‘A Cheery Surprise’ – repost with comments

Only a few people have paid for stories since. But I still say: give people the option! I’m nine dollars richer than when I started and that’s nine dollars better than nothing.

A Cheery Surprise (Aug 28, 2014)

It has been a tumultuous time since my last blog.

I’ve been sick, as has my husband and both kids. Apparently flu is doing the rounds because many people I know have been enjoying this change of weather sickness too.

Yesterday my eldest child started nursery school. I took her in and she was immediately swamped by the other kids in a mob. Charley Ruth is tiny for her age and I was terrified. When my vision cleared, I realised that the bigger kids love little ones and are protective of them. They led her off, hand-in-hand, to show her swings and slides and the classroom. Charley was fearless, as usual, and for that hour seemed to have the best time. I, of course, wanted to howl.

I’ve been doing my best to keep on my stepping schedule with getting the Innerone formats ready (focusing on on the InDesign for print version), as well as doing some work on the AmaZizi 2nd Edition and pushing some marketing for my authors, who are all such lovely people with excellent texts and deserve the best I can give them. I also spent a couple hours on Goodreads, where, a month ago, I became friends with Ellie.

Ellie liked Susan Woolf’s Taxi Hand Sign book, so I wrote to her. And when she liked a blog post of mine, I wrote again. In our correspondence, it turns out that not only has this American met South African Susan, she is good friends with Susan’s sister, Lesley, who lives in Atlanta. I could hardly believe it.

And then, today, somebody paid for a copy of Cheery Red. In other words, someone actually paid real money for a short story that I had written. It’s taken me a while to get over the shock.

Now, I’m a publisher. You would think I was used to people buying books from me; and it’s different when the work is your own. It’s a milestone for an author when someone you don’t know pays good money for something you wrote. So I’m having a little celebratory dance inside my head.

However there is a marketing gem contained inside my cheery surprise that I want to share with you. A week or so ago I was reading Steven Trustrum’s blog:

One of the things he said was that, if possible, rather use the ‘reader-sets-the-price’ than the ‘free’ option when putting up works. This means that if somebody wants to pay you, they have the option (he said a lot more – I recommend reading the article). I wondered if people would stop downloading at the story if it wasn’t marked free but, after 81 downloads, I decided to try it. The downloads did slow down – but that also could have been because it was no longer on the Smashwords home page, or because people who know me and who wanted to support me by reading the story ran out. Today, I am $1.39 richer ($2.00 minus fees) because I chose to give people that option.

Once I had uploaded Innerone for pre-release on Smashwords, I now had the opportunity to do something I had wanted to do for a while – create a coupon code for Innerone and put that code into Cheery Red, both as a marketing tool for Innerone and as a thank you for choosing to read Cheery Red. I put it in the ‘Thank You’ section at the end of the story and re-uploaded it. I like getting coupons for books so I hope my readers do too.

And maybe the marketing ideas in this blog can help aspiring authors too. Now isn’t that a cheery thought!

‘A Little Step’ – Repost with comments

It takes so much to build a website and believe you me, a website is just like a book. It goes through editions. I’ve republished my website more than fifteen times since I first published it. I’ve re-written the ‘About’ four times alone, recreated the Home page three times, added pages and information and contact forms, all in the name of marketing; creating a site that intrigues, informs and attracts people who like what I do and who would like to be notified when a new work comes out. This new WordPress blog is a good example of changes I make to bring new people to the site.

One of the things I’ve learned is that if you want people to come to you, you need to go to them first. You need to follow people who write things relevant to what you do, comment when they post, congratulate them on their highs and empathise with their lows, all the while being yourself (i.e., being real. People spot falseness a mile away). Why reach out? People don’t know you exist if you don’t make the first step.

A Little Step (first published Aug 19th, 2014)

I nervously published my new website last night, let my friends know on Facebook and this morning continued with Smashwords, so that I can upload some free stories soon. What can I say? These are the little steps I was talking about. I’m focusing on the next steps now.

‘Little Steps’ – repost with comments

As a publisher, I get to do a lot of editing. As a sleep-deprived mother of two young children, I am very grateful for proofreading tools like spell check. And as I reread and repost my Tumblr posts, I am honestly amazed at how far I have come since I started, as well as how things progressed from what I hoped for to what actually happened. What did actually happen from the below? Did I join Lightening Source? What happened to the website? Do I continue to use food metaphors? Ha ha, you’ll have to keep reading to find out!

Little Steps (posted Aug 14th, 2014)

I’m at the beginning of a long tale. You know the one – unknown person (in my case, author and publisher), after thirty years of hard slog, becomes an overnight success.

The first fifteen years – that’s how old my publishing company is – have seen me do a lot of stuff, flitting from one thing to the next. That is the recipe for an interesting and vivid life, with amazing memories. I’m no longer interested in recipes. It’s a lovely metaphor and all, I’m just hungry for something else. Today I’m interested in alchemy – using the ingredients I’ve already prepared. I’ve prepared – now what do I make? To whom do I offer it? Things taste better when you share, and when you share it with someone who wants it.

I’m fifteen years in, and there’s awesome not-so-new technology that I can use to share my works with people who may enjoy them. I’m focusing on publishing right now and for the last few weeks have been wrestling with the options available to me in print-on-demand and e-book distribution.

Today I contacted Lightening Source for POD overseas. I have been working on my new website – perhaps you reached this blog from there. I have given my input into the Hatchett vs Amazon debate (in short: let there be competition!) and every so often I stop to add information to the “AmaZizi: The Dlamini of Southern Africa”  second edition book. I need to visit Goodreads and start following people as well as review more books.

Little steps.

You who read this, however briefly, are part of my story and I am part of yours. I don’t know how you got here, and I’m grateful. Perhaps we can inspire each other to take those little steps – some tedious, some exciting – towards putting the best of ourselves out there to nourish others and be nourished in return.

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