By Indie Authors for Indie Authors.

Tag: writer marketing (Page 1 of 2)

4 Tips for Marketing Your Book and Increasing Sales

4 Tips for Book Marketing

 

Self publishing can be a scary endeavor, but just as frightening sometimes is the marketing that Indie Authors have to do after they publish. I want to share some of my own marketing tips with you to help you on your journey to sell more books.

I have published five books and have gone through what you are all going through. I’ve sat at my damn computer day after day trying to put into words the sensational story swirling around in my head. When I finally had my story down on paper—and more or less coherent—I had to start with the editing. Then, to add insult to injury, once the book was published, I had to demean myself to market it. Well, maybe demean is not the right word, but I do so hate to beg. I only mention my time in the trenches so you’ll know that I’m a veteran and have the wounds to prove it.

I’m here today to relate the little of what I’ve learned over the last five years concerning marketing. And don’t fool yourself, you gotta do marketing. Even Stephen King has to market his own books. He puts $200,000.00 of his own money into advertising each of his books. He can afford that kind of budget. But the rest of us will have to work a little harder.

Most of what I’m about to convey will be old hat to some of you. And to you brand-new writers looking for a signpost or two to help you find your way, I sincerely hope what I’m about to convey helps.

 

1) Newsletters

Using outfits with mailing lists is a good way to go. For $30.00 or $40.00, you’ll sell some books. When I use those resources, I’ll sell a couple of hundred or so. But you can go down that route only sparingly. They let you promote a book only once every ninety days. But after the first blast, you’ve probably made most of the sales you’re gonna make anyway. A few of the best are Ereader News Today, Free Kindle Books & Tips, Book Gorilla, and Choosey Bookworm. There are others and you’ll find ’em if you look for ’em.

One last thing, you’ll want to space out using these guys because you’ll want to know who will give you the most bang for the buck. And I’m sure some of the names on their mailing lists overlap.

 

2) Ask for Reviews

There is no other way to say this, but ya gotta go out and beg for reviews. Reviews spur sales. Ya gotta sit at your computer at least ten hours a day—or as many hours a day as you can afford—sending out the same query letter.

The first bit of advice that I read about when my first book came out was to get the list of Amazon’s top 100 reviewers and send them an email asking for a review of your book. I did that, but I didn’t stop at one hundred. I sent out almost 400 emails. I was into the top 600 by the time I stopped.

I did get two of the top 100 to review my book and both of them were kind enough to give it five stars. Subsequently, they’ve bought my other books and gave them good reviews. And that’s good. But … for my next two books, I sent out over a hundred requests to the Amazon top reviewers, and I didn’t get one single reply. Not every reviewer has their email address on their page. So, to send out 100 query letters, you have to go through about 300 to 400 profiles. It’s a lotta work.

 

3) Guest Posts

Next, the book bloggers: This is where the honey is. The people that read their blogs are readers and buyers of books. These are the people you want to know about your book. You can get lists of book bloggers by googling “book bloggers.” Who would have thought?

BUT (and there is always a but), book bloggers are inundated with requests for reviews. Some get 500 requests a week. At first, I went that route asking for reviews and I got a few. But the return on my investment (my time) was slim. I’ll explain.

Once you have the lists, you have to go through them and get the link to the blogger’s page. Then you have to go to their “Policy” page to see if they are even interested in your genre. You’ll be extremely lucky if you hit 50%. Then you have to go to their “About” page and get their name…if it’s there. If it is, personalize the salutation of your “begging” email and send out your request for a review. Then you go to the next name on the list and do the searching all over again.

Whew! Makes me tired just remembering going through all that.

I did that for ten hours a day, seven days a week. I must have sent out 2,000 begging letters for each of my books. But I finally got smart. Instead of asking for a review, I offered to do a guest post or an interview. It’s a win-win. The blogger gets content and you get to promote your book.

To date, I’ve done over 600 guest posts and I’ve sold a fair number of books because of those posts.

 

4) One Last Thing

This has nothing to do with marketing, but it is important. When you start getting reviews, the best policy is not to respond to them. However, if you want to thank someone for a good review, I reckon that’s all right. BUT … NEVER, EVER RESPOND TO A NEGATIVE REVIEW. Do so at your own risk.

