Most of you know how to use the basics…or do you? I thought I was good with Facebook, when one day a course in our local region we found a tutorial on how to use Facebook for business. It blew what we thought we knew right open. OUCH. Luckily there was no re-learning, there was extra learning.
In the last twelve months, many of our Social Media websites have updated. Things have moved, changed or disappeared. Even we’ve had issues finding various items. Sometimes the frustration creeps in and takes over. The better you can use Social Media, the better you can MARKET your business and grow your AUTHOR BRAND. With saying that, we need to give you a few ways to make more out of a post and images.
We’ve always been taught that images get more people looking at your posts. However, what sort of image do you need to use? Have you ever looked on Facebook to see which type of images get the most likes and shares? Why do they get so much attention. Why do people stop scrolling and read?
Next time you find something you like and read, think about what you notice first. Is it the writing? Which part? A title? A font? Large fonts? The mission into marketing is endless trying to find out what will work for us and our books. RESEARCH…yep that word again. Weird how it keeps cropping up.
Advert for Shattered Badge, Shattered Trust by Sandra Brewster.
We’re going to make a Facebook Post. It was a new release for one of our clients. The novel is called ‘SHATTERED BADGE SHATTERED TRUST’by Sandra Brewster. It is available on AMAZON. To the left of the screen is the book cover. For those who are sight impaired the image shows a police badge which has been broke into pieces the the book title across the middle. At the top of the cover is the Authors name. The background is a greenish blur of a crime scene.
First things first is to make a 3D cover so it looks like a book rather than a flat image. This will make it stand out better and hopefully grab a readers interest. It is obviously a story which involves a character who is a cop. Though what is the relevance about the Shattered Trust? Who’s Trust was destroyed and why? Maybe a bit of the synopsis will tell us what’s going on. Can we add it to the Facebook Post?
This depends on what type of Marketing you are looking at doing. Who are you aiming your ADVERT at? Are you doing a PAID ADVERT or a post in a group? Will you make a TEASER for the story or a POSTER. On that note…if you can’t use photoshop, GIMP, Krita or similar graphic apps then please use CANVA. It’s FREE and easy to use, even for those who think they aren’t good with technology.
CANVA – AUTHOR INTRODUCTION IDEA
In the first PNG image you have all the different areas, all giving you different information. Obviously this is a small image of what the poster would be if it were printed out. Looking at it digitally and asking a few friends, I see what they like and don’t like. The BOOK BLURB is to pale and needs to be BOLD FONT. The eBook app in the image above the authors profile image needs to be put in (can’t do this on CANVA FREE). I don’t like is the BOOK LINK.. it looks to big and untidy. We may make it smaller or use a QR Code.
We have made some adjustments on this second image. The book cover has been placed into the eBook app on the image. In the next image we have put the BOOK BLURB in bold to show what it looks like.
The main issue with the poster is having to use two different apps to make the poster. We started in CANVA and played around, asking for opinions… Now we need to put all of this together. This same poster only needs the book cover adding to the eBook reader along with the QR Code and then it is finished. For now we’ve left the book link in though made it smaller and bold.
My next question is: What do you think? Is it good? Are there any changes? What do you get from reading the poster? Would it make you look up the author and read her books?
A while back I posted about the psychology behind FONTS and COLOURS, then I discovered SHAPES had various meanings as well. Pulling all three together to make a LOGO or ADVERTISING MEDIA when you’re starting your business would be a bit of a nightmare. The more I think about what I missed over the years while education myself as I went is horrifying. This is something I don’t remember covering in any business course I did in 2015/2016 and I did three, the last being a Diploma in Business Enterprise. It goes to show these courses don’t cover everything.
PSYCHOLOGY OF SHAPES
What do you know about SHAPES? Which one’s appeal to you? What draws you in? Great questions and it makes me wonder what you notice when you watch adverts on TV or see adverts on billboards, in newspapers or social media. What shape do you see most often? Does it appeal to you? If you’re on social media, what makes you stop scrolling? The SHAPE, COLOUR or FONT! Perhaps all three, because someone got the right combination for their business.
How do you choose a SHAPE for a Logo? Good question. My logo is based on Family History of my partners line going back to the 1820s in London two hundred years ago. The Lamp still stands on Woolwich High Street, outside the building which was a pub. The last I heard, the building is now a hairdressing salon. This shows how much thought I put into my business when I first started in 2014. Not much at all. I was learning as I progressed. However, I will keep my logo. I like it as does my husband.
