Show off your cover art with I Can Haz Purse

May 9, 2011

Not much to report today, only to make sure that you’ve gotten your Name That Company ideas into the beagle. She’s been gearing up for business, and her posse of doggeh friends is growing restless.

She was heartened to hear that I’d taken my cover purse to our sales meeting and drew all kinds of comments. And these are hardcore publishers and sales reps – and they all freaked out at the fabulosity of this idea. They were equally impressed with the quality and strength of the purse, cos I had a bunch of Pricey junk in there – my ever-faithful Kindle, wallet, purse, Metro card, iPod, cellie, pens, business cards, blah, blah, blah. Several took cards so they could order some for their own authors. This caused the beagle to polish off the remaining tequila.

That crabbity old bat Nicola Morgan had this to say about her purse that has the fabulous cover art of her upcoming book, Write To Be Published:

“To be honest, it’s hard to imagine any writer not wanting one of these gorgeous purses. I absolutely love mine and want to go out ALL the time with it. It’s so unusual and striking. Don’t suppose you’re going to do the same with shoes?!”

Shoes. That woman never gives up, does she? If you don’t read Nicola’s blog, you should. It’s jam packed with writerly advice that cuts to the quick – and she’s quite witty, though I think it’s because she drinks. But don’t tell her I said that.

And as crabbity as she is, she’s an equally fabulous writer. The first book of hers that I read was The Highwayman’s Footsteps. It’s YA, but I ate this book up because Ms. Crabbity is such a lovely writer. Her latest book, Wasted, is only available in the UK, a fact that irritates me beyond belief because it’s gotten rave reviews. So I’ll place my order and await its shipment to my grubby little fingers.

Author and Publishing extraordinaire, Victoria Strauss had this to say about her gorgeous purse – which I was sorely tempted to keep:

The purse arrived yesterday–how cool and clever! What a great idea for promotion! I love it.

Vic not only protects writers from making horrible publishing mistakes, but she’s a fabulous writer. I’m loving her latest release, Garden of the Stone. Even if you don’t read this genre, I implore you to buy it, as Vic shows what effective writing looks like. In fact, she’s such a lovely writer, she’s made a changed woman out of me, and I’ve ordered all her other books as well – of which there are many.

And in the end, that’s what promotion is all about, making readers aware of your book – and maybe adding new readers to the genre. And nothing does that better than cover art, right? And nothing shows off cover art better than a purse.

So what are you waiting for? The beagle invites…eh, what am I saying?…she implores you to visit her I Can Haz Purse page and submit your order today. She guarantees that you’ll be thrilled right down to your verbs and nouns.

And if you have a clever name to submit for the beagle’s company and it wins, you’ll win a freebie purse. The beagle changed her mind and announced that the winner will get the large purse (not the small one, as she’d originally planned) – a $60 value. So what are you waiting for? Anyone know what a pain it is to deal with a crabby beagle?

Ah, sweet revenge

March 25, 2011

So my post on spam-mail hadn’t been up more than 24 hours when I got another one. Unbelievable. I’ve never received so many in one week. Is there something in the water that entices authors to make ill-conceived decisions?

The spam-mail was all very lad-di-da…”Read my fabulous book!” The author was kind enough to provide Every. Link. In. The. World. If I didn’t want to order it from Amazon, I could order it from no less than 500 other sites. Lucky me.

But I had my revenge.

I wrote back to Mr. Spam-a-lot (Sorry, Monty Python):

Tell you what. I’ll consider checking out your book if you read this blog post

It was written with people like you in mind. Really.

I never expected to hear another word, which wasn’t the point. But the author wrote back and apologized, which I thought was very classy. He admitted that he was a self pubbed author trying to wade his way through the maze of self-promotion.

He made my point for me. So many times when you DIY, you have a fool for a client because you have tunnel vision. You’re so focused on your book, then getting it published, getting rejected, deciding to do it yourself, that you forgot the most important question of all…how do I do this the right way?

See, publishers have committees. You should see the list of people who give me feedback on cover art, titles, is this book a good choice to buy? And I cherish that feedback because I can’t rely on just my own instincts. I can be wrong, and I have to be willing to listen to those who are helping me sell the snot out of our books.

The DIY author doesn’t have this kind of support, so they make a ton of blunders. The sad part is that most DIYers run out of money and energy before they figure out how to do it right. They buy books that blather on about 1 gabajillion ways to market your book. I’ve seen those books and decided that the authors excel at one thing – selling their book to a gullible audience. It’s staggering the amount of information that is plain wrong, yet these books sell like hotcakes.

And this is where my poor Mr. SpammyPants is. He’s alone and struggling the best he can. His apology was heartfelt, and I could feel how overwhelmed he is.

Thing is, I’m only one spam-mail out of however many he blasted out. So while the apology was nice, and it gave me an opportunity to exact some revenge, the practice of  “Buy my book!” spam-mail will prevail.

Beagle, fire up the blender, it’s gonna be a long season…

If you’re going to be grateful, make it count

March 10, 2009

“I appreciate “insert Print On Demand publishing company here” for helping me get my foot into the door of the publishing world.”

I see and hear this line all the time, and it never fails to give me gas. See, what these folks don’t realize is their foot is about as far from the publishing world as I am convincing Antonio Banderas to marry me.

Oh sure, their books were listed on Amazon and b&, and such. But were they reviewed by any of the trade mags? Will their books be on store shelves? Will their “publisher” work their Victoria Secrets off to market and promote their books to anyone possessing a big mouth and a pulse? Will they go after cover blurbs? Will they cough up ARCs to radio stations and newspapers? Will they even have said radio stations and newspapers calling their “publisher” requesting to be added to their marketing list for future works? Will they discuss promotion plans and how they can support their author?

The answer to all these questions is no.

So, in truth, the only thing to be grateful for is that their “publisher” printed their book and got it fed into the online databases – a feat that takes as much time as I take to pluck my eyebrows. The editing will be substandard, but the author won’t realize that, and they’ll insist they were put through the ringer over their edits. No one has been put through the ringer until they’ve encountered my editor, who is adorable beyond all reason and the keeper of The Red Pen From Hell.

I’ve said it before; you get what you pay for, and PODs rarely have the money to pay for great anything, and the only thing authors earn is a healthy dose of cynicism. Ok, I’ll admit there are some who have money, one comes to mind who owns a helicopter, but they got rich selling to their authors, not the stores – which gives it a vanity feel on the back end. So the reality is that POD authors learn very little about how the industry works.

If you’re going to be grateful to your POD publisher, I recommend that you take a step back and ask yourself exactly how much you really do know about the industry through being affiliated with them. Do you know how books are sold? Do you understand discounting and distribution? Do you understand how sales teams operate and pitch titles? Do you understand how to keep a book on a bookshelf? Have you thought about how to make your title swim among an ocean of thousands of other books? Have you considered the competition?

I’m betting the POD author learned none of those things. So it leaves me wondering if the gratitude is misplaced. Makes me think they really need The Writer’s Essential Tackle Box, where they’ll learn far more than from their own publisher. Meanwhile, I’m so not giving up on Antonio…

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