Hello: I’m Robert A Jordan, that would be R.A Jordan on Amazon/Kindle. I’m writing here today due to a chance encounter with Kim Staflund on Quora. Kim was looking for a guest blogger there, I was coming off of my last free day of an e-book give away I had done. I agreed to do a guest blog for Kim, as I was intrigued with having found someone on Quora kind of doing the same thing I was doing there. No matter what one may coin it, and although it was 2 separate entities, me with books, her with guest blogging, we were both marketing to some degree! I’m there marketing for a reason, I truly am the unknown author. Kim is there for another reason, she truly is the ass busting type of entrepreneur it seemingly takes in this digital age of book publishing, or, it least that’s my assessment of her. After a couple of Quora chats, I went and checked her out on her Polished Publishing Group site(PPG, from here out) and thought wow! It could be beneficial for me to do this guest blog for her, so with that being stated here I am.
As I stated above, I am at this point an unknown author. I did everything backward, and learned as I went. I might should’ve encountered PPG sooner, it does look like they offer a lot of services that would truly benefit one such as myself. Basically my journey began a while back, but as far as publishing, that started at the end of January. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide I wanted to write books, it slowly evolved as a result of let downs and failures. I was a career construction guy, I now have a slight disability that hinders my ability to perform that kind of work. I’m an avid music person, I love music! I attempt to play guitar & piano, but what I think I have a knack for is telling musical tales. In a nutshell, I’m writing short stories in verse, that are written as songs, and without sounding biased, tell a pretty interesting story. This is something I’ve been doing for quite a few years, and I never thought much about it. I could tell you some funny stories, where this little ability of mine actually helped me get through more than one college class, and a lot more, but I’ll stick to the story at hand “The Journey of The Unknown Author”. I’m writing these songs, and approaching people to play them or help me arrange them. This piques some curiosity, but it never develops into anything meaningful. More or less the end result of my brush with the music folks, was a lack of interest (like they had better things to do). The thing was they wouldn’t say no, they would just string me out, and let me figure that part out. This is what led me to become the unknown author, not exactly a position in life one should aspire for, but for me it kind of happened.
Thus begins The Journey! I’m sitting on all these little tales I’ve written. I’m actually crazy enough to send them to the bigger wigs in the Music Industry, hence the title of one of my books is “Unsolicited”. Taylor Swift’s lawyer was kind enough to send me a rejection letter along the lines of unsolicited. Interesting term! if you’re a fledgling author, and you’re querying Literary Agents, you could be apt to becoming familiar with that term as well. I also received a very kind letter from National Geographic telling me that they keep tabs on Sharbat Gula, and are helping her out financially. I wrote a song about her and called it “ Afghan Cover Girl”, I was attempting to bring their attention to her situation by mailing a copy to them. Do you remember the little girl from Afghanistan who graced the cover of National Geographic back in “85”? and then went on to grace the covers 3 more times? That was Sharbut Gula, that’s a different story though. I wrote one about Paul Walker that I thought would blend in well with the next Fast & Furious movie, that one was sent to Vin Diesel’s lawyer, I never heard back on that one, the movie was released last month. Long story short, I’m getting nowhere doing this direct approach to people’s lawyer’s and agents. I’ve always been an avid reader, and I’m becoming aware of how the publishing industry is going the way of the music industry. Here comes the birth of mistake # 1!
I take 102 of those little stories, copyright them, and publish them with Kindle. The act of publishing isn’t the mistake, the mistake is publishing too many at one time, and there’s a couple in there I would like to have back. Out of 102, there’s probably 90 to 95, that are worthy, the other half dozen or so, could’ve used a little more attention(some strong language), hey, it was my first one, and it was unplanned! Or at least that’s my excuse. I say it was too long, because I’m guessing it probably gets redundant in the manner of being written in verse. What have I done? I thought I had something for the music world! In my mind, based on what I’m hearing played on the airwaves, I’ve got some good stuff that’s going to waste, if I don’t get it out there! That’s the thought process behind publishing songs in book form for me. I have no platform what so ever, and now the fun begins. I remember looking at numbers and stats and things of that nature, I’m thinking wow, there’s almost a billion English speaking folks in the world, I only need a small percentage of those to read or purchase my book. Needless to say I did not realize the vastness of the Kindle Sea. I changed the cover, I changed the price, I put it on Craig’s List a few times, and have given it away on 2 separate occasions. Then I wrote 2 more, and put them out there, and I’m currently working on the 4th, which I hope to have out in a couple of weeks. In between all this, I have these little e-books on places like Goodreads and Booksie, and I’m on Song Stuff as well. At the moment none of that is working out in regards to book sales, but I keep writing. My desk is littered with all these little 1 and 2 liners that cross my mind at random times. I look at it like this, as long as those little 1 and 2 liners keep crossing my mind, I’ll keep writing, as those are where my little stories are coming from. I’m pretty certain I have a couple of hits in the mix, it’s a matter of getting it to the right folks. I’m more than likely going to have to do a couple myself, to give someone an idea of what they’re supposed to sound like. In the meantime as stated, they make for amusing stories, and given their short nature, I would think they would adapt pretty well to Kindle and like devices.
