Book Marketing Blogs

by Penny Sansevieri
What to do When Amazon Pulls Reviews
February 5, 2015by: ameeditor
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If you’ve ever had a review yanked off of Amazon you know how frustrating that can be. I’ve spoken to some authors who lost one and others who lost dozens. Each time it’s assumed that Amazon is the devil and that they get a certain amount of enjoyment just randomly pulling reviews. While I was pretty certain this wasn’t true, I decided to call Amazon Author Central and get to the bottom of this.

The rep there was super helpful and very clear about their guidelines. Let’s look at a few:

Amazon Reviews 1Friends and family: Amazon considers friends and family to be biased reviews, and, if they can make a connection, they will pull these. This means that while it’s great to encourage friends to review your book if a connection can be made Amazon will pull the review. While you may find this unfair, I do get Amazon’s stance on this. They want reviews that are authentic. We all do. Sometimes well-meaning friends and family will post glowing five-star reviews that just say: I loved this book! Without a detailed explanation as to why. Glad they loved it, but let’s build out this review so it’s not just one or two nondescript sentences. This also isn’t helpful to future readers who may be considering your book *and* while none of us likes 2-star reviews, keep in mind that a book page with all 5-star reviews is regarded as suspect. So there’s nothing wrong with asking these folks to review your book, just know that Amazon may pull the review if they deem it biased.

IP Addresses: This is another place where you need to really be careful. If you have all of your work friends review the book from the same IP address Amazon will pull all of those reviews. This happened to an author I spoke with recently. She lost over forty reviews because of this. It’s fine to encourage work associates to review the book, but not a good idea to strong arm them into reviewing the book on company time or from the same IP address.

Sketchy/Questionable Reviews: As I mentioned earlier, sketchy reviews will always draw attention. And I’m not talking about reviews that are well-written, but reviews that don’t offer some level of detail. Reviews lacking details are often called into question, or at the very least, looked into by Amazon.

Algorithm Changes: As we all know, Amazon switches up the algorithms on their site quite frequently. Because of this, some reviews may vanish for a while only to return later. If you see reviews missing hold off a day or two before calling Amazon to see what happened.

Gift Cards: Here’s another interesting thing I noticed, and let me preface this by saying that Amazon did not confirm this point, it’s just something that I’ve discovered on my own. If you issue an e-gift card to someone and they turn around and buy your book and then review it, Amazon could pull the review. Why? Since this all came from my research I can’t be 100% sure why but I suspect it’s because Amazon may view a gift card as a bribe, especially if the gift card exceeds the cost of the book by a lot. This is one reason why in late 2014 I switched to straight gift cards that you buy at Staples or wherever. We use gift cards a lot for our authors. Gifts for bloggers to give to their readers, raffle prizes, etc. I used to issue them all via Amazon until I happened to stumble on this. Gifting an eBook, however, is very different. I do this all the time for folks who want to review my books on Kindle. I will gift them the eBook with a note thanking them for the read or the possible review or whatever.Amazon Reviews 2

What to do if a review gets pulled? Call Author Central and ask them for help solving this. Be polite, not frantic and panicked, and explain that you think reviews are missing. In cases with books I’ve been monitoring, I take screenshots of the reviews every few days or so. Not because I’m being paranoid about reviews getting pulled, but to keep track of the review progress for any particular title. Reviews often move around on the page depending on how many folks find them “helpful” so that’s good to watch, too. In one particular case, I had noticed a review went missing for a title I was working on, and because I had a record I could easily go back to Amazon and ask them what was going on. In this case it was because of the algorithms and the review popped back onto the book page within a day or two.

Having Amazon pull a review does not have to mean that the review is gone for good, sometimes it’s something that’s easily fixed. If Amazon won’t reinstate it, find out why so you can be sure it never happens again. Monitoring the review policy is important and sadly it’s not an exact science. Some of their assessments aren’t always fair, I agree. But having a book on Amazon and adhering to their terms of service is the world we live in.



Why (some) Authors Fail: Tip #41 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
February 4, 2015by: ameeditor
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Welcome to Tip #41 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!

