Category Archives: Business of Writing

Tracking Our Books’ Distributors

A woman's hand rests on a keyboard and next to her is a notebook and pen. The post's title "Tracking Our Books' Distributors" is superimposed on the photo.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

When I first started self-publishing, I decided that I wanted to upload each of my books to each individual retail outlet myself. I liked this idea for a couple of different reasons: for one, I liked having the control over pricing (maybe I wanted to run a sale at Kobo and not at Apple, for example). For another, I liked not having a percentage of my earnings go to a distributor.

It wasn’t hard to upload to the different channels.  Well, except for Apple. Apple was a pain.

Fast forward 6 years down the road and I’m using aggregators to distribute to most retailers (aside from Amazon). Because what I learned that I didn’t like was tax time. I didn’t like the fact that I had to figure my earnings from so many different places (with 24 titles, this gets tedious).  I also admired the way that these distribution platforms could get my book free at Barnes and Noble or put them in libraries, or list them for sale at foreign retailers, or put them with subscription services. I liked being able to use a single dashboard when I wanted to run promotions.  Individual pricing is nice, but it was hard, frankly, for me to keep up with…even when I’d put reminders on my calendar to check in with a particular retail outlet for a particular title. Continue reading Tracking Our Books’ Distributors

Publishing’s Dirty Little Secret: The Rejections Never Stop

Picture shows a tidy desk with a computer and a cup of coffee in front of a window with the post title "Publishing's Dirty Little Secret--the Rejections Never Stop" and post author Michael Alvear's name superimposed.

By Michael Alvear

And I mean, never. Before I got my first book contract, I thought getting published would be the answer to all my problems. I’d be recognized for the genius I was, the book would soar to the top of the NYT’s list, and subsequent books would flow out of me like honey from a melting comb.

Then reality hit. Rejection, I’ve since learned, comes in all kinds of unexpected way—flat sales, bad reviews (or even no reviews), cancelled interviews, poor advances for future books, etc.

To last in the business, I had to learn how to deal with the bouts of hopelessness and despair that come with a writing career. So I began studying what top resiliency experts had to say and applied their techniques to my writing life.

I compiled them into a book, The Bulletproof Writer: How to Overcome Constant Rejection to Become an Unstoppable Author. These are my favorite techniques:

The Bulletproof Writer cover by Michael Alvear features an open bullet with gunpowder spilled out on a white background.

  1. Accept/remind yourself that publishing is seriously lacking in the F-word: FAIRNESS. I’ve had friends toil for years trying to get published only to watch a kid still in college get a contract and become the toast of the town. I remind myself that less than one percent of writers make enough money from writing to live on. It’s not me, it’s the business (it goes without saying that if it is you—if your writing is not up to par—get serious about improving your craft).
  1. Use the 48-Hour Sulking Rule. Most of us want to run from the bad feelings—the fear, the shame—but facing a set-back head on can help you move past it faster. I call this my “chocolate and wine” time, where I allow myself to sulk and rage as deeply as I need to, but for only 48-hours. After that period, I get up, dust myself off, and get back to work. This balances my need to process difficult emotions with my need to move forward. I practice this technique only on the “big” rejections, though. I’d never get anything done if I used it on every setback I experience in publishing!
  1. Refuse to think positively. Yes, you read that correctly. Scientists have been finding that using positive thinking as a way of moving past an emotional setback actually makes things worse. Instead I use specific physical and emotional techniques to “drain” the value judgments and establish acceptance.
  1. Implement the three “Ds”—Distract yourself; Do not speak of the rejection for a set period; and Distance yourself. Some of these seem obvious but having a set plan for how to apply them in the moment has helped during those times I’m tempted to give it all up and apply for a job at McDonald’s.

There’s not a day that goes by where I don’t have to use at least one of the techniques I outline in The Bulletproof Writer. In fact, just this morning, I got an alert that someone gave one of my books a one-star review on Amazon because the shipping box was ripped. The rejections never end for a writer; if you don’t have a coping strategy for them you’re destined for a world of pain.

Picture of author Michael Alvear outdoors

Michael Alvear’s latest book is The Bulletproof Writer: How To Overcome Constant Rejection To Become An Unstoppable Author (Woodpecker Media January 2017).  

He’s been a frequent contributor to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and his work has appeared in Newsweek, The Washington Post, Reader’s Digest, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post.

Author Michael Alvear with 4 ways to be resilient in the face of rejection: Click To Tweet


Another Go at Pre-Orders

A picture of dollar bills and coins.

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

This is my third post on pre-orders. As you might remember, I wasn’t much of a fan of them when I tried them (over much of 2016).

This time I decided not to run a long-term pre-order.

I didn’t like the pressure of feeling like I was under the gun to deliver. It’s been a while since I wrote for a traditional publisher and maybe I’ve gotten used to my deadlines getting softer.

This time I waited for my book to be finished and then put it up for a very short pre-order while the book was being edited (knowing I had plenty of time to finish my edits before uploading the final version).

I put the book up on both Amazon and Draft2Digital’s retailers (some of which are set-up for pre-orders, some aren’t) on January 2 for a January 17 release. I picked a Tuesday, since a lot of traditionally-published cozies are launched on Tuesdays and many savvy readers have an eye open for releases. Continue reading Another Go at Pre-Orders