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No Direction Home
by Elizabeth Burns

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Kindle Edition published 2017-05-20
Bestseller ranking: 81281

Product Description
Hunter Grayson flits from job to job, relationship to relationship, continent to continent until thetragic death of her parents brings her back to her childhood home.While trying to figure out how to move forward, she meets wild, fun Natalya Haven, who quickly becomes the sister she never had. But when Natalya moves in, their friendship unravels.
A second tragedy sends Hunter to a small town in New Mexico, a town out of her own past. For Hunter, that's more than a coincidence, that's fate. Natalya's family will fill the void in her life. Natalya's parents will become her parents. She and Natalya's brother will fall in love. But nothing is ever that simple....

Author Topic: NYT and USA Today Romance Author with a Unique Idea. Tell Me What You Think!  (Read 13260 times)  

Offline Doglover

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I'm curious why you're considering this. Looking at the time involved in all this, even if you've hired help to handle most of it, it seems to me that someone with your level of success would make more money just writing another book or three. Some authors like Marie Force and Gemma Holiday have started their own publishing houses, but those efforts, once launched and properly staffed, wouldn't require the personal time commitment as what you're proposing.

Like I say, just curious. I wouldn't be a candidate for a client, so, sorry, I can't provide useful feedback.
I agree. Why would someone who is such a best selling author as to obviously be making millions our her books want to spend their valuable time on helping the competition?

I would definitely want to know who you are, I would want more than your word that you are this bestselling author, I would want samples of these wonderful covers and I'd want to know that the people doing the editing know what they are doing.

Romance is a competitive genre; why do you want to bring in more competition?


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Offline Doglover

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I am curious as to why you seek advice from us. I have virtually no publishing history, which is the case for most folks here.

I must take issue with that. At least 50% of the authors on this board have many years and many dollars of publishing history under their belts. If you believe otherwise, why did you come here seeking advice for your first book? There are NYT and USA bestselling authors posting regularly to this board as well as others making seven figures a year. Yet they have, according to you, virtually no publishing history?


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Offline Cheryl Douglas

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I think the mentoring alone would make this valuable to romance authors who would like to build their brand. I agree with others who have said that's where your focus should lie, should you choose to move forward with this plan. Good luck!

Offline mach 5

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Joking aside, I haven't seen this offer in another forum where it would have made uh.. more sense, and for that reason alone sign me up with the skepticals.

It's not against the rules of forums.romancedivas.com to mention it outside the boards, is it? :) I'm assuming that's where you were referring. RD isn't always open join - I don't know if they are closed now to new members or for how long they have been. That could be why you didn't see it there, if that's the forum you meant.

Offline oakwood

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It's not against the rules of forums.romancedivas.com to mention it outside the boards, is it? :) I'm assuming that's where you were referring. RD isn't always open join - I don't know if they are closed now to new members or for how long they have been. That could be why you didn't see it there, if that's the forum you meant.

No that's not the forum I meant. It is a paid forum  ;)

Offline ebbrown

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LOL, but we hit them on the head with honest feedback, not baseball bats. :) There are some very, very experienced authors here, from all genres and levels of success, so it's actually the perfect place to fly this kind of kite.


^ Yes, this.  :D

I like the idea of it, but I think the prices are low if you are trying to make it a profitable side-venture from your writing. I've sold a heck of a lot less books than you, and my side promo business requires enough attention that it needs full time staff. I love love love doing promos & helping out other authors at a reasonable price, but I need time to actually write books, since that's my full time gig.
If you're taking a break from writing and want to do it because you simply want to help other authors, I think it's great, and that it would probably be a great value. (And a cool thing, too, because I love paying it forward.)

Offline crow.bar.beer

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I'd prefer not to identify myself yet

A preference which isn't helping you in the slightest. ;)

Online Elizabeth Ann West

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No.

But I'm sure the PMs are pouring in of people wanting a secret to success.

