Monthly Archives: October 2011

Bowker Pubtrak latest Statistiques


Bowker Pubtrak Stats

EBook Sales Are (no surprise) Up.

Internet Book Sales Are
(no surprise) Up too!

Read the whole story on Ask the Agent


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Amazon Marketing

Amazon Book Promotion

You have listed your book on because it is the world’s largest book seller and everyone in the publishing field says you must. Once your book is published on Amazon, do you let it just sit, while waiting for sales?  And then you are not making sales to anyone but family and friends. You need to learn “how to work Amazon”!

Discover how brilliant their book catalog sales pages are structured and how you can promote your book continually and on multiple levels – if you use their free promotion tools.  Amazon structured their site for auto-promotion, promotion and more promotion for each and every book.

Unfortunately these automated systems and promotional layers are unknown to many authors. Also unknown is the importance of, and how easy it is, to rank to the top 100 in several high-profile lists, some without even selling one book. But being seen in these lists nearly always generates sales.





Category Bestseller
Category and subcategory best seller lists were created to highlight an item’s rank in the categories or subcategories where it really stands out.  Choose the smaller categories that are more tightly targeted to your subject.  This sounds simple but you would be surprised how many authors don’t pay attention to this.  One example:  instead of placing your book in the Business category choose the smaller, less competitive and more precise sub-category under it, Business-Budgeting.

Why are the proper categories so important? Without the right categories you may never earn a category bestseller, therefore never gain the publicity needed for higher visibility, never be recognized by Amazon’s algorithms which gains you better rankings in the numerous other Amazon top 100 lists, which generates more sales, which gains higher visibility, which gains rankings, which generates more…

You won’t believe how easy it is to rank in the first few pages, and you don’t have to sell even one book to earn placement. Choose tags that best describe your topic and ask friends to “agree” with them by clicking on them. Get as many as possible to click the checkboxes because this gives you higher ratings in those Tag Communities. The Tags section of Amazon sales pages are much more than just a search engine assistant.

Top Rated List
Here is another Amazon top 100 list, where you don’t need to outsell anyone to make the list. You don’t have to sell one book, yet inclusion in this list nearly guarantees sales.

Amazon’s search algorithm finds and tallies the number of reviews for each book and its star rating. The more good reviews your book has the higher up this reader’s choice Top Rated list you go. So be sure to urge all your readers to write a small review on your sales page.

Top Ratedfor Kindle books only
The Amazon top rated calculation is based entirely on customer reviews. In addition to average star ratings, the calculation takes into account an item’s total number of reviews and compares it with other items within a category or subcategory. This allows books with strong star ratings across many reviews to outrank items with a better average rating but only a few reviews. The Top Rated calculation also gives less value to older ratings in favor of more recent ratings to ensure that the Top Rated lists highlight items that customers currently think are best.

Customer favorites Top 100 of the year
Customer orders per year are measured by this rating.

Best books of the month
These books are monthly picks of Amazon editors.

Bestsellers in Books
These lists contain the top 100 bestselling book sold by every author in every category combined, and are hourly updated.

Best Books of the Year
Books editors at Amazon read all year, considering every book, “Is this one worth telling people about?” These are the books they’ve been talking about all year, and have watched customers spread the word about too.

Top RatedKindle e-books only
The Amazon Top Rated calculation is based entirely on customer reviews. In addition to average star ratings, the calculation takes into account an item’s total number of reviews and compares it with other items within a category or subcategory. This allows books with strong star ratings across many reviews to outrank items with a better average rating but only a few reviews. The Top Rated calculation gives less value to older ratings in favor of more recent ratings to ensure that the Top Rated lists highlight items that customers currently think are best.

Most Gifted
These lists, updated daily, contain books most often ordered as gifts.

Most Wished For
These lists, updated daily, contain books most often added to Wish Lists and registries.

Amazon created an ingenious marketing engine, in several layers of free and automated publicity, each layer completely unique, and each one reaching millions of readers every minute – but it helps authors only if they use it!



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How Darren Rowse gets millions of blog visitors is seen by over 3 million people each month.  In April 2006 when Darren Rowse started the site, it was just a simple blog that saw 3-4 new posts a week. The growth of a blog can be attributed to many different factors: quality content, generating a subscriber’s list, and excellent Search Engine Optimization. Rowse says that “leveraging” had a big part in his blog’s success. What he did was:

  • directing readers from a previous photography blog to his new site
  • using his connections in the photography blogging world to get some promotion from other sites
  • asking his Flickr followers to promote his site

Among other good practices, he used resources that he already had on-hand to help him to boost his new site.

