Book Marketing Blogs

by Penny Sansevieri
Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of August 4, 2014
August 8, 2014by: Paula
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Here are some hot topics in book marketing tweets, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The issues include what authors can learn from reader pet peeves, how to set expectations before publishing, whether book giveaways are still a good idea, and more. Happy marketing!


* Are Book Giveaways Still Worth It for Indie Authors?

Some experts offer their insights into book giveaways as a marketing strategy. Things have changed, but there are times that freebies still make sense:

bestseller stamp

* Self-Publish or Perish: Why This Author Went from Traditional to Indie Publishing 

Author Eileen Goudge explains why she decided to change publishing paths:

* What Authors Can Learn From Reader Pet Peeves

When author Jody Hedlund asked her readers about what drove them crazy when they’re reading a book, they had plenty to say. Learn from their comments:

* Should You Hire an Editor Before Querying? Agents Weigh In

Agents offer reasons why you should – or shouldn’t – hire an editor before querying. It’s an interesting discussion:

* Setting Expectations Before You Publish Your Book

Take some time to figure out what you really want so you’ll have a better chance of reaching your goals:

* Authors Don’t be Twits When Tweeting and Making Online ‘Friends’

This is very clear advice: Don’t do these things. Ever. Or, stop it if you have been doing it:

* What Sells a Book?

Three factors are important to helping your book succeed. Learn what they are:

* How Barbara Freethy Became the Bestselling Amazon KDP Author of All-Time

It took a lot of work, but Barbara Freethy explains what she did that turned her books into Amazon bestsellers:

Bestseller Lists: Did You Know?
August 7, 2014by: Penny
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Over the years I’ve been asked about getting on a bestseller list – actually, if I had a dime for every time someone has asked me, I’d be richer than Bill Gates. That said, making a bestseller is still somewhat of a mystery. But if you want some low-down on how the New York Times works, here’s some bestseller scoop you may not know.

Did you know that the New York Times Bestseller List is actually based on a “survey” of closely guarded accounts posted for weekly sales? These are essentially stores – according to many sources – 34 reporting stores that the Times polls to see what’s selling.

Sales need to be showing up across the board. For example, if you’re hot on Amazon but nowhere else, your book would be excluded. If they are picking up a lot of bulk sales for the book, then it would be excluded, too. But, if the book is showing large bulk sales *and* a lot of regular sales then it could be added to the list.

Also, the Times list is polled Sunday to Sunday, so if you launch your book later in the week, it’ll be harder to hit the list for that week. POSTED Bestseller Lists 08062014 - blog_pin

How much do you need to sell to hit a list? Well that depends on when you launch your book. If you’re targeting the heavy-shopping season (like Christmas), then you likely need to sell more. Though, to some extent, publishers have moved away from publishing “seasons” there are still some busy times you should be aware of: January sees a lot of change-your-life/save money books while the summer season sees a lot of beach-read type books (genre fiction). Also, if you’re planning to have a shot at the list, be sure to check out major anniversaries. You may recall the recent Kennedy 50-year anniversary, which was key for many, many new Kennedy titles.

And one final note on the Times list: Independent bookstores are central to these lists. At one time I know that many of the reporting stores were indie stores (I’m not sure of that now, and I assume these stores change). If you’re not in an independent bookstore (or several) you may be out of luck.

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Never Sell Your Book: Tip #16 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
August 5, 2014by: Penny
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Welcome to Tip #16 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!

Never Sell Your Book

Tip 16So you’re all ready to promote your book. You’ve got a great press kit, a polished bio, and a letter-perfect press release. Now you’re ready to sell, sell, sell, right? Wrong. One of the biggest mistakes authors make is selling their book. Remember it’s not about the book; it’s about what the book can do for the reader.

