Salinger Would Be Fucked

Salinger Would Be Fucked
The deal with author platforms

I’ve decided to do a follow-up post about author platforms and the repeated advice for authors, being:

“A famous and often repeated piece of advice to writers is: The time to start working on your author platform is three years before your book is published.” Writes Joel Friedlander, the Book Designer.

I can’t help thinking about Salinger. Maybe he wouldn’t have isolated himself if social media was right there and popular. I like to think what his Facebook page might have looked like with him updating it daily. But I doubt he would have. I doubt he would have been any different.

Many authors have been rejected because they don’t have a strong enough author platform. Actually, more than many. And that’s because publishers are no longer looking for writers. They are looking for easy sales.

Are traditional publishers on to something or just getting lazy?

What is an author platform?

Right away, without research, I think it’s about selling yourself. But since writers are not whores, we’re going to look at this more closely. Because author platforms really can be a wonderful thing. The truth is, Author Platforms are not about selling your book or trying to push your book onto readers. It is more or less your presence and how you connect with your readers and future readers. And let’s face it. Your readers are more important than you. Author Platform= Dedication to your readers.

Author Platform? What exactly are we looking at here?

“No, an author platform is not a box to stand on, but it will help an author to rise above his peers and separate the experts and credible authors from the amateurs. An author platform is more like an enhanced resume that provides your credentials and helps publishers and the media take notice that you are a professional, you have experience, you are good at promoting yourself and promoting your book and topic of interest without being self-serving, and overall, you know what you are doing.” (Irene Watson, FreelanceWriting.com)

The Platform Tree:

The Heart and Centre Point= Your Website

The Branches=

Any kind of complimentary website to the centre point (websites dedicated to your novels, other writing, that sort of thing)

Blogs- write relevant articles, book reviews, interviews, or blog about your experience writing and getting your books published.

Social Media and Such: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, StumbleUpon, Goodreads, Tumblr, Library Thing, blogtalkradio.com, Bookish, rifflebooks.com, Instagram, BookLife, Google+, LinkedIn

Writing Sites: Figment, Wattpad, Book Country

Connections: Author Unions and other Associations, Off Line Writing Groups, Bookstore Staff, Attending Book Fairs, Festivals, Trade Shows, (making connections and friends with other authors, agents, editors, publishers, librarians, other bloggers). Get involved with the book world. Enter writing contests, volunteer at a local bookstore, library, or publishing house. Join a book club or writers work shop.

Respond to readers and make it easy for readers to contact you: make an email signature

It is possible to start connecting and creating a ‘platform’ before your book is published and the world considers you an ‘author.’ By getting involved early – making connections, starting a blog, uploading onto Wattpad, Fanfiction, and other writing sites that appeal to you, entering writing contests, or trying your hand at freelancing – you can begin to establish friends, readers, and an audience.

What to do about this author platform business?

Don’t be in a rush. Don’t try to do everything. Write first and platform later. Be professional. Research.

“Focus more on discoverability rather than selling. Your work is important, so help those who can benefit from it, find it.” (KIMBERLEY GRABAS, 71 Ways to Promote and Market Your Book. http://www.yourwriterplatform.com/promote-and-market-your-book/)

“Search yourself. Do a Google search on yourself, your books, and your brand to see what other people are seeing when they do a similar search. Are you surprised (or embarrassed) by what you found?” (KIMBERLEY GRABAS, 101 Quick Actions You Can Take Today to Build the Writer Platform of Your Dreams. http://www.yourwriterplatform.com/actions-to-build-writer-platform/)

I wonder about authors like Salinger, Harper Lee, and Emily Dickinson. Would they have been rejected because their author platform wasn’t large enough? Because they didn’t have a blog or a twitter account?

Author Cormac McCarthy said, “I don’t think it’s good for your head. When you spend a lot of time thinking about how to write a book, you probably shouldn’t be talking about it, you probably should be doing it.”