If you want to just create a course or heck, even a sequence of How-To Ebooks that cost that much, you'd help far more and make more and still have time to tend to your own massive empire.

But my hunch is that your 7,000,000 ebooks sold were predominantly at $0.99 with a ridiculous percentage of revenue funneled back into promotions, some of which are much less effective than before, and your "letters" were earned with multi-author boxed sets in which case, that's not really a secret or something that has to be coached. Its just a ton of work many don't put in. And if it was still profiting you well, you wouldn't need a consultant business on the side. Like others have said, you'd make a publishing company.

All monies should flow to the author. If someone wants to get involved in grooming someone, they need to setup to take a cut like an Agent or an Acquisition Editors would. 5-10% of a set time period of monies made. Anything that is pay me $1200 to $600 is someone looking to fill a cash flow problem.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 02:08:25 PM by Betsy the Quilter »


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Online Evenstar

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Hi everyone!

I'm a very long time lurker but first time poster. I'd prefer not to identify myself yet but I have a couple of questions I'm hoping you can all weigh in on.

First, here are my credentials: I've made the NYT bestselling list more than two dozen times and the USA Today more than 40. I've sold more than 7,000,000 books.

I started publishing just a few years ago and my career has settled into a really nice place. I have a large following, great rapport with my fans and I'd love if more authors could achieve the same level of success I have.

To that end, I'm thinking of offering my guidance and my resources to romance authors who haven't hit the level of sales they'd like.

This is still a work in progress in my head, so bear with me.

I'm thinking of a tiered system of assistance (since not everyone is looking for the same level of guidance):

These are the tiers I'm considering and the pricing. Any and all feedback appreciated!

Top Tier  - $1299.00 for the year
-Weekly one-on-one time with me (via phone or facetime).
- Six spots in my mailing list blast. (80,000 very engaged, very enthusiastic romance readers.)
- Five covers designed and delivered per year.
- One video trailer designed and delivered per year.
-Three manuscripts edited and formatted per year.(Uploaded if necessary.)
- Ongoing weekly support with plotting, etc.

Second Tier - $899.00 for the year
-   Three spots in my mailing list blast per year.
-   Two covers designed and delivered per year.
-   Two manuscripts edited and formatted per year. (Uploaded  if necessary.)
-   Twice monthly support with plotting, etc.
-   
Third Tier - $599.00 for the year
-   One spot in my mailing list blast per year.
-   Two covers designed and delivered per year.
-   Two manuscripts edited and formatted per year. (Uploaded if necessary.)
-   One session of support with plotting, etc  per month.

As much as I'd love to offer mentoring and assistance for free, I have to pay my designer, the person who does the formatting and my editor to help with this.
If you're a romance author and something like this would interest you, please share that here.
This is a very exciting prospect for me so I'm anxious to see what the level of interest is.

Quoted before it is removed or changed by poster.

Guys, please be wary. I don't personally think this is a long time lurker who just decided to join yesterday and post this. I think many of us have seen this before and have an idea of who it is. It's not a nice tactic to create a second/third account to stay anonymous when such sums are involved. But I hope I'm wrong.

No.

If you're someone not willing to say who you are on Kboards it's because you don't have a clean reputation. But I'm sure the PMs are pouring in of people wanting a secret to success.

If you want to just create a course or heck, even a sequence of How-To Ebooks that cost that much, you'd help far more and make more and still have time to tend to your own massive empire.

But my hunch is that your 7,000,000 ebooks sold were predominantly at $0.99 with a ridiculous percentage of revenue funneled back into promotions, some of which are much less effective than before, and your "letters" were earned with multi-author boxed sets in which case, that's not really a secret or something that has to be coached. Its just a ton of work many don't put in. And if it was still profiting you well, you wouldn't need a consultant business on the side. Like others have said, you'd make a publishing company.

All monies should flow to the author. If someone wants to get involved in grooming someone, they need to setup to take a cut like an Agent or an Acquisition Editors would. 5-10% of a set time period of monies made. Anything that is pay me $1200 to $600 is someone looking to fill a cash flow problem.

