Happy Memorial Weekend Guest Post By Blogalicious and Diane Lockward, Author ~ Poet.

Hello and Welcome Everyone and Especially Authors! Today’s Guest is Poet and Author, Diane Lockward. I visited her blog and read two posts she had shared about the changes GoodReads has made to Giveaways and crossed over with Amazon KDP and a different way to do Promos and Giveaways. I hope it helps all of you to understand the “objectable and annoying” changes. Just how I and Diane feel about it! Lol. Happy Memorial Day Weekend Reading!

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Goodreads Turns Bad

Back in January Goodreads changed their Giveaway program. Prior to that time, authors could post a Giveaway for a book. No Fee! Members of the site could sign up to win a free copy. After the conclusion of the Giveaway, a winner would be picked, the author would be notified with a name and address, and a free book would go out in the mail. An author could offer multiple free copies and also run subsequent Giveaways.

I liked the program a lot. When I did a Giveaway for any of my poetry books, I’d get around 300 signups. When I did a Giveaway for one of my craft books, I’d get as many as 600 signups. These people who signed up would often indicate “I Want to Read” for the title. My book got in front of a lot of eyes and I felt kind of popular.

I liked the program so much that when I started Terrapin Books one of the promotion suggestions I routinely made to my authors was that they run a Giveaway at Goodreads. I can no longer make that suggestion, nor will I again run a Giveaway for one of my own titles. That’s because, since January 8, 2018, authors and publishers are required to pay a fee for the formerly free service. That may be how the business world operates, but poets and poetry publishers simply cannot afford to pay the fees. 

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Goodreads now offers two fee options:

1) the Standard package for $119 for up to 100 copies (either Kindle ebook or print book). 
2) the Premium package for $599 is available for either print books or Kindle ebooks. 
 
Full details can be seen at the Goodreads site.

I’m not at all convinced that either of these options will generate sales for authors, certainly not for poets and publishers of poetry books. And there is no way that I will pay for the service, nor can I ask my authors to do so.

For one thing, while I liked the program in the past and enjoyed having my book page fill up with Want to Reads, I never saw any spike in sales following a Giveaway. Maybe I’d get one new review. I wondered if other authors shared my feelings and experience. So I put the question out to a Facebook group that I belong to. I asked if authors had found that a Giveaway generated any sales.

Not one person said Yes. Not one. Not one person said she’d pay for the service. These people, by the way, included prose writers as well as poets. One author described her experience as “I did it but I don’t think it’s made any difference. I will not do it again.”

Another said, “I did it and zero effect!”

Another said, “I did get reviews on Goodreads from my Giveaway but no sales that I could see.”
A publisher said, “it did not increase the sales at all.“

One author who paid for the new service said, “I did it right when they opened it up to ebooks and it was half off! I didn’t pay for the ‘featured’ status or whatever but I ended up there anyway because it was brand new and there weren’t many other ebooks. I’m glad I did it then because honestly, it was worthless. Will not do it again.”

Not too encouraging, is it? I rarely go to the Goodreads website since the change. I wonder if I’m alone in that.

I also wonder if it would be worth trying out an Amazon Giveaway. So I’m trying it out. I just created an Amazon Giveaway for The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop. There’s a form that had to be filled out. Within an hour I received a confirmation of the Giveaway request. That was very similar to a confirmation of a purchase.

Then this morning I received notification that my Giveaway had gone live. The notification included a link that I can share so that people will sign up, but Amazon also somehow advertises the Giveaway. I just offered one copy. There is a cost for the person running the Giveaway—the price of one book and postage. I expect that the postage fee of $8 will not actually be that high. Amazon, unlike Goodreads, ships out the book. Not free, but more affordable than $119. Let’s see how this all works out! Till Next Time …

Goodreads Turns Bad, Part 2: Amazon

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WELL, In my last post, I complained about the recent elimination of the free Giveaway at Goodreads, now replaced with a costly Giveaway. The fee imposed makes the service prohibitive for poets and small press publishers. I decided that the time was right to try an Amazon Giveaway for my craft book, The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop. That experiment is now over. Here are the results.

