Monday, February 28, 2011

Inspirational Fiction for 99 Cents on Kindle

To celebrate the end of winter (yes, it's ending!!!), I'm offering the Kindle edition of UNCONVENTIONAL for only $0.99. Here's the link: Could you please spread this deal? Thanks so much!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Legendary Writer John Irving Shares Some Wisdom

Came across this video featuring the great John Irving and just had to share. Do you know the ending of each of your novels before you write them? Do you consider yourself an artist or a craftsman? I love John's mindset. What do you think? Here's the link to the video on YouTube if you can't view the video on my blog for some reason: Feel free to comment here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Facebook Users Prefer Print Books Over E-books

I ran a poll yesterday at my Facebook profile page and asked my digital-embracing friends (they're using a social network, so obviously they've embraced "digital") what they prefer--e-books or print books. I wondered if the e-book format would actually triumpth over print in this poll due to the fact that the participants were "digital savvy." I think there's a belief out there that readers who choose print books over e-books aren't digitally advanced. I don't think that's true, and maybe this poll kind of proves that ... Here are the poll results:

Print Books: 85%
E-books: 12.5%
Enjoy both, can't choose between one or the other: 2.5%

I found it interesting that a few of the comments were from friends who actually own an e-reading device but still prefer print books. Many of the participants are in love with the smell and feel of print books and therefore will not switch to digital (or bother with e-books at all). So what's my conclusion? It appears that e-book sales (or popularity) might have increased from last year's 9%, but e-readers like the Kindle and Nook will need to do a better job mimicking print books if they ultimately want to conquer print books. Even some of the most digital savvy readers aren't about to abandon the "old fashioned" physical book for another piece of technology!

What do you think? Will you run a poll of your own and let me know the results? Click here to comment.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Self-Publishing Debate

Publishers Weekly published an article on their Web site today quoting author Jason Pinter: “What annoys me is that the same names are always used: Godin, Konrath, Hocking, The Shack,” he said. “There’s a sense of people latching on to a couple of individuals who’ve found success and then those people get a lot of publicity. Then it’s, ‘They can do it; I can!’ There is a bit of a fallacy there; it’s not always the case.” I'd like to respond to that statement by saying that traditional publishing isn't all that differrent. Aren't the same names always used in traditional publishing as well? How often do we hear about the mid-level and first-time authors? Not very often, folks! And don't most aspiring authors see bestselling, traditionally published authors and think, They can do it; I can, too ...?

The article goes on to say that "marketing is key in a crowded marketplace". While solid marketing is certainly important, Publishers Weekly failed to mention anything about editing and book packaging, two of the most important aspects of self-publishing (and traditional publishing). You could self-publish a poorly edited/packaged book, devise a genius marketing plan, and all that would do is help your book to fail at a faster rate. You have to perfect your product and then focus on the marketing plan. A solid marketing plan coupled with a good product will succeed in self-publishing or traditional publishing. And let's face it, nowadays, traditional publishers look to most of their authors to do most of the marketing anyway!

PS: There are thousands of successful self-published authors. Maybe they haven't sold 50K or 500K units, but they're still making a profit!
Join the debate by commenting here.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

E-Book Sales = 9% of Trade Book Sales in 2010

This is old news but worth repeating for some ... In 2010, according to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), e-book sales represented around 9% of trade book sales. While the e-book format is incredibly important in today's publishing world, keep in mind that print format is still very much alive, especially adult paperbacks which rose 4.1% in 2010. Also, downloaded audiobook sales increased by almost 5%. Just another reason why you should publish your book in as many formats as possible!

Do you have a book you'd like to publish in multiple formats? I encourage you to visit, home to the self-publishing company I own. MindStir can help you publish your book as a paperback, e-book, and downloadable audiobook.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Internet Explorer

I've noticed some issues while viewing my blog with old versions of Internet Explorer. I suggest that you upgrade to the faster, safer Internet Explorer 8. Click here to upgrade to IE8. Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome are also compatible with my blog. Download Firefox here and Chrome here.

