The Book Marketing Blog

by Penny Sansevieri
Back to Basics 5 – Keeping Tabs Online
May 26, 2015by: ameeditor
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Back to Basics_ Keeping Tabs Online, Get Published Today AME Blog Post

This spring, let’s go back to basics and focus on Publishing, more specifically, how you can Get Published Today. Earlier this week, Penny talked about how to determine the best time to publish your book and said that marketing “is all about joining the conversation” – to be successful in that conversation, you must keep an eye on the road to know what’s happening. Today, Penny will give us the basics on how to keep tabs on what people are saying about you online!

For years Google alerts has been great for watching what’s being said about you online. But now there are a few other players, so check out these online reputation management tools. They’re a great way to keep track of what’s being said about you, your book and/or product online:

Addict-o-matic: I was really surprised when I first logged on here how much information was out there on me that Google Alerts didn’t pick up. Addict-o-matic is a free service and a great resource. The only complaint I have is there is no RSS feed that I can subscribe to to keep me posted on weekly or even daily additions. But you can personalize your search results, bookmark the page, then keep tabs on your updates. Hopefully that will come soon, for now, here’s the link: http://addictomatic.com/. The best part about this service is that it doesn’t require that I sign in or sign up for anything. I like that. I have way too many subscriptions and passwords I can’t remember as it is.

Trackur.com: this site claims to be Google Alerts on steroids. It’s not a free service (though they offer a free trial) but the service is quite thorough and outstanding. Give it a shot and see what you think.

Reality Check: When Planning Doesn’t Always Work Out

We had an author once who wrote a book about dating. He said to me some months before he released the book: “I’m pretty certain that this is the best time to launch; I’ve checked all the publishers to see what else they are releasing and nothing seems to be coming up. My worst nightmare is if Dr. Phil wrote a dating book but that doesn’t seem to be the case.”

Months later, right before release time, it was announced that Dr. Phil had indeed written a dating book and (at the height of his popularity) his publisher decided to crash the title, meaning that they didn’t do the pre-announcement, or give it the normal 12-18 months in their system. They literally launched it within a short window of announcing it which, coincidentally, fell right in the week that our author was also releasing his book. Needless to say, he was discouraged. He even thought about pulling the book and waiting, but we had done so much pre-work that I discouraged him from doing that. So we launched. As it happened, Dr Phil’s book didn’t get the best reviews, but that doesn’t matter when you have a ‘brand” like that behind it. But our author kept plugging along and he never gave up. Now, some 4 years later, he’s still out there, with new editions of this book. In fact, I was at an independent bookstore recently (one of the largest in the country) and his book was on the shelf. Dr Phil’s book was nowhere to be found.

The moral of this story is this: sometimes even the best laid plans go awry. But if you persist and you do so with a quality product, you will eventually see success.

BookScan Numbers Don’t Lie, and Neither Should You

It’s fine when your Uncle Harry comes back from a fishing trip with “fish stories” but don’t try this in publishing. What do I mean by “fish stories”? I mean inflating your sales numbers. Don’t do it. Why? Because Nielsen’s BookScan has your number. Literally. Anyone in the industry (even literary agents) can check these numbers to see if your sales figures add up. So leave the fish tales for the fish, but don’t fiddle with book sales numbers. Because unlike your Uncle Harry’s catch of the day, someone is bound to find out.

Don’t miss earlier posts in the series! Click on the links for Back to Basics 1: Facts about Trade PublishingBack to Basics 2: Defining your Publishing Goals, and Back to Basics 3: How Do You Know Your Book is Ready to be Published?, and Back to Basics 4: Determining the best time to publish!

We’re so excited about BEA coming up on May 27-29 at the Javits Center in New York City!



Weekly Wrap-Up – Book Marketing Fun Finds!
May 24, 2015by: ameeditor
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Weekly Wrap-Up AME Blog Graphic

Here’s a weekly wrap-up of some of Penny’s book marketing events, news, and fun finds!

We wish you all a Happy Memorial Day and honor those who’ve sacrificed on our behalf.