In case someone’s not getting it, for me book sales have been very ugly, and I’ve elaborated a little, on some things I’ve tried, to boost my sales. It seems like I’ve been doing this for a lot longer than I have, and I do have to keep that in mind, I’ve only been On Kindle for a few months, and have no platform. Roughly between formatting to Kindle (Nick Caya at Word 2 Kindle) has been a good source for that, and copyrighting through The Library of Congress, I haven’t spent that much money. I’ve since spent a few bucks on a web/blog site, something I feel is needed to further push my little endeavor, I’m also getting ready to go YouTube with it.
Let me throw this out there, before I go any further, I’m a guy who really isn’t too adept with computers, I’m learning all this as I go. All this digital stuff I wasn’t too keen on just a year ago, but I see where things are going (even have a song about that as well) and definitely need to learn. I’m doing all this with no money, and my lack of sales probably reflect that. If you have a budget, I would talk to Kim at PPG and see if she can assist you. Kim didn’t know I was going to turn this into a plug for her and PPG. I did so because I’m thinking of how much easier, and how much more I could’ve written had I not been encumbered with the raw marketing aspect of this. I’m on 4 different book sites, and they all talk about how tough it is out there in the land of self publishing. What’s going to make your writing stand out from the rest? What makes it unique? How are you going to interest someone in picking your work out of the masses to get noticed to begin with? I’ve never worked with PPG in that manner, but having researched them a little, I would say that’s where Kim would be worth her weight in gold. In a way, I’m lucky, in the manner that I might could actually market my wares as songs or poems or short stories. I might could tap 3 different markets that way, but I might also anger someone in the process, so I describe them as what they are. If you’re writing SciFi or Romance novels what distinguishes yours from the rest in the vast sea? I think some of these are good questions to ask yourself, if you’re straddling the self publishing fence.
To anyone paying attention, you’ll notice I’ve not mentioned social media other than YouTube. I have nothing against them, I’m just not there yet. My take on social media is I’m not sure how I could use Facebook, I’m not that kind of person. LinkedIn I definitely could and will, then I have some strange ideas about putting Tweeter to work for me (I’ve never used Tweeter in my life), I call it fishing on the Tweeter Sea, and it involves my site being set up completely first. There’s so much more stuff out there, that I’m not even aware of, Welcome to the Digital Age, one of my books is more or less about that, only one song in that one.
To sum this up “The Journey of The Unknown Author” is a little bit of an arduous journey, if one is looking for immediate monetary rewards, self publishing shouldn’t be at the top of the list. If one has a budget then if it were me, I would look at PPG to stomach the headache. I will restate what I stated in one of my books, this digital thing is here to stay and it’s changing the way business is done. What I’m doing right now, although it isn’t paying out immediately, is securing my future. I’m building a digital platform, that should be around for the long haul, I’ve got some more things to do, but I think the foundation is in place, and that gives me more to build upon. With that stated since you’re reading this on the PPG blog then I assume you know how to get in touch with Kim? If you think you might be interested in my writings, You can try StorySongTales.com the books are on the gallery page, You can go to Amazon/ Kindle and pull up “The Library Days: Suspended Sentence” by R.A Jordan and there should be 2 more right there with it “Hope For Felons: Sentence Complete” and “Unsolicited: A Straight Sentence”. I call them the Sentence series, it’s a play on words which is something I’m fond of. If someone checks them out maybe let me know if they can be pulled up as the Sentence Series. Also it would be nice if someone left me a review on my Author page(these for some reason are tough to get), and then spread the word if you found some enjoyable reading in them! I would like to thank Kim for letting me have this opportunity to share my experience as a fledgling author on her site. And I hope that someone among her subscribers might’ve gleaned something useful from this. Thank You! Robert A Jordan
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© Robert A Jordan 2017