Monthly Archives: January 2012

The Benefit of Creating a Contest

Title  Photo Contest:  
Years ago when I published a magazine in Europe, I launched a photo contest to find the best image for a magazine cover.

I was overwhelmed with contributions and the happy winner of the first prize received a round-trip transatlantic flight ticket.

At you can post photos that showcase places you write about, events your book has covered, or people you describe in your book.

Each Pin allows for a description and a link to the original story. Therefore, you can quickly connect an audience with your book’s story and future plans for other books, all via photo Pin.

And certainly a publisher, self-publisher or author could post book covers, images from inside the book(s) and create a contest around it. If the book is not yet published and you even don’t have a cover decided – why not post several cover versions and let the visitors at choose the most liked? Or a video contest, inviting users to create a new trailer for your book?  To give them an idea about your book, make a link to your blog or website for more information, so they get an idea about the content and at the same time get interested in your work.

Beside Pinterest, you should also post your contest on Google+,, Tumblr or on Facebook, have a link on Twitter, and post it on every social media site, you are involved with. If you have friends who are on other sites, they can post it for you there too.  Facebook’s encourages it even on their website: “Contests for Fan Pages enables companies & agencies to easily create & launch branded contests within minutes on Facebook Fan Pages. The following contest formats are available: photo contests, video contests, design contests, logo contests, essay-based contests.”

Make sure you don’t let your contest drag on too long, maximum 4 weeks. Offer a real great first prize and some for the 2nd and 3rd winner.  Allow the contest participants to vote to choose the winner, which keeps the audience interacting with one another and engaged long after each person has submitted their entry.  Use Google+, Facebook,, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter to promote the winner.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Marketing, post to public


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How to Self-Publish, and Why You Should

It is a great time to be a writer!

Author David Gaughran explains detailed and easy to understand in his latest book “How to Self-Publish – and Why You Should – the current state of the publishing industry from the authors, e-book publishers and the traditional book publisher side.

He covers topics such as piracy, royalties, literary agents and all these self-publishing myths.

In part 2 David Gaughran explains to authors how they can avoid (costly) mistakes in self-publishing, how important professional editing, well-done cover images and proper formatting are.

He stresses the importance of marketing a book -without incurring any cost but your time – such as blogging, creating a website, social networking and lots of reviews. And then he shows us 33 authors and their self-publishing success stories. Enough to be convinced?

I am surprised how few many authors know about publishing. They have a chance now to learn from this easy to understand, concisely and well written book to understand why and how self-publishing works – before they whine about not finding a publisher – and often end up with a vanity publisher who strips them of thousands of dollars for a couple of paper books, that are mostly not even edited.


Tags: , , , , ,

Show the Heart and Soul of Your Work in Your Book Covers


Font Lucida

A book that is brilliantly written, but lacks a good quality cover design will sadly remain unnoticed and undiscovered.

Therefore it is absolutely crucial, especially if you are publishing your own book, to have a book cover that grabs attention.

Book Covers are often challenging to design as they should show the heart and the soul of the book in one single image and at the same time should be visually striking, appealing and represent the book’s contents.

Will your e-book cover get judged in the same way? Certainly! This is why you really need to focus on the visual design aspect of your cover, because most people will not give it a second glance if it just does not look professional.

Here are some topics you should discuss with your designer.

• Use bold or complementary colors
• Use light on dark for dramatic effects (if it fits to your book content)
• Test the cover in thumbnail size to make sure it looks good at Amazon’s website
• Use not more than different two fonts in total
• Your name and book title should be distinguished from each other by either size, color, or font
• Use not too wide vertical spaces between lines of text
• Use very few shadow, bevel, gradient or glow – keep it subtle
• Align the cover text – centre, left or right
• Place text on plain background to stand out
• Use the same fonts for all your books and readers will be able to identify them easily
• People read left to right, top to bottom. Position your elements in appropriate levels of importance.
• Never, ever, use a white background! White on white is barely visible and your book will not stick out.


