Book Marketing Blogsby Penny Sansevieri
January 29, 2015
Blogs have started incorporating “reading time” plugins into their posts. If the post takes five minutes or ten minutes, it’s often displayed on the blog post. Makes it pretty simple to know, going into it, how much time you should allocate to read a certain post.
Now, it seems, Amazon is doing the same thing. There have been some changes to Kindle Singles, and if you haven’t checked this out you should, because the added exposure could really benefit your book if it meets this criteria.
Here is a redesign of the Amazon Kindle Singles page. Now their short books are being identified by the time it takes to read them: 15 minutes, 30 minutes, and so on. Take a look:
Per Amazon, you can propose books that are current on the Amazon site or you can pitch them an idea. But if you have a book that fits their guidelines (listed below), it could be a great way to gain some additional exposure because, from what I hear, the singles and short reads are gaining a lot of traction, especially with recent site enhancements like this:
Here is what I got from Amazon related to short reads and singles:
You may propose any content you own the digital rights to for consideration as a Kindle Single. We consider books recently published via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), manuscripts or pitches. To nominate your self-published book, send us the title, ASIN, and a brief summary of your work. If it’s not yet published in the Kindle Store, please provide either a manuscript or pitch and a writing sample. All manuscripts submitted as attachments must be accompanied by a cover letter with a detailed summary of the submission.
To qualify, works must have a word count between 5,000 and 30,000 words. At this time, the following works are not being considered for Kindle Singles: how-to manuals, public domain works, reference books, travel guides, short story collections, and children’s books. Complete guidelines can be found at www.amazon.com/singlessubmissions
Please send your submission details to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your proposal will be reviewed within 6 weeks, and you will be notified by email about our decision.
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January 28, 2015
Welcome to Tip #40 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books. So, ready? Here we go!
Amazon Hack: Get Your Book into the Hands of an International Audience
The international book buying market is really growing. Are you taking advantage of it? If you’re not, you should be, and here’s a quick how-to to guide you and your book into more foreign sales. Theoretically, connecting all of your books to all of your Author Central Pages should bring you more visibility and more exposure in a variety of markets, not just in the US.
Not familiar with Amazon Author Central? If you’re not, go here and familiarize yourself with it first: www.authorcentral.amazon.com – it will take you through a quick sign-up process and you can claim all your books, and add content to your author page. It’s easy to do and having access to that Author Central page can really help you promote your book and also keep closer track of your sales on Amazon.
So let’s move to the international market. First, just about each country that Amazon has a footprint in will have an Author Central Page that you’ll need to gain access to. I’ve listed the international sites below so you can just click on them and start getting yourself into those markets. Right now, I want to walk you through what to expect when you do this.
Let’s say you decide to head over to France first. Bonjour Paris! The European set-up process is slightly different from the US, so let’s take you through it.
Here’s what you’ll get when you go to the Amazon Author Central link at their French site. It will ask you for your username and password. The good news is these are universal so you can use them at any of their sites (smart, Amazon). You’ll log in here:
Once you log in, it will take you to this page, which asks to you to confirm this is where you intended to go:
Then you’ll be asked to accept the Author Central Terms of Service agreement (I’ve been told it’s identical to the US version)
Approving this will send you the identity confirmation page:
Then, unlike the US system, it will ask you to confirm your books before sending you to another email confirmation page. I used a screenshot here from an author we are working with. They want to confirm these are your books so click the orange button and make sure that you don’t leave the “All formats” but rather pick the English only. Though this is all in a foreign language many browsers have a translation extension, if they don’t you can probably easily spot the word “English” from the two options.
Once you complete this, it will take you to the email confirmation page:
And you’ll want to check your email and your Spam because Amazon won’t let you in until you confirm your email address. The email will look like this:
After clicking that you’re set – you’ll just need to start adding your books. Remember that if your books aren’t translated you’ll want to be sure and pick the English version, otherwise the system will never find it to add it to your profile. See this screenshot:
Do you see the box that says Suche in front of it? That’s where you will identify the edition you want to pull. It should always say English.
