I Know A Way Out Of Hell

While on a run this morning I thought about forgiveness. There are thousands of things that I wish I could get forgiveness for. But, due to circumstance beyond my control, I will never get it. My next thought was how do I sit with it? As I continued to run, heart pumping and sweat dripping, I thought of the quote from George Santayana “Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it.” That’s not going to be me.I think like most people, I acted in the past with the best information and skill-set that I had at the time. That is not me trying to rationalize or justify that I have done some pretty hurtful things. With each step and each breath, I realized just how many of us get stuck in old ways expecting new results. I have seen this over the course of 30 years in my private practice, but it really hits home when I see it in my own life.


I finished my run, but not my internal dialog. I am exhausted and covered in sweat, but I decide to wash the wife’s and my car. As I am washing and seeing results of the cars being cleaned, I thought how do we wash ourselves clean when we know we’ll never get that forgiveness? The answer is change. Changed behavior and changed negative thought patterns.I think taking action in order to move on is the only course to actually move on. While it may be true that we cannot go back and undo or get forgiveness from passed transgressions, we can ensure that we do not trespass again. And the vehicle is change. We owe it to ourselves, our circle, our communities and our planet to become better people. By making those changes in behaviors and elevating our thoughts to a higher level, I believe we are naturally forgiven.I started to think about the story of Gandhi. A Hindu man came to him after the fighting and said “I am going to Hell. I killed a boy because they killed my son.” And then Gandhi replied “I know a way out of Hell. Find a child who is without parents and raise him as your own. Only raise him as a Muslim.” Wow! Sometimes in order to be forgiven, we must act and take on beliefs that may push us out of our comfort zones.


That is my commitment to my personal development. I am constantly pushing myself past my current belief system. I am an educated man, but smart enough to know that one belief system, one book and my current life experiences are not enough. I believe we must go beyond what we were taught, what we have experienced, and see life as the ultimate expression of connection and higher learning.As I move beyond this process and continue to seek to evolve, I am left with this one thought. I know I may never get the forgiveness that I would like. More importantly, I know I’ll never get the chance to right, the wrongs, or say I am sorry. For those reason I can and will change. Because the one thought I am left with is “I know a way out of Hell.”

E-Books: Value and Price

For the last several years, the debate has raged over e-book pricing. What is the best price? What is the customer willing to pay? What should the government and courts do to monitor the situation? It can all be confusing and put authors into a tailspin.

While the courts, online retailers, and large publishing companies continue to argue and battle it out, what is the independent author supposed to do? No one has all the answers, but some common sense, a little experimenting with prices, and some knowledge of the industry can help you determine an appropriate price for your e-book. Remember, there is no perfect price for every book; what is a good price for one book may not be the right price for another.

Here are some questions to consider when determining the price for your e-book:

What is the value of your book?

You need to determine your book’s value before you set the price. Did you write a short erotic novel to compete with the other one million out there that you spent maybe a month or less writing? Then its value is probably fairly low because it may not be in great demand. Are you writing a specialized thesis on a topic that has never had a book published on it before-then the value may be very high, although your reading audience may be small. Did you spend ten years writing and researching your book, or did you write it in a week? Can your readers easily get the information in your book elsewhere?

I once told an author her one hundred page history book was overpriced. She replied, “What do you think my book is worth when I spent five years writing and working on it?” Obviously, she perceived her book’s value as high, but her readers, seeing a slim volume that won’t take long to read, may not see it as so valuable. Consider also the value of your reader’s time. Will your reader think it worthwhile to pay $9.99 for something that takes an hour to read? Perhaps time is more valuable than money to your reader so he won’t want to pay $9.99 for what he may perceive as ten hours of work reading your book but he would pay $2.99.

If you insist your book’s value warrants a higher price, you could be right, but you will need to convince your reader of that value through your marketing efforts.

What is the most and least you can charge for your e-book?

Never should you price your e-book over $9.99. While a few major publishers can get away with higher prices for best-selling authors, $9.99 is the limit for most of us because Amazon decided that $9.99 was the cut off for paying out higher royalties. Books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 will receive 70 percent royalties from Amazon, while those over will receive a lower royalty of 35 percent, meaning your $15.00 book will earn you only about $5.00 as opposed to $7.00 for your $9.99 priced book. I won’t speak to every e-book retailer’s pricing model here; you’ll want to look at them individually, but $9.99 is definitely the highest you should go.

