Don’t Let Your Self-Published Book Rust Away on Amazon

I won’t keep you today, but I want to share this short message.

Most Self-Published authors publish a book, do a happy dance, and then let it rust away on Amazon, never to be seen or heard from again.

That’s because most Indie Authors are still waiting to be Amazon Best Sellers, rack up on thousands of reviews, and wait for Amazon to send them royalties.

And there is nothing wrong with any of this.

Except, sometimes those royalties don’t be royal if you know what I mean.

And getting new reviews can be like pulling teeth.

Both are important, but I want you to know you don’t have to pull your hair out waiting. There are people who have few reviews on Amazon and still do very well and it’s because they stepped outside the box. They did something different.

And so can you.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over the years is that the book is only the beginning. It is a foundation, an open door, a ticket…

But into what??

Whatever you want.

Your Self-Published book is the beginning of a fresh course, community, even a movement for political and social change.

Writing a book sets you apart as an expert in your field. You are now equipped to speak on the topic of your book (yes, fiction writers, you too), teach the themes of your book, or advocate for the message of your book.

You can sell signed paperback copies of this book from your own website, sell them in bulk at schools, libraries, and bookstores.

You can build an entire course and online school from your book, or vend at large events, conferences, and workshops.

Strategic Self-Published authors see the book, not as the end, but the beginning of a journey into more.

And why is this important?

Because a Self-Published book lost in the sea of Amazon does not produce more fruit.

Think about it.


I hope this helps someone. Stay safe folks!

Need more Indie Author Tips?

Check out the IAB archive here.

Need more in-depth guidance? Book a consult with me.

Do You Have Permission to Mass Email?

I am squeezing this post in, in the middle of packing, so I won’t keep you long.


Ahh. The author’s email list. Some hate them. Some love them. Either way, this is for the people who use them.

Before you send that email, do you have permission? 

What do I mean by permission? This is your business, and you run the show. Do you really need permission?

Yes, you do.

How excited I imagine ya’ll be to spam people without knowing you spamming people.
Photo by Tima

You must have permission to email people anything that may be considered marketing or promotional content. Further, you must provide a way for them to unsubscribe or opt-out of the email if they choose to do so.

I am not talking about emailing here and there. I am talking about those of you sending mass emails every day to promote your products and services without getting permission. I am talking about the slick way that you BCC people who have not volunteered for the information you are sending.

This is not my opinion, guys. These are part of the legal requirement for email marketing. 

“CAN-SPAM is one of the longest-running email marketing regulations in the world. Its laws were released in 2003 after years of email spam and unsolicited pornography filled inboxes the world over.” (Privacy Policies)

CAN-SPAM applies to US-based businesses sending marketing emails to US residents. Here are some of its requirements:

  • Do not use deceptive email addresses, names, domain names or subject lines to mislead the recipient. Be truthful and honest.

If you are putting “Re:” in the subject line of your emails as if you are replying to someone when you are not, you are being deceptive and violating US privacy law.

  • If the message contains adult content or explicit imagery, this must be specified clearly in the subject line of the email.
  • Include a physical street address within the content of all marketing emails.
  • Provide consumers with a conspicuous and straightforward way to unsubscribe from marketing emails. Fulfill unsubscribe requests within 10 days.

Be Safe and Use a Third-Party Email Provider

Photo by cottonbro

If possible, do not send emails without using a third-party email marketing service.

Third-party email services like ConvertKit, Mailchimp, and Mailerlite allow you to create a form people can use to sign up, giving them permission to be emailed. It also provides an easy way to comply with privacy laws because they already set it up that way. They embedded these into the form.

The Problem with Not Telling People to Subscribe to Your List

Photo by Andrea

Ask any influencer, coach, mentor, or “guru” and you’ll learn the general rule of thumb is that when growing an email list, you never say, “Sign up to my email list.” Instead, you offer an incentive (say a free book or resource) that people will sign up to receive. They enter their email and download the freebie.

But here’s the thing:

You still have to mention they will be subscribed to your list.

  • You cannot trick people into signing up for your email list. 
  • You cannot keep emailing people who have not given permission to be emailed.
  • You cannot email people without a way for them to opt out.
  • You cannot be deceptive. If someone did not reply to your email, there is no reason to put “Re” in the subject line like they did.

I hope this helps someone. Stay safe folks!

Need more Indie Author Tips?

Check out the IAB archive here.

