Here are the mistakes that new authors make

Writers make tons of mistakes early on in their writing career. Some mistakes result from a lack of dedication and persistence, but most arise when there is no plan put in place. Here are the top 3 mistakes that writers often make.

1. Not having a marketing plan
Not having a clear marketing plan or not having one at all can cause total havoc on your writing career. It forces you to make impromptu decisions versus calculated one’s which ultimately can be devastating for your book. A marketing plan should be a guide to help you achieve success. It should help you determine your target audience, provide you with selling tips on how to reach that audience, and supply you with ways to gain even more customers. If you don’t already have a plan in place, it’s time for you to write one. Here are a few things to include:

• Description of your book
• Goals and objectives
• Target audience
• Marketing budget
• Marketing analysis
• Marketing strategy

2. Expecting your book to sell itself
Authors make the terrible mistake of thinking that their book will actually sell itself. Books are not people and therefore cannot advocate for themselves. They are incapable of holding up a ‘buy me’ sign or calling local bookstores asking if they can be shelved. As the author, you are responsible for networking with bookstores and sustaining your online and in-person presence in order to market yourself and sell your books.

3. Expecting overnight success
Many authors expect the ‘J.K. Rowling success’ overnight. It normally takes a lot of perseverance, dedication, and commitment before that happens (if it ever does). Many authors are eager to quit their day jobs in hopes of earning a full-time salary as a writer. Truth is…few authors are able to support themselves on a writer’s salary. Many must get part-time teaching jobs or contract work on the side in order to support their families. Understand that good things take time and most likely it will take a lot of marketing, networking, tweeting, blogging, etc before your book becomes a hit.

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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Self-publishing authors should utilize their amazon author page in order to increase sales

Welcome to the 3rd segment of Utilizing Your Amazon Author Page!

Your Amazon Author Page is a great resource for all authors, but especially for self-publishers who has chosen a different route than traditional publishing.  Selling books through Amazon has become one of the top resources for self-publishers so utilizing this page correctly can be a big plus for book sales.

In part 1, we discussed the advantages of customer reviews and how it logs the comments that were written for your book.  Reviews can be persuasive and convince the customer to BUY IT NOW!  In part 2, we covered the product details section which provides specific information including the age range, the page count, and the dimensions of your book.

Today, we will address the purpose of a book description (also known as a blurb).

The description is a vital component to your Amazon Author Page because it immediately pitches the story to your customers plus it helps them understand the main idea and plot to your book.  A catchy description might lead to more sales whereas a poorly written one will cause the customer to search for something else.  Take a look at the description for Little Kids, Big Voices Math Workbook, Grades 1-3.  See below.

This description covers all of the major components that are needed in just 4-6 sentences.  It’s not too long plus it identifies its target age, its goal or purpose, and it gives a little background on the qualifications of the writer.  Very long descriptions can become a burden to read especially when you’ve read through at least 20 of them.  Try to keep your descriptions catchy, but short and concise!

Please, DO NOT rush through writing your description.  Take the time to edit it and rewrite it as many times as needed.  If you can, join a writing group and share it with them.  You’ll be pleased in the end! Visit Author Central to revise and edit your account.


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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Ways to publish your book

As an author, it is imperative that you understand the different routes of publishing and how they can benefit or limit your writing career.  If you want creative control, flexibility, and to keep all of the profits from your book, then self-publishing might be a better route for you.  If you want to sell tons of books and gain popularity fairly quickly, then traditional publishing might be a better choice for you.  We will discuss the different options that are currently available for new authors.  Before attempting any of the below, develop your author platform way in advance to publishing.

RELATED ARTICLE:
Ways to Promote Your Book

TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING

Traditional publishing is when the publisher offers the author a contract in order to print, publish, and distribute their book to wholesalers, bookstores, and libraries.  The publisher purchases the rights to sell your book and in turn you receive an advance and a royalty check for each book sale.  The larger the publisher, the greater the advance.  Keep in mind, traditional publishers aren’t as flexible with their contract terms and you may lose some of the creative control over your book.  On a positive note, you will gain popularity quickly, you will sell tons of books, and your book will be displayed on various bookshelves and stores across the world.  LASTLY, THE AUTHOR PAYS NOTHING!

