How do we measure the success of a book?

You dream of getting your novel published.

You want it to be a success. But what does that success look like?

How do we know if a book has sunk or swam? How many copies does a book need to sell to be considered a success?

There really isn’t an answer to this question.

  • Some may say that a book needs to get onto a bestseller list in order to be considered a success.
  • Some may say that a book needs only to make back its advance to be a success.
  • Some may have a number goal.

Our goal for The Boy Next Door is to sell 10,000 copies in one year and we’re making great progress! But it’s definitely a stretch that will require us to push ourselves.

What is your definition of success? If you get a book published (or have a book published) how many copies would you need to sell before you felt like it was a success?

Six Sentence Sunday: The Boy Next Door

For the Six Sentence Sunday event, here is a six sentence excerpt of our new book, The Boy Next Door by Annabelle Costa…

As my finger brushes against the slight stubble on his chin, I can’t help but feel like if Melissa were seeing this, she wouldn’t be too happy.

“You shouldn’t worry about Melissa,” he says, as if reading my mind.

“I just don’t want to lose you,” I say.

“Come on, you’re never going to lose me,” Jason says. And I think that he believes it, but I’m not so sure. I think before Melissa will commit to him, there’s going to be an ultimatum, and it’s going to include my name.

Pick up the book at Amazon!

The Boy Next Door

Through middle school, high school, bad dates, and an ill-advised punk phase, Tasha has always been able to count on Jason. Since the day he moved in next door, he’s gone from the weird kid in a wheelchair to Tasha’s most trusted friend. But lives change and the friends are going in different directions. When Jason and Tasha rekindle their friendship, sparks fly. After years of being a wild soul, now the ex-lead of a band turned music teacher is just looking for a relationship to last.

When none other than Jason introduces her to a man who can give her what she wants, Tasha is on the verge of throwing passion and love away just so she can forget her troubled past and settle down. But Jason isn’t ready to give her up just yet.

US Link
UK Link
Also available at any of the international Amazon sites.

Guest Post: The Thrill of a Published Book

by Ruth Madison

We who dream of being authors anticipate for years holding a book in our hands with our name on the cover, the pages filled with out own words.

It is an amazing moment.

 But if can also feel a bit…unreal.

You’ve waited years for what you’ve written to be a proper book and now when you flip through the pages and see your own words, it feels like it must be a joke. These are your words and someone has put a binding on them, but they still look to you like the words you typed into Scrivener and saw scrolling by on your computer screen every day. Who hid them inside a book cover?

And then for us worrying types, it gets worse.

You’re on a high for a week, showing your book to everyone you know. But then worry catches up with you. You’ve accomplished this huge goal, but there’s another one waiting for you.

Will anyone buy it? Will anyone read it?

You start to worry that it will just sit there and not move a single copy and your publisher will wonder why they gave you this chance.

Then you see your sales figures. And it’s selling.

Another huge thrill that lasts a week or so. People are reading your work! People are connecting with the story that you have told!

Until worry catches up again. What if everyone hates it?

What if they think it’s awful and feel cheated and get angry at you? And you become consumed with anxiety again.

Then some reviews get posted. And they aren’t terrible. No one is yelling. Several people liked it and they thank you for writing it and you read their words with tears in your eyes (authors need your reviews like faeries need your claps!)

Yes, having your book published is quite a roller coaster ride.

I feel a little foolish for exposing the truth of my feelings like this. Aren’t I supposed to be just glowing with pride from the moment I get a contract until…well, forever? Is there something wrong with me that the thrill wears off and is replaced by worry each time?

Maybe there is! But I think it also helps me in being a career author. The high has to wear off so that I can go back to writing the next book, seeking to feel it again. Writing and drug addiction. Yeah, that’s totally the comparison I wanted to make. It’s true, though. Thrills never last forever, but they feel so good that we go back to doing whatever it was that allowed us to feel them in the first place. I’m glad for me that’s writing books. I’ve got plenty more ideas and I’ll keep chasing the elusive high that lasts.

Ruth’s first two books have just come out in their second editions…

(W)hole 

Paperback / Kindle /NookSmashwords

 

 

 

 

 

Breath(e)

Paperback / Kindle /Nook/ Smashwords

Visit Ruth at her site www.ruthmadison.com!

Why a Small Press?