What do you need to do? Research the psychology of SHAPES. Watch Adverts and understand what you’re seeing, what they mean to the business who created it. Make a list of the ones you like along with the colours and hunt down fonts you can use. Bring them together by starting with a black and white design, edit the graphic until you’re happy with what you’ve drawn or had your graphic artist draw. Choose a font which matches your business and then you have millions of colours and shades to play with.
Last week, we travelled to Sanson and visited Viv’s Kitchen for a lovely morning tea of cream horns and iced chocolate drinks. It was sublime. What catches the eye though are the colours. They used various shades of a gorgeous mint/pale green along with a retro style. It draws customers in and we had time there. Below are a set of photos from their website. The link you can find above.
This is just one example on how to get things right. The café has been busy everything we’ve visited. This lovely café has also been on TV and is famous for their cream horns. A lush pastry horn coated with sugar. In the centre is jam and cream. Most delicious.
Starting a business, then get your thinking caps on and research what you need to make you stand out from everyone else.
There was a bit of confusion on my first post. I’d like to say, this series of posts is aimed at writers who wish to be Authors and make an income of some kind or another. As an Author, you run a business. In business, NOTHING is FREE, most certainly not your TIME.
You’ve made your choice. You’ve written a few short stories and sent it out to friends and maybe family. The replies you get back are positive. ‘We Want More’ (Yes I know this doesn’t happen to all of us). Strangely enough, this is what happened to me, however, I also had a lot to learn about writing in the English of today. There are many changes since I was at school. A lot of stuff I didn’t understand, though with examples (like Cathy who write Word Wars) a lot was instantly understandable.
“You should write a book.” and this is when you start your research. Most writers don’t have a clue where to look, how to research, who to trust. However, it had improved in recent year with Facebook Groups, with saying this, there are still plenty of Scammers and Spammers in those groups. Many get removed and blocked when they are found. The first question I asked myself was “how do I connect to agents and publishers?’ I had no clue and I’d never heard of Independent Publishing back in 2012. It was a bit of a nightmare. Once I found an Agent, I found out they didn’t understand my genre. I still laugh about it. As for publishers…or editors, well they wanted things set out in a certain way or your email would go straight into a bin never to be seen by anyone.
What’s this got to do with Websites and Social Media you ask. Well as you learn how technology works, your start to realise there is more to writing a book than you thought. I’d never heard of AUTHOR BRAND back then, it wasn’t something I was even aware of. SALES and MARKETING can be done via your WEBSITE and SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS, though you need to have the knowledge to do this. You need to learn or find a tutor. A traditional publisher won’t touch you if you can’t format a document how they wish you to. They also prefer you .to have a following which helps to add up to SALES.
Where and how do I find or make a website?
A great question. We started our first one way back in about 2012/13 and it was a complete disaster. We didn’t have a clue what we were doing, though we were pretty good with technology, even with continual frustration. Where was our first website? WORDPRESS.
In 2014, we tried WIX, it was easier to use with a few learning curves to find out how to design and use templates. It was enjoyable to use. In fact, we still have an Author Website there, which needs updating. The thing with WIX we didn’t like was not been able to download our website content to take elsewhere if we found a better deal. By this stage we had a few author friends on Facebook and they suggested trying WORDPRESS again. One friend, Markie, helped us through the process until we knew what we was doing. It was great. WORDPRESS had lots of tutorial if you needed them. These days we’re happy helping others with WORDPRESS, however this year they’ve updated and though the basics are the same, the editing isn’t. It’s still annoying and post take a lot longer to produce.
Your Website on WORDPRESS
Due to knowing how to use WordPress better than any other I’m going to show you the ropes. Some simple steps. I’ve included images for those who have a hard time with technology. I know we all learn differently. The will also be a description for those with sight impairments or who are blind.
Below is a view of the page which opens up to create the first step of your website.
The first thing you need to do for you WEBSITE is pick a name for your Business or Author website. In the image below it will show you what is available. My advice…is to start with the FREE WEBSITE as indicated by the tabs circled in the image. You can always buy later if and when you can afford.
