Thursday, August 30, 2012

Why I Like Book Trailers


A lot of writers wonder if book trailers help sales. I'm not sure if they do or don't.  What I do believe about book sales is that authors want to look at all possibilities that are there to make readers aware of their books.

The reason I really like book trailers is because I am a visual writer. When I write a book, I see it play out like a movie in my head. I do that because it's just how I write, but also because somewhere in the back of my mind (not too far back) I am always hopeful that something I write will be made into a movie, or for TV. I am a big believer in putting out to The Universe things we would like to have happen in our lives. Therefore, the book trailer for me, is a small step toward that ultimate goal. And, it also gives readers an idea of what the book is about. It is a visual back jacket of the book.

I'd love to know what writers and readers think...Do you as a reader enjoy book trailers? If so, what do you like about them, and if not, what don't you like? Do you as a writer think they help you in any way? If so, how?

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,
Michele

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Pricing Game on Indie Books


Today I am running a .99 Sale on some of my A.K. Alexander thrillers--DADDY'S HOME, MOMMY, MAY I?, COVERT REICH, & THE CARTEL. These books are some of my bestsellers, so you may wonder why I might do that.

There are a couple of reasons. First and foremost has to do with gaining new readership and also loyalty to the current readers. Many readers who have not heard of a book, or an author, may be more inclined to spend .99 on a book than 2.99 and up. I could be wrong in that theory, and not all readers care. However, let's face it, many of us don't have extra spending cash these days, making that .99 price tag more appealing.

The Big 6 price their e-books at 6.99 and up. I know because six of my books are still owned by a Big 6 publisher and are priced at 6.99 to 7.99. (GIVE ME BACK MY RIGHTS--ugh...as you know, whole 'nother story).

I have to admit that I don't like deep discounting. Writers work hard and it can be a difficult pill to swallow when you know what you have written is worth more than a buck. Other writers don't really like it because it raises the bar to compete with. However, it is business and sometimes it is good business. Every store in the world has an occasional sale. It gets things moving, and at times, we discover something new and cool that we may have not tried before.

So, I hope that if you have not read any of my A.K. Alexander books that you will take a .99 cent risk and give one a try--And, spread the word. The best way for books to get out there still is by word of mouth.

I'd love to hear your opinion on pricing Indie books.

Thank You! Have a wonderful weekend!

Cheers,
Michele

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Is the Big Saga Book Dead?

A lot goes on at the borders in our country. A LOT. Have you watched Border Wars? That is some crazy stuff. I'm not going to get into the politics of any of it. And, I read Don Winslow's book SAVAGES, which I thought was a good read and pretty damn realistic. I also thought his style of writing was interesting.

Like Winslow, I have written a book with THE CARTEL theme, but it's quite a bit different from SAVAGES. THE CARTEL is a saga that begins in 1969. It's all about betrayals, relationships, and the drama that occurs in most families. This is a big book, and I have always been hopeful it would be one of those books that would reach a wide audience. It's been out for some time and it has a slow growth. I think that sagas don't have the appeal they once did back in the day. remember THE GODFATHER, THE THORNBIRDS? My parents devoured those books. I read them, too, as I got older and fell in love with those full type of stories.

In hopes of starting a resurgence back to big saga (they do say that everything comes back around), I am offering this book on Kindle for only .99. The book gets great reviews and it'll stick with you (I think).

Anyone here that passes the word on (because books still sell through word of mouth), let me know, and I will gift you a copy of DADDY'S HOME., which is my #1 bestseller.All you have to do is e-mail me at michele@michelescott.com, let me know what e-mail to gift the book to, and write THE CARTEL in the subject line. Easy.

Here is where you can find some information about the book and read an excerpt: http://michelescott.com/books/the-cartel/

I would love to know if you read sagas? Would you read a saga? Or, in your opinion, is the Big Sagaish book just plain dead?

Thank You!

