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Gary Barnes' Blog


The Book is done so what now?

Posted by Gary Barnes , 25 November 2011 · 143 views

Is it impolite to share my book website with everyone? www.garywbarnes.com

This has been an interesting journey; five years of research and two years of writing. The novel turned into an epic, the first of a series. It's been a combination of frustration and elation.

Now it looks like the waters ahead are muddied with the most horrible of business models. Publishers no longer deal directly with the writers. The 'agent' seems to be the new quest. But it seems more like a lottery than ability, quality, or sheer brilliance. Hoping an agent will read enough of an email query to actually stop and read it. It appears to be a needle in the haystack of queries being blasted at the agents.

So what is a new unpublished writer to do? Just keep sending the queries and trust to hope? Seems like this is where almost every writer on this site is stuck at. But I think the wind is changing. The industry is moving rapidly from real books to the virtual world. Borders simply didn't react fast enough. I think the agents will be in the same boat real soon.

Why? Because you and I can upload our books right into the Amazon and Barnes & Noble sites. This takes some doing and attention to detail is important. But why sit here with what you believe is a great book and not act? I tried the 'agent' routine; 70 queries, 19 responses, 15 were automated, 3 were polite rejections. One put it very bluntly; "I look at over 1,000 queries a year. From those I select 1 and usually only from a published writer."

Well that about summed it up, needle in a haystack. The desperation 'hook' sentence is more like a hook with no bait on it. So what's a writer to do?

Since Amazon and others are looking to mothball most actual books, the new market is the e-book. Free to upload. Wordpress has a free website builder. Now it's a matter of marketing. The publishers market 99.99% of proven established writers. The rest of us are the .01%, guppies looking for that little scrap and the right lottery number.

I'd say the publishers and especially agents are going to miss the boat and be mothballed themselves. The writers will be controlling their own destiny. My wife has a Kindle and has already downloaded 600 books in less than 2 years. Many are free (an authors first book) or less than $10. It's kind of a no brainer. Our house is full of old books. She is the big reader and though she does get a hard copy once in a while, the new game is putting your work directly into the reader's hands. Why on earth should we query and pray, query and pray... Why give the 'industry' the satisfaction of rejecting so many good works.

Now I am new at all this though I did self publish a few years back. That is a route no one should take unless you have a masters in marketing and a bundle to spend in upfront costs. (Marketing costs will bury any writer as we all know).

I have no magic pill for all this. I have no 'marketing' deal or web site company. I'm just a writer. Having now done both self publishing and the 'agent' lottery I decided to simply upload my book on Amazon. Anyone with any type of electronic devise can buy the book. Amazon has all the free apps if a buyer doesn't have a Kindle. Then just let everyone know about it.

I set up a reading group before I did anything else. They not only helped with editing some missed corrections, they gave me the most important thing of all...feedback. I did this for two months and 20 readers. Now the book is on Amazon. Most in the group loved the book (and this from relatives and friends who are the most critical people of all) and have now bought the e-book. They are spreading the word to their friends. Now I'm learning how to 'tweet' and Facebook which gives you even more (a lot more) contacts to share with.

The bottom line is don't just sit and wait. Create some buzz. Learn how to use Wordpress and the social sites. Within one week I had 10 'agents' following me. Sales of the book have now gone past the family and friends level to the next line of marketing, friends of friends. I've already made more money on my e-book (in two months) than I made in two years as a self publisher (and that was with the horror Publish America who only sells books back to the authors).

I couldn't get my epic down to a 'hook' for an agent. It simply needs much more. The website does exactly that. It allows me to present my book the way it needs to be presented. I have more people telling me they never knew so much evil happened in American History now that they have read my site and book. I'm working on the second one now and a contact in the short film industry has offered to make several 'scene' videos I can have on the site and you-tube. It will benefit both of us and give my readers an even more personal experience with my characters. These will be shot after the holidays and hopefully start showing up on my site in February. Meanwhile I'm building a fan base through the social networks. This is hard enough as I'm not exactly young anymore (past 50) and did not take right away to the whole online social thing. My 14 and 13 year old daughters are helping me a lot!

Anyway...look at my site www.garywbarnes.com. It is not a conventional high end author site, but it's getting the job done. Go to the book link (the cover or right side) to get to Amazon.

Let me know what you guy’s thing about all this. I'm not even sure if this is the right forum for this piece to get to all the writers on the site.

PS: Amazon has a ‘sample’ the book app so everyone can read the first four chapter of my book for free right online or with the free Kindle for PC app. This gets your work into the reader’s hands where it really belongs.

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