From Market Writer
What was Hidden Has Come Into The Light
Social stigmas and perceptions associated with the LGBT community have long prevented the LGBT literature from being talked about in the open. Whenever intellectual discussions revolving prize-winning or noteworthy literary works of the century are held on TV or during social get-togethers, the notable works of LGBT literature hardly get any mention, let alone praise and admiration. However, this has now changed as what was hidden has now come into the light, quite a bright and dazzling light to be more precise.
Projects such as ‘LGBT Books to Prisoners’, sending free LGBT literature to LGBT inmates in US prisons, and ‘The Stonewall Book Award’, rewarding writers and illustrators doing amazing work in LGBT literature, are now being talked about extensively. Journalists and literary bloggers too are compiling lists of the most enriching LGBT literary works, thus making LGBT literature a part of everyday conversations and people’s bookshelves.
The History of LGBT Literature
LGBT literature is not a new phenomenon. Members of the LGBT community often turn to literary works discussing and portraying attraction and love between same-gender individuals in order to find validation and peace, which they are often denied in the outside world.
Greeks are known to be the first ones to have contributed to LGBT literature through popular and notable works such as Plato’s ‘Symposium’and Aeschylus’ ‘The Myrmidons’. Ancient Greek mythology often portrays deep affection and attraction between few of the Greek Gods and talks of divine miracles that transformed genders. Petronius’ ‘Satyricon’, a 1st century AD Latin fictional work, depicting the adventures of two gay lovers, is one of the earliest works in LGBT Literature.
Earlier authors of 18th and 19th centuries would often use coded messages to depict same-gender love and their sympathy towards LGBT community as writing about homosexuality was largely illegal in many powerful nations such as UK and United States. However, 20th century saw a rise in more explicit depiction of gay lives in LGBT literature.
What is Changing Perception?
With increasing acceptance of homosexuality and transgender communities among societies, LGBT literature is finding itself being discussed more positively and openly.
Over the last few years, several changes have taken place which have compelled people to change their perceptions towards LGBT’s- same sex marriages have been legalized in a few nations, gay pride parades are held more frequently, several international celebrities have confessed about their homosexuality and non-profit groups for LGBT members are working actively to help gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people get equal rights as their heterosexual counterparts. All these changes have opened readers’ minds to LGBT literature in order to explore the world of LGBT.
What is the Future for LGBT Literature?
With exclusive literary awards being set up to recognize admirable LGBT works and critics discussing LGBT works in their blogs and columns openly, LGBT literature has a brighter future ahead of it. More and more readers, not only those who belong to LGBT but others as well, are expected to make LGBT literature a part of their reading lists. In many ways, LGBT Literature is expected to fuel further acceptance and understanding of LGBT community and its amalgamation into regular society.
from Market Writer
“How to get my book published?” is the question on every aspiring author’s mind and lips. After spending days, months or even years penning down that great story, an author hopes that publishers will be more than happy to take up the manuscript and turn it into a bestseller but sadly, that is hardly the reality. In the real world, one may face few or countless rejections before finally striking a fair deal. Getting a bookpublished takes time, effort, persistence, smartness and patience in equal amounts.
Here are 3 tips which will help you getting your book published faster:
Write What You May Be Interested To Read
A publisher’s main motive is to make money out of books and the only way to ensure this is to publish books that will interest readers and fly off the book shelves in right numbers. Hence, for you to grab a publisher’s attention, it is absolutely necessary that the content you are offering is interesting, unique and capable of indulging a reader’s mind or imagination.
Firstly, it is most important that you write from your heart and not out of other’s books. Forgery is unacceptable. Anauthor becomes successful only if he/she offers something to the readers that they have never read before. Hence, it is extremely essential that your work is fresh and has a unique identity. Secondly, when writing a book, you need to think from a reader’s perspective as well. Always write something that you will yourself be interested in reading.
