Book Marketing Blogs

by Penny Sansevieri
The Best Marketing Tool You Aren’t Using
October 2, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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The Best Marketing Tool You Aren't UsingThe world is big and readers are everywhere. I tell authors this and their eyes often light up. On the other hand, these same authors will tell me “I don’t want to ship books internationally.” This statement always amazes me. By cutting out an international market you may be missing out on a lot of readers, possible international sales, as well as overseas exposure. But, to cut costs, authors often start there.

Right now, I’m going to show you a few shortcuts to doing overseas mailings without breaking the bank.

If you’re an overseas author, you might be in a reverse situation. It’s almost impossible to ship anything to the US without spending a bundle on postage. I know for a fact that most international postage from foreign countries costs three times what it does in the US. But there is a solution for this as well, which I’ve addressed below.

To mail internationally, we use a system called Stamps.com. This online program allows you a few options when it comes to mailings. In most cases, I can ship books for less than it costs to ship Priority Mail in the US and many times, the packages even arrive quicker.

Take a look at the screenshot, you can see that even if your book is four pounds (and most books aren’t) you’re still only paying $5.10.

 

International Postage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re an overseas author doing US promotion consider this: Amazon Prime. A subscription to Amazon Prime will allow you to ship anywhere in the US for free. You can even include a quick note with the package. We had an author who was traveling in Italy and had a dozen or so review requests while he was gone. Since he was shipping these himself this presented a problem. The easy solution was to go into your Amazon account, set up the book to ship, include a note and you’re done.  Yes, you do pay full price for the books but you’ll get a royalty back which will offset it. It’s also a very quick and reliable way to get your copies shipped.

Cutting out international readers is just not a smart marketing move. But by knowing your option, you can incorporate this market without breaking the bank.

 



The Secrets Behind Book Categories on Amazon
October 2, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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Amazon Categories - blog_pinDid you know that Amazon is actually two websites? Well, it’s probably more than that, but for books, it’s two sites: one for the eBook and one for print. The thing is, it’s not evident that this is the case. Why does it matter? When you’re picking a category on Amazon it’s important to know that you have more than a few options.

First, let me take you through the whole idea behind the Amazon category selection.

Amazon allows you up to two categories per book, so two broad categories. But you don’t want broad, you want narrow.  For example, for my book: How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon, I picked a narrow niche within the “business/marketing” category. I picked “direct marketing,” which was a subset of that broader genre and  (at the time) it only had 41 other books in it which meant that it was an easy category to dominate. If you can dominate a category (meaning be number one) you can start to trigger the Amazon internal algorithm to get more book exposure.

In my classes on this topic, I’ve shared this link: http://www.amazon.com/-/b/?node=1000

 

Which takes you to this page:

post 1

The blue links take you to a dropdown menu which will help you delve into that category even deeper. Traditionally this has been the best way to find your narrow, niche, category. But now there’s another way, and in a minute I’ll show you why this really matters.

So, head on over to Amazon.com and on the search bar, highlight “Kindle Store” and click GO. Don’t put anything in the search bar. What this does is it drops you to the eBook side of Amazon, so the other half of the Amazon book site. You’ll see a page that pops up that looks similar to this:

post 2

 

Though, obviously the books will change depending on what’s on their internal bestseller list.

From here, click Kindle eBooks on the left hand side. Now you can start doing searches based on your market/genre. But here’s the surprising thing. Most authors don’t use this method. How do I know this? Well, have a look. Let’s say you’re a business author and you have a book on business leadership. Here is the page you’ll wind up on. Note the categories off to the left.

post 3

 

Now let’s dig deeper. Let’s say you have a book on business life. So anything related to health and business, business organization, even work-life-balance. Here is the page you’ll see:

post 4

 

Now, take a closer look at the category “work life balance” … it only has 132 books in it. Is that possible? Yes, it is. The reason is that many publishers don’t know to do a second category search this way so they’re putting their books in overly crammed categories that seem to fit. Here’s another thing. The categories you’ll get doing this search look different than the ones you’ll get using that other URL I shared so it’s a good idea to do both searches.

Remember, you are allowed broad categories but you want a narrow subset of those categories. Like the Work/Life/Balance one that has few competing titles.

