Author Feature: Ryan Smithson

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Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI (HarperCollins, 2009) and 10 Klicks South of Whiskey (Black Rose, 2018) are two books by Ryan Smithson.

“GOW is my memoir of my service in Iraq and has been selling well for several years. 10K is my latest release and about a wayward street magician who gets arrested and given the choice to go the jail or join the Army. He has a reckoning of the soul when he witnesses his leader make a fatal mistake during a mission.”

Tell us about yourself and how you got into writing:

Writing was always something I could do, but I didn’t realize how special it was until I had a reason to bleed onto the page. I was home from Iraq for about a year, had not talked to anyone about anything, when an essay assignment in a college English class changed my life forever. I wrote about one of our engineering missions, and the catharsis was indescribable. The professor asked me to read it to the class, and one of the students, who had no idea I was in the Army before then, raised his hand and said, “You gave me a whole new perspective on this.” That’s when I knew I had to write not only for myself but to share the human experience with others.
That essay began a flood of other essays, which eventually became my memoir, “Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-Year-Old GI” (HarperCollins, 2009). My second book, “10 Klicks South of Whiskey,” was published in 2018 and began as a play I wrote for my master’s thesis. I’ll talk more about that below. Continue reading Author Feature: Ryan Smithson

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Why run ads? Pt 1. The Plan.

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Unless you are a household name and automatically sell books based on your name or brand recognition, you’re going to need to purchase some advertising in order to move some books.

The plain and simple fact of the matter is that Indie Authors must make serious attempts to become individual marketing professionals if they want to be successful. Gone are the days when writing a book was a significant accomplishment. Any idiot can write and publish a book. Nowadays, there is a significant qualifier to success: writing a book that gets read. Notice that I didn’t say write a good book, because the success of books like the 50 Shades series has shown that writing quality should be a concern, but gets lost in the shuffle of marketing.

If you can get a handle on how to sell your book, it will make money regardless of the content, in spite of it even. Worry about quality and content! But learn the ropes on how to market and don’t plant your flag that says “I’m a writer and I refuse to learn advertising.” I’m not there, yet, but I recently scored thousands of downloads while toying with some marketing techniques and here were my results…

Continue reading Why run ads? Pt 1. The Plan.

State of Writing

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While I did get some writing done early last week, I worked quite a bit on some other things: a total rebrand of my Dekker’s Dozen series… new graphics/covers. I am just waiting on the final cover for the Last Watchmen, now. I also worked on recording the last installment of Armageddon Seeds for Audible; it’s about 30% completed and I hope to get it done by this weekend. It helps to refresh myself on where the universe left off as I continue to write in it (I’m a couple chapters deep into writing Austicon’s Lockbox.)

I’ll be taking Friday off of work and driving all night on Thursday to get to St. Louis MO. If you’re in that neck of the woods, drop by Planet Comic Con and say hello!

Author Feature: Lee Williams

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Tell us about yourself and how you got into writing:

I am a journalist and writer living in Dorset, UK, with my wife, rampaging toddler And newborn son. I write about technology, innovation, green issues and political commentary for various publications including The Independent, The Guardian, Wired, Private Eye and International Business Times. Skerryvore is my first, and hopefully not last, novel!

Continue reading Author Feature: Lee Williams

8 Other Ways to Make Money on your Books In Addition to Sales

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I thought about the title, How to Get Rich & Famous Selling Ebooks, but decided against it. If you read my blog, you’ve probably seen me talk about how this takes actual work to succeed and that you ought to plan to be the rule rather than the exception.

If you’ve looked over the math on things such as targeted Facebook ads, you might be wondering how in the world you can make any money selling books? (If you can manage to get a 2% CTR on a $2.99 ebook, you can’t pay more than 4 cents per impression or you have lost money on the ad [CPC formula: book cost X Click Through Rate X royalty percentage = break-even Cost Per Click]). You’ll go broke selling books at even well-performing figures.

The trick is not to sell just a book. Serious book pros like Mark Dawson will run ads that lose quite a bit of money because they have calculated the cost versus the total income from a sale—that figure includes more than book royalties. Below are eight additional ways that your book could generate additional money.

Continue reading 8 Other Ways to Make Money on your Books In Addition to Sales

Review: Turn Coat (Dresden Files)

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Finally, I got around to reading some Jim Butcher. I’m glad I did.

Turn Coat was my introduction to Harry Dresden. People have been recommending it to me for a while now since I also write some paranormal fiction and one of my series has a detective (though I modeled him more after Constantine as I hadn’t yet read any Dresden.) Continue reading Review: Turn Coat (Dresden Files)

Author Feature: Gustavo Bondoni

il_fullxfull.318206508I am an Argentine author who writes primarily in English. My debut novel, Siege was published in 2016, while two others, Outside and Incursion, were published in 2017. On the short fiction side, I have over two hundred short stories published in fourteen countries. They have been translated into seven languages. My writing has appeared in Pearson’s Texas STAAR English Test cycle, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Perihelion SF, The Best of Every Day Fiction and many others.

Tell us about yourself and how you got into writing:

In 2018, my short fiction was a finalist in the Jim Baen Memorial Contest and also received a Judges Commendation (and second place) in The James White Award.

I have also published two reprint collections, Tenth Orbit and Other Faraway Places (2010) and Virtuoso and Other Stories (2011). The Curse of El Bastardo (2010) is a short fantasy novel.

I got into writing because, eventually, the stories I used to torture my younger brother with when I was a kid needed to find some other outlet… so I began to write them down. Continue reading Author Feature: Gustavo Bondoni

What is RSS and how do I use it to market my book?

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As part of a book marketing workshop I’m conducting later this year I’ve got a bunch of items to share with you all. Many of them are minor pieces of a larger framework that integrates into each other. This week, I want to show you how to push your blog to expand your reach to a larger base via RSS.

An RSS feed is “Really Simple Syndication, a standardized system for the distribution of content from an online publisher to Internet users.” Because it is standardized, there are many places around the internet that you can use this, so it can be a handy marketing tool to know about. I’ll teach you two ways that it can be immediately useful to authors.

Continue reading What is RSS and how do I use it to market my book?

State of Writing

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I completed the first chapter of the next Dekker’s Dozen SF, but the rest of the week kind of ran me over hard. The weather in MN is getting me down. We got rained on (over top of last week’s foot of snow) plus we got another 6-9” right over top of it. Everything is frozen in slush… floods over top of ice. It’s awful and it affects everything.

Hopefully I can write a second chapter this week while also recording the last DD novelette for audiobook. At least I did get my new setup installed and ready, but I will be spending free time continuing to market (plus I’m writing notes for a marketing module to do as part of my writer’s workshop that I do). It’s also St. Patty’s Day weekend, which is rather in demand for me and my bagpiping skills.

On a happy side-note, all of my marketing endeavors are beginning to pay off. I’ve averaged over 500 page reads per day on KU and sold quite a few books this month with organic reach (not because of direct ads, which I’m not currently running. Just writing that down brightens my day.)