The Most Effective Marketing Tool for Your Book: An Email List!

With all the options for book promotion out there, it’s hard to figure out what to spend your time (and sometimes money!) on. I’ve got the answer for you today: your mailing list.

Picture this….
You’ve just hit the publish button over at KDP after months of work on your new book. You’re elated to finally have it out! But then it hits you, you have to sell it. So you head on over to your mailing list account, put together a new release email and send it out your list. Then you take a well deserved nap!

Two days later, you’ve topped the best seller lists in your category and are heading for the top 100 on Amazon.com because your readers opened your email, clicked the link and bought your book. (Oh and they forwarded it to their friends as well.)

The return on investment for email marketing is nearly $40 for every $1 you spend. Crazy, right? But it’s true! If you don’t have a list (or you aren’t using the one you have), it’s time for a change.

Here are some tips for success:

Use a Reputable Provider
If you want your emails to land in your subscriber’s inbox, you need to use a reputable provider like Aweber.  Aweber helps you build your list with all the forms, templates, how-to videos (or step by step visual tutorials) and one-on-one support that you need. They also have an awesome blog to help you grow your list. (You can give them a try for just a $1 here.)

Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Building a good list takes time which is the main reason you should start now even if you haven’t released a book yet. Whether you have 3 people on your list or 3,000, send out monthly updates about your books and host a gift card giveaway regularly so that people look forward to your emails and want to open them. Then, when you send a new release email, you can be sure readers will open it.

Give Away Something in Return for a Signup
Come up with a free ‘treat’ you can give your new subscribers. This gesture of goodwill starts you off on the right foot with your subscribers and gives them an idea of what they can expect from you through your emails. Make sure your treat is unique to you and your work. Some good ideas would be an exclusive short story, missing chapter or insider world building details about your novels. You can set up an auto-responder that will deliver your gift to your new subscriber immediately, no matter what time of day they sign up.

If you’ve ever wondered how authors shoot to the top of the best seller lists on Amazon with a new release, now you know. Building an email list is a long term investment in your career as an author. So don’t wait another moment to start a list!

The Biggest Mistake Book Promotion Mistake You Can Make

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!

Book Blurb Makeover!

Book-Blurb-MakeoverBook blurbs are the most important sales copy that you’ll write–yet authors often write them as an afterthought. Today we’re putting book blurbs first.

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.

Step 1: The Headline

Your character’s job/place in life + a description + main plot action = Headline

Example:

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.

Step 2: Main Description

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.

Step 3: The Proof

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!

4 Book Marketing Ideas You Can Do Right Now

Book Marketing IdeasSelling 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!

Guest Post: The 3 Keys to Designing a Book Cover that Sells

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.

1. Do you have a clear message you want to portray?

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

2. Consult other designs.

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.

3. Get honest feedback.

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 RugersScarlett 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:
http://booksat.scarlettrugers.com
http://www.facebook.com/scarlettrugersdesign
http://www.twitter.com/thebookdesignr

Author Website Toolkit: The Website Planner

Website-Planner-3d

Click Image to Download the Planner

Want to save time when setting up your website?

Use the Self Publishing Toolkit’s Website Planner!

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.

Don’t delay. Download your Website Planner and get started on your site today!

Download the rest of the Website Toolkit by clicking here.

(And remember if you have any questions about setting up your site, you can contact me!)

How to Market Your Book on Twitter

How to Win with TwitterAre you tired of authors who tweet constant links to buy their book? Yeah, me too.

Some days, though, when your sales numbers on the KDP dashboard are stagnating, desperation kicks in and those buy my book posts look pretty tempting.watch full movie Star Wars: The Last Jedi 2017 onlineThe Fate of the Furious 2017 live streaming film onlineSleepless 2017 live streaming movie

Resist.

There are other, much more effective ways to sell books and that’s what I’m going to cover in this post.

I’ll give you four easy to implement ways to get your books in front of your Twitter followers.  (If you need more followers, see Getting Twitter Followers.)

Write a Blog Post

If you need something to Tweet,  write up a quick post and then tweet it out a few times throughout the day. You can use HootSuite (free)  to schedule your tweets after you’ve written your post. Make sure you vary the text of your tweet, rather than sending out the same message over and over.

The benefit of this is that you are driving traffic to your website or blog where people can engage with your site. (Bonus points if you have a mailing list set up. If not, stayed tuned. I’m going to cover that in the not too distant future.) Make sure that you have your social media buttons set up so that they can follow you on Facebook, Pinterest, or Google +.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

I know that writing a blog post takes time away from your regular writing schedule, but it’s worth it. Your post doesn’t have to be ultra deep and could be as simple as a photo you find inspirational. Take a moment to think about your books–what could you write about that relates to your book or your genre? Remember you are creating engaging content that helps people get comfortable with you and your writing. And when they like what they see, they’ll buy your book.

