Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Time to Unite our Villages and Sell More Books

Back when I was Xena, I wrote a post called It Takes a Village to Sell a Book.  It marked a turning point in my understanding of the supportive writing/blogging community. You'd think we'd all be curled up in jealousy over each other's success, right? But instead writers are the most amazing community imaginable.

To quote from my village post,  "You are creating your own village and as it grows and grows, they will encourage, share, cry and rejoice with you along the way. And ultimately they'll not only buy your book, they'll help sell it. Your village will interview you, post reviews on Goodreads, tell everyone they know, and generally do more good for your sales than the bookstore owner who's struggling to stay in business and focusing largely on whatever is the bestseller of the day.

"This is how it works people. We are building something here, populating the blog world with all of our fun and original little cities, full of fun and interesting inhabitants. We call them followers, but in reality they're our village. They help us, we help them, and we all need each other."

 As I wrote that post, I pondered the great question.

How to turn this highly supportive culture of writers into a mutually beneficial association that will help us do what we are online to do-- sell our books.

Many of you may not be published YET. But when that happy day comes you're going to ask-- How Can Authors & Publishers Sell More Books?  Believe me, it's true, even Charles Dickens had to face it. I've been agonizing over this question for three years, ever since my first book came out. At first blush, we're just thrilled to be published. "Aw shucks, if only a few people buy my book and like it, I'll be thrilled."

Until we realize how much we love this job, and how much we really want to make a living at it.  Then book sales become the overriding concern. And let's face it. Writers aren't complete without readers. We need readers to buy our books, to love them and eagerly await our next release. It's what every author longs for. It's why we toil endless hours over our craptastic manuscripts, and do a zillion revisions. It's for the readers.

Okay, enough philosophizing. You already know this stuff anyway. What you don't know is this. A website for authors is coming that's unlike anything out there right now. It will be a place to consolidate and focus this innate desire authors have to support their own. While enabling us to sell more books and make more money doing it. This new website will unite our villages.

I'm not trying to taunt you. It's for a purpose. I need 100 authors with books to sell-- either print or ebook-- ready to go with their profile pages, cover images and summaries set up in advance of the launch.

If you're interested in being part of the First One Hundred at launch, then email me (karenjonesgowen@gmail.com) and I can tell you exactly what is needed to get started. (And don't worry, I won't ask for money or make you purchase a book on how to sell more books lol.)

I signed a non-disclosure agreement that prohibits me from giving out specific details. You can see my dilemma, since it's my assignment to find the First One Hundred participating authors. I'm not allowed to tell the name of the site yet *as you might have noticed* despite the fact that I am tired of pussy footing around this and I am so ready  to shout it from the rooftops.

But I can't. However, I will continue to provide updates as I can. Have I said enough to pique your curiousity, you published authors? Enough to motivate you to write me an email? Or have I just irritated the crap out of everyone with my non-disclosure, still not saying anything, and hinting around until you're all sick of it? I hope not, because I need you to help spread the word, to find 100 authors ready to go. The village has been built, and it is freakin' awesome. It's time to populate it.

So whether you're traditionally or self- published, if wondering how to sell more books is keeping you awake at night, then this could be your sleep remedy. If you are interested in being part of the First One Hundred, shoot me an email. If you know others in the same sleepless boat, send them a link to this post.

We are authors helping authors, and this planned website, currently set to launch in 6 - 8 weeks, is going to make it a whole lot easier for us to do what we're already doing online. So let's get the word out! Share this post through facebook, twitter, link to it on your blogs, let's unite our villages. This is going to be huge. A revolution. And it starts with the First One Hundred.

51 comments:

  1. Hi Karen,

    This website is a wonderful concept. I'm excited to learn more when you are able to reveal more. Are you interested in nonfiction titles or just novels? I just published a book in July and I'm finding the writing was the easy part. Marketing is hard. : )

    Have a great weekend! I'm a new follower and am really enjoying your blog.

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  2. Becky, nonfiction, children's books, poetry-- anything that is published with an ISBN. However, no pornography or hateful or inflammatory stuff like how to make a bomb or things like that. The books will actually need to be submitted for review to make sure they meet the guidelines. But those are the general guidelines.

    I'll leave this post up for awhile and answer any questions I can in my comments as they come in.

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  3. I have the chills.

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  4. What a great plan! I wish I had a book to sell.

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  5. soon very soon I shall pop up on your website (optimistically speaking)

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  6. This is such a wonderful thing you're putting together! I hope things will work out fabulously.

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  7. karen you are awesome. And this is a great way to put them all together for us readers! Thanks~

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  8. This is very exciting! I don't have a published book myself, but I'll definitely be checking back for more updates. The book market is so in flux right now that there seems to be a lot of opportunity for growth and innovation, especially because the blogosphere is so vibrant :) Best of luck!

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  9. You're such a tease! ;) I can't wait to find out more--I sent my email just now!

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  10. Amy, excellent, because The Iron Bodkin would do great in this environment.

    Bess, you are so right. Things are changing very rapidly in the business, and I know many people are fed up with the huge cut Amazon takes of every book sold there, as much as 55%, while a brick & mortar bookstore only takes 40%!