What can YOU do with your blog content?

Create an Ebook
Find a series of articles that have a similar topic and compile them into a marketable format.

Create a Video Series 
Say you’ve got a bunch of articles that describe, step by step, how to create (…fill in…)

Post on Social Media
Recycle some of your most interesting content and post it on, Facebook, eZines – always with a link to your blog.

Refer-a-friend Promotion
Provide a reward for your users that gets another person to become a visitor, member or sign up for the email list.

Guest Posting 
Guest posting allows you to attract targeted traffic that is already interested in your niche.

Blog Comments
Participate in the comments section of other blogger’s posts and on social sites.

There’s no need to constantly create new things – instead form new relationships, or attract new readers to your blog. You can even use this post to start leveraging right away – can you leave a comment that will get me to visit your site?



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Posted by on October 30, 2011 in Marketing, Self-Publishing


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Why You Should Ask Yourself Some Hard Questions

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

Before you even attempting to write, develop and market an e-book, or paper book for that matter, create yourself a roadmap.
Research first and build a solid foundation. The problem is that too many people are in a hurry to start writing and don’t lay a foundation for book marketing. They spend all this time writing, and then they have no buyers.
Do the research and find out if your idea is going to make money. If yes, great! Go for it. If not, find another idea.



Ask yourself some hard questions:

• Who will be your e-book readers?

• Is there a demand for your eBook product?

• Is your e-book a “must have” purchase?

• How much will people pay for your product?

• Does the purchase of your eBook lead to additional e-book sales?

• How much money will you need to fund your project?

• How likely are you to excel among the competition?

• How do you contact and “pitch” your product to your potential buyers?

• How to you get the important book reviews?

• Do you have already lots of followers in your social networks?

Writing your book is only 20% of the work, 80% is marketing! Having a plan on how you intend to market, publicize and sell your book before starting to write it is crucial.

• Choose your book content
• Start marketing your book, even before writing it
• Design and format it into a perfect downloadable file
• Create a professional cover for your e-book
• Select the e-book retailer to upload your book (Amazon, Apple, B&N, Sony…)
• Continue marketing your book

You are responsible for providing your own ongoing marketing for e-published work – the same as for paper books 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.



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Bravo ! Amazon ! Finally !

Suddenly e-books are much better looking…

Amazon is releasing “Kindle Fire” by mid-November, and the company is already working on tweaking its immense collection of e-books for maximum compatibility with the Kindle Fire.

Amazon is actually retiring their MOBI format in favor of the new .KF8 format (or Kindle Format 8), this includes support for 150 new formatting tags, supporting HTML5 and CSS. This is quite a shift in direction for the eCommerce giant from supporting MOBI 7.  HTML5 is quickly becoming the new web standard and Amazon is moving in this direction.

They will convert all existing content into the .KF8 format, and users also have the option of updating existing titles they have on their Kindle ebook readers and Kindle readers on other mobile platforms.






Amazon is also releasing a new set of Kindle Publishing Guidelines, which ebook authors and publishers should take into consideration when building their content for distribution via Amazon.

This is where a professional formatting/conversion company gives helpful support to authors and self-publishers.  Publishers will need to update their titles in order to use the new format.

The new Amazon Kindle format will ideally support a wider array of devices, and not just Amazon’s proprietary Kindle ebook reader. The new format also allows for more versatile formatting, as well as a more portable format. The company is said to be looking for a replacement for its .MOBI format, and this seems to be it.




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Get More Links and Visitors to Your Blog





Joining the community of contributors is a great way to get more readers to your blog. It’s easy! More readers find a link to your blog or website. Submit an article from your blog to:

•Choose a blog article to share, and note its Permalink URL.
•If you know what carnival you’d like to submit it to, select it below.
•If you’re not sure which carnival to choose, browse our list of carnivals.
•Fill in the other fields (hint: copy and paste!), and hit Submit.

Ninua (pronounced nin-wa) has built one of the largest distribution platforms for news on social networks, connecting 750,000 blogs and publications to the real identities of their writers and readers. You need a Facebook account to login and submit your blog.

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Posted by on October 27, 2011 in Marketing, Website & SEO


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Writer’s Residency Applications


We ask that writers spending an extended (4-1/2 month) residency give a reading of their work during their time of residency and contribute to the literary life of Stonington Borough, CT, in some other fashion. Applications for the 2012-2013 term will be accepted between October 1, 2011 and January 25, 2012.
The stipend for the Spring 4 1/2 month term will be $5,000. Smaller stipends offered for the Brief Residencies.

