Members of Texas Authors, Inc., are welcome to post on our blog for other fellow members, or for the general public.
Each blog post will be approved by the website administrator and must not contain promotion of ones book. This is meant as an educational posting program.
by Orna Ross CEO of ALLI
There are three kinds of self-publishing author, distinguished by their reasons for self-publishing and their attitude to readers and the business of author-publishing. At ALLi, we give them different names, so we know who we are talking about, and how to best serve them. ALLi Director Orna Ross is here to tell us about the three different types of self-publishing author.
1) The Self-Publishers
Those we think of as “the self-publishers” are primarily interested in writing, and the content of the book. Though they may also enjoy the tasks associated with publishing, they have relatively little interest in the business side of things. They “publish” their work in the sense of making it public but they don’t give much time or thought to other aspects of publishing, like marketing, rights licensing or running an author-publishing business.
For these writers, the publication is primarily self-expression of self, hence the moniker. They may, or may not, produce well-crafted writing and may or may not produce well-crafted books — but they are less interested in reaching readers than in expressing something and putting it out there. Often, they are publishing a book for family, friends or their own community.
Many self-publishing writers go to great trouble to create a great book but even if the craft is not perfectly executed, this does not mean that the effort itself is not valid, or in some cases even noble. We all know that writing is magic, a powerful agent of healing and transformation. What is not so often acknowledged is that so too is the act of publication. For a writer, and a self-publisher, a less-than-perfect book is often the way to a better one and the snobbery that has traditionally been meted out to these writers’ efforts is ill-judged, as snobbery always is.
Self-publishing is giving voice to many previously unheard writers and themes and democratizing access to book publication. This should delight anyone who claims to care about writing and writers.
2) The Indie Authors
These are the writers who are working to become fulltime author-publishers. Some arrive at this stage from having produced a book and now wanting to take it further: find readers, earn money, set up in author business. Others know before they’ve formatted a word that this is their ambition.
Becoming an indie author is not just about learning and doing the day-to-day labor of editorial and design and social media and author business or finding the tools and techniques and platforms that allow them to publish their book(s) well. Success in this challenging field usually calls for personal growth and a change of mindset. Indie authors are the core of ALLi’s membership, “indie”, not because it allows writers to borrow some secondhand cool from the worlds of film and music but because an independent growth mindset is core to what we do: our most defining feature, our most essential tool.
At ALLi, we spot when a self-publisher goes indie. The defining difference is that they think beyond the first book. They start setting and meeting creative goals and intentions. Soon they are finishing more books and reaching more readers, learning from their mistakes, experiments and explorations, and taking the lessons into the next book.
It takes the writer on the creative ride of their life and most need a good deal of help and support at the start to understand what it is to be an indie author and meet the new ideas and challenges. If they come to self-publishing thinking it’s second-best to trade-publishing, they can go through a tough time at first, and are more likely to fall away, defeated not so much by the work needed, as the attitude they’ve brought to the work.
Those who stay the course begin to engage with, not resist, the work inherent in good publishing: working with suitable beta readers and editors; understanding where their books fit in the wider publishing ecosystem; learning what genres and format and categories fit their projects; discovering what they have to say; finding their voice.
If they come to self-publishing thinking it second-best to trade-publishing, they can go through a tough time at first, and are more likely to fall away, defeated not so much by the work needed, as the attitude they bring to the work. Those who stay the course begin to engage with, not resist, the work inherent in good publishing.
3. The Authorpreneurs
Authorpreneurs are succeeding in author business. They have adopted an independent, creative growth mindset and embrace the idea that marketing and business, as well as writing, can be creative. They have mastered three different sets of skills: writing good books, publishing them well, and running an author business, a significant creative and commercial achievement.
And they are consciously applying entrepreneurial skills and mindset and digital tools to making a sustainable and ongoing living as an author.
They know how to promote, market, sell and profit from their writing, not as a once-off, but through the dedicated application of one of ten possible business models.
