Jeffrey Miller

A Writer's Life

Tag: Ebooks (page 1 of 4)

Yin and Yang

breezi_placeit WAHRF 015


“Why do you have L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E tattooed on your fingers?” Glenda asked.
Nicky thought about Sarah back in Denver. She wanted to know the same thing. “Either you love someone in this world or you hate them. There is no middle. Just like there are only two choices we make in this world: the right one and the wrong one.”
Glenda smiled. “Oh, I get it. Kind of like yin and yang.”
“Yin and what?”
“Yang. The balance of life,” Glenda explained. “Love is just as strong an emotion as hate is and vice versa.”
“Yeah, it’s a yin and yang thing all right.”

When A Hard Rain Falls. You want this book. Yes, you do.

How to Avoid the Self-Publishing Blues #2: You’re So Vain


You probably thought this book….

Let’s face it, one of the biggest challenges with self-publishing, other than how to best market your book is how to overcome the vanity press stigma which many people have with authors who self-publish.

Back in the day, an author would write a book, go to a local printer and print a couple hundred copies and then pawn them off on family and friends. If an author was lucky, they might get close to recouping their original investment, and perhaps, if luckier, break even. Those that didn’t ended up with a garage full of books and their dream of becoming a writer shattered.

Fortunately for authors, one doesn’t have to shell out a couple hundred or even thousand dollars to get published these days. In fact, one could publish an eB0ok or a paperback through places like Createspace or Lulu for nothing and depending upon the book’s subject matter, start making a profit within hours of the book going live. And if the book is good, an author could enjoy a brief run of success, perhaps even land a lucrative contract from a publishing house.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?

Anyone now can publish anything he or she wants and call themselves a published author.

However, that vanity stigma is still with it and from time to time, raises its ugly head again.

I recently published my sixth book, When A Hard Rain Falls, and I was all set for a good run. As soon as it went live on Amazon, I posted a photo of the book on Facebook and instantly the post received over 100 likes. That’s about as far as it went.

You see, people know the drill: author publishes book, author promotes book on Facebook. Friends like that the author has published a book. And sadly for many authors this is the cold, hard reality with self-publishing: it doesn’t go any further than that.

Some people will tell you that the best way to sell more books is to write more books with the idea that the more your name is bandied around as an author, the more likely folks will gobble up one’s books. On the other hand, there is the chance for overkill: can too many books spoil the author?

I’m not sure what to think two weeks into the publication of my sixth book. My first book, War Remains was received quite well, but I think a lot had to do with the novelty of the idea of one publishing his or her first book.

So, how do you avoid the self-publishing blues and escaping the vanity stigma?

That’s hard to answer given the preponderance of books being published around the clock. Obviously, there is a demand for some books, though for the life of me (no pun intended) I can’t figure out why books about zombies sell well. I think the biggest problem is that world has gone mainstream. It’s getting harder and harder to compete with a lot of crap being written these days which means it’s getting harder and harder to get noticed. I once had an agent tell me that she loved my first book War Remains, that it was a good story, but she felt that she couldn’t sell it. She suggested that I write a mystery or a thriller; so I wrote When A Hard Rain Falls.

Although the advice I am about to give might not help you if you have a book on Amazon or Barnes and Noble and your sales have convinced you not to give up your day job, but if you are going to self-publish, PLEASE make sure you have invested some money into editing and design. It might not help you sell a thousand or more books, but if we are ever to escape this self-publishing stigma we have to make sure our books are just as good as ones being turned out by traditional publishing houses.

Another thing you can do, and this is some advice I have seen a lot of published authors give, and that is to choose your categories wisely. That is one way to get a little more exposure to sell more books and free you from the shackles of the self-publishing stigma. I know an author who published a book a few days ago and already the book is in the top ten because of the category. People see that and they probably don’t care if the book was self-published or not. That my friends is another hard reality about self-publishing.

There is hope for us, though. We just have to keep on doing what we love and believe in the dream.

When A Hard Rain Falls — Cover

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover.

What do you think?


In this case, the answer is YES!

How to Avoid the Self-Publishing Blues

JM_WAHRF_eBook_finalSo you’ve self-published your first, second, third, or whatever number book. As soon as you hit “enter,” “send,” or “submit” that’s when the real fun begins!

I’ve recently self-published my sixth book in four years and though it might seem easier when it comes to marketing and promoting your book, there are always new challenges with each new book.

As soon as you publish your book and send it out into the world, your friends and family quickly rally to support you. But then once that pool begins to dry out the reality sets in that you have a lot of work to do. There are many ways to market and promote your book. Here are some ideas which have helped me:

Thanks to having already created a website and Facebook Page most of the hard work has already been done. I have an established network of friends, acquaintances, and readers who follow my updates regularly and know when I have come out with a new book.

However, once you get past that initial sales spike from those friends and readers, that is when the fun begins. How do you get them to work for you?

