Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Between Motion and Rest

Christmas has slipped past, and many of my friends are lighting their second or third candle. So it’s officially vacation down time, after the gift exchange energy high and into the warm thoughtful days. But we are also rushing toward New Year’s Day, an annual time of introspection and planning which energizes us thinking of the future. So, what do you call that space between motion and rest?

This is the time we at Intrigue Publishing re-evaluate our business plan. Does our mission statement still clearly define our actual objective? Does our slogan (Writing that CAN’T be ignored) say the right thing? And have we clearly defined our genres so that authors know what to submit, and so that readers know what to expect when they pick up a book from Intrigue Publishing     

How aggressively will we move more deeply into audio books, foreign rights, mass market paperbacks and other alternative income streams? Seeking out additional forms of publishing is expensive but can be the best way to serve our authors.

Is it wise to contract for series books as opposed to stand-alones? Can we build enough of an audience for one novel that they are eager to come back for more?

Do we want to attract a greater number of submissions? And if so, how long before we get swamped? Each manuscripts deserves due consideration. We never want to risk short changing a great book.

How much energy do we want to devote to hand sales events and conferences. These can be costly gambles but they do promote our brand and thus, our authors.

And speaking of our authors, to what extend do we want to tie them in to our marketing efforts?  How can we best help them to make connections with book clubs around the country? Which social media efforts, giveaways, or contests will pay off for us all?

And there are purely administrative considerations. Can we refine our processes for calculating royalties, acquiring copyrights, maintaining the necessary tax records, capturing expenses and tracking sales (paper and the multiple ebook outlets)?

So in this ethereal space in between motion and rest, we here at Intrigue Publishing are putting a magnifying glass on our business plan and everything we do to try to find the best way to support our authors while bring the best possible novels to market.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Eternal Question: What to Read Next

If you’re an avid reader, eventually you will come to a point when you become so aware of the broad ocean of published books in the universe that you may find yourself paralyzed by indecision. You want to read them all but can really only work on one at a time. From this vast collection of literature, how do you decide what to read next? I know that feeling. Let me suggest that the selection process should be based on some simple questions.

What do I want to read? – What genres appeal to you? Maybe you’re a big-time mystery reader but you’ve wondered about sci-fi. This might be the time to give the new genre a spin.

Who do I want to read? – What authors have you enjoyed before? Maybe they have more books out there and a writer you’ve already liked is always a good bet.

Is there an unfinished series in your past? – Just about every fiction genre has notable series If you’ve read one or two and liked them, it might be fun to get the whole list and read thru the series. (If you choose the Hannibal Jones Mysteries or Stark & O’Brien thrillers message me and I’ll give you the list in order.)

What do you like to do? – many books may feature characters who share your hobbies or interests. Take a walk through your local library’s catalog using your hobby as a keyword and you may turn up some books you’ll enjoy.

What do you already have? – When I can’t decide on my next read I always review my own stacks. Sometimes I find a book I’d completely forgotten I had. That’s always a happy discovery, since I’ve already paid for that one.

What are others reading? – If your friends are readers you can usually get great recommendations from them. (If your friends are NOT readers, you need to find new friends.) Reading a book after a friend, sibling or parent read it has the hidden advantage of creating a great conversation starter and possibly greater bonding. (“What? You liked that one too? Who was your favorite character?)

What’s selling? – Stuck for the next good read I may check the USA Today or New York Times bestseller list. Sometimes I want to read the books that are making headlines just so I’m in the know. At the very least it helps you know what’s hot in popular culture.

Answering these questions should lead you to some great reads.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Best Gifts for Book Lovers

This is the time of year when most of us begin the search for the perfect present. Today I’ll try to make it easier, at least for the avid readers on your list.

Naturally, I think the best gift for anyone is one of my novels. But what if your friend has already read all my books? The next step is a web site called Heavy.com. They’ve listed what they believe are the Top 10 Best Christmas Gifts for Book Lovers - starting with a cool shirt that proudly proclaims: “If I Can’t Take My Book I’m Not Going.”

But what if you have eleven friends?  Buzzfeed is there for you with a list of 24 Insanely Clever Gifts for Book Lovers. I don’t know how insane they are, but I’m crazy about those floating bookshelves.

Amongst all these ideas don’t forget that books themselves are idea for under the tree or in a big stocking. They’re easy to wrap, inexpensive to mail (use media mail) and never go out of style. Plus there are no wires, no batteries are needed and there are no small pieces to pose a threat to small children.

The only time books might NOT be perfect is if your friends are authors themselves. That big stack of great ideas previously listed are mostly good for writers too, but if all else fails you can always turn to Amazon.  You can search just about anything and they’ll gather the right things for you. I searched for “Gifts for Writers” and got several pages of cool options including a Writer’s Emergency Pack and a coffee mug that says, “Please Do Not Annoy the Writer, she may put you in a book and kill you.”

Finally, remember that you don’t need to spend a dime to give your published writer friends a wonderful gift. There’s nothing they’ll appreciate more than a nice review of their work, posted on Amazon or Goodreads. They’ll feel the love from that gesture as much as from anything you can wrap and put under their tree.