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Indie Authors & Writers: Are We All Fools?

Is indie publishing a fool’s errand? A big April Fool’s Day prank?

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April Fool’s Day traces back to ancient civilizations like the Hindus and Romans who celebrated the New Year on April 1 which closely follows the vernal equinox. After Pope Gregory ordered a new calendar, the Gregorian Calendar (of course being the pontiff he was able to name the calendar after himself) to replace the old Julian Calendar, New Year’s Day was moved from the old April 1st date to January 1st.

Most people associate April 1st as the end of winter and spring fever kicks into high gear. Spring is a time of rebirth and for many of us reevaluation. We shed our winter sweaters and boots for breezy summer fabrics and flip flops, we stare in the mirror and hope a beach umbrella is wide enough to hide our backside! Writing is a solitary profession, someone should warn you it’s also sedentary. To make matters worse, but who are we kidding what’s worse than the thought of putting on a swimsuit, it’s also tax season! Every year at tax time, while trying to come up with a valid reason why the Vikings S2 DVD is a business expense, this writer considers what she can accomplish with the rest of the writing year. I mean the first quarter has just slipped through my fingers like gold coins through Viking fingers. I feel like I’ve accomplished zilch for 2016 other than just figuring out that write off.

Maybe, for many of us, indie publishing is April Fool’s Day everyday. A successful April Fool’s Day can be accomplished in three simple steps. Step 1: send someone on a fool’s errand looking for something that doesn’t exist. Step 2: play pranks. Step 3: make people believe in ridiculous things or something that’s false. I have to wonder if my indie publishing journey doesn’t follow this three step fool proof method.

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Step 1: Sending someone on a fool’s errand looking for something that doesn’t exist.

Every indie author has bought into this concept: write a good book and readers will come. We’re all looking for an audience to love our work, someone who’ll call our heroes book boyfriends and envy our heroines ability to tame the unattainable playboy. We’re not looking for a few people to read and admire our work, let’s be honest, we’re hoping that thousands will and if we’re truly honest, we’re seeking ‘buzzillions’ of people to read, review and buzz about our books. Since I’ve started my indie journey I’ve sent over 754,014 users to my various books on Amazon, I know this because I can track the clicks on my titles through BookLinker. These are just the people I’ve sent via social media to Amazon in the last five years, I’ve probably sent another 250K to other sites like B&N, KOBO, iBooks, etc. That’s over a million clicks and I haven’t sold a million books, I’d be happy right now if I’d sold 20% of that, but I haven’t! If this isn’t that the epitome of a fool’s errand I don’t know what is.

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Step 2: Playing pranks.

There are a lot of pranks and pranksters in indie publishing. Let’s talk Amazon, the largest retailer of indie books, most recently we learned that Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited Program doesn’t actually count the number of pages read. An author or publisher can put a link on the opening page of a title and if the reader clicks on the link it takes them to the end of the ebook and then the author is automatically paid a whopping half penny for each page of the book, even though the reader didn’t read a single page. A blogger recently exposed a 15 year old boy who loaded ‘books’ containing these type of links at the front of all his ‘titles’ which took readers immediately to the end of the book. He got paid! The figures on his KDP payout page were staggering. Unethical much? Yes, but you have to admit, as pranks go, this is an awesome and profitable way to stick it to Amazon. Speaking of shenanigans, there are authors who broke up their full length novels into three or four, or possibly a dozen, shorter books and uploaded them all to Amazon so that they got paid for each completed book read under the original version of Kindle Unlimited. Is this gaming the system or being a smart marketer? If you think these pranks don’t effect you as an indie author, you’d be wrong. The reason Kindle Unlimited writers are being paid such a tiny amount per page read (I use that term loosely) now is because all those short works who got paid out at full length pricing under the original Kindle Unlimited program. Did they prank Amazon or rip them off? Amazon is all about making a profit and they need to recover those losses. So in this regard, all the honest, hard-working authors who don’t try to manipulate the Amazon system are the one’s that got pranked. But Amazon isn’t the only place where indie authors are being pranked, every day book pirates load our manuscripts onto illegal sites and distribute them for free, or worse yet, make money off our work with little or no regard to our intellectual property rights. Readers who are kindly given ARC’s for review resell them on eBay. There has been a huge spike in plagiarism, and if stealing another author’s words isn’t the ultimate prank, I don’t know what is. That is until Amazon launches it’s ebook resale site!

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Step 3: Making people believe in ridiculous things or something that’s false.

