The publishing world is moving faster and faster as it becomes digital. At Who Dares Wins Publishing, we’ve embraced the digital world, but also realized that the creative world isn’t moving as fast as the technology allows and readers are starting to demand product quicker than we can produce it. Since we already exceeded our year-end 2011 goals by June, we’ve redone our business plan and are ready to take the next step.
In traditional publishing, you were considered odd if you published more than one book every twelve months. In fact, one of the reasons I wrote under four different pen names was I was writing faster than my publishers could handle. The due dates in my contracts were always spaced a year apart.
That’s all changed. In the past year we’ve uploaded 20 years worth of my backlist along with several new titles. The result has been fantastic, with sales of over 100,000 eBooks a month. I’m currently going through the last book in the nine book Area 51 series: Legend and the 8th, Area 51 Nosferatu is uploading on all platforms. I’ve still got to go through the second book in the Psychic Warrior series, the first of which has just been uploaded exclusive to Nook and our web site. (If you’ve seen Men Who Stare at Goats—yes, a program like that existed, I was affiliated with it, and it wasn’t that funny, but it was intriguing).
But here’s the problem. I’ve got several different series that readers want new titles in. There’s simply not enough time in the year for me to write all those books. I’ve prioritized which ones I’ll be writing and I’ll still be working on the same schedule I did with traditional publishing: no more than four titles a year, most likely only three.
Thus: we’re looking for a few good writers to move some of these series forward with new books.
Let me lay this out clearly so you know our parameters, what’s expected, and have a realistic view of what will happen.
Parameters: Writer Qualifications:
- Have been published traditionally or have experienced substantial sales in self-publishing.
- Have your own backlist you have self-published or want us to publish for you at the highest rates in the business or that your traditional publisher controls and is selling.
- Have a social media presence and understand how to market and promote yourself, your books and any books in our series you write.
- Be able to write action/science fiction/thrillers.
- Be able to take story lines and characters that already exist (in some cases invent new characters and story lines using an existing back story) and move them forward.
- Be willing to read all the existing books in a series.
- Be willing to work with me on developing a story outline. (in many case we have ideas and in some cases story outlines already developed).
- Be willing to write an outline and two sample chapters on spec before getting the final go-ahead and contract.
- Write the story and be willing to work together on revisions.
- For Black Ops/Cellar/Green Beret, practically all the books, be able to write the semi-paranoid mindset of the covert operative.
- For the science fiction series, be able to write high-tech scifi.
- Participation in established series written by a NY Times Bestselling author where the titles are still selling solidly.
- 33% of gross royalties earned, paid out quarterly by the 15th of the following month.
- Co-author cover credit.
- I’ll be launching Readers Rule shortly, a cooperative of several bestselling eBook authors that will generate publicity.
The reality: no money up front. You’re working for the future. I can’t guarantee income rates but as we decide on each series, I will tell you what the books are averaging in sales per month, so you can get an idea of what you might be earning. The key to this is the long tail. You’re doing the work up front, but as long as we push these series forward, and we get more titles up, your income will continue to grow. So, if you’re looking for money now, this isn’t the deal for you. We’re also looking for books to be around 50,000 to 60,000 words so we’re not looking for the usual 80-100k novels. They will be priced between $2.99 and $3.99 on all platforms (earning 70% royalty rate and 100% from our web site). Other than the writing and revising we take care of everything else, from editing, covers, formatting, etc. although we would expect you to assist in marketing via social media since your name will be on it. Besides earning money on the long tail, this could assist sales of your own titles.
Here are the series we’re looking to co-author:
- Chasing series. (Chasing the Ghost. Horace Chase as the protagonist). We have a concept for the next book and partial outline already: Chasing The Dead.
- The Cellar series: Bodyguard of Lies and Lost Girls. We have a concept for the next book about the Cellar, the organization that polices the world of covert operations.
- The Green Beret series: We’re looking to launch a brand new Green Beret series set in the current day, so in this case characters and plot are wide open, as long as a Special Forces A-Team is at the center of the story. If you’ve watched The Unit, you have an idea what we’re looking for.
- The Black Ops series: Taking characters from The Gate, particularly, Lake, we want to extend the series about a counter-terror operative working inside of the United States. Several story ideas have already been generated along with outlines.
- Psychic Warrior: The first book has just been published for the first time in eBook. Psychic Warrior Project Aura will be out later this year. We want to extend this series about Special Forces soldiers operating on the virtual plane via avatars than can come into the real world.
- Archangel: A concept only, but it would tie to our Area 51, Atlantis, and new Nightstalker series. High tech scifi with a literary base.
- Area 51 and Atlantis series. These are our real money-makers, but the reality is I ‘closed out’ both series in their overall arc. However, if you’ve read the series and have ideas for spinoffs, we’re open to that. Area 51 has the possibility of moving forward as Earth helps other Airlia seeded planets, and Atlantis also has the same possibility as our timeline saves other timelines.
Additionally, we’re looking for one or two authors who have extensive backlist who want to make the plunge into self-publishing but don’t want to do all the heavy lifting themselves and want to be part of our team. We offer the highest royalty rates off gross in the business, do all the work, charge no fees, and also do direct sales from our automated web site. Our experience in e-publishing is extensive.