Also, remember if your book is fiction that themes are very active on Amazon now. We did a post on that a while back. See: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/big-changes-amazon-categories/

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Eight Strategies to Use Breaking News to Buzz Your Book: Tip #24 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
September 30, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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Welcome to Tip #24 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books!

It seems that these days, more than ever, the news is never-ending. There is always some hot story the media is running with. The latest security breach or political scandal and of course always a favorite, the pop-culture stuff like the Kanye-Kim Christmas gifts (that purse, really?)

What happens if there’s breaking news that you can comment on? Have you ever watched a story and thought, “Wait, I could add to this conversation.” So, do you just sit by and hope someone will call you? No! You take action. But how? Well, first, it’s important to get into the conversation. Especially if it’s on your topic or within your area of expertise. If you can lend insight to a subject that’s being widely discussed on social media, covered on television or hotly debated on your favorite cable talk show, then it might be worth getting yourself out there. Here are a few tips to hook your story on the latest breaking news topic.

Tip 241. Blog on it: If you have a blog that has any kind of a readership, and even if you don’t: be sure to blog on it. A blog is a great place to share your opinion on the subject and even (when appropriate) offer a solution.

2. Twitter: The first thing you should be doing (even before you start blogging) is hopping on Twitter and joining the conversation via the hashtag (or hashtags) that are being used. You can find these easily by doing a search. Posting to the hashtags, maybe even referencing your post, could be a great way to drive consumer and media interest to your topic and your blog. Keep in mind that the media is on Twitter and they just might find you!

3. Blog comment: Don’t have an active blog? Or want to enhance your current post with some additional fodder? Then why not head to some high-traffic blogs that are discussing this topic and start posting your viewpoint? You never know where it could take you. At the very least, you could get some traffic back to your site.

4. Share your blog post: If you blog on this, you need to share it, so be sure to add links to this on all your social sites and use the hashtag(s) identified with this story to help pull more eyes to your post.

5. Contact your local media: One of the best ways to get local media interested in you is to offer them a local angle on a national story. Let’s say we’re addressing the fear of traveling to the Winter Olympics, or perhaps protecting yourself against ID theft, these are both good stories to spin locally if you have the expertise.

6. Contact national media: If you have a subject that’s drawing national attention and your message is significant or different enough to pitch to a national show, then get out there and start pitching. Remember: with so many shows on the air all competing for audience attention they’re all looking for a new and different angle. Be sure that you have a strong subject line, especially if it’s a major news story because you know they’re getting a lot of pitches and you’ll need to stand out.

7. Make sure you’re getting HARO, http://www.helpareporter.com/: HARO is a newsletter that arrives as often as three times a day and it’s packed with media leads. If there’s a hot story there will be a media person on HARO looking for someone to comment on it.

8. Get Media Alerts: Make sure you *always* have your keywords in alert systems like Talkwalker.com or Mention.net. You want to be aware of who’s saying what about your topic. Also, during non-breaking news times this is a good way to get to know media that covers your story and network with them, so that when a breaking story hits, they already know you.

Breaking news doesn’t have to leave you, your story, or your book in the dust. So often authors tell me they see “experts” on TV and they feel they can do better. Well, now’s your chance. The next time a breaking news topic hits the airwaves, jump on it. You just never know what could happen.



AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – September 29, 2014
September 29, 2014by: Paula
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week we have posts offering insights on social media, writing, getting published, and book marketing. Thank you to all of the contributors!

Social Media

Hazel Longuet submitted Pinterest Growth: The Best Kept Secret For Growing your Pinterest Following & Gaining Repins posted at A Novel Experience, saying, “Pinterest is fast becoming one of the largest and most influential Social Media sites. Grow your Pinterest followers and gain more exposure for your pins in a simple 10 minute a day routine in-conjunction with, the web’s best kept Pinterest secret, Viralwoot. I’ll show you the steps to take – it’s free & I’m giving you a gift at the end. What could be better?”

pinterest graphic

Book Marketing

Sarah Bolme submitted Are You Using This Book Selling Technique? posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “Pinterest is a social media site that is growing and one that should not be ignored when marketing a book. Learn one quick technique to effectively promote your book on Pinterest.”

Writing

Janet Ursel submitted Haiku Cows and Twitter posted at Janet Ursel, saying, “What’s your daily warm-up exercise?”