Finding the benefits to your book might seem like a pretty simple task, but touting that “It’s a great read!” won’t get you very far. To determine what your book will do for your reader, you’ll have to dig deep, sometimes deeper than you thought. Especially if your book is fiction, this task of finding benefits will require some serious brainstorming. The key here is, be different. If you have a diet book, don’t offer the same benefits a million other books do: you’ll lose weight. Instead, offer a benefit that is decidedly different than anything that’s out there. Or, try to couch a similar benefit in a different way. At the end of the day, it’s all about the WIIFM factor: what’s in it for me? If your reader likes what’s in it for them, they’ll buy your book – otherwise they’ll just move on.

The idea of not selling your book also holds true when you’re doing an interview. Never, ever answer an interviewer’s question with: “You’ll find it in my book.” Because the fact is you’re an author, of course the answer is in your book, but right now you’re there to help them with their interview – save the sales pitches for another time.

The uniqueness of your benefits can also directly relate to the particular audience you’re speaking to. For example, if you have different levels of readers or readers from different backgrounds, it’s a good idea to work up a set of benefits for each of them. Then any interview you do (or speaking engagement) will offer benefits with that audience in mind as opposed to a more generic form of, “Here’s what my book can do for you!” Creating a list of benefits for your book can aid your campaign in a number of ways: first, it’ll help you get away from a more “salesy” type of approach, and second, it will help you create the tip sheets that can add substance to your press kit. If you’re working on the benefit angle of your book early enough, you can incorporate these into the back copy of your book.

The point is, never, ever sell your book. Be a step ahead of the competition and sell what your book can do for the reader, and let them know why it’s better than the competition. In the end, that’s all anyone will care about.

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AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – August 4, 2014
August 4, 2014by: Paula
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Welcome to this week’s Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. We have some great posts this week on writing that we hope you enjoy. Thank you to this week’s contributors!


Erica Verrillo submitted Why I Love Weird Al … and Other Word Crimes posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “I have always loved Weird Al. But now I REALLY love Weird Al. Not only does he know that “it’s” is a contraction, he also knows what a dangling participle is. (Be still my heart!) Listen to this great parody. It will put a smile on your face.”


Yvonne DiVita submitted #BecauseIAmWhoIAm Why I Write posted at Lipsticking, saying, “This is part of a blog hop about WHY one writes. I lay bare my heart and reveal what writing means to me. A great exercise for any writer, in my opinion.”

Joan DeMartin submitted Channeling Your Inner Editor posted at Lipsticking, saying, “As a freelance writer, college writing instructor and tutor, I’m always looking for strategies to help my time-crunched students improve their writing. These substantive strategies for self-editing your writing will work for everyone!”

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:

Best of the Web Book Marketing Tips for the Week of July 28, 2014
August 1, 2014by: Paula
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There’s some great advice in this week’s top book marketing tweets, courtesy of bloggers, marketers, authors and others. The topics include getting started with Google Analytics, using the secret Kindle feature, finding writing motivation, and more. Happy marketing!


* EDITS, EDITORS, EDITING — The Secret Weapon of Every Successful Writer

Why hiring an editor is so important no matter which publishing route you take:

editing marks and pen

* How to Use Google Analytics: Getting Started

Still don’t know how to use Google Analytics? This tool is a great way to learn who visits your site, what they do while visiting your site, and much more. Here’s how to use it effectively:

* The Secret Kindle Feature Every Author Should Be Using

This little item under the Kindle edition of your book is a great way to know what your readers are talking about (whether it’s your book or a competitor’s):

* Four Book Marketing Tips Based on Lessons Learned From the First Book

An author looks back at how she promoted her first book and what she’ll do differently the second time around:

* Seven Things to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

Sometimes you want to write but nothing seems to happen – no motivation, no muse. Here’s what you can do instead:

* 5 Great Examples of Calls to Action for Your Facebook Cover Photo

Facebook’s rules change all the time. Now, you can include a “call to action” in your cover photo, but text can’t amount to more than 20% of your cover image. Learn how to create a CTA that won’t violate Facebook’s rules:

* Study: Email STILL More Effective Than Social Media, SEO, Content Marketing

It may seems like most marketing now takes place on social media, but a recent study shows that email marketing is incredibly effective:

Great Headline Ideas
July 31, 2014by: Penny
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Great Headline Ideas

We all know the importance of a headline, and whether it’s a blog post or a social media update, headlines are crucial. If you’re like me, you probably get your blogs via an RSS feed of some kind. Which means that you’re only getting the headline and from there, need to decide if you’re going to read the post. Fact is 8 out of 10 people never make it past the headline. I know this because more often than not, I’ve punted a blog post because the headline wasn’t intriguing.