And then I wonder about myself and readers like me. Because we were all readers first. Because we are readers first and foremost. As a reader with favourite authors, I like that I can see their blog, facebook page, and/or twitter account. I like that I can follow them, and they can follow me back. I like to see what Neil Gaiman is up to.

But that’s as a book reader- not a book buyer. Personally, though I have read (and love) Neil Gaiman’s works, his blog, and check up on him on Twitter, I have never bought one of his books. I think this realization is quite relevant since publishers are suggesting that sales are depending upon an author’s platform, and thus can reject good work because of it.

“Check the stupid on this. Publishers only want authors who are so famous they can sell 40,000 copies of their own book directly to their own audience. But anyone who is so famous that they can sell 40,000 copies of their own book directly to their own audience needs a publisher like Willy Wonka needs a Whitman’s sampler. If I could sell my own book to my own audience, why would I give any publisher full rights, forever, to that book, ninety percent of whatever I made selling that book — and then give an agent fifteen percent of whatever was left over for me? Why? Why would I do that? Why would anyone?” (Huffington Post, Blog)

About the Author

els1

Ellen Schoeman (pen name E. L. Schoeman) is the author of the award winning YA Historical Romance novel, Isabel. All in all I’m a YA writer. My second novel, Vienna, will be released in eBook November 2014. Apart from writing, I love to travel, ride horses, read too many books, and meet interesting people with interesting stories.

Upcoming Articles:
Interview with Wayne Clark, International Award Winning Author

Vienna’s Cover Released!

viennacover.largeBoth of my amazing covers, Isabel and Vienna, were done by:

http://pamschoemanillustration.blogspot.ca/

http://pamschoeman.com/

My second novel is on its way and will be available in eBook this November! Vienna is a YA fantasy adventure about a cursed princess. Want to read more? Follow either link below to read the first three chapters!

1. http://figment.com/books/852186-Vienna

2. http://www.wattpad.com/76327701-vienna-by-e-l-schoeman-first-three-chapters-of?utm_source=web&utm_medium=twitter7&utm_content=share_reading&ref_id=27975069

Interview with Doreen Pendgracs

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Interview with Doreen Pendgracs, International Award Winning Author, By Ellen Schoeman

“To all chocolate lovers, this is a travel book that you will not want to overlook.” Writes Lit Amri, Readers’ Favorite.

            Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate by award winning author Doreen Pendgracs is the kind of book we can all agree on. Chocolate travel is awesome.

            Chocolatour features our beloved (of course I’m referring to chocolate) in Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

The first in a trilogy, chocolate travelers impatiently wait for Volume II where the quest will continue. The Americas and the Caribbean will be featured, and Volume III will take the journey to Asia, Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East.

Prepare for the most intense ‘chocogasms’ of your life with the amazing chocolate discoveries!

“On her quest for “the world’s best chocolate” Pendgracs went to France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. She discovered—and shares with us—the best places to find the exact chocolate we seek. She also points out places to stay and eat so you can get the best experience in each locale.” Writes Christine Peets, Flight NetWork.com

             I was fortunate enough to speak with Doreen Pendgracs about her experience indie-publishing Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate. The travel writer and photographer also has these additional titles under her belt: Before You Say Yes … A Guide to the Pleasure & Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards, and is the co-author of The Manitoba Book of Everything, and the first volume of Frommer’s Newfoundland and Labrador.

Q Where in Canada are you from?

A I live in Matlock, MB. It’s an hour north of Winnipeg, where I was born and raised. I lived in the city until 1982 when we moved to the country.

With Before You Say Yes … A Guide to the Pleasure & Pitfalls of Volunteer Boards, published by Dundurn Press. The Manitoba Book of Everything, published by MacIntyrePurcell Publishing, and Newfoundland and Labrador produced by Frommers, Doreen Pendgracs has worked with both traditional and indie publishing. With my own novel indie published, I shared the same reason for choosing the indie path: our books were too costly for traditional publishers to produce.

