It’s a frustrating truth: everyone wants to win, but no one wants to play.
What am I talking about?
Everyone is trying to sell something. There are plenty of bloggers out there who are trying to gain support and traffic for their brand, their product, their work of art. And I understand that; heck, I’m doing the same thing!
But you know what makes being a seller REALLLLLY hard?
Having nobody that wants to buy.
In today’s world, it’s so easy to be “double-sided”. It’s easy to “go through the motions”. I’ve had several people act excited about wanting to buy my book and read it…but then they never did. I even asked them about it.
Their response? “Uhh…I don’t have money to spend on your book. Sorry.”
“It’s 0.99 cents”.
See what I mean?
Look, I have no problem if you don’t want to buy my book. If you aren’t interested, I’m not going to blame you. But please…PLEASE don’t lie to me. That hurts way more.
As bloggers, we need to have a sense of community. And that community will never exist if we continue to form this false sense of security–this false sense of companionship. If everyone pats each other on the back, but without actually caring…there will be no community.
Please, let’s just all be honest with each other. I understand that, at times, it can be hard to tell someone the truth. I really do. But that doesn’t mean lying is the answer.
Everyone wants to win. Everyone is selling something. But in order to sell something, you need buyers.
And sometimes, to get buyers, you need to buy.
Be a part of a community. Take a chance with someone else’s work. Believe me, it’ll work wonders for you and your community.
Recently, a duo of blogging brothers published a new story on Amazon. What did I do? I bought it right away. Was it my kind of story? No. But did I at least give them a chance? Yes. And that’s what matters.
We all have a story, and there are many paths that will take us to a new story. As writers, sometimes it’s daunting to acknowledge this fact: the fact that there are so many different roads.
We don’t always know where they lead. We don’t always know which way we should travel. Sometimes we try to go down multiple roads at once, in order to try them all out.
And then there are times when we CAN see which path we should take…but we are still afraid. Because the road isn’t straight. It curves. It gets bumpy, and rough. There are potholes and hills. Sometimes the road isn’t even paved. We look at this road and doubt. We lose our faith.
It’s in these times that we need to stop looking at the road itself and remind ourselves about where it leads. Sure, we have to pay attention to the road sometimes: we have to think about avoiding those potholes, or struggling up those hills. But if we don’t keep our eye on the prize, we’ll never reach it. Because we’ll be lost in the road.
Where are you in your journey? Where are you trying to get to? What stands in your way? Have you found your road?
I try not to blog too much about my book, but I feel as if I must now. Why, you ask?
Because, well, I’ve finally done it. Elithius, Book One: The Red Captain is officially ready to go!
You know that feeling when you finally finish editing your book? Yeahhhhhh…it’s a great feeling!
It took me a bit longer than I liked, but I officially completed the makeover of my series (previously called The Golden Lands). What was originally four very short books is now one normal sized book. I have a new, official cover. The prose has been edited, the plot polished. I’ve changed scenes to be more realistic, changed names to sound cooler, and added in some new themes that will play a MAJOR role in the upcoming books.
So The Golden Lands is no more. Elithius is finally being unleashed.
If you read The Golden Lands, I would highly encourage you to still download/pick up Elithius. A lot has changed, and so it’s important that you remain up-to-speed on everything that is occurring in the series.
I haven’t officially published Elithius yet, so hold your horses.
But guess what? I’m enrolling Elithius into Kindle’s Storytelling Competition. Ultimately, it sounds like a panel of judges will decide who the winner is, but the ratings and reviews you get from fans are extremely important! Be sure to show Elithius some love if you get the chance. I promise I will price Elithius as low as possible (even though I wrote a post about how you should SELL what you write).
Well, for the sake of gaining reviews and ratings for the competition, I’m going to forsake my own words. If I can make Elithius free or $0.99, I will.
Stay tuned for more updates and thank you for the support!!! I’m honestly so honored to be a part of the community that I’m in!
I’ll be sure to let you know when Elithius is officially published!
