Book Marketing Blogsby Penny Sansevieri
November 21, 2014
There’s a wealth of information from these book marketing tweets to guide you, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include asking for book blurbs, creating Facebook holiday contests, implementing a social media strategy, and more. Happy marketing!
* The Importance of an Author Marketing Plan
Developing a marketing plan to guide you will ensure that your marketing will have focus and be quantifiable:
* 4 Surprising Twitter Features Every Marketer Should Use
There are some really great features on Twitter you may not have discovered, such as embeddable timelines and advanced search. Learn how they can help you:
* 5 Facebook Holiday Contest Ideas to Boost Your Sales
Yes, time is short, but these ideas are really easy to implement:
* 7 Ways to Make Pimping Your Book for a Blurb Less Weird
Authors cringe at the idea of asking for blurbs, yet the endorsements can be valuable. Take some of the stress out of the process:
* 8 Essential Elements of a Social Media Marketing Strategy
If you aren’t sure how to set goals or determine strategy, here’s a guide that will help:
* How to Get Your Blog Post Shared 1000 Times
Learn how you can make your blog posts go viral with this infographic:
* 10 Reasons Why Self-Published Books Don’t Sell – and What You Can Do to Ensure Yours DOES
If your book isn’t selling the way you hoped, use this checklist to see what you can do to turn things around:
* Getting Book Reviews (so sales can follow)
A look at strategies that can help you get more book reviews:
November 20, 2014
We’ve heard a lot about Amazon’s big new subscription service, which is, essentially, a way to read books (limited to ones enrolled in this program) for one monthly fee. You’re limited to ten books at a time, so if you want more you’ll have to return a book or two and then the system will continue to let you add to your library.
People have asked me about results in this program and so far I have to say that when it comes to non-fiction, I’m not terribly impressed. At least my non-fiction books aren’t doing great. That, however, makes a lot of sense. Why? Because Kindle Unlimited (being a subscription service) speaks much more to the fiction reader, in particular the genre fiction reader, than it does to anyone else. Now this doesn’t mean that your book won’t do well there if you’ve written non-fiction, but the program really bodes well for the fiction crowd.
With that in mind. I started to do some experimenting with the system and here is what I found.
Fact #1: Kindle Unlimited (KU) really appeals to the avid reader. This means that if your book is genre fiction, you’ll do really well here. I’ve found that the hyper-fast readers often fall into this category and can really save money with this subscription service. Consequently, some of the highest sales are coming from these readers.
Fact #2: In order to be a part of the Kindle Unlimited community, you have to have your book enrolled in the KDP select program. That said, I wouldn’t recommend having all of your books in there all at once. In fact, I recommend rotating them in and out of KPD select. If you have a series, this becomes even more crucial because with KU, if all of your books in that particular series are in the Select program, they will all be migrated to the subscription shelves. Granted, this can work in your favor, but I would suggest keeping just the first in the series in KDP Select with a link, letter or some blurb in the back of the book that will take readers to the next book in the series, and then the next, and so on. Depending on how many books you have in a series, you could conceivably rotate two or three in and out of the program. You’ll want to experiment with this because not all genres (even in genre fiction) respond the same.
Fact #3: Shorter books rock. I’ve said before that short is the new long, but that applies even more with your avid reader group. They love the quick read, they read a lot, and shorter book-length books tend to do much better on Kindle Unlimited. Also, one of the terms of KU is that you don’t get paid until the reader reads 10% of your book. For this reason alone it makes a ton of sense to do shorter fiction books. Keep in mind that there are people out there trying to trick the system by stuffing books with needless content. Amazon is onto this and their systems measure actual content, not dozens of pages just stuffed in there to fill the book and get to the 10% mark. Content triggers in the Amazon system will queue up your file to start the count at chapter one. Also, these kinds of tactics can get your book(s) yanked from the Amazon system.
Fact #4: This was a bit of a surprise to me, but when I tested this across a few titles, I found this to be absolutely true: Themes matter. What are themes? Well they are the new keywords Amazon uses to define and categorize your book. I did a video on this here you can see: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/new-keywords-amazon/. I found that though some people are using these, not everyone is, and this surprises me. I know it’s hard to give up one or two of the keywords that you upload to the Amazon system, but trust me, it matters. In a test we did recently, I removed all of the theme keywords from the back of a fiction book. The book plummeted down the KU list, going from 84 sales a week to 1. When I added back the theme words into the keyword area, the book bounced back up again and has returned to its almost normal status. I don’t know why themes matter more for the KU books, but I’m going to continue to look into this and will update this post as soon as I find more answers.
