Professional Authors’ Groups

I wouldn’t want to belong to a club that would have me as a member
– Groucho Marx

Anybody know if there’s a 12-Step meeting for researchers? I need to get to one. “Hello, my name is Joseph. I’m a researcher.” “Hello, Joseph.”

A few weeks back I polled five-hundred authors with:

I’m looking into authors’ groups and organizations. Do you belong to any? If yes, your thoughts and opinions of it/them? And could you provide a link if you think them worthy?

Two-hundred-eighteen responded (just under half. I can provide percentages/numbers for other Researchers Anonymous members).


  • Most people aren’t part of any author groups. The reasons varied from 1) cost to 2) unclear usefulness to 3) Covid followed by various scatterings. The “cost v usefulness” quadrant was most heavily populated. Most professional groups had upfront costs and that’s where “usefulness” dominated, a “what do I get for my money?” mood. I suspect (no substantial evidence, more based on conversations and email exchanges) as the industry matures (ie, as the gulf between serious authors and “Hey! I got a book published!” writers widens) a similar gulf between “Let’s get work done” and “Let’s have a party!” authors groups will occur.
  • Online groups dominated the responses and most people prefer online groups because nothing is required to participate. Also, few find online groups helpful with Goodreads groups standing out as least helpful (one person offered the discussions were painful). Most people offered they directed messages from these groups are directed to spammish buckets and rarely read them. I asked “What do you use the group for?” The answer usually came down to “To promote my books.” When asked, “Why don’t you do more with the groups?” the answers often came down to “It’s just people promoting their own books.” Budda-boom!
  • The following responses are based on 1) clustered responses (a significant number of responses clustered around a definable (binary) result and/or 2) the results were interesting although not statistically significant. My tendency to go for a binary (YES/NO) is because I can measure neither expectations nor satisfaction level while I can codify positive/negative response regardless of where they are on the positive/negative scale.

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Join EU actress @Sabine_Rossbach and author @JosephCarrabis for Episode 2, “Massively Scarred”, of The Augmented Man Video Series

As in Episode 1 “Good Run, Trailer?”, Sabine and I discuss the book’s meaning and our decision process in creating this new book video trailer format.

Prepare for Episode 2 “Massively Scarred”

Learn about the research leading to this new format.

Watch Episode 1 “Good Run, Trailer?” .

Follow The Augmented Man video trailer series.

Join EU actress @Sabine_Rossbach and author @JosephCarrabis for Episode 1, “Good Run, Trailer?”, of The Augmented Man Video Series

Sabine and I discuss the book’s meaning and our decision process in creating “Good Run, Trailer”, a unique, 2m #video #book #trailer premiering on YouTube Monday, 15 June 2020, 9amET.

Some History
I spent five months studying video trailers, talking with authors who use them, checking results, determining various forms of ROI, et cetera.

Prices varied from homebrew to several thousand dollars for a “professional” trailer. Regardless of time, effort, and money, few experienced a direct link between their video trailer and book sales.

Simultaneous to that study I did 1-2 book signings/month (prior to the Covid pandemic) and talked with many book buyers about what got them to purchase a book and documented their comments.

Two factors dominated purchase decisions: 1) a trusted friend’s recommendation and 2) Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature.

The book buyers I interviewed did not find video trailers interesting, and few led directly to sales. Comments included “I see pictures and blurbs but one’s just like another. They don’t really tell me what the book’s about”, “I see lots of trailers and get numb to them” and “A trailer really has to stand out to interest me.”

Asked what would work, the most repeated answers were “Tell me the story”, “Let me experience it”, “Give me an idea what it’s about and maybe I’ll get interested.” Some booksigning venues let me read from my work. I consistently sold more books when I read from them than when I didn’t. All of these items correlate to Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature; giving the reader an idea of book content, not marketing content. Readers know immediately if they’ll enjoy a book or author’s style.

Gifted and accomplished EU actress Sabine Rossbach (also a regular reader who loves my work) contacted me wanting to promote my work. She took my short story “Cymodoce” and did a dramatic reading.

Sabine knows how to do dramatic readings (she’s done voice-overs, commercials, dubbings, staged readings, been a corporate spokesperson, is an accomplished stage and film actress …). I shared her video with 1) a test audience and then 2) some test markets and got results in 15m. Test audiences commented that her reading gave them a much better idea of 1) the type of story, 2) what it’s about, and 3) my writing style than any traditional video ever could.

#Authors, #Writers, and any others in the #WritingCommunity, Sabine is available to do similar videos for your books (she’s already done some for EU-based authors). You can view her demo reels (English starts about 35s in) and and IMDB.

Please note I do not guarantee results, I only offer that current data indicates dramatic readings (I suggest Sabine do them) produce recognizable, attributable results.

Enjoy, and please come join us on YouTube for “Good Run, Trailer”

Episode 1 – “Good Run, Trailer?”
Episode 2 – “Massively Scarred”

Sabine Rossbach
Joseph Carrabis
The Augmented Man

What’s Your Plan B? (or “After 100 Agents, what?”)