Promote Your Book with

If you haven't heard of, it's official -- you live under a rock. Goodreads is the largest social network for book lovers. With over 4 million subscribers, plus 50 million pageviews and 5 million unique visitors per month, Goodreads is THE place to promote your book ... I constantly recommend their Author Program, a completely free feature offered to self-published and traditionally published authors. Learn about the program here. The program is even valid for those who decide to publish via e-book format only. Of course, I don't recommend publishing in only one format, as I explained in a previous post, but it's nice to know that Goodreads is interested in helping all types of authors, including you.

Need help with book publishing? Contact MindStir book publishers today! Top Self Publishing Company

Friday, February 18, 2011

NY Times E-book Bestsellers List - What Do You Think About It?

Not sure if you noticed, but last Sunday the New York Times finally launched their e-book bestsellers list in the newspaper's print edition. The list is split into these categories: "e-book fiction" and" e-book non-fiction" as well as "combined print & e-book fiction" and "combined print & e-book non-fiction." has decided to display the NY Times e-book bestsellers list themselves right here.

So what do you think about this new list?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borders Declares Bankruptcy

Today, Borders filed for bankruptcy protection and announced its plan to close about 200 of its 650 stores, countless sources reported ... I personally don't find this surprising. I've heard whispers about the company's financial issues for quite some time now, and I've never been impressed with their behind the times business model. They waited too long to launch and aggressively focus on their online bookstore and the Kobo, their eReader (which is pretty neat), arrived on the scene far too late as well. and Barnes & Noble, Borders' largest competitors, obviously have strong online bookstores and two of the hottest eReaders in the business--the Kindle and Nook. If only Borders had acted sooner. If only.

It saddens me that thousands of hardworking Borders employees will soon be unemployed due to this move. This just goes to show what happens to book-selling businesses that choose to be passive regarding online/digital sales ...

Now ... what does this bankruptcy mean for self-publishing? Honestly, most self-published authors won't see much of a change. The majority of self-published books are sold online (print, eBook, and audiobook formats), and will remain in operation. is still incredibly strong and B&N will benefit from this Borders bankruptcy, so they're not going anywhere ... And who knows--B&N might even buy Borders if they become profitable after closing those 200 stores. Regardless, the publishing industry continues to change, and the only businesses that will stay in the game are the ones that keep a finger on the pulse of technology.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Facebook Fan Page Upgrade

Last Thursday, Facebook unveiled a major upgrade to fan pages. Users were -- and still are -- able to view their fan page(s) in preview mode, to understand the changes, before officially upgrading. Of course, sometime around March 11, Facebook will upgrade all pages automatically. I was initially a bit concerned about this upgrade as I control several fan pages, and let's face it, Facebook hasn't always been the most "user-friendly" social network. But I gave the upgrade a test run in preview mode and was pleasantly surprised. Here are some reasons I recommend upgrading your fan page(s) now:

  •  New, neater design: The left sidebar is now packed with relevant info such as all tabs (e.g. Wall, Info, Photos, etc.), a cleaner space showing the total number of "likes," and a more prominent area to display favorite pages ... Feature photos sit at the top of the page. In other words, there's space for five photos at the top of each fan page, just like the new profiles. This is extremely valuable space and should be used to showcase recent business photos. You can even create a panorama with the five available spaces ... In case you haven't noticed, pages closely resemble the recent profile upgrade.
  • Notifications, yes, NOTIFICATIONS!: Admins can now receive notifications when fans comment or post. This is a major improvement!
  • Like and comment on other pages as your page
A couple cons to be aware of:
  • No new Static FBML: Facebook has decided to do away with Static FBML. This is very disappointing for admins that like to create custom tabs (and have mastered Static FBML) for landing pages. FBML tabs that were created before the upgrade shouldn't be affected, but you won't be able to build a landing page with Static FBML going forward. Do not fear, though. There are other options: Check out
  • The editable text area beneath the default photo is no longer available. I was kind of bummed to see this disappear because I once used that area to offer extra links to fans. Now fans have to click on the info tab in order to see my websites.
Here's a screenshot of the fan page upgrade (click to enlarge):

Friday, February 11, 2011

From Guest Blogger Paula Wiseman: If Writing is Not Just a Hobby - Write the Next Book

My guest blogger for today is Paula Wiseman, author of Contingency: Book One: Covenant of Trust Series, published by MindStir Media back in December. Contingency (Kindle and paperback) recently spent time on the Christian Fiction best-seller lists and was also the #1 book in Hot New Releases in Christian Fiction. Contingency is her debut novel ... And, now, without further ado (drumroll, please)--here's Paula:

Wrote a book - check!
Working on finding a publisher - check!
What else is there for the aspiring author to do? Plenty.

Few things are as satisfying as finishing off a manuscript. On the other hand, pursuit of publication is long and difficult. Restarting the creative process on the next book gives a sense of progress and accomplishment in that 'in-between' time.

We writer types need that sense of creativity.

Let's face it, when you finished your book, you achieved a tremendous goal, pouring a lot of work into a creative endeavor. You gave yourself a wonderful present, allowing your gifts and talents to be expressed in such a tangible way. And it felt good, didn't it? The truth is, that creative process is almost addictive.

Feed that. Get back to work on the next project. Start making outlines, drawing diagrams, filling out characters, or following whatever system or non-system you use. Study the craft of writing and incorporate that new knowledge into the next story.
Is there a sequel in there in the first book? Or a side story? Ask 'what-if?'.

Personally, every time my book got rejected, I wrote a draft of a new story. Let's just say I have several to work with.

You won't have as much time to write new stuff once your book releases.

It's a good problem to have, but it can still be a problem. If you have a head start, you can keep your readers engaged long after they turn that last page with the promise of the next novel, and not wear yourself out trying to deliver it.

So after that last sentence, ask yourself... was it just for fun? Or was it the first step in a serious, perhaps lifelong, pursuit? If it was serious, take a deep, satisfying breath. Pat yourself on the back. Go for ice cream. Then get back at it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Self-Publishing - Book Formats: Print, eBook, or Audiobook?

I've been receiving lots of emails lately from folks asking about the different book formats ... There seems to be confusion about whether it's important to release a book in multiple formats. For instance, some writers are convinced that they should go straight to eBook and forget about a print version altogether. Others don't bother with eBook and want to release their book in print only. I think -- in both cases -- this is a big mistake. When you start comparing print vs. eBook, you're going to lose sight of someone very important: the reader. Readers want options. Releasing eBook-only excludes readers that do not have an e-reading device and/or do not enjoy reading digital text. Releasing print-only excludes those who prefer reading digital text or refuse to pay the price of other formats. And then there's the audiobook--a hugely forgotten format in self-publishing. Many book lovers prefer audiobooks over all formats. iPods and other mp3 players are great for listening during long trips by plane, train, car (for some, these trips represent the only free time they have available for literary entertainment)... Many readers suffer from motion sickness and simply cannot read while moving, but they'd still love to be entertained by a good book. Hello, audiobook!

So what does all of this mean? Release your book in as many formats as possible in order to reach the widest audience possible!

Look at the movie industry. Most new movies are released in at least three formats: DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Copy. You see, some movie lovers don't have a Blu-ray player, so DVD is an ideal option. Others have a Blu-ray player, so obviously they're going to opt for the Blu-ray Disc instead of DVD. Digital Copy is a format that is usually included in some sort of COMBO PACK, in which you receive all three formats in one pack...for one price. Viewers enjoy Digital Copy on the iPod Touch, iPad, and other devices ... My point:  I'd like see more self-published authors (and traditionally published authors, too) offer combo packs: Print, eBook, and audiobook for one price. I've tested a paperback & eBook version of the combo pack at my website: It's been a huge success. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

More Snow?

Okay, this post has nothing to do with publishing. You'll see that once in a while. I'm going to play Mr. Weather Man for a moment... Today, up here in NH, we're supposed to receive around 6 inches of snow, with accumulations tomorrow reaching up to 14 inches.

Now I'm going to play Mr. Weary New Englander for a moment... Will the snow ever stop? I feel like it's been snowing every other day. The snowbanks are taller than me--and I'm 6'3". I can't believe I'm saying this, but we're running out of space to put the snow.

How is it where you live? Are you going to have to buy a snowmobile too?

(I should have something useful to say next post.)