This next image looks a bit scary, though it really isn’t. It shows the pricing for the different types of websites you can have. However, right above those panels it says ‘Start with a FREE Site’ You need to click on this. I have drawn a circle around it so you can find it.
Now it’s time to build your website. You have a name and if you look at the image below…
As you can see it is straight forward. There is a bright pink tab saying GET STARTED in the middle of the page and on the RIGHT there is a list of things you need to do. As each one is done, they will get a GREEN TICK.
Also note you can go back and change your website at any stage if you find you don’t like something. It’s a good learning curve to be able to do this because you get to find your way around.
You’ve hit the GET STARTED tab and it takes you to a page to NAME YOUR SITE! Something you seriously need to think about. Remember this is part of your marketing and AUTHOR BRAND.
Is this site for a BOOK SERIES or for you as a writer? Is it for an anthology of multi-authors? The ideas for your website are endless though it is worth playing with different names until you find what is right for you, be it your actual name, pen name or book series name. Remember once you know what you’re doing you don’t have to stop at one website, however you do need to publish posts to each one at least once a week.
This image shows you where you fill in the blanks…Again…with your business name. As you can see on this sample, I am building a website for Jenny Raven Gifts, who has recently started an online business with recycled items and upcycled then into new items. Under her business name it asks for a TAGLINE. (something under discussion still for Jenny). This is another important part of your marketing. My own TAGLINE is – Building Books One Step at a Time. This shows that the Author Services we offer will help our client turn their manuscript into an professional book file for online distribution websites or local printers to where the client lives.
You have your website name and tagline, so what’s next? Continue to follow the list until you are ready to launch your website to the world. Play around and learn how it works. There is still plenty of work to do. MENUS, CUSTOMIZING, WEBSITE TEMPLATES…
The list includes, Updating your HOME PAGE, CONFIRM YOUR EMAIL FOR THE SITE AND CREATING A MENU (this is where your pages show and in what order). After you are happy with your website set up you can LAUNCH your website. This is great, you’ve done it. One last thing to remember BEFORE SHARING YOUR LINK…ASK A FEW TRUSTED FRIENDS TO HELP YOU PROOFREAD THE CONTENTS AND MAKE SURE ALL THE PAGES WORK.
The last few images are to help guide you around your website to make changes. You need to know about WP ADMIN. This takes you do a new page where all the things you need are listed in a black panel down the left-hand side of the website. Have a look through the list to see what you can do. The following two images are to help you customize and choose a theme. Once you open customize as shown on the image to the right of your screen, you will be able to change COLOURS, FONTS, BACKGROUNDS. You can add WIDGETS, SOCIAL MEDIA, PAGES and sort out your MENU and what order you’d like your PAGES in.
First you need to look for APPEARANCE, which opens a new list and you then click on CUSTOMIZE. The best way to learn is through PLAY, just don’t play for to long or you’ll get totally frustrated and none of us want that. If you still need ASSISTANCE, then ASK!!!
We know we haven’t shown you the CUSTOMIZE PAGE, we thought it would be fun for any of you making a website to have a look around on your own. LEARN BY PLAYING.
This image shows you how to find THEMES. It will take you to a page of TEMPLATES you can use for your website. There are a lot to try out. You can choose to PREVIEW them before you pick the one you wish to use. Take your time and find something that suits you, your genre and or book series.
Below is a screen shot of the TEMPLATES. You can do a SEARCH for what you want. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT NOT ALL THE TEMPLATES ARE FREE. MAKE SURE TO CLICK ON THE FREE TAB ON THE TOP RIGHT SIDE OF THE IMAGE.
Once again, choose wisely. We have updated my websites a few times of the years and we always use a template which shows WIDGETS down the right hand side of the screen. We also prefer the smaller Header Photos. This is of course a preference for YOU TO THINK ABOUT.
HOPING THIS HELPS YOU WITH YOUR WEBSITE AND BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR BRAND. PLEASE SHARE WITH THOSE WHO NEED A HAND WITH RESEARCH. THERE IS SO MUCH MIS-INFORMATION OUT THERE ALONG WITH SCAMMERS AND SO MANY STILL GET CAUGHT OUT.
PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH IF YOU WISH TO BE AN AUTHOR, AFTER ALL YOU CAN’T BE A CERTIFIED PLUMBER WITHOUT THE CORRECT TRAINING!!