Getting Published

Erica Verrillo submitted Agents Looking for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers posted at Publishing … And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “Science fiction and fantasy never go out of style, so if you write in either of these genres, you are in luck. Here is a list of reputable agents who represent fantasy and/or science fiction novels. All of them are accepting queries as of this writing.”

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/



Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of September 22, 2014
September 26, 2014by: Paula
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book with cashWe’ve collected some of the top book marketing tweets to help guide your promotion, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include why your book sales suck, how to create compelling book covers, what readers want from authors on social media, and more. Happy marketing!

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* Why Authors Must Be Marketers

Whether you self-publish or have a traditional publishing deal you need to know how to market your books:

http://www.theindependentpublishingmagazine.com/2014/09/authors-must-be-marketers-neil-raphel.html

* What Readers Want from Authors on Social Media

There are five things readers respond to, starting with inspiration. Learn what you can do:

http://christinenolfi.com/2014/09/readers-want-authors-social-media/

* 4 Steps to Take Charge of Your Book Launch

You want to start off on the right foot so your book has a fighting chance:

http://selfpublishingteam.com/4-steps-to-take-charge-of-your-book-launch/

* 10 Book Marketing Mistakes Self-Published Authors Make

Don’t just publish your book and expect the sales to take off. Here’s what you need to do first:

http://blog.bibliocrunch.com/10-book-marketing-mistakes-self-published-authors-make/

* How to Create Compelling Book Covers in 15 Minutes

Book covers are a vital part of your book’s success. Get some tips from Guy Kawasaki:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pi9RPcpkNgE

* Advice to Writers Seeking Literary Agents

Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest books pulled together some of the best advice from agents. Here are their tips:

http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/agent-wisdom-volume-ii-more-advice-for-writers-from-literary-agents/

* Tips for Vetting a Book Blogger’s Platform

So, you want to do a blog tour? Or you’re looking for book reviewers? Here’s how you can determine which bloggers have enough of an audience:

http://www.molly-greene.com/tips-for-vetting-book-bloggers/

* 8 Reasons Why Your Book Sales Suck

Use this list to figure out what you need to do to improve your marketing and sell more books:

http://www.virtualbusinesstrainingnetwork.com/author/8-reasons-why-your-book-sales-suck/



Have You Been Forgetting Social Bookmarking?
September 25, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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Social Bookmarking - blog_pin

 

 

With all the buzz around marketing on Facebook, Pinterest and Google Plus, many of us have forgotten the power behind social bookmarking. What is social bookmarking? Well, it’s not that dissimilar from bookmarking a site you want to return to because you like it, only you’re doing this socially. So, you’re telling the world about your latest blog post or you can also social bookmark pages on your website. Ready to get started? Here are a few places you can try:

Reddit

Scoop.it

StumbleUpon

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Your 10 Point Website Check Up: Tip #23 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
September 23, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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Welcome to Tip #23 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!

Your 10 Point Website Check Up

So you have a website, congratulations! Now let’s make sure it’s doing what it is supposed to be doing for you. Read: selling your book or product. While websites will differ in color, layout, and target audience, there are a few things that need to remain consistent. Let’s take a look at them. Tip 23