Keep your work open to scrutiny and criticism. Accepting criticism in a positive manner will help you better your work after every rejection and will increase the chances of acceptance with the next publisher you will approach. Be receptive to constructive feedback and use it to make your work more admirable and interesting.
Harness the Power of Social Media
Social media is more powerful that you possibly know. A publisher is more likely to publish your book if you have thousands of followers on your Facebook and Twitter pages. Having popular social media accounts indicates that people enjoy what you write and that your work grabs people’s attention desirably.
All you need to do is set up your social media accounts and share snippets of your works with the world. You can also share short stories or articles. Actively respond to readers’ comments and initiate discussions. You can also follow other authors to know what they are doing better than you. More the number of followers on your social media accounts, better the chances of you getting published!
from Market Writer
If you are a writer, or an aspiring writer looking to get published, a query letter is something you should really take note of. Writing a great query letter can help get your foot in the door with some major publishers and on your way to having people view your book.
The main goal of a query letter is to the make a particular agent or publisher care enough about your protagonist and your plot that they want to read more. You are giving them just the right amount of information, without giving it all away, so they show interest in your book and want to work with you more on it. If you are a writer that writes fiction or narrative fiction, a good query letter is something you will definitely need to get an agent interested, and hopefully signing you to a book deal. A pitch, which is essentially what a query letter is, is all you have and what stands between your book hitting store shelves and it just sitting on your desktop. Although query letters are mainly for works of fiction, there are plenty of concepts in a query letter that a writer of any subject can learn from.
There are agents and publishers all over the world but it is important to note that they are all not looking for the same thing. One agent may be looking for a specific type of novel and another agent something completely different. It is important to do your research and know what the agent is looking for so you do not come off as generic and as someone who does not do their research. Agents in the very first line will look for someone who took the time to find out what the agent is looking for and what makes them relevant to be signed. They may be looking for a particular writer that is talking about a certain location, plot, idea, or type of book. All of these go together to help you create the perfect letter that tells the story of, well, your story. Your query needs to talk about what you have done, what you have accomplished, but most importantly what your book is about.
They need to know why your character is important, what they are fighting why, why they are fighting for it, and what their end goal is. All of this should grip the agent and once they are hooked, you are on your way to being published in no time!
From Market Writer
Do you often go through lists of bestselling books and make your buying picks out of them? If yes, then it’s high time you break away from this habit and try something new for a change. There are plenty of books by new authors that come out every day. Not only do these books make for fascinating reads but also contain fresh and unique content that will amaze you and satisfy your book-loving soul thoroughly.
It’s Time to Explore Something New
While reading bestselling books may be a safe option, it does not carry with itself the same level of excitement that comes with picking up a book from an author you have never heard of before. After reading tons of reviews of bestselling books, there is little left for you to discover. Exploring new books will give you a chance to discover something new on every page!
Also, wouldn’t it be fun if your review of a book by a new author turned it into a bestseller? Reading books that are not part of classic bestselling lists will give you an opportunity to acquaint your friends, family and peers with new and exciting books.
Widen Your Perspective
Everyone has a different taste in books. While some like romantic dramas, others may prefer spy tales or thrillers. Hence, decide what genre indulges your mind the most and try out new books from that genre. This will help you experience variety from that genre and widen your perspective. You will surely have much more to say next time you will meet your book club mates!
The beauty of reading books by Indie authors lies entirely in the element of surprise. Every time you are reading a book by a bestselling author, you already know what to expect as you are familiar with that author’s style of writing and storytelling. However, reading books by Indie authors whom you have never read before gives you a chance to feel surprised now and then and enjoy the sweet feelings of amazement and wonder. This not only enriches your mind and soul but also makes your book reading experience worthwhile and enjoyable.
After all, what is the fun in reading a book if your heart already knows what might happen in the end? None, right? So why not give a chance to an Indie author today and let yourself be swept by a wave of surprise! After all, surprise is the spice of life.
