Sunday, July 5, 2015

Do you want to sell your books?

Are you a writer? I have a goal of selling a million copies of my novels. Let me tell you how I plan to achieve it.
I want to live from my royalties in a tropical village. It is my life goal that I am daily working to obtain.
It was a book by James Scott Bell, The Self-Publishing Attack, that made me get serious and professional with my writing. (I forgive him for writing zombie novels).
Yes, I had some titles on Kindle, had sold travel articles in several countries, even some automotive how-to articles to a national magazine, yet my career was going nowhere. Sales were nearly non-existent. Should I let go of my dream, I wondered.
But then I read Mr. Bell’s book. It was a wakeup call.
Writing is a business. Why was I playing at it? I was dabbling without commitment. Why didn’t I set goals, time goals, and approach the writing as a job?  The Self-Publishing Attack was great to read because it aroused desire.
I want to sell a million copies! And by taking calculated steps to reach that goal, by daily working at my craft, reading books about novel writing, by creating new books on schedule, books that captivate and amuse, that grab the reader and shake them, I could achieve my goal.
I’ve known it since I wrote that first short story at eight-years-old, lived inside the story and couldn’t write it fast enough, stayed after class, hanging off the side of my desk, a writing storm flowing from my pencil.
If I was going to SELL my books it was going to take work. It was going to take a daily routine of writing, studying, reading, and promoting.
I had made some embarrassing blunders along my writing path. The worst was giving away 10,000 copies of my novel, Falling Up that had vertical text. It was beyond horrible. Would readers ever trust me again?  When I discovered the problem I pulled the book out of publication, changed the cover and title, waited six months and republished.
Ultimately the book fell flat. Four years’ work was gone. Depression followed.
To start writing again was very difficult. How could I sit day after day for years without knowing that something would come of it. All I wanted was to make people laugh and sad that the book was coming to an end. Was that too much to ask?
The only way that I could write again was to record the happiest time of my life. So I went in the writing to when I had sold everything and moved to an abandoned house on the Caribbean. I set my novel there, in that turtle shell of a house, without windows, a frog living in the toilet tank, sleeping on a hammock, the sound of the surf filling my dreams. I set my new novel, Touching Spirits, there.
Beginning to write again came during a major life change. When the economy crashed I was a contractor making good money and flying to Mexico and Europe a couple of times a year. After the crash I had to take a job as a sales person at Home Depot for $10 an hour, working twenty hours a week. I couldn’t afford shoes.
But still I sat down daily and wrote my heart out. Something kept telling me to write love.
After Mr. Bell’s book I made several changes.  I now keep a copy of Writer’s Digest magazine near me when I write. Their articles are amazing for a working writer. If I need help with structure, or point of view, or characterization, they have an article about it. And they are short and to the point. It has made a great difference in my writing.
Another step I took was to buy a Kindle. When I publish a new book to Kindle I immediately buy it and check it on my kindle.  It is a tool that insures no more faulty formatting will leave my computer.
I also found Fiverr dot com. For $5 I had non profession ecovers remade.  I also had them change my author name to Kevin R. Hill on all my books. I had used Kevin Robert Hill on some and that confused even Amazon.  I didn’t want readers to think I was two people. These changes were about making my product as professional looking as possible, and making it easy for readers to find me.
Some of the Fiverr workers are flakey. They don’t respond to your notes, or go over schedule on your project.  My advice is this: find a designer in your country, who is a native speaker of your language. That is very important. You don’t want details lost in translation. After much trial and error I have found two people I work with on Fiverr. 
Those changes have invigorated my writing. I again believe I can make my dream a reality, can live in my tropical village, hear the surf in my dreams.
You can do it too.
I am now standing with a new action novel ready for release. Do you want me to tell you how I plan to promote it? Should I write about the sites I will be using to get the word out about my book?
Should I tell you what the result was?