Grael Norton

About Grael Norton

Grael Norton is Wheatmark's Director of Marketing, specializing in helping writers design the business of selling their books. His book, The Author's Guide to Choosing a Publishing Service is currently available for free at http://authors.guide.
22 08, 2016

Yes, you can become an author!

By | 2016-08-19T13:38:31+00:00 August 22, 2016|Publishing, Writing|Comments Off on Yes, you can become an author!

Writing is simply a number of sentences strung together. Remember the paper chains that you made as a child? One slip of paper rolled and wrapped around another until a chain was formed that stretched from one end of the room to the other. That’s how you write your book.

Create small, manageable writing goals. Start by just writing a single paragraph. That’s all. Just one simple paragraph. You can do that, right? If so, your first goal has just been accomplished!

As a writer, it’s easy to get swamped by the mountain of things to do before your book gets finished. Add to that the burden authors today must carry of promoting and marketing their books, and it is so easy to get discouraged.

There is a solution, however! It’s simply this: Create small goals that can be easily accomplished. A friend once shared with me her story on her experience of […]

26 10, 2015

Procrastination

By | 2018-03-29T11:09:21+00:00 October 26, 2015|News, Writing|Comments Off on Procrastination

“Procrastination.” In many circles, it’s a dirty word.

“Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can accomplish today,” it’s said.

All of us are guilty of it, though… at least a little bit, from time to time.

For many of us, one of the activities we’re most likely to procrastinate over is also one of the most important: writing.

You see, all of us can benefit from writing regularly, whether it’s for our business goals, to tell a story that needs to be told, or simply to pass on family history to the next generation.

But regardless of subject, it can be hard to get motivated and start, continue, or finish a project—particularly a lengthy one, like a full-length book.

There’s something about staring at that empty page…

Here’s a quick tip for you if you’re stuck on a book project right now and can’t seem to make any progress.

It’s an old trick I learned from my […]

22 09, 2015

The World’s Worst Ebook Artwork

By | 2018-03-29T11:09:21+00:00 September 22, 2015|Authors Academy, Marketing, News|Comments Off on The World’s Worst Ebook Artwork

Wheatmark client and Authors Academy member Bill Corbett sent me the link to this sobering article the other day.

It talks about how the digital era has led to a decline in income for authors.

The article cites a number of reasons for this, but another one (which the article doesn’t discuss) is increased competition.

According to recent numbers I’ve seen, there are now more than 4,500 books published every day.

That’s a heck of a lot of books vying for readers’ attention!

How do you compete with all those titles? One great way is to submit your book to—and win—contests.

But—and you can see this one coming—with all those books being published each day, far more books than ever before are being submitted to contests for consideration.

How do you ensure your book has a good chance of standing out from the crowd and getting recognized?

Some tips are obvious. Don’t make this mistake.

But there […]

16 07, 2015

Amazon gets flamed

By | 2018-03-29T11:09:22+00:00 July 16, 2015|Authors Academy|Comments Off on Amazon gets flamed

As I write this, folks all over the Internet are flaming Amazon for over-hyping its latest sales promotion, Prime Day.

Here are some choice tweets:

Amazon has gone crazy! I mean, 64% off Antarctic krill oil? http://t.co/mVRgvP5o3k
— John Aboud (@jaboud) July 15, 2015

Amazon sub-prime day. https://t.co/qu6jitO6SL
— Brenda Kelly (@Brenda_Kelly) July 15, 2015

Amazon Prime Day? More like Amazon “let’s get rid of this excess inventory” Day
http://pic.twitter.com/y0g2fVs1dD
— Neil Cybart (@neilcybart) July 15, 2015

The outrage is perhaps matched only by the recent uproar created amongst authors when Amazon announced that it would pay self-published Kindle Direct Publishing Select participants only for the pages that readers actually read of their books.

(Before you freak out, too, be sure to check out the rebuttal in this article.)

Hard to believe it, but 15 years ago, Amazon was just a hardscrabble online bookseller (albeit one already worth north of $16 billion.)

Meanwhile, the Kindle was just […]

3 07, 2015

“The U.S. is on the brink of total collapse…”

By | 2016-08-02T10:13:37+00:00 July 3, 2015|News|Comments Off on “The U.S. is on the brink of total collapse…”

“The United States is on the brink of total collapse. The military has been reduced to near extinction, economic turmoil saps hope, and anarchy threatens as world powers hover like vultures, eager to devour the remains.”

Sounds like the premise of the latest Hollywood sci-fi blockbuster coming to a theater near you this weekend, doesn’t it?

It’s not.

For many of us, the 4th of July holiday weekend means long days spent barbecuing and lounging by the pool.

In Arizona it’s always blazing hot—so hot that sometimes it’s even too hot to lounge by the pool!

So we’ll often go to the movies instead to escape the heat.

With so much fun to be had, it’s easy to forget why we take time out to celebrate in the first place.

In fact, I’ve received quite a few emails the last couple of days admonishing me not to take the freedoms we enjoy for granted.

I’ll spare you all […]

9 06, 2015

Is your book cursed?