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

 

 

Andrew Joyce AuthorAbout the Author:

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including his latest, a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, Mick Reilly.

Why Everyone Is Wrong About the Amazon Algorithm

amazon sale rank

Cate Baum wrote an excellent piece on “Mythbusting the Amazon Algorithm- Reviews and Ranking for Authors” that I think everyone should read. Cate Baum is the COO (Chief Operating Officer) of Self-Publishing Review and a former search expert. She knows her stuff. Earlier this year she had grown tired of all the misleading information that was being circulated amongst the Indie Author community about how Amazon’s rankings work. She decided she wanted to tackle the biggest myths and set people straight.

I highly recommend reading Baum’s full article. She even wrote a Part II since part one was so well received. (Thank you to @AssaphMehr for bringing both of these to my attention!)

Here’s the highlights with some of my thoughts.

 

Myth 1 – Nobody knows how the Amazon Algorithm Works.

False. Yes they do. 

Amazon uses an A9 algorithm. There are detailed manuals and articles that shed light onto how it works.

illust_productsearch_full

 

 

 

Myth 2 – Amazon has secret ways of ranking books.

False. It’s not secret. 

Amazon use preset factors inputed into the A9 algorithm. Cate Baum provides a very handy list of some of the factors that it considers:

 

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-2-04-33-pm

 

Myth 3 – You can figure out keywords that people will use to find you by typing into the search bar and seeing what is autosuggested.

False. Every search bar and the suggestions provided are personalized. 

Just like ever other sophisticated search company today, Amazon provides a personalized experience for each user. That means the search suggestions you see on Amazon are different than the search suggestions I see.

 

screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-2-07-25-pm

 

 

Myth 4 – It’s a job finding keywords to make your book discoverable and you have to do a bunch of tricks and resort to many author advice blogs to find answers and theories.

False. Amazon provides excellent guidance. 

Look at Amazon’s author guidelines. Amazon is fairly helpful in this regard.

 

 

Myth 5 – If you pick a niche category to get to #1 you are just conning everyone that you got to the Bestseller Lists by exploiting the “loophole.”

False. 

On this myth, Cate Baum is providing her opinion on Amazon’s node tree system for rankings and why she believes you’re not conning everyone by being #1 on a “niche” genre. I see both sides of the argument.

There’s no requirement that you have to be the #1 bestselling book for all of time that has ever been written forever and ever amen period. That would be a ridiculous goal. So any “bestseller list” is going to be a niche category in some respects. It’s quite an accomplishment to reach #1 regardless of the niche, even if your niche is #1 Book Written on the Third Tuesday of the Month During a Leap Year. That’s still impressive.

That being said, telling someone you’re an Amazon #1 Bestseller without any context can be misleading. But that’s you doing the conning, not Amazon or the rankings. And on this, I absolutely agree with Baum.

 

Myth 6 – You are advised to write to Top Amazon Reviewers and other reviewers to ask for free reviews to boost ranking.

False. This can actually harm your rankings.

Amazon has detailed guidance on how reviews can be solicited and what reviews will be allowed. It is also clear that a “Verified Purchase” is rated more highly than reviews that are unverified. If you don’t follow Amazon’s guidelines, you may find yourself losing reviews. (In my case, you may find yourself temporarily losing reviews even if you DO follow Amazon’s guidelines.)

My take from the research I’ve done on it is that about 50 reviews should be your initial target level to have a “proof of concept.” This is a good starting number to have so readers can get a good sense of whether people like your book or not.

 

Myth 7 – Nobody knows when the algorithm updates.

False. Sort of.

Amazon’s KDP Manual tells us that the rankings are updated every 1-2 days. However, we don’t know when the inputs and parameters for the algorithm are updated. We’ll never know that. This is proprietary and the secret sauce that is A9.

 

Baum goes on to include additional myths in her Part II. Again, I highly recommend you read the full article. It is very informative and well considered.

I do think Baum is a little too far leaning toward the position that these are all false myths, though. Baum is correct. Amazon does give a lot more guidance than the rumors that are circulated within the Indie Author community. However, there is still a high degree of opacity in the rankings as well. All of the factors that are considered in the rankings and how the factors are weighted are not clear, and I think this matters. I certainly don’t expect Amazon to provide this information, for a variety of reasons not the least of which is that people would game the system, but this shouldn’t be ignored either.

If I’m an Indie Author, which I am, and my time is limited, which it is, I only have so much time I can put toward marketing. I need to prioritize where I spend my time. It makes a difference if Amazon’s rankings puts a higher emphasis on sales conversions or page views.

Let me explain. If I’m trying to sell my book Pieces Like Pottery, a logical plan would be to have my book considered by as many people as possible. If 1 out of every 20 people that view my book page on Amazon actually purchase the book, then I want as many people as I can get to view my book page. It becomes a numbers game.

However, if Amazon weights conversion more heavily than sales and page views, my strategy could have a negative effect. Maybe a conversion rate of 5% is not ideal for Amazon and they prioritize books with higher conversion rates. If that’s the case, then instead of getting as many people as I can to consider my book, I would want to be spending my time targeting those readers I think have a very high probability of buying my book (and only those readers) because it would help my ranking.

Again, I don’t expect Amazon to tell us how these factors are weighted, but it does matter. I think Baum skims over some of this a little bit too much at times.

I also have a small issue with the tenor of the article. Baum doesn’t come out and say it outright, but it is heavily implied throughout the article. So much so, in fact, that I’ve seen it repeated a lot by Indie Authors. Baum’s article implies that Amazon wants your book to sell. This is true insofar as if your book sells, Amazon makes money; but I think it misses the point of why Indie Authors worry about these rankings at all.

Amazon wants to make money, but they don’t care how, (not within this context anyway). Amazon couldn’t care less if YOUR book sold or not. It means nothing to them. Amazon just wants books to sell, not YOUR book at all. And this is exactly the point of all the fretting.

If every book could sell to the extent that we all become bestsellers and wealthy authors, that would be excellent, but it’s not possible. So we end up competing in the rankings against other books in hopes that our book will be ranked higher, resulting in more search results revealing our book, which results in more users seeing our book, which results in more users clicking on our book, which in turn results in more readers buying our book, thereby helping the cycle to start all over again.

Amazon doesn’t care if your books sells. You have to care. If you don’t, no one else will.

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

 

 

Five Tips To Build Your Audience Through Social Media

Five Social Media Tips for Authors

 

Writing a book is usually a solitary process where we keep our thoughts to ourselves—and when it’s time to sell, it can be difficult to flick the switch to do the opposite. Some of us are more comfortable than others when it comes to marketing, but the less you think about it as “marketing,” the more people you are likely to attract. If you’re wondering how you can increase your audience and sell more books without having to go too far out of your comfort zone, here are some tips to help you get your name out there as an indie author.

 

Mix it up with your blogging

Once you’ve written a blog post, where should you post it? On your own blog? Somewhere else?

With a daily roundup of their favorite articles, there’s plenty of opportunities for your post to get noticed on Medium, as journalists, authors, and thousands of others across world contribute to it daily. Writing a meaningful and honest blog post is highly likely to resonate with many, which will intrigue them to seek out your books. Try a mix of posting on your blog, and medium, for best results.

 

Don’t spread yourself too thin on social media

One or two active social media accounts—with regular activity—has a stronger impact than six content-starved profiles. Stick to the ones that feel most natural to you.

If you’re more visual and tend to post a lot of photos stay with Instagram and Pinterest.

If you tend to write more, Twitter and Facebook may be better for you.

Get involved and contribute to trending topics that are relevant to your books.

 

The more you try to scream BUY MY BOOK the more you will hear your own voice echo. Click To Tweet

 

Write a stronger job title on Linkedin

LinkedIn is often scoffed at when talking about social media platforms as it’s viewed as the most corporate one, but joining groups and contributing to some discussions will help you get your name out there. I see plenty of authors with a one-word job title– Writer or Author–but what kind of writer? What are the titles of your books?

Who would you prefer to read?

“Joe Tomlinson  | Author”

Or

“Joe Tomlinson | Indie Sci-Fi Author, over 20,000 eBooks sold”

The second will make a much stronger impression.

