The Book Marketing Blog

by Penny Sansevieri
Where do Readers Buy eBooks? (the answer might surprise you)
February 26, 2013by: ameeditor
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So where do readers buy eBooks? This clip might surprise you! Here’s an interesting video from Otis Chandler of taken at Tools of Change. From a survey done by Goodreads.

Where Your Readers are Finding Books!
February 26, 2013by: ameeditor
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Goodreads did a survey and here are the results. Take a look at where these specific titles were purchased. How does this relate to your book? An interesting video from Otis Chandler of taken at Tools of Change.

How Agents Can Survive in the New World of Publishing
February 25, 2013by: ameeditor
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The publishing world is changing and many say that agents have been hit the hardest. Always super innovative, Jason Ashlock talks about what agents can do to survive the changing publishing landscape. Another great talk from Tools of Change!

Faking it onto the Bestseller List
February 22, 2013by: ameeditor
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Over the years I’ve heard hundreds (maybe thousands of times): “I want to be on the bestseller list!” Great, I say, that will take a lot of work and a lot of planning and even then, nothing is guaranteed. For years now we’ve seen companies come and go, they buy up books to surge the bestseller lists and get the authors fame. Generally the “hit” to the list is short-lived, hence the nature of buying up your own books or, putting another way, faking it onto the bestseller list.

Look, I’m no Pollyanna, I get that this happens; what I don’t get is why authors still support this. And even more important, how is this allowed to happen? The Wall Street Journal just did a piece on this today, and noted that Amazon refuses to do business with these firms (Yah, Amazon). I would encourage more publishers to follow suit. Only then will we see the end to fake list surging. Oh and by the way, how about we create systems within our bestseller lists that spies these fakers and weeds them from the list? Amazon does with IP addresses, it’s really not that hard.

And all of this begs the question: whatever happened to believing in your book? Whatever happened to some good ol’ marketing muscle? Yes, we’d Faking itall love to see our books hit the bestseller list, but if you bought your way there it’s sort of a hollow victory, no? In the end, I believe that if the book didn’t get on the list by its own merit, it will never do as well as it would if, let’s say, it actually earned the right to be there.

Yes, I know we often live in a world of fake, but I’d rather leave the fakers to the reality shows and handbags. Please keep fake out of publishing.



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A Recap from Tools of Change for Publishing!
February 19, 2013by: ameeditor
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Big ideas in publishing!

Last week I was at Tools of Change for Publishing in New York which was a jam-packed conference full of some great insights. Just like we did for our Digital Book World post (, I’ve compiled a list of some of the best and most insightful tweets.


72 hours of YouTube video uploaded per minute to YouTube

What a number, right? YouTube is where it’s at. If you haven’t explored having your own YouTube channel I really think you should. It’s a great way to share information with your readers and engage with them on a whole different level.

@eve_grubstreet says book sales are a terrible goal to shoot for in book marketing success. YAH! Excellent statement.

Instead Eve suggested that authors look at other, measurable goals such as speaking gigs, followers on Facebook, Twitter, and other goals that aren’t social media related such as a number of reviews. When was the last time you said, “I want to get X number of reviews for my book.” Focusing on something like getting reviews is akin to getting exposure and building fans. You build your platform one fan at a time, you build sales the same way.

Free works for book sales, give the consumer something to show there’s value. You must show value.

If you want your consumer to value you and to buy your book, you must first show them that there is value. These days this is especially true given how many books are published each day, and with the surge of eBooks everyone is vying for readers’ attention. One way to get it is to show value, you can do that through free content.

Free content for fiction authors works as well, think novellas, short stories, etc.

What a great idea for free content! Fiction authors are always telling me that if they have to give something away, they aren’t sure how to do it or what to offer. These are some great tips! Also, check out the video on this topic here:

@robeagar says that he has seen that “free doesn’t cannibalize sales, it amplifies sales.”

This is a very true statement though sometimes it’s hard to get authors on board with this. The numbers, however, always prove this is true. Time and time again the free promotions you do for your book (on KDP or elsewhere) help to ramp up sales numbers. Additionally, giving away free content in the form of reports, excerpts, novellas, etc. helps boost sales considerably.

Keep your fans engaged between book releases with free content fans can share via socmed

Another great idea and very true. In fact, in a later program led by Good Reads they did a survey of readers who said they’d rather read serialized novels from an author they love rather than wait months for the entire book. Another good way to keep free content going is on your blog, so blogging in character if you’ve written fiction, or perhaps doing short vignettes of their adventures outside of the book is a good way to keep readers engaged. I know this is much tougher for fiction, which is why I give some fiction examples here. Remember that you want your reader to respond to your book, you can do that by giving them stories that involve them in your character’s lives on an ongoing basis.