Every publishing expert tells authors to write a good book, then rewrite it, write as many drafts as necessary to create a masterpiece. Get it professionally edited, get it copyedited, get it beta tested and mother approved! Put professional artwork on the cover, write a kick ass blurb, market the sh*t out of it. Splatter it on Facebook and have little birds sing it’s praises on Twitter. Instagram your cat cuddling your book baby to your four ‘buzzillion’ followers. Create Goodreads giveaways and build your newsletter subscribers lists. Write blog posts and send out timely newsletters. Do all this and they will come! This is where my personal belief in ridiculous things comes to fruition, I’ve done all these things, and I’ve done it for some time now and it’s getting me no where. Maybe the bottom line is my work isn’t good enough to make it. Someone close to me recently pointed this out to me, it’s a person I trust and it will always be in the back of my mind now, of course it hurts, but as is so often the case, the truth usually does.

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Maybe this person’s advice is correct and maybe it’s not, maybe I’m a fool for holding onto my good reviews like a leaky life preserver in a tsunami of books. Or maybe I’m just a magical thinker, hoping that someday something I write will strike a nerve, hit a cord and hit the NY Times bestseller’s list. Or scarier still, maybe I’ve been on a fool’s errand all these years.

Maybe I’m just an April Fool! How about you?

Happy reading, writing, & reviewing!
Elizabeth

We Need to Talk…

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We need to talk romance.

I’m all about romance. I love romance. I read romance. I write romance.

I’ve always had a fascination with this genre and it started with my first Danielle Steel book when I was probably about 13 years old. As I grew up, I read everything from New York Times Bestsellers to Austen to Chopin. I love everything from the funny, spunky heroines in Susan Elizabeth Phillips work to the historical heroes and heroines in Outlander and Into the Wilderness. I love to sprinkle my reading with paranormal romance and horror, I’m a big fan of Dracula as well as Anne Rice’s work. So with all these muses I’ve spread my wings and written in several of these genres.

But I think the main reason I write romance is my mom. It was her favorite genre and I don’t think I remember a time when she wasn’t reading a book with an embracing couple on the cover. I don’t know if she devoured romance novels because it was something lacking in her own life and I can’t ask her since she passed when I was only twenty. I can say she inspired my love of words and encouraged me by taking me to the library weekly. So I guess you could say my writing is an ode to my mother and whatever she loved about falling in love!

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This is my mom & I’m the cutie in the carriage!

With all that in mind, I’ve spent the beginning of the year working with my talented graphic artist to create a new website to showcase my work. I hope you’ll stop by and check out the results. Lot’s of wonderful pages for all my series. I can’t believe I’ve got four series going, my goal is to add another book in each series. If you’ve already read my work I’d love to hear your thoughts on where you’d like the characters and the series to go, I’m open to any and all suggestions, so leave me a comment on my contact page. I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for visiting,
XOXOX

Elizabeth Marx Books

Who is your JUST IN CASE?

Everyone should have one person they can always count on, but Scarlett Marbry is parentless, she never knew her father and her mother committed suicide when she was only sixteen. Scarlett doesn’t think she can depend on anyone other than herself, but buried deep in her heart is the dream of Revell Marshall, the boy who’d always been there for her, the boy who’d been older and wiser, the boy she ran away from. Revell was like the chorus of a Sacred Harp song she could never forget and yet she couldn’t allow herself to even hum the tune. He was the dream buried beneath secrets she thought she’d never uncover … until now.
Continue reading “Who is your JUST IN CASE?”

Alex Volkow likes to tease Polly Anna, but he’s learning the pleasure of pleasing her…

 

We’re celebrating the upcoming release of  Just Close Enough by Elizabeth Marx, on December 1st.

A man out for revenge…
When Alexander Volkow raced into Crossroads, Alabama and bought up half of Broad Street, the entire town questioned his motives, but he didn’t care. He did it for one reason and only one reason — to find the man who went AWOL from the military with his brother, Kon. Knowing Kon, something is terribly wrong, and Alex is set on retribution.
But when all roads lead to the town’s favorite daughter, who just happens to be the missing man’s fiancée, Alex can’t help but be mesmerized by her alluring southern charm and sexy little snort.
A woman searching for a way out…

Continue reading “Alex Volkow likes to tease Polly Anna, but he’s learning the pleasure of pleasing her…”

Can he get JUST CLOSE ENOUGH to get his revenge???