If you are interested in traditional publishing, it is almost mandatory that you find a literary agent.  The best resource to find agents in your particular genre can be found here.  Before you solicit agents, make sure that you draft your query letter and synopsis as part of your submission packet.  Your query letter should include your pitch, a brief summary of your book, and a description of yourself.  Query letters are normally one page long and can become a task within itself.  Condensing your 50+page manuscript into a refined one page query, is no easy task. Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript is one of the many guides that are out there to help.


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INDEPENDENT AND SMALL PRESS PUBLISHING (also known as indie publishing)

Independent publishing is similar to traditional publishing, but just on a smaller scale.  They are not considered one of the five large conglomerates or multinational corporations such as: Random House, HarperCollins, etc and they usually specialize in one or two genres or small markets.  They offer contracts and royalties, but depending on the size of the company, an advance might be out of the question.  The good thing is… it is easier to get signed with an indie publisher rather than a traditional publisher, but the downside is… that their distribution channels or marketing campaigns aren’t as great plus you won’t have access to the top-notch staff members that the big five have access to.  The publisher purchases the rights to sell your book and in turn you receive a royalty check for each book sale.  They are more flexible with their contract terms and you don’t lose as much creative control as you would with traditional publishing. BUT AGAIN, THE AUTHOR PAYS NOTHING!

RELATED ARTICLE:
Ways to Grow Your Indie Publishing Company

SELF-PUBLISHING

Under self-publishing there are four models which include: self-publishing, print-on-demand, vanity press, and subsidy press.  Please take the time to understand which option is best for you.  Even though these options are becoming more popular everyday, libraries and bookstores are skeptical in carrying books that have been self-published.  KEEP IN MIND, THE AUTHOR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING A FEE – EITHER MOST OF IT OR ALL OF IT!

1. Self-publishing – Self-publishers pay for everything – editing, printing, distribution, marketing, etc.  With this route, you have the option of using print-on-demand services OR off-set printing.  You can hire a book designer to design the cover and layout of your book, and then send it to a printer for binding and printing.  You are then responsible for distributing and marketing your book to either online bookstores like Amazon.com or BN.com or selling your book at book fairs.  If you choose POD printing, then places like Createspace and Lightning Source will distribute your book to Amazon.com or BN.com for an additional fee.  If you want your book in indie bookstores, then you would need to market and network on your own.  Keep in mind, that popular bookstores like Target, Barnes and Noble, Costco, Walmart, etc rarely carry self-published books.  With this route, you won’t sell as many books right away, but you obtain creative control.  YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING!

2. Vanity press – also known as a book manufacturer, will publish your book for a fee.  They will print, publish, and sometimes distribute your book for you, but rarely do they offer any editing or marketing services.  Some authors complain that their fees are expensive, also that they don’t offer the assistance that the author needs, and that their work is sub-par.  With this route, you are able to obtain all rights to your book and keep the profits from each sale.  YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING!

3. Subsidy press – as with a vanity press, they will publish your book for a fee.   They will print, publish, and distribute your book for you, and will assist with editing and marketing as well.  Some authors complain that their fees are expensive and that their work is sub-par.  If you decide on a subsidy press, remember, that they own the rights to your book plus you are paid a royalty as the book sells.  YOU PAY FOR SOME!

4. Print-on-demand – POD publishers pretty much take everyone who has the money to pay.  They primarily deal with the binding and printing of the book, but for an additional fee, they can assist with the book design and layout.  They only print books as customers purchase them (due to high technology printers), which helps new authors save money.  The cost per book is more expensive than off-set printing (which requires you to purchase a lot of books all at once), but at least you won’t have a garage full of books that you are unable to sell.  Check out Createspace, IngramSpark, LuLu, and Lightning Source for more information.  Keep in mind, this route is similar to self-publishingit is more about which style of printing your prefer.  YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING!

Need more information, check out the Writer’s Market.


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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Building Voices CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva at Encino Charter Elementary

The goal of every publisher is to make sales, but what happens to the desire to inspire people and better our communities? Often, this goal is lost and buried due to the ups and downs and stringent demands of running a successful business.

Broccoli Chronicles

Building Voices currently doesn’t have the box office sales that we were hoping for, but we do have 13 positive Amazon reviews, several invitations to attend school events, and tons of happy customers to prove that our community supports our efforts. The positive feedback from followers on Facebook and Twitter and also parents and children from various book signing events has been remarkable.