Fact #5: Additional content: We have an author who just finished her book and the editor pulled several sections from the book (as editors often do). I’ve encouraged her to create a “Director’s Cut” of the book with the additional pieces either in a separate edition, or as separate books on Amazon. Having this additional content to drive a reader’s interest to your book can be really helpful. Not just for the KU program, but across the board. If a reader likes your writing, they will likely read everything you’ve written. Bonus content, Director’s cut content, or whatever you want to call it can really help to pull in new readers.
So that’s what I’ve discovered about the Kindle Unlimited program thus far, I’ll keep updating this post or putting up more information as I find out new stuff. We’re always testing and looking for reader input so feel free to share your ideas and findings!
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November 18, 2014
Welcome to Tip #31 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!
These days it seems like everyone’s book marketing budget is a little tighter. If you’re feeling the pinch, or if you’re just looking for some great free stuff to do on your own, here are some tips that could help keep you on track.
- Buy your domain name as soon as you have a title for your book. You can get domain names for as little as $8.95. Tip: When buying a domain always try to get a .com and stay away from hyphens, i.e. penny-sansevieri.com – surfers rarely remember to insert hyphens.
- Head on over to Blogger.com or WordPress.com and start your very own blog (you can add it to your Web site later).
- Set up an event at your neighborhood bookstore. Do an event and not a signing, book signings are boring!
- Write a few articles on your topic and submit them onto the Internet for syndication. You can submit them to sites like ezinearticles.com and articlecity.com.
- Check out your competition online and see if you can do some networking.
- Do some radio research and pitch yourself to at least five new stations this week.
- Ready to get some business cards? Head on over to Vistaprint.com. The cards are free if you let them put their logo on the back, if you don’t they’re still really inexpensive.
- Put together your marketing plan. Seriously, do this. If you don’t know where you’re going, any destination will do.
- Plan a contest or giveaway. Contests are a great way to promote your book.
- Google some topic-related online groups to see if you can network with them.
- Send thank you notes to people who have been helpful to you.
- Send your book out to at least ten book reviewers this week.
- Do a quick Internet search for local writers’ conferences or book festivals you can attend.
- Create an email signature for every email you send; email signatures are a great way to promote your book and message.
- Put the contents of your Web site: book description, bio, Q&A, and interviews on CD to have on hand when the media comes calling!
- Submit your Web site to the top five directories: Google, MSN, Alexa, Yahoo, and DMOZ.
- Write a great press release and submit it to free online press release sites like: PR4 – http://www.prlog.org/ , http://www.1888pressrelease.com/, http://i-newswire.com/, http://www.prfocus.com/
- Write your bio and have someone who can be objective critique it; you’ll need it when you start pitching yourself to the media.
- Schedule your first book event!
- Start your own email newsletter; it’s a great way to keep readers, friends and family updated and informed on your success.
- Start a Twitter account and begin tweeting. If you don’t think Twitter is significant, think again; it’s been a major part of our marketing strategy for several years now (before anyone even knew what Twitter was).
- Develop a set of questions or discussion topics that book clubs can use for your book, and post them on your Web site for handy downloads.
- Add your book info or URL to your answering machine message.
- Start a Facebook Fan page. Fan Pages are much better than groups because they’re searchable in Google.
- See if you can get your friends to host a “book party” in their home. You come in and discuss your book and voila, a captive audience!
- Find some catalogs you think your book would be perfect for and then submit your packet to them for consideration. If you’re unsure of what catalogs might work for you, head on over to www.catalogs.com and peruse their list.
- Go around to your local retailers and see if they’ll carry your book; even if it’s on consignment, it might be worth it!
- Add your book to Google Book Search.
- Research some authors with similar subjects and then offer to exchange links with them.
- Start a LinkedIn page and make sure it’s linked to your other social media pages where possible.
- Make sure your blog is connected to Amazon via their Amazon Author Central program (yes, it’s free).
- Ask friends and family to email five people they know and tell them about your book.
- Leave your business card, bookmark, or book flyer wherever you go.
- Subscribe to Google Alerts and make sure that you are getting alerts under your name as well as your book title(s), brand, and keywords.
- Pitch yourself to your local television stations.
- Pitch yourself to your local print media.
- Work on the Q&A for your press kit. You’ll need it when you start booking media interviews!
- Pitch Oprah. Go ahead, you know you want to.
- Is the topic of your book in the news? Check your local paper, and write a letter to the editor to share your expertise (and promote your book!).
