Marketing your book on Father’s Day and other holidays

Images from ShutterStock.

Images from ShutterStock.

MARKETING BOOKS NEAR HOLIDAYS

Father’s Day and other holidays can be book marketing opportunities.

Did you take advantage of this book marketing opportunity this Father’s Day? You could have.

If not, Independence Day in the US is coming up soon.

So how could Father’s Day be a book marketing opportunity?

Here are a few ways:

  • Your book might make for a nice gift for dads.
  • The father-son relationship may be a significant part of your novel.
  • Your nonfiction book might relate to tools, classic cars, or something that many fathers may enjoy.

If your book might make for a nice Father’s Day gift, you have the opportunity to say, basically, “Here’s a Father’s Day gift idea,” instead of another, “Check out my book,” message.

Or you might put your book on sale temporarily and advertise the promotion. You can advertise not just that your book is on sale, but that it would be a nice gift for dads.

Check out this example on Read Tuesday, which collected some Father’s Day gift book ideas.

Some authors use the holidays which best relate to their books to get media coverage through press releases. Local papers are looking for holiday themed articles, and your book’s relevance to a holiday might be a good fit. You don’t know until you try.

But Father’s Day is just one of many holidays:

  • December 31, New Year’s Eve. Great for books that tie into New Year’s resolutions.
  • February 14, Valentine’s Day. This one may be too obvious.
  • March 17, St. Patrick’s Day. Have an Irish theme to your book? Is part of your book set in Ireland?
  • March/April, Easter Sunday. One of many religious holidays.
  • April 1, April Fool’s Day. I suppose you could even use a practical joke as part of your marketing strategy.
  • May 5, Cinco de Mayo. But if you have a book that relates to Mexico in some way, beware that May 5 is not Mexico’s Independence Day (which falls on September 16, another opportunity to market your books a few months later).
  • May, Mother’s Day. Would your book make a nice gift for moms? Does it feature a strong mother-daughter relationship?
  • June, Father’s Day. Covered that earlier.
  • July 4, Independence Day. Patriotic books get a few holidays, including Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.
  • November, Thanksgiving. It could be a book that relates to the spirit of giving thanks.
  • December 25, Christmas. A huge day in the US for gift giving, even with gifts that don’t directly relate to the religious holiday.

Which days (possibly not on my short list) are the best fit for your books? Those times offer your book marketing opportunities. Look out for them.

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2015

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
  • Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

You Might Be a Writer if…

Qwerty

You might be a writer if…

  1. Some of your best ideas were originally written on napkins, Kleenex, or toilet paper.
  2. You wake up at three in the morning and sneak out of bed to spend a couple of hours alone with your computer.
  3. When people act like jerks, you appear to handle it maturely, then secretly fashion characters after them to exact your revenge.
  4. You pull over to the side of the road a few times each week to jot down ideas for your book.
  5. A family member interrupts your work to ask you a simple question and you turn into a screaming lunatic.
  6. The most fulfilling conversations you have are between you and your imaginary muse.
  7. When your lucky underwear really stinks, friends know you’ve been fortunate not to get any bad reviews for several weeks.
  8. You log into your publishing account while you’re eating lunch to check on your royalties.
  9. In the middle of the night, you wake up sweating with an irrational fear that some discovered your secret pen name.
  10. You routinely turn down invitations to parties in favor of working on your book.

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen

What Determines If a Book Is Good?

good

What determines if a book is good?

The answer is a 7-letter word.

Unlike many conventional puzzles, plurals ending with -s are allowed.

The answer is not E-D-I-T-O-R-S. Although they may be able to help make a book better and they might be qualified to judge writing on many levels, whether or not a book is good doesn’t ultimately depend on the opinions of editors. There are, in fact, highly successful books that many editors don’t think highly of.

The answer is not R-O-Y-A-L-T-Y. A good book doesn’t need to be widely popular; a good book can provide value to a small audience. There isn’t a magic number of sales or royalties to determine if a book is good or bad.