  1. Editing:  Your website needs to be edited. There is no discussion on this topic at all. And don’t self-edit. Hire someone to go through your site page by page and make sure you don’t have any typos. Finding mistakes on your site is like finding typos on a resume. Doesn’t bode too well, does it?
  2. Website Statistics:  Do you know your site stats? Did you even know you can get them? Site statistics are part of every website design. If you don’t have access to them, make sure you get this information.  A good site stat service is Google Analytics, pretty comprehensive actually and easy to integrate into your site. You should know your traffic patterns and learn to read these reports (it’s a lot easier than it sounds). This way you’ll know what your site is doing and what it isn’t.
  3. Media Room:  Even if you have never had any TV or radio appearances, you should have a media room. The media room is a great place to list all of your accomplishments as it relates to the book. Also, a good place to put your bio, picture (both of you and the book cover), as well as media Q&A, and a host of other items (I’ll cover the art and science of a good media room in an upcoming piece).
  4. Website Copy:  Your website isn’t a magazine, people don’t read – they scan – so make sure your site isn’t so crammed with text that it’s not scannable. Ideally your home page should have no more than 200 to 250 words. Also, make sure you have a clear call to action. You want your visitors to do something on your site, yes? Make sure they know what that is, clearly and precisely.
  5. Store:  Yes, you should have a place for people to buy on your site, even if it means sending them off to Amazon.com or somewhere else to make their purchase. One key factor though: don’t make them hunt for it. Shorten the staircase. In other words, make it easy to find your stuff and then give them the quickest route to get there to purchase the item.
  6. Design:  I have two major rules in life:  you should never cut your own hair or design your own website. Period. End of story. Why? Because much like editing our own books, we’re just too darned close to our message to be able to do it justice. Also, most of us are writers, not designers. Hire someone, invest the money, you’ll be glad you did. When you’re designing, also remember that your homepage should only do one thing. Your website can sell a lot of things, including any consulting or speaking services you offer, but your home page should be focused in on one major item. Surfers spend on average of 1/50th of a second on a website, if they have to stop and try and figure out what your site is about they will leave. I call it surf shock or analysis paralysis. Don’t make them guess what your site is about or you will lose them and they most likely will not return for a second visit.
  7. Social content:  Make sure that you have something “social” on your site, whether it’s a blog, forum or even your very own social networking page. The easiest and best of these is a blog in my opinion.
  8. Update often:  Search engines like sites that have a lot of fresh content, this will really help you with ranking in major search engines like Google. If you have a blog you should plan to update it twice weekly at least.
  9. Share and share alike:  Make sure that your content is easy to share. If you don’t have sharing widgets on your site (Upload to Facebook, Tweet This!, Digg, Delicious, etc.) then get your designer to add it to the site asap. Most blogging software comes with this all ready to go.
  10. Placement and remarketing:  First off, make sure that you understand how people surf, meaning where their eyes go to when they land on a website. The first place is the upper left hand quadrant of a site, that’s where your primary message should be placed. Then their eyes go to the center of your site. These two primary places are significant in conversion. You should have a clear message, and a clear call to action (whatever that action may be).  I also recommend funneling your visitors into a mailing list. You can do this via a sign-up on your home page and then an ethical bribe to encourage them to sign up. What’s an ethical bribe? It’s something you give them (of value) to get something: you might give them an ebook, a checklist or a special report. Just make sure it’s something your readers want.

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AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – September 22, 2014
September 22, 2014by: Paula
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week we have some great tips on book marketing, writing, and book publicity. Thank you to all of the contributors!

Book Marketing

Mayowa Ajisafe submitted Should You Pay to Market and Promote Your Books? posted at Authors Crib, saying, “Free is always an option for many authors with book marketing but it takes time, energy and consistency to see great success with any of these free ideas, channels or strategies…But Should Authors Pay To Market Their Book?”

Writing

Chrys Fey submitted Chapter Titles posted at Write With Fey, saying, “Many people think chapter titles are just for juvenile books, but that’s not true. Chapter titles are great for fantasy, science-fiction, and historical novels. If you want to use chapter titles in your book, you very well can! Remember: It’s your book; you can do what you want!”

book review word cloud

Book Publicity

Erica Verrillo submitted List of Reviewers for Traditionally Published Books posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “This is a list of reviewers who exclusively review works that have been published by publishing houses (large and small). Publishers, unfortunately, do the bare minimum to solicit reviews. So, you will need to contact reviewers yourself. But even if you have self-published a book, you can sell your published short stories on Amazon; they will need reviews.”

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/



Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of September 15, 2014
September 19, 2014by: Paula
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Discover some tips and insights into book marketing via these tweets, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include building an audience on YouTube, generating authentic book reviews, reviving ebook sales, and more. Happy marketing!

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* Five Ways to Generate Authentic Book Reviews

There are plenty of fake reviewers out there – amazingly enough, some of them even charge for their reviews. Here are some ways you can get more authentic reviews that will help your book:

http://michaelhardach.blogspot.com/2014/09/five-ways-to-generate-authentic-book.html

* The Secret to Publishing Success in the Era of Social Media: Teaming with Your Fellow Authors

If you view other authors as only competition, you could be missing out. Authors who collaborate on book promotion can get exposure and sales for everyone involved. Learn more:

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2014/09/the-secret-to-publishing-success-in-era.html

* 34 Blogging Topics Just for Writers

Do you have a case of blogger’s block? These ideas should get your creative juices flowing:

http://socialmediajustforwriters.com/34-blogging-topics-just-writers/

A background of question mark signs and symbols to illustrate le

* 30 Little-Known Features of Facebook, Twitter, and More

You can save links on Facebook to read later. Twitter allows you to create a custom timeline. Discover additional, helpful social media features:

http://blog.bufferapp.com/little-known-features-facebook-twitter-instagram

* How to Build an Audience on YouTube

There are more than 1 billion unique users watching video on YouTube every month. Here are some ways you can build an audience on the site:

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/how-build-audience-youtube

* Ebook Sales Down? Here Are 15 Tips!