 

Get filming on YouTube

This sounds like a lot of work but it doesn’t need to be. Nearly all computers have a built-in camera these days. A laid-back five-minute video every few weeks is easy to film and upload. Talk about other’s books, the process of writing your own, an event you attended or anything else that’s on your mind.

 

Make a mailing list

If you’re not too keen on starting a YouTube account, a mailing list is just as good. Services like MailChimp have made it incredibly easy to send out well-presented emails—without any coding skills required. (Nothing Any Good ‘s periodic updates utilizes the MailChimp platform.)

So, what are you going to write about? Don’t worry—the ideas will come. I jot down my ideas on my phone. I’d say about 80% of them are terrible, but the remaining 20% with good ideas is more than enough to write a monthly email.

 

Marketing isn’t as big and scary as it sounds. It seems the more you try to scream “buy my book,” the more you will hear your own voice echo. But by simply being yourself and releasing content that means something to you, this is bound to resonate with others and bring them to you and your books.

 

Marketing isn’t as scary as it sounds. Be yourself and release content that matters to you.Click To Tweet

 

 

About the Author

Darren Boyd-Annells is the CEO and co-founder at Joosr, a digital publisher helping busy people find the time to read with 20-minute summaries of leading non-fiction books.

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

 

5 Useful Digital Marketing Pointers for Book Promotion (Part 2)

  1. 5 Useful Digital Marketing Pointers for Book Promotion (Part 1)
  2. 5 Useful Digital Marketing Pointers for Book Promotion (Part 2)
  3. 5 Useful Digital Marketing Pointers for Book Promotion (Part 3)
  4. 5 Useful Digital Marketing Pointers for Book Promotion (Part 4)
  5. 5 Useful Digital Marketing Pointers for Book Promotion (Part 5)

 

SEO-for-authors

Image Courtesy of bookmarketingtools.com

 

Part Two

Use Basic SEO

on your Website, Blog or Book Description

 

by Sarah Jarvis

If you have a website, I highly recommend optimizing your content, meta-data, H1 tags and obtaining quality backlinks, so when people go to search for good books to read on Google, yours pops up.

If you don’t have your own website there are still a few things you can optimize to help increase your visibility. I would imagine most authors just said, meta-what? Don’t worry too much about the first sentence, unless you do have a website and are interested in SEO. If that is the case I would suggest checking out The Beginners Guide to SEO by Moz.

For those authors who just want to do simple optimization on their blog or book description, here are a few pointers.

Sometimes when you are adding a description of your book or an about the author, your platform allows you to edit the HTML. If that is the case I highly recommend adding <h1></h1> around a descriptive title of your book. For example, my book is titled Moral Dissipation, but when writing about it if I was allowed to edit the HTML, my title would look something like this:

<h1>Moral Dissipation: Suspenseful Heroin Addiction, Romance, Fiction Novel about the Struggles of a College Graduate who ends up a Homeless Heroin Addict</h1>

Once the blurb is live you will no longer see the <h1></h1>, but those tags tell search engines it is a title and your description will rank higher in search engines for the keywords in that title.

You don’t want to make the title too long, because that looks spammy to search engines. You also want to make sure it sounds normal when read out loud or it might be considered keyword stuffing, which is another spam tactic you want to avoid.

On Amazon the Editorial Reviews section allows you to edit basic HTML when writing about the author. In addition to including the above heading, I also wrote an informative blurb about my book making sure to bold <b> </b> the keywords for which I want it to rank, such as fiction novel, romance, heroin addiction, and donating because I am donating 10% of my profits to organizations that help recovering heroin addicts.

If you have anything that stands out or makes your book different, put a bold tag around it.

 

 

Find more writing and publishing tips at Nothing Any Good.

 

 

About the Author

S.M. Jarvis is an author, mother, SEO analyst and waitress. She has just released Moral Dissipation, a fictional romance and suspense novel about heroin addiction. Moral Dissipation gives readers an inside glance at the life of an addict and how a single addiction can impact multiple lives. It also provides information about signs of opioid addiction and how to revive someone using Narcan nasal spray. 10% of profits will be donated to organizations that help recovering heroin addicts and their families. Read reviews and order your copy here.

 

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