It was easy to set up the Amazon Giveaway and it went into effect immediately as Goodreads now does also (used to be a 7-day wait period). While a Goodreads Giveaway allows the user to select the length of time the Giveaway will run, there is a 7-day time limit on the length of the Amazon Giveaway, but that time will be cut off once a winner has been selected.

There are several options for how a winner is selected. My Giveaway was over within hours of its start time. I selected that there would be one book given and that each entrant had a 1 in 100 chance of winning. I would increase the 100 if I were to do another Amazon Giveaway as that would extend the time.

Amazon provided me with a Giveaway page code, but I never used it as the time was up so fast. They quickly sent me statistics. I had 424 Hits (people who looked at the Giveaway), 175 Entrants (people who entered the Giveaway), 14 Page Visits (people who went from the Giveaway page to the book page).

So the exposure for my book with an Amazon Giveaway was far less than with past giveaways I ran at Goodreads, but I could increase the exposure if I changed the odds.

I was given the name of the winner as I was with Goodreads, but with Goodreads, I had to mail out the book while with Amazon they mailed out the book. Before Goodreads turned bad, the only cost I incurred was the cost of one book, envelope, and postage. Amazon charged me a “setup cost” of $27.09 and later refunded $.06. The price for my book at Amazon is now $18.64 discounted from $21.99. So I was charged $8.39 for postage and handling. It would cost me less if I mailed a copy from my own stash and paid the postage.

Conclusion: I doubt I’ll do another Amazon Giveaway as I don’t see any particular benefit to it. It’s far less costly than a Goodreads Giveaway, but had no apparent effect on sales.

But just to continue this experiment one step further, I’m going to try a Giveaway on Facebook. I’ll let you know how that turns out and hopefully, Cat will fill you in on those results! Lol.

Poet and Blogger, 
Diane Lockward

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I am Diane Lockward, I live and write poetry in New Jersey. I am the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement. My earlier books are Temptation by Water (Wind Pub, 2010), What Feeds Us, which received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve’s Red Dress. I am also the author of The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop, a how-to book for poets; and the sequel, The Crafty Poet II. My poems appear in a number of anthologies such as Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems for Hard Times and in such journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. My poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, and The Writer’s Almanac. I am the founder, editor, and publisher of Terrapin Books, a small press for poetry books.

Visit Terrapin Books, a small press for poetry

 

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News For Authors and Writers From The Web and Guest Article Courtesy of TCK Publishing.

last month I was invited by my dear friend Marilyn Davis to write an article for her fabulous writers’ website “TwoDropsofInk” titled; Authors: Book Promote Like a Pro!
In my article, I clarified the differences between literary agents, publicists, and book promoters…

how to get a literary agent contract

Literary Publicist

Literary Publicist: Is a person who publicizes, especially a press agent or public-relations consultant. They are an expert in current or public affairs, and an expert on federal or international law.

Literary Agent

Literary Agent: Is a person who represents writers and their written works to publishers, theatrical producers, film producers and film studios, and assists in the sale and deal negotiations of the same.

Literary Book Promoter or Marketer 

Literary Book Promoter or marketer: Is a person who promotes, especially as an active supporter, advocate, or paid publicity organizer to promote one’s work through various forms like press releases, through social media, and more. That is what I do

So now that we know the differences, I came across another fantastic article on TCK Publishing about:  How To Get A Literary Agent. When I got my email newsletter from them, it had a great article and guide on how to go about this. So I emailed “The Guy,” Best Selling Author, Tom Corson-Knowles to ask if I could share some of this article and HOPE writer’s that you will go read the rest and view The Guide he was kind enough to share with us on their website within the article here: “How To Get A Literary Agent”.

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how to get a literary agent

In the weird, wonderful world of publishing, there are a few key figures that everyone knows about: publishers, editors, and literary agents.

But do you really know what those folks do all day?

In an age when anyone can upload a file and start selling their book on Amazon in a few clicks, why do these old-school roles still matter? How do they add value to your publishing journey?

Let’s take an in-depth look at the literary agent, one of the key figures in the traditional publishing industry. We’ll check out what they do every day to help you and your book succeed, what it might cost you to work with an agent, and how you can find an agent.

