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Monthly Archives: September 2011

How to Improve your Amazon Page – and sell more books

One of the greatest benefits of selling your e-book (or paper book) at Amazon is the space they provide you to “advertise” your work.  If you are a savvy author, take advantage of this marvelous opportunity and insert as much information about your writing and yourself as you can. 

Look at it from the standpoint of a reader; which e-book or book would you buy: The one that shows just a boring cover, name of the author, and a very short introduction to the book – or the one that:

- has a beautiful cover
- an all-embracing editorial review
- an authors bio with a portrait
- lots of customer reviews

So, what can you do to improve your appearance on Amazon and improve book sales? A lot indeed! Starting with the book price to earn the maximum, an appealing cover, lengthy editorial review, a marvelous author’s bio and lots and lots of customer reviews from readers, fellow authors and journalists that are writing for newspapers book review articles.

APPEALING COVER

Rule # 1 for your book cover at Amazon is NEVER to use a white background! White on white is barely visible and your book will not stick out, especially when you chose to have the text in black.  Your book cover should be:

- be aesthetically appealing
- appeal to the book’s intended audience
- represent the book’s contents

Furthermore:
- use a clean, readable font
- use bold or complementary colors
- use light on dark for dramatic effects
- visit a bookstore to research book cover designs
- test the cover in thumbnail size to make sure it looks good at Amazon’s website

An appealing book cover can be done through the use software, such as bookcoverpro, www.bookcoverpro.com if you are computer-savvy and creative / artsy or hire a professional at Freelancer http://www.freelancer.com or Elance http://www.elance.com or just get in touch with your local college / graphic design class to find a young and eager cover artist.

YOUR EDITORIAL REVIEW

Write as much about your book as possible and use all the space you get from Amazon:
Editorial Review—350 characters
From the Author, From the Inside Flap, and From the Back Cover—8000 characters
About the Author—2000 characters (All characters are including spaces, single page in 12point arial font is approx. 2100 characters)
See the detailed information on Amazon:
https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help?ie=UTF8&topicID=200649600


AUTHOR CENTRAL & AUTHOR PAGE

At the Author Central page on Amazon you get lots of free marketing help for your book set up your Author Central account if you haven’t already done so.  In Author Central, click the “Profile” tab. You will see sections for adding or changing your biography, photos, videos, speaking or other events, and blog feeds.  Sections are always available in Author Central, so you can add or change the information later.

It can take 3 to 5 days for the Author Page to appear on the Amazon.com site – so start right now adding content to your Author Page. If you add or make changes later, they will appear on the Author Page within 24 hours of the time you add them in Author Central.  There are lots of features for you to choose from – as more you add, as better:

  • Your Profile
  • Your Biography
  • Uploading Photos & Videos
  • Managing Your Blog Feeds & Your Events
  • Managing Your Bibliography
  • Uploading Book Images
  • Managing Editorial Reviews

Get all the information at: https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/help

Uploading Videos: You can share video interviews, book signing videos, and other videos with readers. Your videos should focus on specific features of your books or your experience as an author. If you publish at both, Amazon AND on Barnes&Noble, also use B&N’s video feature: “Interviews, Meet the Writers: Video”.

Hire a professional video maker to create your book promotion and upload the video to YouTube, as well as your own website, your blog or these of your friends, your Facebook site (ask all your friends to spread the word and to re-tweet).

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

Anyone registered as an Amazon.com customer is entitled to write customer reviews. They do not have to buy your book at Amazon, to write a review. Customer reviews are in order from newest to oldest with the exception of “Spotlight Reviews” that are based on how well the review was written and how helpful it was deemed by our customers.

BRING MORE VISITORS

What else can you do to bring visitors to you your Amazon page?

Selling books

Selling books

1. Create a direct link from your book to your Amazon book’s page

2. Link from your personal webpage, your email addresses, your blog, Twitter, Facebook etc. to your book’s page at Amazon

3. Create a signature with your book link for your email and also for any forums in which you participate. Whenever you write and end with your name, you signature with the direct link is always inviting people to go to your Amazon book page.

4. You can even put this link to your book’s page on your business card

5. Join the Kindle Forum to ask questions, get help and support from other authors.
Use every bit of support you can get from Amazon, and also what you find on this blog, and your book – if writen well – will be a success!

 

 

 

 

 

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Are you a Reluctant Marketer for your Book?

 
Do you avoid the social and selling aspects of self-publishing and promotion?  Discover an easy and free way to promote your book.  It’s still the #1 top way: writing and submitting articles to eZines and web sites in your field and having a link to your book order page.  Follow the Internet way — give your article away as samples, so people will want to visit the site where you sell your book.

