Posts Tagged 'entrepreneur'

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The Death of Traditional Publishers? Final Post: Entrepreneur Jimmy Thomas

Last week I posted about the new entrepreneurs that will rise as traditional publishing descends. One of those entrepreneurs is cover model, Jimmy Thomas of Romance Cover Novels. He is a very, very busy man, but I finally pinned him down for an interview about his unique and brilliant business:

How long have you been creating and selling your own cover photos?

Almost a year. On the 1-year anniversary date of the launch of my site, I will be having a 50% off ALL my images for the entire day! That date won’t be revealed until a few days before, as I don’t want to lose sales until then. (Hint: it’s next month!)

What made you decide to do so in the first place?

I’ve always shot ‘couples’ images, from fitness, lifestyle, editorial and stock, to romantic, sensual and erotica for the past 12 years. I wanted to be on more romance novel covers since I’ve always had the knack to pull off that style.  So between that, and getting involved in the romance novel industry back in 2002, I figured why not make it happen, instead of waiting for it to happen.

Are you able to track who buys them? If so – have you seen any market shifts? Like paper to e-pubs to individuals? Or surges in purchases?

Yes, I know who buys my images and I keep very good track of everything. I’m a perfectionist so to keep sane, and for business sense, I make sure I know my biggest buyers, which publishers I have more covers with, authors, cover artists, etc.  As for e-publishers vs. print publishers, it’s about equal. (All the print publishers now put their print books out in e-format anyway; either at the same time if a well-known author, or they wait until the e-formats sell enough to take it to print.)  As for surges in purchases, no, it stays pretty steady.

Do you know of any other models doing the same thing?

Nope, none. It’s not something that just anybody can do. And again, I have 12 years experience in creating all ranges of very marketable ‘couples’ images. I have many participating photographers who have signed my contract and over 175 female models wanting to shoot. I’m a web designer so I have control of my site and editing the images, plus I have a knack for directing, producing, wardrobe, what looks good, what makes something look better, etc.  I just don’t see others coming around having all of the same abilities.  Plus, I already have the head start if someone does!

Have you considered creating your own “stable” of models and photos – expanding your services by taking on others on a percentage basis?

I will be, once I’m on more covers than John DeSalvo (1,600 will clear the air, but I’m targeting 2,000 by next Romantic Times Booklovers Convention – April 2011).  Then yes, I will allow any photographer or model, who has rights to sell and publish their images, to submit them to me. If I find them suitable for novel covers, I’ll post them for sale..  RomanceNovelCovers will be then be THE only site everyone will go to for those types of images.

Do you realize how “cutting edge” you are?

While trying to stay humble… yes, I do. *wink* But I don’t mean me personally as a model or my look, but because of my combination of abilities that allow me to create and run RNC! 😉

The beta version of Goodnight Publishing’s website is up: http://www.GoodnightPublishing.com Would you like me to list you as a resource?

Yes, I’d love to have you list me as a resource for their cover images!

THANKS, Jimmy!

