Tag Archives: reader

But Where Are the Readers?

After publishing, the real hard work begins. Post a link to your newly published book and you’ll get the obligatory responses and purchases from select friends and family. But there are well over three million books in publication, ready to be purchased or downloaded at any given time. What makes yours stand apart?

Of course you’ll need a social media presence, but be ready. Despite social media interaction, which may devour hours of the day, you may receive one or two, Hey wanna book swaps? Great to at least get ratings, maybe readings, perhaps a solid review, but those are few and far in between. Not to mention you are either buying their book or buying yours and gifting it to them. I’ve had sales off FB and Twitter, and lots of to be reads off Goodreads. Most of those well intentions come from other authors looking for reciprocity.

Where do you get the readers? The following? Some companies offer marketing. I have tried several and gained several new authors as followers. But where are the readers? Your best bet is book bloggers, but good luck getting on their reading list any time soon. The good bloggers are backed up at least nine months. I have tried independent small marketing firms, mostly because I like to support the Mom & Pops out there. However, I have been burned by a few of those and recently disputed a fee through PayPal for one such company claiming they will publicize my book to over 15,000 readers on their blog and even more across social media for $14.99/month. I paid and never heard from them again.

Being listed as a writer on Facebook, I quickly realized that I am now targeted for sponsored ads relating to writing, editing, publishing, and anything interconnected to the industry. I look through the ads, do my research, read the comments, look for reviews and find that most authors are greatly displeased with these services. After all, they can only guarantee exposure not sales. Writers have been targeted by pop-up companies and services in mass this year. Authors are a consumer targeted group.

Then there are free books. Many authors boast, and rightfully so, about giving away 10,000 books on a KDP free day. It’s all for exposure and the cost (but no profit) of gaining exposure. And somehow, and this is just me, I feel like the adage: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? I know those readers too. Many only look for free books and will not BUY anything indie. Many readers download free books from unknowns and don’t read them (bless the ones that do AND leave reviews…they are few). One friend shows me her Kindle with hundreds of free downloads, but she admits to rarely reading them, and often erases them to free up memory to download new free books. I ask why she downloads them and she proudly says, “I really do have good intentions.”

baseball1Writers beware! You will pour your heart and soul into birthing characters, plot, and story line. Some writers have only a family following. Some have a very small dedicated following. The greater majority sell under twenty books. This is in no way meant to be a downer but an insight into a whole new world that will take your hope and dreams and make you work harder than you ever thought possible. Many writers give-up, because marketing can consume your day, which in turn means you aren’t writing, which causes a bit of writer depression. There is a vicious cycle that consumes even the brightest of eyes. Those that succeed do so by sticking with their talents: write, publish, market, repeat. As Tom Hanks said in a League of Their Own, “If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is  what makes it great.”

The best advice I have come across to date to sell more books is: WRITE MORE BOOKS.

If you have any great advise for indie authors or have a service you’d like reviewed, leave a comment below.

Tania L Ramos RN BSN

Follow me on TWITTER and FACEBOOK or visit my WEBSITE

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Visual Novels

I picked up my son from his friend’s house and he looked kind of morose. He turns to me and says, “I’m depressed.” This is my ninja assassin child. My child that thinks if you can’t fix it blow it up. He’s all balls to the walls; going down in a raging flame of glory; hell hath no fury like my son scorned. I love that kid, chip off the old block {tear}.

So why is this kid depressed? After all, he has two main reasons for going to his friend’s house: better internet connection for homework and video games. So I asked him what was wrong and he said a game he was playing had him up for fourteen hours straight. Not so unusual for this kid. Turns out it was a type of game I had never heard of called a visual novel.

visual novelWhat are visual novels? These are much like the old books often called “choose your adventure books,” where a reader would be given a choice of paths to take at the end of the chapters. Exact same concept here, except these games are visual, donning bright anime graphics and theatrical music throughout the story line. There are several styles ranging from adult (Eroge), science fiction, and emotional (Nakige), to horror. Each type is designed to instill a specific type of reaction within the game player.