The answer is not R-E-V-I-E-W-S. Even the most highly esteemed books receive critical reviews. So just receiving good reviews doesn’t make a book good, and receiving bad reviews doesn’t make a book bad. The number of reviews doesn’t make it or break it, either, as this depends strongly on the number of sales. The average star rating is not a good indicator, as opinions and systems for reviewing can vary wildly from one person to the next.

The answer is not P-U-B-L-I-S-H-E-R. Aside from the fact that this word has too many letters and the reality that for decades publishers have prevented many book ideas from ever being read, publishers don’t ultimately determine whether or not a book is good. In fact, there are many popular stories of publishers who have turned down books that later turned out to be amazingly successful.

The answer is not A-U-T-H-O-R-S.  Well, this depends in part on how you want to define a ‘good’ book. The author determines whether or not the book is good enough to share with others. The author also determines whether or not the book is successful; what one author considers a success, another might deem a failure. We’re not talking success versus failure, or how the author feels about his or her own book. A ‘good’ book should provide value to more than just its author.

The answer I have in mind is R-E-A-D-E-R-S. But not in terms of the total number of reviews or the average star rating; the answer is readers, not reviews.

Publishers think in terms of sales, investment, risk, net profit, and cost-benefit analysis. They don’t determine if a book is good; they strive to determine what will make them money. And they sometimes make mistakes with their predictions.

Different editors think in terms of writing style, storyline, plot, characterization, grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. And each editor has his or her own set of opinions, and knowledge of various ‘rules.’ It’s possible for a writer to adopt a writing style or method of storytelling, for example, that creatively blows the ordinary rules right out of the water, while also producing a really good book. Ignoring the rules certainly doesn’t make a book good; and following any usual rules or guidelines, in itself, doesn’t distinguish good books from bad ones. (However, as you know if you read my blog, I do stress the importance of editing.)

Royalties and sales reflect how wide your paying readership is and how successful your book is business-wise. But what if tens of thousands of people read a book because you’re a very popular author, but later feel strongly that it didn’t live up to their expectations? All those sales don’t necessarily imply that the book was good. And what about the book that has a really small readership, but where most of the readers loved the book. Isn’t this book good?

What I Don’t Mean

I’m not saying that bad reviews indicate that a book is bad. Most readers don’t review books at all; surely, their opinions count, too.

I’m not saying that good reviews necessarily make a book good.

Again, I mean readers, not reviews. And I don’t mean all readers. No book pleases everyone, so it’s not possible for everyone to love a book.

What I Do Mean

If complete strangers discover a book and feel that it was worth the read—that if they had time machines at their disposal, they wouldn’t choose to go back in time and not read the book—then to these readers, the book was good.

If some wish they hadn’t read the book, this doesn’t make the book bad. Every book that’s had thousands of readers has some that strongly dislike the book.

Good, Better, Best

I don’t think it’s helpful to try to rank books. It’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges. If you love apples, can you fault the orange for trying not to fit the apple mold? Even if two books fall into the same subgenre, like romantic comedy, different authors and readers vary in their perception of just what a romantic comedy should be. So two different romantic comedies aren’t two kinds of apples, one is a lemon and the other is a lime. Two different books aren’t supposed to be the same; they were intended by their authors to be different.

What I feel is more important is the notion of improvement. I’m a fan of the compare-yourself-to-your-former-self concept. If we can all achieve this, surely the world will be a better place. If an author learns ways to improve, the author can make his or her book better.

Another factor is doing your best with the time and resources you have available. Strive to do your best each time, and as you learn and grow as an author, strive to become better. If you feel strongly that you should have done something different, then your book could have been better than it was.

Bad

When the author feels that he or she should have done better, that the book really wasn’t fit to be published, the author is judging that his or her book isn’t good. When no readers will ever feel that the book is worth reading, they are judging that it wasn’t fit to publish. (If there is a narrow audience who just hasn’t discovered the book yet, that’s different.)