1. Book Sales Only, One Outlet
2. Book Sales Only, Multiple Outlets & Formats
3. Book Sales Plus Speaking or Performance and Other Content
4. Book Sales Plus Teaching
5. Book Sales Plus Reader Membership
6. Book Sales Plus Influencer Income
7. Book Sales Plus Patronage
8. Book Sales Plus Affiliate Income
9. Book Sales Plus Rights Licensing
10. Combination Model
Authorpreneur is a made-up word (author + entrepreneur), a new word for a new kind of job. Some dislike it, thinking it faddy or forced, but it is gaining traction in the self-publishing sector because there is no other word that so well describes this kind of author. Authorpreneurs have always been there. Charles Dickens, for example, ran business model number three, incorporating lucrative performances of his books into a regular writing routine that generated millions of words. Dickens understood the value of his copyright, running lengthy legal battles over infringement of his work in the US. Today digital tools and tech are seeing entrepreneurial authors emerging in far greater number.
This has led us to transform what was previously our Professional Membership to Authorpreneur Membership. More on that next week.
OVER TO YOU
Which of the three kinds of self-publishing author are you? Do you think there are other types of self-publishing authors?
By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief for Perspective Publishing
First Wave’ Deadline is July 15
A deadline has been issued by the Audio Publishers Association (APA) for the “first wave” of submissions to its high-profile Audie Awards.
Submissions are due July 15 for titles published between November 1 of last year and August 31. A second wave of submissions, covering titles published in September and October of this year will be due October 2.
Guidance from the APA assures publishers of the organization’s leniency and understanding of production and distribution challenges.
“We know that not every title will be ready for distribution by the first submission deadline,” the APA staff writes. “This is okay. Please do your best to submit titles by each deadline, but know that we will be lenient in imposing the late fee for titles published after the submission deadline No. 1 but before the beginning of the second entry period.”
There are no rule changes from the 2018 Audie Awards guidelines, and those entering will find full information here. Once more, for example, titles can be submitted in only one category with the exception of narrator categories and for the Audiobook of the Year award. An Audiobook of the Year award requires submission of a supplemental form (provided on the site) for use by jurors. That form is due October 31.
As with the change in timing that occurred this year, the 2020 Audies will again not be awarded during BookExpo but instead will be presented at a gala on March 2 in New York City.
Finalists are to be notified in January so that there’s time for extensive visibility to the news media and industry prior to the awards announcements through an extensive display on the APA site
Categories of Entry
The judging process for the Audie Awards goes in stages.
The initial stage is a qualifying round in which at least 30 minutes of each submission is listened to by judges, who then recommend whether the entry should move forward. The recommendations of several judges are compiled and titles are moved forward or not based on those aggregate recommendations.
In the second round, new judges listen to complete audiobooks submitted and then rank the titles they’re hearing.
A third set of judges then score the titles ranked for performance, direction, production, and content.
“Judges,” the program writes, “are selected from a wide variety of listeners, which includes audiobook fans and experienced evaluators, whose common enthusiasm for the format results in selecting the best productions that meet the organization’s four criteria: performance, direction, production, and content.
Audies judges are required to keep their judging assignments confidential. Full information and instructions can be found here.
Over the past few months, I have been labeled by some, as being an “Ass” or being too ‘harsh” in the newsletters that go out to the membership. While some of you can say that is the case, you need to know I am coming from a place of love and support, even when it appears harsh. It’s called Tough Love.
We are all grown-ups and, in most cases, have raised families. I am sure, at some point in time, you have had to use Tough Love to get your child or loved one in line and off a road that could damage them.
It is no different for me in how I am approaching you now. I see you as a member of my family and not a bag full of money waiting for me to reach in and take from you. When I have to pass on to the membership increase, the cost of events and programs, I do so with high anxiety, for I know most of you cannot afford the extra expense. But, at the same time, I have no means to foot the bill for all the programs and opportunities I have created that are designed to help YOU!
It is when I see family members sitting on their behinds and expect to be handed things without working for them, that I get frustrated and discouraged. After eight years of this, it’s time for some Tough Love. Therefore, that is why you are seeing my emails becoming a bit more forceful and direct. Consider them as a strong verbal wake-up call.