Yecheilyah’s 5th Annual Poetry Contest 2022 + New Website

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Yecheilyah’s 5th Annual Poetry Contest 2022

Theme: FREEDOM

Submissions Accepted:

Thursday, July 7, 2022 – Friday, September, 30, 2022

Winners Announced:

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

About.

Yecheilyah’s Annual Poetry Contest is an online national and international poetry competition established in 2017 by award-winning author, book blogger, and poet Yecheilyah Ysrayl. The contest’s purpose is to find and celebrate the work of dope poets while raising awareness about the power of poetry.

Now in its 5th year, this is a contest essential for those serious about literary excellence.

We are now open for submissions.


Since 2017, we have hosted this contest right here on the blog. We will continue in the tradition of providing updates, author interviews, and all that jazz.

But as for the rules and guidelines, the contest now has its own website!

We accept poems (written, audio or video) from now through September 30, 2022. Our theme this year is FREEDOM. Head over to the website, subscribe to the list, and email your freedom poem before the deadline.

To learn more and to enter to win please visit us at www.yecheilyahsannualpoetrycontest.org/

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Let’s GOOO!!

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Deadline to Submit is 9/30/2022

Winners Announced on 11/1/2022

Check out our past winners!IMG_3347

Yecheilyah’s 1st Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2017

Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2018

Yecheilyah’s 3rd Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2019

Yecheilyah’s 4th Annual Poetry Contest Winners 2021

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews: Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Title: Take My Hand

Author: Dolen Perkins-Valdez

Publisher: Berkley

Published: April 12, 2022

ASIN: B0998ZCQTK

Pages: 367

I have little time to read for leisure, so it excited me to squeeze in this gem.

Civil Townsend was a nurse at the Family Planning Clinic in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1973. Erica (thirteen) and India (eleven) were assigned to her case. As their nurse, Civil is to administer the Depo-Provera birth control shots.

This shocks Civil as the girls are still very young, have never been sexually active, and little India is not only mute but has yet to start her cycle. 

The Williams sisters are being raised by their father and grandmother, both illiterate, their mom having passed on. Their living conditions in rural Alabama are not fit for any human to live.

Take My Hand is a powerful historical fiction novel that tells the story of the Eugenics Movement that led to the involuntary sterilization of Black women in the twentieth century. This sterilization continued in many states until as late as the 1970s.

Eugenics, from the Greek word eugenes, was a term coined by Francis Galton, the cousin of Charles Darwin. It was a racist scientific idea that only those “well-born” or with “good” genes should be allowed to reproduce. This was a fancy way of controlling the Black population, which meant that at the center of eugenicists’ agenda were Black women.

“We don’t allow dogs to breed. We spay them. We neuter them. We try to keep them from having unwanted puppies, and yet these women are literally having litters of children.” 

Barbara Harris, Founder of Children Requiring a Caring Kommunity (CRACK),
C. 1990

Although Erica and India are fictional characters, they represent the many actual women who experienced this form of lynching. In August 1964, the North Carolina Eugenics Board met to decide if a 20-year-old Black woman should be sterilized. 

She was a single mother with one child who lived at the segregated O’Berry Center for African American adults with intellectual disabilities in Goldsboro. According to the North Carolina Eugenics Board, the woman (whose name was redacted from the records) was said to exhibit “aggressive behavior and sexual promiscuity.” She had been orphaned as a child and had a limited education. The board determined she was not capable of rehabilitation.

Take My Hand also mentions The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment (1932-1972) and the Roe vs. Wade decision (‘73). You can tell by how Valdez brings it out that she fully intends to educate her readers on these events. As the characters are learning, so are we. 

The story opens in 2016 and is told from the perspective of an elderly Civil traveling back to Alabama to visit an adult but sick India. The story goes back and forth between 1973 and 2016.

This is a book about racism, sexism, classism, poverty, and white privilege.

But it is also a story of strength.

Although heartbreaking, I find the book well-written and historically accurate.

Ratings

Plot Movement / Strength: 5/5

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Characterization: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

No Whining Wednesday: The Lioness Does Not Need to Roar

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Welcome back to another episode of No Whining Wednesday! Today, you cannot whine, criticize, or complain.

If you are new to this blog or new to this segment please visit the NWW page here for past episodes.


People often comment that I am a calm person. First, I am not always serene. I can turn up for sure, but I am a chill person for the most part.