Here some tips for your articles:

  • Use your book’s chapter excerpts
  • Keep your articles around 300-600 words each
  • Keep your article focused on just one thesis or point
  • Number the main points; people love easy-to-read tips
  • Leverage one article into three. Change your audience
  • Create a hook for a two or three-sentence introduction. Always good are questions to engage readers
  • Remember: free information is the reason why people go to web sites, so put your articles there as well as in a blog

    Lamp by Jiri Dokoupil

Just some of many eZines on the Internet:

https://www.amazines.com

https://www.howtoadvice.com/Submit/

https://www.ideasforwomen.com/contact.php

https://www.freezine-articles.com

https://www.dotcomwomen.com/submit.shtml

https://www.bpubs.com/cgi/add.cgi

https://www.articlepros.com/add-own.php

https://www.articleshaven.com/newarticle.php

Once you get lots of short articles out to eZines or top web sites in your field, you will notice that the search engines are ranking your site much higher, because they find your important key words that link to you and your book. Marketing at its best!

 

 

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Time to Write a Marvelous Biography

 

Antique Typewriter_SourcePDPhoto.org

Antique Typewriter_SourcePDPhoto.org

Writers nowadays have to promote themselves and their work more than ever before – online and in person. The online presence demands images as well as text, whether it is a biography on a website, a bio for your readers or an editor, or it is on social media sites. It should answer the question: Why is she/he a credible writer and knowledgeable about this subject?

Here are some tips:

-          Write max. 350 words about your publishing history

-          Avoid resume style, this is business writing

-          Mention awards, credentials, publication successes

-          Write either in the first or third person

-          It is all about your writing, not personal information

-          Include how you can be reached

-          Check out bios from as many other authors as you can find

-          Before you send it out: Edit, edit and edit more

Take the time to write a marvelous biography. You can use these lines for all your queries, for your publishing and social media websites, your book page on distributor’s sites and many more occasions, even the famous “elevator pitches”.

If you have written a book, contact me, send your writers biography, a cover image and a description of your work, and I will add it to this blog, certainly for free.

 

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2011 in Book Sales, Marketing

 

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Wrong Book Prices

Set your book price between $2.99 and $9.99 to receive the maximum royalty at Amazon. Having set a lower book price, under $2.99 you will only receive half of 70%, lousy 35%. Same unfavorable royalty conditions for Amazon books over $9.99.

Let’s say you set the price of your book at $9.99.  Submitting it directly to Amazon will give you almost $7 for each work sold, compared to: 60% of the List Price from major e-book retailers or 85% “Net” on a distributors website (which means the 70% you would theoretically receive from Amazon, minus the “aggregators / distributors cost” (which can be anything…) and then 85% from what’s left…maybe $4 in the best case, instead of $7 at Amazon.

Dollars

When you go through a certain “publisher” / aggregator, who’s name starts with S, and who promises your work to be uploaded to Apple’s iPad, B&N, Sony, Kobo and gives you a “free” ISBN number and free e-book conversion, you will lose out way more than only on your royalties:

  •  they, as the owner of the ISBN, are regarded as the publisher, not you
  •  conversions are at the best mediocre (you get what you pay for, well, nothing)
  • uploading to booksellers and distributors takes weeks or even months
  • copy editing / proof reading is non-existent, just to name a few of the drawbacks.

If you only sell a hundred books, you would have offset easily conversion and ISBN costs and would be your own publisher and upload your work to all the bookstores and distributors you want. Uploading is easy; you are guided step by step on all these websites. And you are the one who sets the (same!) price at all book stores.

 

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A famous Author’s Experience with e-Publishing

Rebecca Forster

Rebecca Forster

I decided to try E-publishing because I had hit a bump in the publishing road. New York was tightening up, I had parted ways with my agent and the project I was working on hadn’t captured an editor’s imagination. So, I published one of my 23 books out of curiosity, boredom, and a niggling idea that if I didn’t I would be missing something big.  Little did I know, I was dipping my toe into a roiling sea that was indie publishing and would soon be drowning in challenges and opportunities.

After publishing all my early work, I ended up with four books on the Kindle legal thriller bestseller list and stayed there. Then I published Before Her Eyes, a novel I believed in but one which  had received conflicting and cool rejections. It was scary, publishing without New York’s stamp of approval.  Multiple five star reviews later I felt sure my creative gut was working just fine..

Read the whole story and lots of marketing tips at Rebecca Forster’s blog:

http://twoendsofthepen.blogspot.com/2011/08/e-publishing-is-exhausting-exhilarating.html

 

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Pro’s and Con’s of e-Publishing

E-publishing is a form of publication especially attractive to new writers. Some of the advantages of e-publishing include:

Writers get a higher percentage of royalties through e-publishing because the initial financial layout for the publisher is so much less than for a paper publisher. Some indie writers receive as much as 70% of the profits in royalties.

There are no returns from book stores and no paper books ending up on landfills.

Faster publishing time for accepted manuscripts of they go with an e-publisher. Rather than waiting up to two years for a manuscript to see print, e-publishing generally works within a few weeks after acceptance.

Writers have the ability to update text often and easily at virtually no cost. This is particularly important for e-books related to travel guides or computer technology.

Unlimited links which are important to guide books and how-to publications, music, videos, images – all these can be added to e-books.