“My chocolate travel book was extremely $$ to produce. It cost $15 to print each one in the first print run. I was able to reduce that to $10 each copy in the second print run. I refused to go with a publisher who would cut costs just to get the book out there. That has happened to me with previous projects and I went with the flow. But with this book, I wanted it to be full of colour photos (there are 61 in the 176-page book) and so we had to use coated paper, which is very expensive,” said Doreen. “I couldn’t get a publisher to accept the project as they knew how expensive it would be to produce. As well, they said I didn’t have a large enough ‘platform’ to support the required sales to recoup the publishing costs of the book.”

Side Note:

“A famous and often repeated piece of advice to writers is: The time to start working on your author platform is three years before your book is published.” Writes Joel Friedlander, the Book Designer. “That’s because a lot of writers have realized that it’s become their responsibility to market their books. Publishers are asking them to do it, authors are routinely submitting marketing plans along with their book proposals. I spoke to a book shepherd recently who told me they were hard at work on a 20-page marketing plan for an author-client.”

Question for readers to ponder:

How much of Marketing should be left up to the author when you’re making 5% to 15% royalties with a traditional publisher?

Q What is your take on indie-publishing? Do you have any concerns for its future?

A I am a hybrid author. My previous three titles were traditionally published, and I’m not saying I won’t go back to that model if I am presented with a fair and favourable offer. But in order to get the first volume of Chocolatour out in a timely manner, I chose to run a Crowdfunding Campaign to pay for the professional editor, designer, and print job and it all worked out quite well. Self-publishing (or more favourable, independently publishing) is empowering and enables the author to gather his/her own team of professionals to put together the best book possible. This model is definitely here to stay!

Q What has your experience with indie-publishing been like?

A It has unquestionably been the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I conceived the idea for the book, had to travel extensively to research and photograph it, then write it, assemble the creative team to produce it, and am now in charge of the marketing! It’s a tremendous amount of work, but very worthwhile from an artistic perspective. And to win an International Book Award for the book has been an incredible affirmation of the work I have done. I am so very grateful for that.

Q What would you say is the biggest disadvantage of indie-publishing?

A Not having paid staff to do a lot of the work for you. The marketing team who works for the publisher who produced my previous book did a fairly decent job in promoting the book. I see that now, although I really didn’t get much of a financial gain from the book. I’m hoping that will be different with Chocolatour.

Q What would you say if the biggest disadvantage and advantage of being a Canadian author?

A You could take that one step further and ask what is the advantage/ disadvantage of being a Canadian author who lives in the boonies? That is a considerable disadvantage when it comes to planning book events. I’m fortunate that I’m a good speaker, so I’ve actually been making more from talking about my book and my research than I am from book sales.

Q Do you have any advice for fellow indie-publishers out there, or those thinking about indie-publishing?

A Be sure to align yourself with capable and professional creatives who will become part of your self-publishing team. If you try to do it on your own, it will show, and you will have an inferior product. You need a professional editor who has experience with your type of book. You need a professionally designed book cover. And someone who can do a professional layout and interior design of the book.

‘One thing industry experts all agree on: 2014 is an exciting time to be in self-publishing. Last fall, bibliographic information service provider Bowker revealed that self-published titles had grown by nearly 60% in 2012, and in 2013 it showed no signs of slowing. And while the industry continues to grow, 2014 may be the year of “maturing.”’ Writes Publishers Weekly (A Look Ahead to Self-Publishing in 2014)

Doreen’s advice is key. In order to be successful in indie-publishing, you must start with aligning yourself with a capable and professional team. With the right team, research, education, finances, and patience, authors everywhere can get their stories out, exceptionally, that might never have been brought to life otherwise.

Follow Doreen’s Awesome Chocolate Adventures on her Travel Blog:

http://diversionswithdoreen.com/

And Find the Award Winning Travel Narrative, Chocolatour, at:

http://chocolatour.net/book/

About the Author 

els1

Ellen Schoeman (pen name E. L. Schoeman) is the author of the award winning YA novel, Isabel. All in all I’m a YA writer. My second novel, Vienna, will be released in EBook November 2014. Apart from writing, I love to travel, eat chocolate, read too many books, and meet interesting people with interesting stories.