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: Word Branch Media
Every year I write a blog for Banned Book Week, and this year is no different, and, sadly, there is no shortage of banned and challenged books in the US as well as worldwide. But, on the positive side, we at least have this opportunity to showcase the seemingly growing problem of special interest groups attempting to control the speech, thoughts, and beliefs of all. When I talk to people about Banned Book Week and my passion to eliminate restrictions in reading, I’m sometimes met with shock. That surprises me, but I think education is the key to make others more aware of censorship.
For those not familiar with Banned Book Week, it is the annual event, supported by the American Library Association (ALA), that celebrates our freedom to read and protests the censorship of books. The ALA recognizes the potential danger of the restriction of reading and the historical and contemporary impact it has on civilizations. Click here to read more about the ALA’s involvement in Banned Book Week.
I think it is important to note that books that are banned and challenged in the US may not be what people think. We’re not talking about some dark pornography or terrorist manifesto; we are talking about American classics like The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird. We’re talking about beloved children’s books like Harry Potter and young adult favorites like The Hunger Games. We are talking about books that shed a light on racism and other social issues like The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and The Bluest Eye. We’re talking about books that make us think and create, that lead us to a deeper understanding of ourselves and society.
The reasons that books are banned or challenged are many, and while it may be tempting to blame it entirely on fringe religious and political groups, often it is ordinary people who initiate the challenges. Sometimes it is just well-meaning folks who just can’t understand why others don’t think or act like them. Sometimes it is a misguided notion that you can protect children by restricting what comes into their world. Valid points . . . to some extent. While parents have a right to restrict what their children read, they certainly don’t have the right to restrict my children’s reading. One person’s religious or political views that control their own choice of reading material shouldn’t dictate what I choose to read and, by extension, think.
I get that some people think that The Color Purple, or similarly ranged books, isn’t appropriate for all age groups, and it is not. It is not the easiest read in the world, and it deals with some very adult subjects. But no one is suggesting that your second grader be forced into reading it, and even if you oppose your high school student reading Invisible Man as an assigned book, I know of no school or teacher that doesn’t have alternative books for students whose parents protest. But that doesn’t mean that other students shouldn’t be restricted from what is a learning and growing experience.
And you may say-what is the harm in taking The Sun Also Rises or Harry Potter out of libraries to keep these special interest groups from squawking? The danger is that when one first amendment right is chipped away at, it sets a dangerous precedent for others. I’m not suggesting that we are in imminent danger of becoming a real-life Fahrenheit 451 society (which ironically is on the banned list), but, as James Madison said: “there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.”
ALA Press Release: http://www.ala.org/news/press-releases/2014/09/affirm-freedom-read-during-banned-books-week-sept-21-27-2014
Notable First Amendment Court Cases:http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorshipfirstamendmentissues/courtcases
Frequently Banned and Challenged Books: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics
ALA Banned Book Week 2014: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
When I began doing research for this blog, which was originally about self-publishing versus small presses, I was a little surprised of the number of articles and blogs that listed do-it-yourself, small presses, and large publishing companies as “choices” for new authors. The idea that any of these is a given is unrealistic—and yes, I do mean to include self publishing, at least successful self publishing. While this seems like an issue solely for writers, this is good and bad news for readers too.
Most writers fantasize about being discovered by one of The Big Six (or Five depending on the day)[i], getting a six-figure advance, and having their book turned into a artsy, yet lucrative film—probably not going to happen. In fact, the odds are very much against it. Only one percent or fewer of a large press’s annual titles are from new authors and very few get any type of advance at all[ii]. The myth of a large publishing house spending oodles on marketing is a bust too. As markets shrink for print books, large publishers are also shrinking their marketing budgets. They only will spend what they think they can get back from sales. If you are a new author, then that will be low if any. With this unstable market and publishers going under or being sold at a rapid rate, they are taking very few chances.
