Top Social

* Featured Title & Guest Post * Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Andrew Joyce

Friday, October 27, 2017
Featured Title, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups, Andrew Joyce, Guest Post, On My Kindle Book Reviews

You may remember Andrew Joyce from a "Featured Title" post I shared last year for his book, Yellow Hair. Since I already interviewed him, I decided to change things up and accepted his offer to write a guest post for me.

Before I share the awesome piece he wrote for me, let me tell you a little bit more about his latest book, Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups.

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups, Andrew Joyce

Blurb

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and nonfiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.

Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.” 

Who Am I To Give Advice? by Andrew Joyce

My name is Andrew Joyce, and to my many fans—both of ’em—I want to say hello. To the rest of you good folks, I’d like to introduce myself. I’m a writer of little renown. Now, as the title of this piece suggests, who am I to give advice? A very good question, one I’ve obviously asked myself. I have published five books and I have gone through what you are all going through. I’ve sat at my damn computer day after day trying to put into words the sensational story swirling around in my head. When I finally had my story down on paper—and more or less coherent—I had to start with the editing. Then, to add insult to injury, once the book was published, I had to demean myself to market it. Well, maybe demean is not the right word, but I do so hate to beg. I only mention my time in the trenches so you’ll know that I’m a veteran and have the wounds to prove it.

I’m here today to relate the little of what I’ve learned over the last four years concerning writing. Some of it will be old hat to some of you. And to you brand-new writers looking for a signpost or two to help you find your way, I sincerely hope what I’m about to convey helps.

Okay, enough of the preamble. Let’s get down to business.

I’m not going to tell you how to write, you already know how. As to editing, well, the only thing I can say—and I can’t say it strongly enough—is that you cannot edit your own stuff. Sure, you can go through it three, four, five times, but then you gotta get another set of eyes to look it over. You don’t necessarily need a professional editor, but if you can afford one, go for it.

Find a friend or family member who will read your manuscript and point out where it sucks. And don’t think otherwise, it’s gonna suck until you, and whoever you find to help, are finished with the editing process. My editor and I, between us, do at least twenty read-throughs.

On a related note: Don’t be in a rush to publish. If you put your story out there with grammatical errors, misspellings, and typos, you’re going to ruin your brand. Yes, you can always pull the book and fix it, but anyone who had bought it in the interim … you’ve lost for life. Remember, it’s your name on the book. You don’t want to be embarrassed by putting out anything less than perfect. One last thing on editing: If you have no friends (like me), then you can try beta readers. They’re easy to find online and in book forums. Some are good and some aren’t, but the good ones will point out stuff that you missed.

Now we can go on to my favorite subject, marketing. And don’t fool yourself, you gotta do the marketing.

Using outfits with mailing lists is a good way to go. For $30.00 or $40.00, you’ll sell some books. When I use those resources, I’ll sell a couple of hundred or so. But you can go down that route only sparingly. They let you promote a book only once every ninety days. But after the first blast, you’ve probably made most of the sales you’re gonna make anyway. A few of the best are Ereader News Today, Free Kindle Books & Tips, Book Gorilla, and Choosey Bookworm. There are others and you’ll find ’em if you look for ’em. One last thing, you’ll want to space out using these guys because you’ll want to know who will give you the most bang for the buck. And I’m sure some of the names on their mailing lists overlap.

Now, on to the “free” marketing: There is no other way to say this, but ya gotta go out and beg. Ya gotta beg for reviews, ya gotta beg to do guest posts or interviews, ya gotta sit at your computer at least ten hours a day—or as many hours a day as you can afford—sending out the same query letter.

The first bit of advice that I read about when my first book came out was to get the list of Amazon’s top 100 reviewers and send them an email asking for a review of my book. I did that, but I didn’t stop at one hundred. I sent out almost 400 emails. I was into the top 600 by the time I stopped. I did get two of the top 100 to review my book and both of them were kind enough to give it five stars. Subsequently, they’ve bought my other books and gave them good reviews. And that’s good. But … for next two books, I sat down and sent out over a hundred requests to the Amazon reviewers, and I didn’t get one single reply. Not every reviewer has their email address on their page. So, to send out 100 query letters, you have to go through about 300 to 400 profiles. It’s a lotta work.

Next, the book bloggers: This is where the honey is. The people that read their blogs are readers and buyers of books. These are the people you want to know about your book. You can get lists of book bloggers by googling “book bloggers.” Who would have thought …?

BUT (and there is always a but), book bloggers are inundated with requests for reviews. Some get 500 requests a week. At first, I went that route asking for reviews and I got a few. But the return on my investment (my time) was slim. I’ll explain.

Once you have the lists, you have to go through them and get the link to the blogger’s page. Then you have to go to their “Policy” page to see if they are even interested in your genre. You’ll be extremely lucky if you hit 50%. Then you have to go to their “About” page and get their name … if it’s there. If it is, personalize the salutation of your “begging” email and send out your request for a review. Then you go to the next name on the list and do the searching all over again. Whew! Makes me tired just remembering going through all that. I did that for ten hours a day, seven days a week. For each of my books, I must have sent out 3,000 begging letters. But I finally got smart. Instead of asking for a review, I offered to do a guest post or an interview. It’s a win-win. The blogger gets content and you get to promote your book.

To date, I’ve done over 600 guest posts and I’ve sold a fair number of books because of those posts.

One last thing: When you start getting reviews, the best policy is not to respond to them. However, if you want to thank someone for a good review, I reckon that’s all right. BUT … NEVER, EVER RESPOND TO A NEGATIVE REVIEW. Do so at your own risk.

I’ve laid out the ground work; you guys can take it from here. And to answer the original question, “Who am I to offer you advice?” I’m nobody, that’s who.

About Andrew Joyce

Photo of Andrew Joyce, author of Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups
Andrew Joyce, author.
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn't return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors' Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen's Book Reviews. Joyce now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mahoney: An American Story.

Find Andrew Joyce Online!

Andrew Joyce's website   Andrew Joyce on Goodreads   Andrew Joyce on Twitter   Andrew Joyce on Facebook

Find Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Andrew Joyce Online!

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups on Goodreads   Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups on Amazon

Top of post

Thank you, Andrew, for the fabulous guest post and I hope to see you on the blog again soon!