Thursday, November 3, 2016

Piracy: Do the math, and then Blast it @kayelleallen #MFRWauthor #authors

Piracy is the act of plagiarizing; taking someone's words or ideas as if they were your own. When you sell someone else's property as if you had the legal rights to do so, that's piracy too.
There's a difference between giving away a paperback versus an eBook. When you give away a paperback, you can only give it to one person at a time, and you no longer have it. You can give away an eBook indefinitely and still keep your copy. With each download, the author, publisher, cover artist, and editor each lose a percentage of the value of the book, known as royalties.

Yeah, but it's good advertising, right?

Go into a department store at the mall, take a few things without paying for them, and if you get caught, just tell the store owners it's good advertising. After all, you liked their products better than anyone else's. You took the best. They should be proud they were chosen instead of the store next to them.
They wouldn't have you arrested then, would they? Yeah, right.
Or how about "It's just part of doing business" as a reason to ignore the problem?
Theft might happen and there might be work involved in stopping it, but mall security is still in place. There are locks on the doors. There are cameras watching. Thieves get prosecuted. Authors who think "You can't stop online pirates; shut one down and another pops up" are fooling no one but themselves.

Things have changed.

Because I lead Marketing for Romance Writers, I'm privy to inside information from author-victims. In the beginning, most small presses simply did not see the danger of piracy, or understand how serious the loss of business was not only to their authors but also to them. That's changed. Why?

They did the math of piracy.

Let's say a small press has 50 authors in its stable. For the sake of argument, let's suppose in each quarter, each author has only one eBook pirated, at an average loss of $1.75 per unit. That loss seems like little. However, on the pirate site, suppose 100 units per author are downloaded without payment. Here's the math:

$1.75 (royalty) X 100 (units) X 50 (authors) = $8, 750 (loss of royalties per quarter, or $175 per author, average)

Consider the average royalty is 30-45% (depending on contracts). That means each pirated book represents a 55-70% loss of sales for the publisher. Assuming the eBook sells at the publisher's site for $5, and the author's royalty is 35% there is a loss for the publisher of $3.25 per unit pirated. The math for that is even more alarming.

$3.25 (pub profit) X 100 (units) X 50 (authors) = $16,250 (loss of profit per quarter) When looking at the black and white numbers, it's obvious that unchecked, pirates would soon drive the very authors they claim to enjoy (and their publishers) out of business. No publisher, large or small, can afford to ignore theft.

Our readers can report piracy.

Major kudos to readers who email authors when they see this type of site. Authors also advise one another in several ways. One way is to join a group formed called Authors Against E-Book Theft

The Copyright Alliance believes that copyright law promotes creativity and job creation and strengthens the U.S. economy. Those who create, render, and publish copyrighted works rely on the copyright law and its enforcement, for their creative and financial success. Without it, these creators would likely cease to exist, or at the very least, cease to produce these important works that are enjoyed by billions of people around the world. You can join the alliance here: Every person who considers him or herself a creative should join. We need to stick together. 

Fighting piracy is not a losing battle.

Authors and readers are not the only ones out there with a strong view against this crime. Everyone who has a stake in royalties is a victim and those who understand the seriousness of this attack on our financial standing are becoming involved. This includes Interpol's Anti-Piracy Division founded September 8, 1977 (as you can see -- this has been around awhile). It includes pirated videos/CDs/DVDs and Blu-Ray. The Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Crimes Division is becoming increasingly active. Find out more here.

Authors who see repeated offenses should contact the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). The site encourages members of the public, industry, trade associations, law enforcement, and government agencies to report violations of intellectual property rights through this website. You do not have to own the copyright of an item to report the theft. If you report the crime, they will investigate it. The form is simple to fill out and is found on the site above. 

Good news versus depressing facts: Blasty.