Yes. Caveat Emptor!

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I think many of us think it's someone closely tied to that group. It's just too similar to other programs that have been pitched from that crowd. If the OP is NOT, then happy to be wrong, but he or she should know, this isn't a new or unique idea and the time aspect makes it a failing business system unless they're looking to take on clients with no intention to fulfill the very time-consuming promises outlined.



Edited.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Further edited to remove quoted post. - Becca
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 02:06:41 PM by Becca Mills »


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Offline Rosalind J

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I'm not the target audience, but I'd say to the OP, it seems odd. For comparison, I've sold (or had borrow-equivalents) of close to 1.5 million books (my own books) over the past 4 years or so. Mostly at $4.99. That's quite a lot, but 7 million is a LOT-lot. There's a limited number of people this could be, if it isn't a whole ton of boxed sets at 99 cents. And if it's one of the very top indies (and you bet they've sold 7 million or more of their books in the past five years and have hit lists this many times), it really doesn't make sense.

No--the pricing doesn't make sense anyway. As others have said, the covers alone. The editing alone. And then the weekly sessions. It isn't enough money to pay for all those things, and somebody at this level of success would absolutely know that. So it's setting off my flashers despite my wish to believe the best of people.

It'd probably be best to reveal your name, OP, if all this concern is unjustified. If you're subsidizing this venture heavily out of a genuine desire to pay it forward.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 11:10:24 AM by Rosalind J »

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No--the pricing doesn't make sense anyway. As others have said, the covers alone. The editing alone. And then the weekly sessions. It isn't enough money to pay for all those things, and somebody at this level of success would absolutely know that. So it's setting off my flashers despite my wish to believe the best of people.


I would imagine all this is outsourced. The designer / editor get a very reduced fee but the possibility of repeat custom?

Offline she-la-ti-da

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I think many of us think it's someone closely tied to that group. It's just too similar to other programs that have been pitched from that crowd. If the OP is NOT, then happy to be wrong, but he or she should know, this isn't a new or unique idea and the time aspect makes it a failing business system unless they're looking to take on clients with no intention to fulfill the very time-consuming promises outlined.

Edited quoted post.  --Betsy
Slight additional edit. - Becca


I'm just glad I'm not the only one who has that "aw, heck no!" response for a change! There's no way any of that could be done properly for the fees stated. Even I know that much. And big-selling authors just wouldn't have time to do it.

But I'm sure some have jumped on the PM boat and signed right up. Good luck to them.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 02:07:53 PM by Becca Mills »
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Online Elizabeth Ann West

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One last general information tip.... ANY service or company wanting you to pay through Paypal's "family/friend" run away. It's a tactic that is pitched as "oh so there's no fees" but the reality is it also erases most of your consumer protection. You can't get a refund if you need one. Paying fees is part of any business, there's even a block on your Schedule C to deduct them if they would be included in your overall income statements.... :)

Okay, now I really have to get hot planning out quarters of 3rd grade... and finishing off 2nd grade... good luck and be careful everyone.


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Online Crystal_

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The other thing I will say it's that romance is way too big of a genre for OP to be able to help all romance writers. Even BookBub has four romances genres of contemporary and another one or two of PNR. Not all of them have much cross over of audiences. An 80k email list built on a Bella Andre type series don't help someone writing dark romance or sexy NA and visa versa.

Offline Becca Mills

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Reports received. Locking so I can catch up ...


Note from Betsy:  Being discussed.  We expect to reopen, eventually.  However, I want to say two things right now
--we have no reason at this point to believe that this is a secondary account by any member of KBoards, as has been suggested, and
--we have many members who choose to post anonymously for a variety of reasons.  I can readily understand why someone, who is floating an idea and looking for feedback as a new poster here might make their initial foray without revealing their name.   Healthy skepticism is fine, but some of the posts here have gone a step too far.  As I said, we're discussing.  Feel free to PM one of us if you have questions or comments, thanks. 

