Archives for July 2015

Who is Your Audience – and Your Competition?

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Barnes&Noble

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Authors often do very little research to really understand who their potential audience is – or could be.  Asking them: “Who is your audience and who is your competition?” one might receive only vague answers … However, these are essential questions that are not only very important for self-publishers, but also for authors who want to go with a traditional publisher!  You need to proof to the agent or the publisher that you have done your homework and that your book idea is a viable one.
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How Can You Research Your Competition?
Knowing your audience  is essential and it means understanding their age group, interests, educational status and economic class.  Monitoring tweets, Google+ and Facebook posts, blogs, and other new media mentions of other writers in your genre is an easy, cost-effective way to learn about the readers of your competitors.
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First of all make a long list with possible keywords that readers might use to find a similar book.  Check out the complete categories / genres at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Apple, Google Books, Waterstones etc. and study all the books, that could be akin to your future work. Visit several public libraries to learn about your competition.  Borrow or purchase the most interesting ones, not only to read them, but also to study the book layout and design. Read the online reviews of their books carefully!

  • Where are these books sold and for which price?
  • In which format are they offered: e-book, print, audio-book?
  • Who are the customers of these competing books?
  • How are these books received and which ones are bestselling?
  • Which categories did they choose, and which keywords?
  • In which categories / genres are these competitive books listed?
  • What cover designs have been chosen for these books?
  • How many books of this topic / with the same keywords have been published already?
  • Which author represent him/herself and their book the best – via their Amazon and Goodreads author page, and on their website or blog?.
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How to Find Your Competitor’s Readers
Whether you want to admit it or not, lots of writing competitors are out there. Devote some time and energy to research your competition and their followers.  Find out about their readers, book reviewers and social media followers on their platform, such as their online accounts or their website / blog.  Invite these followers and book reviewers to your own sites or to review your titles.  The tiny search function on every social media site is your best tool.  In order to know their reviewers use online retailer’s sites, such as Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Waterstones, Barnes & Noble etc. and certainly Goodreads, where you can see their fans and friends.  Follow these people too and invite them to your own platform.
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AdWords campaigns might also give you interesting insights into your competition.
Set up Google Alerts, not only for yourself, but also for all of our competitors to know what they are up to.  Other resources you can use to dig up information on your competitors: Alexa.com, Compete.com, or KeywordSpy.com.
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Always keep in mind: social media is more than posting on your page and gaining followers, it’s about fostering relationships.  Interact with your followers.  Respond to comments, ask questions, answer questions!  Be a true friend, and you will gain followers and future readers.
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Don’t Give Up!
Bestseller authors often need years and years to build up their audience, so it is surprising, that authors dream of their first book as a potential bestseller, and don’t realize that it takes a long time and hard work to get an audience, one reader at a time – especially if they did not do the groundwork to build a huge following at social media, in reader forums or in real-life before they start publishing.

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Author-Publishing is Like a Completely New Profession
And professions need to be learned! It takes years to become an excellent writer and it also takes years to become an excellent publisher. It involves lots of skills and knowledge business-wise, marketing skills, not to mention, learning constantly new internet techniques and get to know the latest changes in publishing. Many authors have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the time required for effective book promotion and to make meaningful connections with readers. They expect wonders from a single sales campaign.
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Get Professional Help 
A book marketing professional has to learn years and years. Why, as an author, not take advantage of their knowledge to keep your head free for writing and interacting with your readers?  No one would start an accounting business without learning the ropes, and knowing how to create a revenue / expenses sheet or fill out income tax forms.  Writing a book does not make for a publisher, no matter how clever businesses want you to imagine. Take the time to build your author platform and establish a brand, it will eventually give you an advantage in the publishing market.
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Don’t forget:  You are in this for a long time if writing is really what you like best in life. Get it right from the beginning!

 


 



Too Short For a Book? Or Too Long?

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From The Guardian: “Writers can seldom express ideas “at their natural length”, because in the world of traditional print only a few lengths are commercially viable.  Write too long, and you will be told to cut it – as Stephen King was when The Stand came in too long to be bound in paperback.”

“Worse, write too short, and you won’t get published at all.  Your perfect story is 50 pages long – or 70, or 100?  Good luck getting that printed anywhere.  Commercial print publishers have never liked novellas or novelettes, authors always have.  Indeed, many writers have done their best work at that length, despite the difficulty of finding publication.”
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Four years ago Amazon launched a sub-store on its US website: “Kindle Single: “Compelling ideas expressed at their natural length”, as they call it.  The internet giant Amazon pays 70% royalties, for Singles priced between 99 cents and $4.99.

“Typically between 5,000 and 30,000 words, Kindle Singles are editorially curated and showcase writing from both new and established voices – from bestselling novelists and journalists to many previously unpublished writers.”

