Sunday, May 15, 2016

An Interview and A Goofy Poem

Last November, I was invited to join the La Cruz Writer's Group in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit. La Cruz is a small fishing village on the Pacific Ocean's Bahia de Banderas, just a twelve minute bus trip from Bucerias.

Every Saturday morning, I'd catch the bus across from our apartment and arrive at the corner of the intersection and the road that led down to the marina where the meeting was being held. It's a fifteen minute hike downhill from there. 

View from yacht club
Those were lovely early morning strolls, walking past quaint Mexican shops and cafes, past the plaza, the park, and the Cross that sits high in the middle of the village. Trekking back up the hill to the bus stop in the afternoon probably added ten years to my life.  

I attended several meetings. Every single one heightened my enthusiasm for writing, which had been lacking for more years than I care to admit. 

Almost immediately, I realized I was on the cusp of a new, revelation something I didn't quite understand. And so when I was asked to teach a workshop, I hesitated. What could I possibly teach world travellers? I'd forgotten that over a 32-year-career, I'd learned a thing or two about writing.  

The expression on my audiences' faces as I lead those workshops gave me a profound sense of accomplishment. Later that night I drafted a query letter, worked on it over night, and actually sent it out the next day. In one week, I received two rejections. But I kept trying. Third time is a charm, you see. 
For release November 1, 2016
That little group in La Cruz gave me the courage to move forward. They expedited my rebirth as a writer. The icing ... I made a lot of good friends, lifelong friends. 

Today, one of them is interviewing me on her blog: Crystal Ra Laksmi. 

Crystal is an Abundance Anthropologist from Estonia. English is not her first language. Imagine writing about a subject that you are passionate about, then translating it into another language? Crystal was doing a series of interviews on extraordinary people living ordinary lives and asked me for an interviewed. I am thrilled and honour to accept. 

I hope you enjoy our interview

Sorry for going on so long, but I wanted you to understand that not every interview is simply that: an interview. The end results of our four hour chat can be read here. I hope after you've finished, you'll take a stroll through Crystal's blog. She's interviewed some fascinating people. 

Tomorrow, Monday, May 16, I'm at IWSG sharing a post about Mr. Adverb. Hope you can join me. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ask PZM: May 2016 (repost)

Q. Do you have any suggestions for bulk or sponsored book sales?

This book marketing area is a wonderful opportunity for authors although I can only share my own experiences and thoughts on this topic.

In May, 330 copies of my paperback HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE were ordered from CreateSpace.  I suspect that an elementary school ordered these books for its graduating 8th grade class as this is the ideal target audience for the book.

Then more recently 40 paperbacks copies of my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT were ordered from CreateSpace.  In this case I suspect a book club or high school class because I have book discussion questions and a high school lesson plan on

Now I have been pondering how to get more of these sales.

First question for all of us is: What are the likely groups that might be interested in buying our books in large quantities?

Here we need to think outside the box, as the saying goes.  And we need to think for both fiction and nonfiction after considering that there are two different target markets.

One potential market is the direct readers, such as book groups and schools.  The second potential market is sponsored books.

Direct readers

With the direct readers you could, for example, offer an author visit or skype call in connection to a group reading of your book.  Or if you have a children’s picture book, you might offer to do a classroom art activity around some aspect connected to the picture book. 

You can start locally by contacting high schools or community colleges in your area.  For many readers meeting an author is very exciting, so an author visit can definitely encourage group purchases.

Note that the purchases can be the ebooks instead of the physical books.  And in either case, the book discussion questions and high school lesson plan, for example, can be included in the books themselves.   (I have this material in the ebook of MRS. LIEUTENANT but not the paperback.  It would be relatively easy for me to add this same material to my paperback on CreateSpace.)

Sponsored books

In this scenario you locate companies who could benefit from the marketing goodwill of giving away your books for free to their customers or clients.  Again, these could be the physical books or the ebooks.

For example, if you have written a book about estate planning and included information on life insurance, you might approach an insurance company and ask if the company would be interested in buying copies of your book to give to their customers.  You can offer a wholesale rate that provides revenue to you and costs the company less than buying the books retail.

You could even do this if you have written a novel whose storyline concerns a major plot about insurance.  Even a cautionary tale about insurance could be of interest to an insurance company.

Note that you can license your ebook so that a company may give away as many copies as agreed upon for a set licensing fee.  This financial arrangement can be very beneficial for both parties.

And if you have more than one book, of course those books are listed at the end of the sponsored book.  In this case you’re being paid to have free advertising for your other books.

Branding opportunities

If you are a self-published author, you can also offer branding opportunities for your sponsored books.  You can, for example, add content to your book about the company sponsoring the book.  You can even add the company’s name to the cover, such as “The Ideal Insurance Company presents” [your book title].

While there might be cases in which two companies sponsoring the same book would not be a good idea (such as the only two department stores in a small town), in most cases you can offer branding opportunities to numerous companies.

Prior commitments

If your ebook is on Amazon’s KDP Select with its ebook exclusive requirement, you will need to end the KDP Select commitment before your ebook can be sold off Amazon. And although I am not a lawyer, I would say that this would be true even if you were adding sponsorship branding material to the ebook.  It’s still the same ebook, and you don’t want to get in hot water with Amazon.

The good news is that KDP Select does not require exclusivity of the physical books, so even if your ebook is on KDP Select, you can look for bulk deals for the paperback.

Finding companies interested in sponsorship opportunities

Here I don’t have any specific advice.  I personally am interested in finding high school teacher associations who might be interested in either HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL or MRS. LIEUTENANT.

Put on your thinking cap and brainstorm the different kinds of companies who could benefit from a branded sponsorship opportunity with your nonfiction or fiction book.  Hopefully this brainstorming will produce several opportunities for you to pursue.

Q:  Are you trying any new book marketing strategies?

I have just bundled three of my thriller ebooks into one ebook titled BRAINS BEFORE BEAUTY: A TRIO OF FEMALE PROTAGONIST THRILLERS.  Then I set the price on Amazon for BRAINS BEFORE BEAUTY at half of the combined three ebook prices.  (If on Amazon you see the single book cover for BRAINS BEFORE BEAUTY, just know that I'm planning to switch to a book cover that makes it clear this is a bundled ebook of three separate titles.)  

Also note that I have not put BRAINS BEFORE BEAUTY on KDP Select because I have decided it may be confusing when people first see a KDP Select ebook on Amazon and the price shows $0.00 via Kindle Unlimited (all KDP Select ebooks are automatically available via the Kindle Unlimited monthly subscription).  The actual ebook purchase price is somewhat hidden under the Kindle Unlimited notation.  In the case of BRAINS BEFORE BEAUTY I do not want people to wonder what is special about three books in one if that bundled book is free.  

Check out my new bundled book BRAINS BEFORE BEAUTY now at

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer as well as a fiction and nonfiction author.  She blogs on book-related topics at her author site at and she is on Twitter at

ps. Insecure Writer's Support Group is on Twitter! @TheIWSG

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

IWSG: My Wish & Cover Reveal

It’s time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group! Time to release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. We encourage everyone to visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs. 

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

The awesome co-hosts for the May 4 posting of the IWSG will be Stephen Tremp, Fundy Blue, MJ Fifield, Loni Townsend, Bish Denham, Susan Gourley, and Stephanie Faris! 

Please stop by and thank them for their contribution. 

It's a very exciting time for Insecure Writer's Support Group. 
Yesterday, Parallels: Feliz Was Here was release! Congratulations to all the talented authors:

Parallels: Felix Was Here
An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Enter the realm of parallel universes!

What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!

Release date: May 3, 2016
$14.95 USA, 6x9 Trade paperback, 218 pages, Freedom Fox Press
Science Fiction/General ( FIC028000) and Fiction/Alternative History (FIC040000)
Print ISBN 978-1-939844-19-4 eBook ISBN 978-1-939844-20-0
Order through Ingram, Follett Library Resources, or from the publisher
$4.99 EBook available in all formats

“Pensive and manifold views into parallel earth not without a glimmer of hope.”
- Edi’s Book Lighthouse

Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, two Facebook groups, and a monthly newsletter.


Freedom Fox Press 

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P.O. Box 383, Pikeville, NC 27863-0383



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We've been telling you for a long time that IWSG Wednesday is a safe environment where you can share your fears and your joys without trepidation. No one's going to judge you. 

We all have insecurities. My generation was reared to believe that airing them was wrong. Thankfully, we taught our children differently. No subject is off limits. Yet, I still struggle with admitting that I'm insecure. I have been my entire life. Unfounded, but those insecurities are a constant companion. I'd like to believe it's one of the reasons I am a decent storyteller. 

In October, my third suspense novel will be released.

I'm extremely happy. More than that, I'm filled with gratitude. To the point that the thought of another published novel chokes me up.

[deep breath] 

There's a lot to be done in preparation for Mâtowak's release. I know what's expected. I've done this twice three times (Dead Witness twice). Not while we're trying to sell our home of 24 years and then moving 3000 miles east. Simply typing that statement takes the wind out of my sails. 

If I was unpublished and reading this post, I'm not sure I'd be sympathetic. Hard to feel sorry for someone who's been published more than once and who spends the winter (6 months) in beautiful Bucerias, Nayarit. Poor thing!

(There are a lot of I's in this post) 

So, although, I don't feel comfortable sharing my fears:

I'm worried no one but my publisher and friends will like Mâtowak Woman Who Cries.
I'm worried that third time isn't a charm. 
I'm worried I can't do it all: market, blog, keep the house spotless, clean, pack, write... 
I'm worried I'm boring. 
I'm worried my muse will dry up. 
I'm worried that apart from writing novels, I am talentless. 
I'm worried I use that unnecessarily.
I'm worried I'm full of cliches today, sorry. 

What I'm trying to say is I understand where you're coming from. I'm cheering for you no matter how many insecurities you have. We're in this together. Thanks to Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh. Stick with IWSG and I promise we'll do everything we can to help you reach your dreams. And while you're up and coming, we'll be here if you need to share anything: fears or successes. 

Happy Writing.