Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Archive for the tag “Self-published”

The Magic Never Grows Old

This is actually the eighth time that I am on the cusp of a book being published. This count includes a couple of self-published books that were picked up by Three Clover Press and repackaged with new covers, titles, and an extensive round of edits. A face-lift and open heart surgery never felt so good! But today I am as excited as I was the first time, and the second, and the third… You get the point. Sometime in the next two weeks, Ashbar, sequel to The First Decree, and the 2013 Eric Hoffer Book Award YA category, At The Walls Of Galbrieth, will be officially released by Tourmaline Books. Ashbar front cover I wonder how it is for the big fish? When those A-list authors have their 20th, 30th, or 40th novel released, are they just as excited? Yes, I’m thinking of you, Terry BrooksGeorge R.R. Martin, J.K Rowling, Terry Goodkind. Are these authors and others coolly not checking their email every hour for the official notice from their publishers? Do they accidentally type their name into the Amazon.com search engine and browse down the list of books on their author’s name? I am, of course, way to cool to be checking every hour, myself. In order to be productive at work and give my sons the attention they deserve, I have set reminders for four times a day – I’m awake for eighteen, I figure that’s too compulsive! I have not yet held my review copy – it is on the way, I am promised, though this might have been a desperate ploy to shut me up (can’t blame them) – I remember each time it happened with almost the clarity of holding my newborn sons. The books, I have to admit, were not as slimy or noisy. I am currently 50,000 words into writing a fantasy novel for adults that I hope will be a series alongside the Wycaan Masters. I believe authors who keep two series running (Terry Brooks is my role model), then both series’ remain fresh. But I have promised to start the editing process for Book 4 (actually started with my writer’s group over the summer) before sending it off to Tourmaline’s wizards) so that they receive it by the end of 2013.

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Where it all began: Writing Book 1 with sons in an ancient Redwood forest.

The process is ongoing. Each magical, landmark moment: finishing writing the last page, sending the book to the editor, seeing the cover for the first time, receiving the review copy… these are all just stages in a journey to build not only a world, but a dynasty – a multi-generational world with a history of its own.

But that never stops these special moments of holding a real copy of your book for the first time being magical – and it never should.

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Alon Shalev is the author of the 2013 Eric Hoffer YA Book Award winner, At The Walls of Galbrieth, Wycaan Master Book 1 and The First Decree, both released by Tourmaline Books. Ashbar – Book 3 – is due for release in October 2013. Shalev is also the author of three social justice-themed novels including Unwanted Heroes. He swears there is a connection. More at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter).

Author Sells One Million Ebooks

On Monday, June 20th, 2011, Amazon.com have recently announced that crime novelist John Locke has become the first independent author to sell more than one million ebooks through Kindle’s Direct Publishing program,

1 million ebooks sold - so much for needing an agent and publisher?

Locke points  to his $0.99 pricing model as a major influence and has self-published nine novels through the Kindle Store, including New York Times bestselling ebook Saving Rachel, as well as his first non-fiction title, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months. He has six novels in the Amazon Top 100 and has coveted the No. 1 spot.

A line of books seems essential to make serious money in this climate

Locke has never been signed by a traditional agent or publisher. He joins seven other authors, including Stieg Larsson and Nora Roberts, in the “Kindle Million Club.” Locke sells his books for $1 and makes 35 cents per book. That is hard for me to fathom – selling the books I have sweated and toiled on for at least a year, but I can’t question that it works.

Along with Amanda Hocking and J. A Konrath, Locke is creating a new reality in the ever-evolving book world. They all create a system, work hard to achieve their goals, and are now reaping the benefits. The rest of us would be foolish to ignore them.

Good luck to them.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

 

 

Another Ebook Success Story

I’m excited. I’m stoked. You might recall how ecstatic I was to hear of an author (fiction) who is  making a comfortable living from e-books. Well, after I declared this to the world, the majority of comments I received was along the line of: “so what, you’ve found one.”

Now J.A. Konrath, who surprised the publishing world money by announcing that he was making a good living from e-books and that he is making his money selling inexpensive e-books ($2-$3 as I recall).

Now the writing world is excited by Amanda Hocking, who sold over 450,000 copies of her e-books in January alone, mostly priced between 99 cents and $2.99. Ms. Hocking joins the short list of authors who are millionaires. What is even more cool about this 26-year-old, is that she is a self-published author.

But Ms. Hocking made one thing very clear and, I think, feels she has a point to make. Her success is a product of very hard work. Not only is she an incredibly productive writer, she spends several hours, let me stress that, several hours a day marketing herself and her books.

The truly succesful author of the 21st Century, of the digital age, will combine great writing, excellent marketing, and will understand the need to fuse writing and business. Ms. Hocking is, we should acknowledge, a product of the millennial generation, comfortable on multiple screens, and extremely good at it.

Good luck to you, Ms. Hocking.  And in response to a comment you made on your blog (not directed at me, I might add) – I am not jealous of you, I am full of admiration. You have set the bar for those of us who want to succeed as writers need to aspire to.

The only thing missing is the ‘How To’ book. I’ll be the first to buy it!

Oh, and yes I know that I put in way too many graphics (Ms. Hocking’s book covers), but they are works of art. No apologies offered.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (#alonshalevsf).

 

Even Glen Beck Stands Aside

Self published Author Takes #1  Ranking on Amazon

David Malki has taken his self-published anthology Machine of Death to the top of the Amazon Best Seller list. Malki’s sci-fi offering knocked Glenn Beck’s recently released Broke off the pinnacle.

Malki couldn’t find a publisher to pick up Machine of Death, so he did it himself and vigorously promoted through the web. As a special incentive, he offered a free e-book to go along with the paper version.

There are only about 200 authors who are apparently living off their book sales – the A-listers we call them. But David Malki has shown there are other ways. If you’re not an A-lister then you have to promote yourself. You need a strategy and you need to stick to it.

If you are following this blog, you are part of my strategy. Hope you are enjoying the ride and thank you!

Have a great weekend.
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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist (now available on Kindle) and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at www.alonshalev.com

 

 

 

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