The advantage to pricing high is more money per book, but it also means you will likely sell less books. That said, lower priced books might be seen as of less value-being from unknown authors, poorly written, or simply short. To me, anything priced under $2.99 I automatically think must be of lesser quality and that even the author doesn’t perceive its value as high.

If you’re an established author, a middle price of $3.00-$6.99 is reasonable for an e-book and probably will not dissuade most readers from buying your book. Only if you have a book the reader will perceive as having high value should you price it in the $7.00-$9.99 range. A book in that price range should have the value of information worth buying, or you should be a well-established author with a large following-meaning thousands of readers.

How many books do you want to sell?

If you price your book at $0.99, you’ll need to sell ten e-books to equal if you had priced it at $9.99. Possibly, the lower price will make your book attractive enough that you can sell ten times as many books, as if you had left the price at $9.99. If you can sell ten books at $0.99, wouldn’t you be better off because now you have ten readers more likely to read your future books so you can price those higher?

What does the competition charge?

Look up other books in your genre. If you’re a new romance author, what are other new romance authors charging? If you’re writing your third business book and your first one became recognized in the industry, you can probably afford to price your business e-book higher. Price at or slightly lower than the competition for books in the same genre or similar to yours. If a reader sees two books about Lady Jane Grey, and yours is a dollar lower, unless the other book appears to have more information, yours is the one likely to be bought.

Where are your readers buying their books?

While I doubt many of the e-book sellers out there are spending time comparing what you’re selling your e-book for at various online stores, you probably want to be fair in charging the same price across the board. That said, just because your book is at Amazon doesn’t mean that’s where your readers are going to buy it, so make sure you sell it at many sites-Barnes & Noble, Kobo (the Canadian e-book seller), and Google Play (where people with Android phones and tablets are buying). Are you selling to the twenty-year old who is likely to buy at Google Play or are you selling to senior citizens who might prefer to buy at Amazon, which is more familiar to them? Make sure your book is at all places and then price accordingly. Your twenty-year old is a college student with little money so $0.99 is a better price for him, but then most e-book sellers will want you to sell for the same price at all their stores.

Do you have more than one book, especially a series?

If you have more than one book, consider pricing one lower. If you’ve written a series, you might want to give away or price low the first book in the series to sell it. Then if you hook readers with it, they will want to read the rest of the series. If you’ve written multiple books but not a series, I recommend pricing the book you and other readers consider your very best book as the lowest because after all, you want your very best to be what people first experience so you give the best impression and win them over as future readers.

Could you serialize your book, or sell it in individual chapters?

Serialized books-especially novels-have been around for centuries, and recently, more and more authors have started to sell their books as chapters or short installments. If you’ve written a short book-up to fifty pages or so-and it works as a stand-alone piece, price it low, such as at $1.99, and then continue the series at the same price or slightly higher. The reader will be more likely to buy four books at that lower price, if he likes the first one, than buy one book for $7.96 when he isn’t sure he’ll like it, and you’ll still make $7.96 if he ends up buying all four.

How good are you at marketing your book?

Marketing is the bottom line. Whether you price high or low, just because you’ve written a book and made it an e-book doesn’t mean anyone is going to read it. Yes, someone might stumble upon it at an online bookstore and buy it, but if you make a true effort to market it, you’re going to sell more books. If you are good at marketing, you will be able to promote your book as having value and being entertaining, and then perhaps you can price it higher because of that perceived value and higher interest. If you’re not going to spend much time marketing, then price low so the lower prices can help to compensate for your lack of marketing efforts.

Don’t Be Left Behind

No hard rules exist for e-book pricing. Every author needs to determine what works best for his or her individual situation. Try pricing high, and if your books don’t sell, try pricing lower. Be aware of trends or reasons why your e-book might be more popular one month than another-if you’re writing about the American Revolution, you might sell more e-books in June and July around Independence Day than you will in February-so maybe you lower or raise the price accordingly at such times. Develop a strategy, stick with it for a few months, then reassess and readjust your prices accordingly. Whatever you do, remember that e-book sales are now starting to outpace printed book sales, so don’t be left behind by ignoring the e-book pricing question.