We rarely write about other people’s problems, or struggles, or battles. We write about our own. We express ourselves through our characters, through their lives and moods and emotions. Screaming, laughing, crying, longing, fighting–we do all of these with our characters. Not because they are people that we can share these feelings with, but because these characters ARE us. They are a part of our mind and soul. And the struggles, the questions, the desires our characters have…they are our own.
The sum of the characters and storyline, with all its messages, themes and metaphors, tells us a lot about the author who created these things. I think that, more than we realize, we are truly studying an author’s mind, his background, his soul (or hers).
How well do you know that author you claim to love? Have you ever tried to wonder what made them write the way they do? Have you ever sought to discover the secrets they tried to release to the world, or the part of their soul crying out to be heard?
I was at Candidates Day today. It’s basically when you get accepted to a college and they invite you to check out their programs and campus one last time before you decide to go there. Do you know what their theme was?
People are stories. Every person doesn’t just have and story: every person IS a story.
That’s why being an author is so beautiful…so human. Because we share this truth and give it to the world.
I am a story, and I am expressing my story, myself, through Elithius.
What’s your story? Where are you going? How will it end or change?
Let’s face it, there’s a lot we can blog about. We can blog about sports, cooking, TV shows, movies, books, politics, anime, and all the subgenres for each of these topics. In an online world where ALL of these categories exist, it’s nice when we’re able to distinguish an “otaku/anime blog” from a “baking and fashion blog”.
So if we really want to please readers, we have to actively indicate and continuously support the type of blog we claim to have.
It all comes down to a few important questions:
What is my target audience? Who am I trying to appeal to? What IS my blog about?
Choose Wisely and Decisively
I once thought that my target audience should’ve been anime-watchers. I liked anime, my book series that I’m trying to promote is “anime-esque”….so why not try to attract fellow anime lovers?
It was a good idea…for a little while. But then I had a problem: I didn’t watch enough anime to blog about it.
It’s true. As much as I love anime, I really don’t watch enough of it to have an anime-based blog. It was good that I was centralizing my blog and making it about one topic in particular…but I just hadn’t chosen the right one. I just wasn’t meant to blog about anime, even if my book series had an “anime feel”.
So I changed my style; I changed my target audience. I observed other bloggers and decided who I wanted to be like.
And that’s when I stumbled upon my true target audience: Bloggers like me who are trying to promote their books.
That’s who my target audience was/is. Because these kinds of people are people that I can relate to; I’m going through the same thing; and there’s plenty of people out there who will be interested in my blog now. It was a win-win-win!
Determine carefully not just what you think you SHOULD blog about, or who you SHOULD try to reach; just focus on who you CAN reach to the best of your ability. Believe me, you’ll reap the rewards!
What is My Blog About?
Of course, this is related to what we just talked about above. Perhaps the proper question is, “What am I trying to accomplish through my blog?”
We all have goals, and we’d like to see them reached. But sometimes the best step to reaching our goals is understanding what we want EXACTLY.
I’d love to have a thousand anime-lovers following my blog. But that wouldn’t accomplish the purpose of my blog. In order to fulfill the purpose of my blog, I need people who are interested in what I write, people who enjoy ME as a person, and people that I can follow and enjoy back. I need a community.
I need people who care about me and my book series.
And that’s the answer: the purpose of your blog should be to create and join a community of like-minded people with similar goals.
Stay focused on this goal, this purpose, and don’t waver. There are a lot of things to write about, but stay true to who you are and what you represent.
If I started blogging about politics, wouldn’t that confuse some of you? Obviously, I’m welcome to. This is my blog, and I can talk about whatever I want. But it wouldn’t be something that appeals to my particular community.
Thus, the goal is to remain on track. Keep pursuing your goals, and keep fulfilling your purpose.
Are you trying to attract scientists to your blog? Crime-Mystery lovers? Do you just want people who will listen to you, pray for you, or cry with you? People who will buy your book?
You need to answer these questions in order to be a successful blogger.
Last But Not Least…
If you’ve identified your target audience, great! But the last thing I would advise you to do is not hammer people with stuff that’s all about YOU. Building a community is about OTHER people, not just yourself. Don’t just yap to everyone about your book, or your personal views on this, that, or the other. Write content that is useful and interesting to other people (while still relevant to your blog), and you’ll be amazed at how much people appreciate it.