One thing that I found helpful was keeping my US Author Central profile up the entire time because though the pages are in another language, the information is identical so if you can’t figure it out (and your browser won’t translate), check your US page to be sure. You can add almost the same information that you can on your US page. There are a few exceptions. For example, it won’t let you add your blog feed, but I suspect that Amazon will add that at some point.
Now, much like your US Author Central page (screenshot above) you can also grab your Twitter feed, add videos, a bio, etc. You can really enhance this page and you should. Add endorsements, reviews, etc. Whatever you have on your US page should be mirrored on all of these international pages. The final page will look like this:
Now if you think you need to create one for every country don’t worry about that just yet. Amazon isn’t everywhere and some of the countries do not have Author Central areas set up yet. Below are links to the various pages that you can set up as well as a link to all of the Amazon stores internationally. You should complete the ones you can now and keep an eye on this for later!
United Kingdom: https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk/
Amazon’s International stores: https://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?docId=487250
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January 26, 2015
How many of you have older books that you’re just not sure what to do with? They might sell a few copies a month, but overall they seem to just be collecting Internet dust – not to mention adding to the stress of needing to release your next title!
This is an issue a lot of authors face. When a book’s been out for a while and you feel like you’ve really exhausted the standard promotional options you figure it’s over. Well, it’s not.
What if I told you that you could simply and easily revive an old or older book and start making sales on it again? What if this also means you get the opportunity to bring in brand new readers and fans? Would you be game?
What I’m talking about here is book bundling.
So to answer this need you give your buyers something more, something new, and a great deal. And there are so many options!
You can break an older book up into multiple books, short is the new long. People are busy and they love getting what they want in easier to digest fragments. Plus now you’re officially the author of a series! Another great book marketing angle.
You can turn a series into one book. Do you already have a series? Make the series one book and give people a screamin’ deal to get all three at once. Fans of a genre love to know it doesn’t end with a single story, so easy access to a new series is like Christmas coming early.
You can build a killer guide. Do you have multiple books on the same topic or that are targeted at a particular buyer? Business books, cook books, and self help are just a few examples. Put your older titles together for a discount and rename them as the “must have” guide to whatever your area of expertise is. This promises readers a ton of useful information and one-stop shopping.
You can piggyback. Do you have a new release? Bundle it with an older title, call the older title a free bonus, then voila, your older book is now getting all the benefits of your new book’s promotion and getting into brand new hands.
There’s a lot you can do with a book or books that have been out for a while, these are just a few strategies. As long as the content is still relevant you have no reason to not give it a second chance.
Keep in mind that once you do revive it, you need to start promoting it, treat it like it’s new. Even new books don’t magically become success stories simply because the make it to retail. Opt for some key promotional strategies that focus on getting the books in hands and getting reviews populated on places like Amazon. Research still shows that personal recommendations (from friends, colleagues, or popular bloggers) are what drive most book sales.
Make the most of it!
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January 26, 2015
Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week features posts on social media, and getting published. Thank you to all of the contributors.
Erica Verrillo submitted 2 New Agents Actively Building Their Client Lists posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Here are two new agents actively building their client lists. Leon Husock has a particular interest in science fiction and fantasy, young adult and middle-grade novels. Cynthia Kane is interested in representing young adult, children’s, nonfiction, memoir, and commercial fiction.”
Chris Well submitted Twitter Tools for Authors: 11 Ways to Get More Out of Twitter posted at DIY Author, saying, “For authors who feel like they’re spinning their wheels on Twitter, this article outlines 11 tools to help them get more out of the platform–and do a better job of creating valuable content for their Twitter followers.”
Hazel Longuet submitted 3 Simple Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your Blog posted at Novel Experience, saying, “There are 3 things I see time and time again on author blogs that take their hard earned readers away from their blogs, limit their social share potential and reduce the efficiency of their book links. The fixes are simple so give them a go.”