James Merrill Book




Posted by on October 27, 2011 in Writers Residency


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Why Forgo $500,000.00 Book Advance?


Snippet of an Interview with Barry Eisler

Why did you decide to forgo the $500,000.00 advance you were offered to strike out on your own and publish independently?

The first reason is the digital split. A legacy publisher offers authors 17.5% of the retail price of a digital title, while a self-published author keeps 70%.

The second reason, though I supposed it’s really so separate from the first, is control over pricing and timing. The current business imperative of legacy publishing is to preserve the position of paper and retard the growth of digital.

Legacy publishers try to accomplish this objective by charging too much for paper books and by slaving the digital release to the paper. I believe my sweet spot per-unit price  is around five dollars, and legacy publishers won’t price new digital titles that low – in fact, they went to war with Amazon over Amazon’s $9.99 price point, which they judged too low.

I also want to release the digital version as soon as it’s ready and the paper version afterward because a paper book takes longer to get to market, and legacy publishers insist on holding back the digital version until the paper version is ready.

Anyway, in short, my second reason was that my philosophy on price and timing is antithetical to the price and timing philosophy of legacy publishers, and theirs to mine.

A third reason, by the way, was control over packaging decisions. I’ve lost too many sales to lazy, ill-conceived covers, and prefer to be in charge of such matters.

Read the whole interview at




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Amazon feature: @author

@-signReaders can ask authors questions about their books as they are reading it.

The new program, called @author, lets Kindle users highlight a passage and then ask the author a question about it via their Amazon author page or Twitter. Only questions as long as 100 characters can be asked from within the e-book itself, but more in-depth ones can be posted to the author’s official page on Amazon.

Of course, only a handful of questions will actually be answered directly by authors, but other readers are free to chime in (or and offer their take. If the writer does respond, readers will be notified by email.

It is a step toward a book culture that is increasingly author-driven rather than one driven strictly by publishers or even necessarily books.

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Posted by on October 26, 2011 in e-publishing, Marketing


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Freelance Writing

Antique Typewriter

Here are 8 possibilities to offer your freelance articles.

Check out their previous editions and study carefully submission guidelines before pitching a story. 


Note the editorial calendar. Readers find useful tips and articles that pertain to any retail operation–everything from marketing and display ideas to finance and legal matters.



Salvo publishes an eclectic range of articles in the areas of sex, science, and society. What distinguishes our content is its systematic deconstruction of false ideologies, philosophies,
and worldviews. Articles should be well-researched and logically sound, as well as somewhat timeless in subject matter. Salvo is intended as a permanent resource; thus, articles that are overly tied to current events will be rejected. Articles should be no less than 600 words and no more than 2,500. Pays 20 cents/word.



Spirituality & Health is a nondenominational bi-monthly magazine that reports on the people, practices, and ideas of the spiritual renaissance in contemporary society and their impact on personal and community well-being. It provides readers with practices to aid them in their own spiritual formation and strives for journalistic objectivity in the presentation of stories about specific religions and denominations. Features may run from 800 to 2,500 words.
We do not accept fiction, poetry, or music submissions. Pays $300 to $1,000 for features and up to $200 for briefs.


Hunting, advice, true-life adventure, and equipment about sport hunting. Also accepts fiction and art with hunting themes. Pays up to $800 for fiction up to 3,000 words and articles up to 2,500 words. Departments are 800 to 1,200 words and pay $250 to $750. Photos pay extra.


Payment is made in Canadian funds upon publication. Articles in Herizons are licensed for first time North American rights @ .20 cents/word with an additional .5 cents/word for non-exclusive subsidiary rights, including the right to transfer articles to CD rom for educational/academic libraries and/or secure on-line database services. Herizons’ audience is a feminist readership.


We’re looking for content that’s both informative and entertaining for active women who value a healthy lifestyle. A “healthy lifestyle” encompasses everything from how we treat our minds and bodies (nutrition, fitness, health, beauty) to how we treat our planet (green living, social responsibility, eco-friendly products and practices). Our features vary in length from 800-2,500 words.


We are a Canadian feminist press publishing books of special interest to women. Our list is a mix of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books. We look for manuscripts dealing with the many diverse and varied aspects of the lives of girls and women.


Collca is an electronic publisher specialising in bite-size ebooks and apps for the Apple iOS devices – iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. We’re also starting to expand our electronic publishing program beyond apps for iOS devices.  In particular, we’d like to hear from authors who could write bite-size non-fiction ebooks on almost any subject, well-structured, contain around 10,000-15,000 words and written for the general public rather than for experts. Pictures and diagrams are desirable but not essential.