But this person you see today took years of work to develop. Like you, I am still growing and learning and have much to discover about myself.

By now, you all know I love quotes, and one that always centers me is the following African Proverb that is the catalyst for today’s inspiring word:

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The Lioness Does Not Need to Roar

Although this proverb says lioness, this does not mean they intended it only for women. The message is powerful for whoever needs it. When you operate in your authentic self, there’s no reason to act outside that. You do not need to prove people wrong or right. The truth does not need to be defended. It defends itself. The lioness’ presence is powerful enough. She (or he) ain’t gotta be pressed.

I learned long ago never to let anyone take me outside my character. To be so triggered that people can always get you to snap, crackle, and pop is way too much power to give away. We are responsible for always showing up as ourselves, even when that self differs from what people are used to seeing. I’ve been called weak for not saying as much as people think I should in situations or stupid because I refuse to lower my frequency.

Call it what you want, but I am who I am. And I’m not letting anyone reduce me. Again, the lioness does not need to roar. Sometimes, the best way to defend your position is to simply operate in it.

Now, do not get it twisted. The lioness roars, but she does not have to, to keep the people in awe. Her presence is enough. She is an example that often, true confidence is calm.

You do not need to chase what is already yours or prove what you already know is true.

Just walk in it.

Pricing Your Self-Published Book As a New Author

Note: These are suggestions based on my experience with my own books and books of authors I’ve worked with. These suggestions are not law or set in stone. In the end, each person must do what is right for them, but I hope these tips can help you decide. 


Pricing your book as a new Self-Published author can tremendously impact your writing career and the momentum of your launch. Price the book too high, and you lose the interest of those who want to take a chance on a new author. Price the book too low, and people start to worry the book isn’t good quality.

So, what to do?

How Well Known Are You

Before I get into it, we must consider there is more than one kind of new author.

Some people may have never written a book before, but they have influence in other areas.

By influence, I mean that these writers have thriving businesses or are already known in their community for their expertise. They might not have published a book, but their success in other areas gives them leverage.

Because they have an impact, they can price their books higher even if they’ve never published a book. For instance, you wouldn’t expect Viola Davis’s first book to be cheap. She’s already a celebrity.

However, in this case, we are speaking of everyday dreamers who always desired to see their words in print. For us, we have to be a bit more strategic.

Now Let’s Get to It

Self-Published Ebooks: Usually less than $5.99. I recommend pricing the ebook low for new authors to encourage more sales and reviews. I would say anywhere between $0.99 – $2.99. 

You can change your ebook price whenever you want, so you have room to experiment with this once the book is live. You might start with 99cents and then increase it later. This is up to you.

You can also set your first book in a series or your debut book price low once you’ve published other books to entice new readers. I am Soul, my award-winning poetry collection, was published in 2017. I have the ebook set to 99cents so new readers can get a taste of my writing style. Usually, this is the first book people read of mine, and they almost always want to read my other books next. This is intentional. 

Self-Published Paperbacks: This is where I see the most problems. You are a new author no one has heard of before (and who no one ever thought was into writing in the first place), and your 50-page self-help book (half of which is blank pages so we can “fill in”) is $50 PLUS shipping.

Make this make sense.

For a new Self-Published author, I recommend pricing your paperback between $9.99, and $19.99, depending on the length. The book’s length is important because longer books cost more to print, so you will have to charge a bit more. Again, this price assumes you aren’t already a celebrity or someone of influence with a massive following, in which case the price will go up.

Either way, just make sure it makes sense.

The most important step you can take is to study other books in your genre to get an idea of how to price your book (considering all we’ve discussed.)

Go to Amazon and look up the category of where your book will be sold. What are the prices of top-selling books?

Do this for Kindle eBook and paperback.

And remember, Google is your friend. Here, we focus on the basics, but I am sure there are many other articles from other sources that can provide deeper insight into this topic.

All I ask is that you do not go into this blindly. The cost of your book is a big deal. Don’t throw darts at the wall and come up with random numbers.


Need more Indie Author Tips?

Check out the IAB archive here.

Joy

Photo by nappy from Pexels

Call it prayer
Call it sacred
Call these words a psalm
a song
sing
Surrender to serenity
Let the ecstasy of excitement
enter your heart
and nourish you in places
your pride won’t let you admit
still hurt
However, you must
However, you will
in the quiet blooming of the soul
find
your
joy