Font Arial

You never get a second chance for a first good impression!

  • Don’t use “flat” text – it is almost always better to add some shadow, bevel, gradient or glow.
  • Using various colors, filters, and effects available in Illustrator and Photoshop, you or your book designer can create book titles that are both, original and effective. Remember always: Your title and its appearance is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader.

A great image on your e-book cover will undoubtedly catch your reader’s imagination, wondering what lies beyond the cover. It’s a great opportunity to draw people in.


Leave a comment

Posted by on January 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


15 Million Reads Before Her Book Was Even Published

Life's A WitchSince the publication of aspiring young adult novelist Brittany Geragotelis  first book, “Life’s a Witch,” the Oak Harbor native has been enjoying the magical feeling of success.  She wrote her first book at age 15 after getting the idea from a dream. “Life’s a Witch” is the seventh book she’s written but the first that she has shared with the public.

The key to her success came from stepping away from traditional publishing methods and transfering parts of her manuscript on, which earned her 15 million “reads” before she started to self-publish her book.

Writers can post what they’re working on and readers can explore and give feedback, all for free. While she wrote and published her book on Wattpad, Geragotelis got feedback from readers, a huge help for finding out if she was pulling off what she was trying to do, Geragotelis said. Their favorite parts were the spells and the witty popular culture references.

Whether you have already self-published your own book or are looking to grow your readership before you publish, Wattpad is a supportive, viral community of readers to reach out to and expand awareness of your work. It is the world’s most popular e-book community. Wattpad has revolutionized the way people read written works by creating a unique social networking and digital entertainment platform for readers and writers to discover, share and connect. Content is easily accessible through Wattpad’s website (, mobile site ( or Wattpad app.

Wattpad has experienced explosive growth since its inception and has become the world’s most popular destination to publish and read e-books. Wattpad delivers billions of pages from its library of works created and published by the Wattpad community.

Wattpad in Numbers

  • 5M Monthly Unique Visitors
  • Users spend 300M minutes on per month
  • Wattpad is a great platform to reach readers on the Smart phones and iPods.
  • Users spend an average of 30 minutes per session on Wattpad, twice a day
  • Wattpad is available on over 1,000+ mobile devices and is downloaded over 1M times per Month.

Tips for authors from Wattpad:

Using social media to connect with readers is crucial for authors who are trying to promote their work. As part of your social media marketing activities, use this great place to meet readers, grow your fan base and promote your work to a targeted reading audience.

Be Personable. Readers love to know the ‘behind the scenes’ details of what they are reading. Respond to comments and thank readers for becoming your fan.

Connect With Other Authors and Readers. This is critical to all social media efforts. You must give to other authors and readers what you expect in return.

Provide Content and Be Social. Content is King online, but socialized content rules the kingdom. Readers won’t remember you with just one chapter and no comments or voice. Provide a variety of work for readers to get a good idea of the kind of writer you are.

Be Patient and Start Early. Self-publishing can mean connecting with writers on a one-by-one basis. It may take a few months to see a large uptake in traffic. If you have a book coming out, give yourself time to create a fan base; don’t just start two weeks before your book becomes available.

Post Often. Readers will lose interest if you only post one chapter. By exposing more of your catalogue you are reminding readers of your work and staying connected.

Get Featured. Authors who post completed works are encouraged to contact us for consideration for being Featured, which places your title higher on mobile apps and on the site.

Brag to Us. We love advertising about an author’s success. Did you reach a milestone you’d set for yourself? Have an article written about your work? Or contribute a guest blog? Let us know and we’ll make sure to use our channels to let our readers know.


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Open Letter to Amazon

Please feel free to copy and paste this email (just put in your name instead of mine) and fire it off to Amazon, especially when you sell your books on Amazon.


As more often their practice is questioned, as more they might think about to chance it.