At some point, your ebook sales will dip. But you don’t have to give up. J.A. Konrath offers some options for boosting ebook sales once again:

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2014/09/ebook-sales-down-here-are-15-tips.html

* How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon

In this interview on Denise Wakeman’s show, Adventures in Visibility, Penny Sansevieri talks about how to get more visibility on Amazon so you can sell more books:

https://soundcloud.com/denise-wakeman/adventures-in-visibility-how-to-sell-books-by-the-truckload-on-amazon

* 21 Power Tips to Get Your Blog Content Shared On Facebook & Twitter

When you publish blog posts, it’s only the beginning. You want people to read what you wrote. Here’s what you can do to get more people to share your posts:

http://www.jeffbullas.com/2011/03/30/21-power-tips-to-get-your-blog-content-shared-on-facebook-twitter/

* Kill Me Now – What Do I Do About a Negative Review?

Bad reviews suck. They do. But you definitely don’t want to get into a battle with the reviewer because you will lose. Get some productive tips for dealing with negative reviews:

http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/kill-me-now-what-do-i-do-about-a-negative-review/

* How Much Should You Charge For Your E-Book? 7 Questions to Help You Decide

There is no ideal price because several factors come into play when pricing ebooks. But these 7 questions will help you focus and make the best choice for your ebook:

http://www.makealivingwriting.com/how-much-should-you-charge-for-your-e-book-7-questions/



Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose Your Existing Content
September 18, 2014by: Penny Sansevieri
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By now we’ve all heard the endless chatter about Google’s issues with duplicate content. In the past, we could easily re-run pieces in a variety of places. Some experts I know reused articles as many as twenty times, but if you do that now you may find your site in a lot of trouble and severely penalized by the Google-Gods.

So what’s a marketer to do? I was considering this the other day when I was trying to figure out what to blog about because the other issue is that Google does not want “thin” content, which is content that isn’t compelling, thin in data or light in information. Basically they don’t want people just throwing stuff on their blog to get traffic.

We’re all in a creative industry but that does not necessarily mean that we are an endless font of creative ideas. Then I thought: instead of coming up with new ideas, I wonder how many times I can reuse old ones in a way that won’t get us into trouble.

So here are my five favorites, a variety of different things you can do with the same piece of content.

For my complete list of 20 ways to reuse, recycle and repurpose content check out my article in HuffPo here.

Now I’m not suggesting that you do this with each and every blog post, but if you have ideas or posts that seem to have legs (and we all know that not all of them will) then maybe it’s time to see how far you can stretch them.

20 Ways To Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose Content – TOP FIVE 4 - 20 Recycle Ways

-  Update Past Posts with Industry Updates – At some point, even the best and most creative posts need to be updated. Now’s the time to go through your old posts and see what can be updated and reused. Pull in new content and add a fresh take, your readers will love it.

-  Pull Blog Content into an Infographic - Combine several of your text-based posts into more visual content – such as an aggregated infographic or chart.

-  Tips - Create a tips list from a blog post you did and then create images from it to use on Pinterest, in Twitter, on Instagram, etc. We did this for our 52 Ways to Sell More Books.

-  Quizzes - People love quizzes, when we did ours on “Which Social Media Site is Right for You” people just ate it up. Most of the time it’s just grabbing existing content you’ve done, but it’s a fantastic way to repurpose your stuff.

–  Turn content into trading cards or other swag: I had trading cards made for my book, How to Sell Your Books By The Truckload on Amazon. I pulled different tips I had already written, and put one tip per card. I took these around to speaking events and mail them with everything. People love them.

It’s important that you get as much mileage out of what you write as you possibly can, and with all of the new places to post (Pinterest, Instagram, Vine, etc.) it’s become easier than ever to create virtual “breadcrumbs” that lead readers back to your website which, in the end, is the ultimate goal.

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