Becca, excuse me for intruding. :) --Betsy
« Last Edit: March 19, 2017, 02:07:22 PM by Betsy the Quilter »




Offline Becca Mills

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Folks, we're unlocking this after making a number of edits and deletions.

Threads like this raise the issue of KBoards's role as a sort of community-driven vetter of indie service providers. That role is vital; indie authors work in a sector without a whole lot of protections, so we need to act as one another's protectors, as best we can (as EAW did in suggesting we avoid the friends/family PayPal option). We don't want to lose that protective function of the forum or the skeptical mindset that goes with it.

But that vital and generous effort to protect can be carried too far/pushed too fast. An internet forum is ill-equipped to make fully informed declarations about whether or not a service is a scam, totally on the up and up, or somewhere in between. Assumptions are often wrong; things that seem just too coincidental often really are coincidences; and we all have a tendency to judge new info through the lenses of our existing knowledge, values, and positions. Forums lack the tools to overcome these limitations, so judgments reached here need to be cautious and recognized as provisional.

People have pointed out that RomanceAuthor12 seems to have underpriced their proposed service vis-a-vis the time and expense involved in running it. But to jump from that concrete and defensible observation to the assertion that RomanceAuthor12 is doing something underhanded is premature. And it's risky, because once the assumption of underhandedness is in place, it seems only ethical to try to strip RomanceAuthor12 of their anonymity. Despite the absence of proof, speculation that Romance Author12 is another KB member starts to assume the weight of fact. The guilty verdicts become more entrenched all around, despite the fact that what's been formed is a highly speculative construction.

An alternate explanation is that RomanceAuthor12 is already filthy rich from those 7 million sales and doesn't need more money, but would like to give back to the indie community, with the fees -- low for what they cover, but certainly not nothing -- being intended to deter writers who aren't highly committed to their careers or truly open to being mentored in the way RomanceAuthor12 has in mind.

Or the truth could be something totally different. We just don't know. So ... let's do our due diligence by asking questions and pointing out elements of the proposal that strike us as odd. Let's respect RomanceAuthor12's choice to post anonymously, and let's avoid accusations and assumptions. Interested parties can and should contact RomanceAuthor12 to request supporting information supporting their claims.




Offline ebbrown

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One last general information tip.... ANY service or company wanting you to pay through Paypal's "family/friend" run away. It's a tactic that is pitched as "oh so there's no fees" but the reality is it also erases most of your consumer protection. You can't get a refund if you need one. Paying fees is part of any business, there's even a block on your Schedule C to deduct them if they would be included in your overall income statements.... :)

Okay, now I really have to get hot planning out quarters of 3rd grade... and finishing off 2nd grade... good luck and be careful everyone.

So agree & can't stress this point enough. I've been burned by this from a service in the past when I was a new-ish author.  >:(

Catching up with the rest of the thread now & hope the OP returns to answer some of the questions posed, because this "unique idea" does sound strangely familiar.

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I don't think there should be an online dog pile. But something like this could do real damage to a writer who is frustrated and trying to get noticed. $1299 may be nothing to someone like me, Anne, Jana, or others making good money from our books. But someone with a day job, supporting their family it could really hurt.
You see, I know how much these services cost when done professionally. And an actual best selling author would certainly want their name represented by quality work. Top tier pricing wouldn't cover editing for one book by anyone reputable. And even your basic cover made with common stock art is over $100. Then there is the one-on one's. If we were talking about a contest winner, I could see it. But to hope for multiple clients? It's insane. Half your time would be spent on the phone.
Someone could possibly do it themselves. But they would need to be an expert in every aspect of indie publishing and be able to work at a speed I've never seen before. So I suppose this person is quitting writing...or sleeping. One or the other.
So none of it makes a bit of sense. Not for that price. It's high enough to seem legitimate to a newbie, and cheap enough to be within the range of affordability. When it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. 
« Last Edit: March 20, 2017, 11:41:45 AM by This_Way_Down »

Offline Al Stevens

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For those who question why a successful author would take on this kind of venture when s/he could do lots better writing more books, I would point out that James Patterson, America's highest paid author ($95M/yr), sells his Masters course on writing and publishing for $80. I don't think Patterson needs the money.

