Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Paddler's Journey Launches August 2nd!

I'm almost there! After a year of work, with plenty of distractions and full-time jobs getting in the way, my kayak memoir A Paddler's Journey is almost ready to be published. It will be available in paperback and multiple eBook formats. I'm excited and nervous, but I'm happy with how the book came out and in the end that's what matters most to me.

I know I have a lot of friends and readers out there who are looking to support me in this endeavor, so I thought I'd let you know what you can do to help. Don't worry, most of it is painless and involves very little work on your part. You might even find some of it fun.

Buy the Book

OK, this is obvious. But there are different ways to buy the book, so I thought I'd explain them a little to point out which way helps me the most. First, start on my website. I've completely redesigned it (you can check it out now but the book-buying page isn't live yet). If you buy the book directly through the links there I get more money. I'll also be offering a discount on the paperback - so you'll actually save money too. And I'm going to be selling signed copies of the paperback directly through the site. These will cost a little more, but that's because it takes me more time to sign and package them and pay for the shipping. But direct purchases do give me the highest profit margins.

[To be transparent, here's a little more info on those 'profits'. I've easily spent over a 1,000 hours working on this project. I make from one to five dollars on each book I sell, depending on the format and location. I'll be really lucky to sell a couple thousand copies - most self-published books sell a couple of hundred. Again, being wildly optimistic, I'll make a few thousand dollars. That's about $2/hr. You don't have to worry that giving your money to some rich dude who's sitting back and raking in the dough.]

It also helps out if you all buy the book at once. That pushes the book higher in the rankings at sites like Amazon which helps get the book more visibility and encourages other people to buy it. So if you plan to buy the book at sometime, you might as well dive right in and buy it when it launches on August 2nd.

Review the Book

This is how books get sold these days - through reader reviews. Again, there's more effective and less effective ways to do this. First, be honest. Tell people what you really thought, what you liked, what you didn't. Friends and family raving about the book doesn't do anyone any good. If doesn't have to be long, but even a couple of quick sentences really count for more than merely given it a star rating.

Second, review it where you got it. Places like Amazon generally don't weight reviews if they don't think you've read the book, and they don't believe you read it if you didn't buy it from them. That does bring up a little hick-up because if you buy it direct from me (which I hope you do), any Amazon review won't be 'verified' even though you have bought a book made by them (I'm using Createspace to print the books and it's an Amazon subsidiary). I'm still working on how to solve this problem. I might throw in a code to get the eBook for free if you buy directly from me. That way not only will you get it signed, but you can 'buy' the eBook and leave a review. Once again, I ask that you only leave a review after you read the book and are honest about it. I'm not trying to game the system but to help everyone get real information.

Spread the Word

Feel free to talk about my book. To everyone. Everywhere. Maybe your friends who don't paddle would like it - it's written for everyone to enjoy, not just die-hard kayakers. They might even understand a little more about why we all love this sport so much. If you belong to a kayak club or forum on the web, maybe those people would be interested in the book. Feel free to loan out the book (but also encourage those who can afford it to buy their own copy).

In addition to reviews, it's social media word-of-mouth that helps to sell books. Facebook is still the big one and where I spend my time, but if you're on snapchat, instagram, tumblr, wherever, feel free to spread the word there. Again, be honest. If you don't think other people would enjoy it, don't twist their arm. My goal is to get my book to people who want to read it, even if they might not think they want to at first.

Let Me Know

It makes me feel all warm and tingly to know that people out there enjoyed reading something I wrote. Leave a comment, send an email, drop me a message on Facebook. If you like this blog, I really think you'll like the book. While each chapter is its own paddling story, the book format allowed me to connect them in a way that the blog doesn't. There's a theme and progression that goes from one to the next, and in the end they all add up to something more than just kayak adventures. You can simply enjoy the antics as I learn the sport through mistakes and setbacks, but if you want you can look closer and get something deeper out of it. Either way, it will be here soon and I hope you're all as excited as I am.

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