Our next post will be about SOCIAL MEDIA SITES and how they work
Who likes Nike, Adidas? Who’s your favourite Movie Star, Poet, Author? The first two are BRANDS which people love. The Second are people who can be turned into BRANDS and generally are. So, how do they do this? What does it mean to have a BRAND?
If you get a big enough BRAND you can sponsor others, the same way Nike and Adidas do. They are MARKETING MACHINES, but how did they do it? How did they get so big and noticeable? It’s a bit of give and take. The big businesses sponsor the big names in sports and movies. If a movie star loves the shoes, clothes, drink…whatever the business sell, then the public will buy and support the person being sponsored which in itself supports the MARKETING MACHINE. It continually circles around, making money.
As authors and publishers we need to do something similar. The trouble is getting your foot in the door. How is this achieved. Well it’s time to ask some of the Independent Authors who’ve made a success of their books. There is one lady I know you’d all love to chat with. Sadly she is busy heading for a deadline right now though Jami Albright has given me permission to share how she went about her first book launch, which also shows how she used her BRAND to her advantage.
Find Jami’s Podcast HERE. Other details are below. This Podcast is mainly about a Book Launch, though it shows the process she went through to get SALES and REVIEWS, both an important part of how we use our AUTHOR BRAND.
This article was written by Jami Albright in 2017. Jami has since released another three books in her series.
The minute you decide to sell your book it stops being your baby and becomes a product. A product that needs to be launched into the world. Which, frankly, is a dubious task when you consider that there are millions of books on Amazon alone, not to mention the other platforms such as, Kobo, Apple iBooks, Google Play, and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.
Did you hear me, people? Millions!
So how do you launch your book so it will sell, but also stay sticky in the Amazon rankings and therefore, continue to sell? We have to have a plan. A launch plan.
On April 11, 2017, I released the first book in my Brides on the Run series into the top 3000 in the Amazon paid store and had 50 reviews within the first three days. Eleven weeks later (as of this writing) my book is still ranked in the top 5000 and has over 200 reviews. It’s sold 1100 copies, and has 700K pages read in Kindle Select/Kindle Unlimited.
My little book has made over $5000, y’all! (I’m a Texan. We’re excitable.)
When I was asked to write this article about my book launch, my first thought was, Surely, there’s someone more qualified than me to talk about this subject? Because, while I’ve done well, other indie authors are knocking it out of the park with their numbers. But like most of you, I’m a part-time writer with family responsibilities, and a day job, who’s doing everything I can to figure out this indie publishing thing. What I’m trying to say: If I can do it, you can do it.
My launch plan began months before I put my book on Amazon. I started by understanding my genre and making sure my book met the expectations and conventions of that category. How did I do that? I read books like the ones I wanted to write. I familiarized myself with the tried and true tropes that readers want, and then worked very hard to make sure I delivered on those expectations. You can choose to write outside of the parameters of a genre, but know that you are going out on a limb to do it. And you might find yourself alone on that limb with your determination to be unique and no audience. Readers come to a genre knowing what they want. If you disappoint them because you decide to break convention, they will not be happy. They’ll then share their displeasure by leaving a nasty review.
The same is true of covers. When choosing a cover for your book, check out the top one-hundred best sellers in your genre. Are there themes, colors, and fonts that are used to signal that the book is a YA fantasy or a cozy mystery? I’m not telling you to copy those covers, but you should use them as guidelines for your own design.
I write romantic comedy. In the rom-com sub-genre there are three camps as far as covers go. One camp is full of sexy, shirtless guys. The second is illustrated covers with quirky characters, and third features women in flirty skirts, that only show their legs. My book didn’t fall neatly into any of those styles. It’s kind of a combination of all of them. It took several iterations, but I came up with a compromise that I think works. It’s flirty, quirky and sexy, just like my book.
A reader should be able to look at your cover and tell immediately what kind of book it is. If your cover and your content don’t match, then you’ve confused the reader. And a confused reader is one that moves on to the next book by another author.
In addition to a great cover, you also want a blurb or book description that hooks the reader. If you don’t know how to write good copy, learn, or pay someone to do that task for you. Bryan Cohen’s How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis is an excellent resource on the subject. If done well your cover and blurb can sell your book for you.