Excerpt from 

Subscribe to their newsletter and you will find regularly tips about freelance writing.

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Posted by on October 25, 2011 in Freelance Writing


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44 Tips to Get Relevant Web Links

Links are still the most important tool in Search Engine Optimization on the Web.  But how can you build relevant links?

Content is king

1. Build a “101 list” These often become “authority documents”. People can’t resist linking to these .

2. Create 10 easy tips to help you (…. insert topic ) articles. Again, exceptionally easy to link to.

3. Create extensive resource lists for a specific topic.

4. Create a list of the top 10 myths for a specific category.

5. Create a list of experts. If you impress the people listed well enough, or find a way to make your project look somewhat official, the experts may end up linking to your site or saying thanks.

Developing Authority & Being Easy to Link At

6. Make your content easy to understand so many people can understand and spread your message.

7. Put some effort in to minimize grammatical or spelling errors, especially if you need authoritative people like librarians to link to your site.

8. Have an easily accessible privacy policy and about section so your site seems more trustworthy. Including a picture of yourself may also help build your authority.
PPC as a Link Building Tool

9. Buy relevant traffic with a pay per click campaign. Relevant traffic will get your site more visitors and brand exposure. When people come to your site there is a possibility that they will link to you.

News & Syndication

10. Write  Ezine articles. Their article pages actually rank highly and send highly qualified traffic.

11. Submit an article to industry news site.

12. Send out a press release. Take the time to make a compelling and newsworthy one. Email it to some handpicked journalists and bloggers. Personalize the email message.

13. Track who picks up your articles or press releases. Offer them exclusive news or content.

14. Trade articles with other webmasters.

15. Email a few friends when you have important relevant news asking them for their feedback and link.

16. Write about, and link to, companies with “in the news” pages. They link back to stories and blog posts which cover their developments. Do a Google search (your industry + “in the news”).

17. Perform surveys and studies that make people feel important. If you can make other people feel important they will help do your marketing for you for free.

Directories & Social Bookmarking

18. Submit your site to DMOZ and other directories that allow free submissions.

19. Submit your site to paid directories. Another oldie. Just remember that quality matters.

20. Create your own topical directory about your field of interest. Obviously link to your own site, deeplinking to important content where possible.

21. Tag related sites on sites like If people find the sites you tag to be interesting, emotionally engaging, or timely they may follow the trail back to your site.

22. If you create something that is of great quality make sure you ask a few friends to tag it for you, hundreds more bloggers will see your site and potentially link to it.

23.  If you write about popular spreading ideas with plenty of original content (and link to some of the original resources), your site may get listed as a source.

Local & Business Links

24. Join the Better Business Bureau.

25. Get a link from your local chamber of commerce.

26. Submit your link to relevant city and state governmental resources.

27. Get a link from  every supplier you deal with and make it a prerequisite of attending a trade show or convention to get a link from them.

28. See if manufacturers or retailers or other business partners might be willing to link to your site.

29. Develop business relationships with non-competing businesses in the same field. Leverage these relationships online, by recommending each other via links

30. Launch an affiliate program. Most of the links you pick up will not have SEO value, but the added exposure will almost always lead to additional “normal” links.

Easy Free Links

31. Depending on your category and offer, you will find Craigslist or Kijiji to be a cheap or free classified service, include a link to your website for pennies per month.

32. It is pretty easy to ask or answer questions on Yahoo! Answers and provide links to relevant resources.

33. It is pretty easy to ask or answer questions on Google Groups and provide links to relevant resources.

34. If you run a reputable company, create a page about it in the Wikipedia or in topic specific wikis.

35. It takes not much time to set up a topical Squidoo page, which you can use to look like an industry expert. Link to expert documents and popular useful tools in your fields, and also create a link back to your site.

36. Submit a story to several eZines that links to an article on your site. You can also submit other content and have some of its link authority flow back to your profile page.

37. If you publish an RSS feed and your content is useful and regularly updated, some people will syndicate your RSS content.

38. Most forums allow members to leave signature links or personal profile links. If you make quality contributions some people will follow these links.

Have a Big Heart for Reviews

39. Most brands are not well established online, so if your site has much authority, your review related content often ranks well.

40. Review relevant products on We have seen this draw in direct customer enquiries and secondary links.

41. Create product lists on that review top products and also mention your link.

42. Review related sites on Alexa to draw in related traffic streams.

43. Review products and services on shopping search engines like ePinions to help build your authority.

44. If you buy a product or service you really like and are good at leaving testimonials, many of those turn into links.

More link-building tips an another blog, coming soon!


Posted by on October 24, 2011 in Marketing, Publishing, Website & SEO


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Appealing Book Cover

Or: How to Sell More Books

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

– 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, if you are computer-savvy and creative / artsy or hire a professional at Freelancer or Elance or just get in touch with your local college / graphic design class to find a young and eager cover artist.



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How to Friend Popular Bloggers

– and get them to link to your best posts?

Everyone says you should link to their posts, hoping they’ll notice you and start reading your blog. This works sometimes, but you need to be even a little more creative:

■Leave lots of truly memorable comments on their posts
■Email them an irresistible question, hoping to spark a discussion
■Write a guest post that gets lots of traffic and adoring comments
■Attend conferences that all of the “Who’s Who” of your niche go to and network your bud off
■Interview them in either a post or a podcast, making sure to ask lots of intelligent questions

The secret of building a popular blog isn’t just writing lots of brilliant content. Having many well-connected friends. The old saying: it is not important what you know, but who you know… is always true.

Want to know more about guest-blogging, go to:


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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Marketing


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FREE Publishing Business Virtual Conference

Mark your calendar:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

10:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Where? On your computer!

This FREE Publishing Business Virtual Conference is designed to uncover real opportunities in digital content for book and magazine publishers.

Features are: 
LIVE WEBINARS with industry experts in a virtual auditorium
Interactive EXHIBIT HALL with fully staffed sponsor booths
RESOURCE CENTER including downloadable collection of materials
NETWORKING LOUNGE to exchange ideas with your peers via live chat
MORE EVENTS (not free 😉

PubWest Conference 2011
November 3-5, 2011 in Henderson, Nevada
Beating the Odds: Making Money Making Books

Digital Book World 2012
January 23-25, 2012 in New York City

Publishing Business Conference & Expo 2012
March 19-21, 2012 in New York City
Cashing in With Cross Media Content


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Weakness of the Big Six Publishers


We all know what the big six are good at. They know how to produce a quality-looking book and get it into bookstores. They know the publishing landscape, and they know how to get a title into the market.



Large traditional publishers have relationships with book stores and book chains. They have publicists working for them to promote their books and editors to polish the final products. They have established relationships with their customers over many years or even decades. They submit books to all the major book awards. Imagine trying to research, compile, address, and pay for 200 give-away books and shipping just to put them in the hands of jurors. And I’m sure there are a lot more things that they do to get books to the readers.

To learn where they miss the boat is to gain access to a market segment and marketing ideas that you might have overlooked.

1. New York Publishers Don’t Think Outside the Mainstream
Publishers have particular criteria they look for in a successful book; the first is mainstream appeal, which is understandable since they have to appeal to a larger bookstore-driven market. If you have a book that is outside the mainstream, this is actually good news, unless you’re trying to find a major house to pick you up. The idea here is to understand that traditional publishing dominates the mainstream, but it’s the niches that tend to do very well. You’ll see these books in places like book clubs or the Writer’s Digest book collection and smaller, niche publishing houses.

2. New York Publishers Don’t Do Consumer Research
Yes, often publishers do not do consumer research. How do publishers know what to publish? They tend to rely on bookstores to direct their attention, as well as trends. What does this mean for you? If you have access to consumer data, you are light years ahead of the big six. Sometimes just having a mailing list on your website or even having a website where you interact with your consumer is sufficient. If you have access to this data and you are publishing mainstream, you are a very valuable writer to any publisher out there. Having access to this data is crucial for most of us and seen as a bonus when a publisher is considering a manuscript.

3. New York Publishers Don’t Publish to Niche Markets
Niche markets have no appeal to publishers and ironically, that’s where the trend of successful authors is headed: into the niches. Niches can be powerful but New York publishers stay away from them. Their entire model is set up to cater to mainstream product, so to slot some obscure, niche work in there would never work.

4. New York Publishers Don’t Sell Direct to Consumers
Publishers don’t sell from their websites; many have tried and failed. Why? Because the publisher isn’t the brand, the author is. This is starting to change in some areas as publishers seek to bypass Amazon and gather their share of the consumer market. Most consumers don’t really identify with a publisher as much as they do an author or a trusted online shopping portal like Amazon or

5. New York Publishers Only Promote Their Authors to the Top 30 Media Markets
When publishers develop marketing plans for their books, they don’t look at markets that aren’t in the top 30.  Knowing the landscape and marketplace will position you for success and you likely won’t get caught off guard by a stumbling block or situation that could have been avoided. Know your market – the more you do, the faster you will succeed!

Excerpts, reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free eZine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.



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