Category Archives: Publishing

Self-Publishing Speaking Engagement for Tiffany Turner

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ebookmarketTiffany Turner will be speaking on the self-publishing panel at the AODSF conference at the Santa Clara Convention Center on Sunday, March 19 at 10am-11am Live Event Rm 4.

Come find out the exact steps you’ll need for self-publishing you’re own book. From your beginning ideas to pushing the button to self publish, Tiffany Turner will join in a panel to walk you through the process. Ask questions and find out all the publishing platforms, how to hire you’re own editors, formatters, cover designers, and start that important step to building your author platform. Ask questions and get started from the information you’ll receive from this talk.

AODSF Conference Schedule/Website

http://aodsf.org/events/list/

My Year of Writing: Starts with Back to School Blog Tour Planning

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Tiffany Turner starting her year of writing. Let's see what can become of it. ;-)

Tiffany Turner starting her year of writing. Let’s see what can become of it. 😉

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s mostly because I’m trying to get back into a routine after going through a summer of physical therapy. There has been good news. I’m out of the critical range. My heart has finally started to pump stronger. I’m not out of the woods yet. It still isn’t normal, and my doctor has me on a regiment of heart medicines and I’m doing regular physical cardiotherapy. Otherwords, taking care of myself is a job onto itself now.

I’ve also taken off the next year from teaching to work on my health and spend a year writing. I’m going to live the dream of being a full time writer and try to get my health back in order as much as possible. My first week of writing has been filled with participating in a live Writer’s Digest webinar on Middle Grade novels with an agent, writing romance and more of The Lost Secret of Time, and planning the 2015 Back to School Blog Tour.

Join in on the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11, 2015

Join in on the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11, 2015

It feels good living the writer’s life. It is a dream that I’m finally able to live, thankfully. I’m glad that God gave me this second chance, and I’m going to try to make the best of it. I want you to join along in this new adventure. Plus, join me in the Back to School Blog Tour Sept. 7-11. I’m still taking sign-ups for participating authors. Email me at: tiff (at) tiffmeister(.)net. I’d love to hear from you. I’ve got space up to 10 participating authors. Hope you can join me.

Most of all, here’s a salute to all those teachers out there starting the 2015-2016 School Year. I can’t be in the trenches with you, but at least, I can help support you all. I’ll be writing down a lot of my lessons I’ve developed over my 18 years of teaching, and will be posting them to TeachersPayTeachers.com. Plus, I’ve developed a unit to teach my novel THE LOST SECRET OF FAIRIES over the last two years in my classroom. I’ll be posting information on that when it becomes available. I know with Common Core it will be important to have curriculum to teach novel studies. I’ve done that in my classroom annually for 18 years. I’m happy to share my knowledge in future posts and with lesson plans on TeachersPayTeachers. Until then, take care, and have a great start to the school year.

HAPPY BACK TO SCHOOL!-Tiffany Turner (Mrs. Turner)

The Panic Over Common Core

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Topic: Common Core is your way into the American textbook black hole.

Topic: Common Core is your way into the American textbook black hole.

There is one main thing going on in education right now. It’s called Common Core Standards. As a writer, you need to know all about it. Why? There is nothing out there to teach it. There is a country full of panicked teachers desperately trying to find curriculum to teach. The only piloted programs out there are Engage NY and The State of Georgia. Second, this will be national. I repeat. This is national standards in the United States now. Every state needs material. Multiply this with an average 700 teachers in a district by how many districts in a state, and you may get my drift. Lots of teachers are needing something to teach students, and there is a curriculum black hole.

If you want to really see the nitty and gritty, here are the Common Core Standards in all of their glory. This is what teachers use to help direct their teaching. It is what students are expected to know and learn at each grade level. And this is going to be for the entire US starting the next school year in 2014-1015. If you really want to see what the fun is about, here is the company that will test it all: Smarter Balance. Try taking the practice/field test. It will give you an idea of what children will be expected to be able to do in the next year. Then, you may understand the panic.

That is where your novel comes in. Teachers need your help. Writers, rise to the cause, because I sure have. Not only am I teaching fourth graders, I’m writing a lot of the material myself. Again, there is nothing out there. What you need are the buzz words that teachers are looking for.

There is a lot of talk about Close Reading (really short passages of nonfiction reading). Then, there is Contextual Questions that are basically questions that the text has to be used to find the answer. Lastly, something known as thematic teaching is back. Throw in something called Project Based Learning, and that is what teachers are using to help teach the Common Core. How do you get your book to work for all of this? Magic word is: start with discussion questions.

Authors, this is where you come in. Start writing posts that can be used in Close Reading. It’s a great technology tie in, and it’s a short passage that kids can learn the author’s perspective. Write something that gives informational background about your book. Teachers can use your own experience to get students to discuss ideas in your book or experience. If you got an angle to your book, write about it. I’ve been writing blog posts about “How Do Writers Get Ideas?” and “Using Legends and Fairy Tales In Books”

Next, you can post the beginning of a novel study on your website. This would include items such as Spelling Test Words, Tests for Chapter Segments or the whole book, and Novel Study Activities. If you’ve got any nonfiction subjects or themes, write discussion questions regarding them. I’ve got pollution, rocks and minerals, and bullying as discussion topics for my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies. I’m working on a unit, and teaching my book as a novel study right now. I’ll be sharing some items for teacher use on my website.

Plus, I’m going to support a push for ebook sales with my ebook editions. I’m going to put my first ebook on free promotion during Smashwords.com’s “Read An Ebook” week in March. Lots of teachers are looking for novel study group questions and technology material for Common Core. Ebooks are a great way to start. A limited free book promotion will be right for any teacher’s budget.

Supporting teachers in their time of need will only pay back in a big way. The rush might die down in a few years once curriculum is published. But the rumors are, there will not be textbooks. It will be short passages and novel based. So, get in on the ground floor now while you can. It’s an opportunity to have your novel or picture book become curriculum for some very grateful teachers.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She has been teaching in California for 17years. She currently is teaching fourth graders to love the writing process. She is also working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

2104: A Brave New World Dawning For Self-Publishing

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A brave new world is appearing in 2014 for self-published authors.

A brave new world is appearing in 2014 for self-published authors.

I’ve always liked being a rebel. I’m a bit of a control freak. Being a teacher suits me as well as self-publishing, because I’m in control. I’ve been self-publishing since 2007 with my release of “The Lost Secret of Fairies”. I’ve sat at the back table of writing conferences working on craft, and networking ideas with other authors. Most of the time, I hear lectures of the old traditional process of the publishing industry. The old school of making a book is preached again and again.

The thing that kept me going is the fact I don’t give up, and a fabulous community of self-published authors on at the Writer’s Cafe message board at Kboards.com. I run to my self-publishing brethren that punches each others arms, post writing threads to beat out 1K a day, and marketing tips and algorithm discussions about the Big A (Amazon).

But something is happening this year. The winds of change are starting to surface. I think the world of publishing is starting to take notice of the little bohemian group of writers that are making self-publishing work.

Thankfully, I’ve been taking notes, and trying out some of the ideas. Back when the free book backdoor idea surfaced, I gave it a try. I had over 9,000 downloads in a month. From 10 downloads a month, this was a big difference. So, some things have worked. This last year, I tried marketing locally to bookstores and started writing in a new genre. Write more, write more, start a new pen name and build the love of your readers. OK, pushed the button on that. Now what?

I would suggest starting with a book called Write. Publish. Repeat by Sean Platt and John B. Truant. The ideas I recognize from discussions on Kboards.com and at the back tables of conferences. It was developed from Sean’s and John’s Podcast show on self-publishing. The information is amazingly fresh and forward. Ideas like keep writing, funnel your readers, and be in it for the long term give me hope. I made a right choice over 5 years ago. The more I write, the more I’ll make over the long term.

But wait, there’s more. Today, the overlord and general hero of the community bohemia of The Writer’s Cafe on Kboards.com published a blog post about what he’d do if he was the CEO of HarperCollins. His name is Hugh Howey. Hugh has impressed me before. I’ve written about him in other blog posts on self-publishing, because he champions self-publishing. There’s been a year of screaming from the mount that this way of publishing works. But this time, it’s coming from someone that has proven it.

Hugh wrote Wool as a serial that took off. Of course, it is a good book. Add a traditional publishing deal, movie in the making with an European book tour and you get an idea of what I’m talking about. He’s making self-publishing work for him, and this is just in the last year.

Thankfully, he’s still coming back and visiting on the board. He’s a bit of a celebrity regular now, but he is still modest. No really. Plus, a couple of things have stuck with me for what’s he’s mentioned in posts on the board. The fabulous thing is that he’s still giving advice and even started a project in which a lot of regulars on the board are creating an anthology for charity. But the good ideas haven’t stopped there.

Hugh created a list of ideas that might shake the foundations of publishing. If you’d like to see his original post, here is the link to: Don’t Anyone Put Me In Charge. I’ve listed some of the highlights that I think are going to blow the traditional publishing community out of the water.

He starts with several suggestions to help give a foundation of artist community to authors. “1. The first thing I would do would be the most important, and that would be to form a community among my stable of HarperCollins authors.” So true. I agree, I have watched the magic of creativity form on the Writer’s Cafe board for several years now. I’ve been affected and benefited by the artistic community it creates. Plus, show monthly sales and pay royalties monthly is suggested. Most self-publishers love this freedom. I know how many books I sell and take home 35% or 70% depending on the price point of my book through Amazon. Not to mention being addicted to checking sales daily. There is nothing like seeing your book selling in Japan.

“Like the editors. We’re going to save the editors (and hire more) and get rid of the sales reps.” Really, I agree with Hugh here. Get rid of the huge overhead so publishing houses can keep up with the speed of change that the 21st century can allow for innovative ideas. The brave new world of self-publishing will create a bigger bookstore on-line not to distributors for books. Yes, in 10 years, books will mostly be in the hands of the older generation. I see the eagerness of young people ready for ebooks. It will happen.

Hugh suggests moving the publishing house to Houston out of New York. “Business will be conducted much as it already is: by email.” Really, who wants to live in New York right now? Florida? California? No snow? Houston? Lower costs will help everyone.

These are just a few ideas I gleaned in the dawn of this new age of publishing. I am excited to be on the ground floor to witness the innovation at hand. Hopefully, with effort, hard work, and a little luck, I might be able to eventually retire. But until then, I’m ok with waiting 10 years and writing those good books to earn royalities after decades of service teaching children. After all, the biggest thing I’ve learned as a self-published author is to be patient and keep writing. There is hope in the distance, and it’s called the digital age with self-publishing the key to a writer’s success.

A Look At 2013: Embracing “Why Not?”

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Topic: Ask Yourself "Why Not?"

Topic: Ask Yourself “Why Not?”

Why not? I found myself thinking and saying this to a lot of choices, ideas, and areas of life in 2013. It’s been the drive for my writing this year, and has propelled me into areas I didn’t think possible. So, I’ll start here. The place I didn’t think I would be. Three children’s books published as an Indie Self Published writer. Other romance book projects underway. And several book signings, one book award, and one book blog tour organized. It’s been a hell of a year.
Tiffany Turner at the 2013 Almaden Lake Art and Wine Festival

Tiffany Turner at the 2013 Almaden Lake Art and Wine Festival

I started the journey into 2013 reflecting on my visit to Hobbiton. Little did I know it would take me to “No Limit” writing and tips on how to promote your self published book. I received an honorary mention in the Children’s Category at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival for The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, my third book released in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. I managed to get a book signing at a local book store, Art and Wine festival, and reading night for a local school. I’ve definitely taken the local approach in promotion.

Tiffany Turner(middle center) excepting the Honorable Mention Award for Children's Books at the San Francisco Book Festival 2013 for The Lost Secret of Dragonfire.

Tiffany Turner(middle center) excepting the Honorable Mention Award for Children’s Books at the San Francisco Book Festival 2013 for The Lost Secret of Dragonfire.

Plus, I’ve been working on some other genre projects such in NA Romance and a Time Travel Romance novel which my editor answered, “You go girl.” Why was it possible. Because everytime I started to doubt myself I answered, “Why not?”. Really. It works. Whenever you start to hear that little voice of distain or doubt, answer yourself, “Why not?”. I guarantee there will be some pull to resist. But keep saying it, why not? Why shouldn’t you write romance? Why shouldn’t you do an Art and Wine festival? Why shouldn’t you write novelettes?

“I can” doesn’t work for the every present pessimist inside me. “Why not?” turns all my doubts to jelly. I don’t know if it’s a Gen X thing, but something is always trying to find a reason to disable my motivation. I’m constantly finding holes in my balloon of life. The glass is always half filled.

“Why not?” opens the paths inside to the new freedom of “I can”. It changes the negative pathways with a shift to “What is stopping you?”. In the end, you are the biggest block. Don’t wait. Give it a try now. If you’ve wanted to write that novel before you retire, start now. You might have a few under your belt and maybe you can retire early. It’s a great way to end the year. Or start a new one. You won’t be disappointed if you have no disappointment to draw from.

To all of my readers and fans, a very Happy Holiday season and best wishes in 2014! Have a great New Year!

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

Book Signings: Effective Ways to Reach Your Readers

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Topic: A variety of book signings can help you reach the local community.

Topic: A variety of book signings can help you reach the local community.

This year has been busy with a new book release. I’ve been doing everything to promote and get my new book into people’s hands. Which of course, has turned into a lot of lessons on how to do book signings. In the first half of the year, I won an honorable mention in the children’s category at the 2013 San Francisco Book Festival. I did a book signing at a local book store called Book Smart in Morgan Hill, CA.

The second half of the year has been equally busy. I did a book signing at the Almaden Lake Art and Wine Festival, and I’ve planned a reading and book signing at an elementary school called Bertha Taylor Elementary in San Jose.

The Almaden Lake Art and Wine festival on Sept. 15 was a wonderful experience. I sold 33 books. This is a fabulous number for a signing. I utilized Intuit’s credit card reader, and bundled all three of my books at a special festival price of $25. This is pretty much making about $5 profit. But I found bundling all three books sold better. Usually people bought the first book or all three. Plus, it was a treat to meet all the kids. I found out how some school libraries have my book in the area, and even networked for future school evening events.

Tiffany Turner at the 2013 Almaden Lake Art and Wine Festival

Tiffany Turner at the 2013 Almaden Lake Art and Wine Festival

I think the Art and Wine was so successful since so many people bring their children. They are looking for activities for the kids to do, and meeting the author is exciting for parents, grandparents, and the kids. Plus, the local connections can give you future events. I now have a school event in November, and had other schools from PTAs talk to me about an event.

I am now planning a Reading Night book signing on Nov. 21 with a local school. They are tying it with their fundraising Scholastic Book store, and I’ll be reading my new book just like in other book signings. I think it’s a great event to meet more readers, and connect with the local community in my area. I’m finding that selling local is a great way to build a readership, and is a powerful way to start making connections with your readers.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

How To Run A Blog Tour: My Lessons

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Topic: Running Your Own Blog Tour

Topic: Running Your Own Blog Tour

So, welcome all that participated or dropped by to visit my first blog tour hosted by the Indie Children’s Authors Connection. This post will be a little behind the scenes, as I share all the lessons learned and huge amount of friends that were made.

First, why should you run a blog tour? Well, it is a way to connect a whole lot of bloggers that are networking to share a certain content during a set block of time. I would recommend to try to join as a participant before you host a blog tour. It is a great way to learn the ropes.

Second, link up with a blog tour that fits with what you want to promote. I spent a good portion of the summer wanting to promote my fantasy adventure books for children. I joined a blog tour that sponsored fantasy as the theme. There were a range of different books, and it was a good way to get started. Add the fact my blog got featured for a day on Kboards.com, and it all conjoined into a lot of promotion for my books. Plus, I even sold a few books that week.

Third, I took what I learned, specializing in your genre and trying to bring that audience to your blog. I looked around for a Back to School related tour. I didn’t find one. So, I figured, if you build a blog tour, they will come and discover Indie Children’s Authors.

Realizing that I had an opportunity to support the mission of my blog, getting the word out about Indie Children’s Authors, I asked on my writing board, Kboards.com, if anyone would be interested. I got a HUGE response. You can read the almost 2 months of planning that went on with this thread here.

Back to School Blog Tour 2013  Sept. 2-6

Back to School Blog Tour 2013
Sept. 2-6

So, I whipped up a blog tour logo from some free clipart, and started organizing. I made up a list, sent out questions to authors, and gave deadlines. I made up a landing page through the page option on WordPress. I had some people come and go due to schedules, but we ended up with a fabulous list of participating authors. Here is the final list of authors:
1) Victoria Jeffrey
Blog Link: http://www.epistlepublishing.com
Featured Books: The Green Door, The Pumpkin Princess and The Winter Wolves

2)H.Y. Hanna
Blog Link: http://www.bighoneydogmysteries.com/
Featured EBook: Big Honey Dog Mysteries: Curse of the Scarab

3) Sibel Hodge:
Website: http://www.sibelhodge.com/
Featured Book: It’s A Catastrophe

4) Vivienne Mathews
Blog: http://viviennemathews.blogspot.com/
Featured Book: The Sons of Masguard and the Mosque Hill Fortune, Part Two (Volume Two)

4) W.N.Rae
Book: The Night Clock
Website: http://otherrealmspost.tumblr.com/

5) Becca Price
Website: http://www.wyrmtalespress.com/
Featured Book: Dragon and Dreams Bedtime Stories

6) Scott Pixello
Facebook Page link: https://www.facebook.com/scott.pixello
Featured Book: Rainbow

I’d like to thank everyone for making the first Back to School Blog Tour a success.

So, what did I learn? I think I’m going to go for invitation to participate next time, limit to five authors for manageability, and cut the book giveaway bundle. We ended up not have any entries, but leave the authors to do their own giveaways if they wish.

I’m staying with the featured author interviews, and will work as that being the host site feature. I did have study questions and Back to School memories as a popular blog topic for participants.

So, I learned a lot, and I’m glad to share the wealth. If you are interested in hosting your own blog tour; keep it simple. Simple is good and easier to manage. Add onto it as you do another blog tour in the future. To conclude, enjoy yourself. I was happy to host a place for new Indie authors to be discovered. I’m hoping I’ve created a niche, and now, hopefully, an annual event.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has just released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She is working on other writing projects in her No Limits Writing practices. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

The Dos of Promoting Your New Indie Children’s Book

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IndieLife7The self publishing road is never easy. In the past, I noticed a note of distain in some people if I happened to mention my book was self published. At many writing conferences, mentioning you were self published would be the first step before getting a traditional publisher.

But these days, the rules are changing. What matters is that you published a good book that people want to read. The hard part is getting the word out about your book. It’s all a new frontier. Since the rules are being rewritten, I’m keeping track of my round three try at promotion, and seeing what sticks. It all could be new additions to the rulebook.

I’ve been self-publishing my books since 2005. I’ve learned a lot of dos and don’ts, and really put together a well thought out third book with a freelance editor and illustrator. With my previous book, I’d learned a lot of how to promote and where not to promote. This time around, I’m following as many dos as possible, and picking up a few new dos along the way.

Excepting the Honorable Mention Award for Children's Books at the San Francisco Book Festival 2013

Accepting the Honorable Mention Award for Children’s Books at the San Francisco Book Festival 2013

My second book didn’t win awards or get as much notice as I would like. It might have been because I was still learning. It got reviews, some mentions on reader blogs, and helped some people to continue with the fantasy series I’ve created. I think of it as a bridge to understanding in many ways. It helped lead to a greater understanding of where to promote for my next book.

With the release of my third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, I decided to try some new areas to promote, awards, and target areas that welcomed self published books. I talked to local bookstores, and found a very receptive owner that immediately welcomed me into her Indie community. I felt that this new approach was starting to finally be my niche.

I entered the deadlines for Indie awards in the spring using a fellow blogger award list. I won honorable mention in the San Francisco Book Festival. In mid May, I drove to San Francisco for the weekend, and accepted my first literature award. I am since working with the promotional company to get the word out about my win, and of course, have a seal to affix to my third book.
While having a conversation with Bruce Haring, the marketing manager of the SF Book Festival, he pointed out, “Ahh, you’re the author that plays the harp.” Immediately I realized that just being an author or a teacher wasn’t making me stand out as an author. It was that I played the Gaelic Harp that was making me stand out from the crowd.

Lead into my first book signing for the third book at Booksmart in Morgan Hill, CA. I had already plastered the flyers with the fact I would play the harp, read from my new book, and answer some Q and A about the Crystal Keeper series. I was greeted by the owner warmly when I entered, with a table and all my books set up. There was a regular crowd, some of my diehard fans, and those people that had come in from the heat for ice cream.

Tiffany Turner signing her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, at Booksmart in Morgan Hill, CA.

Tiffany Turner signing her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, at Booksmart in Morgan Hill, CA.

I started with playing the harp including walking around the store to let people know about the talk going on. I did mention about how I play at Renaissance Festivals, which helped me make a connection with people that had attended.

Now, most of the people I was speaking for were children and their parents. So, I preceeded into a prior knowledge questioning strategy before my read aloud, and then read a part of the new book that fit that audience. Yes, it was a very teacher thing to do, but I find using some teaching strategies during book talks works very well during my author talks to my readers, usually ages 8-12.

The turn out sold 22 books at last count. This is considered a good turn out, and I had a lot of fun. I even had one parent ask about speaking at their school and trying to get kids interested in books. Of course, this is my middle name, wanting to get kids interested in books. I gave her my card, and said we’ll talk about how I can help with that, explaining that I was mostly available for talks in the evening.

So, what has this Indie author learned about promoting her book in this round 3 event? Pretty much, the best way to promote a book is to start with yourself. What can you give to a signing or event? You also have to start with a good book. Get that editor and illustrator to help. Then, when it comes time for promotion, don’t think in terms of just your book, but yourself as an author. Promote yourself with your new book.

The one thing I had trouble realizing was that it wasn’t the book but the author that needed promotion. You will write more books. If you get a following for yourself, then the readers will come. But they come back for you and your new book.

Plus, don’t go down the roads that deny self-published books. If you book is a good book, you will be read and accepted as the good book it is. A lot of websites or awards will specialize in self-published books. There is a community forming on the new frontier, the internet. Figure something to promote yourself, some tie in or skill you might have to go with your book, you’ll get noticed out of the tidal wave of new books released. Getting yourself noticed is hard, but having the tools and reliance in yourself will get the work done for you. Remember, if you’re self published, there is the Indie book store and self published community that has grown over the years to help. Come find us. We’ll play!

Here are some links to start:

Groups for Independent Authors

1)Association of Independent Authors-Authors Group
http://www.independent-authors.org/

2)Indie ReCon-Great Online Resource and Writing Conference
http://www.indierecon.org/

Indie Award Links

3) Independent Publisher Book Awards (Ippy Awards)
https://secure.independentpublisher.com/ipland/IPAwards.php

4) Indie Excellence Awards
http://www.indieexcellence.com/

5) San Francisco Book Festival
http://www.sanfranciscobookfestival.com/

In the end, there is a lot out there to promote with, awards, book reviewers, and book bloggers. But targeting to specific reviewers and awards that except Indie and self published books has really helped set myself apart. Plus, just getting to know how I can help sell myself as an author has made all the difference.

I’m still working on getting books out for review, but now I have editors I know from review sites already. I’m targeting my review copies to them. Plus, getting ideas from my writing boards, such as kboards.com, always is a way to get new ideas. I might have to add “To Be Continued” for this part of the story. Round 3 will continue.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Lost Secret of Dragonfire is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

***Tiffany Turner has just released her third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, in her Crystal Keeper series. She continues to teach fourth graders in California while writing fantasy adventure middle grade novels. She actively plays the Gaelic Harp at Renaissance festivals throughout Northern California.

Why is Self-Publishing Working?

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IndieLife7There is a revolution going on in publishing right now. Self-publishing is taking off in different directions. At the forefront of this revolution are the innovative authors that share their ideas, articles, and experiences at a certain writing board that is popular for the Bohemians of this revolution. The writing board, KBoards.com, known before as Kindleboards.com, is a gathering place for a lot of the cutting edge Indie authors with ebooks listed on Amazon.com. Many problems are solved, innovations discussed, and ideas abound in a modern day Bohemian life search for getting ones book out and noticed. Four years ago, another self published author directed me to this board to get advice. And it has been a blessing in disguise. I am grateful for this writing board’s help and attention, and I’d like to share some of the advice I’ve found there, and how I’ve made self-publishing work for me.

As usual, there are voices always out there trying to share experiences of self-publishing. One such voice has been humbly sharing all of his processes including his recent signing with Simon & Schuster. His name is Hugh Howey. His book, Wool, is currently on the new release table at Barnes and Noble. His book, Wool(Omnibus edition) was voted runner up in the 2012 Goodreads Book of the Year for the Best Sci-Fiction category. Basically, he started with a good book and self-published. In the end, he’s kept his digital rights pioneering a new frontier for all authors. But then I digress. This is what happened this last week.

Hugh, being tired of seeing such negative comments about self-published authors, presented an article to Salon.com using the Kboard.com thread to research his article, Self Publishing is the Future-And Great for Writers. Basically, he wanted to point out that there are people out there making a living at self-publishing, mostly what would be considered mid-list authors. His basic point was that there are people making a living, or paying the basics such as rent, bills, and other critical things that help you launch as a writer.

There were the normal, negative comments. But there was a surprising amount of support from other self-published authors. Really, it proved to me that there is an underground community, a sense of realness and artist survival shared by many. There were many other stories shared, or even just income per month, on the success of being an Indie Author. It made me think; you just can’t sit around and wait at the drugstore counter to be discovered like everyone else. You have to go out and make self-publishing work for you.

Why is it working for many of us? It has to do with the royalty percentage. Ebooks are still relatively new. Most royalty percentage for self-published companies are 50-60%. My current publisher, Trafford Publishing, gives 50% of the ebook net sales. I have no agent to share this percentage. My average sales is about 10 ebooks a month. Now, this is not terribly impressive compared to some of the other numbers I’ve seen. I also know that children’s ebooks sales are slowly growing. Plus, I am selling books. This is better than collecting dust on a shelf. Most of the 5-6 figures of income of self-publishing authors are Romance and Mystery. Throw in sometimes Sci-Fi, and it is working for many people. It is working better than some people can imagine.

There are some advantages to self-publishing my book. In 2007, I published my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies. In 2009, I published the second book in the series, The Lost Secret of the Green Man. As the third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, releases this spring, all my previous books are available on the virtual shelf. Readers can go back and buy the earlier books at a listing price of $1.99 or $2.99. But that leads to the next point.

Being successful also depends on your selling price of the book. I saw indie author experiments with pricing influence the price of books. I tried my own with my Amazon Price Matching Experiment last year, and posted on my blog about it. In October 2012, Amazon had a settlement with the US State Attorney to reimburse customers for price fixing with three different publishers. Prices were no longer fixed at $9.99 for ebooks.

In fact, the price points started to drop, you guessed it, to $0.99 to $3.99. In April 2012, Mike Coker did a post on his blog showing what price points worked on his website, Smashwords.com, $0.99 and $3.99. He had all the Indie Author data of experimentation to back him up. That’s when others started to listen. Data is starting to show self-publishing can work. It’s not hard to connect the dots that self-publishing is not only working, but having it’s data and experiences used by other publishers.

Being tuned into all of this uprising is like a front row seat to some of the biggest change happening in publishing. Those of us who have nothing to loose, no overhead, and no corporate structure to answer to can try new things on a whim. I tried the Amazon price matching idea and watched my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies, be downloaded for free over 9,000 times to build a whole new reader base. Three months later, Amazon switched to two separate buying lists so free downloads wouldn’t top their best seller lists. But it worked for me, because I was an indie author that had control of my pricing and distribution. This is a whole new concept for authors, and exciting to be at the forefront.

To add to this, I know where my ebooks have sold. I can log on and see how many sales I’ve had in the US, UK, and Canada. I’ve even had a few books sell in Japan. This is using listings for Kindle Direct Publishing and Smashwords.com. Smashwords distributes to Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, and several other ebook retailers. These are just the ones that I use. Other avenues are available too.

In a way, I’ve been trying to make self-publishing work for me. My new book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, took three years to write. I spent the last year editing with a fabulous freelance editor named Shelley Holloway. I’ve hired an artist, Rich Wallace, to do the cover and inside illustrations for the last three books. In the end, I learned it really doesn’t matter to your reader how your book gets to them, but that it does. Whether your book is self published or traditionally published, a reader will want your book if they like it. So, the most important thing is to write a good book. That is what any successful author does. Write a good book that people will want. If your book is good and available, people will want it, no matter how it is published.

**This post is part of the monthly
“Indie Life” posts linked on the Indelibles Blog.

dragonfiretbnailjpgTiffany Turner is a self-published author the children’s fantasy adventure series called The Crystal Keeper Chronicles. Her current release, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire, is the third book in the series. She has been an elementary teacher in California for 16 years.

Smashwords Offers Library Pricing

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It continues to amaze me how new things come up for Indie Authors. Right now, it’s all about pricing. Whether to have your book priced free in a promo, or set it at price points of $0.99, $1.99, or $2.99. But fresh ground has been broken with Smashwords announcement yesterday of Library Pricing.

According to their blog, Smashwords announced their new program, Library Direct. This new program allows library’s to obtain Indie Books for their ebook check out systems. Several large library networks placed preorders from Colorado and California. It’s will help establish more available books in the ever growing ebook library systems.

Smashwords’s authors received emails about the news, letting them know they can now choose a separate price for libraries. The ability to set a price that is lower or even free for libraries is a great way to promote. Not only can libraries be supported to insure a future for books, it gives a whole new reader base to budding authors.

As with anything new, there are lots of questions. Should a book be listed for free? How will the libraries know which book to buy? How big could this reach?

All I can say is that libraries are hard to break into as a beginning author. With limited funds, libraries rely on book reviews and top seller’s list to choose purchases. Many Indie authors don’t make the NY bestseller’s list. But there is a chance for them to be on the Smashwords Best Seller’s List. And with just a few library systems starting out, I’m sure more will follow. With low priced or free books to choose from, ebook libraries will be larger than any possible brick and mortar library. The shelves would never end.

I am happy to announce that both my books will be available at a lower than retail price for this new library endeavor. It’s a great way to support the future of our library systems and reach a new readership. Plus, it makes me proud to be an Indie Author.