Before we move on, one more quick word about covers. Put down the mouse and step away from Photoshop. Now! You should not be making your own covers unless you have an extensive background in graphic design.There, I said it. Someone had to.
Hire a professional cover artist. A good cover can cost as little as $25 for a pre-made all the way up to $3000 for an artist commissioned cover. Mine cost me $200, it would’ve been less, but much to my designer’s annoyance, I kept changing my mind. The two most important things you will spend money on are the cover and editing. You should have someone other than your mother or your high school English teacher edit your books. You need a professional editor. Period.
I know these things cost a lot of money, and if you’re like me, that money isn’t in your budget. But it’s important, so important that I worked odd jobs to make extra cash and, ultimately, sold plasma to pay for it all. Was it hard to travel thirty minutes to an unfamiliar part of town, sit for hours in a small room filled with people I didn’t know, and get stuck with a needle twice a week? Yes. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I have a book I’m proud of. A book that looks professional on the inside and out. A book I paid for with actual blood, sweat, and tears. Damn right, I’d do it again.
Now that I’m off my do whatever you have to do soapbox, I should say that you can sometimes barter with an editor to get the services you need. Or find a graphic design student that has experience and wants to build their portfolio.Or just wait and save up until you have the money.
I know you want your book out yesterday, but we’re playing the long game. Smart, professional authors don’t rush something to market that isn’t ready because it will hurt them in the long run.
To re-cap, we need to know our genre expectations, have a fantastic cover that we don’t make ourselves, a well-written blurb that hooks readers, and professional editing and formatting.
Finally, I can’t encourage you enough to get involved with the indie community. Once I realized that indie publishing was the route I wanted to take, I immersed myself in learning everything I could about the business of self-publishing. I listened to podcasts, I got involved with Facebook groups geared toward publishing and marketing, I went to the Smarter Artists Summit, and I tried my best to be a good community member and make meaningful connections with other indie authors. Little did I know how those connections would be a driving forces behind my successful launch.
In the beginning, I had very little to offer other writers other than encouragement. I could share posts, give moral support and be a friend. So can you. It requires a little effort, imagination, and courage, all things you have because you’re a writer.
How do you feel? Do you think you’re ready to release your baby… um… product into the world?
Please continue to read our blogs for the processes about Author Brand and Book Launches, and please remember the first step to building your book is RESEARCH
Our next article will cover Social Media and Website Building. What to expect, what you need to do and learn. Much of this also depends on your budget. Can you afford it or are you willing to LEARN what’s needed to get your BRAND working for YOU.
There are lots of new writers out there each and every day. There is also a heck of a lot of confusion in writing groups. The same questions get asked constantly, people give inaccurate information to each other, few do their own research to find the information they need to publish a book. The main issue is paying for publishing.
Paying for Publishing – Confusion
What is the new writer really asking? What should your reply be if you’re trying to help them. We really need to look deeper than saying things like ‘don’t pay for publishing it’s Vanity Publishing and Publishing is FREE’ If you say publishing is FREE then you obviously don’t value the time it took you to write, to learn the processes of how to publish. Not everyone is good with computers, websites, marketing, graphic design, etc. And these aren’t even the start to building your Author Brand
There are steps to publishing a book and getting it accepted by a distribution website, the same as there is a process if you wish to try traditional publishing. It doesn’t matter which way you go, you will PAY for various things along the way. Now you want to know HOW or WHY, or WHAT THE HELL…
With Traditional Publishing you will pay for the work they do via royalty share for the life of the book. This is how they make their profit. If they don’t see a profit in your book, you won’t get a contract. Of course prior to that is the time it takes to find an Agent, write proposals, etc. It is all time consuming and your time shouldn’t be FREE.
With Independent Publishing you will pay one off FEES for various areas you don’t have the skill set to do yourself. If you are willing to lean, it makes it cheaper, though please remember your TIME is not FREE. Everyone should have an Editor even if it is your job in life. We all miss things in our manuscripts. The best part of Independent Publishing is you get to keep all your royalties and copyright. If you’re good at Marketing, you may earn a decent income.
AUTHOR BRAND – AND WHAT YOU NEED TO DO
Step One: Writing a first draft of your manuscript. WRONG. The first thing you need to do if you wish to earn a decent income as a writer is research your Author Brand. What is this? you ask. Well it’s developing you and showing everyone who you are and what you can do. A bit like a Resume. Once you’ve listed what you know about yourself you can REASERCH what you need to do to get there. What do you need to learn? What way do you wish to publish? How does Publishing work. Do you want to try Independent Publishing or Traditional Publishing. Both have different processes you will need to learn.