Tip 41Why (some) Authors Fail

Sorry for the buzz kill title of this article, but instead of spreading pixie dust as many marketing articles do, I thought I’d take a hard look at the realities of self-defeating behavior and some of the things authors might buy into that will sabotage their careers. Over the years I’ve written a lot of articles on how to be successful, but to be successful you must first learn how to fail up, meaning that you learn from what you did wrong, take full responsibility for it and move on. Lessons in publishing are often costly, both in time and dollars. I don’t presume to tell you that you should avoid making any mistakes, but many of them are avoidable. Here are a few for you to consider.

Not learning enough about the industry

The first piece of this is simple: get to know the market you are in. This is a bit of a dual message because I’m not just speaking of the market you are promoting to: your area of expertise, but also to the publishing industry at large. Who else is publishing in this area? What are they publishing? Is your area of writing hot or a fading trend? These are all good things to know before you jump headlong into your area. Getting to know your market can help you not only avoid expensive errors but also possibly incorporate trends into your book that could help to leverage its success. How to learn about the industry? Read up on it at sites like Publishersmarketplace.com; subscribe to the free or paid newsletter the site offers. This will give you a good sense of what’s selling, who’s buying, what’s being published. Publishers Weekly is another good resource. If you can’t afford a subscription try their online site at publishersweekly.com, or check out your local library to see if they carry any copies. This is a great industry resource.

Not Accepting Feedback

A couple of weeks ago an author who has sat in on a number of my classes, both online and off, asked me numerous times how she could get onto Huffington Post as a blogger. I told her I would try to pursue a Huffpo blogger for her to get feedback on her work. I did this as a favor because, well, she was relentless in her pursuit of this and I had to admire that. So, I finally got a blogger to review her work and the critique came back not so good. In fact it was terrible. I sat on it for a day, wondering if I should share it with her. I finally decided that if she was so relentless about her career, she would be equally relentless about crafting a perfect message, right? Not so much, actually. When I forwarded her the feedback she shot me off an email saying that many other people loved it and that astrologically this was a terrible time to accept feedback so she would dismiss it. Some moon phase or something. I honestly can’t recall.  No, I’m not making this up. OK, listen, full confession time here. I have a friend who calls me whenever Mercury is retrograde, “don’t buy anything electronic” she says, and I listen. Well, sometimes. Anyway, point being that I get that we’re all driven by a different drummer, but if someone takes the time to critique your work why would you not try to learn from that? Look, I know not everyone is going to be spot-on with their feedback, but take from it what you can and move on – better yourself, better your writing.

Feedback is a crucial part to any writer’s career. If someone who is more knowledgeable than you about the industry you are in is willing to give you feedback you should listen. Really. In a room of one hundred authors I can pick out the successful ones. You know who they are? They are the ones who aren’t so wrapped up in their egos that they aren’t willing to listen and learn.

Not Surrounding Yourself with Enough Professionals

Let’s face it, your mother and immediate family will love anything you write. These are not the people who will offer you the kind of guidance that will further your career. Yes, they will (and should) love and support you through this work, but you need professionals you trust by your side giving you advice, wisdom, and direction. You don’t need to keep a group of experts on retainer, but you need to know who they are so you can call on them when you need help.

Not Doing Their Research

What would you think of a store owner who opened a yogurt shop in downtown San Diego only to find that five other stores were opening within months of his, one of them a very successful franchise with a huge following? Wouldn’t this make you sort of wonder why on earth this store owner would do that, I mean open a store without doing the proper research?  Then why on earth would you launch head first into publishing without knowing your market – I mean the publishing market? So many authors learn the ropes after their book is out, and by then it’s too late. Well, not too late really because you still have a book, but late in the sense that you can’t really do anything about mistakes made and the money it’s gonna cost you. There are a ton of online resources out there. Get to know them. I’ve listed a number of them in this article and there are more, many more. The Internet is abundant with free content. Use it.

Measuring Their Success in Book Sales

Many of you might be shaking your head wondering how I could possibly say this, but it’s true. Book sales, even in the best of economic climates, are sketchy and planning your success or failure around them is a very bad way to market your book. Here’s the reality: exposure = awareness = sales. The more exposure you get, the more awareness there is for the book, the more sales you may get. But this equation takes time and in the midst of this marketing many other really great non-book-sale-related things may happen. An example of this is an author who didn’t really sell a lot of her books as she was marketing, but found that her speaking gigs started to pick up. Each speaking gig netted her about fifty book sales, and because of the market she was in, many of those book sales turned into individual consulting gigs that brought in much more revenue than a single book sale ever could have. Get the picture?