You joined this organization to become better at marketing and selling your books. To have access to more effective ways to get the word out that you exist and that your books are worthy of being read. That’s great and are the right reasons to join.
My job is to find new and innovative ways that are most effective for you to do that. And, I work hard every day to continually discover new and better means to help you succeed.
However, if you don’t use the services and programs, you will never find out what works and doesn’t work. You have to get off your ass, stop waiting on someone to do it for you, and get to work! Writing the book was the easy part, now it’s time to market it!
If you want to sit back and just write, that’s great! You need to plan on hiring people who will charge you thousands of dollars and let them rip you off while you get nothing in exchange for your money. But, when you do that, you give up all rights to bitch and complain because they didn’t do anything to benefit you or further your writing career.
There have been members who have joined our organization and expected us to sell their books and make them rich (no matter how many times I tell them we are here to help, NOT do the work for them. We simply provide effective tools for them to use). They seem to ignore that, and when they don’t sell hundreds of books or get rich quick, they complain that we are the problem and that we ripped them off.
I created all the various organizations, events, and programs to help YOU! I am not in it to get rich. If I was, the membership dues would be outrageous, and I would limit the number of people I help to a small number.
No other organization in the WORLD does what we do! I have been saying that for years. I continue to stay at the forefront of technology, programs, and other newsworthy items to give you the tools to stay one step ahead of the hundreds of thousands of other authors in the world.
There are over 9,000 published Texas authors, and it is my goal to help as many of them as I can. The reason for this goal is very simple. It builds a stronger family that supports each other. It creates opportunities that otherwise may not exist. However, we cannot continue to do all that we do if we are forced to raise prices or cut back on services due to limited funds. We MUST have more members working with us to help the family as a whole.
Most of you have been members for years and have grown extensively through the various programs and events. Share with your fellow authors in Texas and beyond the state line about what we do and what we have created.
As a family, we are stronger. As individuals, we have to work harder to achieve more. The choice is yours - Help us become a stronger family that includes some Tough Love at times or be the selfish individual who seeks their own personal glory!
Below are a couple of definitions of what Tough Love is:
Webster Definition of Tough Love: love or affectionate concern expressed in a stern or unsentimental manner (as through discipline) especially, to promote responsible behavior
Urban Definition of Tough Love: Another version of "being cruel to be kind." To show somebody some tough love today will save them heartache in the future but may cause a small amount of upset for the receiver immediately after the "Tough Love" has been dispensed. They would suffer more if you let them get on with their life with no interference from third parties.
Below are responses from fellow authors to the above article:
As a fellow author AND publisher, I have worked so hard to lead new authors in the right direction for marketing their book. It is not easy to get them out of the mindset of “my book is published, lets watch the money roll in”. So often they sell to friends, family and acquaintances and then wonder why no one else is buying. They can’t fathom why they aren’t being found on Amazon and end up giving up after about 6 months to a year. I spend so much time educating them on the marketing possibilities, and trying to push them to sign up with TAA BEFORE their book comes out. The ones who are willing to learn, eager to market and really WANT it, they have the staying power. The ones who don’t – well, let’s say, I know who I won’t see publish book number 2. Kathleen J. Shields -
Before I get into my response to your comments about Texas Authors and tough love, Thank You!
To my surprise, the engineering culture in which I have spent 40+ years tends to be somewhat subdued when compared to the unfettered emotions of the literary world. I should have realized this long ago, but personal experience is a great teacher. With that said, the people I have met through Texas Authors have been remarkable and a source of tremendous encouragement. If for no other reason, that by itself more than covers the membership fee. Even at the old rate, I could skip dinner and a movie with the kids just one time a year and make up for it.
In my opinion, the resources and opportunities offered by Texas Authors are a bargain at almost any price. I now have access to more information than I could ever fully utilize. I didn't join the organization, or write a book for that matter, to strike it rich. I did it to make a difference, and Texas Authors has enabled that. Through this organization, I have achieved (quite literally) a fifty-year dream: write a novel that changes lives and then make it available to the largest audience possible. But could I have imagined that the work of a first-time author would win an award for best book in a state-wide contest? Not a chance without a group like Texas Authors.