There's a new weapon against pirates, and it's the best I've seen yet. It's called Blasty. Take a look here and watch the two-minute video. It explains the simple process. I tried it with one book, and within 10 minutes had already blasted over 30 pirates.
Blasty works like this. You choose your category (authors use books & audiobooks) enter book content information such as title, subtitle, author name, reference URL (legal sale site, such as Amazon or a publisher), and optionally, upload a cover image. Check the box affirming you own the copyright or are an agent of the copyright holder, and click submit.
Blasty goes to work, using the Google search engine to find any sites where your book or books might be hosted.

Whitelist legal sites.

You'll find some right away that are fine to be there, such as a contest where you gave away a copy back when the book first came out. That's no problem. Click "ignore" next to alert, or place the URL in a section for whitelisted -- safe and legal -- sites. You can put your own domain in there and it won't list any of your own pages. Same with your publisher, Amazon, Smashwords, and so on. Once Blasty "learns" what sites are bad, anytime your book pops up, it immediately Blasts them. You don't have to do a thing. You can click a box in a list of pirated sites, select them all, and then click one button to Blast them. You can go to each site if you prefer. An applet installed in your browser lets you report a pirate without doing a single thing except click once.

Blasty is better than a beat cop.

Blasty is in beta right now, so you can only join by invitation. I extended one in the link Feel free to share it. Join, give them positive feedback, say what works, point out issues, and give them the kudos they deserve. This site is providing a great service for creatives. Right now, it's free. I hope it stays affordable for all authors. Get in now and get rid of as many pirates as you can. Don't wait.
above. Here it is again.

Complacency is the biggest weapon of piracy.

If pirates keep hammering at you until you are too tired to care, they will win. But hey, if you're a mom or grandmom like I am, you know giving in doesn't solve anything. It just makes the behavior worse. Now, you have an ally who can take pirates off the net by making them impossible to find.
Let's kick pirates out and Blast them out of business. They are stealing our work, and profiting from it. It's time to make them stop.
You've worked too hard and too long to let pirates beat you. Stay strong. Go Blast 'em!
Kayelle Allen
Author, Founder of Marketing for Romance Writers

Monday, October 31, 2016

CONNECT with Other #MFRWauthors for #NaNoWriMo!

Are You NaNo-ing?
November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as #NaNoWriMo. It happens each November and many authors, both old and new, find it motivational.

It pushes authors to increase their word count higher for the month - and typically spurs on higher word counts for a few months afterwards too.

You can SIGN UP here. You should set up a profile and bookmark it because this is where you will go each day or so to update your writing stats.

You'll also earn badges and be able to see your writing progress, along with connecting with other authors.

Let's CONNECT with other MFRW Authors!
1. After you register, come back HERE and put your NaNo Link in a comment.
2. Scroll through comments and follow others.
3. You can also find NaNoWriMo on these social media sites:

Friday, October 28, 2016

#WWoW Author-to-Author Tips from #MFRWauthor @RowlandKathleen

MFRW author Kathleen Rowland shares what she knows about the publishing industry.
Book Buyers Best finalist Kathleen Rowland is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes suspense with a sizzling love story sure to melt their hearts.  Kathleen used to write computer programs but now writes novels.   She grew up in Iowa where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and raced her sailboat on Lake Okoboji.  Now she wears flip-flops and sails with her husband, Gerry, on Newport Harbor but wishes there were lightning bugs in California.
website  |  twitter  |  facebook  |  goodreads

Author-to-Author Tips... Sharing what I know about the publishing industry
Action sells! Books that have an action sequence within the first 25 pages sell better. Readers of romantic suspense look for fast paced.  Plotting is critical to build a cohesive, multilayered storyline.

Should an author publish traditionally or self-publish? It’s okay to ride two horses at the same time. It does take longer for a novel to go from proofing to publication, but often self-pubbed books rush through edits. I submit longer books, over 40,000 words, to my publisher but self-publish novelettas (10,000 and under).

Is paperback coming back as opposed to paperless eBooks?  My publisher focuses first on eBook sales.  If the eBook doesn’t sell, neither will a print book. That is true, but the readership of romantic suspense is 60% eBook and 40% paperback. In other genres print books took an upswing.  Some readers like both print and e-readers.

