Little Help Please

Hello Everybody,

As you probably know, self-published authors have a huge mountain to climb when it comes to breaking through the barriers setup by mega-publishers wanting to keep us at bay. Their collective attitude boils down to this. If you aren’t a previously published bestseller, don’t call us because we will never call you.

Okay. I’m a big boy in more ways than one and I understand that the game is rigged from the start. But miracles do happen and I refuse to give up on my dream. No, that doesn’t mean being a bestselling author; I don’t need riches or fame. All I need is enough to pay the bills and maybe take the family out once a month to a sit-down dinner.

Still, I refuse to give up but I’m not beyond asking for help. So here it is. I’m creating a video to promote PNTP and the production company wants me to get as many fresh reviews as possible. In the past, I’ve been remiss in asking for reviews because it’s hard for me to do. I don’t know why. I guess it’s just me. So anyway, now I’m asking. If you’ve already read PNTP please go to

https://www.amazon.com/Positives-Negatives-Tricycles-Pancakes-Pollack-ebook/dp/B00MZD3A98?ie=UTF8&keywords=L.%20Davyd%20Pollack&qid=1465056786&ref_=sr_1_4&sr=8-4

and tell me what you think.

If you haven’t read PNTP go to www.LDavydPollack.com . All my eBooks are priced at $1 including PNTP. You simply can’t beat the price. And just to show you that I’m not in it for the money; I’ll be willing to trade a free copy of any eBook for a review. All you have to do is go to my website contact page and ask me for one.

Thanks in advance for all your help,

Davyd

 

 

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Alley Cats to a T-Bone

In my last couple of posts, I tried to illustrate why it’s so hard for an author to make a living by writing. Hopefully, I succeeded in that endeavor so that this post will be well received. The truth is, as authors, we’re just way too close to our work to effectively sell it. That’s why we have a hard time doing things like writing blurbs and synopses.

Quite frankly, I’m probably like 99.9% of all other authors who can’t figure out why it’s so hard to get the word out. Hell, all you have to do to find a dozen alley cats is throw a day old T-Bone out the window an viola, cats. I may not know much, but I’m pretty sure my fictional musings are better than a leftover T-Bone.

At least one can hope.

Anyway, when it comes to marketing I was stumped once again with the same old question. What else can a writer do to get the word out? So, I enlisted the help of Miranda. For those who don’t know, she’s my girlfriend, my brown-eyed girl, capable of seeing past my obstacle of close proximity (reference my last two posts).

When I asked her what she thought I should do, she responded like someone tasked with pointing out an elephant in the room. She said, “Why don’t you write an interactive post. People like getting involved and this way you can enlist the help of others too.” The not just me implication sunk in later.

Needless to say, my proximity disability immediately kicked in and it took her another half hour to explain why this was a good idea. I’m still skeptical but here it goes. A big part of marketing is getting the word out, and to that end, I put forward this challenge:

To all my followers (Blog, FB, Twitter),

While you are reconnecting with family and friends as the holidays approach, take a moment to mention this new novelist you came across. His name is L. Davyd Pollack and he has some interesting things to say. Check out his website and blog. He’s also on FB and Twitter.

Notice that I didn’t say anything about buying a book. The challenge here is to get the word out to at least ten new followers in all fifty states (not 57, I’m not greedy). That’s it, ten new followers in each of these United States. And for the new followers, make sure to touch base with a post to let me know your home state.

Thank you all for your help and hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season.

BTW, and this is not part of the challenge, but if any of my followers are looking for a gift that their special someone doesn’t already have, try one of my books  . . . Just saying.

Happy Holidays to all,

Davyd

 

Books Be That . . . My Child

Let’s see.

Where do I start?

I wish this subject were something

near and dear to my heart.

 All rhyming aside, it really would make my life as an author a whole lot more convenient. But then, I wouldn’t be a writer, I’d be a marketing manager or more specifically, a book marketing manager working on ways to market my books. That’s what I want to talk about today, book marketing. And yes, it’s an absurd subject for anyone who considers themselves a real novelist. Here’s why.

 I’m going to assume that any adult reading this will be able to empathize with the following scenario regardless of their parental status. And to broaden the range, if you aren’t a parent but do consider your pet(s) as part of the family, that will do nicely. OK, back to being an author who is expected to be able to make a living from selling his or her books.

 Selling your own book should be an almost impossible task, and if it isn’t, I personally think there is something seriously wrong with you. Picture yourself standing behind a table with portraits of your children, and /or pets displayed proudly. Don’t worry; you’re not the only one. It’s a big room (as in book fair), and there are a hundred other people doing the exact same thing.