I don’t want to come off sounding completely pessimistic—there are fairytale endings even in the publishing world. The author of Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James, turned a fan-fiction novel into a best-selling trilogy for Vintage, and Lisa Genova’s Still Alice was picked up by Simon & Schuster to rise to number five on the New York Times bestseller list[iii].
Five years ago, self-publishing came with a lot of stigmas, and many, including writers, saw it as something of a passing joke. People stopped laughing when Amanda Hocking made nearly a half million dollars in one month with her self-published series, The Trylle Trilogy[iv]. Self-publishing gives the power and the profits back to the author and allows new authors to test their wings without a stack of rejection notices.
But as most veterans of the self-publishing world find out, the path to success is fraught with roadblocks and pitfalls. While seemingly easy (write, upload, sell), it doesn’t take long for problems to arise. Many authors are completely vexed by art and font copyrights, the technical aspects of formatting for upload, book design not to mention ISBN acquisition, Library of Congress numbers, and BISAC classifications. Then comes selling . . . Creating a marketing plan is essential as well as understanding the limitations. When and where to put advertising dollars can be overwhelming to the novice and can bankrupt a modest budget in hours. Distribution avenues are often not offered to self-publishers as well as some venues, national chains, libraries, and others, won’t sell self-published books.
A new industry has sprung up to assist the self-published author get a book ready for publishing and marketing and selling afterward. Some of these are very expensive extravagances, and a few outright scams, but some are absolutely essential like editing, professional cover creation, and formatting for print and e-book.
Lastly is the small press. New technologies have given rise to numerous small publishing companies, like Word Branch Publishing, and, again, this is both good and bad news for authors and readers.
The bad news for authors is that the terminology, thus the results, are confusing. Although innovation is critical for success, some small presses are actually old ideas in disguise. I’ve listed a few types of small publishers below to help clear up the terms.
· Subsidy, or what used to be called vanity, publishers: The writer pays up front for all services like editing, proofing, and book design but keeps rights.
· Hybrid publisher: Doesn't charge for services, but may keep rights for books. Due to working with new authors, costs are kept low by contracting employees, working virtually, and using print on demand-POD. Distribution is sometimes limited, and marketing often falls on the shoulders of the writer.
· Independent publisher: The indie is a small scale version of a traditional publisher. They work with a salaried employees or small pool of contractors. They take care of all technical aspects, and usually have a marketing plan for each book in which they work in tandem with the author’s own marketing. They may use POD or short print runs depending on needs. They will often have wider distribution channels still depends on working in conjunction with the author for promotion.
In case you were wondering, Word Branch falls somewhere in between hybrid and indie. You can read more about it in Lynn Sarafinn’s article about WBP: http://www.crtwriting.com/1/post/2013/08/lynn-serafinns-blog-about-word-branch-publishing.html
Now, as for what all this means for readers is, again, both good and bad news.
Self-publishing has given readers a plethora of books from new authors. The amount of free and reduced price e-books means that an avid reader can fill his or her Kindle with reading material to last a lifetime for practically nothing. The bad news is that a lot of these books are just plain not very good. They sometimes are poorly edited, the author has not spent enough time rewriting, the cover is derivative or the story is stiff and unimaginative. However, more good news is that many diamonds in the rough are there for the reading, and it is a real joy to come across a really good author who you may have never discovered otherwise.
Traditional large presses will always have books that are in demand. Nearly all of the bestsellers come from the big guys, and they have the money and power to deliver the recognizable names. On the downside, they offer the reader a relatively limited pool of books that are salable to the masses. You end up reading what everyone else is reading[v].
Small publishers offer readers a choice usually at a pretty good price. Indies tap into a market that otherwise wouldn’t get notice and wide distribution. They are fairly selective in what they publish and have a personal relationship with the authors. Call or email a small publisher, and you will probably get an answer from the owner. However, due to a fickle market and the necessity of laying out large amounts of cash to get a book established, many small publishers go underwater leaving authors and readers hanging.