The other reason I say this is because book sales can be tough to calculate, many reporting agencies don’t report sales for three to six months. I know this sounds crazy but it’s part of the reason why publishing is such a tricky business. So, if you’re doing a huge push in December and you look at your statement in January and find that you’ve only sold 3 books, it might be because you’re looking at sales figures from September or October when you weren’t doing any marketing at all.

Still not convinced? Then let me share my own story with you. As of today, Red Hot Internet Publicity has been out since July of 2009. I suspect to date it’s sold 5,000 or fewer copies. Not impressive, is it? Does that number bother me? Not at all. Want to know why? Because out of the copies sold I have probably brought twenty to thirty new authors on board who will likely be authors for life. Also, I got a teaching gig at NYU because someone handed someone at NYU this book and all of a sudden – there you have it. So if I measured my success by book sales, you bet I’d be depressed. Thank God I don’t. Book sales aren’t what drive my success. The same should be true for you. Start measuring your success in other ways and book sales will come. I promise.

Seth Godin, aka brilliant marketer, addressed this in a recent blog post too: http://bit.ly/9n1Y9v

Not Understanding How New York Publishing Works

We may not like how the corporate publishing model works, we may find fault with it, but to understand it is to understand how the industry works. For example, knowing the publishing seasons and why Fall is the biggest time for New York publishers to launch a book and perhaps the worst time for you to send your book to market if you’ve self-published.

Also, know that corporate publishers don’t publish to niches, or rarely do, so if you’re publishing to a niche, you may have a real leg up.

As for bookstores, the big six in New York pretty much own most of the shelf space in your local Barnes & Noble, so if you’re vying to get in there, you are going to have to do more than show up with a book in hand and a winning smile. You’re going to have to promote yourself to that local market and gain enough interest for your book that people start asking for it in bookstores.

Understanding the corporate publishing model means knowing and researching your industry and again, not just the industry you are writing for, but the market of publishing in general. Knowing what’s selling, what’s not – who’s buying, who’s closing their doors. Knowledge is power. Arm yourself with it and you’ll have a much more successful campaign.

Playing the Blame Game

If something goes wrong, own it. Unless it’s really not your fault, unless you were taken for a ride somehow, swindled or whatever. Own it. Take responsibility. Here’s an example. Recently an author came up to me after a class I taught and said she’d pitched 200 bloggers and only 5 of them wanted her book. What was wrong with them? Well, maybe it wasn’t the bloggers at all. Bloggers are busy, busier than they’ve ever been so your pitch has to be strong and your book exactly right for the blogger you are pitching. If you’re not getting a lot of pick up on your pitch you might need a new pitch and/or you might need a new set of bloggers. Don’t assume it’s someone else’s fault. Investigate what happened and take a critical look at the results. If you don’t feel you can be objective, hire someone to sift through the data. Assuming success eluded you because of someone else’s lack of interest or follow through might be undermining your campaign and you could be missing out on important data that could really help turn your campaign around.

Believing in the Unbelievable

There are no guarantees. No one can promise book sales, fame, or Oprah. Period. End of story. If someone is promising you these things, run, or if the offer seems too good to be true it likely is. If all else fails ask someone you trust. I get folks asking me all the time about campaigns, programs, and marketing opportunities. Feel free to do the same. Whether you are working with us or not, now or in the future, I will always give you a fair and honest answer. If you’d rather go to someone else, great – but find someone whose opinion you trust and ask before signing on the dotted line.

Success is not about hard work alone, it’s also about making smart, savvy choices and not being blinded by your own ambition, creativity, or ego such that it undermines your work. To be successful you need to be relentless, believe in your work and your mission but you also need to be objective, realistic, and humble. That is a successful mix for any author and in the end, isn’t really about getting the book out there? Focus on what matters. Good luck!

Helpful Resources:

Some great and helpful books

Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (ParaPublishing, 2009) Dan Poynter

The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing: Everything You Need to Know to Write, Publish, Promote and Sell Your Own Book (Writer’s Digest, 2009 or 2010) Marilyn Ross & Sue Collier

Doing Business by the Book: How to Craft a Crowd-Pleasing Book and Attract More Clients and Speaking Engagements Than You Ever Thought Possible – Sophfronia Scott (Advantage Media Group, 2008)

1001 Ways to Market Your Book – John Kremer (Open Horizons, 2009)

Red Hot Internet Publicity – Penny Sansevieri (Cosimo, 2009)

Get Published Today – Penny Sansevieri (Lulu Publishing, 2010)

Great Publishing Blogs

The Self Publishing Review http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/

POD People http://podpeep.blogspot.com/

Nathan Bransford http://blog.nathanbransford.com/

Moby Lives http://mhpbooks.com/mobylives/

Holt Uncensored http://www.holtuncensored.com/hu/

The Book Deal http://www.alanrinzler.com/blog/

Galleycat http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/?c=rss

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Winning the Plagiarism Battle
February 2, 2015by: ameeditor
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About a week ago, I shared an experience I had with a company who reposted an article I wrote without credit or permission. You can see that post here: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/someone-steals-stuff/
If you click on the article in question, you’ll see that the article is gone. I wanted to share what transpired after I reported them. GoDaddy wrote me for additional information, which I provided, and within 48 hours they wrote me back with this note:

 

Godaddy response amarketingexpert.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Within an hour, the website owner who I’d been dealing with wrote me. He said he was surprised I’d taken this action and he cc’d GoDaddy on this correspondence. I reminded him of our correspondence and told him that in order to repost someone’s work you must credit them appropriately and contact them to ask permission.
So the website was down for a while, not sure how long, but I think at least a day. Now when you click the link it shows this:

 

404 Page Don't Let Someone Steal Your Stuff Amarketingexpert.com

 

 

 

 

 
It honestly took very little effort to battle this so if you ever find yourself in this situation, be sure to follow the guidelines here: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/someone-steals-stuff/
Don’t let someone steal your stuff!

 

Winning the Plagiarism Battle 1



AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – February 2, 2015
February 2, 2015by: Penny
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Happy February! Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week features posts on social media, getting published, and book marketing. Thank you to all of the contributors.

Getting Published

Erica Verrillo submitted 8 February Writing Contests – No Entry Fees posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “February is a short month, but it does not lack for writing contests. There is a little bit of everything this month: travel writing, poetry, short fiction, journalism, and – one of my favorites – the impoverished author contest.”

social media networks

Social Media

Hazel Longuet submitted The Ultimate Social Media Resources List posted at A Novel Experience, saying, “It can be confusing navigating the ever changing tide of social media channels. I’ve spent the last 2 years gathering the very best advice on social media, from some of the industry’s titans. It’s a great resource to guide me when I’m baffled, lacking inspiration or just in need of a tip or two. Today I’m going to share this resource with you…”

Book Marketing

Sarah Bolme submitted A Cautionary Tale posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “Humans are tactile beings. We have five senses: hearing, smelling, seeing, tasting, and touching. Good marketers know that one key to reaching people is to engage more than just one of the five human senses with your message.”

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 January 26, 2015
January 31, 2015by: Penny
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Get some useful tips from these book marketing and publishing industry tweets to guide you, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include planning a successful book event, setting writing goals, dealing with plagiarized articles, and more. Happy marketing!

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* 5 Ways to Sell More Books on Amazon

These tips include ideas you may not have tried – such as having buyers of your book on Amazon buy books in the same basket. Here’s why that works:

http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2015/01/five-ways-to-sell-more-books-on-amazon/

* 39 Ways to Get More Social Media Followers

These tips will help you connect with the right people, and not only grow your following, but maintain it:

http://www.inc.com/jayson-demers/39-ways-to-get-more-social-media-followers.html

when-someone-steals-A-012222015-blog_pin-200x300

* What to do When Someone Steals Your Stuff

If you find your blog post showing up on another site, and not credited to you, this is what you need to do:

http://www.amarketingexpert.com/someone-steals-stuff/

* Most Indie Authors Make Less Than $1K a Year

Interesting survey results show how tough it is to be an author. Yet indie authors, regardless of earnings, report higher levels of satisfaction:

http://www.adweek.com/galleycat/indie-authors-make-about-500-a-year/98099

* How to Set Writing Goals in Six Easy Steps

This guide will help you focus on why you write, and how much time you have, so you’ll get results:

http://thefutureofink.com/how-to-set-writing-goals/

* Twitter Advanced Search: The Ultimate Guide

Discover how to use Twitter to listen in to conversations online to gather valuable information on competitors, your industry, and more:

http://www.razorsocial.com/twitter-advanced-search/

* Is Your Amazon Author Page a Dead-End?

