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Friday, February 12 2016 @ 06:19 PM CST

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Indie Author Meets Animal Farm

Adventures in Self-Publishing

There’s a heart-warming story in the New York Times this morning that tells the tale of a brand new independent author with a flair for marketing who not only turns her first erotic novel into a best seller, but goes on to start her own imprint and build similar success for equally talented Indie authors who don’t have that special marketing gene. Great! you say? Well, maybe not so great.  Read on.

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Does Discount Book Promotion Work?

Adventures in Self-Publishing

It seems as if more and more entrepreneurs are jumping into the book promotion e-newsletter business. The good news is that there are many services to choose from. Predictably, the bad news is that most produce few sales, and sometimes none at all. As with almost everything else in the self-publishing world, there’s no convenient source to consult to find out what works, and what doesn’t. In this post, I’ll provide the results of my own experiences as a starting point for others to work from. I’ll also provide advice on how to choose the services that may work best for you, and how to get accepted by the most competitive services.

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Branding (and Re-Branding) for Authors

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Public Domain, courtesy Royal Armoury, Stockholm and Wikimedia CommonsThe desirability (or even the concept) of establishing a brand may not come naturally to many authors. Branding may appear to have nothing to do with authorship, or seem to cheapen the author's craft, or represent an intimidating task to carry out - or perhaps even all of the above. But for non-fiction writers, and particularly genre authors, a brand is an important and unique tool to forge and to hone.

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How to Build (and not Build) an Author Site

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Courtesy Oregon State Transportation Department/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. 	When I released my first book four years ago, I wasn’t convinced I needed an author site. After all, an Amazon Author Page includes most of the basic elements needed to establish a web presence, and it’s free to boot. I decided to build one a simple WordPress one anyway for the experience I’d gain in doing so, and now it’s time for a major rebuild. Here’s why.

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A Happy Birthday Book Review

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Courtesy Elmar/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.Notching another year in the metaphorical – and rapidly diminishing - stick measuring one's life is not exactly a celebratory event. In fact, it's right up there with performing your morning check in to confirm that you haven't sold any books. Again. But every now and then, someone you don't know leaves you a really nice review, and that can make your day.

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Do Free Book Promotions Work? (Part II)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Courtesy Wikipedia CommonsTwo and a half weeks ago, I posted a report on the initial results of a free copy promotion I ran, using four of the more effective book newsletter services. That campaign was successful in the near term, resulting in 4,360 downloads of my second book. In the conclusions, I noted:  

I’ll need to collect further data before I can report back on whether a trial of this scale, duration and impact had the desired effect. The real test will be whether a week from now my base line of sales and page reads steps up from the base line before the sale.

And the answer is?… [drum roll]…No on sales, yes on reads. For the details, read on. As before, I’ll include specific figures and detailed sales charts.

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Do Free Book Promotions Work? (Part I)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Courtesy Rugby471/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic licenseFor years now, the prevailing wisdom in self-publishing has been that periodically pricing a book at free for a few days is a great way to build an audience. More recently, many authors are reporting that giving away thousands of free copies of a book has almost no ongoing positive impact on sales. Which review reflects reality?

The evolving consensus seems to be that while massive giveaways worked well in the past, they don't work now. Multiple authors have reported that their giveaways have resulted in few, if any, reviews, and also that it was difficult to ascribe many (and sometimes any) downstream sales as a result of their free promotions.

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Donald Trump and Wikipediology

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Here's another look-back to the last election to prove once again that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Try reading this while replacing the name "Palin" with the name "Trump," and "Paul Revere" with "illegal immirgration" and you'll see what I mean.

Courtesy National Archives Administration - Unrestricted useSome time back, I wrote a blog entry called "The Wikipedia and the Death of Archaeology."  The thesis of the piece was this: archaeologists study periods as recent as a hundred years ago, because even with newspapers, magazines and photographs, a substantial percentage of everyday reality still slips through the historical cracks.  If that sounds bogus, consider the fact that several times in your life (at least if you're an American), you've read an account of someone sealing or opening up a "time capsule" intended to preserve everyday objects for about the same time frame. 

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Exclusive Presidential Debate Preview!

Adventures in Self-Publishing

 Readers of my first book, called The Alexandria Project, know that most of what I concocted in that supposedly fictional work turned out to be eerily prophetic. Events that I had made up out of whole cloth began occurring, one after another. And why not? They were all based on genuine, underlying geopolitical realities. Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, then, when events from my second book, called The Lafayette Campaign, a Tale of Deception and Elections, began happening almost immediately after I released it. Like what? Well, like incredibly improbable candidates for president of the United States immediately jumping to the top of the polls, while credible candidates languish (Donald and Jeb, take notice). We’ll have to wait and see whether the explanation in real life is the same as the one in the book.

In the spirit of public service for those who may be unable to watch tomorrow's kick-off debate, I therefore post below the chapter from my new book where I describe the first squaring off of my fictional cast of presidential candidates. I’ll leave it to you to decide on Friday morning whether the real, or the fictional, candidates are more outrageous. The Lafayette Campaign, by the way, is currently and briefly on sale at Amazon for the ridiculously low price of $.99 (and free at Kindle Unlimited). Why don't you give it a try?

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The Lafayette Campaign: First Reviews!

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Courtesy Montanabw/Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.I'm happy to report that the launch of my second cybersecurity thriller, titled The Lafayette Campaign, a Tale of Deception and Elections, of off to a great start in a couple of ways. First, and most eerily, the rise of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential campaign polls is straight out of the plot (how do I keep doing this?) And second, the first reviews are coming in every bit as favorably as I could have hoped. Below are some shortened versions that will give you an idea what the book is about, and what people think of it.