What’s good about being a writer? In our own lives, even a bit of negativity is usable.  Were you ever involved with an alcoholic? That experience can help shape a character. How about being a single parent and providing for children while making ends meet? In my current work-in-progress, Vivienne Rourke takes tentative steps toward a new life after losing her husband.  Her cousin is missing, and she works as a detective, always hoping to locate her.  Another wonderful part of being a writer is hearing from fans. I learned on the reservation that the ancient, sacred charge of the storyteller is to beguile the time. I’m thrilled when I hear that someone has used my books to get through some particularly difficult illness either as a patient or as they sit on the sidelines while someone they love is terribly ill. It gratifies me to know that by immersing themselves in my stories, people are able to set their own lives aside and live and walk in someone else’s shoes. It tells me I’m doing a good job at the best job in the world.

Is bringing something new to the table with research or breaking news better than following trends relevant to your genre?  I write romantic suspense, and the most popular contemporary romance subgenre is action/adventure. I feel a smart-selling author needs to have awareness of requirements within a sub-genre.  Romantic suspense requires DANGER.  Allow me to expand.  Suspense incorporates a sense of tension throughout the book with heart-pounding action, adrenaline-inducing chase, edge of your seat thrills, life-threatening situations, and dangerous criminals. These are common elements.  ROMANCE. There’s a central love story.  Our lovers have to traverse nail-biting adventures before they become acquainted with each other and fall in love. As an author I weave both romance and mystery.
No Backstory Not none, but weave backstory in with mercifully short dialogue. The biggest error is over-writing and manufacturing emotions.  Characters must react in the present, be honest and real. They react to their situation and to each other.  Their issues are background.  Life is messy. The thrill ride is dangerous, authentic, eye-widening, and passionate.

Kathleen's newest book is Deadly Alliance, an Erotic Romantic Suspense.
Finn doesn't trust Amy.  Dog that he is, they're after the same shiny bone-- his missing cash.  Some alliances have dangerous consequences. Chilling adrenalin rush when Amy witnesses a fight between an Irish gang and domestic terrorists, is caught in the crosshairs, and needs Finn's protection. Finn doesn't trust Amy.  Dog that he is, they're after the same bone.  Some alliances have dangerous consequences. BUY LINK

Monday, October 17, 2016

#WWoW A Day In The Life of A #MFRWauthor Ann Raina

A Day In The Life of MFRW Author Ann Raina
Ann Raina lives and works in Germany with cats and a horse. Riding and writing are her favorite hobbies. So far she has written thirteen novels for eXtasy Books with more to come. Her latest series, starting with The Secretary’s Bodyguard, turns around a couple getting into dangerous, life-threatening adventures.

In all of her books she combines romance, suspense, and humorous elements, for no thrilling story can stand without a comic relief.

Connect with Ann on facebook or on her website.

I work in an office. I have a horse to take care of every day. These demands limit my writing time, including on weekends. Therefore I'm used to write wherever I go and have time to ponder ideas, scenes, and character development. I don't leave the house without a notebook and pen.

My latest, now published book was written in four months because the story came up nicely and many characters offered themselves for developing from the series' first three books. I loved adding new characters, and my muse did a lot in creating their backgrounds. With the storyline set and the main characters defined, I used every minute of the day to write the scenes.

It was so much fun, especially the afternoons with my muse -- lots of coffee, cookies, and enough paper to write down essential notes.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

No Motivation for Marketing Your Romances? #MFRWorg #romance

For those of you that are out there killing it in terms of your marketing (you know...writing on your own blog, guest-posting, great Twitter and Facebook presences, a thriving and regular newsletter, a community of people who love your books and share them regularly...), YAY! Good for you.

This blog isn't for you. It's for the rest of us, those of us who struggle with balancing a full-time other career, possibly a spouse and children, the actual writing of the novels, and then marketing on top of all of that.

I do a lot of marketing for my career as a life coach. A ton. But I don't do much at all for my romance novels, which means that those poor little novellas that I wrote three years ago suffer in obscurity and are dying a slow, lingering death. (I've since written four more complete novels and am actively subbing, but that is a subject for another blog.) So I do know what it takes to succeed in the marketing arena, even if I'm not always doing it for my little romances.

My point is, if you are in the same space: I hear you. I feel you.

Most of us already know what we "should" be doing. It's like someone who wants to start exercising. She's not trying to convince herself that sitting all day is healthy. She just can't seem to find the motivation to get out there.

And like our friend who wants to exercise, for us romance writers, marketing is usually one of the last things that we do. It's so tiring. It's a slog. Someone might reject me. People might not like what I post. Yuck!

And yet, there are plenty of people out there in exactly the same boat, and yet, they still manage to find the time to do a good bit of marketing. So how do they do it?

Okay, so let's get down to the nitty-gritty. How do you motivate yourself to keep going with your marketing, even when everything else (including your own thoughts) gets in the way?

1. Find your why

Why, exactly, are you even bothering to market your books? Do you want more money for your next vacation, more readers so that you can spread your message of peace and love and aliens-are-invading, or possibly you just want to have a deeper connection with the readers that you already have?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it's probably mainly so that we can have more readers, more people who buy our books. But what, exactly, does that translate into for you? What are you hoping that money will buy?

Now here's the fun part: Spend a few minutes today writing and dreaming about your the experiences and things that money would buy. If you sold JK-Rowling-like numbers of books tomorrow, what would that enable you to do? What charities would you support? Which vacations would you take? With whom would you spend more time?

Spend 10-20 minutes really getting into the details of what you want from that expanded readership. How would you be helping those readers? What is your message that you want to get to them?

This exercise has been extensively studied by positive psychologists (in terms of increased happiness), but it also really helps to awaken our subconscious mind to possibilities that we might not ordinarily see.

2. Plan, plan, plan

I'm a pantser. I love spontaneity in my life. I would jet off to Europe tomorrow if you asked me to (and gave me a plane ticket. And a babysitter. Minor details.)

But for anything that has to get done in my week, including marketing, blogging, and submitting to other, bigger blogs, I have to block it out in my calendar. And then, like a meeting with my boss (who also happens to be me) I don't allow anything to interfere with that time.

Don't mistake urgency for importance

Most of us make this mistake. We see an email pop up and we think we have to answer it. Or a text. That little bell is a Pavlovian response to "oh, someone needs me. I must answer them right now!".

But what's truly most important to you? Getting out requests for reviews, or posting a new Facebook meme? Contacting other bloggers for possible guest posts, or answering your mother's phone call during your prime working hours?

This gets back to blocking out your time. Turn off your phone, shut off the internet, and get it done.

3. Challenge your thoughts

This is number three, but it's actually the biggest one to take on in terms of  our marketing challenges. We have these little fears that masquerade as actual reality, things like "Last time I did a blog hop, no one even commented. It's pointless to even do it."

But challenge that thought. Did you truly get zero comments? You probably got at least a few. I also like to remember that everyone starts from somewhere. That all great marketers started out with just one Facebook follower. That all of marketing is a slow build, until eventually it becomes an avalanche.

You can use this process, called thought-refuting, with any of your fears. What are you really most afraid of in putting yourself out there? Once you've identified it, turn that thought on its head. There's always a counter-argument or thought to negate the uncomfortable one.

Something is always better than nothing.

What can you do right now, today, that will get you back on the path? Even twenty minutes of beautiful sharing (sharing - not selling - you know this!) will get you back on that path.

Have you struggled with your own marketing? What do you do to overcome it? We'd love to hear from you in the comments!

Erin writes sensual paranormals and historical romances as Erin Moore. In her other life, she's also a life coach, helping women to answer the question of how to add value in their lives and careers in a vibrant and meaningful way, even while navigating the chaos and frustrations of everyday life. She believes that everyone deserves an amazing life of abundance, and her free e-book "Your Kick Ass Life: A Process for Answering "What Do I Do With My Life" is available on her website.