We’ll also talk with publishing industry experts and agents themselves about what to do—and not to do—if you want to work with an agent, and how to get the most out of your relationship.

Let’s get started!

What Is a Literary Agent?

No matter what creative industry you’re talking about—film, TV, books, music—there’s usually someone called an “agent” working in it.

That’s because, when you get right down to it, creative people want to be creating, not worrying about business matters. But the businesspeople who put that creative material out to the public want to make sure little things like deadlines are met, and that contracts are signed, paperwork is filled out, and so on.

So a kind of go-between developed between creative professionals and business types: the agent.

Agents are kind of like business managers for creatives: writers, actors, artists, musicians, and so on. They handle all the nitty-gritty details so that you can get on with the important work of creating.

What Does an Agent Do?

Agents do a lot of things that authors can do for themselves, but that takes a lot of time and effort to keep on top of.

The key part of any agent’s job is getting their clients work. They negotiate deals like publishing contracts or speaking gigs, keep track of licensing arrangements, and coordinate payment from all those different deals.

But agents do far more than just making deals!

Literary agents, in particular, often partner with the authors they represent to improve a manuscript, working together on edits and development to refine the book until it’s sure to knock the socks off a publisher.

The agent also puts together a query and pitch package for the book to submit to publishers, helping put the manuscript’s best foot forward and show exactly why the publisher should pay top dollar for that book.

A great pitch package is more than just a summary of the book. In nonfiction, it includes a summary of every chapter and its content, a basic marketing plan, an examination of other comparable books on the market, and more.

Basically, it’s a mini-business plan for your book…and that takes a lot of work to put together! Agents know the style, format, and content that will appeal to a busy acquisitions editor and they can put together a package that’ll impress.

“Former agent Elizabeth Evans (now an independent editor) says, “It’s not often discussed in the publishing process, but I think an important part of being a good agent is understanding how to help a writer create his or her most powerful work.”

two drops of ink catherine townsend-lyon

A Day in the Life of an Agent

Agents spend most of their time reading submissions and sending notes on the books that come across their desks. They field dozens, if not hundreds, of queries every week and have to quickly evaluate whether the book is ready to publish—and whether it has market potential.

If something interesting and well-written comes across their email, they’ll request the full manuscript to review, to make sure that the writing through the whole book lives up to the promise of the query and the sample pages.

When a book really hits home, they’ll offer to represent the author—you!—and then start the process of working with you to refine the book, create a pitch package, and find a publisher.

If you’re lucky, the agent will be able to start an auction for the rights to publish your book, getting several interested editors at different publishing houses to bid on it. The combination of the most money and the best terms and marketing support wins!

Once the book is under contract with a publisher, the agent’s work doesn’t end! Now, your agent will help coordinate edit timelines, marketing support, book tours, and more.

They’ll also keep track of contract details and collect your royalties on your behalf.

Once the book is published, some agents will also help sell subsidiary rights, which are other ways to make money off your writing. Some agents represent subsidiary rights themselves, while others have someone in their agency whose entire job is to handle subsidiary rights.

These rights include film or TV options, foreign translation rights, audiobook rights, and more.

All in all, subsidiary rights can add up to a lot of income for you as the author! But making all those deals can be very time-consuming, so it’s really handy to have an agent pursuing all those options on your behalf.

An agent’s day varies constantly, but on an average day, your agent is probably:

  • Calling editors to discuss possible projects
  • Checking royalty statements for accuracy
  • Making notes on a client’s new marketing plan
  • Scanning Publishers Weekly to see what’s been selling
  • Writing a query for a new book
  • Responding to pitch emails
  • Fielding phone calls and emails from clients
  • Taking notes on client projects
  • Reading new manuscript submissions (often after standard working hours!)

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There is so much more to learn from this fantastic and helpful article!
I thank TomCorson-Knowles for letting me share some of this with all my writer and author friends here. Please stop by and read the rest of how to get the very BEST AGENT possible and to see if you need one!

Check out what they offer for all your publishing needs…


“CAT LYON’S Reading and Writing Den”  ~ See How I can Promote Your Books!
“Lyon Literary Media & Book Promo Service”