Writing blog posts also has the additional benefit of contributing to your site’s SEO. The more content you have on your site, the more Google love you get.movie Logan 2017

Create a Book Bubble

Bublish is a new service for authors that allows you to create an attractive book sample that you can share wit your Twitter followers. (See one of mine here.) You can send notifications to both Twitter and Facebook directly from Bublish. Bubbles are very quick and easy to create and the best part is that Bublish tweets your bubbles out to their followers as well. So it’s win/win.

You can also use your book bubbles to participate in #samplesunday on Twitter, so creating a couple of bubbles is a great investment of your time. (You’ll need an .epub version of your book. If you don’t have one, you can convert your file in Calibre, which is free.)Beautiful Accident streaming

Retweet Your Followers

This is a great way to create good will. Retweet or respond to some tweets in your Twitter stream. You know how happy you get when someone retweets you? Exactly. This only takes a few minutes to do, so go ahead and pay it forward. You’re bound to make someone’s day!

Create a Contest

Contests give you lots of chances to tweet as well as drive traffic to your blog and encourage retweets. You can use Rafflecopter (free)to set up your contests and manage the entries. I would advise that you do not give you book away. You want people to buy your book, so think up something else to give away. You could give out a few Amazon gift cards (which is a great way to get them to buy your book) or the chance to name a character in your next book. You could also do a ‘favorite things’ giveaway and list a few of your favorite things that you’ll send to the lucky winner.

Rafflecopter only takes minutes to set up and you can use it as an incentive to get Facebook likes or retweets from your Twitter followers.

See how easy that was?

How do you win with Twitter? Add your tips in the comments below!

 

Secrets to Super eBook Covers that Sell

A good book cover pre-sells your book. We all know that, right?

But how do you know if you have a good cover?

It’s not about the image you choose or even the designer, it’s about understanding how Amazon displays your book cover. Whether you are using a Pro or DIYing it, you must understand these critical points to create a book cover that sells.Roblox Hack No Survey No Download

Size Matters

Your book displays on Amazon at 87 pixels across. That is not a lot of space, my friends.

Your book cover must look good at a small size.

Shrink your cover down before you publish and make sure that you can read the title, your name and get some sense of what the book is about at a small size.

Take a field trip to Amazon and browse through the books via the search function or the genre bestseller lists. Note the covers that look good and then determine why. You want a book cover that stands out in a line of covers other covers. This is not as hard to do as you might think. There are a lot of dark book covers on Amazon with titles in super skinny fonts. The minute you reduce that kind of book cover, you have an illegible mess. So no matter how beautiful your cover is full size, you have to have a beautiful thumb nail as well.

Contrast is King

The Self Publishing Toolkit.One of the most critical components of your design is the amount of contrast between your background and your book’s title.

The majority of Kindles in use right now utilize the grayscale e-Ink display. I’ve placed the cover of the Self Publishing Toolkit to the left of this text in grayscale at 87 pixels wide. This is an approximation of how it would appear on a Kindle. The cover is easily readable, yet still manages to convey the theme of the book. (This cover was designed by Karri Klawiter of Art by Karri.)

Make sure you check and see if your cover displays well on an actual Kindle before you hit publish. If you don’t own one, use the Kindle Previewer or your graphic design program to covert your image to grayscale so that you can get a feel for how potential readers are seeing your cover when they are browsing on their Kindles.

Branding

The key to making money as a Self Publisher is to write a lot of books, preferably a series that hooks readers from the get go. Readers should be able to tell your related books at a glance–this is branding.

Branding should be one of your top priorities when you are designing a cover because it helps you to stand out in a very crowded field. If you have a series of books on Amazon, make sure that the covers connect to each other in some way and clearly indicate what number the book is in the series.

Many authors incorporate a graphic or stamp on their cover to indicate that the book is part of a series. Middle grade book series do this very well, so look to them for good examples. (Check out Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven Series for some really cool covers that are tied together by a common theme.)

Going Pro?

Using a professional designer is a good idea for a lot of reasons. (My favorite is the time I saved!) But before you hire a designer, make sure you get references from previous customers. Find out what their experience was and what they liked about working with your potential designer. A good place to find excellent cover designers is the Kindle Boards Yellow Pages.

Self Publishing is booming business and a lot of service businesses have sprung up all over the place and it seems that all you need is a copy of Photoshop and a free blogger website to be a cover designer. So do your homework and know what you are getting as well as when you are getting it before you agree to pay for your cover.

If you want (brutally) honest feedback about your cover, you can post it over in the Writer’s Cafe on the Kindle Boards. There is an awesome community of writers, editors, and cover artists that will set you on the right path.

Any Questions? Let me know in the comments or contact me.

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