At this stage I’m looking into Independent Publishing. You’ll need to research the genre you write. Who’s in the top 100 on Amazon? What are their book covers like? Why are they a best seller? What is their book blurb like? How many novels have they written. How did they find their fans? What are their websites and social media sites like?
There’s so much to research before you even start to write and though you can learn from other writers and authors, you will find some things don’t work for you or are incorrect. RESEARCH is still the key to develop your Author Brand and any learning curve processes you will need.
Step Two: Social media and websites. To build your fan base you need to start chatting, sharing teasers, photos, information about you, your stories. It depends on which social media sites you use. This is where your learning curve begins. Guess what you need to do…Yep RESEARCH… This time you need to learn how to build a website and how to use social media to your advantage and which ones are best for you! How to make a newsletter and get readers to sign up. Once you decide what you need to learn and how to use them, the real work begins. For many, it’s not as easy as it seems, especially when social media keeps updating their technology, causing frustration due to having to learn something new…AGAIN.
Also remember you’re supporting yourself at this time. (unless you have another job). Think about how much you’d expect to earn each hour you research, each time you do something to move forward. How much an hour are you worth? This is the FREE part of publishing, though only if you consider your time is worthless
I’d like to introduce you to one of my Contractors for Editing. Partners In Crime Book Services. They do a lot more than Editing, and they are excellent with their work. What they do shows a top business you can trust, it highlights a wonderful Mother and Daughter team.
Partners in Crime Book Services is a family-owned and operated small business, run by longtime promoter Annie Smith and her daughter, USA Today bestselling author Lily Luchesi.
Founded in 2019, PIC has grown from promotion to offering a myriad of services for authors and publishers, including:
The aforementioned book promotion (which includes blog posts, groups, pages, and Twitter)
Editing (proofing, developmental, and line included for a single price)
Graphic design (covers, banners, teasers, and logos)
Social media management (Facebook pages and groups as well as Twitter)
Facebook event management
ARC reader management
And special bundles for new releases or publishing packages.
One could say PIC was formed back in the 1970s when Annie and her late mother would promote musicians. Her mother, Mary, founded the first fan club for The Black Crowes, alongside another fan, when they were starting out in the industry. From there, the two women did local PR in Chicago and West Hollywood for bands such as Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Cinderella, Poison, RATT, Enuff Z’Nuff, and more.
Annie also ran Aerosmith’s fan club; her job was drawing and making up the puzzles for their newsletter, which was some of the earliest newsletter marketing.
Promotion ceased in the early 1990s when Annie had her daughter. Then it picked back up with a new crop of bands beginning in 2005, with bands like My Chemical Romance, The Used, Aiden, Kill Hannah, Vampires Everywhere!, New Years Day, Falling in Reverse, Street Drum Corps, and Stitched Up Heart, Pretty Awkward, as well as others.
Annie and Lily were first on board with Hollywood Waste Records, an imprint of Century Media Records, as their Trainwrecks (the name of their street team). After a few active and entertaining years in the music scene, the duo took a break as Lily began to focus on her writing career.
Applying what she knew firsthand and from Annie’s past, Lily took to marketing her books right away, using Annie as an unofficial PA to find readers across all forms of social media, as well as ARC readers and street team members.
With advice taken from others who were in the industry longer than she, Lily began learning newer marketing techniques, such as Facebook events and newsletter swaps, and how to brand herself as an author. She also began teaching herself graphic design to create teasers eye-catching enough to garner reader attention online.
In 2011, while still working in the music industry, Lily also ran a successful book blog under her birth name, and via those reviews, she built a rapport with authors, even giving advice on their ARCs and how to improve them. That was how she began editing when one of them asked her if she would look over his short story before publication.
Lily edited for three years before quitting to focus solely on her books and improve her craft, as well as did blurb doctoring and critique.
In 2019, during a time of personal change in their lives, it was brought to Annie and Lily’s attention that they could begin offering their services for a fee to authors in need. From there, Partners in Crime Book Services began to blossom. (The name for the company came from Carson Cole Allen a musician in the bands Escape the Fate and Me Vs. Myself, when he called them partners in crime while they were doing music promo.)