  • Don’t miss this great romance and historical fiction book Fleeing Cat Spring – only $0.99 on Amazon from 5/22 to 6/1. Get your copy now!
  • Penny’s book tour is over – thanks to everyone who took part in the book tour!
  • Who wants NINE secrets to help you sell more books?! Find out what they are here! via PR Toolkit.
  • The Defiant Bride is available for only $0.99 on Amazon from 5/19 to6/2. Get your copy of this fabulous romance book here!
  • Want to cut your blogging time in half? Here’s how to recycle existing content  via Writers and Authors. Happy blogging!
  • Find out how plotting can help you save writing time here via Books & Such!
  • This is why authors should NEVER  buy Amazon reader reviews.
  • Flying’s just become a lot more fun: Kobo launches free ebook platform for Southwest Airline travelers via Digital Book World.
  • The Music Parents’ Guide by Grammy nominated Anthony Mazzocchi, ebook is only $0.99 on Amazon from May 21 to 25!
  • What should you do if your book sales are dropping? Find out here along with a review of Penny’s book via The Pen & Muse!
  • Sharing without reading – How authors can find readers for their online content via Self-Publishing Review!
  • Your Mistakes Don’t Define You, They Teach You – too true!



Back to Basics 4 – Determining the Best Time to Publish
May 22, 2015by: ameeditor
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Back to Basics_ Best Time to Publish, Get Published Today AME Blog Post

This spring, let’s go back to basics and focus on Publishing, more specifically, how you can Get Published Today. This week, Penny will give us the basics on how to determine the best time to publish your book!

The plotting and planning of your book will include a good many things. Often, the launch date is just determined by one simple factor: the book is finally done. But the launch of a book is perhaps the most important aspect to the life of your tome. Giving your book a solid start date and start plan is important.

Before you can determine your start date, you need to figure out when would be the best time to release your book. If you want to avoid the majority of the competition, try releasing your book during an off-season. For example, publishers typically release in three seasons: January to June, Summer season, and the Fall. Fall is the biggest publishing season because it often encompasses titles released with an eye to the New Year as well, such as diet, life goals, and finances. It’s not that you can’t release a book around this time, but know that you will likely be competing with many major titles. This however, might not always be the case and that’s where some additional sleuthing comes in.

While there are a variety of ways to track what publishers will be releasing, there is one resource that I find most current: publishersmarketplace.com. This site also serves up a daily newsletter called Publishers Lunch, and a weekly newsletter called Deal Lunch (where they share all the deals signed the previous week). I would recommend joining this site as soon as you can so you can track who is doing what, who’s buying, and what’s being released. The service is free, but for $20 a month you can get access to a bunch of back end data such as Editorial Staff, all the deals for the past twelve months (or more; it’s a treasure trove of publishing data), and anything else related to publishing, and book releases. Even if New York publishers aren’t of interest to you, you still play in the same sandbox, so information is power. Arm yourself well.

The next piece of your pre-launch plan is what I recommend that you do on an ongoing basis: monitor the competition. Who else is in your market and what are they doing? Are you on their mailing lists? If you’re not, you should be. Keep an eye on what other authors in your market are doing, especially the leaders in your industry. This will also give you some idea as to what else is happening in your market. You should never operate in a vacuum if you plan on being successful.

The final piece to this is news items. Are you staying on top of everything related to your industry? This will not only benefit you as you determine the best publishing season for your book, but it will also help you understand new trends in your industry (and possibly incorporate them into your book). It will also give you the opportunity to start a discussion (yes, now) on market trends and hot industry topics.

Marketing, even in its pre-book phase, is all about joining the conversation. And to be successful in that conversation, you must keep an eye on the road to know what’s happening. Tracking is pretty easy these days with sites like Google Alerts (www.google.com/alerts). Just plug in your desired keywords and voila! Results will start appearing in your inbox shortly. Also, if you’re already “out there,” be sure and get an alert service on yourself too. That way you can make sure you know who’s saying what and where you are appearing.

Don’t miss earlier posts in the series! Click on the links for Back to Basics 1: Facts about Trade PublishingBack to Basics 2: Defining your publishing goals, and Back to Basics 3: How Do You Know Your Book is Ready to be Published?

We’re so excited about BEA coming up on May 27-29 at the Javits Center in New York City!



Back to Basics 3 – How do you know your book is ready to be published?
May 19, 2015by: ameeditor
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Back to Basics_ When to Publish a Book, Get Published Today AME Blog Post-3

This spring, let’s go back to basics and focus on Publishing, more specifically, how you can Get Published Today. Today, Penny will walk us through how to answer the question: “Is my book ready to be published?”

Most of us think that our book is done when we’ve put the last line on the page. But that’s really only the beginning. No, I’m not talking about marketing. This comes much sooner. First off, did you write a book that’s saleable? This might be an odd question to ask yourself after you’ve finished writing the book, but better to ask now than when you’re in the throes of marketing it, wondering what you did wrong because books aren’t selling.

The idea here is to make sure that you have a viable book and a viable market. Better to do this research prior to the launch. So, where do you begin? Well, first off you begin with doing bookstore research. And note this, if there isn’t a book out there on your topic, there might be a reason why. Ask the clerk at the bookstore if you’re not sure. You can bet they’ll know if there’s a book like yours. If there is, buy it or buy a few of them, or all of them. Get to know who else is writing in your space and before you turn your book over to an editor for editing and clean up, make sure that you’ve added all the pieces you need to add and addressed all of the issues related to this subject area. I find that doing this kind of research really helps me to craft an exceptional book. Knowing what’s out there is really important, and knowing what your reader wants and expects is vital to the success of your book. We’ll delve more into all of this as we dig through the pages of this book. However for now, know that it’s important to know your market inside and out.

Don’t miss earlier posts in the series! Click on the links for Back to Basics 1: Facts about Trade Publishing and Back to Basics 2: Defining your publishing goals!

We’re so excited about BEA coming up on May 27-29 at the Javits Center in New York City!



Back to Basics 2: Defining Your Publishing Goals
May 15, 2015by: ameeditor
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Back to Basics_ Defining Publishing Goals, Get Published Today AME Blog Post

This spring, let’s go back to basics and focus on Publishing, more specifically, how you can Get Published Today. Today, Penny will walk us through how to answer the question: “What are my publishing goals”?

Defining your publishing goals

First and foremost, you must define your goals. It’s important to note that your goals should be identified early on and will often help define where and how you’ll publish. This goal-seeking exercise will also help you define how much you should invest in your book to get it to market, and then to market it to the audience. Let me explain. Let’s say you’ve written a book that’s tied to your business. Your goal for this book is to help you launch a successful new division for your firm, as well as help you grow or launch your speaking career. If this is your goal, then you will want to invest a lot in the different aspects of your book like pre-production, production, book cover design, printing, website development, etc. If, on the other hand, your book is a memoir and you really don’t care if anyone outside of your family reads it, then spending less might be prudent. Likely, however, your goal will fall somewhere in-between. Most of us aren’t ready for the big time, and we need the book as a stepping stone to build our writing career or associated business. If this is you, consider this. You will need to invest in your future. This means that though you might not be ready for the big time, you should invest as though you were. I’m not talking about spending money, though that is clearly a factor. Rather, I’m talking about doing your research, and creating the best book you possibly can.

And in case you missed Back to Basics 1: Facts About Trade Publishing click here !

We’re so excited about BEA coming up on May 27-29 at the Javits Center in New York City!



Back to Basics 1: Facts about Trade Publishing
May 12, 2015by: ameeditor
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Back to Basics_ Facts about Trade Publishing, Get Published Today AME Blog Post

This spring, let’s go back to basics and focus on Publishing, more specifically, how you can Get Published Today. This week, Penny will give us the basics on trade publishing – what makes a book a “major success,” how do trade publishers make money, editing tips, and the relationship between publishers, authors, and marketing.

Facts about Trade Publishing

Here are some facts that might surprise you:

First, a book that sells 10,000 copies is considered a major success. Was this always the case? No. But with the amount of books filling the market, that’s a significant number unless you are Stephen King.

Trade publishing is driven by hits. On average, 10% of new books generate 90% of their profits. What does this mean to you? Well, publishers go after “star” titles; big names that can carry the list. For example, Dan Brown’s follow up to the Da Vinci Code was considered a star title and could carry an entire publishing house. If a publisher has 90% of so-so selling books but 10% of major titles, they are considered a success. To further drill this down, if you are in the 90% of what they consider so-so titles, you might not get the lion’s share of attention from their marketing department, if any at all. What do I mean by “so-so” title? This means that they may or may not sell well despite the work that’s been done on the book and estimated market.

If a book needs work, editors don’t have the time to devote to major revisions. What does this mean to you? It means that if you are submitting a book to a publisher, or even a book proposal to an agent, it must be clean. Get it edited, vetted, whatever you need to do to diminish the work that the agent/publisher/editor needs to do to get it to market. You might think your title is original, but for every book idea submitted, a hundred other similar titles are waiting to be approved, so despite the originality of the idea, the competition can still be fierce.

Publishers expect authors to participate in (if not run) their own marketing campaigns. Regardless of how you publish, you will be your own marketing department. Do not expect that a publishing house will take the reins of your campaign.