Part of the reason that headlines aren’t driving the kind of engagement you want is because they are vague or not benefit driven and more often than not, they are written for you and not your audience.

Great headline ideas - blog_pinHere are some great headline starter ideas”

Warning signs that ______ – People love warning signs and they love to know what not to do. Think about using a combination of numbers with this post, which works really well:

5 Warning signs that you’re

10 Warning signs that

Challenging trust is another big one, so a post like: Can we really trust publishing advice? Or, Can you really trust book marketing advice?

This title sparks interest because readers want to know the truth and we all hate being deceived. You could also use something like:

The Shocking Truth About X

You could also use something related to exposing lies. I mean we love an exposé, right? Check out: Lies Publishers Like to Tell or Lies the Government Tells. You could add some extra bounce to this by including a number, so:

7 Lies Doctors Tell Us.

Hacks are big, too. People love hacks.

100 Great Travel Hacks

7 Book Promotion Hacks

Secrets are another great way to pique your readers’ interest. For example, Secrets Every Publicist Wants you to Know – and again, you can add a number to help drive more engagement to the headline.

Or you could consider doing: Secrets Publishers Don’t Want you to Know


Next up is speaking to people’s desires. So:

How to Be – a Bestselling Author (this is the desire)

Other ideas for how-to might be:

How to (desire or goal) even if you (obstacle or while you’re doing something else)


How to Become a Bestselling Author While You’re Working a Full-Time Job. 

I also love the term “The Ultimate Guide” which you can pair with a how-to. So:

How to Learn Instagram – The Ultimate Guide

People also love lists. I think of all of these the hacks and lists tend to be our most popular. So:

12 Ways to Become a Social Media Guru

7 Secrets Every (your audience) Should Know

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How to Look Good Online: Tip #15 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
July 29, 2014by: Penny
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Welcome to Tip #15 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!

How to Look Good Online

There are those that say it’s all about appearances, this is very true online. Why? Because everything you do online not only leaves a footprint but it’s also your 24/7 resume. If the footprint you’re leaving looks unprofessional and half-finished, it might not bode well for your online reputation and sales. Here are some quick tips on how to look good online:

15Social Networks: with social networks it’s not about quantity but quality. I often have authors tell me they are on numerous social networking sites (some are on as many as 50). That’s great if you can keep them all current. If you can’t, find the ones you can participate in and stick with those. Remember that the first word on social networking is “social” so if you’re not able to participate actively (at least once a week) then get out.

Sign up for Google alerts: who’s saying what about you? If you don’t know, you should. This is (usually) a good thing. You want to know where reviews appear so you can a) link to them and b) thank the person who reviewed you or mentioned you on their blog or web site.

Get a blog: in order to get on blogs, you must have a blog but it’s more than just having one, it’s about keeping it updated. (see Participate)

Participate: in order to reap the benefits of the online world you must participate. This goes back to the social networking site and your blog. Participate, communicate and listen. Three rules online that will never steer you wrong.

Don’t get greedy: lead with the benefits, not the dollar signs. What I mean by this is that if you’re going online to make a quick buck, get out. You might make a few dollars but success will be short lived.

Network: it goes without saying that networking (especially online) is important. Network, lend a helping hand, show people how you can help them.

