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When Conventional Wisdom Goes Astray

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The writing world is changing quickly...

…and that means some things that used to be taboo are now all right.

For example, a couple of weeks ago, I was at the Superstars Writing Seminars and found that there are some common misconceptions among new writers. Here are three things you should do:

1. Raise your e-book prices.

Some new authors like to give their books away in order to attract buyers, and while there are a lot of people who like to grab free books, it appears that so few of those people actually read the books that it doesn’t often generate much advertising value. In fact, typically sales are better if the author charges a fair price for the book. That’s because a book has a perceived value. Too often, readers feel that reading a free book is the equivalent of reading an editor’s slush pile. They wonder, if it’s any good, why do you have to give it away?

So what’s a fair price? A few years ago, it was about $5. But readers would now prefer to pay a little more in order to get a better novel. So what’s the optimal price to charge? What price tells readers that this is a good deal? Right now, that price is about $7. If you’re charging less than that, you might want to consider raising it.

2. Send in simultaneous submissions.

When I began writing many years ago, it was considered terrible if you sent a manuscript submission to more than one editor at a time. Authors just didn’t do that.

Of course, that meant that an author could spend years waiting for one publisher after another to look at a manuscript.

But on a recent panel, a couple of editors from major publishing houses surprised me by saying, “I don’t mind simultaneous submissions at all, so long as you tell me in the cover letter that it is a simultaneous submission, and so long as you let me know if it sells somewhere else first.”

This is big news to me. Why? Because it puts an author in a place where he or she could potentially have multiple publishers making offers on a novel. Granted, it’s not likely, but it could happen.

3. If you want to write a series, don’t be coy about it.

Twenty years ago, if a writer wanted to write a big series, the author would write the first book and wrap it up enough so that it could be seen as a standalone novel “with the potential to become a series.”

However, for most genres that hasn’t been true for a long, long time. Yet twice this past month I’ve been on panels where authors assumed that this was true. All I can say is, “Watch the sales stats.” If you pay close attention, people are selling books in series right and left.

The reason of course is clear: When you write a series, it gives the bookstores an incentive to pick up books on the backlist and keep the series in stock, and that’s the easiest way for a new author to build an audience.

The hitch? The truth is, if you’re going to start a series, that first book had better be darned good. If it is, then just about any publisher would love to have a series by you.

Originally published in 2015

Tonight at 7 pm Mountain Time!

Every week, Forrest Wolverton holds the Apex Accelerator Program. This program is designed to help motivate writers and help them get past the obstacles in their life to become the best writer they can be. There aren’t very many writing groups out there that have motivational speakers! It’s time to get serious about your writing!

 

Saturday at 8 am Mountain Time

Victorine is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Not What She Seems, a romantic suspense novel that sat on the bestseller list for 6 weeks. She’s the author of the Billionaire ClubBillionaire Series, and has authored four books for writers and self-publishers. Come meet Victorine on Saturday!

Next Monday at 7 pm Mountain Time

Joe Monson has edited numerous anthologies including Trace the Stars, A Dragon and Her Girl, and Twilight Tales. He was also managing editor over collections like Down the Arches of the Years, and Dragon Soup for the Soul. He’s written short stories and is currently outlining a space opera adventure series. Come meet a professional editor and writer!

If you like space opera and science fiction, here’s a free short story by David Farland called Against Eternity.

– 

A faceless, genderless person identified as “you” gets its memories downloaded into a Transformer-like spaceship built for war and blasts off from Earth, defying all authorities.

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