Cheers,
Michele

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What happens AFTER People Hit Bottom


Today I want to introduce you to a very talented author Reina Lisa Menasche. I met Reina and her very talented adolescent son at the Southern California Writer's Conference last year. We met and talked, and we could relate to each others' personal stories around our writing careers. I encouraged her to go indie, and am pleased she's taken my advice. Without further ado... Here is Reina's story.

This was the question that inspired my new novel, TWICE BEGUN.  As a social worker, my job duties have always required me to go a lot of places to witness and assist the people “at bottom.”  For instance, right out of grad school I drove a van full of substance-abusing teenagers to Twelve Step meetings.  Although I’m not an addict myself, I felt surprisingly drawn into the experience; touched by the small miracles of hope that rose out of those smoke-filled ritualistic gatherings (“Hi, my name is John and I’m an alcoholic.”  “Hi, John.”  You get the idea!).  Many a grizzled old man, haggard middle-aged woman with few good teeth, and hardened, cynical, withdrawn and wounded young person surprised me by standing up and bravely opening wounds in front of anyone who cared to listen.
To me, these “confessions” sounded, well, familiar.  Okay, I didn’t and don’t know what it’s like to be desperately addicted to something that costs money as well as my health, self-respect, and the loyalty and sometimes even love of my own family.  I’ve never been homeless (though in this economy just about everyone I know worries about the very real potential for bad luck and financial destitution).  I certainly don’t know what it’s like to go to prison.  I’ve never been in a gang.  Well, I did hang out with a gang of kids in high school who called themselves “The Piddles” because we loitered on the doorstop of Dr. Piddle, a dentist on Main Street, Central Islip, New York—but there were no guns involved, and no fear or terrorizing anybody).  In fact I’ve never witnessed or committed violence, and haven’t been treated as subhuman because of my less-than-humane behavior toward myself or others.

In short, I’ve been blessed with a loving family and a good chance at life.  I had a fairly sheltered childhood and an adventurous but “normal” adulthood (so far).  But…the recovering addicts in these AA and NA meetings seemed to know me anyway.  They spoke of pain that was hard to discuss.  They revealed their search for meaning, often in the wrong places.  They shared universal truths about love and loss and shame.  They admitted anger and expressed confusion.  They wove dreams from shreds.  Most of all, they continued to show up and display their vulnerability.  Men cried.  Woman talked about their children hating them.  Slowly, over time, I found in these stories lessons to take home with me and cherish.  These clients were teaching me. Of course I hoped I was teaching them too, but that’s another blog entry.  The story I wanted to tell in my novel was how absolutely inspiring the place at the bottom can be—despite the rank and stink of some of its details.

TWICE BEGUN was more directly inspired about five years ago while working in a program with men just out of prison.  I was teaching a class on Stress Management when one of the men showed me a book of poetry he had written while “in the pen.”  Yes, this tough looking man covered with tattoos had a soft spot eloquently expressed.  Just one more example of the same lesson: Don’t pre-judge people or keep them in their categories. 

Ironically, the same day, another client asked to show me a song he’d written, a blues song, which he proceeded to sing “a capella.”  His voice was stunning, his desire to carve a new life for himself as a singer rather than a gang member even more so. 

And so my novel was born. 

My thought was: what if the “good guy,” the “perfect guy” in the story, has a thousand hidden dragons—and the “bad guy,” the “burnout guy or loser” is someone to admire and learn from?  Choosing Paris Jablonski, Social Worker, as protagonist was just plain fun.  Making her eccentric family an echo of my own made me giggle out loud.  But creating a romantic relationship between a social worker and a client made me…uncomfortable.  No, very uncomfortable.  Anyone in the helping professions knows what an ethical no-no that is (for excellent reasons!). 

Still, this is fiction.  And fiction provides us with the luxury of thinking outside the box, breaking taboos, or playing with fire (speaking of fire, I thought that San Diego’s wildfires would make a fitting background for this plot).  In the end, Paris Jablonski chose her own responses to her ethical dilemma.  I just wrote it down.