Of course, I did my own homework to find many of these games are based on Japanese novels, or were so popular they were eventually turned into novels. I asked my son (19 years old) if he cried, as he said he was playing the emotional games (Nakige) games. He said he didn’t, but he did get choked up because the characters completely draw the player in.visual novel2

 

 

What I’ve learned:
The game is played in first person, a change from the typical choose your adventure novel. Because it is first person, the player is deeply embedded not only within the story but with all the emotion of the character. These characters have such in depth stories and intricate emotions that it is near impossible not to get caught up in the moment. The games are growing in popularity and generally take 10-16 hours to complete one story. They are playable on PC and some are occasionally ported to game consoles. Most recently they have been adopted to Android applications, although they aren’t as in depth due to memory limitations. Also, only one character story takes 10-16 hours, and there are several characters, plus you can replay the same character and choose different outcomes.

So what’s the big deal? As these games suggest, they are visual novels, which should be of interest to any author out there. The entire game is reading. READING! So I’m already excited at the prospect that this avenue has brought a new generation of non-readers to reading. Plus, these games take limitations off the story line. The bigger the book, the more it costs. As such, authors create trilogies or more. With Visual Novels, the book is only limited to memory space.

The catch: Before running off and using a free program to create your own Visual Novel you must know this: you will need graphics, typically anime with a range of emotion. And you will need an orchestra for the theatrical music aspect. Visual Novels are wonderful mixed-media avenues, so if you know an artist and an orchestra, this is a perfect opportunity to cross promote each other.

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Looking for an Orchestra

Contest for Readers

It’s 2014 and I’ve decided I haven’t done enough to promote my book. This year, I will be coming out with Life by Chance and it is high time I kick my shameless plugs back into high gear. To do this I am offering this wonderful promotion to readers, writers, and anyone who loves to join contests.

All you have to do is read Be Still by Tania L Ramos and leave a review on either Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com to enter. Then visit my FB page and leave a message with your name and email along with a copy of the review. You will not be added to any email list! This is only for the purpose of notifying the winner.

What do you win?
* $20+ gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble
* Signed Be Still book

Who can enter?
Any resident of the U.S. or Canada
Where can you get full details?

You want links? I’ve got them
Amazon                           Barnes & Noble               Nook            Kindle

be still contest

Insight into Amazon’s Resell: Did We Do This?

So many questions have been posed about why Amazon has decided to look into reselling e-books. There have been great comments made, and some interesting comments sent to my email direct, and they weren’t all nice.  With so many strong opinions it is clear that there can be a potential war on the horizon.  Again, I state, I’m not asking people to take up arms and fight the machine.  Rather, I’m trying to educate the self-publishing masses as to something that can  happen, and I’m not saying it actually will.

Where did the idea for reselling e-books stem from? Perhaps the Amazon think tank of Amazonians.  Perhaps someone stumbled upon a yard sale and had an epiphany.  Or perhaps it was started by a reader posing a simple, harmless question on the Amazon forum on Feb 11, 2011 asking, “Can I sell back my e-books from Kindle? Once I read them it seems pointless to keep them on my Kindle so I was just wondering if they will buy them back for a part of the money it cost to download on there? (Scarpetta)” (view original post)

This question has sparked over 43 comments, but there are many other forums with similar discussions.  The vast majority of responses state that this isn’t something that Amazon could afford to do.  However, the majority of these comments came long before Amazon retained the patent to be able to resell e-books.

Was it the Amazon think tank? Was it a yard sale epiphany? Or was it started by one of our readers? Obviously the question was out there, and if asked by one then it is okay to assume it is thought by many.  Sufficed to say, readers are very interested in this buy back program, and will likely be interested in purchasing a “used” e-book.  And why not? The economical deficit is everywhere, and so many are looking for ways to save.  It only makes sense that readers would jump at the idea of reselling an e-book and then purchasing a used e-book.  This is a money driven market and Amazon took the reigns on this one.

If the resell program were to go into effect, then it would be up to the authors to educate readers and the public.  But, will our pleas fall dead beside an advertisement for “used” e-books at a discounted rate? What else could we do? Take the poll

Tania L Ramos, author of Be Still and Surviving the Writing Apocalypse

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Writing: If it Doesn’t Hurt …

In the past year, I have met many other authors and love it.  Only an author truly knows and empathizes with another author.  In this way I can only compare it to how people suffering migraines can relate to others with migraines, but those who have never had a migraine don’t have so much as a clue.

Many of my closest friends and acquaintances are non-writers.  In fact, everybody in my family are artists, not writers, so I work through it alone.  One question I am often asked when people discover I have written books is, “Is it hard?” To answer that question isn’t easy, and I have to ask them to be more specific: the actual writing, the publishing, the thought process …

One nurse I work with asked, “how do you come up with a story?” My answer: I don’t, my characters do.

This is where writers will relate, but for those non-writers here is some insight.

voicesI hear and see everything around me.  Somethings try to materialize into stories but never do.  Other times there is constant noise in my head, like being in a crowded train station.  The noises don’t make much sense, sometimes I get to eaves drop on conversations of the noises, but they are benign and again go nowhere.  But occasionally, two voices will come to the forefront and if I listen effectively I can hear their story.

The story isn’t always the beginning or the middle, sometimes it is the end and I’m left to ask them some pertinent questions.  When they respond with answers that make me smile and get all giddy, that’s when I know I have a story.

Once I have a story a new problem emerges: getting the characters to shut up.  These voices can talk all day and well into the long hours of the night.  They talk when I walk into the bathroom at 3 a.m. They talk while I’m driving. Worse of all, they talk when I’m trying to communicate with the living.  I’m sure I’ve had a blank stare a time or two while engaged in actual real people conversation.  The voices are loud and clear.  They have personalities, dialects, catch phrases and stories, and if I don’t write them down they unleash a relentless attack and sneak into my sleep.

It isn’t always easy to write these characters.  They have attitudes sometimes and want to go in a direction different than the one I had planned out on paper.  There in lies the problem: an author can not plan a character, because the character has their own agenda.  A good author will follow the character’s agenda and sometimes doing that hurts my ego.

So much goes into writing.  It is a thought that stays with me from conception to end, and sometimes even after the book is printed, I feel like it could have been better.  There comes a point during the process when I feel like this is going nowhere and want to give-up.  There are times the characters stop talking– usually when I try and move the story along in my own direction.  But when I stop and listen and agree to their demands, the story picks up again.

My favorite part is when I finally hit that climatic point.  It’s like fireworks in the sky.  Then the downhill part comes and it feels very surreal and bitter sweet.  Some writers have lived with these characters for years, some for months, but we have  lived with them.  They are our bestfriends, and sometimes the meanest most vile characters are the ones we love the most.  When a story starts wrapping up, this means it is time to say goodbye to people who have been with us in the foxhole.

These characters have been with us through thick and thin, sickness and health, the good times and the bad.  They have cried with us and we have cried with them.  We have felt their pain, shared in their darkest secrets, and celebrated their victories.  When a story ends, so does our relationship and we must say goodbye.  Those are the quiet days, the lonely days.

The question remains: Is writing hard?

The answer: It is the hardest, most challenging, grueling, and best job I have ever had.  I love it so much that when I’m not doing it, I’m lost in limbo.  One thing I know for certain, that when I’m writing, if it doesn’t hurt and tug at my soul, then I’m doing something wrong.

Tania L Ramos

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Tania L Ramos author of  When I thought I Was Tough, Be Stilland Surviving the Writing Apocalypse.  Also runs the website Writing Apocalypse which displays quality indie books.  She speaks to other authors about the top content errors new authors make.

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