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Self publishing is hard work. Being a one person writing-editing-formatting-promotion department can be overwhelming on the best day. When your to-do list starts to get way too long, it’s all too easy to bail on promotion tasks.
When it comes to book promotion, the biggest mistake you can make is to do nothing at all.
But with all the advice out there, how do you know what to do?
The honest answer? It doesn’t matter as long as you do something.
If you only have 5 minutes, hop on Twitter and sent a tweet. Then find 5 readers and follow them. (Hint: find another author who writes in the same genre as you and follow their followers.)
Only 15 minutes? Head over to Facebook and update your fans. Ask a question to engage your readers or share a photo. Facebook is a great place to keep fans updated on the progress of your latest book. (Even if you only have a few fans, do it anyway! When a new fan stumbles onto your page, they’ll have good reason to like it.)
Have 30 minutes? Write up a quick post for your blog. Shorter content is great for short online attention spans. Share a great link, a book or even a picture. (Caption that photo! Captions are the most read text on your site.) To make writing blog posts faster, keep a running list of topics in Evernote or a Word file so you don’t have spend time thinking up a great idea.
If you’ve got more than 30 minutes set aside for marketing tasks, you can do all three of the above tasks and then check out the Self Publishing Toolkit Online for even more ideas!
Think of your book blurb as an ad for your book. Do not summarize your story. Instead, arouse the reader’s curiosity with intriguing bits of information about your story.
Here’s how to write a book blurb that sells your book.
Your character’s job/place in life + a description + main plot action = Headline
A small town girl uncovers big time trouble.
Write down your headline and then play with a bit. Catchy headlines are great. Feel free to use familiar phrases with a twist. This creates familiarity and builds curiosity at the same time.
*Non-fiction writers should concentrate on the main benefit of reading the book:
Make $25,000 in 25 days with these 2 Things.
There’s a formula for this too:
Sentence 1: Character’s name + job + opening situation
Blythe Barnes is the new owner of Spin Me a Yarn, Bingo, North Dakota’s only combination book shop and yarn store.
Sentence 2: When + Inciting Incident
When she trips on a loose floorboard in the back of her shop, Blythe makes a disturbing discovery about the only home she’s ever known.
Sentence 3: Now + your character’s stakes/what she has to lose.
Now, with the help of a man she barely knows, Blythe must leave Bingo behind to right an ancient wrong and save the town she loves.
Once you have the basics down (like the above example,) you can spend some time reworking your sentences and adding to it until you have a compelling description. Many authors (even traditionally published ones) have mediocre blurbs at best, so this is your chance to shine.
*Non-fiction writers, here’s your structure:
Most important question + the answer
What does every self publishing author want to know? How to sell more books!
Then you need to tell the reader exactly how you are going to solve all of their problems. Lists with bullet points work best for this. If you want to see it in action, just check out the Self Publishing Toolkit on Amazon.
Follow the body of your description with a few (3 at most) review snippets that verify your awesome writing skills. After the reviews, you can put a short call to action like: Scroll up and click buy to find out Blythe’s secret!
Calls to action are usually found on non-fiction pages but there is no reason why fiction writers can’t embrace the practice.
Head over to Amazon right now and spend a few minutes going over your book description. If sales have been slow, it’s an easy way to give your book a boost!
Selling books isn’t about the big things you do. Instead, it’s about doing one or two things every day to get you and your book in front of readers. Here are four things you can start working on right now to grow your book sales for the future.
1. Team Up
Two heads are better than one, right? Find a fellow author in your genre or niche to trade guest blogging gigs with. You can also bounce ideas off of each other and promote each others books.As self publishing authors we tend to think we are alone this world but we’re not. Keep your eye out on Twitter or Facebook for an author who you’d want to work with. Check out their blog and book before you email them, just to make sure that you’re of similar mindsets. Then get to work!
2. Write a Blog Post
One of the best things you can do for your visibility is to write blog posts. The more you write, the better chance that readers who share your mindset will find you. Write your blog about something related to your book–maybe you have a unique setting or you named a character after your beloved grandmother. Write to get people excited about your writing, not to tell them how hard it is for you.
3. Do Some Amazon Recon
Head over to Amazon and find out who the top selling author is in your genre. Then track them down on Twitter or Facebook and follow them. Check out their blog and website. Watch how they engage their fans and/or promote their work. Take notes and implement at least one thing. Promoting a book can be subjective, what works for one book doesn’t work for another. So explore all of your options and keep at it until you find the combination that works for you.