Alan, do not assume that your efforts aren't noticed or appreciated (or even understood). Regardless of what the future holds, you have already ensured a life-altering change for at least one author.
JMA Ziegler (and Yes, winner 2019 Best Book Award in Women's General)
I wholeheartedly agree with your Tough Love policy for TAA. I appreciate all that you do for us and know that there is much going on behind the scenes about which we authors are not aware. I thank you for being our fearless leader and helping us to succeed with our book sales and promotions. Texas is lucky to have you!
Sincerely,Suzanne Gene Courtney
From the heart of a Texas Authors member:
I joined Texas Authors a few years ago. I sought the organization out because I had met an author who was a member and was happy with what the organization provided.
To this day, I’m very happy I became a member. It is because I am a member of this organization that many opportunities have been opened for me. I never once was led to believe Texas Authors would do everything for me. I went in KNOWING I had to do some work in order to move myself forward. Texas Authors never was and never has been a “handout” organization and it baffles me that anyone would join believing that. There is not a single word written anywhere that implies Texas Authors will do all the work for you and will make you a best-selling author.
What Texas Authors DOES and has ALWAYS said is basically the following…Texas Authors was created to HELP Texas Indie Authors have opportunities to sell their books at events created by Texas Authors and other groups. To clarify, this means Texas Authors puts the book event together for us. Once we sign up for the event, everything else falls to us. It is OUR job as THE AUTHOR in attendance to sell OUR books, not Texas Authors.
While I understand some events are a bit pricy and hard to attend due to distance and possible hotel expense, Texas Authors can only help us so far. Events go up in price because everything else goes up in price. Texas Authors understands this and that is why they offer the Book Festival Package to help with the cost of the table for these events. This package allows you to sign up for multiple events for the following year at one time for a discounted rate. So, my question here would be…why aren’t you taking advantage of that????
Now, I’m going to get a tad more personal. I would say please forgive me, but Alan is right it is time for Tough Love. So here goes mine…
Because of the success I have personally obtained by being a member of Texas Authors, I get highly irritated when I am at an event and authors start to break down early because they aren’t getting any sales or they’ve only had one sale…um…excuse me but…DON’T DO THAT!!! When authors start breaking down early it creates a domino effect and makes the event look sad and not worth walking into for the rest of the day.
And before you go blaming Alan for YOUR lack of book sales at the event. HE CAN’T MAKE PEOPLE BUY YOUR BOOKS and guess what NEITHER CAN YOU!!!!
You have to accept that not every event is going to be successful. If you are unable do that, then don’t sign up.
I don’t know what the magic solution is for all of us to be successful in selling our books. What I do know is this…Alan has done everything possible he knows how to do and then some. Alan has given up more than most of you know to see this organization continue to live and grow and thrive. He’s so good at what he comes up with, maybe we tend to put too much on his shoulders to get things done. So often, we gripe and gripe and gripe, but we don’t do anything ourselves to fix it.
My experience with Texas Authors has been nothing but positive.
Compared to the many other websites, agencies, or author services that offer to help promote and market Indie Authors, I have found that Texas Authors gives more bang per buck than any others, by far.
My experience with others has been that they always have their hand out -- wanting a large initial fee before they do anything.
By contrast, for my minimal yearly fee to Texas Authors I have: done two 30-minute radio interviews, my books in the e-store, my books in the Museum, gotten notifications of upcoming sales opportunities, won awards, gotten great press releases, had numerous networking opportunities.
Furthermore, my response time whenever I have a question or issue with Texas Authors is minimal to nil. With others, I have waited a long time for a response, or sometimes never gotten a response.
I feel that Texas Authors has MY best interests in mind -- that is something I can not say about other author services or marketing platforms.
I wish Texas Authors the best of success in growing our Author base, and its readership.
Multiple award-winning Author and satisfied Texas Authors member. Multiple award-winning Author and satisfied Texas Authors member.