By | 2018-03-29T11:09:22+00:00 June 9, 2015|Marketing, Publishing|Comments Off on Is your book cursed?

Wheatmark client Michelee Cabot forwarded me this fascinating entry from Wikipedia about the dreaded “book curse.”

The best way I can describe it in contemporary terms is that it was like medieval copyright protection!

According to the article, “a book curse was the most widely employed and effective method of discouraging the thievery of manuscripts during the medieval period.”

Punishments usually included excommunication, damnation, or anathema. Harsh!

These days, the punishment for swiping someone else’s work is more pedestrian: typically, the ripped-off author is entitled to financial damages.

Copyright is one of least understood areas of publishing, while simultaneously being one of the areas of highest concern for authors… and first-time authors in particular.

Here’s the scoop: even in its draft-manuscript stage (for example, in a Microsoft Word document stored on your computer’s hard drive) your manuscript is copyrighted under US law.

If someone steals your draft and publishes it as their own work, it’ll be […]

5 06, 2015

We’re #4!

By | 2018-03-29T11:09:22+00:00 June 5, 2015|News|Comments Off on We’re #4!

My colleague Tracy Quinn McLennan forwarded me this article from this week’s AZ Daily Star (thanks, Tracy!)

Turns out that Tucson made the list of Top 20 Most Well-Read Cities in America. In fact, not only did we make the Top 10, we made the Top 5, coming it at #4!

According to Amazon’s press release, “The ranking was determined by compiling sales data of all book, magazine and newspaper sales in both print and Kindle format from April 2014 to April 2015, on a per capita basis in cities with more than 500,000 residents.”

Also according to the release, the top most well-read cities are:

1. Seattle, Washington

2. Portland, Oregon

3. Las Vegas, Nevada

4. Tucson, Arizona

5. Washington, D.C.

6. Austin, Texas

7. San Francisco, California

8. Albuquerque, New Mexico

9. Denver, Colorado

10. Louisville, Kentucky

Here’s some additional tidbits from the Amazon news release:

* Washington, D.C. residents prefer print books, and finished ahead of Seattle as the city with […]

29 05, 2015

Is the self-publishing stigma fading?

By | 2018-03-29T11:09:22+00:00 May 29, 2015|Publishing, Resources, Writing|Comments Off on Is the self-publishing stigma fading?

My colleague Roger forwarded me this article the other day.

It asks the question: “Is the self-publishing stigma fading?”

The author who wrote it notes that he jumped on the indie bandwagon back in 2010—“when the concept of being an indie author was still relatively new.”

That made my colleague Atilla laugh, since he helped launch Wheatmark back in the year 2000—ten years before that!

Anyway, the author’s point is essentially “yes.” The self-publishing stigma is fading… but it may never go away entirely.

I enjoy articles like this, but I’d take the author’s point even one step further: I think indie authors, or self-publishers (or whatever you want to call them), actually have an advantage in today’s market.

Case in point: check out the article at this link, which tracks e-book sales.

(My thanks to Simple Marketing System client Ginny Lieto for bringing this article to my attention!)

This article talks about the disadvantage that […]

5 05, 2015

There are only two words to describe this

By | 2018-03-29T11:09:22+00:00 May 5, 2015|Publishing, Writing|Comments Off on There are only two words to describe this

Several readers—including Wheatmark client Yasmin John-Thorpe—sent me the link to this article last week.

As I said in the subject line of this email, there are only two words to describe the piece, which is all about Author Solution’s (ASI’s) business practices:

“Horror show.”

It’s a lengthy article, and I recommend reading it in its entirety.

I also recommend forwarding it to any and all of your friends and colleagues—in particular, any one you know who’s contemplating self-publishing.

The only reason ASI is able to so easily prey on authors is a lack of knowledge on the part of the writing public—especially first-time authors.

Unfortunately, some of the US’ top trade publishers are complicit in this “deal with the devil,” including, of course, Penguin/Random House, who bought ASI three years ago.

You can read about the quotas the salespeople at ASI have to hit each month to keep their jobs, and you’ll also discover how many […]

24 04, 2015

What should you be doing to market your book?

By | 2018-03-29T11:09:22+00:00 April 24, 2015|Authors Academy, Marketing, News|Comments Off on What should you be doing to market your book?

I received an email recently from long-time Wheatmark client Eddie Browning that invited him to display his books at Book Expo America (BEA) next month.

Eddie’s kind enough to keep me in the loop about all the different kinds of promotions authors receive on a daily basis that claim to help them market their work.

Eddie doesn’t have any intention of taking the bait, but I saw this as an opportunity to share a valuable marketing lesson with all of our readers.

The lesson is that good marketing is a process, not an event.

This is a tricky concept for many authors to grasp.

They equate “marketing” with “selling.”

They’ll often say things like “I tried marketing my book, and it didn’t work.”

Usually, what they actually mean is “I tried selling my book, and it didn’t work.”

What’s the difference?

“Selling” is pretty straight-forward. It means asking for the sale:

“Would you like to buy my book?”

“Would you like […]