To build a community you have to be a part of it. Plain and simple.
Time is money. No time to waste. Don’t have time for this. Need more time. If only I had the time. Time flies when you’re having fun.
We’ve all heard or said these things before. Why? Because it’s true. Time is important to us and we never seem to have enough of it. At times, it’s frustrating…because we want more time, or we wish we would’ve spent our time differently.
It all goes back to the fact that time is limited. Whether you have three hours of free time to accomplish something, or whether you’re just thinking about your life as a whole. Time is limited. And so we value it.
So the question becomes, “How should I manage my time?” And it’s an important question! Because so much depends on the answer to this question.
I’m only going to investigate this question as it pertains to writing. We have so much we want to accomplish, so many things to do between blogging, writing, editing, networking, etc. It’s easy to get overwhelmed (like yours truly). Besides all that, we have our lives to attend to also: relationships, work, school, etc.
Write When You’re In the Mood…and Write A LOT!
This might seem obvious, but it’s the truth. Sometimes we don’t have time to write when we’re in the mood, unfortunately. But when you do have time and you’re in the mood to write, edit, or blog (or any combination), DO IT.
Essentially, the idea is to poop out as much work as you can, acting solely off of your “mood to write”. For instance, I’m usually in the mood to blog on Saturday mornings. So what do I do? I blog (duh). But I also write SEVERAL posts, allowing my determination to keep me going so that I not only have a post for the weekend, but also for throughout the coming week.
In the end, as you might imagine, this SAVES TIME. In fact, it ensures that I actually have something to publish on WP, which is important. Because then I don’t have to take time away from school or work to blog. In the end, writing when you’re in the mood is extremely important.
This is something interesting that I’ve been noticing with many big-time authors out there. They readjust their schedule to suit their writing-moods and the amount of alone-time they have. Let’s be honest, having alone-time is extremely important when it comes to writing.
Sleep is totally necessary: please make sure you’re getting enough of it! But if you think you’d be comfortable writing right after you wake up, then maybe it’s time to set your alarm clock for an hour earlier. Maybe this means sacrificing some of your night life. But will it be worth it? I think so.
Consider readjusting your sleep schedule. Brandon Sanderson, author of the Mistborn Series and many more, goes to bed at 3 A.M. and wakes up at 11 A.M. That’s still 8 hours of sleep! And it works for him as a writer. He gets to spend the day with his family and then he gets to write at night.
Obviously, we aren’t Brandon Sanderson (yet 😉 ). But you get the idea. Adjusting your sleep schedule can produce great results for your writing-life!
Work With People
If writing is important to you, don’t be afraid to work with the people in your lives to ensure that you have time to write. This is a touchy subject, I know. I would never encourage you to be selfish with your time; other people might deserve your attention more than your writing. This might suck at times, but it’s part of being a family, friend, employee, etc.
And all of these (at least being a family) is more important than writing. Let’s keep things in perspective.
But you can still try to make people understand 🙂
Hope these tips help! Please share your tips about how to save time and write more!
Determination is something that you give yourself. Maybe someone or something can inspire you to feel determined, but, in the end, the only person who can make you feel determined is you.
Maybe that’s why with determination there is very often fear. Because if we give ourselves determination, then that means we are relying on ourselves. And that’s scary. It’s nice to be able to lean on someone else. It’s nice to have someone else giving you direction. It’s nice when things aren’t totally our fault, because they weren’t totally of our doing.
But that’s not how it is with determination. Instead, we ARE alone. We will be the ones at fault if our determination is misplaced. We must rely on at least a part of ourselves.
And let’s face it: we’re weak, aren’t we?
The only way we can be determined is if we have faith. Faith in ourselves. Faith in our goals. We need to be strong enough, to be big enough, to be determined. You know what? Determination itself is an act of faith.
Determination doesn’t just require faith. Determination IS faith.
How determined are you? How much faith do you have?
Being a writer is a long, dark road. It’s hard to see where we’re going. It’s hard to keep on believing in ourselves. In these times, we need to have determination. We needed to be fearless. We need to scrap and brawl with doubt.