If you are interested, send us an email: admin@WhoDaresWinsPublishing.com or visit our submission page and attach all necessary information.
Please give links to your backlist as published, or if it isn’t back in print, or held by a traditional publishing houses, links to your titles. Your background for the series you think you could write and any other pertinent information.
Thanks and Write It Forward.
A good cover can make or break a book, especially for on-line buying. In a bookstore, most books are racked spine out, so author name sometimes means more. Readers can pick up your book, thumb through, get a feel for story and writing and then decide. On-line, readers see your cover. It has to say, “buy me, I’m a good book” to the reader. If it doesn’t, why would they take the time to possibly download a sample, or even look at product description? The changes in publishing have given the author many great opportunities and self-publishing is a viable option. However, self-publishing requires the author to make a few major decisions, and one of those decisions is cover.
You have a couple of options. You can do it yourself or your can hire a cover artist. There are many programs out there to choose from. There are many do it yourself programs, free programs, even programs that come with your computer that can create cover design. Even Word has the capability of designing a basic cover, but will the cover be good enough to invite the reader in? The question you have to ask yourself is it worth your time and energy to do it “right”. Hiring someone to do your covers can run as low as $50.00 and as high as $600.00.
This is not an easy decision, especially when you factor in other costs that go into making an eBook available to the reader. We made the decision to invest in the proper tools to do it ourselves because we had the design background, and the technical ability. We purchased the complete InDesign package from Adobe ($1,299.00) partly for the ability to create covers for on-line purchasing, but also because it made it much easier to create the full-jacket cover for our print-on-demand books and for web design.
Even with the proper tools we made a few cover mistakes along the way.
Publishing Mistake #1: Always Judge a Book by its Cover.
This cover sucks. Actually, every single one of the original Atlantis Covers was a disaster except for Assault on Atlantis, which remained almost identical as the original. So why does it suck and why did it make sense to change?
First. It’s too dark. I don’t mean color scheme because you can have a black cover that isn’t bad, but this cover lacks contrast. The color scheme is too similar. The letters and background blend together. If you have a dark background, you want letters that stand out. If you have a light background, you want letters that will pop.
Second. Do you know what the object is in the background? I know Bob does. I’m not going to tell you. You all can guess. Though, if you read the book, you probably know. Point is, what does this cover mean to the reader? I say this cover almost says pass me by.
Third. Logo. Wow. What were we thinking? I know we thought we were being brilliant when we put our very first logo on all our covers for them to stick out like a sore thumb. For those observant readers, you will notice here at Write It Forward we now have a new header. That look will be added to the Who Dares Wins Publishing website. I’ll get into that change in another publishing lesson. The point here is that the logo adds absolutely nothing to the cover. As a matter of fact, it takes a way from the already bad cover, making it worse.
If you were in traditional publishing it would be too bad, suck it up, go promote it’s the only cover you’re going to get. If you had hired someone, you’re be paying them to redo it. If you did it yourself, you’d be redoing it.
So what is best? I recommended if you don’t have the knowledge of basic design and design programs (for example how layers work) then hire someone. It’s why I do the covers and Bob doesn’t.
Publishing Correction #1.
First. It has contrast. The color of the letters, while still complement the background, are bold and pop of the page. The background is vibrant and alive. It’s inviting. It doesn’t look dark and drab and boring. Yet, it is a very simple cover. Simple is often better.
Second. The cover says something about the book. Actually, it says something about the entire series, which involves the Bermuda Triangle, the Devil’s Sea and other strange and eerie places. It invites the reader to take a look inside and see if they are interested in the content. This is critical regardless of whether you are in a store thumbing through all the books in this particular section, or browsing on line trying to find a good read. A good cover can make or break you. We found when we changed the cover, our sales improved.
Third. No distracting white rectangle that means nothing to the reader.
While editing this post, I realized this cover still has one minor flaw. Every thing is centered. We’ve learned that alignment is another aspect you need to consider when designing a cover. Is it time to change it? No.
Publishing Lesson #1.
There is a time when it’s best to leave well enough alone. For a long time the first cover was it. It wasn’t until I had finished with the 6th and final cover in this series that we realized we had a problem. Not all of the books were in print at that time. We knew that it would cost us to make the upgrade and the book had already earned out and beyond. Our business had grown and we had a different set of tools to work with, specifically InDesign by Adobe which allowed me to create covers that I didn’t have the capability before. After much discussion, we began the revamping process. It took at least 6 more tries before we got to this one. Change was necessary, and unlike traditional publishing when it comes to covers after book release, non-traditional publishing allows us to make this change. However, timing is important as well as not rushing things. We had to get it right, and this time we did.
This brings me to a question for all our readers out there. The Bodyguard of Lies cover has gotten some negative feedback. Some readers thought the cover was boring. Too simple. We were aiming for simple and we wanted it to match the Lost Girls cover, which so far, I haven’t heard anything negative regarding Lost Girls. So my question to you is, is it time for us to change this cover? Don’t hold back. Tell us what you think.
Write It Forward!