Web site: don’t just get one, get a good one. You’d never think to show up for a car race with a scooter. Don’t even try to go online with anything less than a professional web site. While I know it’s tempting to do it yourself, most authors always end up regretting it. “My web site is fine.” They’ll say till you ask them how well it’s selling for them. If the answer is: “it’s not” then you need a new site. Much like bringing a scooter to a Nascar race and hoping to win, show up online with a site that reflects your expertise, creativity, and message. This is one race you can’t afford to lose.

Want the complete book of tips? Get it here!

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AME Blog Carnival: Tips and Tricks for Writers and Authors – July 28, 2014
July 28, 2014by: Paula
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Welcome to this week’s Author Marketing Experts’ Blog Carnival. We’ve got some great posts on book marketing, getting published, and self-publishing in this edition. Thank you to this week’s contributors!

Getting Published

Erica Verrillo submitted 2 Agents Looking for New Writers posted at Publishing… And Other Forms of Insanity, saying, “These two agents are looking for clients. Both have had experience working in prestigious literary agencies. As always, go to the agency’s website before sending your query. See which publishing houses they have worked with, what type of books they have represented. It’s always a good idea to do a Google search on the agency (and agent) to check for other authors’ experiences.”

advice puzzle piece


Colin Dunbar submitted Format a Book in Word: Tables & Columns posted at Format A Book in Word, saying, “In a non-fiction book, tables are an aid to making information and data easier to read. Columns can also be used to help with readability, although it’s not common to have columns in a book.”

Book Marketing

Frances Caballo submitted Lisa Tener on Publishing, Platform and Book Marketing posted at Social Media Just for Writers, saying, “In this post, I interview book coach Lisa Tener who offers book marketing advice for writers.”

Sarah Bolme submitted There is No Magic Pill posted at Marketing Christian Books, saying, “There is no magic pill. Whether in dieting or in book marketing, no one opportunity will create magic results for you.”

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:

Simple Ways to Get More Exposure on Google
July 24, 2014by: Penny
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The first thing to know about G+ is that it’s really a mini-blog post. What does this mean? Well, longer content really rules on G+, as opposed to Facebook or Twitter – where shorter updates are a must. If you follow this line of thinking, you know that G+ should mirror whatever you’re doing on your blog which means, first and foremost, your headlines:

G+ Exposure 1

Headlines: headlines are really important on this site although this is significant with anything you do. Headlines can make or break your post. We cover more on creating great headlines here:

Images: always, always, always add an image. I never pull in the image from the post I’m sharing, I’ll always add one. You can find great, cheap and even free images at places like BigStock, etc. and you can edit them at, or

Hashtags: Repeat after me, never, ever, ever post anything without a hashtag. I use them on Facebook, Twitter and, of course, G+.

Format: though I encourage you to create longer, blog post-type updates, I would suggest that you remember the importance of formatting. G+ lets you format your updates with bold, italics, strikethrough and bullet points. Here are some formats you may want to keep for later use:

Bold: add * before and after the word or sentence. *So your update will look like this*

Italic: add _ before and after the word or sentence. _So your headline will look like this_

Strikethrough: add – before and after the word or sentence. –This is what you’ll strikethrough-

To create a numbered list, you’ll want to do this:



And so on – this will create this:

  1. Create strong headlines
  2. Long posts rocks on G+
  3. Make sure and format your text

Next up are bullets, to create those you’ll do:

  • Create strong headlines
  • Long posts rocks on G+
  • Make sure and format your text

You can also mix and match these, making italics bold and so on. Go ahead, experiment. Remember you can always edit the post later!

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Secrets of Getting Into Bookstores: Tip #14 of 52 Ways to Market Your Book
July 22, 2014by: Penny
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Welcome to Tip #14 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!

Secrets for Getting into Bookstores

Let’s face it, regardless of the odds we authors still want to get into bookstores. But if you’ve been having a hard time with this, take heart. It’s getting harder and harder to get into stores, but not impossible. We’re going to look at some of the possibilities here.