We don’ need no stinkin’ Plan Bs

“I plan on becoming an internationally renowned brain surgeon.”
“That’s great. Except you’re a straight D student, you have essential tremor, and anybody who really wants to become a brain surgeon would know enough to call it ‘neurosurgeon’. So what’s your Plan B?

Plan B. The fallback. The backup. The “what you do when what you want doesn’t happen.”

I’ve always had trouble with the concept of a Plan B.

It was as if somewhere in my teens I said to myself, “Let’s see… I can do well in school, go to college, get a degree and lead a totally mundane, boring, completely unfulfilled life. Or I can become a superhero…” and I saw that and said, “Screw that. The rest of the world can go on the straight and narrow,” and I took a left.
Of course, the path I chose meant I’d be misunderstood, have enemies, have to solve bigger than life problems, that kind of stuff, but even if I chose the simple path I’d be telling myself I was still doing those things. The superhero path also meant I’d be respected and honored and sought after, and again, I’d be telling myself those things were true even if I took the simple path.
So somewhere in my teens I figured, “What the hell?”
I took a left and never looked back.

For one thing, having a Plan B is distracting. Every time there’s a bump on your Plan A road, you take a moment or two to decide if this is when you should switch to Plan B.

Nobody seems to note that all those moments, all that decision making, all it really is is a loss of focus on your goal for Plan A.

Remember, Plan B is your fallback. It’s what you settle for. It’s less than what you wanted. When Kennedy committed the USA to landing on the moon by the end of the decade, nobody stood up and said, “But if we never leave low Earth orbit, that’s cool, too!” The goal was The Moon. Anything else would be Not Moon.

Anybody notice the subtle shift I did there? I talked about the goal, not how to reach the goal. Any plan – A, B, C, H, Q, Fromblitz, whatever – is how you get to your goal.
Continue reading “What’s Your Plan B? (or “After 100 Agents, what?”)”

Caveat Emptor – Have I Got a Deal for You!

Can they prove what they’ve claimed? (Simple strategies for recognizing scammers)

Note to folks who saw this on Facebook: I go a tad deeper here.

Interesting LinkedIn experience a while back.

Got this solicitation:

Authors, YOUR BOOK, memoir, or story idea synopsis as a movie? Make it so! You should hire us, Hollywood award-winning Screenwriters and IMDb Producers to write you a PROFESSIONAL script. FREE QUOTE: 1) send us your email 2) tell us the name of your book OR your story idea from synopsis to … Producers PREFER PROFESSIONAL scripts from books, and don’t have time to read books. Producers do not read scripts from beginning novice script writers who are book authors. They can tell ASAP from first few script pages if an expert wrote the script! We are IMDb award winning PROFESSIONAL scriptwriters, and award winning IMDb film producers. Our scripts WINS include best scripts top awards at Cannes, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, Hollywood, & OVERSEAS, etc., and 100s (YES! 100s!) of other BEST SCRIPT awards and BEST FILMS too. NEW Best Script AWARDs at the ECA and UTAH F.F., etc! We do not do book reviews. (We do NOT want other writers finished scripts to buy or option!)

I wrote back:

Could you provide the names of the scripts, the awards they’ve won, the movies made from them, please?

Got this reply:

you need to do your own due diligence on our awards and film accomplishments

Followed a few moments later by:

On IMDb, sites, and 100s of awards! I cannot send you all of them here. Clients need to do their own due indigence of course. If you want an A LIST scriptwriter who have LOTS of A LIST films that writer will cost you 100 thou and more as a WGA UNION writer. We are not that, because we want to work and have lower fees. But if you want a writer with TOP CREDITS, you would then need to pay VERY HIGH fees. Is that what you want? Then be my guest and look for a writer with A LIST credits. 🙂

First, the email address provided was gmail. Really? Sorry, someone offering to help you out and asking for money has to have something more substantial than a GMAIL account. Especially when they make the claims they do.

Second, anybody making the claims they make then saying “Go verify us yourself” is not to be trusted. If you want my business, prove to me your worth it. Saying you’re worth it and having the credos indicating you’re worth it are two quite different things.

Third, dear god don’t tell me (essentially) I’m an idiot for not accepting you at face value; the follow up basically says they don’t have lots of cred, they’re not WGA, and ends with “Is that what you want? Then be my guest and look for a writer with A LIST credits.”

Well, umm…yeah, I do want someone with lots of credibility in their industry, knowledge of their business, and a proven track record.

Idiot Moi! Right?

I ran my own business 25+ years. We put our list of happy clients, satisfied customers, recommendations and their results front and center. Did a prospect have a question about our track record? Here’s a client company and the contact in that company. Ask them directly.

Get Specifics
Beware of marketing claims that only contain generalities. Example: “Authors have seen substantial increases in sales using our platform.” The other one I like is “XYZ resulted in lots of pageviews, which resulted in substantial increases in royalties.”
Continue reading “Caveat Emptor – Have I Got a Deal for You!”