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Now through Dec. 2, I will be publishing special book shopping offers for your holiday gift list. Drop in each day for the latest. On Small Business Saturday, we start off with some deep discounts:

KINDLE COUNTDOWN SALE

Nov. 26 – Dec. 2, the Kindle version of The Curse of the Strawberry Moon is drastically reduced.

Buy it at Amazon.com for just 99 cents HERE.

Buy it at AmazonUK for just £0.99 HERE.

PAPERBACK BOOK SALE

Get the paperback version of The Curse of the Strawberry Moon for 50% off the list price of $19.99 by using the coupon code RUH4EJ4U during checkout at my online store HERE.

Guest Post: Deborah Nam-Krane

If you haven’t already read Mark Coker’s excellent post on the Smashwords blog about the changing environment for ebooks, do yourself a favor and do that now. There’s a lot, but it all points to what many indie authors have noticed for the last year and a half: the industry has matured. For me, that leads to a corollary: the traditional rules of a small business are going to apply to us even more than they already did.

If you haven’t been living in your own fictional world for the last five years, you’ve seen politicians fall all over themselves to talk about the small business person as the driver of our economy. There’s just one thing: eighty percent of small businesses will fail according to Forbes and Bloomberg, and that’s within the first eighteen months. Books may be special things, but I have no reason to believe that indie authors who write them are going to be exempt from that rule.

Take a look at the Forbes and Smashwords articles to get a sense about how you can be one of the twenty percent that keeps writing. While I don’t presume to put myself on their footing, here are some of my suggestions.

  • The e-book market is new enough that all of us, even the most successful among us, can still be considered to be in the early stages of our careers, even if we’ve been writing for decades. Think of this as the period in which you’re establishing your reputation. If you take nothing else away from this, it’s that you should be as good as your word. In other words, keep all your promises, whether it’s to your readers, writers or anyone who provides you with a service. We all have good reasons to bail on something; the person people are going to want to work with time and again are the ones who get the job done in spite of them.
  • While the industry is still new and rules aren’t going to be more than anecdotes, from what I’ve seen, the more you write, the better you do. But that doesn’t mean that the writer who has five titles out there is going to do better than the writer who has one; that means that you shouldn’t start thinking you’re going to take off until you have as many as ten titles out there. Are there people who have done really well within their first two or three releases? Sure- but they are the exception not the rule. Your best bet: be productive.
  • …But also be consistent. Can you publish five books in one year? Sure- but can you do it every year? And will all of those be both well-crafted and -edited? If not, don’t bother. What we should be focusing on is longevity, not quick splashes.
  • Whether you’re catering, running a fitness studio or selling books, it’s highly unlikely that whatever you’re going to make will be enough to support you in the first few years of operation, no matter how much buzz you might have (and most of us won’t have any). Don’t live off of your business these first few years; for this period, the majority of your funds should be saved and then reinvested into your business. That might mean you’re spending a little more on your editing and cover (two things you should NEVER skimp on), or it might mean you’re going to give yourself a marketing push. Regardless, this isn’t money you should spending on lattes, no matter how much writing you’re doing at your local café.
  • Use social media wisely. This is worth repeating: social media isn’t the best place to advertise, but it is one of the most effective vehicles for public relations. In case you don’t already know, public relations is your best way to influence how other people perceive you. Whether you’re going to stay tightly focused around your books or publishing or you want to share your opinions with the world about anything that strikes your fancy, BE SMART. That means don’t be inflammatory, insulting, whiny or repetitive. Trust me, everyone is already seeing too much on their social media feeds, and if they can find an excuse to filter you out, they will. Instead, strive to make yourself someone your contacts want to keep.
  • Finally, look forward, not backward and be smart about what you see. There’s a saying that most diplomats know exactly how to prevent the next occurrence of the last war, but most don’t have any idea about how to prevent the first occurrence of the next war. And while our environment is maturing, that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to see a lot of changes in the next year between subscription services like Kindle Unlimited and Oyster, new e-reader devices, expanding markets, changes in service agreements and the always unpredictable changes in reader’s tastes. (Another rule: don’t write to the market; it changes too quickly for you to always be on top of the latest trend.) Be aware that every new year- if not every season- will bring both new challenges as well as new opportunities; the author that stands the best chance of writing for the long haul is the one who can best figure out how to avoid the former and take advantage of the latter.

Please check out these links for more of my thoughts on how authors can use social media and how we can be more productive in the internet age.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Deborah Nam-Krane is a writer in Boston proper who has been writing novels since the age of thirteen. When she’s not homeschooling her sons or making sure her daughters get their work done, she’s writing, reviewing and editing.

The best way to keep in touch is to follow her blog Written By Deb and subscribe to her newsletter (only publishing announcements, never spam).

 

 

Want to participate in small business Saturday?
Don’t forget indie authors.
And if you’re buying a paperback, consider it as the Swiss Army Knife of the imagination. This multipurpose gift, once read, can be used for the following:

  • a coaster
  • a squasher for really big spiders on a kitchen ceiling (note: recommended helmet not included)
  • a portable fan for hot sweats
  • something to distract zombies
  • a head rest when you’re planking
  • a prop for lingering over coffee in a hipster cafe
  • a draft stopper for the back door
  • housing for homeless chipmunks
  • an elbow rest for your computer station
  • a Cuban sandwich presser
  • kindling (oh, the irony)
  • plant stand
  • curling iron rest (see kindling)
  • disguise kit
  • tire jack
  • raw material for a fleet of paper airplanes
  • “remote control” for turning off the TV
  • drunk bowling
  • drunk dialing
  • a Dickens of a window display
  • booster seat in a restaurant
  • doorstop
  • covering golf divots
  • shoulder pads
  • fitting in at a library
  • adding fiber to your diet
  • hamster bedding
  • making noise on your bicycle tire spokes
  • speed bumps
  • bookworm lure kit
  • clothes pins
  • megaphone
  • fireplace bellows
  • making a statement
  • sending mixed signals
  • feats of strength
  • creating Fibonacci-patterned book circles in Midwest fields
  • giving mysterious looks to strangers
  • giving codes to fellow spies
  • currency
  • flotation devices (for very short periods of time)
  • charcuterie plate
  • lamp shade
  • fig leaf
  • awkward tennis shoes
  • badminton racket
  • texting
  • projectiles in a court room run amok
  • tea cozy
  • drumming circles
  • hiding shanks
  • making shanks
  • shank guard
  • pot stirrer (however you interpret that)
  • inkpad
  • mousepad
  • pad Thai (<– actually, this is a bald faced lie)
  • tiara
  • cravat
  • nutcracker
  • jar opener
  • gobstopper
  • hand puppet
  • virtual pet
  • silencer
  • weapon of mass distraction
  • a gentler wind chime
  • conversation fodder…

Hah! And you thought it was just for reading?

This Small Business Saturday, I hope you will consider buying one (or more) of works of an indie author for your holiday gift giving. Learn more about my books HERE.