My last post stressed that it's up to you to sell your horror books. You can read it here. http://www.blazemcrob.com/2016/04/its-up-to-you-to-sell-your-books.html
For some of you, maybe this article was a gloom and doom sort of thing. Quite the opposite. What I hope it did was to get some authors thinking about what they really need to do to get their books published. In short, it is completely in the hands of the author. If you want to be an author, do it; write a great book; make sure the editing, formatting and cover art are done correctly; and market the hell out out of it. It's a great book, isn't it? If it's not, then make sure it is before it's sent out into the world of readers looking for a new favorite author. No one wants to read shit. Remember that.
William Cook, an author friend of mine, says authors need to treat writing like it's a business. He's right. It is a business. An author needs to plan ahead. There are many decisions to be made along the way. Writing a book is the easy part. Here is a post I put up a while back. There are a few changes I have made to it.
Writing is easy! Publishing is easy!
Writing Is Easy! Publishing is easy! What, you ask? How can writing possibly be easy? Writing is one word after another. That's it. There's nothing difficult about that.
Someone in the back is shaking their head, thinking that I'm an idiot. No problem with that. That's his right. He can even leave the room and I won't care.
Ah, you ask. "What are the words?" Again: simple. Put a picture in your head of the story you want to write. Write about that picture. If you have no story in your mind, forget about writing. Writing is easy, but only if you have a tale to spin. I get one simple thought in my brain, many times a sentence, or even a single word. Wham! Go from there.
As an example: in an upcoming novel, I think about my garage. I sleep in the garage because my wife is a bitch. The start of the picture in the gray matter is forming. Other senses come into play. Mice pitter-patter around and they make me think of rats from 'Nam. A presence forms, cutting off my air supply; a moldy stench surrounds it. This is not the first time this has happened, but this time . . . this time something is different. What? It talks to me this time. It never has before.
See what I mean? One word, garage, got into my mind and horror surrounds me. No build up needed. Pure action from the beginning.
Some people will rebel against what I'm saying next. Do not outline! It kills the flow of your story. Let your tale roll unfettered and free. I never know how my stories will end. That's the fun of writing. Let your story people determine the outcome.
Do not worry about perfection in your first draft. Just write a story that flows. Don't worry about anything else. Hemingway said the first draft of anything is shit. He was right. So concentrate on the story first, and then polish in your next drafts.
Now, your story is done, and a grand tale it is. Except for one thing. It sucks! The story itself is great, but it needs some serious editing. Comma splices abound. There's not enough white space. You have over-used words; you are redundant. Mark in chapter one is Matthew in chapter ten.
Now what? You work on your edits first. Don't annoy your friends and ask them to be beta readers. Do the job yourself. Read your story out loud as you edit. That will help with your commas. Over and over again, do your edits. When you are satisfied you have a good story, send it to an editor. An author is too close to her/his own story to do it justice in the final edits.
Okay, I'm sure many of you have heard the old beta reader thing over and over again from friends. They are not editors. Hire an editor. There are many good ones out there and they will not all gouge you. Many have great rates.
If you are going to self-publish, get a great cover artist. Don't go half-ass here. It is very important. Also, consider doing books with interior art scattered about. It is impressive, and a lot of Publishers are doing it.
Have someone who knows what they are doing, do your formatting. Make certain you check everything out before you publish your tale.
When it comes to Marketing, get outside the box. Push the envelope. Don't be afraid to do things never done before. I have super plans for one book I am publishing with another author. What I plan on doing has never been done before. Obviously, I don't want to mention it yet until the book comes out. At that time we will both be glad to explain our wonkiness. Going on Facebook and saying, "Buy my book," is not Marketing. What it can be is annoying. Many people will consider it to be spam and be turned off. Turn them on, not off.
I'll give you an example of an interesting ploy. Arrange to do book signings in bars. Tell the owner that for every book a patron buys, you will buy that reader a beer. And, include a tip. Why? That bartender will steer buyers to you. Set the price of your book so you make a profit. Let's say your book is from a small Press and you get a discount and pay $7.00 for a $15.00 book. If you sell the book at $15.00, you will make a profit of $4.00 if you pay $3.00 for a beer and $1.00 tip. More than you get from Amazon or B&N. The same thing can be done in coffee shops. In no time at all, you will have a following.
I will have another post explaining eBook marketing. Notice I didn't mention which way you should go with your books. Big Five, Small Press, Cooperative, or Indie, it doesn't matter. That's up to you and what you want to do. I will be posting more of my little tips in the future. Publishing has changed, folks. Be willing to change with it.
Happy writing to everyone!
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I added this here to give you hope. Do simple, common sense things, and your book will get out there, and you will sell some. Sounds good, huh?
Okay, I have a few things you need to watch out for. I mentioned that some Presses shut down and more are on the way. That is not all that is going on. Some existing Presses do indeed fuck their authors over. But, they are not breaking the law in many instances. Sure, what they do is unethical, but it is a simple case of author beware. Read the fine print in the contract. Never get published without a contract. Many authors are in such a hurry to get their books published that they fail to notice that a publisher is asking for 5 year rights or more. Wow! That sucks.
Check the royalty rate. If you're receiving royalties based on net profit and not gross profit, you're getting screwed. If you're getting paid by the story, as in the case of anthologies, make certain you believe you're getting a fair shake.
Some of these tings I touched on the last time, but I thought they fit in with this post as well.
Since my last post, there is still more animosity going around by certain factions in the horror community. Pretty sad. Time for some horror professionals to act the part.
In my upcoming posts, I will provide some links for information I consider to be essential. Also, I will mention publishers that I respect and have worked with. If there's anything else you want me to talk about, just let me know.
Thanks for reading.