Thank YOU Kris!

~~~~~

And now we have – July.

I will be taking a much-needed break for a few weeks. Who knows what the publishing world will stir up in the meantime? Please subscribe so you don’t miss whatever comes next; and thank you for your support and comments thus far. I appreciate every one of you! Kris 🙂

The Death of Traditional Publishers? Part 12: Unveiling A Business Model that Didn’t Exist – Until Now

I am about to take a huge and scary plunge. I’m going to reveal my secret.

During the past year I have been actively exploring the world of independent publishing. The reason is simple: while my writing itself has been praised, the setting of my American/Norwegian historical trilogy doesn’t fit into publishers’ “kilts & dukes” boxes. (See Jerry Simmons’ June 17th post here about “safe” trumping “new.”) So my choices were to:

1. bury the books, or

2. hope that the manuscripts I have – which DO fit the “boxes” sort of – sell to publishers, and generate enough interest that the publisher might take a risk on them, or

3. publish them independently and let them stand on their own.

With my agent’s blessing, I’m taking the trilogy directly to the readers. But the issue I have with 99.9% of self-published books is that they look… well… unprofessional. Cheesy. They use ugly or mismatched fonts, over-use bold lettering, or don’t have a sense for how a page should LOOK. It’s like these authors have never read a book!

But to be fair, so do some print-on-demand books from some established e-publishers! Editing there, too, is an issue. Because e-books are cheap, somehow that translates into shoddy work.

Readers deserve better.

So, I decided to find a way to give it to them: GOODNIGHT PUBLISHING.

I soon realized that I have no interest in getting in between an author and their royalties. Or an author and their rights to their books, for that matter! So Goodnight Publishing is NOT an actual publisher, per se. But it fills a need that no other company does that I know of. It begins with:

  • Manuscripts being evaluated by professional editors before they are accepted.
  • Once accepted, the author will either learn how to do all of the following tasks themselves, or take training classes through the Goodnight Publishing website ($15 per class per 30-day instructional window).

Authors are asked to:

  1. Sign up for a free account with Amazon’s Create Space – for their POD copies – procure a free ISBN through them, and determine the physical properties for their book(s).
  2. Format their manuscript per the selected properties, or have it professionally formatted (classes and/or references provided).
  3. Edit their manuscripts, or have it professionally edited (references provided).
  4. Design their own book covers, or hire a professional designer (classes and/or references provided).

Now, this is where the genius of Goodnight Publishing kicks in: when the book itself looks professional and the proof is approved, the author will be given permission to add the TRADEMARKED logo for Goodnight Publishing.

  1. The book now has Goodnight Publishing’s logo printed on the back, spine and the title page.
  2. Goodnight Publishing’s website address appears under the logo.
  3. All book covers will appear on Goodnight Publishing’s website.
  4. Readers who go to Goodnight Publishing’s website will see all the other authors “published” by Goodnight Publishing. Just like any traditional publisher’s site.
  5. For their first four books on the website, authors will pay $2 per month for one live link from their book cover, or $3 per month for two. (Their fifth book will be linked for free.)

These live links can send readers to the author’s website, Amazon or another site for purchasing, to YouTube for their book trailer (classes and/or references provided), their blog, etc. Wherever they choose. By being listed on a publisher’s site along with other authors, the author gains legitimacy in the eye of the reader. Readers don’t care where royalties go. They just want to be able to find more books.

More key points of genius:

  1. This business model exists to enable the independent author to present their works to readers in a professional manner.
  2. Authors retain all rights to their work.
  3. There are no contracts.
  4. Live links are prepaid for 12 months (renewable/non-refundable) and pulled when the payment expires. However, the cover stays on the site. That’s good for all of us.
  5. No manuscript will be refused or removed because previous ones haven’t sold well. Each book stands on its own.

Because – this process is not about selling books. It’s about authors linking arms to BUILD READERSHIP. Long term goals are realistic, overnight bestseller is not.

Goodnight Publishing will accept submissions from all genres, but I do confess an affinity for Historical Fiction and Romance.

Do you have a manuscript that you would like to take on this path? Are you willing to do the work? Then get ready:

Submissions will be accepted beginning August 1, 2010 at www.GoodnightPublishing.com

The Death of Traditional Publishers? Part 11: Spawning New Entrepreneurs!

In the new world of “Author-Straight-To-Public” publishing, tasks done by the traditional houses now fall on the author. But few of us are graphic artists/video competent/promotional whizzes. And we have already discussed how impossible it is to successfully edit our own work!

This is the moment when energetic go-getters will sit up and say, “But I AM a graphic artist/video competent/a promotional whiz/an experienced and competent editor! I should offer my services!”

Bingo.

Let’s say I want to independently publish my Ecuadorian same-sex vampire historical time-travel epic because – at 250,000 words – I’m having a hard time convincing the NY publishers to take a chance on it. Where do I start?

Obviously, the first thing is to get it polished. Enter ENTREPRENEUR #1: Independent Editors! For a fee (a penny a word is what I’ve seen bandied about) they will edit your manuscript and clean it up. Make it shine. Worth every – literally – penny!

Next, I need a cover. If I don’t have any art background, or am not techie enough to do it myself, I’ll want to hire someone to design it for me.

Enter ENTREPRENEUR #2: Freelance Book Cover Designers! These professional artists will design your cover to match your expectations – and your actual characters. Here are two I have met, though there are many more out there: Anastasia Rabiyah: www.rabiyahbooks.com and Dawne’ Dominique www.dawnedominique.com (Contact info is on their websites.)

But what if I DO have some skills? Where can I get the components to put together my OWN cover? Enter ENTREPRENEUR #3: Freelance Cover Models! Okay, I used the plural here. But honestly, the only one I have found (Do you know of others? Please share!) is Jimmy Thomas.

On his site, Romance Novel Covers Jimmy poses both alone and with female models in a variety of costumes and settings. Don’t be put off by the name: professionally shot, the photos are perfect for a variety of genres! And they are very reasonably priced.

Brilliant, Jimmy.

Now that I’m edited and have a cover, I can upload to CreateSpace, Kindle, Nook, iBooks (But only if I own a Mac. In typical Apple fashion they aren’t playing nicely with others), and Smashwords (who covers ALL formats – even iBook. So there.) on my own. But how do potential readers know I’m worth it?

ENTREPRENEUR #4: Freelance Reviewers! There are a ton of blogs and websites that will review your book for free. One, however, takes it a step further: Apex Reviews. For a very reasonable fee, they will review your book, create a trailer, and post it everywhere.

Speaking of which, ENTREPRENEUR #5: Book Trailer companies! A caveat to this: most of their prices are so high that I’m not sure they drive enough traffic to justify the expenditure. But you CAN make your own trailer very simply with PowerPoint and a conversion program.

Which brings us to ENTREPRENEUR #6: Teaching Other Authors! I teach classes on creating your own Book Trailer through Savvy Authors (Check it out if you are interested!). MANY authors teach classes through a variety of websites! And we all make a little money doing it. But the entrepreneurs RUNNING the classes? They make a lot.

Are you getting the point? If there is a corner of the publishing market that independent authors need filled, quick-acting and skilled entrepreneurs can jump in… ARE jumping in.

Is there an unmet need that you have as an author? Post it here and we’ll see if anyone can help… Or start a business! 🙂


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Authorpreneur Kris Tualla

www.KrisTualla.com

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