Our first book, Broccoli Chronicles, sold more copies than the other books we’ve published. It’s something about Myrtle’s quirky smile and her love of broccoli that draws people in. Broccoli Chronicles has been selected as a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ 2014 ‪‎INDIEFAB‬ Book of the Year Awards! This was such an accomplishment for our company as well as for me and my career.

Building Voices CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva at Encino Charter Elementary

I know you’re probably wondering why we are gaining so much love and support. Well, it’s the message that we are sending to parents, teachers, librarians, and educational officials that the voice of children matter. Our goal is to educate one mind and build one voice at a time. We believe our books will entertain, inspire, and build the future voices of this world. Kids love Broccoli Chronicles

This article was published in the July 2015 issue of the IBPA’s Independent Magazine.


Broccoli Chronicles wins 2 book awards

Every author especially self-publishing authors desire to win a book award.  Some want the public validation that their book is a hit and others simply want to promote themselves as an award-winning author!

Winning a prestigious book award is now becoming a necessity for self-publishers who lack the celebrity status or backing from a traditional publisher.  This can gain the media’s attention in addition to librarians and bookstores.  Gaining the attention from these major players can be an asset to your writing career and/or publishing company.

Take some time out of your day to research a few of the competitions that are out there.  Some of the most popular ones include: the IndieFab Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the NIEA Award, the IPPY Award, the Writers’ Digest Award, and many more.  Each competition pretty much requires the same things – an entry fee, an application, and copies of your book.  It usually takes around three to five months in order to determine whether you’ve won or not.  If you win, it is one of the best feelings in the world to know that a panel of strangers actually adore your book.

After winning the award, it is now time for you to promote your award-winning status to the public.  Make frequent posts on twitter, facebook, google plus, etc.  Send out press releases and announcements to magazine and newspaper companies.  Email friends and family members notifying them of your new milestone.  Also, place the award-winning digital logo on your website and email headers in order to increase visibility.

See Foreword Reviews’ Tips to Promote Your Winner Status for more ideas.

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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Self-publishing authors should utilize their amazon author page in order to increase sales

There are many features to utilize on your Amazon Author Page that can attract customers and ultimately increase sales.

RELATED ARTICLE: Self-Publishing: Utilizing Your Amazon Author Page Part 1

Items such as: product details and more about the author sections allow you to provide in-depth information about you and your book.  Let’s take a look at the customer review section for Broccoli Chronicles.

Amazon customer review 1

This sections allows you to see how many people have created reviews for your book.  As of June 23, 2015, Broccoli Chronicles has a total of 14 reviews, in which all 14 customers gave the book a 5 star review!  It took about 7 months for me to obtain the 14 reviews and it is projected that the reviews will double by the end of the year.  See below some of the comments made by a few of my customers.

Amazon customer review 3

Self-publishers don’t have the marketing campaigns and bookstore displays that traditional publishers can supply for their authors.  Therefore, authors need to utilize every aspect of advertising that is available to them, especially by gaining positive reviews for their book.  Reviews should be a top priority in the self-publishing field although they don’t directly increase sales.  Reviews actually help sway indecisive customers into buying your book which indirectly increases your sales.  Since you don’t have the popularity behind your book, having a ton of positive reviews from teachers, parents, librarians, and community members will inform and persuade customers to give your book a chance.  Start getting more reviews asap!!


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Need more?  Stay tuned for…Self-Publishing: Utilize Your Amazon Author Page Part 3

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Self-publishing authors should utilize their amazon author page in order to increase sales

Utilizing your Amazon Author Page is one major benefit for self-publishers.

Items such as: product details, more about the author, and customer review sections allow you to provide in-depth information about you and your book.  Let’s take a look at the product details section for Broccoli Chronicles.

Amazon Product Details

Keep in mind, this is an old caption and therefore this section has been recently updated.

This section allows you to see the page count, the publisher, the dimensions of the book, and more.  Unfortunately, it’s not shown in this picture, but I later added the age range for my book which lets parents know whether or not the book is appropriate for their child.  If their child is 3 years old and is still reading picture books, then a chapter book designed for ages 7 – 12 is not appropriate for them.

You are also able to see how many customer reviews there are plus my best sellers ranking which informs you of which position my book is at compared to the 8 million plus books that are on Amazon.

Check out this link to an Amazon Author Page Q & A.  If you still have questions, check out this list of product detail page rules created by Amazon.

