Is KDP Select Worth It? (An Example From a Real Person)

kdpselectAmazon’s KDP Select program has kind of been marketed as a Miracle Grow for Books. It seems that, whenever you Google something about KDP Select, you run into another article boasting about authors who got rich and famous from just using KDP Select and barely marketing their book at all.

Like a lot of authors who are having an identity crisis because of the eBook “revolution,” I decided to try the whole self-published route myself. My self-imposed requirements were that I would do minimal marketing, pay nothing to advertise or format it, and publish solely via KDP Select.

The test was this: was KDP Select worth it? Could it actually boost my book, and myself, into super stardom? Was it the future of books?

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What All Writers Can Learn from Calvin & Hobbes

It’s widely accepted that Calvin & Hobbes is the best comic strip in the known world.

More than anything else, that’s because of its universal appeal. Kids, college students, and adults have all found something unique to treasure in Bill Watterson’s timeless comic strip.

I grew up reading Calvin & Hobbes. As I got older and read them, something strange happened… I started seeing Calvin & Hobbes in more than one dimension.

I could understand the subtle messages of the strips, which made them even better and made me appreciate the strip even more than before.

Besides the genius of the writing and the art, Watterson is the perfect example of someone who accomplished what a lot of writers bemoan as impossible: a balance between the commercial and the artistic.

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4 Things You Have to Do to Get Google to Show Your Personal Website

showupgoogleresultsA lot of authors, artists, and bands are creating their own websites these days, only to find that… whoa… Google isn’t showing their page.

I’ve been blessed and cursed with a one-of-a-kind name, so getting BlaiseLucey.com to the top of Google wasn’t that difficult. I also basically blog for a living, so that helps.

The truth is that it can be nearly impossible to get your name to the top of Google if you’re John Smith, instead of Blaise Lucey. Just remember that the fans searching for you know that, too, and they’re likely to give you the benefit of a third word (“John Smith author” or “John Smith Band Boston”).

Here are the four things you have to do to get your personal website to show up in Google:

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Music, Writing, and Art in the Age of the Optional Purchase

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In the summer of 2010, when I started my first job, I listened to about six hours of Pandora a day. The ads were an annoyance, but I sat through them because I loved the songs that Pandora found for me.

I knew that there was such a thing as “Pandora One,” but, like most millennials, I scorned the idea of paying for something I knew I could get for free.

Yet Pandora persisted. Hours and hours a day, it brought me amazing bands I never would have otherwise heard.

A few months in, I took the $32-a-month plunge. And I’ve never looked back.

Why did I buy something that was so optional? More importantly, how can any creative person ever hope to get compensated in the age of the optional purchase?

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Writers Stink at Social Media (And Why That’s Bad if You’re Self-Publishing)

socialmediaandwritersI’ve talked about how bad writers can be at Facebook before. It’s pretty obvious if you just take a look around.

There are exceptions to the rule, of course, but in general it seems that us writerly folks tend to not like social media that much, particularly the insta-smile networks of Facebook, Twitter, and their even more photo-oriented ilk.

The reason is simple:

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Is the Final Draft Dead?

contentmarketingblogging2I wrote a lot of this in my car, because I have a smartphone, so now I can talk sternly to it and, magically, those incantations are turned into text.

I’ve tried this method to write blog posts before, but it never quite works because swerving through rush hour traffic isn’t the most conducive environment for good writing. If you can call speaking into a phone “writing.”

But this is my experiment, because I recently read a blog post proclaiming that the “days of working on a blog post in drafts for the last week” are now dead.

That’s right. The final draft is dead. So what does that mean?

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How One Author Makes Facebook Work

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Facebook has been something of a Rubik’s Cube for authors. Even if you take a look at some of the most famous authors’ Facebook Pages, you can tell that the teams pulling the strings have a pretty poor understanding of how it all works.

In my quest for authors who use Facebook effectively, I first came across the Facebook Page of E.L James, the author of Fifty Shades of Grey, and talked about why that Facebook Page worked.

But now, I’ve finally found Inglath Cooper, who has over 18,000 Likes and a really active fan engagement.

What’s her secret?

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Why All Writers Have to Love Technology

writerstechnologyThe other day, I got in an argument with my friend over a recent article about what a few start-ups were doing to nonfiction books.

Well, “argument” is being generous. More like four exhaustive Facebook posts written by two tired people who have the same opinion about things, but disagree to pass the time.

Anyway, my friend’s position was simple: the innovations by the start-ups were bad for literature, bad for readers, and, really… just bad.

My position was that the innovations were good. Because technology is good for books. I think it could usher in a Golden Age of Creativity if everyone stops crying about it.

Here’s what the start-ups were trying to do:

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How to Set Up Google Authorship on WordPress… and Why All Writers & Bloggers Need It

Don’t feel like you’re out-of-the-loop if you haven’t heard of Google+ — practically no one uses it.

Sure, there are some reports about a surge of users for Google’s social network, but that’s mostly people who have been tricked into using it by accidentally clicking the wrong button on YouTube or Gmail.

The average Google+ user spends 12 minutes a month on the site.

Google knows that, but they’ve found a new way to get people to use Google+.

This year, Google is going to create a whole new kind of category: social search.

That means if you’re a writer or a blogger without a Google+ profile, your stuff will never, ever, show up in Google’s results. Ever.

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Print Books Aren’t Dying, But They’re Definitely Changing

printbooksalesIt’s a new year. We’re humans, so we love the endless art of speculation.

If you’re a writer, an avid reader, or both, there’s probably one big question on your mind in particular: are print books going to stick around or are eBooks going to replace them?

What’s a bookshelf going to look like in the next few years?

Well, the data is in and the answers may surprise you:

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