3 Things Every Writer NEEDS To KNOW!

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your humble host

Occasionally on the blog we’ll get a question from a reader who is having “writer issues.” Recently, that was the case, and since we ALL deal with this stuff, I thought I’d share the questions and answers with you.

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Dear Dan,

My questions are simple, of course … The thing is this, as any other authors and writers, our problem has always been the same.

 

  1. Budget
  2. Company or firm you can trust
  3. Again! Saving Money and time.

 

But where can one print out their own paperback with a reasonable price? I was before this at another print/publishing company, but they offered really expensive packages for book publishing. And of course, that package does not even include book marketing services at all.

The thing is, many of us have Kindle version of our novels, but not all can afford paperback printing. I would love to know where I can do this and how much will it all cost me.

Thank you for helping me, Dan! 😀

Signed,

Lotsa Questions

 

Dear Lotsa,

It’s simple.

Even better, it’s cheap.

Everybody’s budget is going to be the different but let’s assume you aren’t a spending-crazed multimillionaire (and if you are, call me). You can basically learn to do every aspect of publishing a book yourself for free – if you research long enough. For my birthday a few years ago, my wife bought me two online courses about how to self publish. Each course was about $35.00.

One SUCKED.

The other showed me just about everything I needed to know! It was a good investment. I learned a lot.

Since then, I have asked many other authors what they do, and incorporated their advice, too. As you network, you’ll be able to do the same thing. I have helped several friends get their books online at no cost to them, and shared a lot of the necessary info in my marketing book which you can get free for subscribing to my newsletter.

How about saving time and money? Well…

I have done numerous blog posts about that (you can use the search box to search for them by keywords but a few are HERE and HERE; the blog costs nothing to read) and the number one thing is to create a time to write, even if it’s at four in the morning, and then don’t check email or anything else until you have written for at least an hour.

Authors 3 Dorminy
eBook $2.99 or FREE with Kindle Unlimited http://geni.us.navigators
I have created several blog post that tell people “how to find time to write.” Search for them under that. (Or read all my posts. They’re all good.) My biggest tip is, since I’m thinking about my book throughout the day, to have my phone or a notepad handy and jot down ideas throughout the day. Even doing a talk to text or video or voice message so that I capture ideas quickly. Then I use my writing hour(s) to turn them into expandable story segments.

 

Saving time is almost as important as not wasting it, so I do stuff like record all the TV shows I watch. An hour long TV show is only 42 minutes without commercials, and 18 minutes three times a week is four more hours a month. Find a few things like that and they add up. Really.

Between that and a few other ideas in my blog posts and FREE marketing book, you’ll find DOZENS of additional hours each month TO WRITE – and that’s in addition to what you have now.

That’s a lot.

ASK friends who they use for marketing. No author friends? Join some author groups on Facebook and ask in the feed. Ask around via FB direct message – contact a hundred authors: what marketing can you recommend for a new author? Many will reply – indie authors are a helpful bunch – then you can ask some more questions.  Different stories will be better in newsletter A versus newsletter B, but most indie authors have done some paid marketing and can give you ideas, as well as what worked and what didn’t for them. For free ideas, ask about that, too. (More on that in a moment.)

Finding companies you can trust?

It depends on what you want done. But as far as editing and book covers, beta readers and publishers, always do your own searches but always ask as many other people as you can for who they use and whether they like them and if they would use them again. That’s true of editors and publishers, marketing ideas, etc. We can ask and have asked others periodically through social media who they used and liked. A recent guest post on my blog was about a very small publishing firm and the guest was very happy with them. Other friends of mine have been traditionally published and still others have done self-publishing. All of them will have recommendations that you can trust. That includes people for making covers, too.

One of my friends got a book cover for about $50 – and that book went on to become a bestseller, selling over 20,000 copies in its first year. Not free. Sold.

(At good prices, too; not 99 cents.) It can be done.

Who I use for my paperbacks is Create Space.

It. Is. FREE.

The NavigatorsHere again, you have to learn and do a lot of the stuff yourself (it’s not that hard the 2nd time but the first time UGH!!) but you can also hire people to do it. My book The Navigators is about 100,000 words. When I first put it on to Create Space, it was so large it was gonna cost about $15 per paperback copy (before shipping) for people to purchase – and I was only going to make about a dollar per copy. I knew nobody would buy a paperback for $15 so I made a second version that used a smaller font. That brought the cost down a little. A third version was on a larger paper size. That brought the cost down a little more. I reworked it and reworked it until I got the retail price down to $7.99 and I am making about $.92 per copy right now. I can always raise the price later, but I don’t think $7.99 is a bad price for a paperback. (Get your copy HERE $2.99 eBook, FREE with Kindle Unlimited, paperback from $7.99)

Again, you can find people to help you and you can learn a lot yourself, which helps you if you hire others because you’ll know the process.

So as you begin your networking or continue networking, make sure you ask people who they use and who they recommend. You can also look at eBooks and see who they use for their cover or formatting or publishing or marketing, and since most authors have a way to be contacted, contact them and ask! You would be surprised how helpful most of them are.

The last thing – and the first thing, really – is marketing

and that’s different for anyone, but there are literally hundreds of sites who will review your book for free or let you do a guest spot blog post, including Chris The Story Reading Ape. Happy Meerkat Reviews is also another one who appear on or read my blog. We have even put up lists of review sites before.

But marketing is a multi dimensional monster that requires time and effort and usually some money out of your own pocket. (Marketing posts are frequent here on the blog, but have a look at these: HERE and HERE and HERE and oh yeah HERE) If you have questions about that I can help (remember to get my free marketing book by subscribing to my newsletter) but usually you can get some good results if you coordinate simple inexpensive marketing – sometimes as little as $35 – with a Kindle countdown promotion. I didn’t think that up, I learned that from somebody else – like most things I have learned!

That should get you started.

Dan

READERS: What are some of YOUR suggestions for Lotsa?

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

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