4.Pick a Social Media Network and Focus on It
Social media can be overwhelming. It’s impossible to be everywhere all the time, so just pick one network and focus on it. If you have no idea where to start, use Google to find blog posts from other authors on what they do or did to become successful. If Twitter isnt’ your thing, give Pinterest a shot. There are millions of people out there for you to connect with–so get started!
The very best tip I could ever share with you is simply to do something every single day to promote your book. It doesn’t have to be mammoth–just one little thing every single day–and before you know it, you’ll have created a nice platform for you and your book to stand on.
Do you have any marketing ideas that worked for you? Share them below!
Book cover designer Scarlett Rugers is giving us the low-down on how to get a great cover today.
Design can be overwhelming.
There’s so much to think about and consider when putting together a book cover, so to make sure you prioritise the right things.
I’m going to share with you what I consider to be the three most important things when designing it yourself.
This does not have to be specific, as in, ‘an 18 year old German girl falls in love with a rock star and she also discovers a plot to steal the magic blue diamond’. A story like that, with so many elements, is probably best off not saying any of that. When I talk about a message I’m talking about a concept, a simple visual. Something that encompasses the cover’s personality, character, and mystery.
What single image can sum up your story? If you’re not sure, turn to brainstorming. Write a list of words you want your book cover to encompass. Love, passion, stormy, arrogant, dark, terror, family. By always checking this list you can ensure you’re staying on track for a well-designed cover
You don’t have to start from scratch, you’re allowed to be inspired by other design. See how others in your genre have done it, and learn by example. Some of the best sites to get feedback is the bookcoverarchive.com, goodreads.com and pinterest.com. Take note of the image layout, the type faces used, where the type has been placed, the colour schemes.
What sort of covers are trending? Is a whole face used, or perhaps it’s more about texture, or sweeping landscapes.
I’m not talking about your mum, girlfriend, or dog. I’m not talking about your fan readers, I’m talking about people who are not afraid to give you feedback because they know it will help your chances, not hinder. This could be your beta readers, your local writing community, anyone in your circles that you believe are willing to give you constructive critique. I’m not going to pretend it won’t hurt, but it will help your chances of higher sales.
Overall it’s important to be open to change. I confess that I’m a repeat offender when it comes to sticky ideas. I get an idea, even if it’s idea #2, and I think THIS IS IT, THIS IS THE BOMB. When I get feedback for it I’ve been known to defend and fight off all the critique I didn’t want to hear. It’s taken a long time but, in the wise words of my University teacher, ‘ideas are currency, the more you have the richer you are’.
Be prepared to let go of ideas that just aren’t working and start fresh. It doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it means you’re a scientist. You test, experiment, and analyse what works best for your book.
What do you think are some of the most important things to remember when it comes to designing your own book cover?
Scarlett Rugers is a professional book cover designer, from Melbourne Australia. She’s worked with both self-published authors and traditional publishing houses, dedicating her time to make authors feel like best sellers.
Her goal is to help change the stigma of self-publishing and show it’s a professional field of high quality. She does this by designing beautiful book covers and working together with authors to produce the best book they can, and to encourage development of their skills in writing and publishing.
She has also been writing since 1998, and has published the non-fiction book of 1001 First Lines, and Oscar & Josephine, a fictional novella.
You can find her here:
In addition to being a quick and easy way for your website visitors to ask you a question, a contact form will cut down the amount of spam you get because you won’t have to post your email on your site. (The Akismet plugin will eliminate spam from your forms as well as your blog comments.) When a reader fills out a form, the information will be sent right to your inbox so replying is just as easy.
Please note: You must have the Jetpack plugin installed to complete this tutorial. If you don’t have it installed, go to Plugins>Add New. Click search, type in Jetpack and then follow the instructions.)
Want to save time when setting up your website?
This hands on workbook will help you to make all of the important design decisions for your website ahead of time, including your layout, colors and features.
All you have to do is download and print the workbook. Spend 30 minutes or so doing a little research and you’ll have everything you need to build a beautiful site.
When you are ready to set up your site, you’ll have everything you need ready to go and your set up process will be a breeze.
(And remember if you have any questions about setting up your site, you can contact me!)
I’ve just added a second Module to the Author Website Toolkit. You can check it out on the Author Website Toolkit page or just click the image above to download it right now.
This module covers:
We’ll be putting all of this into practice in an upcoming module but you can create a few pages and try out uploading an image with this module. Module 3 covers plugins and it should be out in a few days.
The Author Website Toolkit will help you design and build a professional website on the WordPress platform. You can see all current modules of the Toolkit by going to the main Author Website Toolkit Page.
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