That concludes this week’s carnival. Our weekly roundup offers the best book marketing, self-publishing, writing, and general publishing industry tips to guide authors, would-be authors, publishers and others on their book journey. Submit a post to our weekly carnival by using this link: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/submit-ame-blog-carnival/
January 24, 2015
Here’s a look at some useful book marketing and publishing industry tweets to guide you, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include how to get reviews, the importance of a great author headshot, an indie author guide to Twitter, and more. Happy marketing!
* 39 Ways to Get More Social Media Followers
Flummoxed by the idea of getting more followers? These steps will help you as long as you apply them consistently:
* 5 Ways to Sell More Books on Amazon
Did you know getting readers to buy books in the same basket will boost your book? Learn more:
* 11 Hacks for Creating Awesome Social Media Profiles
You don’t want to be the egg on Twitter. Make your profile stand out:
* The Importance of a Great Author Headshot
Your photo gives readers a visual to attach to you and your book. Make sure it counts:
* The Indie Author’s Guide to Twitter
Whether you’re a beginner or ready to learn more, you’ll find some terrific ideas to get more from Twitter:
* 9 Ways to Recycle Your Blog Posts Into Other Content Formats
Think newsletters, SlideShare, videos, and more. You’ll be able to spread your blog content far and wide:
* 50 Amazing Resources That Will Make You a Better Writer
You need to create content, and this post offers a number of ways you can produce fresh content:
* How to Get Book Reviews
There are different types of reviews available; learn what they are and how to get them:
January 22, 2015
It’s happened to all of us at one time or another. You write a great article either on your blog or as a guest post, and one day you find it on someone else’s site with no credit to you whatsoever. In the case of what happened that prompted this piece, an article I wrote was lifted and tinkered with *slightly* and then reposted onto someone else’s site. What do you do if that happens? Well, it’s certainly a hassle but it’s one you should consider following up on because stealing someone else’s work – especially stealing it and repurposing it, is not right and certainly a copyright infringement.
When you discover this, the first step is to contact the site as I did after I got an email from someone at Joel Friedlander’s site, The Book Designer, to tell me that they’d discovered that this piece: http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2013/07/amazon-algorithms/ was reposted here: http://publishingpush.com/blog/understanding-amazons-algorithms/#comment-630
After my initial contact, they added me to the bottom of this piece as a “resource.” I emailed them again, reminding them I’d written this and to please cite me as the author. They wrote back, said they had – and they hadn’t. As this point it just became a game of chicken so I decided to take this a step further.
Your first plan of attack is to find out who their domain is registered with which in this case is GoDaddy. I found that information by going here: https://who.is/ and plugging in the URL. That will also pull up owner information, etc. that could be helpful to your case. Once you have that, go to the domain company and file a complaint. Here is a link to the complaint form on GoDaddy, and I suspect that most domain services have a similar form:
Next, you want to file with Google. Their process is a simple, online form that you can find here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-notice?hl=en&pid=0
Once that’s done you wait for them to make their determination and let you know if the website has been contacted and what the outcome will be. What I can tell you from past experience is that both domain companies and Google take a very hard stance on trademark and copyright infringement so they tend to act quickly.
Yes, it’s a bit of work to do this but we must not allow people to steal the work we’ve created. Resolving this for issues related to piracy, etc. isn’t always possible but when it is, you should take action.
I will post a follow up to this (updating this blog post) to let you know what happened.
January 20, 2015
Welcome to Tip #39 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books. Want the complete book of tips? Get it here!
Getting your book reviewed is not as simple as sending out a pitch; in fact, that pitch is often the first step in the potential reviewer checking you out. So we have to ask: are you and your website ready for scrutiny? We’ve already covered 7 Simple Steps to Getting Your Book Reviewed, blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/2010/10/7-simple-steps-to-getting-your-book.html. Now, we’ll move on to the next phase.
