitch your book, not just once, but over and over again.

Selling yourself, and your book, is an important part of being an author… the difference between being published or unpublished… the difference between success and failure.

When I made the decision to go with a small, independent press (Second Wind Publishing) for my book, Night and Day, it was in part because I own a bed and breakfast and tea house and knew that I had a built-in venue for selling my book. Each day, 4 – 40 people walk in the door – all potential buyers. Still, a stack of nice, new books sitting on a table with a cute little sign rarely sell themselves. Neither will a bump on a log at a book signing.

What does sell my books is me. I pitch my book once or twice every day – sometimes ten or twelve – to each and every guest who walks in the door.  As you might guess – I’ve got my pitch down – and I have sold about 300 books in the last 3 1/2 months.  I sold 8 over the lunch hour just yesterday.

That doesn’t mean everyone who walks in the door buys a book.

Some are not interested. I can see their eyes glazing over 10 seconds into my pitch. Some look excited until I mention the words “internet romance”. Perhaps they’ve been burned by an online lover – perhaps their spouse has had an online dalliance – maybe they think computers are for the birds. Whatever the case, when you try to sell something, you have to be ready for rejection – and then, you have to pick yourself up and keep trying.

“It’s midnight in Minnesota and daybreak in Denmark…” I regularly vary my pitch depending on who I’m talking to – young, old, someone I know, a stranger. The important thing is that I believe in my book. I love my characters and am convinced people will enjoy reading Night and Day.

I live for those moments when I connect with a reader, when we strike common ground, when their faces light up.  Sometimes it’s when they see the log-cabin quilt on the cover of Night and Day, sometimes it’s when they hear the words Danish, “junk in the attic”, or bonfire.  And when I take their $15 and autograph their book, it’s just as exciting as selling that camper for my parents when I was 11 years old.

Selling is hard. Whether you’re pitching your book or telling someone about your story at a writing conference, talking to guests at a book signing, or asking the manager of your local grocery store if they would consider stocking your book, you will feel naked at times. Intimidated. Daunted. Unsure.

But there comes a moment, when someone wants to buys your book, when you find a common chord with an editor, the owner of a shop, a librarian, or a potential reader, and make the sale, that you will know it was all worth it.

Find the courage to try, and keep trying. Don’t ever sell yourself short.

Sell yourself and you will sell your book!

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Filed under books, fiction, marketing, musings, Sherrie Hansen, writing