Emailed to

“Hello, Dear Amazon

I just read in a blog about surcharges for Amazon books in certain countries, and I must admit, I also was a bit wondering when I ordered a German e-book from Amazon, that instead of the 0.99 Euro I had to pay 3.49 Euro – which means approx. 250% more than the original price…

One blog-commentar said:
“And let’s not forget that for authors who have chosen the 2.99 – 9.99$ price point for the 70% royalties : when selling in a “surcharged” country, the royalties are limited to 35% and not 70%, which means for a 2.99$ book sold at 4.99, the author gets 1$ and Amazon 4$ instead of 2$ / 1$ …
Amazon quadruples its profit?”

Comment on a blog

Please can you verify, if an author, who’s book is sold to a “Non-Amazon-Country” receives only 35% – even when the book is priced between $2.99 and 9.99 US ?

Thanks a lot in advance for clarifying,

P.S. As you can see from my blog that I promote Amazon a lot, but this is an issue which doesn’t fit in the “big picture” and I (and my readers) really want to know if it is true…


Tags: , , ,

ISBN Numbers and How to Get One

ISBN Number New

Selling your e-book on Amazon doesn’t necessarily require one, but it will, as soon as you start a print version. Any book on your bookshelf or in book stores has an ISBN.

ISBN is the International Standard Book Number, a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books published anywhere in the world. The five parts of an ISBN are:

  • group or country identified
  • publisher identifier
  • title identifier
  • and the check digit

ISBN numbers are assigned by a group of agencies worldwide coordinated by the International ISBN Agency in London, England.

In the United States, ISBNs are assigned by the U.S. ISBN Agency: R.R. Bowker is the independent agent in the US for this system.  You can apply for an ISBN online. On average it takes about two weeks for ISBN’s to be assigned.

The publisher registration fee is US $24.95 plus a service fee that starts at $225.00 for 10 ISBN’s.  There’s also a $25 annual fee for each publisher, so whether you have one ISBN or a thousand, you’ll have to pay that additional amount too.

For a new publisher to get an ISBN – or better ten – will cost (in 2012) US $250 (or US $25 per ISBN). Since you can get 10 ISBNs for the same price as one, it is worth applying for books you have in mind too, rather than just the one you are right now going to publish.

Where to order ISBN’s :

see prices above

United Kingdom & Ireland
10 ISBN = £118.68

Single ISBN=Australian $40.00 and a block of 10 ISBNs=$80.00


The application process is simple and FREE of charge – but only if you are living in Canada.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 30, 2012 in post to public, Publishing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How Can Pinterest Increase Your Book Sales?

From their website: ” We think that a favorite book, toy, or recipe can reveal a common link between two people.”   Or in three words: Perfect for Authors!

Pinterest is a social media site that lets you discover, organize and share all the beautiful and also inspirational things you find on the web or even better: from your own photos. People use pin boards to get ideas about planning their book launch, organizing and showing off their best landscape images, decorating their home, planning a wedding or anniversary or finding some mouth watering recipes.

What are some creative ways you can use Pinterest for your book business?
For authors and publishing businesses it’s an effective way to create awareness, drive conversation, and more importantly generate sales of your products.
However, try not to use Pinterest purely as a tool for self-promotion. After all it is a social media site and not an advertising site!  Communication with other users is important if you don’t want to be seen as a spammer.  The website is ranked #129 in the world according to the Alexa traffic rankings, and # 26 om the USA.

Show your Book Titles on Pinterest
Authors and freelance writers: All your book cover images can be posted on Pinterest, or photos that are included in your articles.  It gives you the ability to add a short description that includes where to buy, cost, and even also the inspiration behind your work.  But not only photos, also videos are posted, which means you can add your book trailer (video) as well. Just go to the search function on the upper left site and type in “book” or “video”.

Funny, as I am writing this article, the title cover of Kathrin Stockett’s book “The Help” appears on the Pinterest website




If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 600 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks, Doris


Hyper Smash



Tags: , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: