The e-book experiment: tentative results

As I mentioned in my post last week, the Grassroots’ Writers Guild is nearing its one year anniversary. As such, we feel it’s important to update readers on the concepts we initially put forth on this blog. Today’s topic is marketing via e-books. Does it work? The early answer is, yes and no. While Julia and I have sold some books that way, both via downloads and CDs, the numbers (for me, anyway) haven’t been high enough to grade it a success. On the other hand, it hasn’t been a failure either, so the fair thing to say is that the jury remains out. Our guess is once we get out into the writing community, doing some talks at bookstores and writers’ events around town, sales will pick up. But as with all experiments, we won’t know until we try. Meanwhile, we have opted to add some old-fashioned actual printed books to our repertoire prior to scheduling those appearances. That will be the best way to gauge peoples’ reaction. If they are willing to pay $12 to $20 for a printed book (price determined by length) versus $5 for a CD (book length inconsequental), that will give us a definitive answer. (A review of the printer we chose will appear on this blog in the near future.)

The point is, marketing remains the key to success as a writer. If readers don’t know who we are, they aren’t likely to buy our book(s). Given the number of books currently available via electronic format, that makes sense from a reader’s point of view. Readers can go onto Kindle, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Apple, and probably a dozen other sites, and browse through literally hundreds of thousands of titles, be they self-published or electronic versions of current best sellers. What are their criteria for picking a certain book? Do they search via subject, key words, author name, previously published works? Probably all of those and many others I haven’t thought about. Basically, it’s a crap shoot. About the only foolproof method to make a sale would be for a reader to go onto the site with an author’s name and book title already in hand. How do we make that happen? By getting our names out there, any and every way we can think of. Creativity must be the name of our game.

I will be updating my personal page and my Elvis section this week, so please stop by again and check it out. As always, we welcome your comments. Have a good and productive week!

The Grassroots Writers’ Guild: one year later

As hard as it is to believe, the one year anniversary of the Grassroots Writers’ Guild is almost here. While we didn’t actually go public until December 2009, Julia and I spent literally hundreds of hours getting the blog ready prior to publishing it, so September is our anniversary. Given how neither of us knew much about blogging (as Star Trek’s Doctor McCoy might have said, “Damn it, Jim, I’m a writer not a webmaster!”), we felt pretty good once we got the site up and running. And we feel even better now, knowing that we are getting regular readers and attracting new ones every week. That was our original goal in forming GWG, so it’s nice to say Mission Accomplished.

On the other hand, we still have much to do. It’s amazing how much work it is to keep a blog current. Writing new posts every week—meaning posts people might actually want to read—is a lot more work than we thought it would be. Not so much the writing itself as coming up with fresh ideas.  In addition, we must update our personal pages from time to time, sort through comments and decide which are appropriate for publication, answer reader inquiries via email, check our photo and PDF links to make sure they still work, and find and download photos to go with our posts. (Readers tell us they are more apt to read a post with an accompanying photo than one without, so far be it from us to disappoint.)

All of that said, we have no regrets. Maintaining this blog is well worth the effort. Within the next couple of weeks, we will be taking an in-depth look at our marketing strategy as we move into year number two, so please stay turned.

About This Blog

Hello, those in search of the creative spark. Welcome to the Grassroots Writer’s Guild. This blog began as a collaboration between two writers and friends, on the premise that all writers need a blog. In the past few years, it has become the blog of one of those two friends (Julia Simpson-Urrutia) because the other (Connie Kirchberg) has found so much activity and inspiration in other pursuits aside from writing, which include four dogs, two cats, and a never-ending project list that tends to revolve around carpentry.  Most writers are creative in so many ways, and so it is with us.

While many blogs aim to sell something or pedal a philosophy, my goal is to use this platform as a continuing repository of creativity, whether it be from myself or from others, including Connie Kirchberg.  Most of my own efforts do center around writing, but some of my artwork has been simply for joy (Which, I believe, is the way it should be) and to find another means of bringing my own creative work to the attention of others who might take interest.

Please feel free to comment on any of our posts.  We (I) do our best to keep them writing-related, but let’s face it, a blog is a place to sound off, and sometimes that’s what I might do. Most of the time, however, our posts will relate directly to the business of writing or artistic endeavor.

I am keeping all original posts, including the “get to know the writer” approach that offers personal experiences and family photos. It strikes me, after being assaulted by the din of Internet enterprise and guru know it alls, that some blogs should be for NOTHING else but to say, “Guess what, I am a seeker of the creative spark. I suspect you are, too!”

Whatever artistic activity you enjoyed at 13, you probably should be doing right now. That, at least, is what works for me–no matter who receives a Pulitzer or blue medal from the Group That Knows Better.

I do not know better.

Cheers. : )