First, it’s important to understand the pressure stores are under right now. With the increased focus on publishers to get their authors out there, bookstores are being given most of their marching orders by their corporate office. Bookstore shelf space is bought and paid for by the New York publishers, making getting on the shelves or display racks a bit tricky – if not impossible. So here’s a game plan for those of you trying to survive outside of the traditional market.

141. Get to know your local store: I know this might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many authors don’t really know the people in their local store. The thing is, if you know them, they know you. Then, when you’re ready to promote your book they might be more open to having you in their store if you have taken the time to get to know them.

2. Events: One way to get into a bookstore is by doing an event. Sometimes when you do an event the store may stock the book before and after you’ve done your program. Start to follow the types of events they do at the store. Get an events calendar or get on their email list. You’ll start to see trends emerge. For example, they might have an independent author night you could participate in. Also be cautious for big releases, like the recent Stephanie Meyer events many stores had planned. If you are trying to capture the attention of a store when they’re in the middle of a major book launch, you’re likely to be ignored.

a) Book signings are boring; offer to do an event instead. Events are a draw; book signings aren’t unless you’re a celebrity. Plan to do a talk, educate, entertain, or enlighten. This will be a more attractive pitch to the bookstore and will draw more people to your talk.

b) Get to know the local authors in your area and then offer to plan events for them. Here’s how this works: Bookstores are inundated with local authors asking for a time slot, but what if you went to the bookstore manager and said that you’d be willing to coordinate a once a month event featuring all the local authors? The bookstore could just refer all local independently published authors to you, you could coordinate this – and guess what? Not only are you helping the store, but guess who’s getting a monthly showcase in their store? You. You can do this with more than one store if you have the time, but keep in mind that with cutbacks often one store manager will oversee a few locations so you might only have to go through one person.

c) If they won’t let you coordinate a monthly event, suggest that they have an Independent author night if they haven’t already started this. If they have an Independent author night you should definitely participate, it’s a great way to gain exposure, not to mention network with some local people.

3. Local marketing: Don’t forget any marketing you do locally, whether it’s speaking in venues outside of the bookstores, television, radio, or print. All of this can drive traffic into the bookstores. Market locally and when you do, let the stores know you’re going to have a feature or appearance so they can stock the book, if they want to. It’s always a great idea to get to know the managers or buyers for your local stores so you can alert them to media or an event you’re doing. This not only keeps you and your book on their radar screen, but it’s a nice courtesy to offer them. Most managers are stretched pretty thin and appreciate the buying tip, whenever they can get it. Even if they choose not to stock your book the first or second time, keep alerting them to your promotion. Eventually they just might.

4. Funnel your buyers: Try as best you can to funnel everyone to one store to purchase your book. If you’re having a tough time getting shelf space (and aren’t we all?), funneling folks to one store might prompt that store to keep a few copies of your book on hand. Whenever you do local speaking or media, let them know by name and address where they can get your book. Stores have been known to take in books that they’re getting lots of requests for, regardless of how they are published.  If you’re sending people to one store – instead of fragmenting them to a bunch of different ones – you could start building an ongoing interest in reorders, and sometimes all it takes is one store to stock it before the neighboring stores will follow suit.

Getting into bookstores isn’t impossible, but it does require a dash of creativity. Keep in mind that if bookstores still aren’t receptive after you’ve tried the tips in this article then maybe you’re sitting in a tight market. Areas like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago might be tough areas to get noticed, because these are often the first stops traditional publishers seek when planning author tours and getting stocked on the shelves. If you’re near those areas, try looking outside of the city for alternatives that are often overlooked by New York. If that doesn’t work for you, then consider non-bookstore shelf space and events. If you’re not sure how to do this, check out my other article on events outside of the normal bookstore market,

Over the years we’ve planned events for our authors in all sorts of non-bookstore venues such as: video stores, electronics stores, gyms and even grocery stores. If events are your focus, keep an open mind and remember: often the biggest piece of getting your book into a bookstore is the relationship you build with them.

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