Book Facts

  • The average book sells 500 copies
  • 4,500 new books are published daily
  • Big publishers prefer big names (remember that 10% rule)
  • 38% of books are now sold online
  • 40% are sold out outside of bookstores


What the X-Files Revival, Netflix, and Book Promotion Have in Common
March 25, 2015by: ameeditor
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It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I adore the X-Files. I’m a huge fan of this series so when they announced that the show was coming back to Fox for six episodes, I was over the moon (no, really, you have no idea). Then I read this piece in Forbes and realized that this was less about what the fans wanted and more about the fact that the show a) makes a sweet amount of money for Fox via Netflix and b) this is the season of the series and serialization. This show does well, even 13 years after it aired which is pretty amazing.

POSTED X-Files Revival - blog_pin 03252015Still not seeing how this relates to book marketing? Let me break this down in a different way. For a long time Amazon has had their own version of Netflix in Amazon Prime but it wasn’t until they launched Kindle Unlimited that things really started to kick up another notch. Now, for $9.99 a month you can “rent” books via their subscription service and while a lot of folks (authors) have been complaining about this service I think that if used correctly, it’s a great way to bring fans to your book.
When I teach classes and speak with authors, I often talk about “short is the new long” and what I mean by that is shorter books are gaining immense popularity. This does not mean that long books are going away, far from it. But shorter books are a great way to bring more exposure to your main title. Let me give you an example:

Let’s say you have a book out or two books in a series. They’re average length books that are doing ok on Amazon, maybe not great. You’d like to do more with them. How about creating spin off books with various characters, all of them tied to the original series? Now you’re pushing out more books and more content that are leading readers to your main books and you can use Kindle Unlimited to do this. The key here is that your core focus stays on the series or the main theme of the single book, if you just have one.

If you don’t know how Kindle Unlimited works, let me take you through it. So you have to have your book or books in KDP Select in order get your books enrolled in the program, once you’re in there you are now added to a growing list of titles that are free to paid KU subscribers. So let’s say you wrote three shorter spin off books that are 50 or 75 pages and they’re in KDP Select so they are in Kindle Unlimited. Guess what? With the added exposure that Kindle Unlimited gives you, your shorter spin off books are getting picked up and leading readers to your main titles!

The other element (with a nod to the TV industry) is serialization on WattPad. So WattPad is a site where authors can share their work and in so doing, build readership. They are often sharing a chapter at a time, so releasing a book in episodic format and by doing this, you are now bringing readers back to your original book.

The thing to remember is that consumers are discovering content in different ways X-files 2now and Netflix is a large part of this change. Back when the first season of House of Cards ended The West Wing (a show that ended in 2006) started trending. Why? Well the guess was that House of Cards was feeding the interest in politically based shows.

Consumers are looking for content and it’s a rare occurrence that new readers just stumble on a single book, they are often led there in other ways. Sure, you can lead them there with social media but even that reach is getting competitive in its own right, you can lead them there with video and blog posts but you still have to get them to your website, so perhaps an even more powerful way is to lead them to your book using other, shorter books.

This technique, by the way, works regardless of the age of your book. So let’s say you have a title that’s older but still relevant. Why not create spin off books that push more attention to the original title.

This also feeds into another trend I’m seeing about striving to own the virtual bookshelf, populating your category with more of your books, to increase the odds that a fan of your genre will stumble across one of your titles, which will also help drive more interest to your older books. Creating shorter books is the easiest, most effective way to do that.

The overarching message here is that subscription services and serialization are changing the face of marketing, perhaps faster than any of us expected it would. Readers are devouring content quicker and no longer sticking to “one author”, if they’re interested in science fiction for example, they want to experiment and explore new titles and new voices. Gaining more attention using the subscription model with a goal of owning the shelf in mind, will help spread your message much farther than on social media or through your blog alone.

This is the future of book publishing.

I do believe.

And by the way, here’s the Forbes article I mentioned at the beginning of this post:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/merrillbarr/2015/03/24/x-files-reboot/

 



Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of March 9, 2015
March 14, 2015by: Penny
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Ramp up your book promotion with these book marketing and publishing industry tweets, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include blogging and social media mistakes to avoid, how to repurpose content, tips to run your own virtual book tour, and more. Happy marketing!