No matter how compelling your book and pitch, those can only take you so far if you haven’t taken care of the basics. And nothing is more basic than a website. You should have a website, and your site should be clean, quick to read and simple to navigate. You don’t need fancy graphics or inspiring music (in fact, the music or slow to load pages are a huge no-no unless you want people to leave your site immediately). Clean, professional design and easy to find features are all you need. Your home page should include the following:
* your book cover
* book synopsis
* a buy this book now button
* links to interior pages of your site where visitors can learn more
What your website needs – Those interior web pages should include an author’s page with a bio – there should be a short version of around 250 words that can be used with reviews, on press releases and in pitches. If you want to include a longer bio, that’s fine, but having the short version ready to use on your site is important. You should have a nice downloadable photo of you that reviewers or media can use. The shot should be in focus (sure, you say ‘duh,’ but we’ve seen plenty of author websites with that blurry photo), be professional and not have a lot of clutter in the background. You should also have a quality, downloadable book cover image available.
Include your latest news – You’ll want a web page for reviews, blurbs and testimonials, and you should update this page as soon as you have new material. Making this a separate web page on your site makes it really easy and convenient for potential reviewers to check out what others have said.
Excerpts can seal the deal – A book excerpt may not be required, but we highly recommended including an excerpt on your site. Given how competitive the review space is, this is something that can make the difference between a review request and a polite “no thank you.” Include the link to the excerpt in your pitch and PR for the book so it’s easily accessible.
Make book purchase options clear – Links to buy your book should be included on another page – list all applicable sites where your book is for sale and include a way for visitors to click through and make a purchase. Make it simple to make a sale or you may drive customers away.
Provide contact information – Do not forget to have a page with contact information and include what you think is appropriate. If you are an expert on a timely, in the news topic, or want to make it really easy for the media to find you, include a phone number, as well as your email address. If you’re active on social media like Twitter and Facebook include those links, too.
Showcase your stuff – Finally, if you’ve written articles or have a blog, or if you’ve been interviewed on radio, TV, in print or online, make sure those links are featured on your website, too. Make it as easy as possible for prospective interviewers or reviewers to learn all about you, your book and your expertise.
Bells and whistles won’t cover for a weak website – ensuring that the basics are there so visitors can learn all about you and your book (and buy it) are critical. When surfing websites, visitors only spend seconds; if they don’t see what they need or want, they move on. Make your site inviting and informative so they’ll stick around and hopefully follow up with an enthusiastic “yes” to your review request.
* Your 10 Point Website Check Up –
* 15 key elements all top websites should have –
* Writing an effective cover letter – http://www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/advice/cvr-ltr.htm
* Writing an effective publicity release – http://www.midwestbookreview.com/bookbiz/advice/prelease.htm
* How to request review copies –
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January 16, 2015
Get informed and inspired with these book marketing and publishing industry tweets to guide you, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include Twitter tips for better social media content, how to make your book marketing easier, handling missing or rejected Amazon reviews, and more. Happy marketing!
* How to Handle Missing or Rejected Reviews on Amazon
One author found her Amazon reviews when missing, and she contacted the etailer to learn why. She also has advice for other authors should this happen to them:
* Authors: Plan Your Marketing with a Content Calendar
If you want an active presence on social media, but scramble for content, then this post is for you. Learn how to create a content calendar that will allow you to post regularly and still have time to write your books:
* Indie Author Marketing Guide: How to Use Pinterest
Many authors enjoy Pinterest’s visual appeal but aren’t sure how to use the site. Get some ideas for what you can do to get noticed:
* 2 Must-Dos to Make Your Book Marketing Infinitely Easier
You must know yourself, and understand your audience. The steps outlined here will help you on both counts:
* The Top Self-Publishing Podcasts For Indie Authors
If you’re looking for some shows that will help you learn more about self-publishing, marketing, and book sales, these shows are a great start:
* 10 Twitter Tips For Creating Better Social Media Content
Twitter is a great social network for authors, because it provides a simple way to connect with readers – if you use it effectively. Here’s what you should do:
* Write Like a Pro: 5 Techniques Top Bloggers Use to Write Successful Blog Posts
These tips make a lot of sense, but it’s something many of us don’t know… but when you read these tips you’ll see how easy it is to make some tweaks that make your blog content stand out:
* 32 Facebook Groups for Authors
Think Facebook is just an endless stream of selfies and silly observations? Check out these groups for authors, that offer tips, advice, and ideas:
January 16, 2015
Consider promoting it in Eventbrite. It’s a great way to draw more interest to your online event. People gather there to find out about things happening in their area of interest, both online and off.