- Stop by your local library and see if you can set up an event. They love local authors.
- Do you want to get your book into your local library system? Try dropping off a copy to your main library; if they stock it chances are the other branches will too.
- Go to Chase’s Calendar of Events (www.Chases.com.) and find out how to create your own holiday!
- Going on vacation? Use your away-from-home time to schedule a book event or two.
- If your book is appropriate, go to local schools to see if you can do a reading.
- Got a book that could be sold in bulk? Start with your local companies first and see if they’re interested in buying some promotional copies to give away at company events.
- Don’t forget to add reviews to your Web site. Remember that what someone else has to say is one thousand times more effective than anything you could say!
- Trying to meet the press? Search the Net for Press Clubs in your area, they meet once a month and are a great place to meet the media.
- Want a celebrity endorsement? Find celebs in your market with an interest in your topic and then go for it. Remember all they can say is no. Check out the Actors Guild for a list of celeb representatives.
- Ready to get some magazine exposure? Why not pitch some regional and national magazines with your topic or submit a freelance article for reprint consideration?
- Work on your next book. Sometimes the best way to sell your first book is by promoting your second.
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November 14, 2014
We’ve collected some informative book marketing tweets to guide you, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include using infographics in your marketing, increasing your Twitter exposure, selling more books on Amazon, and more. Happy marketing!
* Seven Things I’d Do Before I Published a Book (if I had it to do over again)
An author talks about what she learned from her early book marketing experiences and how that affects her book marketing strategy now:
* 3 Ways Authors Can Get Exposure for Their Recently Published Book
Here are simple yet effective ways to launch your book:
* How to Increase Your Exposure on Twitter
Twitter can be a great place to market your book if you understand how it works:
* 39 Things to Remember While Struggling to Build Your Writing Career
Sometimes you need to be reminded of what really matters so your writing career stays on track:
* 9 Awesome Reasons to Use Infographics in Your Content Marketing
We’re surrounded and consumed by data. One way to make it manageable and easier to understand is to use Infographics:
* How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon
Learn the secrets to using Amazon’s back end system to sell more books:
* 9 Email Marketers Explain Why Nobody Opens Your Emails
If you have a newsletter, or use email for marketing, learn how to make sure your subscribers read your emails:
* Successful Querying: It’s Not All About the Letter
There’s a whole process and mindset behind querying. These tips will guide you:
November 13, 2014
I was excited to see that Amazon now allows pre-orders for KDP authors (Kindle Direct Publishing), which essentially levels the playing field even more between traditionally published authors and those who have self-published through KDP. In a minute, I’ll take you through the steps to get your book into pre-order but first let’s look at when and how this may benefit you.
On Amazon’s KDP/Pre-order information page they say that pre-order is great to start building buzz and, true, it is. Though there is one caveat to this. Over the years I’ve found that pre-orders aren’t as effective if you have no fan base, and even then, it’s iffy. So what’s the real benefit to the pre-order? Well, let’s break this down:
Newly published: If you’re a newly published author, the idea of a pre-order likely seems super enticing, right? Your book is up on the Amazon site as time ticks off to its release. It’s pretty exciting but I don’t know if I would spend a ton of time marketing to a pre-order page for the reasons I mentioned earlier: no one knows you (yet) so any marketing efforts you make to this page may be a waste of time. Yes, you can do a small push, maybe to friends and family and a mailing list if you have one but I wouldn’t spend a ton of time marketing to this page. You can, however, start playing with categories and keywords to see what spikes the book and what does not so you’ll be ready to go on launch day.
Already published: If you have a book out there (or several), and you’ve built a mailing list of fans, then pre-order may be a fun thing to do to build excitement for your upcoming book. I still think that most (if not all) of your marketing should be reserved for when the book is available on Amazon because that will benefit you so much more. What I’ve seen over the years is that unless you are JK Rowling or some mega-bestseller, it’s hard to drive significant numbers to your pre-order page. The other issue you run into is if a reader wants something now, they may not want to wait for your book to be ready and could end up buying something else instead. But still, this can be a lot of fun for fans who have been waiting for your next book.
Long vs. short: Regardless of the category you’re in, I don’t know that I’d stretch the pre-order time out to the full 90 days that Amazon allows because I think that since you aren’t spending a ton of time promoting the book, you don’t want it up too long. I’d recommend a month and that’s it. The other thing is that you need to be sure and hit the deadline you assign to the pre-order because once you select it (as we’ll see in a minute) you can’t go back. So pick a date that you know you can hit.