Their first clients came from Lily’s former publisher, and from there the business grew and grew, taking off from extremely humble beginnings to garnering clients from around the world, in various genres and with varying needs.
The duo love what they do; seeing their clients succeed brings them joy beyond words.
Just Publishing Advice is a great website written by Derek Haines. Generally I reblog the good stuff…like this. This time I have to share instead. Enjoy the read and You’ll find the rest on their website with many more interesting articles.
You can’t sell books. You can only bring your books to the attention of book buyers.
The most difficult task for all authors is maintaining consistent book sales.
There is a catch 22 that applies to most new books. It is that you need book sales to get book reviews, but you need book reviews to get sales.
Then you need to get enough regular unit sales to keep a good sales rank, so you can sell more copies. It is a fact that the top-ranking books in a genre, sell far better than lower ranked books. And by a huge factor.
Can you answer some of these questions?
What can I do to give my books the best chance of sales success? What are my niche genres? What are my best performing keywords? How can I make my book more visible? How can I get potential book buyers to notice my book? Who are the best book retailers for my book? Is my book price too high or too low?
Are you having trouble answering these questions? Here are a few tips to help you improve your book sales potential.
Does your book get an A grade pass on these three fundamentals?
These three elements are key to selling books online.
Your book cover
You know you need a great book cover and probably have one. But have you considered that the colour or font might be a problem?
Look at the top ranking books in certain genres. You will see that there is often a commonality about colours. For instance, science fiction books are generally dark, and very often blue.
For romance, pastel colours are predominant. For mystery and thriller, heavy and dark, with black shades are common.
What about your title font? Romance titles use a lot of fancy script fonts, whereas mystery and suspense use bold san serif fonts. But paranormal and fantasy often use fine serif fonts.
Compare your cover with the 50 top-selling titles in your genre. See if you can make your cover better suited to what readers expect.
Yes, you checked it one hundred times. But check it again now. Is it totally error and typo free?
If it has been some time since you published, it is a very good time to revisit your book and make sure it is perfect.
Your book description is second only to your cover in attracting reader interest. Make sure it contains hooks that will instantly gain interest or intrigue.
It should scream, please enter! Also, why not write three versions and then you can test which one works best?
Like a book cover, compare your book description with bestselling books. Can you get a few clues from them to improve yours?
Do you know your niche genres?
When you published, did you quickly choose your two broad categories? Romance and Fantasy? If you did, your book is lost amongst thousands of other similar types of books.
You need to drill down through the categories to find two niche categories for your book. It will have a much better chance of being found by buyer search. It will reduce competition and help you to rank better and sell better.
Again, check top-selling books in your genre and look at their categories. Here are two examples of a good niche.
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Fantasy > Sword & Sorcery
Did you do any keyword research? Do you have a list of your book’s keywords? Have you checked if they are performing well?
Your seven search keywords on Amazon, and sometimes more on other retailers are vital for getting book sales. It is because these keywords are how people will find your book when using retailer search.
Your keywords can also be used on your blog or website to help get organic traffic from Google.
So they are very, very important!
One mistake new authors often make is that they select seven individual words, thinking that a keyword must be singular. This is not true.
A keyword can and should be a short phrase. Think about your book and make a list of seven keyword phrases related to your book’s story that you can use. Then test them by using them in Google search.
Good keywords often use only verbs, adjectives and nouns, so avoid prepositions and conjunctions. Short questions can sometimes work too. But you don’t need to add a question mark.
Italian love story Where was she killed Hot tropical island adventure Dark days long nights
Online book retailer visibility and discoverability
Can tick off all the tips so far in this article? If you can, you will be a long way towards getting your book seen more often. You will start to attract online book buyers and readers who have an interest in your genre.
Getting your book looking right and in the right place is the very best you can do.
Book buyers make the decision. But make sure you give them the best means to find your book and every reason to consider buying your book.
Outside the bookstore
You can help your book a lot by listing it in narrow niche categories and using solid keyword phrases. It helps your book discovery in online bookstores such as Amazon, iBooks, B&N and Kobo.
To promote your book more broadly, you will need to leverage the Internet. Your two best avenues are your website or blog and using social media as best you can.