It goes without saying that reviews drive sales but there is no substitute for word of mouth. What I do is when one of my friends publishes a book, I talk it up a lot on my Facebook page with my friend (after I have read and reviewed it). This can be a little time consuming because you do have to read a lot, but it has helped me to get more exposure for my books. In addition, people take notice if you promote other authors. You would do the same if you went to see a great band over the weekend. On Monday morning, you would tell everyone about that band.

Hmm…do the math. Two or three bucks for cover charge. A couple drinks. More than what you would pay for an eBook, right?

Another thing you can and should do is write/blog about things which are related to your book without mentioning your book other than in the introduction or the conclusion. For example, some of the action in When A Hard Rain Falls takes place around the Hennepin Canal, so I plan on writing about the canal on my blog. I’ve done the same thing for places in South Korea (Waking Up in the Land of The Morning Calm).

An Excerpt from When a Hard Rain Falls

JM_WAHRF_eBook_final“Halfway across the canal, he lost his footing and fell in. The water, which was cold and filled with debris, came up to his chest. He knew that in some parts of the canal, the water was over ten feet deep, but much higher now as it continued to rise and swell. He was a good swimmer, learning how to swim in the Illinois River and Fox River as a boy, where he had to fight strong currents. This time though, he was fighting more than the strong current and the rushing waters; he was fighting for survival—his and his sons.”

Now available on Amazon.

Want to sell more books? Spread the word one book at a time

iceCreamHeadache2 (1)I know its easier said than done, but if you a self-published author the one way for you to sell more books is to get your readers on board. Unless you’re willing shell out x amount of dollars for publicity and advertising (with no guarantee that you will sell your books) the most effective, not to mention cost effective, approach to selling your books is by spreading the word one book at a time.

Thanks to social networking sites like Facebook and Goodreads where you can connect with your friends and readers, getting the word out is a lot easier in the digital, social networking world we live in. However, you are only halfway there. Although you can lead a reader to your books and hopefully get them to buy them, you still have to get them to help you promote your book with their contacts.

The most effective way is for your readers to share your updates and links to your books, comment on your website or blog, and talk about your book. Just clicking “like” or “sharing” an update is not enough. One has to be more proactive by actually having something to say about the book. That is the real challenge.

I have a few dedicated readers/followers who do exactly that. As soon as I share a status update about one of my books or a blog post like this one, my friends spring into action by sharing these updates with their friends. Many times they will even comment about the status update which is also effective.

Amazon Reviews

I have a new marketing strategy.

Actually, it’s not a new one and I didn’t even come up with the idea.

What I do is look for indie writers who self publish like myself, download their books, read them and then write a review. Some of the writers are my Facebook friends and I believe in helping them out because the quickest way to sell books is by word of mouth and having reviews for people to read.

And hopefully, they will do the same for me (some already have!)

Check out some of my favorite writers who I have done this for:

Dave Steele

John Podlaski

Martin McMorrow

Robin Stratton

Basil Sands

Randy Mixter

Ken Farmer

Warren Martin

Joyce Faulkner

Nathaniel Tower

I recommend these writers and the books they have written. Check them out. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

A Bridge too Far — Hoengseong, South Korea

The first filming of the day was near this bridge leading into Hoengseong. In 1951, this was the only route leading into town and for the men of the 38th Infantry Regiment, Support Force 21, and ROK forces, this was the end of Massacre Valley and the way to safety. The original bridge was destroyed during the war, but this one was built on the original site.

Yesterday, it was, “Hey, I’m going to Hoengseong to be in this documentary about the Korean War and talk about the battle and my book!”

Today, it was more like, after one of the crew had me wear a wireless mike, “Yikes, I’m going to be filmed and recorded!”

Well, it wasn’t that bad.

Throughout the day, it took no more than two or three takes for most of the shots and interviews. Sometimes, I just wanted to say something more; a few times I did get a little tongue-tied.

Being a teacher really helped. Once I got going and found my rhythm, it was like teaching a class.

Interview in Big Al’s Books and Pals

I’m honored and humbled to have been interviewed for Big Al’s Books and Pals’ Author Series. Without question, Big Al’s is the online place to be for book reviews and interviews. How exclusive and important is it? I had to wait for almost a year for my book to be reviewed–the waiting list is that long!

Big Al does a great job promoting authors.

Check out the site when you have the chance.

Welcome Home, Sgt. 1st Class Eddie A. Viers

Another soldier has come home.

More than 60 years after an early Korean War battle, Sgt. 1st Class Edris “Eddie” A. Viers is returning home to Iowa.

Viers, a 32-year old Swan, Iowa native serving with Battery A, 555th Field Artillery Battalion, 24th Infantry Division, U.S. Army, was last seen Aug. 12, 1950 as his unit engaged with North Korean forces near Pongam-ni, Republic of [South] Korea in what became known as the “Battle of Bloody Gulch.” During the fighting, enemy forces overran the 90th and 555th Field Artillery Battalions, inflicting heavy casualties on U.S. forces.

Read the rest of the story here.

The other day, I was asked if Bobby Washkowiak, the main character in War Remains, was based on a real person. Bobby is based on all the men who come home.

Welcome home, Sgt. 1st Class Viers.

Rest in Peace, Sir.

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