Promotion: To promote a pre-order I would buzz it to your followers and your email list. Again, if this is your second, third or fourth book, the interest is going to be stronger than if it’s your first. Still, you can start to drive some interest to the book or, at least, let your followers know it’s coming. We have one title we’re working with and we’ve done this with images, Facebook posts, Twitter updates, blog posts, etc., but it’s part of the entire conversation, so it’s not the only discussion we’re having with our followers.
Reviews: Keep in mind that you can’t review a pre-order book, so if you’re looking to get some early reviews for it, you may want to consider focusing on Goodreads which you can push for pre-order reviews.
Pricing your pre-order: For reasons I mentioned earlier, I would keep your pricing low – even if you plan on raising it later. Why? Well you’re competing with millions of titles on Amazon and your book isn’t ready (yet) so the immediacy isn’t there. If you want to entice an impulse buy, keep the pricing lower at first, once the book is live you can always raise it.
How to Set up your pre-order: First and foremost, in order to do this you need to be a KDP author, so your eBook should be uploaded into the KDP system via their back-end dashboard. Once you’re in there, you’ll see this:
Once you select a date, the system will tell you that you must get the final book to Amazon no later than 10 days prior. Additionally, you need to upload a manuscript for them to approve before they’ll set up your preorder. It does not matter if this manuscript is pre-edited, they just want to see what you plan to publish. You’ll need a cover, but when I spoke to an Amazon rep she told me that it doesn’t have to be final, so if you’re still a month out with no cover (that happens more than you think) then you can leave it blank or put up a placeholder for now and go back in and add it later. Here is what the page looks like when it’s launched on their site:
According to Amazon, the book can be any length so if you’ve written a novella you can use this, too. Right now there are no limitations on this, other than you need to be a KDP author and, clearly, this is for eBooks only right now.
So pre-order is great and fun and certainly a cool thing that self-published authors can do, but just be mindful of how much of your promotional sweat equity and dollars you spend. While it’s a great thing to do, most readers will prefer to buy a book they can get right away.
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November 11, 2014
Welcome to Tip #30 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!
Everything is your Resume
When it comes to book promotion, the title of this blog post is truer now than it ever was. When you put something online, it can almost live forever. That means that we have to be careful what we share, what we say, and the footprints we leave online. A bad first impression is tough to recover from and in some cases it might not just mean a lost sale but a lost media opportunity. Here are a few guidelines to consider when forging your success online!
1. Article Syndication: Edit, edit, edit. I can’t say this enough. We do a lot of article syndication and I can’t tell you how much editing we do for some of our authors. But when you’re syndicating yourself, who do you turn to? Well, get an editor to do project work for you. I really recommend it. Once an article is “out there” it’s almost impossible to get it back.
2. Blog posts: Edit, edit, edit. Never put up a single blog post without running spell check (thankfully most blog software comes with this now), but be cautious about this. Remember, its public domain and blog posts that go up generally stay up unless you pull them down. They’ll get spidered, you might even get folks linking to them.
3. Twitter tweets: This is a big one, especially as many of us are hopping on Twitter these days. All of your tweets can be searched and in the case of Twitter, it’s pretty easy to shoot off a quickie, short, and thoughtless tweet. Remember that in the case of Twitter, the world is watching. My rule of thumb? Don’t tweet anything you wouldn’t want your Grandmother to read.
4.Facebook updates: This is another cautionary tale, and not always just from your updates. As with anything online, be cautious about the type and amount of personal information you give away. Remember, like we’ve been saying everything is your resume. If you need a personal page then get one, but keep the business/book stuff to a fan page that’s isolated to the message. You don’t necessarily want all of your readers to know you and the hubby just went out for Chinese food or that you found fleas on Fido.
5. Online reviews: While you can’t control the content of reviews online, you can control your reaction to them. If you get a bad review, don’t attack the reviewer. Listen, I had a bad review on the first edition of Red Hot Internet Publicity, and while it was the only negative comment, I wanted so badly to write to the reviewer and begin engaging him in a debate over my book. Instead what I did was write him, first thanking him for the time he took to read the book and then I offered insight on the negative points he mentioned. I also thanked him for his feedback, which, once I stepped back from the harshness of his words, was actually really helpful. Don’t battle an online reviewer. You put your book out there and not everyone is going to like it. You have to either accept this or stop promoting it.
6. Blog comments: Commenting on other people’s blogs is a great idea, but like anything else, be careful about this because like a blog post, comments are searchable.