Categorizing my book for selling and marketing purposes turned out to be another thorny dilemma.  TWICE BEGUN has love in it, but is it a romance?  It has some intense social issues in it, but it is certainly far from any kind of rant.  It’s a story about finding comfort and love in unlikely places.  It’s about love never quite defining itself.  It’s about people transcending their categories, or trying to.  It’s about change and hope, and of course about beginning again: a timeless theme, in my opinion.

Why did I decide to publish this work independently?  One publisher called the story original and powerful—but worried that it has too much cussing in one of the scenes for a romance novel (for the individuals involved, cussing is realistic, right?).  Another publisher just plain came out and said that the story doesn’t fit any particular category, the hero isn’t quite right for a romance, and the novel will thus be tricky to market—but could they see some of my other writing?
So…the book itself is like the story it tells.  I chose to try to transcend the existing categories, or create new ones, or just use whatever categories my work happens to fall into very, very carefully.

I’m beginning again, independently, just like Paris Jablonski.

Please check out Reina's book on Amazon. It is receiving excellent reviews and is one of those books not to be missed. Come support a fellow indie!

 Here is the Kindle link. Enjoy! http://www.amazon.com/Twice-Begun-ebook/dp/B008M9FC5Y/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1345659244&sr=8-1&keywords=twice+begun

Monday, August 20, 2012

Do the Big 6 Want to Make Money on Their Backlists, or just F... with the Authors?

First off, I want to thank everyone for their condolences and thoughtfulness in regards to my Dad's passing. It has been difficult, but your kindness has helped ease some of the pain.

The positive is that I am back writing--and writing a ton! My Dad taught me work ethic and to reach for your dreams. I am also coming out punching a bit these days. He taught me tat fighter spirit as well.

I have on occasion expressed my dismay with the Big 6, but I have typically tried to be as diplomatic as possible. I am done being a diplomat.

Here is where I am at. I started out in publishing with THE WINE LOVER'S MYSTERIES. MURDER UNCORKED was my first book and it did quite well. It wound up with 9 printings, some foreign rights sales, etc. Now, you can't find the book anywhere in print, or the second book in that series MURDER BY THE GLASS. They are officially out of print and have been for over a year! And, for a year now, I have requested reversion of rights. I receive e-mails from readers asking me where they can buy the books on a regular basis. Not everyone has an e-reader. I was offered to buy the books back at a 35% reduction off of list price when they took the books of print. That is standard.

I've asked nicely. I've been a good author. Now, I am pissed. The responses I get basically tell me that the process takes 2-3 months (mind you I have been asking for a year with no response), but they can take up to 6 months to respond. The e-mail intimated they would be taking the full 6 months.

This makes no sense to me. I have had books make it into top 10 bestseller lists on amazon, Wall Street Journal, etc. I know this series is one readers enjoy and want to read more of. The publisher would still own the rights to 4 of the other books in the series. Wouldn't it make good business sense for them to give me back my rights, allow me to publish indie and do what I know how to do to get books into the hands of readers? In turn, the 4 books they own rights to would start selling again. It would be a win/win. They don't do anything to sell the books. They've moved onto the next thing. If these guys would pull their heads out they could start making some money on the back list they own and stop seeing tried and true authors go indie, or sign with Amazon (which I have recently done and am very, very happy because THEY GET IT). Amazon gets it!

I think this is a game with the Big 6. They clearly don't care about making money on the extensive back list they own. They seem to enjoy keeping writers hostage. Come on! Get smart! You're going to need cash flow, Big 6, for all of the huge advances being plunked down for  the successful indie authors that are being cherry picked after they have done all the work themselves to get to the top.  I suppose the publishers pockets are so deep that they don't care. To me, that is arrogant. All I want are my rights back, and so do a ton of authors (yes--WE TALK and there are many of us who are grumbling). If I get my rights back, Big 6 publisher and I can make readers happy, and make a little money together. Novel idea, huh?

I realize that this is a battle I will not likely win, so writing this may be a waste of my time and just a rant. However, maybe it will wake someone up.

Rant over. I am now going back to writing.

Have a wonderful day!

Michele