@RobEagar YOU may not be the best person to answer the reader’s question, “What’s in it for me?”

This is so true, that’s another reason why free works so well. By giving free you let the reader determine what’s in it for them. You may not always find that every piece of free content leads to a sale, but you’ll have many more sales because of it. Here are two examples for non-fiction authors:

Success stories let readers explain WIIFM – success stories speak for themselves

This is a fun project that you non-fiction authors should tackle. So, your book is out there and it’s (hopefully) changing lives and helping your readers, right? Great, then get their testimonials about this. People love success stories.

Some great insight on the new role of the agent: “If every indie #author is not to go it alone” he/she needs radical advocate in digital age @jasonashlock

1)     Assisted self-publishing (with the oversight of someone who knows the industry)

2)     Marketing help

Jason Ashlock gave a fantastic presentation about what it means to be an agent in this new world. You can see the videos posted here:

Essentially he talked about the shifting sands of publishing and how agents can not just survive, but thrive in this new world. He gave the example of Hugh Howey’s agent here:

@JasonAshlock Forms of “radical mediation” include “assisted self-publishing.” EG: Kristin Nelson / @HughHowey

You haven’t really put your book out there unless you’ve gotten a negative review. AMEN. @scottandjames 

Totally true. Often authors become obsessed with the bad reviews, it’s all part of the game. Not everyone will love you book, that’s just how it is.

“We don’t want someone hiding inside @RandomHouse or @Penguin deciding what author is good.”

And more to Jason’s point about what agents can do to bring great content into the world: do you really want to leave future books in the hands of the big six? There are a ton of great writers out there who should be published and would likely get overlooked by the major houses. Agents can not only help facilitate their success, but also help them get their books to market twice as quickly as they would if they waited for a traditional deal.

Questions that should no longer be asked: “Are these relationships on social media, like, REAL relationships?”

This was another big statement that came out of the day, there should be no distinction because your social media peeps and your non-social media peeps are all real relationships. You should be engaging and dialoging with them. Treat your social media tribe this way and you’ll be surprised at how significantly your base grows.

Classic author mistake: overestimate own editing skills. More than just spell checking! Truth courtesy of @sanderssays.

Totally true. Get a good editor. End of story.

@amandahavard Really brilliant. Her characters connect with people. People like people. Are you listening fiction folks?

This was some great advice for fiction authors. If you’re wondering how to connect with your readers, don’t. Let your fiction characters connect with them instead. I mentioned this in a post above, too. Let your readers connect with your fictional characters, it’s a terrific way to build loyalty. It’s amazing to me how many writers don’t do this. Look at ten fiction authors’ sites and I challenge you to find more than one who gives their characters voice there.

@Bookgal: #toccon Talking about the importance of personal engagement with readers. @amandahavard. brilliant.

Amanda Havard told a story of a friend of hers who engages with every single reader who writes her. For example, this author posts to Wattpad and every time there is a comment posted, she logs on and writes them back. Each person receives a response. Personal engagement is key and yes, she sold a ton of books.

@dslessing: @amandahavard has character to reader relationship, not just author to reader. Love it.

I’m addressing this a couple of times in this post because I feel it’s important and it’s also pretty key to our fiction readers because they often struggle for ways to promote their books. Connecting reader to character is a great way to not just engage your readers outside of the book, but also keep them interested and coming back for more.

@Porter_Anderson: #ARDay #TOCcon Marketing Panel: @MarkLeslie: “The authors who aren’t willing to invest in themselves are the ones who are going to fail.”

Such a true statement. So often we see authors who don’t want to invest or want to take shortcuts. It just doesn’t work. Do the work. End of story.

@mef “By 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile app downloads from app stores annually.”

Pretty astounding number, no? It’s amazing how fast this market segment is growing. If you’ve been thinking about doing something for mobile, maybe now is the time…

@mef To make sure your consumers find you, be sure you’re easy to find and easy to buy. Convenience is key.

Whatever you do, make it easy. Part of why Amazon got so big so fast (and you’ll see this happens with pretty much anything they launch) is they know how to make it easy. Simple, seamless, if your reader has to work for it I can almost guarantee you they won’t.

Love @goodreads survey on where readers find books – #1 is personal or friend recommendation. Readers have the power to push a book.

Yes! This was great insight and something that I am a big fan of pushing: readers have the power. Your readers can make or break a book, your book – so make sure you are connecting with them, responding to their posts and really engaging with them. So important.

What’s at the end of your book? Don’t just end the book, give them engagement. What’s on your final page? Excellent point!

This was a really incredible piece of insight. Think about it. With eBooks more interactive, why not add a final page that lets the reader interact with you. Even print books should have this. Readers want engagement and if they loved your book, they’ll want more. Give it to them!

Would readers be interested in reading a book in serial format instead of waiting six months for a complete book, 49% say yes!

This was a fantastic piece of advice. Clearly, readers want content and it’s up to us (ah-hem, writers) to keep producing good, solid content!

@Porter_Anderson: @Immersedition: “Wherever people are talking about books…is a really great place for them to be talking about you.”

What does this mean? It means that you need to reach readers where they hang out, places like Goodreads, Library Thing, Wattpad, etc. are all fantastic resources. Wait, you haven’t heard of Wattpad? Check it out, it’s another fantastic place to share your stories:

@Porter_Anderson: Oren Teicher of @ABABook is wrapping now. “Yes, bookstores are closing…but new stores are opening…sales better than before.”

There was a session with the head of ABA (American Booksellers Association) and he talked about bookstores and the rumors that they’re going away (hey, I heard this, too). He said that new stores are opening all the time (mostly indie stores) and that independent stores are working hard to come up with super innovative ways to stay relevant. YAH! Go indies!

Great insight. #1 tool for building influencers on social media: connect w/people you genuinely like. Bingo. Queue head-slapping.

This was sort of a “duh” moment but such a great statement. So often we connect with people because we think we should. So we follow them but we don’t really like them. Yes, many of us do this all the time. Follow people you like and really want to engage with. Not only will it be easier to promote but more fun, too.

Before you reach out to people, make sure your own house is in order. Ah-hem, your website.

So often authors jump on social media and start promoting without realizing that they need to make sure their house in order first. Would you invite people over to your home if it was in disarray? Likely not. Nor should you invite people to your website if it’s not in order, and by in order I mean it has a blog (and you’re using it), and you know the site is converting visitors into something (a sale, a sign up, etc.). Don’t invite your readers to a messy house.

#toccon Interesting discussion around passion we feel for books. Passion isn’t a good biz model and can get in the way of success.  Agree?

This was sort of an interesting statement – I mean passion is great but passion isn’t a good business model and we all need to keep our business hats on while we are promoting our books. So, while passion drives us (and it should) there’s nothing like good, solid business sense to keep us moving forward.

Guy Kawasaki talks about Self-Publishing and APE
January 28, 2013by: ameeditor
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What’s got Guy Kawasaki so excited? He’s just self-published his latest book, APE – Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur and he shares his take on self-publishing and whether or not the industry is seeing too much content. If everyone can publish, is that a good thing?

Hugh Howey Talks about the Success of WOOL!
January 25, 2013by: ameeditor
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From Digital Book World, Hugh Howey and his agent, Kristin Nelson, talk about the success of his mega-series, WOOL and how a once self-published author made the transition to traditional. Smart guy! Congrats, Howey – it’s a fantastic story!



Why Are Traditionally Published Authors Self-Publishing?
January 23, 2013by: ameeditor
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A panel at Digital Book World looked at why authors are turning to self-publishing. Called “hybrid” publishing by the industry, this panel takes a look at how they are helping authors do that. Short clip from this fantastic event!

Getting the Silent Treatment
January 22, 2013by: ameeditor
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I have had several calls recently with authors who have been marketing on their own and are really concerned about the deafening silence they’ve been getting in response to the work they’re doing. Are you feeling this way? If you’re nodding your head you aren’t alone. Marketing is tough, silence is tougher.

Last year I launched a book under a pseudonym, not at all connected with me or AME. Why did I do that? Because I wanted to test the system — I wanted to see first-hand how tough it was to be out there. Often authors say “Well, but you’re a marketing person and people know you.” True that. So now with this book I’m not. I’m just another author, out there trying to get noticed and you know what I found? The silence is hell.

Read more: The Silent Treatment

Is Publishing Dead?
November 14, 2012by: ameeditor
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The New York Times did an interesting piece on publishing, though I’m not sure I agree with it the author does point out an interesting fact. The merger of bigger publishers signals a change. At some point, will there be any little guys left?
Where do you think publishing is going?



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