Large or small, new or old publishing companies, readers or writers—we have all been effected by the shakeup in the industry in the last five years. But I remain optimistic that we are going into a new renaissance of books and that the changes will benefit us all.
Suggested Reading and Links:
Word Branch Publishing’s sister companies assist writers with editing, covers, and formatting as well as marketing:http://www.crtwriting.com/ http://wordstreambooks.com
Why You Should Avoid Bestselling Books: http://theweek.com/article/index/261079/why-you-should-avoid-best-selling-books
The Wonderful World of E-Publishing: http://www.crtwriting.com/1/post/2012/06/the-wonderful-world-of-e-publishing.html
E-Books vs. ‘Real’ Books: http://www.crtwriting.com/1/post/2012/06/the-wonderful-world-of-e-publishing.html
[i] Hachette (publisher)
Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group/Macmillan
Simon & Schuster
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, WordBranch Media
March is National Reading Month, and instead of blogging about writers and writing, I wanted to do a little research to find out what makes dedicated readers tick. It’s clear that not everyone enjoys reading and not everyone reads in the same way. The obvious bumps in the reading road are issues like dyslexia and visual impairment; although, neither precludes reading altogether or even the enjoyment of reading. I know very intelligent people who aren’t readers, and many of us mere humans who enjoy it immensely. So what is it that makes some of us avid readers and others not? What is it that inspires the translation of squiggles and loops into magical movies in our minds?
The physiology of reading, it turns out, may have an impact on how long we read, who enjoys reading, and what we read. According to an article in the American Journal of Psychology, eye fatigue and our ability to focus have a great deal to do with our reading abilities. Although dated, the concept of the article is relevant: eye movement and how much discomfort it causes the reader has a direct impact on reading enjoyment. So is this an innate condition that excludes certain individuals from enjoying reading? Probably not in most cases. Lighting makes a big difference. Direct, full spectrum lighting can ease discomfort considerably. The type of font is also a factor, and most publishers are aware of the fonts that are easiest on the eyes. E-readers can be helpful in the adjustment of many issues that can cause discomfort.
The next thought is what happens in the brain when we read and how does this affect our reading abilities? A 2012 study revealed that there is a difference between the parts of the brain used while reading aloud and reading silently, and attention plays a major factor as well. Silent readers’ brains interpret reading as having a conversation and pay more attention to the inner dialog. Most avid readers will tell you that the scenes in their heads are more of a continuous thought rather than individual words, and this increases the speed that information is processed thus leading to a greater focus on the material.
Clearly, much of our enjoyment, or lack of, comes from childhood. I come from a family of readers and was taught to read very young. My father read to me; I read to my children, and books, many books, were always a part of our home. Children who start out with difficulties in reading tend to carry these into adulthood. Often astute teachers and active family support can help, as well as being aware that reading problems may be the symptom of other issues that need to be explored further.
“Books are,” to quote Stephen King, “uniquely portable magic.” Indeed, reading transports us, takes us out of who and where we are. An article in the Reading Research Quarterly supports this by claiming that reading is a form of play.While reading can be functional and necessary, a good deal of the reading the avid reader does is for pleasure. The article introduces the idea of ‘lucid reading’ or readers who involve themselves in the book and read often. Not surprisingly, lucid readers were found to be better readers in terms of speed and comprehension, and the result of this spilled into other parts of their lives. Lucid readers are often more focused, more likely to be critical thinkers and more creative.
My personal philosophy that readers are made, not born. Even those with a poor track record of reading and who claim that it is torturous and tedious can become book lovers with the right material and environment. In my years of teaching English at the college level, I had many students who told me that they really hated to read. Nearly always, if we found the right genre and created a positive atmosphere, they found that reading was not only tolerable, it was pleasurable. Like leading the proverbial horse to water, you can’t make the non-reader love books, but you might spark an interest.