 A man out for revenge…
When Alexander Volkow raced into Crossroads, Alabama and bought up half of Broad Street, the entire town questioned his motives, but he didn’t care. He did it for one reason and only one reason—to find the man who went AWOL from the military with his brother, Kon. Knowing Kon, something is terribly wrong, and Alex is set on retribution.
But when all roads lead to the town’s favorite daughter, who just happens to be the missing man’s fiancée, Alex can’t help but be mesmerized by her alluring southern charm and sexy little snort.
A woman searching for a way out…
No amount of bartending, snake charming, or organic cotton growing can stop the fear blooming inside Polly Anna Coots. She knows if her MIA fiancée is found alive, he’ll want to follow through with their marriage plans, but she has had a change of heart—and not just because of the new man she can’t get out of her head. If her fiancée returns and she reneges on their future, she’ll end up DOA.

Continue reading “Can he get JUST CLOSE ENOUGH to get his revenge???”

Holding On & Letting Go

I cradled your hand.
He cradled your head.
We’ll cradle your heart.
FOREVER.
When I laid my head on my pillow Saturday night, for the first time in eighteen years, five months and twelve days I didn’t know exactly where you were. Revisiting the final moments before I left you at college for the first time brought tears to my eyes and the watershed would go on for hours that night and bleed into the next day.
Intellectually I knew there were other short periods of time, times when you went to sleep away camp or leadership camp, when I didn’t know where you were at any given moment. During those short experiments, I knew you were coming back. This time I had to accept that you were on a road of your own making, enveloped in the first phase of your own life journey. An excursion filled with dreams and decisions that are rooted in a story we started long ago but that only you get to write the important chapters too.
I cried some more, feeling as if I’d lost you. I mean, I knew physically where I’d dropped you off. I had the empty boxes, the leftover bedding wrappings, and the dwindling bank account to prove that it really happened, that you were living on your own. It was as if by depositing you in that tiny room the size of a walk in closet that I’d given you to the world.

Continue reading “Holding On & Letting Go”

BEST BOOKSHELF IN THE WORLD

There is one bookshelf, more than any other, that I’d love to see my books on. A shelf at the Chicago Public Library. My love affair with libraries started when I was a child growing up in the Chicago and continues today because every city I visit I try to check out the library. The library was a refuge for me. It was a place where I could go and not only feel safe, but I was surrounded by worlds and dreams that at that time I felt out of my realm of possibility.

The Chicago Public Library is the public library system serving the City of Chicago. It consists of 79 branches, including a central library, two regional libraries, and branches distributed throughout the city.

The American Library Association reports the library holding 5,721,334 volumes, making it the 30th largest library system in the United Statesby volumes held. The library is the second largest public library system in the Midwest, after the Detroit Public Library.
Continue reading “BEST BOOKSHELF IN THE WORLD”

I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE ________???

I think everyone should have…

…one person you can always count on. The person you can turn too in a time of trouble or loss. The person you know will always be there for you. This isn’t a ‘just in case’ in the sense of a back up plan, but JUST IN CASE as in the real deal. A person who’ll do anything for you no questions asked. It’s the kind of just in case that’s a daunting responsibility and requires the person to be solely committed to another person’s happiness.

But the question isn’t more complicated than that, the question is who can you always depend on? Who is the one person in the world who’ll always be there for you?

Who is your JUST IN CASE? Continue reading “I THINK EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE ________???”

THE BEACH, BEACH READS & A GIVEAWAY!

Sandy toes and salty kisses….
You might think a Windy City writer doesn’t know much about the beach, but you’d be wrong. Chicago is on the Great Lakes and we have wonderful beaches along both the north and south shores of Lake Michigan. I grew up in the city and the place everyone wanted to be was at North Avenue Beach. Now I live about a mile from Sunrise Beach and Park on the North Shore.
The beautiful thing about Sunrise Beach is that it’s very quiet and peaceful. There is a huge bluff that overlooks the beach and traffic and cars remain above and you have to walk about two stories down to the beach. It’s nestled into this lovely little cove.

Continue reading “THE BEACH, BEACH READS & A GIVEAWAY!”

??? Friggatriskaidekaphobia ???

 

 

Friggatriskaidekaphobia

 

Ever suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia? Me neither, but friggatriskaidekaphobia is a fear of Friday the 13th.  Frigga is the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen.

Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became common. So why do people think Friday the 13th is a fateful day? It’s probably the combination of two older superstitions: thirteen is an unlucky number and Friday is an unlucky day.

In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve Apostles, etc. Whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, breaking this rule of completeness. Another superstition, thought by some to derive from a Norse myth is that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.
Continue reading “??? Friggatriskaidekaphobia ???”