Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Being Thankful


Looking ahead to Thanksgiving in two more days, I have spent some time considering all that I have to be thankful for. First and foremost, is my family. I am blessed with terrific kids and grand-kids who have been so good to me in a most difficult year. So have all my brothers and sisters and cousins and nieces and nephews. What would we do without family?

Next I would have to say I am most thankful for all the friends I have; those here in my small town as well as those in the larger arena that is the Internet and social media. Who would have thought that one person could have thousands of friends on Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Google+. It boggles the mind and thrills me to hear from readers who have enjoyed my books.

I am also thankful for the advances in publishing that have opened so many doors for writers. When I started my writing career, back when dinosaurs typed on old Royal manual typewriters, there were few choices for places to submit a book, and most of those choices were in New York. A hard nut to crack back then, and still a hard nut to crack.

With digital publishing, the choices are myriad. The giant in the business, or course, is Amazon, but there are many other avenues, too; Nook, Kobo, Google and Apple. And one of the best things about these avenues is the control that authors have over publication, from the written word to the finished book ready to go into the hands of a reader. You can hire your own professionals to edit and create book covers. You can set your own prices. And you can take advantage of promotional opportunities by choice.

I still like some of the perks that come with traditional publishing, primarily the opportunity for reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Library Journal, and Kirkus, and I was thrilled to get reviews from them all for Open Season and Stalking Season, the first two books in my Seasons Mystery Series. Both books are available for all electronic reading devices, and I self-published the e-books.


One of the downsides of traditional publishing, however, is the length of time it takes for a book to come out once it is accepted. Sometimes it can be two years from the date of the contract. That was one of the major considerations I had when I decided to self-publish the mystery series as e-books, as well as my most recent mysteries, Boxes For Beds and Doubletake.

That dinosaur and I are not getting any younger.

Along with the higher royalty rate, another advantage of being an independent, is the opportunity to do promotions that help create some buzz about the books. Through the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing program an author can set days for a book to be free, as well as Kindle Countdown days, and both programs have been successful for me.

Last year I offered Boxes for Beds free a couple of times, and then did a Kindle Countdown deal, and the book reached over 30,000 readers, and picked up over 100 reviews.

This year, I am offering Doubletake free from November 28, Black Friday, until December 1.

There are some pros and cons for giving a book away, and Terry Odell covered some of those very well in her post last week, To Free or Not to Free. One of the most important points she made was that the free book promo works best if you have other titles so happy readers can purchase your other books.

That is what I'm hoping for with this latest campaign. I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to get Doubletake free, and maybe even help me spread the word. You can go to the book page on Amazon and share. I would be most grateful.

Wishing all the readers in the United States a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Posted by Maryann Miller - novelist, screenwriter, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent mysteries are Doubletake and Boxes For Beds Stalking Season is the second book in the Seasons Mystery Series, hardback and digital, along with Open Season, the first book in the series. For her editing rates, visit her website. When not working, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas. 

16 comments :

  1. After a challenging year, I am truly thankful to still have time to be productive, to love, and to enjoy life. I realized I spent too many years being afraid to take risks. Life is short. Don't put off until tomorrow what you can achieve today.

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    1. Such a good point, Diana. I used to spend way too much time thinking about doing something. Then that great Nike slogan came along, "Just do it." I adopted it as my own mantra and tell myself to "just do it" instead of wasting so much time thinking.

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  2. I couldn't agree more, Maryann. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for all the reasons you mentioned.

    I look forward to downloading your book. I have two freebies in December, and I've always done well with them. Here's to lots of downloads, reviews, and many subsequent sales.

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    1. Let us know the dates of your freebies, Polly, and we can help you promote the campaign.

      I remembered after I posted my blog that you blogged about your experience with this kind of promotion. I could have linked to your post as well as Terry's.

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  3. Too much to be thankful here to mention ... right down to the warm bed I get into each night ... hmmm, I wonder if it is still warm? Excuse me Maryann, I have to go check on something ....

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    1. I know what you mean about the warm bed. I really didn't want to get out of mine this morning, but then I started thinking about all I have to do today.

      Have a great Thanksgiving.

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  4. Maryann:
    Am thankful for your input on 2 books and advice to turn a scene into a short story, which has taken me down some very, very interesting paths.
    Have a blessed Thanksgiving

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    1. Thanks so much, Steve, I enjoyed working with you and am thrilled that you have dared something different. Do tell us more about your short story.

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    2. Here it is: http://shortstorystop.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/the-devil-leroy-and-stanley-copyright-2013-steve-stroble/

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  5. I am thankful that I attended 4 book launches this month for friends and 3 of them were writers from my writing group. Thankful they finally got their moment to shine.

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    1. That is so nice, Jodi. It is so exciting to celebrate with friends on their success.

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  6. A wonderful post, Maryann. As an older writer with more wips than years available for traditionally publishing, I'm also looking at self-pubbing. Our blessing continue to enrich our lives, and for that I'm most thankful.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Patricia. I also have too many books on my TBR pile as well as the ones I would like to write.

      Happy Thanksgiving.

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    2. As an older writer, I'm in the same boat. I do self-publish, but I have trouble buying out the time to finish what I've started. Time to simplify. :-)

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  7. It's been a challenging year for me too, but I am so thankful for the blessings that have been gifted me and for my wonderful family and friends. Happy Thansgiving to you all.

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    1. Heidi, the only way to get through the tough times is to think about the good times. With enough blessings, the pain of grief is not so sharp.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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