 

Suddenly, a stranger who you’ve never seen before and probably will never see again, walks up to your table, picks up the picture of your first-born son and says, “How much for this one?”

You smile with glee and pride, “$14.95.”

Remember, you are not selling portraits; you are selling your heart and soul. As far as you’re concerned, it’s a steal at twice the price. But your customer says, “Oh, I didn’t realize he was that expensive. How much for that one?” The customer points to the picture of a much smaller child, your first-born daughter.

“$8.95.”

The customer doesn’t even touch your daughter’s picture. Instead, she starts to back away.

 You think fast and before you have a chance to rationalize the consequences, you shout, “I’m running a special for today only. Both children for $19.95, while they last.”

 A second smile appears, but this one is on the face of your customer. She isn’t smiling because she just bought two brand new and beautiful children: children, both of whom represent the best of your being. No. She’s smiling because she just bought them for a discount.

Davyd

 

After the Book Fair, 3-28-15

So this past weekend was my first book fair, but before I tell you how it went, let me tell you how I thought it had a real possibility of going. When it comes to work or business, I worry about the things that can go bad and let the things that go good, care for themselves. It’s a habit. For me it’s a way of making sure that everything goes as well as it should, but also, it lends itself to a sense of negativity that can be perceived by those around me as a downer. Truth be told, it isn’t a downer, it’s paranoia, and my greatest fear was that I wouldn’t sell a single book.

Now for the update. The morning drive to the venue couldn’t be better, weather-wise. It’s Florida, in March, need I say more? But for me none of that mattered, the car could breakdown, there could be a traffic accident, there could be an overzealous highway patrolman, or a simple flat tire. Any one, or combination of all, could and probably would, cause my first public appearance as a published author, to be ruined.

The forty-five minute journey took over an hour due to the fact that on a Saturday morning, when traffic should be light, it wasn’t. Good thing I thought about that and left a few minutes early. Unfortunately, each and every traffic signal along the way had a fully functional L. Davyd Pollack approach detector, which timed the switch from green to red in a perfectly choreographed display of delay. Fortunately, I worried about that too and my early departure time accounted for it. The entire trip was long and excruciating, and made even longer by the longest train on record that reached the railroad crossing just in time to light the flashing stop signals, and drop the barricade bars right in front of me. I did not account for that but alas; we arrived right on time, maybe five minutes later than planned but as they say, good enough for government work.

Then it was time for us to set up the display table and it all went very smoothly, which should have been a hint of impending doom. With a place for everything and everything in its place, the display table looked great, inviting, but not intimidating. When I looked at it from the front, I thought to myself, this is a table I would buy a book from. I was relieved—but my relief was fleeting. When I originally registered for the book fair, I specifically inquired about access to electric. Part of my presentation was to have my Kindle ready and waiting to show off my website/blog, and how easy it is to buy my books online. I was assured that there would be access to power and to my great surprise, there was. Only one problem, the access was twenty feet away and the extension cord that I brought just in case access to electric wasn’t as accessible as advertized, was only fifteen feet long. And the downward spiral begins.

However, defeat was not to be snatched from victory so easily. Thanks to the help of fellow author, R. L. Austin and his six-foot multiple-plug extension cord, my power problem evaporated. Thank you R. L.

There I was, front and center sitting behind my first book fair display ever, ready to take the ultimate insult, the biggest slap in the face an author can experience. That being, not selling even one copy of the marvelous book I poured my heart and soul into for the past ten years. The fair opened at 10:00 a.m. and at first nothing, but what do you know, a few minutes later a customer approached. I was nervous, real nervous and my presentation was a little stilted, and then, the customer nodded and moved on. It was okay though, first time jitters and all. Being in sales (one of my real life jobs), I knew there would be more chances to screw up and moments later, there were.

Shortly after, another potential fan walked up and heard a more polished version of my spiel, then pulled out his wallet and bought. I don’t know for sure, and of course, I can’t prove it, but I think there’s an excellent chance that I made the first sale of the book fair. My greatest fear evaporated just as easily as my power problem. A few minutes after that, I think I may have made the second sale of the book fair. And guess what. I sold the second book to that poor gentleman who had to endure my stumbling and stilted first pitch. He walked around to all the tables and after giving everyone a once over, came back to me. All I can say is WOW.