    The biggest obstacle I'm facing in finding the first 100 authors is that altho I have alot of followers, most aren't published. Most of my posts have to do with writing, editing & getting published, not marketing & stuff that the published authors are desperate for, because I suck at marketing and don't have much to say about it except that I hate it. So even tho you may not have a book out, if you can let the published writers know about this, it would be awesome. You live in NYC, take out a billboard on Times Square or something LOL.

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  11. I look forward to learning more about this new site. It sounds awesome. Although I'm not published, I'll take all the support I can get until I am. Thanks for the head's up Karen.

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  12. Karen said:
    "...because I suck at marketing and don't have much to say about it except that I hate it."

    I'm right there with you, sister!

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  13. Karen, this is such an exciting concept. I'd love to be in the first 100 - I've sent you an email. Can't wait to hear more. YOu are amazing.
    Karen

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  14. Yay!!! What a fab idea!! The village awaits people!!!

    Oh Good Luck all you authors with books all read to be introduced to the great big world out there!! This is a fab opportunity - thank you lovely and innovative KarenG!

    Take care
    x

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  15. This site sounds like an ideal place for published authors and readers, alike.! Brilliant concept! Cheers!

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  16. I'm very interested to see what you have in store. Sounds like a wonderful thing you'll be doing. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

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  17. This sounds intriguing! I can hardly wait for the launch. As soon as it up, we'll push the site on all of our blogs, facebook, twitter!

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  18. Sounds very cool. I'm sure you will get it all together.
    Have a great weekend!

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  19. Conceptually, this is FABULOUS, I really wish you luck and will definitely tweet and share so people approach you.

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  20. I'm not published...but intrigued at any rate. Looking forward to hearing more.

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  21. Fingers crossed mine can pass the guidleines-put in a good word for me will you?

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  22. Karen, I suck at marketing too! Thanks for trying to help us sad sacks! :)

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  23. I'm not an author, but this sounds like a brilliant idea. Look forward to hearing more...

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  24. What a wonderful concept! I wish I had a book ready:)

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  25. I sent you an email this morning :) I'm in!

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  26. Lisa & Susan, Yep, got it. I'm sending everyone a letter tonight. I don't want to get overwhelmed as my inbox gets full. You should get it soon.

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  27. this is so totally awesome, Karen!!! kudos to you!

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  28. I am interested in it. I have to think hard about what I want to do with my book. But, I'm up for thinking outside the box.

    CD

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  29. This sounds like an amazing opportunity. I did write a children story year ago. I might have dig deep to find it. I look forward to hearing more about this gated community, sounds fascinating~

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  30. If I had a book out right now I'd be e-mailing you. The website sounds like a wonderful idea, good luck with finding your first 100 authors.

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  31. Oh I wish I had a book to sell. I want to be in the village....

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  32. This sounds intriguing! Here is my Website for more information about my book series:
    The Fairy Lore of Ghost Horse Hollow. The site has been visited by over 100 nations. The series is for world conservation and peace. Perhaps The Holly King could be one of your first 100 books. Thanks so much! www.ghosthorsehollow.com Enjoy!

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  33. Ooooh exciting! I have emailed you :)

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  34. Such a marvellous idea. Wish I had a suitable book I can pitch in with just now. Best of luck with the venture.

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  35. I'm nowhere near that stage - but it sounds exciting :)

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  36. This sounds like a great idea!! I enjoyed the meeting we had at the conference this past weekend and look forward to following your blog.

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  37. I read this post back then too; and liked it. And it seems I've seen this book-sell idea posted somewhere else in my travels. I wish my book was published so I could submit.

    Anyway, I have an award for you over at my blog.

    ......dhole

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  38. Sounds like a marvellous idea. Look forward to hearing more about it, as and when you can.

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  39. For anyone's who emailed me for more info and hasn't gotten a response yet, I'll be sending you something today. And for those who ask if I have my first 100 yet, the answer is no, there is still room to populate the village before launch. Another question I got is suspicion because I didn't give the name of the website. That's because it's an unusual name and if anyone Googled it there wouldn't be anything up for it, and that might be even more confusing. I hope to be able to give out the name and more of that later on. Thanks everyone for all your interest, questions and support. I hope I'll continue to get inquiring emails throughout the week.

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  40. Enlightening post, Karen! Good luck to all the Villagers, I hope many come forth. :)

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  41. I'm not published, but I would totally join you if I were. Good luck with your endeavors.

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  42. Way to go with a grand idea. Hope I'm in time to be included in the 100. Email on its way! Thanks for all the hard work, Karen.

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  43. You can pencil me in. I'm looking forward to more details in the coming days and weeks.

    Stephen Tremp

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  44. Latest update as of 11/6-- the website developer is working on getting the page ready for initial member authors to view and officially sign up. There's still room for more. If you're interested email me at the address listed on this blog's sidebar.

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  45. Hi Karen! What a beautiful blog and idea you have! I am a writer in my journey to getting published and I'm also here to help other writers and authors. If you need help, please feel free to contact me! :) conversationswithlen at yahoo dot co dot uk

    :)

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