I think this is actually an important topic because everybody wants to sell something, but a lot of people are afraid to buy. I would fit into this category 🙂
How high (or low) should you price your book?
Obviously, if you’re already doing well on the promotional side of publishing, you can probably make your book cost a bit more…you know, the normal price that a book should cost. That being said, I see a lot of newbies trying to promote their stories by promoting “freebies”–books that are totally free of charge.
I understand the mentality behind freebies, I really do. In fact, I’ve done it. Freebies help you build an audience, get reviews, etc. The goal is to gain loyal readers. And, hopefully, if they like your free stuff, they’ll come back to BUY things from you too.
Yeah, that was my mentality. I made the first book of my series free, hoping that people would eat it up and then come back hungry for the second volume. Well, it sort of worked…the first book has received over 300 downloads. But how many has the second book received (when it’s only priced at 99 cents?)? Like 12.
The thing about freebies is that sometimes it doesn’t even WORK. It’s a waste of effort and can even be a waste of time. Nowadays, I’m very serious about selling your book for MONEY.
Because you worked hard to write something. You worked hard to edit it, to publish it, and to promote it. Why should you just give it away? Your time and talent should be worth something.
To be honest, whenever I see a book that’s free, yes, part of me thinks, “Oh, I’ll just download it because it’s free.” But another part of me is like, “Will it even be a high-quality book? It’s free!”
The point is, making your book free can turn some people off. Because writing that is WORTH something will COST something.
But then, back to the original question: How much should you price your book?
Yes, I am asking for advice because my book (after a makeover, new name, and more editing) will be coming out soon.
My book is 300+ pages long. I’ve worked really hard on it. Do I want to sell it for “free”? For 99 cents?
No, I don’t. Because I think my book is worth more than that.
I guess the point of this post is to ask you to be real with yourself and with others. How much should someone else’s work of art cost? How much should YOUR work of art cost? What are you saying by making your book free?
Think about it.
What’s the point of earning “readership” by promoting a freebie, if, in the end, you really haven’t gained any loyal readers? It’s easy to download a book for free. But it means so much more when someone actually BUYS your book. Also, if they buy it, then they’ll be more obliged to READ it. And that’s what we want as writers. That’s how we hook readers. And isn’t that the goal?
I’m coming out and being honest. When my book comes out, it will not be free. This is my decision to make. I hope all of you can respect that and still give my book a chance, if you’re interested.
Don’t be scared though, I’m not going to make my book super pricey either!! I’m not Shakespeare yet 😉
Well, so my computer is shot. That’s right, no more convenience of hopping onto my computer and being able to write much faster than on my phone…editing is going to be harder, and no doubt publishing will be.
Oh well, guess I better cough up some money for a new one.
You know I’ve been thinking a lot about stories lately. A lot about what I’m trying to accomplish by writing. Writing is something beautiful and it means so much to me; it’s a sport of the mind, a rollercoaster of the heart, a journey of the soul. I would be a totally different person without it.
But I’ve been thinking about the things that will really make me happy, about the paths that lie ahead. Choices I need to start making, mentalities I need to form. What will make me happy? What should I be doing with my life?
Yes, I know, these are big questions. But another big question is “will writing be a part of the answers to these questions?”
Writing makes me happy, yes, but lately I’ve been feeling a call to make my life more about other people. I know it’s cheesy, I know it’s preachy, but nothing makes us happier than when we make others happy, than when we change someone’s life for the better, when we mean something to others, not just to ourselves. This is what makes people happy: it makes ME happy.
And I want to use my writing to do this.
So the question becomes, “what can I write that will help others, that will build people up, that will mean something too them?”
I feel like it isn’t so much “what should I write” as much as “how should I write it? With what mentality? With what drive?” And, ultimately, if I form my willpower in the right way, or point it in the right direction, then I’ll always be writing the right thing.
So I guess I need to change my drive. I need to not write for myself, or about myself. I need to write something for others. If I do that, then I’ll help myself. I know that I need writing too, but I need to act lIke people need my writing more than I do.
If you read all of that, then thank you. And welcome…welcome to who I am. You just experienced a lot of me; I hope you understand that.
So thank you, and, as always, please tell me: what do you think?