So Gentle Reader, this month is for you. Celebrate, revel, rejoice and curl up in your most comfortable chair with a good book and enjoy the adventure, the peace, the knowledge that these magical squiggles and loops create.
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
They surged onto the scene displacing the established regime and disrupting the system. They toppled well-known icons and touched the lives of nearly every reader on the planet. It was sudden, swift, and scary, and things will never be the same again.
No, I’m not talking about an alien invasion or a zombie attack. I’m talking about POD—print on demand technology.
In the past, I’ve written about the changing face of publishing and the impact it has for writers, publishers, and readers. Certainly, the advent of e-books has transformed the industry more than any single technology in many decades, but current technology goes even further than that. Stealthily, POD has taken over much of the small press and independent authors' publishing choices, and it has even infiltrated large presses which, until recently, seemed immune to the changing tide.
Defined, print on demand is the technology in which instead of books being typeset and having runs of hundreds or thousands of copies, they can be efficiently and inexpensively printed one at a time. Sometimes there is a nominal setup fee, but often if the publisher does the formatting itself, there is no cost to get started. This makes it feasible for self-publishers and small presses to compete at a level that they never have been able to before.
The advantages of POD are numerous. The obvious, of course, is the ability to order small amounts of books instead of risking a large upfront investment. Word Branch has only been able to work with new and emerging authors because of this. Not only is this a huge advantage for micro-publishers like WBP, but for readers as well. Never before have readers been offered such a huge selection and from so many different writers. Finding that gem of an emerging author is an exciting and rewarding experience.
There are hidden advantages too. Shipping costs are cut in half. Ordered books can be dropped shipped directly from the printer avoiding not only the extra shipping costs but packing material and work hours as well. It also eliminates the need for warehouse space, extra employees, transportation, and pest control. Word Branch, as a company and we as individuals, has a strong commitment to a clean and healthy planet, and POD markedly lessons our carbon footprint and the impact on the environment.
Taking the POD idea even further, the Espresso Book Machine can print library quality books in about five minutes on site. Books-a-Million will soon be incorporating Espresso into their 200+ bookstores so that readers can have even out of stock books in their hands in minutes.
Even large publishers are taking advantage of the technology. University presses and textbook publisher especially benefit because of the smaller print runs and the ability to keep older titles in their catalogues. Book distributors have also discovered the advantages of POD. One of the largest, Ingram, has partnered with Lighting Source, and Baker and Taylor uses TextStream.
Despite the advantages, there are those who see POD as an unwanted fad or an unwelcome intrusion on traditional publishing. A February 2013 Library Journal article makes the point that POD allows a flood of poorly researched and non-peer edited ‘academic’ books on the market. In a time when fact and opinion are often blurred, this is a real concern for students, libraries, and academic institutions. Another area of concern is the possible damage to authors. Some people are concerned that without a publisher’s economic risk of keeping a book in print, they will hold onto rights longer preventing the author from reclaiming his or her copyrights. Frankly, I don’t see this as a problem. Most authors I know would like a publishing company to hold onto their books as long as possible.
Whether you mourn the passing, or at least serious illness, of the time-honored tradition of publishing houses or you applaud the new technology and the advances in the industry, no doubt print on demand is here to stay and will continue to evolve. Much like the 3-D printer, price, size, and ease of use is making the technology more accessible, and it is certainly feasible that soon micro-presses, like WBP, and even self-publishers will be able to afford their own hardware. Whether this is a positive change for the industry as a whole remains to be seen, but one thing is certain—POD has attacked and isn’t going away.
Print-on-Demand and the Law of Unintended Consequences
Espresso Book Machine
Print-on-demand may be coming soon to a Books-A-Million near you
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
I went to a small Quaker liberal arts college in Ohio and later taught there. Although not Quaker, I received a large dose of the philosophy during my years at Wilmington College. One belief that has stuck with me all these years is the idea of bearing witness. Part of that idea is that a person should take a strong moral stand and live by that. Over time, I have felt strongly about a number of issues: equality, combating genocide, conservation among a few. But as a publisher and writer, no issue is more important to me than censorship.