E-books are longer available as they can stay infinitive on digital shelves even with slower sales – not like paper books that will be discontinued after several months, if they did not become a bestseller. This gives new writers time to build a following by having their entire e-book available over extended periods of time.

If this looks all too rosy:

Many people aren’t aware of e-publishing and others prefer reading a book from print rather than electronically.

Average good sales so far amount to 500 copies for a successful manuscript.

Writers are responsible for providing their own ongoing marketing for e-published work – but this is true for paper books as well that are often not very well marketed. A book might be great, but if nobody knows about it, it won’t sell.

Authors can’t count on the public seeing their books on shelves or in store windows – they have to find it on the internet.

Writers usually do not receive an advance if they go with an e-publisher.

Facit: 
e-publishing can be a good way for a new writer to gain a following. Romance, science fiction, murder mystery and fantasy are all possible genres for e-publishing. It is also ideal for How-To and guide books that must be updated frequently. Businesses can also save money on employee manuals and training materials by e-publishing them. An added advantage is that e-books can be clickable. Table of contents and indexes can all make navigating through technical e-books a breeze.

 

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Bad Formatting = Bad Book Reviews

Readers are losing patience with e-books that are

  • full of typos
  • lost “Italics” 
  • use redundant words
  • have no paragraph breaks or indents
  • page numbers that end up in the middle of the page (note: e-books are page-less)
  • page numbers are all over the site on content pages (that should be linked to the chapters) … and the list goes on and on. 
Sony E-Book Library

Sony E-Book Library

These sloppily formatted e-books compromise the reading experience and customers will give them a bad review. Authors may be finding out about it too late themselves – the hard way. Failure to deliver a quality e-book format is adversely affecting reviews. If you are selling me a sub standard product you won’t get a 5 star rating from me, no matter how exceptional the story is!

Many publishers, even those claiming they are specialists in the self-publishing world, just upload the PDF file, which they previously used to have the book printed.  The problem is not just limited to little-known authors. Many of the e-books released today that were written by author super stars suffer these same indignities. Unless the user is reading with a PDF reader, PDF files do NOT make good e-book files.  Reading a PDF on a screen is usually annoying – unless formatted for that purpose. You can’t fit the traditional page at the traditional font size on a computer screen and expect it to be easily readable.

How to prevent these potential disasters?
Your book needs to be properly formatted and available in as many media types, to have it read by the broadest audience. One of the first steps in self-publishing is getting your manuscript ready for upload to the publishing channels that you have selected – hopefully all of them, if you want your e-book to be a real success.

For maximum exposure, it needs to be available in perfect form in all of the e-book platforms, including the Kindle, the Nook, the Sony e-book reader and the iPad. Sounds easy? After all, it’s just text and the upload must be simple. Sorry, there are no standards and there are no common word processing file types.  Instead there is ePub, Sony Reader LRF, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kindle .mobi, Apple iPad…

Spend the $200 or so and get it properly formatted for a variety of e-Readers. Just google for “e-book formatting”, “e-book developers”, “e-book designer” or “e-book conversions”.  But BEFORE let it proof-read and edit by a professional. Do everything to present your customers a great e-book reading experience and they will write 5-star reviews.

 

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e-Book Cover Design Awards Submissions

 

Hi all,

have a look at TheBookDesigner blog, there is an e-Book Cover Design Contest going on right now.
And lots of great posts too.

http://www.thebookdesigner.com/2011/08/monthly-e-book-cover-design-awards/

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in e-book design, Marketing

 

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Are e-Books Really More Environmental-friendly?

Book and Kindle

Book and Kindle

More than 40% of all books ordered by book stores, big and small, are returned if they are not sold within weeks or a few months – an anachronistic, outdated sales model. These books go either to rummage tables at book sales and might find a buyer or they go directly to landfills. Same with magazines.  Not environmental-friendly? Read on:

“One eReader requires the extraction of 33 pounds of minerals. That includes trace amounts of exotic metals like columbite-tantalite, often mined in war-torn regions of Africa. But it’s mostly sand and gravel to build landfills; they hold all the waste from manufacturing wafer boards for the integrated circuits. An eReader also requires 79 gallons of water to produce its batteries and printed wiring boards, and in refining metals like the gold used in trace quantities in the circuits. A book made with recycled paper consumes about two-thirds of a pound of minerals. And it requires just 2 gallons of water to make the pulp slurry that is then pressed and heat-dried (lots of electricity) to make paper.”

Then there are other issues to compare: fossil fuels, greenhouse gases, health concerns, toxic impacts, reading costs, disposal etc.  See an article by Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris, http://danielgoleman.info/2010/04/04/e-reader-versus-book-the-eco-math/

Conclusion:
After reading 40 to 50 books on your eReader, e-book reading is starting to become more environmental-friendly than book reading. But the most ecological way to read a book starts by WALKING to your local library.

 

 
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Posted by on September 1, 2011 in e-Books, eReaders, Publishing

 

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