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For those who question why a successful author would take on this kind of venture when s/he could do lots better writing more books, I would point out that James Patterson, America's highest paid author ($95M/yr), sells his Masters course on writing and publishing for $80. I don't think Patterson needs the money.

But the Masters course is one investment in time and then done. It's selling a product. It's feedback from other students and "possibly James himself"

That's what people are trying to point out... it's not that anyone with major money wouldn't help, it's just not typically in this way because it's a huge time sink. And for many of us the offer sounded very familiar to similar programs in the past that didn't end well.

Maybe the OP didn't realize he or she was putting forth something that has been done many times since the birth of the Kindle Direct Publishing platform... but this has been done before and it's just a huge mismatch of motivations. The program is both too expensive and too cheap at the same time.

Betsy and Becca . . . I was very very careful in my post. Hope I stayed inside the lines this time. :)


EAW, all is good!  :-*  --Betsy
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 04:58:32 AM by Betsy the Quilter »


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Offline Kate.

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For authors who have PMed RomanceWriter12 or who are considering PMing him/her:

This could be an amazing opportunity. It could lead into a very bad situation. Or anything in between. We don't know - so be cautious and take some steps to protect yourself before leaping in.

1. Google the author's name with phrases like "scammer", "bad experience", "lies". I'm not saying OP is any of this - but there are a lot of sharks in the water, and a quick google search can sometimes reveal them. Check how they behave on social media and search writing forums for mentions of them.

2. Make sure you have a contract. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or go through a lawyer; just a clear lay out of expectations, limitations, and what happens if either party flakes. I cannot stress this enough - never do business without a contract! Conversely, if they present a contract, read it carefully.

3. Check their credentials. There's a difference between selling seven million copies of individual books you wrote and selling seven million copies of box sets you helped manage / joined. Have a look at their store rankings on Amazon and any wide stores they're a part of. Check how many Goodreads reviews their books have. Are the numbers adding up? (Hint: expect to see one Amazon review per 100-150 copies sold)

4. Don't do anything that feels "off". Like Elizabeth Ann West said, don't send Paypal money through Friends and Family - you lose your protection. Don't be pressured into buying or reviewing other authors' books to "help" them launch. Don't follow any advice that seems to circumvent Amazon's rules, either in word or in spirit. You could be risking your account.

5. If in doubt, ask. An author who has sold 7 million books will be well-known. PM or email a few people you trust to ask about the author's reputation.

Offline MonkishScribe

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For those who question why a successful author would take on this kind of venture when s/he could do lots better writing more books, I would point out that James Patterson, America's highest paid author ($95M/yr), sells his Masters course on writing and publishing for $80. I don't think Patterson needs the money.

But how much time does that masters course cost him? The OP is about personal consulting. It's a very time intensive offer.

Offline SC

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Self-publishers generally self-publish in part because they like having control over all aspects of their work. I'm not sure many serious authors would be interested in package deals like this, as we generally prefer an ala carte menu. I may not want to hire an editor, or I might have my own editor I already like. I really like to have a lot of control over my covers, so I could never see simply passing that off entirely to someone else. Also, the fact that you seem to be subcontracting most of these services makes me wonder what the point is at all.

If the services that you personally have to offer are mainly consulting services, then sell that. Otherwise, as others have said, it sounds like what you really want to do is start a small press--which, if that's the case, means you should probably just start a small press instead.

Online Perry Constantine

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For those who question why a successful author would take on this kind of venture when s/he could do lots better writing more books, I would point out that James Patterson, America's highest paid author ($95M/yr), sells his Masters course on writing and publishing for $80. I don't think Patterson needs the money.

Patterson isn't personally mentoring those students week in/week out.