A books that was written for the wrong reasons, which is lacking in effort, which no reader will enjoy, had ample potential to be something much better.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Which Should Come First—Kindle or Paperback?

First

Unless you have a book where Kindle formatting is impractical, you should make both Kindle and paperback editions of your book.

Benefits of the Kindle Edition

  • You can make the Kindle edition much more affordable. If your price is $2.99 or higher, you can still draw a high royalty (70% minus delivery costs).
  • Many customers only read e-books.
  • It’s much cheaper for you to send out review copies.
  • There is no extra charge for color.

One reason not to create an e-book is if you have a book where this is impractical, such as a workbook where the reader needs to write down answers.

You should also consider publishing your e-book with Nook, Smashwords, Kobo, etc. The only reason not to do so if you feel that the benefits of enrolling in KDP Select outweigh the benefits of having your e-book available with several e-book retailers.

Benefits of the Paperback Edition

  • Some customers prefer to read print books.
  • Amazon will show your Kindle edition as a percentage off compared to the paperback edition (once the two editions are linked together).
  • Kindle’s new MatchBook program encourages the sale of both editions.
  • It’s convenient to edit your writing with the printed proof.
  • You get to experience the incredible joy of holding your baby in your hands.
  • Local bookstores and other retailers might be willing to stock your book. If nothing else, your friends and family will believe you really are an author.

Which Should You Publish First?

Once you decide to make both Kindle and paperback editions, you must decide which edition to publish first.

Most authors simply publish each edition as soon as it’s ready. Some authors prefer to format e-books and have the Kindle edition ready first; others love the art of formatting pages and have the paperback edition ready first.

That’s not necessarily the best course. Suppose you had both editions prepared, but neither was published yet. What’s the best thing to do? Should you release them simultaneously? Or is there a reason to publish one edition first?

Some authors who plan this—rather than simply first publish whatever happens to be ready first—choose to arrange preorders for the paperback edition using Amazon Advantage. They use preorders as part of their strategy for building buzz for the book’s release, and to help foster a strong sales rank and prospects for early reviews when the book is released. They then release the Kindle edition when the paperback goes live.

Once you have both Kindle and paperback editions available, you can have them linked. This creates an interesting possibility that was recently mentioned in the CreateSpace community forum: If your Kindle edition is available for sale now and linked to a paperback edition that’s on preorder, any reviews left by Kindle customers should, theoretically, show on your paperback’s product page, since the reviews are linked together. (Paperback customers can’t review the paperback edition until it goes live.)

There are two good reasons not to release both editions simultaneously:

  1. You gain visibility by having a book in the Last 30 Days and Last 90 Days categories on Amazon. This is based on your publication date. (Tip: Don’t enter any publication date at CreateSpace. That way, your book’s publication date will be the day you click Approve Proof. This maximizes your book’s visibility with the new release search filters.) Release one book 90 days prior to the other and you get 180 days of new release visibility out of one book.
  2. You have the opportunity to create double-buzz. Build buzz for one edition. Then a month after its debut, you have two months to build buzz for the other edition if it’s going live 90 days after the first.

You could release the Kindle edition first. At the same time, setup preorders for the paperback edition. Arrange the paperback edition to go live 90 days after the release of the Kindle edition. Make the publication date of the paperback edition when it goes live, so you get a total of 180 days visibility in the Last 90 Days category.