Stay tuned for…Self-Publishing: Utilize Your Amazon Author Page Part 2

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Building Voices Logo

By Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva, Founder and CEO of Building Voices

1. CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva’s non-profit, TCD Kids Foundation was one of the finalists in the Lakers You Grant – March 2014.

2. CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva successfully launched a Kickstarter project – July 2014.

3. CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva and her non-profit, TCD Kids Foundation donated over 50 books to children in Torrance, Ca – July 2014.

4. Building Voices is steadily gaining interest from teachers, parents, authors, and fans of children’s literature. They have over 150 likes on Facebook, 120 followers on Twitter, and over 6,000 views on Google Plus – October 2014.

5. CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva’s article, “Try, Try Again” was published in the IBPA Independent Magazine – October 2014.

6. Building Voices published their first title, Broccoli Chronicles – November 2014.

7. Building Voices released the ebook for Broccoli Chronicles – December 2014.

8. CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva and her non-profit, TCD Kids Foundation donated over 20 books to children at the military Christmas party in Torrance, Ca – December 2014.

9. Building Voices published their first coloring book, Little Kids, Big Voices Coloring Book #1 – December 2014.

10. Building Voices published their first journal, Little Kids, Big Voices Interactive Journal – January 2015.

11. CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva and over 30 children’s authors attended a book signing event at Encino Charter Elementary – February 2015.

12. Broccoli Chronicles was one of the finalists in the Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards – March 2015.

13. CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva takes picture with award winning author, writing mentor, and UCLA Writers’ Program professor, Lynn Hightower at the Santa Monica Barnes and Noble – March 2015.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Should you self-publish or not?

Before you decide whether or not self-publishing is right for you, take a look at the following question.

5. Are you willing to pay a vanity or subsidy press a large sum of money to do the leg work for you?

I’ve never worked with a vanity or subsidy press so I cannot give you any firsthand knowledge, but I have read a few articles that are in favor and against their practices.  Vanity and subsidy presses have been given a bad name because they often ask for upfront money in order to publish your book.  I’ve read that sometimes they do not deliver on what they promise and require that you purchase your books from them using their offset shipping methods.  Many self-publishers prefer POD shipping so that they’re not inundated with tons of books that they are not able to sell right away.

It is up to you whether you want to give a vanity or subsidy press a chance or not, but make sure that you negotiate on the price and do not buy too many books unless you already have purchase orders on hand.  Also, make sure that they deliver on everything that they promise you.  If they promise to promote your book or provide you with 100 free copies, then make sure that you get your monies worth.  Hope this helps!

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5 Good Reasons to Self-Publish

For more information on POD and offset printing, check out this article from Publisher’s Weekly.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Copyright page - copyright notice - copyright symblo - catalog in publication data

CIP Fact Sheet

  • Stands for Cataloging in Publication
  • Displayed on the copyright page
  • Available for books not yet published
  • Ineligible for publishers with less than 3 authors
  • For more information, please visit the library of congress.

PCIP Fact Sheet

  • Stands for Publisher’s Cataloging in Publication
  • Displayed on the copyright page
  • Available for books not yet published
  • Eligible for publishers with less than 3 authors
  • For more information, please visit cipblock.

The CIP and PCIP are both valuable because they assist book dealers and librarians with processing, shelving, and cataloging books into the appropriate categories.  The CIP is created by the library of congress whereas the PCIP is usually created by a librarian with cataloging experience.  Most libraries and bookstores will not carry your book without either a CIP or a PCIP because it’s too time consuming for them to create one for you and without one it’s too difficult to identify where your book is shelved.

Check out the PCIP created for Broccoli Chronicles by Adrienne Bashista at cipblock.com

PCIP pic

Notice that the PCIP identifies the author, the illustrator, and the title of the book.  It also lists the ISBN and the PCN/LCCN which is also provided by the library of congress.  Next is a brief summary so that readers know what the book is about.  There’s also categories such as: family, cancer, broccoli, etc which helps the librarians shelf this book into the appropriate category.

The library of congress will create a CIP for free.  Double check to see if your publisher qualifies for one and if so, you should contact the library of congress at least 6 weeks prior to publishing your book.  They usually only ask for one free copy of your book for their files.  If your publisher doesn’t qualify for a CIP, then you will need to pay for a PCIP which can cost around $75.  I hope this helps!


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More to read:
Self-publishing: copyright page

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


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