7. Podcasts and Blogtalk radio: There are a lot of opportunities to do radio online these days and while it might not seem as glamorous as, say, NPR, it can get you a lot of traction for your message. Don’t underestimate the power of online radio and podcasts, they can have a far reach. Be as prepared as you would be to go on a big show. Some of these podcasts (and especially through BlogTalk radio) get thousands upon thousands of listeners.
8. YouTube: A colleague of mine was commenting last week on a book/author video that was posted to YouTube. He said that while it was interesting, the author wasn’t a great interview and the video was sort of flat. Many authors put up video and forget the worldwide reach that this has. They also forget that if the video can be found, a media person might land on it and if you’re video is subpar, it might nix any chances for an interview. Don’t just assume because you put it out there that it’s good. Yes, sketchy, off-color videos get circulated by the media but if you look at the number of videos that get loaded onto YouTube, it’s really a small slice of the pie.
9. Hiring someone: With the proliferation of Internet marketing firms offering Virtual Book Tours you want to proceed with caution. We’ve been offering Internet tours for a long time and we are extremely careful how we represent our authors online. If you’re thinking of hiring a company get a sense of who they’ve promoted and how they’ve promoted them. If you hire a company that uses “black hat” marketing techniques, you could get dinged for something that isn’t even your fault. Black hat refers to a certain type of Internet marketing that uses faulty link-building and spam techniques to get an author or book exposure. Often the exposure is short-lived and very harmful but black hat techniques can show up *very* successfully early on, that’s the way these tricksters are poised. Show early success only to have it drop off. In some cases I’ve known authors to even get their sites yanked. It’s not pretty.
There are numerous “easy” ways to get your name out there and that means you just have to make sure the information you put out there is good, solid, yes edited, and representative of your work. When it comes to marketing online, the Internet is one big networking event. Consider this: would you ever go to a networking event dressed in shorts, flipflops and a tank top? Doubtful. You show up dressed up, business cards in hand ready to rock and roll. The same rules apply online. Everything is your resume. If you make that your motto, the world will beat a path to your virtual door.
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November 10, 2014
Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week features some insights on writing, book marketing, and getting published. Thank you to all of the contributors!
Erica Verrillo submitted 3 New Agents Actively Seeking Writers posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “These are three new agents who are actively building their client lists. New agents are a boon to writers – they work hard, and they LOVE their clients.”
Katie McCoach submitted Taking Feedback: What do Do With Your Edit Letter posted at KM Editorial, saying, “Author and editor Jeff Seymour shares steps to take for revising your manuscript after getting back your edit letter.”
Sarah Bolme submitted Being Socially Responsible posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “If you are trying to market your books to the Millennial generation, I encourage you to take notice of the fact that corporate social responsibility is extremely important for this generation.”
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/
November 7, 2014
Get up to date with these book marketing tweets, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include the new Amazon keywords, how NaNoWriMo can help you write a novel, book review query etiquette, and more. Happy marketing!
* 30 Days to a Finished Book: How #NaNoWriMo Can Help You Write a Novel
There’s still time to write that novel for NaNoWriMo. One author shares how she did it:
* Unique Holiday Book Promotion Ideas
There’s more to holidays than Christmas. There are many off-beat and lesser-known holidays that you can use to market your book:
* Why Being Human on Social Media Is the Best Strategy You’ll Ever Have
Tactics and tools have their place in your social media strategy, but don’t forget about the most powerful tactic of all – be yourself:
* A Must for Authors: Book Review Query Etiquette
Here are a few simple – but often overlooked – guidelines to getting legitimate reviews for your book:
* 7 Social Media Myths (That You Probably Think Are True)
A recent survey revealed that most marketers are still confused by social media. You don’t have to be one of the statistics:
* Why Authors Should Hire a Copy Editor
Learn why finding a good copy editor makes sense for your books and your writing career:
* 4 Social Platforms More Popular Than Facebook
These networks can expand your global platform. Check them out:
* The New Keywords on Amazon
It’s time for a refresher on Amazon keywords because they’ve changed again, to “themes:”
November 6, 2014
- Tweets with media receive 3 to 4 times more engagement
- Include media in your tweets, this can be video, photos or video taken using Vine
- Use more @mentions to increase your follower growth faster
- Hashtags can increase engagement by almost 100%
- Retweeting gets your more followers!
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November 4, 2014
Keywords on Amazon are changing again. Amazon has recently rolled out Amazon “themes” – which will replace some of your keywords. Why do themes matter? Because readers search this verbiage to find the books they want. Using this tool will help you gain more exposure and visibility on Amazon!