If the event is free, you can promote it on Craigslist, too. It’s pretty old school these days but it still works!
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January 14, 2015
Welcome to Tip #38 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books. So, ready? Here we go!
Getting a Head Start on Holiday Sales
You know I used to laugh at the “Christmas in July” ads until I promoted my first Christmas-related book. We actually started the promotion in July and it was the perfect time. Why? Well, maybe no one is buying or thinking about December in July, but the holiday buying season is tough. In order to make any kind of headway you must start early, not just to capture the December sales but also to get in front of any early shoppers. Once those Christmas in July ads start to hit radio and TV, consumers (those who like to shop early) start to gather ideas for their own shopping lists.
When is it too late to start thinking about the holiday market? November is definitely much too late, October is iffy, but if you’re staring September in the face and haven’t done a lick of marketing towards holiday sales, that might be your last chance. Better to start early – mid to late summer is always great. Here are some tips to help you get a head start on the holiday buying season.
Events: start early. If you’d like to do events in December I suggest you start calling stores now. Many stores don’t do in-store events after Thanksgiving, but if you have local connections or some independent stores they might be open to this. Speaking at non-bookstore venues falls under the same category: start early.
Promos: start planning your promos in the fall. I recommend starting the promo roll-out right after Thanksgiving and planning a succession of promotional announcements all the way through late December. If you need to get special pricing on books, or if you’re going to bundle your book with some other items, this will give you plenty of time to plan for that.
Website: now is the time to make sure your website is ready for your holiday marketing. As you begin planning your promos make sure your web designer is ready to go to make any changes your site might need.
Targets: definitely define your target markets as soon as you can, the earlier the better. If you don’t have a good, solid idea of who you’re marketing to yet don’t use your holiday campaign to test this. Test market early. You’ll be glad you did. Don’t waste a holiday promo if you don’t have to. Knowing who you are going after will save you in costly marketing mistakes (and this goes for any time you are marketing).
Ebooks: I suspect with all the e-readers that have hit the market – and with both Target and Best Buy carrying e-book readers – you’re going to see a lot of promotion for this over the holidays. Make sure your book is keyed into this market, what I mean is: if you had planned to get your book converted to an ebook, now is the time. Also, you might want to offer a special promo, if someone buys your e-book have them forward you the receipt for an additional special holiday bonus.
Social media: if you’re not on Facebook or Twitter yet, now is the time to join, and even if you are, this is a great time to maximize your efforts and plan how you’ll use your social media to enhance your holiday promos. Will you offer specials to your social media “tribe” only? Will you have exclusives just for them? Consider early on what your social media strategy will be.
Exposure: if your exposure online is minimal, now is the time to ramp it up. Contacting blogs, websites, doing article syndication, participating in blogs, doing guest blogging… all of these things are great ways to gain exposure online. Remember, it’s not just about the holiday promos, it’s about making sure you are searchable online. That way, if someone searches on what you’re offering, you’ll come up in the search results. This will help you capture holiday shoppers who haven’t been exposed to you or your message yet.
The key to successful holiday promotion is planning and enough advanced marketing so that you’re not spinning your wheels in the Fall wondering why you’re not making any traction. If you’re ready to explode your holiday market, start early; it’s the best way to make sure you have a spot waiting for you when the busiest shopping season of the year comes around again!