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In the past many writers have taken a strong 70-page idea and stretched it into a weak 300-page book because the trade publishing industry demanded. Amazon gave short formats – Singles – an identity.
Any writer can approach Amazon directly, as bestseller author Stephen King did with Guns, a nonfiction essay too long, at 8,000 words, for most newspapers or magazines.  Another hit by King was his Kindle Single Mile 81, a top seller.
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How to Submit Your Work as Kindle Single
Amazon considers even e-books, recently published via Kindle Direct Publishing, manuscript submissions, or pitches.  To nominate your self-published book, simply email us at kindle-singles@amazon.com and include the title, ASIN, and a brief summary.

  • If the work is not yet published, you can submit a manuscript or a detailed pitch for your Kindle Single.
  • Send as much material as you have available to kindle-singles@amazon.com and include your name and a writing sample.
  • All manuscripts submitted as attachments must be accompanied by a cover letter with a detailed summary of the submission.
  • Writers or publishers wishing to propose an idea for a Kindle Single can write to our editors at kindle-singles@amazon.com.

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Amazon’s “Singled Out” section shows the latest Kindle Single Bestsellers in a variety of genres.  Which short story did you write that could be a Kindle Single?  If you are an author and already published a Single at Amazon, let us know about your experience and success.

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If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day!  Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting / Book Marketing for your success: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also
“Book Marketing on a Shoestring”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAVL3LE

Our email newsletters with free insider tips are sent out once a month. To sign up, just go to the form on the right site of each blog post.



Archaic Procedures: Book Returns

Archaic-Procedures.

As a publisher of an aviation magazine in the 90’s I learned about a criminal way of “ print distribution”: A pilot friend showed me one of our magazines that he bought at an airport store in Amsterdam / Netherlands.  I was a bit surprised as our distributor had Amsterdam not on the list of retailers.  One could opt for having unsold magazines returned (at an outrageous hundreds of dollars) or to have them send to the garbage (free).  I was curious how our magazines could end up in a different country, sold by a retailer that was not on my list of paying customers.  It took me months of investigation, but I finally found out that there are gangs who have connections to warehouse employees who do not “dispose” these unsold magazines – but sell them to other “distributors” and then those sell them to retailers… Maybe this happens only in the magazine business, but who knows what happens with book returns?

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Book Returns are an Ancient Distribution Method
Somewhere once upon a time, the notion that a book could or should be returnable might have been a great idea to stand out against the publishing competition.  One of publishers came up with this idea — and eventually it became industry standard.  The book publishing world has changed, but the old model is still the same stagnant one that gives massive cuts to bookstore retailers and allows them to return whatever they can’t sell – an archaic practice of book distribution.  Bookstores rarely host signings by self-published authors — maybe if the author is local and offers books in consignment.  “Why not?” I asked a bookseller. “We can’t return them was his answer.“

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Solution for Authors
He showed me examples on his computer of self-published authors who use Lightning Source and offer both “Regular discount” (i.e 40%) and return-ability. He orders these books through Ingram/ LightningSource , just like books from traditionally published authors. So it’s possible with Lightning Source, at least.  The easier authors make it for independent booksellers and the big book chains, the more likely they will be treated like mainstream authors – if their books are well edited and have an attractive cover.  Authors certainly don’t make as much as through an e-book on Amazon – but for sure more than they would get as royalties from trade publishers.
Bestseller Author Stephanie Chandler wrote a great article how to sell to bookstores and also offers a free Consignment Agreement form for you to download and modify if you want to make an arrangement with a bookstore to carry your books as a consignment.  Her statement: “It certainly can’t hurt to place your books at a few stores, but it probably won’t lead to fame and fortune!”

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Booksellers Don’t Stock POD
Most booksellers will generally not stock POD books because they can’t return the book if it doesn’t sell and the percentage they get is lower.  Printing one book at a time is more expensive per book (usually twice as expensive) than publishing a few thousand.
Many self-published authors can’t get their books into the large chains, due to this non-returnability.  Book retailer chains only order blockbuster titles they know they can sell. Books-a-Million, one of the book store chains, for example states it does not allow POD books into it’s stores at all.

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Being a returns-based business is bad from every angle, and also very bad for the environment.  There is more printed than it will be sold. While books sit in warehouses not moving, inventory must be available to fulfill actual orders that are moving. This forces publishers to overprint.  Concerned publishers, authors, and readers can and should band together over this issue.  Small bookstores might be upset by this shift, but their returns are already (generally) relatively low, and they can do their part and order accordingly too.

