Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Can you help me prepare for my book launch?

This is an exciting day for me. I''m about to send the final manuscript for my novel The Prince Charming Hoax to the ebook formatter! She will take my Word document and turn it into a file that can be uploaded to Kindle and another file for the Smashwords platform. Why two files/versions? Kindle has its own format (.mobi), while Smashwords takes the Word document (which has been formatted to its specifications) and churns it into to files that can then be accepted by Nook (Barnes & Noble), iBookstore (Apple), Kobo, Sony, and a host of other ebook distributors. Did I mention that my only cost here will be to the formatter? No fee from either Kindle or Smashwords to publish the ebook!

Initially, I'm going to launch my ebook on Kindle only, using the KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select program. That requires a 90-day exclusivity agreement. When I first learned of the program, I wondered why anyone would agree to restrict where his or her book could be offered for sale. But, I read many success stories of how the program was utilized to boost sales, and I've decided to give it a try.

What can you learn as I launch my debut novel, The Prince Charming Hoax?
Hehe. I'm hoping you won't find out what not to do! But, I'm going to share (via my blog) the step-by-steps of my launch and promotion activity for the 90 days on KDP Select. Some of the things you can learn include:

  • How to prepare and upload your ebook to Kindle
  • Pricing considerations
  • Marketing strategies
  • Promotional tools and resources
  • Social media promotion
How can you help me launch my book?
So many ways, in so little time! Here's how you can help in just minutes—no, seconds—per effort.
  • Sign up to get email notification of my blog posts (See "Subscribe to blog via email" in right column) 
  • Share my blog posts on Facebook and Twitter (there's handy little "share" buttons at the end of each post)
  • Inform me of any women's book/reading groups that you think may be interested in a fun, sexy, erotic story of women's empowerment. (My target group is Boomer women.) 
  • Host me on your blog (I provide the post) or do a blog interview with me
  • Recommend leads for radio shows, bloggers, online media, etc. that I can contact about the book
  • Email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions regarding how you can help with the launch
  • Subscribe to my Wordy Woman newsletter for biweekly updates, tips, and resources  (top right column)
Finally, do not forgot to sign up for the "One Day My Prince Will Come" Free eBook Giveaway!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Do you have a goal of getting your book into the Top 100 on Amazon or Kindle?

It can seem daunting to navigate the entire publishing process on your own, especially for a new or first-time author. If you'd like feedback on your work or support and assistance finding editors, designers, and the right place to publish your book, please contact me.

Two of the books I helped my clients publish in the last year—Marvin's Book by Melissa Soldani Lemon and We're In This Together by Rob Harris—have reached the Amazon Kindle bestseller lists in their categories in the No. 1 and No. 2 positions.

At the present time, I've cleared my calendar to work with a limited number of authors, and you can work with me in one of two ways:
Manuscript Reviews are in-depth evaluations of completed fiction or nonfiction book manuscripts.
Consulting sessions are 45-minutes phone or Skype calls to discuss any issue related to writing or publishing in today's market. 

Monday, October 01, 2012

Success Tips for Indie Authors

This is the best time in history to be an author! I've been saying that since the publishing industry began its big shift in 2009, and evidence of this truth just keeps showing up. Why?

Unlike the stodgy, old publishing world filled with rules and gatekeepers, authors today face a new, exciting marketplace with rules yet to be written, limited only be their own imaginations.

Not every indie author is successful, yet many are selling books, and some are making serious, life-changing income. Let's take a look at some of the traits and activities successful authors employ.

What are the characteristics of successful authors?
Authors with creative, out-of-the-box ideas on how to promote themselves do really well. Blogs and social media are two of the tools they use, but how they bring their work to the attention of the world makes a difference. 

One thing is for sure—an author has to build a readership. Having a following before the book comes out is ideal, but what if you don't? One author paid for reviews and posted them strategically at sites where readers convene. (Note: the paid-for review has received much criticism lately, and the effectiveness of this strategy may be questionable at this time.) Another used a certain search term on Twitter to identify people who would be interested in his book. He then directed them to a blog post on his website, which wasn't about his book, but the idea behind his book. The author was John Locke, and he was the first indie author to sell one million books on Kindle. Read his book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months; it's enlightening. Another author used reading groups, which she contacted one by one. 

Bottom line, be creative and willing to make some mistakes. The most successful authors today are the ones with the most chutzpah (guts).

Which social networks work best for self-published authors?
They all work, it just depends on which ones you want to use. If you like Facebook, start there. Twitter is the favorite of many authors. Google+ or any of the others can work. Don't forget the literary networks such as Goodreads and Shelfari. Pinterest has become very popular, which is interesting because novels are not "visual," or so one might think. But 70 percent of the population are visual learners...meaning they like to receive their information via visual means. Your book cover, for a start, is visual, but perhaps you could also use images that represent your setting, historical period, foods, and clothing styles worn by the characters. Be inventive!

Remember, use your social networking activity to build relationships with people interested in what you do. Don't use social media solely as a bulletin board to broadcast your sales message.

Is off-line promotion still useful?
Of course. Good old word of mouth is still the most powerful tool. I don't recommend physical book tours, although it's nice to have your book at your local indie bookstore. Never do a least don't call it that because "book signings" don't draw a crowd. Give a talk on a topic related to your book, and more people will show up—and you will sell more books.

Marketing doodads such as bookmarks or postcards don't sell books. They're niceties to have, if you have extra money. Instead focus on putting your book in unusual places. One author I know whose novels are set against the backdrop of NASCAR sells her books at the race tracks. Put romance novels in flower shops or gift shops. Erotica in lingerie shops. You get the idea. 

Connecting with readers' groups is very powerful. Clubs, meet ups, and other groups that fit with your genre or book's plot/setting are great places to find fans and start word of mouth going.

As with online marketing, be inventive in your approach. You are a powerful, creative being. Don't rely on the old stuff anymore. Let your light shine as only you can.

To Your Publishing Success!
My best,