If you’re one of those authors who can publish two books per year, you can use this method to always have a book listed under Last 90 Days.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

What I Learned from Reading Fiction

Fiction

  1. Everything will be okay in the end, no matter how awful it seems right now.
  2. Things will get worse before they get better. Much worse.
  3. Don’t try to be a favorite; you know the underdog is going to win.
  4. Mr. Right is right under your nose; you just don’t realize it.
  5. There is a fairy tale ending for you, but it will be hell getting there.
  6. When you finally reach a state of happiness, brace yourself for the sequel.
  7. Live the life of a protagonist. You’ll have a happy ending and the life will be very rewarding.
  8. You can make life easy by being a major antagonist; you just won’t have a happy ending.
  9. The safest bet is to live life like a narrator; you get to see all the action, and you must survive to tell about it.
  10. If you’re not tall, dark, and handsome, don’t live life like you’re in a romance novel.
  11. Imagination can be a million times more exciting than reality.
  12. Reality is a million times safer than fiction.
  13. Make life more exciting by imagining you’re in a novel.
  14. Don’t trust anyone. Ever.
  15. Anything can happen to anybody at anytime.
  16. The more incredible the odds, the more likely things will work out.
  17. Be very afraid of the dark. Don’t go out at night. Don’t do anything.
  18. Good always triumphs over evil, but evil never gives up.
  19. Stay away from fiction writers: They must be totally insane.
  20. How to write better.

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen

The Other Side of Taking Your Time with Your Book

Fast SlowI’ve been a recent advocate of taking your time with your book: showing patience, getting help as needed, perfecting your work, doing pre-marketing, etc.

Let me balance this by referencing an article in the Wall Street Journal regarding self-publishing at a fast pace:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303640604579298604044404682

I have some trepidation that authors might read this article, especially given where it was published, and interpret that to mean that writing and publishing as quickly as possible is a successful business model.

No matter how you publish, it will take a special brand of content and packaging to attract a large readership, and discoverability is only becoming more challenging each year.

If the book isn’t attracting readers, having thirty such books probably won’t help.

But if you have a special book that’s just a magnet for readers, those readers will crave more, and the faster they can get it, the better.

The getting-more-books-out-there-quickly plan may have some merit.

Let me emphasize that there is more to it than just a large number of books; content is especially important, and so are packaging and discoverability.

I’ve mentioned previously the power of a backlist: Most authors who put out many titles in a few years already had much of the work done before publishing.

I benefited from a backlist, a coauthor, and publishing many workbooks that don’t compare to writing a novel. I know that it can help to have several books out. The more marketable books, the better. Having a large number of books that aren’t too marketable won’t help much.

What’s right for you? That’s the million-dollar question you’ll have to figure out. 🙂

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Don’t Just Throw Your Book Out There (Why not?)

Cross Your Fingers

The Temptation

Joe’s muse inspired him with a great idea for a book. Thus, Joe sat down at his computer for several months, typing up his story. Now he’s ready to publish it.

Sure, he’d love to have a fantastic cover, excellent editing, and effective marketing. However, Joe is self-publishing, has no budget, doesn’t have artistic or photography skills, and doesn’t know anything about marketing.

Like many authors, Joe doesn’t feel a need to perfect these things. For one, he doesn’t see how he can afford to hire anyone. For another, he has no idea if his book would sell; he’d loathe to waste months more time and money he doesn’t have only to see a trickle of sales.

It occurs to Joe that he could publish the book as it is now and the cover, editing, and marketing can wait until later. If the book sells well, then he can afford these things, and then he won’t even need the marketing; and if the book doesn’t sell, he will be glad he didn’t waste more time and money.

Putting the book out there will give Joe some initial feedback, help him build a fan base, allow him to test the market, and provide some extra income that he can really use.

Everything seems to suggest that Joe should publish as soon as possible. This will also relieve a great deal of stress that had built up while he was writing the book, and which became nearly intolerable when he started to learn the publishing ropes.