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Stating for an author or publisher to not accept returns, or marking your self-published book as “non-returnable” is the kiss of death for your book, and no bookstore will touch your book.  It is frustrating to see the volume of books coming back from accounts that never needed to have ordered so many books in the first place.  Book publishing is changing, and authors and new publishers need to continue to fight against book returns.  We need to stop putting up with this.  And if it would be just helpful for the environment!

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Read More:
http://www.ingramcontent.com/pages/authors-and-self-publishers.aspx
http://www.fonerbooks.com/distribu.htm
http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=9148
http://kriswrites.com/2013/05/15/the-business-rusch-shifting-sands/
http://authoritypublishing.com/book-marketing/how-authors-can-sell-to-bookstores-free-bookstore-consignment-agreement-for-authors/

 

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If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day!  Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting / Book Marketing for your success: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also
“Book Marketing on a Shoestring”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAVL3LE

Our email newsletters with free insider tips are sent out once a month. To sign up, just go to the form on the right site of each blog post.

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Most Popular Blog Posts so far in 2015

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This spring we received much praise to be one of the best resources and received the “IndiesUnlimited Best Resource Award”.  Thanks to all who voted.  It’s indeed one of the main reasons for our blog to provide authors with publishing and book marketing resources and tips, and we strive to accomplish just that.
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For the first half of the year 2015 we listed the most popular blog articles below. How we found them?  Well, statistics on Bit.ly and the website’s WordPress statistics helped us to figure out the total numbers.

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Is a Literary Agent a Good Thing for You?
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/is-a-literary-agent-a-good-thing-for-you/

eBook or Print Book? Short Answer: All Three
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/ebook-or-print-book-short-answer-all-three/

15 Important Questions Before Writing
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/15-important-questions-before-writing/

The Truth About Being “Published”
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/the-truth-about-being-published/

One of the Best Ways to Sell Books!
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/one-of-the-best-ways-to-sell-books/

How Can You Leverage Your Book Manuscript?
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/how-can-you-leverage-your-book-manuscript/

Prequels: A Recipe for Success!
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/prequels-a-recipe-for-success/

What’s Better: Networking or Advertising?
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/whats-better-networking-or-advertising/

MUST READ for Authors to Avoid Pitfalls
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/must-read-for-authors-to-avoid-pitfalls-2/

17 Guidelines How to Write Book Reviews
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/most-important-guidelines-to-write-book-reviews/

How to Get Reviews Before Book Launch?
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/12/12/how-to-get-reviews-before-your-books-launch/

7 Grants / Residencies for Writers
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/7-grants-residencies-for-writers/

11 Tips How to Prepare Your Manuscript for Editing
http://www.savvybookwriters.com/11-tips-how-to-prepare-your-manuscript-for-editing/

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Most of our blog readers are coming from the USA (85%), UK (10%) and Canada, the rest is from Australia, Brazil, South Africa and then India and Germany. We are very grateful for so many readers, subscribers and comments at our blog.

What is your favoured blog article in this list? Which one do you find most useful?

 

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If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day!  Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting / Book Marketing for your success: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also
“Book Marketing on a Shoestring”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAVL3LE

Our email newsletters with free insider tips are sent out once a month. To sign up, just go to the form on the right site of each blog post.
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Establish a Perfect Web Presence

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It’s a no-brainer: every author needs a website and a blog to write about the topic of their books. To create an effective author website it needs some key elements. Please see also an article about custom-designed websites with a detailed checklist for you. Essential Elements of Your Author Website:

Your Blog.
Your blog drives traffic to your site – at least if you blog regularly and post these blogs on social media, first of all on Google+. This makes your site, as well as you and – most important – your books, discoverable. While the website part is static, the constant changes on your blog invites the search engine robots to your site.
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Write “Top List” Articles.
It is common knowledge for marketing professionals: 1% of any audience creates new ideas, 9% talk about the ideas, and the remaining 90% follows the conversation. By reaching the 1%, you can reach the 99%. It’s called “influencer” marketing.

To receive high-quality back links, you need to get the attention not only of your readers, book bloggers, reviewers, but also of influencers in book publishing. Create a blog post similar to the top 20 blogs in your niche. With this kind of article, you are giving a recommendation of blogs to read. It should invite some of the bloggers in your list to blog about it and link back to your article. To ensure that your article will get their attention, you can for example send them an email or mention them in your tweets about your blog post.
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Write Credible Content.
Don’t miss to mention reliable references or outbound links in order to give your content more credibility. Remember that SEO isn’t only about what you show to the search engines but also what you show and prove to your users.  When you link to high-authority and relevant sites, you are also connecting to those sites, giving search engines a signal that your site is related to them.

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Website Design.
How do you want to brand yourself? And how do you want to design your web presence? Visitors to your site should know in seconds who you are and what you write.