One overlooked avenue to gain a lot of potential readers is Google. To give you an idea of how powerful Google Search is, I can give you the example of one book that was listed on our book promotion site in 2016.
During an SEO upgrade of our site, we began adding sub-titles where possible in an H3 tag and in the SEO title.
This book had gained some traffic during the time it was listed. But after these two simple SEO improvements, it began ranking quickly on Google.
What did we change? The title and author could not change, of course. But by adding the sub-title, “Japanese Love Story” as a keyword, it soared.
As I mentioned before about keywords, it obeyed the rule of only adjectives and nouns.
Apply strong keyword phrases and add them to your title. Also, add them to H2 or H3 tags, as well as your SEO title and description. For your blog posts and web pages, it is the best way to get your book discovered organically.
For social media, the best lure by far to gain clicks to your book is your cover. Images are the most powerful means of attracting attention on social media.
Find other powerful images you can use for your blog posts. It will add variety when you share on Facebook or Twitter. Make sure that they are connected to your book’s theme. This will stop you from blasting your cover all the time.
For Google Search, keywords and text rule. For social media, images rule. That’s the rule.
First of all I would like to thank everyone who follows Plaisted Publishing House. It is wonderful to see you all reading my posts and leaving messages. Now we get to what iweneed…Let’s see if you can help.
We are setting up a list for Bloggers who will promote Indie Authors via Blog Tours and Interviews. If you accept the challenge we would need an email address and you would receive a Media Kit to use to post on your blog. This will help you get your name out there and I would share all links sent back to me. Also please state genre’s you’d be interested in.
I would also like Reader Reviewers for ebooks. Emails are once again needed…either a kindle email or normal for a PDF version of the relevant book. All we ask in exchange is for a review of the book. These reviews would appear in ‘The Indie Publishing News,’ in the Reader Reviews section along with being on my blog and added to media kits if or when they are available. Please state your genre preference. Reviews would be great if posted on Goodreads and Amazon – if they will let you.
There are no payments involved. This is all voluntary and a way to let people know what you think of Indie Authors, Graphic Designers (Book Covers) etc. This is about helping each other and furthering your reach on social media.
Seriously would you ask a plumber to do some work in your house and not pay them, would you tell a cashier their goods aren’t worth paying for. Then don’t ask an author for a FREE Book. Seriously, that is just lame.
Do you know how much time and money goes into producing a book for you to read? I doubt it somehow.
The first part is of course is finding your muse and writing your first draft. A draft can be anything from 500 words to 200,000 plus, after all it is their story to tell. So think about the hours it take to write that many words. Then you have the re-drafting x about 20 or more RE-WRITES until their story makes sense, flows well etc. this could take 6 month or a year, if not longer. It depends on the genre, and research done.
I recently spent 18 months with a client assisting her with writing and producing her book. Time is of course money.
Next is the EDITING PROCESS. An author will work with one or more Editors for months to get their manuscript perfected. Copy Editing, Line Editing, Grammar – It all costs money.
BOOK COVERS are the next thing, and certainly not the last. Once again you consult with a Graphic Designer or Book Cover Artist. You may need changes or adjustments. Once again this take time and MORE MONEY.
FORMATTING. This is when the manuscript is turned into ebooks and PRINT Books. Another thing authors have to pay for unless they know how to do this themselves. You book needs to look like any a reader buys from a shop or picks up at a library. Professional.
MARKETING. This is an ongoing event. Yes some marketing is free, though it doesn’t mean it works. An Author has to market continuously to get their work out there, make connections and a name for themselves. They will need to do Interviews, Blog Tours, Events, Book Signing, Giveaways, Sales….
So perhaps you’d now like to add up all this time and money spent. It is in the thousands. So the one thing an Author needs is YOUR SUPPORT!! So the small amount of royalties they earn can cover the costs of Editing, Book Covers and Marketing.
Oh don’t forget these Authors also have families, and daily job so they can actually live and feed themselves. Unless you make the big time as an Author, it isn’t going to be your daily income.
The only free books we do are those to assist Authors get their name out there with Anthologies of short stories…We all absorb the costs and assist each other. Even then the FREE Version is an eBook not a PRINT.
DON’T ASK FOR A FREE BOOK.
ASKING FOR FREE BOOKS IS JUST BLOODY RUDE.
PS Some Vanity Press can charge up to $20,000 for all of the above.