The Problem

There are a few important points that Joe hasn’t considered (or perhaps he has considered them, but either ignored them or convinced himself that they don’t matter):

  • Sales rank. It’s really challenging to overcome a slow start. The history of no sales factors strongly into the sales rank (which weighs sales from the past day, week, and month). Sales rank quickly climbs to the millions with no sales, then when the book does sell, it rises quickly. In contrast, when a book sells frequently with its launch, its sales rank climbs much more slowly when it doesn’t sell. It’s much easier to keep sales consistent when they start out well than it is to generate sells after a very slow start.
  • Reviews. If the book needs significant editing, formatting, storyline, character development, or writing help, this may be reflected in critical reviews. You can revise the book later, but any negative reviews are there to stay. With only a few reviews, if any are bad, it can hurt the book’s prospects for sales, which makes it challenging to get new reviews to offset the bad one. Perfecting the book before publishing and marketing it effectively can inspire helpful early reviews.
  • Discovery. There are millions of books out there. People need to discover your book before they can buy it. Early sales, customers also bought lists, reviews, and bestseller lists improve a book’s exposure. Perfecting the content and pre-marketing can greatly help with this.
  • New release. When a book first appears on Amazon, customers are more likely to discover it by using the Last 30 Days or Last 90 Days filters. If your book is in its best condition and effectively marketed prior to publishing, you can take full advantage of this. If instead you wait until you realize that the book isn’t selling, you’ve missed this golden opportunity.
  • Image. You only get one chance to make a first impression. If people check out new releases in your genre and discover your book only to think, “Ugh,” they probably won’t click on it months down the line after it’s been revamped, and they may have already told their friends not to bother with your book. It’s important, yet challenging, to successfully brand the image of the book and author. Strive to brand a positive, professional image from the beginning.
  • Satisfaction. Customers are investing time, and possibly money, to read your book. With this investment comes a set of expectations. Whether your book merits reading, recommendations, or criticism largely depends on how well the experience satisfies customers. A quality book with good packaging improves the chances that the book will be read and that some readers will recommend it to others. A book with problems discourages sales and encourages a disproportionate number of critical reviews.

To make matters worse, Joe is aware of a few famous authors who improved their covers or editing later, and eventually found success. Unfortunately, Joe isn’t thinking of the millions of books that struggled to begin with and never overcame this.

It’s really challenging to succeed as an author when you put your best foot forward in the beginning. Making it even tougher on yourself isn’t the best plan.

Whether you just throw the book out there or fight to get it ready for publication can significantly impact the fate of your book.

The Solution

Authors who don’t have money do have time. We all know that time is money. There is also an abundance of free resources to help authors publish and market their books, along with a community of authors who like to help others.

For those who do have a little money, there are many low-cost services to explore.

It’s not the lack of resources or help that’s the problem, nor the expense. The problem is the choice to get the book out there when it’s not quite ready to succeed.

(I’m not talking about the perfectionist whose book is already extremely well-edited and has a great cover, or who keeps bouncing back and forth between ideas because none of them seem good enough. I’m talking about the majority who know deep down that they really need help with cover design, editing, or marketing, but can’t figure out what to do about it.)

Here are some things you can do to give your book its best chance of success:

  • Get the content publishing-ready. Give customers a quality product that they will enjoy, not something they will have to settle for; some customers won’t settle. You can put extra time into editing and formatting. You can find affordable ways to get many other eyes to read your book.
  • Find a way to get a cover that will attract the target audience. It needs to be visually appealing, but that’s not sufficient. It must signify your precise subgenre and content. This has a significant impact on whether or not people who see your thumbnail will check out your product page or pass. If your target audience favors your thumbnail among others in your subgenre, you have a distinct advantage.
  • Research and master the art of preparing a concise blurb that will inspire interest from your specific target audience. The cover, blurb, and Look Inside are your only salesmen at the point-of-sale. Make these inspire sales, not deter them. Study the product pages of top-selling books in your genre, especially those that are selling well without the benefit of the publisher’s or author’s name.
  • Seek feedback on your cover, blurb, title, Look Inside, and book before you publish. At a minimum, you should recruit friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, and your online followers and connections. Ideally, you would also get feedback from your specific target audience. This not only helps you perfect your book, it helps you create buzz, too.
  • Setup a blog and social media pages several months before you publish. For one, you’ll have content already there when fans check out the websites listed on your About the Author page. For another, you’ll already have a following when you launch your book. A fraction of your followers will show support with a few reblogs or retweets, some likes, a couple of sales, and maybe even a couple of reviews. You’ll also have valuable connections that may come in handy for author interviews, blog reviews, advice, support, and inspiration (since you’ll see firsthand what others are doing). When readers check out your newly published book, they’ll see that you’ve already established yourself.
  • Generate buzz for your book weeks before its release date. Get people talking about your book online and in person. Feedback and your online following can help with this. Find bloggers and websites with traffic from your specific target audience where you might get reviews, interviews, or publish an article; allow ample time for consideration. Search for Facebook author groups in your genre. Explore free and low-cost advertising options for a short-term promotional sale and learn how to do this effectively. Interact with people in your target audience and let your passion show.
  • Find your target audience, interact online and in person, and make a favorable impression. Let them discover that you’re an author. Seek readings, signings, seminars, conferences, media exposure, websites where they hang out, and other ways to engage your target audience. Personal interactions are an asset to the indie author, who has the time and passion to offer this personal service. Use it.
  • Research effective free and low-cost marketing strategies. Consider which are most likely to help you reach your specific target audience and provide the greatest benefits relative to the costs (which include both time and money). However, also realize that some things that may not lead to many immediate sales may have a significant indirect benefit like helping you look like a complete, professional author.

The better your book is, the more seriously you’ll put effort into the book’s launch and success, and the more confidence you’ll show in your work and marketing.

No Guarantees

There is a risk; there are no guarantees that your book will succeed. Not all book ideas have the potential to sell well. There are some books that don’t sell well, where there isn’t much that could change the fate of the book. A very rare book will succeed with so-so packaging and marketing; the vast majority need effective packaging, marketing, and content.

However, there are very many books that are close, but no cigar, where a little help could go a long way. Maybe the cover or blurb are attracting the wrong audience. Maybe something in the Look Inside is deterring sales. Maybe customers are checking the book out, but are reluctant to try a book with a sales rank in the millions.

Can you remember shopping for a product when you were on the verge of making the purchase, where you were having a tough time deciding? Even a small thing could decide it one way or the other.

If the customer is viewing your product page, that customer is interested. He or she is deciding. The content and packaging will make or break the sale. Your cover, blurb, Look Inside, reviews, author photo, biography, and categories are the only marketing you have at the point-of-sale.

Do you believe that you have a marketable book, that there is a significant audience that will truly enjoy it? Do you think it’s good enough that many people will recommend it to others? Then you have to go for it and give your book its best chance.

Research books similar to yours to see what the prospects are. If there are books like yours selling well, and you can honestly see yours competing with those (make lists of things that those books and your book have going for and against them), then some extra tender-loving care before you publish may make a big difference down the road.

By perfecting your book, you will be happiest with it and so will your readers. You will be proud to share it. You will know it’s a worthy product, regardless of its fate. If you give your book its best chance of succeeding, you won’t have any nagging doubts about what you might have done better.

Disclaimer

Joe is a purely fictional character invented solely for the purpose of illustration. Any resemblance to any actual author is purely coincidental.

Free resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles, by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.

Marketing a Book Is Like Dating

Date

The Bar

Authors dress their books up with covers and blurbs, and mingle with readers through marketing. Readers are searching for good books, checking out those covers and blurbs, looking for a good catch to take home and bundle up with.

The Pick-up Line

Trying to stand out, authors try to design fantastic covers, promote their books with special deals, or catch interest with a clever strapline. Readers want to be impressed; they won’t fall for a common one-liner. If the line does impress them, they will play hard to get.

The Blind Date

A reader who enjoyed a book sets the book up with a friend. The friend is nervous. If the book doesn’t turn out to be good, he will feel obligated to grind through it so he doesn’t let his friend down. He’s also worried that the book may be too good for him, with more vocabulary and complexity than he’s prepared to handle.