Another important point is to design your website / blog mobile-friendly. 74% of North Americans used their smart phone to access the internet in 2013.  According to Forbes, “87% of connected devices sales by 2017 will be tablets and smartphones.” And Google’s search engines ignore websites that are not mobile-friendly. It’s not expensive to have your website optimized for mobile devices: Get it done for a couple of dollars, at http://www.Fiverr.com/Denis555, along with even more improvements to bring more people to your website.
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About / Author Bio.
If your blog / website visitors know you, like and trust you, they will more likely purchase your books. Write your author bio in the first person and place it on the “About” page of your website.  You could for example explain why you are writing, and why they should want to read your blog and your books.  If you are writing non-fiction explain what makes you an expert in your area.  Don’t forget to mention things that interest you, all in all, telling readers who you are.
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Social Media Sharing Buttons.
Make it easy for visitors to your site to both follow you on social media sites and to share your blog posts and your books with their followers and communities. Include links to all you social media sites on all your site pages. Add sharing buttons to ALL pages of your blog / website, which makes it easy for readers to share your posts.
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Follow Social Media Buttons.
WordPress has built-in follow widgets, but you can also code or ask your web designer to do it, or you can get them for free online, for example on shareaholic.com   https://blog.shareaholic.com/introducing-follow-buttons/. Place them to each of your web pages to encourage readers following you on social media.
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Sidebar.
The area on the right or left of your website can be set up as a “sidebar.” Use the right space for a small search window, to list your blog archive, social media icons, blog categories, sign-up form for your blog / email newsletter (sign up for an email marketing service, such as MailChimp or Aweber.com) and maybe a follower counter. On the left bar place on top your latest bestseller and underneath all your other books, certainly “clickable” so that reader can easily order them.
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Sales Page for Each of Your Books.
It’s easy to feature your book or books on the home page of your site and provide a link to Amazon. However, a sales page will do a better job of getting people to purchase the book, even if the buy button takes them to Amazon. Create a sales page for each one of your books. This page should feature the book cover, describe the book, list its benefits and features, and provide testimonials, or blurbs. If you also offer other products and services, each one of these needs its own sales page, too.

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Media page.
Your author site should attract journalists too. Your media page makes should make it easy to get the information they need about you and your books. Radio, TV journalists and podcasters, Google Hangout on Air hosts and book bloggers need also high-resolution images in Tiff and jpeg.
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Contact Page.
Make it easy for your readers, the media, potential customers and clients to get in touch with you. Create a page that contains a contact form. These contact forms are ready-to-use contact plugins that you can download, for example from SitePoint.com
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Testimonials.
Include testimonials and review snippets from happy readers or customers or logos from the fabulous blog sites, also show videos from radio and TV shows, or copies from print publications where you and your work have appeared.
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A Must-Read before planning your website:
Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
, 2nd Edition, by Steve Krug http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000SEGQNS

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If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day!  Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting / Book Marketing for your success: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also
“Book Marketing on a Shoestring”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAVL3LE

Our email newsletters with free insider tips are sent out once a month. To sign up, just go to the form on the right site of each blog post.

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Pre-Orders on Apple iBooks Up to 1 Year

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Apple offers a powerful marketing feature on iBooks, and even authors who upload directly to Apple can use it.  Your book title can be posted on iBooks for pre-order – up to one year before book launch – even if you don’t have a book cover or interior file yet.  (However, it’s advisable to have the cover at least).  Pre-release twelve months in advance and you’ve got twelve months of people discovering your book before it hits the market.  That can mean twelve months of additional sales in those first few days.  All you need is your metadata: the book title, author, book description, price, pre-order and release date. Way more favorable than Amazon’s pre-order conditions!

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Easy Upload if You Have Access to a Mac.
Authors can distribute to iBooks on their own or through an aggregator (kind of a distributor) such as ebookpartnership.com, who are the only aggregator with a yearly low flat rate, which means you keep 100% of the online sales revenue.   Any author who goes the direct upload route with iBooks can certainly use their own Mac computer to upload.
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Mark Coker von Smashword wrote: “On a median basis, e-books born as pre-orders earned the authors 3 1/2 times more income than books that were simply uploaded the day of release.  The average was even more stunning.  The bottom line, however, is that about 90% of indies are failing to take full advantage of this amazing tool.  If you don’t have your next 12 months of planned releases listed as pre-orders today, then you’re leaving readers and money on the table.  Preorders are such an essential best practice that it’s simply dumb not to take the time to learn how to use them to your advantage.
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The Book Designer Writes:
“This presents a huge opportunity to build sales and buzz around a book, especially for authors with a fan base and writing books in series, because iBooks factors all pre-orders into first-day sales.  So books will often hit the bestseller charts based on orders that have been accumulating for months.”
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Apple Explains:
“Additionally, you can add excerpts or chapters to your books in advance of the release date.  Readers love to have access to early samples and will often share them with their friends and fans, helping you to grow your audience even more before your book releases.”
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Apple’s Detailed Instructions:

Setting Up Pre-Orders with Metadata Only
To offer your book for pre-order on iBooks without assets:

  • Open iTunes Producer
  • Enter the book’s metadata in the Details pane
  • Click on the Price pane
  • Enter a Pre-Order Start Date, a Sales Start Date (Release Date), the rights and pricing details
  • Select Save from the File menu
  • Click Submit

BTW:  Title, author, book description, etc.  can still be changed prior to the release, as well as the release date itself.  Compare this to Amazon! Way better conditions!
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Once your files are ready:

  • Search for your pre-order in iTunes Producer by typing the title or Apple ID in the “Search iTunes Connect” field
  • Drag and drop the cover or screenshots in the Details pane
  • Drag and drop the book file(s) in the Files pane
  • Click Submit
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Files must be submitted at least 10 business days prior to the scheduled release date to ensure they pass review and are available to customers on the expected date.  Don’t wait until the last minute.  If you plan to publish a book in early 2016, you are able to set it up for pre-order already on Apple iBooks. 
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If you need help during this process or have questions, you can contact the iBooks support team at (877) 206-2092 Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time.  Or, click “Contact Us” under Resources and Help in iTunes Connect to send them an email: ibooks_applicationsupport@apple.com

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Coming soon:

Pre-Order Book .

The iBooks Store Currently Offers Books in 51 Territories:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, the USA and Venezuela.

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Signing up on iBook Store.
To offer your books on the iBooks Store, enable your Apple ID for iTunes Connect, provide your publisher name, and indicate whether you will be submitting your own books or submitting books on behalf of a company.  If you don’t have a Mac with OS X 10.9 or later, you may choose to work with an Apple-approved aggregator to submit and offer books on iBooks.  Books at Apple’s iBook store can be read on tablets, iPhone and PC.

Apple got serious with its operating system finally and included iBooks as a stand alone app instead of making the reader jump through hoops on iTunes (where half of them probably bought the new Adele song instead!)

If Apple could just swallow their pride for once and make an Android app for iBooks, imagine what could happen…

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If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing:  We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day!  Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting / Book Marketing for your success: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also
“Book Marketing on a Shoestring”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAVL3LE

Our email newsletters with free insider tips are sent out once a month. To sign up, just go to the form on the right site of each blog post.



Pen Names – Reasons Why You May Need One!

pen-name.

Or even several!
If you spent years working on your novel you want to see YOUR name on it.  But there are reasons to use one or several pen names, like many famous authors do and did in the past:

  • When readers found out that J.K. Rowling – Joanne Kathleen Rowling – the author of Harry Potter changed her name to Robert Gailbraith, writing The Cuckoo’s Calling, they stormed the bookstores. Within days of Rowling being revealed as the author, sales of the book rose by 4000 percent.
  • Bestselling author Kristine Kathryn Rusch has not only four pen names, but also a website for all of these:
    – Kris DeLake
    – Kristine Dexter
    – Kristine Grayson
    – Kris Nelscott
  • E. L. James – Erika Leonard, born Erika Mitchell, Author of Fifty Shades of Grey.
  • Dr. Seuss and Theo LeSieg – Theodor Seuss Geisel.
  • Georges Sand – Amandine Lucie Aurore Dupin, 19th-century French novelist and early feminist.
  • Jack Higgins (his pen name) writes Mystery. Martin Fallon, James Graham, and Hugh Marlowe are other pen names under which he writes.
  • John le Carré – David John Moore Cornwell, 20th-century British writer.
  • Voltaire – François-Marie Arouet, 18th-century French Enlightenment writer and philosopher.
  • Surprisingly even Stephen King used a pen name. He started his writing career with short novels, such as “The Regulators,” under the pen name Richard Bachman.
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Using a pen name is completely legal.  In fact, it is often a wise business choice.  But writers should take a few common-sense steps to avoid confusion and protect their rights: You need inspiration to find the perfect name – perfect because it will stick with you for a long time, or as long as you want to sell your book(s).  Usually when choosing a pen name, authors choose both a first and last name. Or initials and a last name. Here is a list of reasons for using pseudonyms:

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Privacy.
If you are a surgeon, do you want your patients to know you pen high-body-count thrillers? If you write erotica fiction, do you want to share that information with neighbors, employers, or even your church group? Choosing a pen name is one of the main reasons here. Think about it: are you comfortable with the idea that fans and detractors may be able to find you in the phone book and show up at your house or your place of business?
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Avoiding Confusion.
Three of my book marketing clients have problems on Goodreads and on Amazon: Either books of authors with the same name are on their shelves – or vice versa, their books do not show up and are on the shelves of the other author(s). Despite many attempt to solve these problems, they still persist. So, if a writer has a common name, or the same name as someone famous, a pen name avoids confusion.

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Variety of Genres.
Nora Roberts, a bestseller authors, started to write futuristic suspense and chose to write under the pseudonym, J.D. Robb for this new genre to not confuse her romance readership. Same with author Kristine Kathryn Rusch (see above).
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Don’t Want to Know Your Boss.
If your day job is accountant or bank teller, you might not let your supervisor or boss know that you pen thrillers including bank robbery or data theft. It could potentially hurt your career.
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Collaborative Authorship.
If several writers want to give the impression their collaborative work has been written by one author, they may choose a pseudonym.
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Sensitive Topics and Radical, Political, Religious Books.
Far right / nationalistic topics, or extreme religious books might result in harrassing actions of controversy groups, or if you live under oppressive regimes, or uncover and write about powerful people. However, keep in mind when using a pseudonym: it will not protect you from any legal action that might result from your writing, such as libel – you are still responsible for your writing.
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Difficult Family Name.
Starizhynskokaya might be an example of a family name that could be converted in Stariz or Staric or Kokaya or any other easier to pronounce pen name. You don’t want to correct people on how to pronounce your last name at every single meet-up and interview.
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Writing in a Genre, Common to the Opposite Sex.
Thriller novels that might contain combat, male sport, or scenes in car races or aviation might at present be better off with a male pseudonym. And cook books (unless from a famous male chef), craft books or romantic novels sell maybe better with a female pen name on it, if you don’t want let people know your sex
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Writing for Competing Publications.
Another good reason for using a pen name is when authors are writing for competing publications in the same field. This is not only useful for book authors, but also writers of magazine and newspaper articles.
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When you are Just Released from Prison.
An example of a famous writer:  When William Sydney Porter was released from prison in 1901, his criminal past – he had been jailed for bank fraud – was detrimental to a career in literature, so he chose a pen name: O. Henry. If you should ever come into a similar situation… : )
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Claim Your Pen Name.
Immediately buy or reserve the domain name and email address. Also file a “Fictitious Business Name Statement” – FBN – if you will be getting payments made out to your pen name. Place the pen name on your book’s cover and your copyright notice, © 2015 as well as your pen name, in order to run your authorship / copyright under an assumed name.
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Read also:
http://www.writing-world.com/business/pen.shtml
http://www.outsourcedfreelancingsuccess.com/self-publishing-101-when-to-use-a-pen-name
http://www.standoutbooks.com/write-pen-name/

 

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If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day!  Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting / Book Marketing for your success: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also
“Book Marketing on a Shoestring”
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAVL3LE

Our email newsletters with free insider tips are sent out once a month. To sign up, just go to the form on the right site of each blog post.
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eBook or Print Book? Short Answer: All Three

Not only eBook AND print, but ALSO audio!

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eBook-PrintBook

A survey of book-buying behavior from Nielsen “Books & Consumers”, listed sales of books from January through September 2014:

  • eBooks accounted for 32 per cent of book unit sales
  • Paperback books made up 43 per cent of book unit sales
  • Hardcover books were 25 per cent of book unit sales

Surveys measured ONLY trade publishers who delivered to bookstores and large online retailers. Numbers of author-publishers (often without an ISBN) are different, but one can see that print books are still relevant.
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eBook Sales by Online Retailer
Amazon continues to be the leader with 57 per cent of readers reporting buying e-books through this retailer in 2014.  Amazon’s closest competitor is Barnes & Noble, where 14 per cent of reader purchased ebooks via the Nook store in 2014, and 6 per cent of readers reported buying e-books through the Apple store.
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Selling both print and digital copies of your books, you have your basis covered for maximizing book sales.
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eBooks vs Print Books – Some Things To Consider
Obviously eBooks are easier and cheaper to publish, whereas there are more costs associated with a print book. With a digital version, you can get your book out quickly and offer it at a lower price, which in turn means they can publish books more frequently.
The growth of e-book sales is increasing in other parts of the world.  This will especially be seen in all developing countries where the use of smartphones is growing, allowing readers easy access to digital books.  So make sure that your e-books are available for sale worldwide and tap into this growing e-book market.

When weighing the decision between e-books vs print books, determine which book version your audience usually purchases.  For example romance and erotic books are usually only read as e-books.  But for all other genres are other reasons why you should have both:

  • You can give out review copies to newspaper/magazine or book blog reviewers
  • To be hosted at local media / TV interviewers who want to see/show a copy of your book
  • To sell your book easier to libraries
  • To participate in a Goodreads Giveaway
  • To sell your book to those who really don’t want an e-Reader or just love paper books
  • If you write non-fiction it is almost a MUST to have it in print
  • You have an ISBN number and can get listed with Bowker at WORLDWIDE bookstores
  • Physical books are just nicer to give on Christmas – unless you put an e-book on a new e-Reader and wrap it
  • To sell more e-books!  Yes – because they seem to cost so much less in comparison to your print book
  • To list your book in more categories / genres on Amazon: per book type you are allowed to choose two categories / genres.  Two print and two digital versions – which increases your book’s visibility and also shows you exactly in which genre you have the most success.

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Why an Audio-Book?
Stephen King just released a new short story as an AUDIO-BOOK exclusive!
And Bob Mayer, successful author of more than 50 books, explains: “Initially, as I learned how to use ACX, (Amazons Audio Book Company) I moved slowly, with only one other title going live that month. Since then, though, as I saw sales accelerate, I began putting multiple titles into production. Just recently, my 27th title went live.”
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There are so Many Benefits of Audio-Books:
Listening let’s you multitask while driving long distance, walking the dog, or laying on the beach. And certainly a wonderful way for blind people to easily enjoy books. Audio-books can be listened to on an iPod or iPhone / SmartPhone or MP3 player, even on most e-readers such as Kindle and Nook.
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Each Book Format has its Advantages:
Readers might prefer physical books when it’s something that they need to reference; or just for the pleasure of holding a book in their hands.  With
e-books you’re buying the license, not the actual books. What if you install the Kindle application on a lot of devices, but the book you buy only allows 4 devices? Often readers prefer e-books with fiction, and print with non-fiction.  While traveling or jogging they might enjoy audio-book.  It might be really smart to offer books in a variety of formats: print, digital and audio.

 

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What We Learned from Thom Feeney about Crowdfunding

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Crowdfunding

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You might have followed this IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign where 108,654 people raised €1,930,577 – almost 2 Million Euros in only 8 days – which I heavily supported it on social media.  On the second day IndieGoGo’s server broke down from the amount of visitors to Thom Feeney’s site.  It also showed that people care!
It could have been one of the most successful campaigns if ….

  • really everyone in Europe (including children) would have donated three Euros for the cause
  • the target wouldn’t have been so high: 1.6 billion Euros, the amount the Greece government owed recently to the European Union.
  • and if Thom Feeney would have chosen “flexible funding”, one of the greatest features on IndieGoGo – and available at IndieGoGo, not on Kickstarter for example. Using the “flexible funding”, allows to get at least the funds that are donated, even if the target could not be reached.

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New Start – Just Switch Over
The Greek Government could not be bailed out with the almost 2 Million Euros that where donated, but it still was a great success, as it showed that ordinary people could at least move something, contrary to politicians – and it was without any risk for the donators: They will receive / returned their credit card payments within the next days.

But there is an even more important cause and the possibility to help the poorest of the poor, the people that are hit hardest by this financial crisis:

Please: USE THE RETURNED FUNDS TO HELP
As the campaign has now finished and it did not reached the target, all contributions will be refunded.  But please contribute your refund money and together, once more let’s make a difference.

Donate your IndieGoGo refund to either of these organizations:

Back to IndieGoGo to fund Desmos.org 
which utilizes surplus products and services to meet the basic needs of vulnerable groups and individuals.
“Our ultimate aim is to make the donation process as easy and efficient as possible for the donor to be able to respond to emergency needs of vulnerable groups and their representatives (organizations, institutions, social institutions, etc.) with the goal to create sustainable co-dependency networks between donors and recipients.”
or to the
Austrian Griechenlandhilfe 
that supports orphanages and hospitals. Please read this article about the organization, run by the Austrian Erwin Schrumpf, who tirelessly works for this cause and donate via PayPal/CreditCard.

What Else You Can Do:
For years banks and other institutions profited from the crisis, and ordinary people suffered.  Someone needs to show compassion and help the poorest! And if you plan a vacation in Europe, travel to Greece – it helps to support the economy and people in the tourism industry to stay employed.

T H A N K S

P.S.  Do you know that people in Greece help and support refugees from Syria and other countries who come with tiny boats over the Mediterranean Sea.  Despite the suffering that Greek people experience since years they are helping even more desperate refugees.

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Is a Literary Agent a Good Thing for You?

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Don't-Worry

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So you want to be published by a major traditional publishing house and you have heard about literary agents, but not much on how an author can find one? Here’s how to determine whether you really need an agent.

Ask Yourself These Important Questions:

  • Did you compare your manuscript / book idea with all the bestsellers in your genre.
  • Does your work stand out against those?
  • And is your manuscript fully edited and proof-read?
  • Is your work in one of the following categories / genres, then you won’t need to start an agent search, because reputable agents don’t handle: poetry, short stories, and most memories and non-fiction.
  • Are you really sure, you will trade in 60-70% revenue for a 8-10% royalty – minus the agent’s commission?  And are you aware that you sell away your publishing rights and that you have no say anymore about your book’s content, title, cover etc.?
  • Do you know that you have to do all the marketing yourself, publishers do not much more than the distribution?
  • Everything else is up to you!  Your book has only a couple of weeks from launch on to “make it” in stores or it will be returned to the publisher.

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Where & How to Query to Literary Agents
A typical literary agency receives close to 5,000 unsolicited query letters/book proposals per year – or approximately 150 queries per working day.  On average these agents accept only 10-12 new clients – only one out of every 500 submissions… Do you want to learn how to write a query, and how to approach the agent?
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As Always:  Writer Beware

Bestselling author Kristine Rusch wrote in one of her blogs: “Savvy writers know that having an agent instead of a literary lawyer is a bad business practice.  Agents slow down payments (or embezzle them), turn down projects that don’t pay enough in commission (often without the writer ever hearing of the project), and often want a percent of the writer’s copyright.  And those agents who negotiate contracts are—in reality – practicing law without a license.”
Get to know more about the person before hand – after all, she or he will be your partner for a long time?  My best advice: Read their blogs to get informed about the process and find out more about how they work and what they are like before you approach them.  When you check out the agent, you’ll want to contact “Writer Beware”.  Visit often and get the latest alerts here: http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/alerts/

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Have a “business plan” for your book ready:

  • Who will be your readers?
  • Who is your competition?
  • How will you market your book?

You will be asked for this!  Here are some examples of questions you might be asked.
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Useful Tips and Websites for Your Agent Search

Rachelle Gardner
Rachelle Gardner is an agent with Books and Such Literary Agency, representing both fiction and non-fiction.  She offers query tips and book proposal advice.
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Nathan Bransford
Nathan Bransford knows a lot about writing and publishing, and offers in his blog advice on: How to Find a Literary Agent, How to Write a Query Letter, The Basic Query Letter Formula, Examples of Good Queries, How to Format Your Query Letter …
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Agent Research Ask them about an agent and they will tell you if he or she has established a public record, and if we have had any negative reports on the agent’s business practices.  This service is free.
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Agent Query
Agent Query offers the largest and most current searchable database of literary agents on the web—a treasure trove of reputable, established literary agents seeking writers.
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BookEnds Agency
BookEnds, LLC, is a literary agency focusing on fiction and nonfiction books for adult audiences.  In their workshop Wednesdays everyone can post queries out there and will get comments open, also to anonymous posters.
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Nelson Newsletter
Kristin Nelsons blog is a-must-read for every author about to send out a query.  Subscribe to the Nelson Literary Agency newsletter.
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Query Shark
Send your query in for critique.  A wealth of resources and Janet Reid shares them all, she also dissects queries, posting lots of examples what writers are doing right – and wrong!
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Call My Agent!
In which a literary agent in Sydney, Australia attempts to decode the world of publishing in order to assist writers.  And sometimes to get things off her chest.

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Resources and More Blogs About Literary Agents:
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What Literary Agents Want to Know From You
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/what-literary-agents-want-to-know-from-you/
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How Agents work and How to work with Agents
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/how-agents-work-how-to-work-with-agents/ .
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Must-Read Blog to learn more about agents and how to approach them
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents
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Guide to Literary Agents
http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents
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How to Write a Query Letter
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/5-tips-for-successful-book-submissions/
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100’s of Links to Publishers and Agents
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/10/10/100s-of-links-to-publishers-and-agents/
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Which Literary Agent is Right for You?
https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/03/07/which-literary-agent-is-right-for-you/
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Association of Author’s Representatives (lists agents)
http://aaronline.org/

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For more agent blogs go to the absolutewrite forum: 

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=37784
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As always: “Writer beware, beware and beware more”.  Details on what to watch out for can be found in this useful article.  Literary agents are not in a government-regulated occupation and they work for a commission, which means if they sell your manuscript, they get their commission right off the top of your advance – and then again on any royalties you earn.  Standard commission these days for domestic sales is 15%, and 20-25% is standard for foreign sales, because the commission is frequently split between domestic and foreign agents.
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Querying literary agents can be a frustrating, time-consuming task, even for writers who have written a good, publishable manuscript.  Always remember: Self-publishing might be even a better option…

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If you would like to get a mentor and our support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer for three months all this and more for only $179 – or less than $2 per day!  Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting / Book Marketing for your success: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

To learn more about professional book marketing and publishing, please read also
BOOK MARKETING ON A SHOESTRING
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UAVL3LE

Our email newsletters with free insider tips are sent out once a month. To sign up, just go to the form on the right site of each blog post.

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