Anyone interested in publishing knows that the business is experiencing a huge amount of change and growth in a very short time. The nature of this business is changing incredibly quickly and I think it’s a wonderful thing.

We all have the same goal: get good books into the hands of readers.

There are different ways to get to that goal, though. And the correct method will depend a lot on both the book being written and the author him- or herself.

One of the things that makes me sad is the division that’s been going on between indie/self-publishers and traditional publishers. There’s a lot of anger from indies who have felt rejection from publishing houses. There’s also frustration that some publishers are having trouble keeping up with new trends in book selling.

A question was posed the other day: Why would anyone want to go with a traditional publisher? 

After all, you can do all these things yourself and not share the profit with anyone. The person acknowledged that a large publishing house might be able to put extra muscle behind an author or offer a large advance (statistically unlikely for an unknown author, though). So perhaps, he thought, there would be a reason to go for a big publisher, but why would anyone choose a small press?

Let’s not forget the amount of work that small presses (and all publishers) are doing. The villain-ization of publishers has got to stop. We are not trying to make a quick buck off someone else’s hard work. A real publisher (as opposed to an author services company) is making money from how well they can sell your book. They work very hard at it. There are no quick bucks in the writing business.

So why would anyone share profits with a small publisher instead of doing it himself?

Because not everyone is the same. Not everyone has the same desires. You may want to do all the work to maintain complete control over your book. And that’s fantastic! You should definitely do that. Some authors do not want to learn how to:

  • format
  • upload
  • find a distributor
  • Figure out how to buy an ISBN and set up LCN, etc.
  • understand print sizes
  • gutter space, headings
  • front matter
  • commission a cover artist
  • find an editor
  • decide on a production schedule
  • send away for pre-publication reviews and blurbs
  • network
  • learn how to set up book signings
  • organize a book tour (virtual or IRL)
  • test out marketing strategies
  • set discounts
  • talk to bookstores about shelving
  • ETC.

They would like to write a book and hand it off to someone else to worry about the details and the receive a paycheck while they’re working on the next book. A good publisher is going to get the authors that paycheck. Because the only way for the publisher to make money is to sell those books!

The royalty check may be smaller than you would get on your own. But if you are not at all inclined to learn how to sell your book, it may also be bigger even with the marketing and overhead budget subtracted from it.

There will always be marketing that is better done by the author. I’m not going to start a twitter account in your name and tweet while pretending to be you. That would be ridiculous. A good publisher will help you understand what you can do to help your book succeed and they will be open to hearing your ideas too.

But let’s not discount all the hard work that a publisher can do for you. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes and when you’re a self-publisher, you are responsible for all of it. As I said before, there are no quick bucks in writing and a publisher can do you a valuable service. They take on the risk for you. They put their money on the line in the belief that they can sell your book and make it back. If you are with a publisher, you do not have to make that investment.

I encourage people to self-publish if they have the stamina and the drive for it. Just remember that it isn’t the path for everyone and there’s no need to make others feel bad about their choice to sign with a publisher, whether large or small.

Do Men Read?

Okay, that’s not really a fair question.

I know that men read. I listen to the Sword and Laser podcast and hear both men and women talking about science fiction and fantasy they’ve enjoyed.

But do men read love stories? And, if so, do they read them for the same reasons women do?

The reason I ask is that this company was started with the plan to accept and publish books with romantic heroes that women would find very appealing. However, we’ve received more than one inquiry from a man who has written a book focused on making an appealing heroine, a woman that they find sexy.

We’re not sure whether to expand into accepting these works.

I’ve always heard that men are more visual and more interested in video than in reading. I’ve been told that women read romance for the fantasy of it, to dream of men beyond the realm of the possible, but that men watch things to get the same effect.

Would men be interested in books catered to them with female love interests designed to be particularly appealing to men?

Would lesbians be interested in books with heterosexual relationships, but with female love interests who are played up more?

It’s difficult to explain what I mean by this! What difference does it make?

In most of the books we have, the point of view is mostly the woman’s as she looks for or is suddenly mixed up in love. The heroines are women we can relate to and their love interests are men that we wish we were dating.

What I’m looking at doing is acquiring books that are still love stories but from a more masculine point of view where it is the female who is a little…shinier than real life.

So, pipe up, men! Is this something you would like to see? Please let me know in comments, by email, on FB. Anywhere!