At this time, it should be pointed out that I’ve said us and we, not just me. This isn’t a mistake. My girlfriend Miranda, along with her son and daughter, joined me for this momentous opportunity to fail. The kids are still too young to stay home alone. Though I was fully aware that witnesses to my potential failure could only serve to make the experience worse, it was a good thing they were there. First and foremost, I wouldn’t be alone should I totally embarrass myself, and second, they were a great help. Her son took it upon himself to make sure that the sales force had all the promotional supplies they needed, and her daughter (the aforementioned sales force), used those supplies to the best of her ability. Thanks again guys.

In sales, there’s a saying and it goes something like this. He/she can sell ice to an Eskimo. Having been in sales, I knew many people who claimed they could. I never actually met anyone who had a snowball’s chance in H—Florida of doing so. That is, until yesterday. After watching Miranda’s daughter work, all I have to say is Eskimos, beware . . . and don’t forget to hide your wallets. By the way, it won’t do you any good. You’re going to buy the ice, but if you make it too easy, the poor child gets bored.

Suffice it to say that halfway through the fair, when many of my co-authors had already packed it in for the day, L. Davyd Pollack and his dedicated sales force (headed by mom Miranda, an excellent networker), were still closing deals and moving books. All in all, it was an outstanding success for me as a new author/publisher.

Now, to put things in perspective, I didn’t sell out. At the end of the day, I still had a box of books about two thirds of the way full, which I gladly had to load back into the car. Why gladly? Because, when I arrived that morning to set up the display table, I brought in two boxes, both full.

Thanks to everyone, especially all my new fans. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Indie-Author vs. Vanity Publishing

I’m not a historian and I don’t feel like doing detailed research to back this up, but I think we can all agree that the publishing industry is evolving. It used to be that as a fledgling writer, if you couldn’t get an agent, you couldn’t get a publisher. For decades (maybe even a century), that was how writers got their start. First, they had to be good enough to convince an agent to take them on, and then they had to be good enough for the agent to sell to a publishing house. Of course, if that didn’t happen, it was never the agents fault—poor writer.

If publishers needed a filter, then agents were the first sieve, after that, their internal review committee was the cheesecloth in the colander. If you made it through that straining challenge, you were rewarded with a contract that most likely had no advance, a ten to fifteen percent commission rate, and out of that, you had to give fifteen percent to your agent. And lest you thought you might out smart that agent by renegotiating the fee—guess again. Your check from the publisher didn’t come to you. In fact, it wasn’t even made out to you, it was usually a joint check made out to you and your agent, or just made out to your agent. They took their cut before you saw dollar one.

I think it was sometime in the mid-nineties, computers were commonplace and word processors made everybody an editor (yeah right). Anyway, mom and pop publishing houses were springing up faster than Dell could ship PC’s and printers. Soon, there were thousands of publishing options available to the would-be writer, and as time went on, demand and sophistication increased too. The big publishers had a real problem because while product quality was going up, competition was keeping prices affordable. How affordable? I wonder if anyone has ever surveyed people who say they’ve written a book, and asked them if they still have a garage full of unsold copies. That’s how affordable.

Sure, anybody who wanted to write a book and publish it, could, at their expense, but then what? Yep, the big New York publishers had a problem: it was called change. But they also had a huge safety line—distribution. Maybe it was then that the term vanity publisher was coined and the PR campaign was so expertly employed, that the term took on a negative connotation that still resonates today. It implies that you aren’t good enough for legitimate publishers, so you paid someone to put your words in a book.

In many cases, this was probably true but not all, yet none, at least none that I know of ever broke through. The sad thing is, we as readers are the ones who pay the price; we will never get the chance to read those garage classics, those backyard bestsellers that may have been. Why? Because there were a lack of distribution channels fostered by a negative image that shut the independent author out of the industry.

It was looking pretty bleak until the Literary Gods took pity and sprung forth from the internet, the eBook. Hallelujah. Thank you Amazon. The distribution problem evaporated, but wait, the stigma of being self-published did not.

Well, it took some time but the independent author, the one who never majored in English Literature or went to journalism school, finally has a means to distribute. Sure, there is plenty of vanity publishing going on but that gets weeded out fast, as it should, by the free market. But for those of us who take our craft seriously and put in the time, effort, and money to perfect our work, the independent author has a place to turn, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Conventional publishers have the same problem they did before, and the PR campaigns are in gear. But the truth is, good writing is good writing, no matter where it’s published, and the truth is out.

I’ve never thought of myself as a Vanity Writer and I’ve never contracted with a Vanity Publisher. Today, my novel is published and I’m the writer/publisher. And you know what—I like it.

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