Writing has always been politically explosive. From Socrates and Milton to Twain and Rushdie, writing bears the brunt of free speech infractions due to its permanence and portability. The greatest detriment to oppressive regimes in Europe was the invention of the printing press that made it possible and plausible for the masses to read and to write. Jonathan Swift’s metaphorical “A Modest Proposal” sank its barbs deep into British oppression of the Irish just as Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart” held a mirror to the repressive side of African politics.
Some religious groups have been as active, possibly more so, than governments when it comes to censorship. Hiding behind a smokescreen of morality, suppression of books by religions has a long and ugly history. The Catholic Church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum, radical Islam’s fatwa against authors who cross a man-made line, and Scientology’s aggressive attacks on any critical writing are just a sampling of the groups who seek to silence writers on grounds that range from silly to deadly.
Conversely, religious writings have suffered from censorship as well—usually from rival groups. Both the Qur’an and the Bible have been banned by governments and groups as well as various Buddhist writings and Wiccan books.
And so, Gentle Readers, I invite you to take part in sharing quotes from your favorite banned writing on Word Branch Publishing’s Facebook page. From September 22nd to the 28th, I will be sharing my favorites, and we encourage everyone to do the same. If you haven’t liked our Facebook page, you can by clicking here. If you need some inspiration, check out some of the other resources below.
by Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh: President, Word Branch Media
This is a reprint of an article for the WBP writers. I want to share it with all of you because I think the information is valuable, but you may find it a little focused toward our writers.
If you are marketing yourself as a writer, and you should, no doubt you have gotten emails offering a number of options to help you sell your books. While many of these are legitimate, they may or may not be effective. Before you part with your money, consider a few things:
• What exactly is being offered for what price? Make sure you know exactly what you are getting and weigh it against the cost. In most cases, they will give you an introductory package with add-ons later. Ask questions and make sure you know the final cost.
• Is it right for your genre? If you are primarily a science fiction writer then a marketing kit that deals with a non-fiction market won’t be of much help.
• Is the creator of the package reputable and experienced? Do some basic searches to begin with. I like to pair up the person or company’s name with the words “review,” “scam” or “fraud.” Beware though—just because there is one bad review doesn’t make the program a scam; look for patterns. Also, if the creator of the program claims awards and an educational background, look into the legitimacy of the institutions and the claims.
• Can you get the same information free? It is entirely possible that the same information can be gleaned from blogs and websites; however, this doesn’t necessarily make it not worth the money. It depends how much your own time is worth.
There are many low-cost or free marketing programs you can take part in too.
• Library of Congress Blog: [http://blogs.loc.gov/loc/](http://blogs.loc.gov/loc/)
• Small Business Administration’s Marketing 101: [http://www.sba.gov/content/marketing-101](http://www.sba.gov/content/marketing-101)
• The Freelancer’s Union: [https://www.freelancersunion.org](https://www.freelancersunion.org)
• Wiley Publishing Author’s Guide: [http://authorguide.wiley.com/](http://authorguide.wiley.com/)
• *Writer’s Digest*: [http://www.writersdigest.com/](http://www.writersdigest.com/)
• *Writer’s Market*: [http://www.writersmarket.com](http://www.writersmarket.com)
While many of you wonder why we don’t take advantage of some of these options, the answer is that sometimes we do, but WBP is very judicious about how we spend our marketing dollars. In most cases, we are aware of what is out there, but not a lot will be beneficial to us as a business. The same is true of you as authors. It’s easy to spend a lot of money quickly without necessarily getting the best results. Do your homework and consider carefully.
*These two are related and are valuable resources; however, they are very aggressive about selling add-ons. Be aware that it is very easy to get caught up in the patter, but spend wisely.
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