Archive for May, 2009


How Authors Can Leverage Web 2.0 without Publishers

sarah_alone_in_jungleIn my alerts messages I came across a two year old article Kathryn Lively wrote titled “Can Book Giveaways Hurt Sales?”
( how about giveaways can hurt sales. It was a fairly amusing, almost quaint read and here are a few excerpts:

“That said, incentives are usually offered to fill the chat rooms with readers. Authors may give away a prize to one lucky reader, like a small gift or a free book. The question of whether or not it is prudent to distribute complimentary books as prizes has long been argued among authors, particularly in the eBook industry….Some authors condone the practice on the premise that a book in the hands of a reader may encourage that reader to buy more books.”

This is the amusing part…

“On the other hand, such generosity may backfire, according to other authors who condemn the practice. When you consider the tightly knit readership of eBooks, particularly in the romance genre, authors may tend to see the same Internet nicknames populating chats. If word gets around enough that free books are the prizes, an author might soon discover that he or she is giving away her entire catalog to the same readers without seeing any profits. An author can feel frustrated with the practice, and wonder if such regular contest winners will ever buy his/her book. …Should an author feel trapped, however? The answer is an emphatic no.”

“There are ways to successfully offer giveaways without giving away everything. While gifts like soaps, teas, and other trinkets can add up over time (though they are tax-deductible, authors, make notes!), there is one giveaway trick that can help stimulate sales. The next time you participate in a chat, write a one to two-thousand word story that reads as a supplement to your novel. It could be a sequel, a prequel, or a side story with supporting characters. Have it formatted as in eBook in HTML or PDF and offer it as an exclusive prize to one winner. Give it a try, and watch your readership grow.”

Not a bad idea but let’s be honest authors are a dime a dozen and we are more than willing to work as scabs to garner a reasonable readers base. It’s either that or go unread.  The article was only two years old but seemed like it was from another era. I replied to her with the following comment:

“I don’t know but with so many new electronic formats and delivery systems being created new authors kind of take it for granted that a giveaway is necessary to build a reader base. Basically, it is marketing 101 for the Internet. Of course, the same electronic revolution has created a flood of words that tends to overwhelm the limited pool of readers. The old self-publishing model is giving way to innovative sites such as that allow authors to give their work away as recorded audio podcasts while other sites such as Wattpad, Stanza and Scribd allow authors to giveaway select ebook works, all in hope of building a faithful audience. How authors can monetize their efforts is going to be an interesting challenge that I find myself wrestling with. My own novel, Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot became the inaugural featured novel at Wattpad and thousands are busily reading the novel on their iPhones. But to be honest with you reading novels on their iPhones, I mean who would have thunk it? It’s a brave new world in publishing and a giveaway is the least of the author’s and publisher’s problems!”

Erik John Bertel, Author Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot

Kathy wasn’t amused with my observations nor with my obvious efforts at self-promotion and she promptly deleted my comment. Still the point is valid; if you are worried about the couple of bucks you are going to miss with a giveaway then you have no clue about marketing in today’s Web 2.0. That’s why most books sell just a few thousand copies and why most authors go unread and unnoticed. If you are a new author, get the audience first and then worry about monetizing your writings. The days of the big advance and the old publishing machine are in the distant past. I’m not saying today is better and sure you will have to work two jobs for a while but hey, welcome to the machine. Nowadays, the Web 2.0 eats dinosaurs like the publishing and newspaper industry for breakfast!

Cheers Erik John Bertel

Speaking of Web 2.0 try these sites for the free Flores Girl novel download:
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Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot is an exciting speculative adventure story about the discovery of a new prehistoric people by two scientists, Sarah and Richard. Their discovery is threatened by both religious zealots and marauding industrialists. Download the e-Book in PDF, Mobi and Microsoft Reader formats. Honest it is free at Just click the chick!

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May 2009
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  • Exodus - The Final Chapter
    Sarah and Richard must fight their way off the island in this final installment of the podcast.
  • Your Hands are Stained with Blood.
    As death and chaos overtakes the island, Sarah and Richard try to escape Reggie.
  • An Unlikely Ally
    Reggie begins a reign of terror on the island that will leave nobody, including the Ebu, safe from his murderous schemes. Reggie's only challenge will be a visit from the biggest murderer in human history.
  • The Capture
    Sarah and Richard must make their escape after witnessing Reggie's brutal capture of the Ebu.
  • The Guardian Meets the Lab Rat
    Bill is presuaded by Reggie to meet with Karl.
  • The Guardian
    Karl's fever starts to takes a toll on his sanity as his efforts to contact the Ebu becomes a religious quest for him
  • New Friends
    Sarah's relationships with both Richard and Flo take a surprising turn.
  • Christian Soldier
    Reggies discovers the island of the Ebu and begins his assault but not before Karl makes his move.
  • The Cost of Weakness
    A senseless act of violence challenges Sarah and her tenuous relationships with the inhabitants of the island.
  • Weakness
    Sarah is stricken by a life threatening illness that triggers a strange personal odyssey for her.
  • The Princess Meets Flo
    While observing the troop, Sarah forms a friendship with one of the Ebu that she names Flo.
  • By the Sea
    Sarah makes a risky first contact with the Ebu.
  • 14. The Wait - Flores Girl: The Children God Forgot
    -In this episode: Sarah and Richard wait for the Ebu at a small pond.
  • Discovery
    Sarah and Richard begin their exploration of the island in search of the Ebu.
  • Resolve
    After losing everything to the pirates, Sarah and Richard face their own personal failure and decide whether or not they should return to the states.
  • Pirates of the Flores Sea
    As they begin to set out for Sarah's island, Sarah's and Richard's boat is boarded by dangerous high-sea pirates.
  • All Work and No Play
    Before leaving for Sarah's mysterious island Sarah and Richard head out for a night on the town in Flores.
  • The Boss
    Sarah and Richard put their expedition together and travel to Flores Island in search of the Ebu Gogo.
  • Higher Calling
    Unbeknownst to Reggie and Bill, Karl, the head lab assistant at GenTech, is busily sabotaging the pharmaceutical giant's controversial stem cell research.
  • Corporate Citizen
    Ruthless elements within a large pharmaceutical company make their own plans for the Ebu.