The Courtship

Authors interact with their target audience in person and online through readings, signings, seminars, presentations, blogs, fan pages, podcasts, and interviews. They brand their images over a period of months, hoping to show readers that they are serious about the relationship.

The Kiss

Finally, after weeks of branding, the reader has clicked link to view the book’s product page, read the blurb, and—oh, here it comes, the moment we’ve been waiting for—KISS!—the reader is viewing the Look Inside. It better be a good kiss. If you like it, there are hundreds of more pages where that came from. Come on, kiss this book like you’ve never kissed a book before.

The Commitment

It was a good kiss. The reader invited the book home for the evening. This is the best night ever, a moment the book will treasure for the rest of its life. It’s a dream come true.

The One-Night Stand

What happened? It started with a good kiss. The book went home with the reader. They had a great time. The next thing the book knows, it was returned. The reader is gone. How could this be?

The Dump

Once the reader got home, it discovered that while the book had a handsome face, it was really a scoundrel of a character. Beyond the Look Inside, the book turned into something awful. The book is promptly dumped, confined to sit on a shelf, watch the reader pass by a few times each day, and bear the agony of seeing the reader sit by the fireplace with other books, smiling and laughing gleefully. Life is just unbearable.

The Climax

Just what every book and reader were hoping for, the book was good enough to please the reader, who finally reached the climax of the book. The feeling is just wonderful. For a few minutes. Then the book realizes that this is the end. Well, it was good while it lasted. At least the reader left some change on the nightstand.

The Marriage

Every author dreams about the marriage: Readers who enjoy the first book so much they propose to marry the whole series. It will be a grand wedding.

The Affair

While conversing with a fan, an author learns that she is reading a book in the same genre by a popular author. How could she do a thing like that? What will people think?

The Divorce

It’s that tragic moment when the reader gives up on a series. It was a match made in Heaven. What could possibly have gone wrong?

The Proposal

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles by clicking one of the following links:

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

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Read is a Four-letter Word

If you read, write, or publish and find yourself somewhat upset, perhaps you can take a little comfort in the realization that ‘read’ is a four-letter word. (And maybe the fact that reading, writing, and publishing are far more enjoyable than many other things you could be doing, even when these activities might frustrate you a bit.)

book

isbn

note

page

read

tale

text

type

word

copy

edit

find

full

left

mark

typo

view

free

give

list

sale

sell

body

line

poem

poet

bold

caps

dash

font

stop

blog

like

link

mail

post

send

stat

byte

file

HTML

open

Word

save

size

Fire

iPad

Kobo

Lulu

Nook

Sony

There are a few notable words that have more than four letters:

criticism

defects

feedback

plagiarism

rejection

returns

reviews

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen

Riddle: What Does Every Writer Need to Succeed?

Question

It’s not a pen because you could use a pencil or a computer.

It’s not a medium on which to write because the writing could simply exist in a bard’s mind.

It’s not a brain because that doesn’t distinguish a writer from any other art form.

It’s not lucky underwear because this job is clothing-optional.

It’s not a dictionary or thesaurus; although these come in handy, they aren’t always needed.

It’s not an audience because it is possible to define a new genre and gather a new audience.

It’s not money, as a writer can start out empty-handed and become successful.

It’s not writing instruction; while it does help to be well-versed, it is possible to become fluent through avid reading, for example.

It’s not praise, since although most writers would like it, the road to success is often paved with much criticism.

It’s not criticism because it’s already spurious and not everyone benefits from it.

It’s not an agent or great connection, which may help, as some writers have succeeded without this.

It’s not research, though it can be a big asset, since it can be compensated or trumped by a huge imagination.

It’s not imagination because many writers succeed with small changes to what’s already out there.

It’s not a pet squirrel, yet it’s highly recommended.

It’s simpler than all that, and everyone can have it. It’s passion.

Writing without passion. Is it worth reading? Was it worth writing?

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen