Signing On

One of the huge perks of working with a traditional publisher often evades the indie … its not the pretty covers or eagle-eyed editors, no … that is, it’s PR … the “I have arrived” muscle behind your story that does get it sold.

Traditional publishers have in-house PR machines that get the book and then the two-man team assigned goes to work getting national and viral coverage of said book.  That why so-and-so ends up on Oprah or garnishes a fantastic, brag-worthy spread in a glossy magazine.

Indies … unless you’re married to a PR guy or gal … chances are you don’t have “in-house” anything.  So, you are left flapping in the breezy, so to speak, figuring out how to best campaign within your budget.

But, PR is a huge part of getting your name and book out there.  After all, if no one knows you wrote how in Heaven will they know to buy it?  The truth is … they won’t.  Indies often wallow at the bottom of Amazons algorithm simply because they don’t take the time to spread the word, to drive the interest, to build the momentum, to make the big splash … or, more likely, they aren’t sure how.

Blog tours seem to be a very popular sale to Indie Authors looking to cover massive ground in short sprints of time.  They hedge on the affordable side of the PR line.  Running anywhere from free (if you can do it yourself) to $150.00 and beyond.

I can tell you, as a blog owner, I do get traffic.  When I’ve hosted particular Indie’s or held a guest appearance, my numbers spike.  Would that generate into sales for someone?  I’m not sure.  But it can’t hurt, right?

Hiring a PR agent, while expensive, is also a viable route … one that I am taking.  Which is why I “signed on” … okay, not officially, but within the next month or so I will officially be a client of the Alicia Brockway firm.

Every author … traditional or otherwise … dreams of wild success.  I know my limitations, but that doesn’t mean I don’t “want it” … I just have to find help.

Alicia was the perfect person to do just that.  Having worked with the likes of Danielle Steel, Kathy Griffin and gaggle of other big name authors, Alicia was once a Random House PR machine (yes … that Random House).  She is the sort of person I need on my team, pushing my book towards bigger and better.  So, while her service will nearly double my original budget and slightly break my book-bank, I can’t see another way.

So … Authors, tell me about your PR experience?  How did you do?  What resources did you use to make the magic happen?





It’s Worth What? — An Exploration of Pricing

I’ll soon be facing the conundrum of deciding what my book is worth and where to effectively price it.  Do I go free and drive up the sales?  Do I slip quietly into the .99 cent ghetto … I mean … bin?  Do I price myself to challenge the market at a rousing $2.99?  Or, do I plow headlong into the $4.99 bracket and practice a little patience because other “literary fiction” sells for at least that much and often times much more?

These are real questions … depending on where I fall will directly correlate with how well I sell.  It’s a seriously strategic business minded move.

The schools of thought on this various from professional to professional and author to author.  Some think, hey, go free–get the reviews and then up your price, because hey–everyone likes to get something for nothing.  Some think, no way is free is the way to go, it screams INDIE and polarized potential customers.  The under the buck mentality is referred too as the “ghetto” … an obviously sad term when you consider the love that an author pours into a book.

The fact is … my book is worth something … but what that something is remains unknown.

I was sitting down this morning trying to figure that out … and I’ll share my thoughts …

I bank with Bank of America.  I use my debit card more than anything else.  But, sometimes I need cash.  BOA has a lot of ATM’s in high traffic places, but they aren’t on every single corner.  Sometimes I have to visit another banks cash station to do a withdrawal … and each time I’m pinged $2.50.  I never spare a thought on that … paying the nominal fee is part of life as far as I’m concerned.

When I fill up my SUV with gas, I pay all sorts of fees I’m unaware of.  But, that doesn’t stop me.  It’s part of the price per gallon … and I just do it without thinking about it.

This holiday season, when I was buying gift cards, I bought Visa branded ones.  And, I paid an extra $5.00 a card.  Why?  I don’t really know.  But, I did.  It didn’t really bother me … it’s just what you do.

I heart Starbucks.  I will willing pay $5.00 plus tax for a swanky cup of coffee just because I like frothed cream.

I adore the movies, and when we go, we pay $20.00 for tickets and about $30.00 for a popcorn and two sodas.

My point is … all the time I have money going out on things that I need or enjoy and I never give it a second thought or backwards glance.  I realize that … you know what … these companies (be it the bank or the gas station) are businesses with overhead and they’d like to turn a tidy profit.  Am I really that different?.

No, actually, I’m not.  While reading is a little luxury for most people, it just so happens to be my business.  I’ve invested in the start-up cost of publishing and I’ve worked my ass off to make sure what I’m sending out into the world is a pretty, easily enjoyable read. I should be … at least in my mind … rewarded for my efforts.  I don’t think free is for me.

I think when you’re starting out, you’re setting a bar.  You’re introducing yourself and the quality of your work.  If you’re free … what does that mean?  How can you possibly go from nothing to something and not expect someone to shake their head in confusion?

Writing is art.  It’s entertainment, designed to provide pleasure.  Is $5.00 really too much to ask for that?  Not in my mind.

But…I’m posting for opinions.  What are your thoughts?  Where did you price and what was the result?  Share and share alike 🙂 your wisdom’s are rewarded with gratitude!