Promoting Your “Amazon Published” Book or eBook Online

You’ve just gone through the work and the excitement of completing your first book or e-book and you are ready to showcase it to the world. Now, you have to get the word out and try to get some buyers for it. This by the way, is just as strenuous if not even more so than writing the book in the first place. You will realize soon enough that you have to dig deep within yourself to market what you have created to others to make the sales. One author I know when once asked how his books managed to sell so well said. “It’s easy. Write it, put it in a place where people can buy it, and then promote the heck out of it for about 3 years.”

In this article I don’t plan to discuss the myriad of things you can do outside of the Internet to promote your creation such as book signings, getting a table at trade fairs to showcase your book and give away autographed copies, trying to get retailers to sell it (if you’ve created a bound version of it), etc. The tips provided below are written to help you get maximum publicity for your book or e-book online.

Let’s start with building your online selling strategy. Where will you put your book to sell it?

The most popular choice on the Internet is Amazon. This is a very good first step for many books, particularly e-books. Amazon owns Kindle Books, the defacto leader in E-Book marketing and distribution. The whole world has heard of Kindle and there are literally millions of Kindle Readers out there that people can use to read your e-book not to mention that Kindle book reading software is available for computers, tablets and even mobile devices – so it is very easy to distribute and make your creation accessible to others. Amazon also owns “Create Space”, a second entity that can turn your E-book into a bound book that can also be sold on Amazon-Kindle and through distributors globally. If you want to “pay-market” your book through Amazon? You can do that as well through building one of their economically priced advertising campaigns.

Going through this process also gets you an ASIN number for your book or an ISBN number for your book if you wish to go that route (needed for selling hard-copy books through Create Space but not for e-books just sold on Amazon-Kindle). You can enroll your book as well into the Kindle KDP Select program which is like an online library that people pay a monthly subscription to and you can get additional royalty payments for your book from here – based on number of pages read. You can also get promotional banners from Amazon that you can put on your website or blogsite and even send in e-mails to people to further promote your book.

Bottom line is that starting out, Amazon – Kindle has a lot to offer a new self-publisher. You can literally get your book out there in under a week and start making money from it if people purchase it.

But you will need to do further work to get your book to actually sell and start earning you revenues. Your book will get onto Amazon OK, but it has to be seen and desired in order for you to make sales. There are books that have sat there for years without any sales at all so don’t think your done once you get your book published and onto the site. You have to help the sales happen by promoting it. So below is a list of things you should also be doing yourself online to get people to your Amazon purchased page to buy your book.

  • Be sure you build out your Author profiles on Amazon Central and on book review sites such as “Good Reads”. On Good Reads, also be sure to get your book into their “Listopia” program – so learn how to do that. Find other similar Author sites and get your name out there as well.
  • Consider getting out an online press release on your book as well. Make sure it has back links to where people can view and purchase your book. Take a look at “Reddit” as one possible site for this.
  • Promote your book on different social media platforms such as Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, etc.
  • Consider building a YouTube channel and creating a promotional video for your book with linkbacks to where your book can be purchased.
  • Create your own “Author” blog-site to further promote your book. Traverse the Internet to get linkbacks to your site or book through guest posting, article writing, etc.
  • Get an automated e-mail marketing and autoresponder system in place and use it to help promote your book – build your e-mail subscriber lists!
  • Consider getting a podcast series going on iTunes where you can have “podcast discussions” about the content of your book. FYI – Once you get some of these built, stick an image of your book in front of them and upload these to your YouTube channel as well as “Video Podcasts”.
  • Keep posting and guest posting and getting yourself out there with people. The more people that know about you and your book, the better your sales will be. Build relationship bridges with other authors (EzineArticles and Good Reads are good places to do this), with book reviewers, people knowledgeable in your “book space”, etc. Get known out there.
  • Build a Facebook business page for your book and put your author “Good Reads” button onto your Facebook pages that can bring people back to your Author page at GoodReads. Promote your book on Facebook using the “Boost Post” feature – this is a very economical marketing platform with great targeting capabilities.
  • Be sure to get on Google+ and build out your profile there. Then, search for and join several communities relating to your topic area and also relating to other authors – become a positive content contributor to these communities.

In summary, if you can get through all the above steps for promoting your book online, you will be well on your way of starting to build the base needed to start earning revenues for your book. Best of luck to you in your writing career.