This free resource is underutilized by most authors, and yet it’s a great promotional tool when used properly:

http://authors.choosybookworm.com/is-your-amazon-author-page-a-dead-end/

* 5 Things to do Before Your Next Book Event

If you hope for a successful event that attracts attendees, these tips will help!

http://www.nessgraphica.com/5-things-to-do-before-your-next-book-event/



AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – January 26, 2015
January 26, 2015by: Penny
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week features posts on social media, and getting published. Thank you to all of the contributors.

Getting Published

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.”

blogging tips for authors

Social Media

Chrys Fey submitted Blogging 101 posted at Write With Fey, saying, “This post is for those of you looking for tips to gain more readers and for ways to spice up your blog.”

Terry Whalin submitted Effective Use of LinkedIn posted at The Writing Life, saying, “LinkedIn can seem overwhelming but I give several simple–and easy tips to increase effectiveness”

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/



Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of January 19, 2015
January 24, 2015by: Penny
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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:

http://www.inc.com/jayson-demers/39-ways-to-get-more-social-media-followers.html

social media 17

* 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:

http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2015/01/five-ways-to-sell-more-books-on-amazon/

* 11 Hacks for Creating Awesome Social Media Profiles

You don’t want to be the egg on Twitter. Make your profile stand out:

http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/11-hacks-creating-awesome-social-media-profiles

* The Importance of a Great Author Headshot

Your photo gives readers a visual to attach to you and your book. Make sure it counts:

http://www.shewrites.com/profiles/blogs/the-importance-of-a-great-author-headshot

* 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:

http://www.richardstephenson.net/?p=87

* 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:

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/recycle-blog-content

* 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:

https://www.themuse.com/advice/50-amazing-resources-that-will-make-you-a-better-writer

* How to Get Book Reviews

There are different types of reviews available; learn what they are and how to get them:

http://ascamacho.blogspot.com/2015_01_01_archive.html#5363033564765914663



Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of January 12, 2015
January 16, 2015by: Penny
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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!

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* 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:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/missing-rejected-reviews-amazon-tamara-kulish-lions-

* 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:

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2015/01/authors-plan-your-marketing-with-a-content-calendar/

* 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:

http://www.digitalpubbing.com/indie-author-marketing-guide-pinterest/

* 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:

http://www.yourwriterplatform.com/must-dos-book-marketing/

media radio

* 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:

http://authormarketinginstitute.com/the-top-self-publishing-podcasts-for-indie-authors/

* 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:

http://thefutureofink.com/10-twitter-tips/

* 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:

http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/write-like-a-pro-5-techniques-top-bloggers-use-to-write-successful-blog-posts/

* 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:

http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2014/12/32-facebook-groups-for-authors.html



Getting a Head Start on Holiday Sales: Tip #38 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
January 14, 2015by: ameeditor
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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.

Tip 38When 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!



AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – January 12, 2015
January 12, 2015by: Penny
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week features posts on social media, book marketing, writing, and getting published. Thank you to all of the contributors.

Social Media

Frances Caballo submitted The New Facebook Ban Authors Need to Know About posted at Social Media Just For Writers, saying, “Facebook implemented a new policy that will downgrade Facebook posts that are purely promotional. This blog post explains the “ban” and explains why it won’t affect Indie Authors’ book marketing plans.”

Book Marketing

Derek Murphy submitted The Anatomy of a Successful Non-Fiction Book Launch posted at Creative Indie, saying, “A summary of my last book launch, working on mostly fiction now…”

Dana Lynn Smith submitted Conquer Author Overwhelm posted at Savvy Book Marketer, saying, “Sometimes authors can feel overwhelmed with all of the things they need to do. Here are some tips for coping with the myriad of tasks authors face.”

Sarah Bolme submitted One Smart Book Promotion Tactic posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “I love hearing about authors who are engaging in smart book promotion tactics. Such stories always get me excited and fuel my creative juices for ways to better promote books. Recently, I was introduced to an author in my hometown who is engaging in some really smart book promotion.”

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Writing

Caitlin Hicks submitted Where is Your Light This Year posted at Caitlin Hicks, saying, “It’s New Year, and what does last year’s resolution come true mean to me this year?”

Getting Published

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.”

Chrys Fey submitted How to Build a Platform published at Write with Fey, saying, “A writer’s platform is your personal ability to sell books through who you are (your name), the people you know (connections), and media outlets (blogs and social networks).”

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/





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