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* 10 Ways to Get Your Book “Review Ready”

Always start with a professional editor. And get a really good book cover:

http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2015/01/ten-ways-to-get-your-book-review-ready/

* Major Blogging and Social Media Mistakes to Avoid

It’s better not to have your blog autopost your latest piece to social media. Control the way your social media updates go out:

http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.com/2015/02/major-blogging-and-social-media.html

Education concept: Head With Finance Symbol and Helpful Tips on

* Quiz: Do You Have What it Takes to Self-Publish?

Ready to find out? Wise Ink Blog has the questions you should ask – before you take the plunge:

http://www.wiseinkblog.com/self-publishing-2/quiz-do-you-have-what-it-takes-to-self-publish/

* A Book Marketing Truth Few Experts Will Admit

Sometimes your book marketing won’t turn out the way you hoped, even if you do everything the experts recommend:

http://writershelpingwriters.net/2015/02/book-marketing-truths-few-experts-will-admit/

* 7 Ways to Repurpose Content for Your Personal Brand

Think about creating Infographics, developing a SlideShare presentation, and using cross-promotion to get more from your content:

http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/7-ways-to-repurpose-content-for-your-personal-brand/

* Tips for Creating Your Own Virtual Book Tour

One author explains how he developed a tour for his book and shares his best tips:

http://buildbookbuzz.com/virtual-book-tour-tips/

* 11 Essential Elements of an Author Website

A good author bio, your blog, a contact page, and other important items you should include:

http://howtoblogabook.com/11-elements-essential-elements-of-an-author-website/

* How to Promote Your Books Around The Holidays

There’s more than Christmas – there are public holidays throughout the year that you might be able to tie to your book:

http://services4authors.com/2015/03/02/how-to-promote-your-books-around-the-holidays/



AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – March 9, 2015
March 9, 2015by: Penny
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Welcome to Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. This week we have guest posts on self-publishing, and writing. Thank you to all of our contributors.

Writing

Sarah Bolme submitted Important Information for Christian Authors posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “Do you finish every book you start to read? Many people don’t. I once saw a statistic that said that most people only read about half of a nonfiction book.”

Hazel Longuet submitted How I improved my writing productivity by 100% posted at A Novel Experience, saying, “I was struggling to hit my daily word count targets – these are the simple steps I took to improve my writing productivity by 100% – they can help you too.”

writing old fashioned typewriter

Self-Publishing

Colin Dunbar submitted Format a Book with Word: Formatting for Smashwords posted at Format Books in Word, saying, “This is the first of six posts covering the formatting of your book for Smashwords.”

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 March 2, 2015
March 7, 2015by: Penny
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There’s so much to learn and do for book promotion. Educate yourself with these book marketing and publishing industry tweets, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include a simple way to sell more books, social media tips for authors, the top 10 things authors must know about Amazon, and more. Happy marketing!

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* The Top 10 Things All Authors Should Know About Amazon

Amazon’s algorithms work in interesting ways. Here’s a breakdown on how scarcity, sales, reviews and more impact your sales:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brooke-warner/the-top-10-things-all-aut_b_6744386.html

* Discoverability Isn’t Nearly Enough to Help Readers Find Your Book

Learn what inbound marketing is, and how it can direct readers to your book:

http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2015/the-how-and-why-of-inbound-book-marketing/

* 5 Reasons They Won’t Tweet About Your Book

Not feeling the love on Twitter? Learn why your tweets may need some tweaks:

http://www.diyauthor.com/twitterfail-wont-tweet-book/

twitter bird with laptop

* Social Media for Authors: Improve Your Marketing Results

Let this podcast help you find ways to use social media for successful marketing;

http://socialmediajustforwriters.com/social-media-for-authors-podcast-improve-your-marketing-results/

* A Simple Way to Sell More Books

This is a tactic many authors overlook, but it makes a big difference:

http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2013/03/how-to-sell-your-next-book.html

* 35 Alternatives to BookBub

Although BookBub has a huge following, it’s not an option for many authors due to its high rejection rate. Consider these 35 sites as good alternatives:

http://www.selfpublishingreview.com/2015/02/35-alternatives-to-bookbub/

* The 10 REAL Reasons Your Book Was Rejected: A Big 5 Editor Tells All

It’s hard not to take rejection personally, but typically it’s your manuscript that gets rejected. Learn why:

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2015/02/the-10-real-reasons-your-book-was.html

* Tips to Evolve as Author and to Find More Readers

The publishing landscape changes rapidly. Keep up with the evolution so readers can find your book:

http://www.indieauthornews.com/2015/03/tips-to-evolve-as-author-and-find-more-readers.html





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