Archives for January 2016

Recipe for Failure – and How YOU Can Do Better

how to use sharing buttons

This weekend I found a huge list of “Upcoming Author Conferences & Events for Authors” at the Selfpublishingadvice.org website, run by The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), an organization which I highly recommend to independent authors.
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Great Events for Authors.
This list of upcoming international events contained everything from book fairs, festival of literature, publishing conferences, writers weeks in many parts of the world, literature festivals, a self-publishing conference, the Book Expo America (BEA) to the famous 2016 San Francisco Writers Conference and the Paris Book Fair.

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How to Spread the Word?
As I like to let our clients and readers of our blogs know about all events related to books and writing, I started to post the events for February and March on our timeline at Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Pinterest – or so I wanted… However, I got stuck very soon, as almost all of these event organizers did either not have:

  • any sharing buttons at all
  • only sharing buttons for Twitter and Facebook – or only Facebook
  • only one or two buttons to their own social media sites
  • no sharing buttons – but TWICE buttons to their own social media sites
  • only a Facebook like button, but no sharing button
  • IF there were sharing buttons, they often miss Google+
  • and the worst: NO follow buttons and NO sharing buttons!

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Unprofessional – but Bragging…

“BookExpo America (BEA) is the leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry”. As they do not even have a single sharing button on their event website, how should journalists and publishing insiders spread the word about the event?  Charging premium prices for membership as well as for the event, one would think they could afford a professional marketing team.
Missing sharing buttons on the San Francisco Writers Conference as well…  They have no sharing buttons whatsoever, only two buttons to follow them on Twitter and Facebook.
I am not listing every event here that offers no possibility to spread the word online as it would go on for pages.  At none of these event websites did I find a pre-worded Twitter “Click-to-Tweet” button (or other social media for that matter).
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Social Media Sharing Buttons.
At the Amelia Island Book Festival page, visitors can only share via Facebook.  However Facebook restricts very much these kind of posts, and only a few of their followers can see them.  Many people use FB only for their private accounts. It is important to have sharing buttons with Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.  You never know where people are active, and not every post is suitable for every site.
For example, I personally would not post about a writers conference or book fair on Pinterest, but for sure on LinkedIn, where I am connected with other writers and publishing professionals.
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Many users on social media sites don’t know what to post every day. And finding an article or a website with publishing / writing news that can be shared is always a welcome post – done in a second.  To spread the word they do not even need to open their own social media page.  Just click and go!
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Google+ Buttons for Better SEO.
Of all event sites, only the Kairo (Egypt) Book Fair and the Habana (Cuba)… had sharing buttons to Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. These events are organized by IPA, the International Publishers Organization. Their website is professionally set up and their events can be shared all over the internet just by a mouse click.
THE most important reason for Google+ is SEO, the Search Engine Optimization, which means your post / link is immediately available through a Google search.
Try it out: post something on your Google+ timeline, and type the title a minute later into Google search: Your own post will appear on Google’s first page.  90% of the traffic to our blog comes from search engines thanks to Google+.
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Click-to-Tweet:
Pre-worded tweets are a fantastic way for online visitors to talk about an event.  Implement Pre-Worded Tweets.  An excerpt from our latest how-to-book:
Use a website called Click-to-Tweet which offers this great function for free.  It’s the easiest and fastest way to promote, share and track your content on Twitter.  Invite readers to spread the word is to implement pre-fabricated tweets, where you choose the text to put into designated spots into the manuscript of your website.
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As you already have a sales page on Amazon, you can add the URL in your tweet form.  Here is an example of the code for our latest book:
<a href=”http://ctt.ec/d2GTd”><img src=”http://clicktotweet.com/img/tweet-graphic-trans.png” alt=”Tweet: 111 Tips to Create Your Book Trailer” /></a>

Click to tweet is not only handy to spread the word about your next book within your book; it should also be implemented in your blog or website.  More about this feature: @clicktotweet.

BlogTyrant writes: “All you do is enter the quote in the box on the right and then click “generate link”. You then use the URL that they give you as the destination for your anchor text.  You can add these at any part of your post, it doesn’t have to be a block quote. It could just be a cool little phrase you use to sum up a paragraph or article. Make sure you make the quote short enough to allow people to retweet it within Twitter and make sure you include a tiny URL of the post where the quote came from.”

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Why not use this Free Promotion Buttons?
Event organizers pay thousands for their websites, for their advertisement, to find corporate sponsors, to write press releases, and many more marketing activities.  But why do they not use the only free and very efficient method to spread the word?
If you’re going to dedicate all of that time to an event and create a website, you want to get the most out of it, right?  The success of the announcement largely depends on how many people read about it and one important way to increase readership is to include social share buttons on every post.
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Search engines include the strength of a link in social media as an algorithm ranking factor.  Strength is measured by calculating the number of times that content is shared, tweeted, and posted in social media.  So if your content is getting shared frequently, the search engine ranking for relevant keywords catapults it to the top.  Social share buttons make it so much easier for a reader to pass along your content to their network.  Without sharing buttons you are missing out on a huge opportunity.
If I would be approached to sponsor any of these events, I would not commit before they would have a proper website including sharing buttons.

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Authors can Share More Professionally.
Authors have lots of events to share with their readers and followers, such as book launches, new print or audio-book versions, book signings, book price campaigns and so forth.  Sharing buttons and Click-to-Tweet buttons are available for free, they just need to be added to your website (or to your ebook).
Readers and followers don’t have time to copy and paste text and links and then visit one by one their social media sites to post your event.  Sharing content increases overall traffic.  Instead of making it hard for people to share, make it easy by including sharing buttons to announce your event with one single mouse click!

Read more about free book and event marketing at: 111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free 

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9 Tips What to Post on Social Media

Social-Media

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Are you struggling to create daily numerous engaging “posts” on your Social Media sites?  Then you are not the only one on the search of great content.  We all want to stand out from our “competition”.  After all, people are on the Internet for one of two reasons: Either to solve a problem, or be entertained.  On the other hand, creating content for Social Media should not end up in stress.

In a former post I explained that blogs do not necessarily need to consist of written content, but also may be among others, videos, images, curated content, reposts etc. The same is true for Social Media content. How can you achieve this is explained in nine suggestions:

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Your Blog’s Content.
Connect all your Social Media sites and use a scheduling program to post at the best times of the day.  It enables you to publish your message to all of your social media channels at once.  The time you save frees you to communicate with your followers.  Using your blog’s content lets you stand out among your peers and makes sure you have original content / messages that no one else posts.  Write posts that resonate with the things your audience cares most about.  Create a document or notepad and start listing your tweets and posts out of short sentences or headlines from your blog or website, add the URL – and voila! you just have created an archive that you can copy / paste and use forever.
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News Content.
Ask questions and tease new stories to encourage people to comment and like.  Try to find news in your field that is interesting for your followers.  Avoid political and religious topics, as well as gossip.  Bookmark the best news sites and comb through them, using their sharing buttons to post on your Social Media sites to save time.  Then spend this time to interact with your followers on a personal level.  Relevant News provide something that is shareable, conversational, and engaging for Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social platforms.
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Motivational Quotes.
One of the most popular forms of inspirational content are quotes.  Nearly everyone loves quotes!  And especially quotes with images.  Pinterest has helped to make them extremely popular.  Bestselling author Sean Gardner took it a step further: “I searched online for inspirational content from my supporters, and then started making image quotes with what they wrote and said.  I believe this is a powerful way for people to connect online.  The greater the diversity of positive, empowering statements, the greater the diversity of people sharing those points of views. ”
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Interact with Followers.
Are you a good party guest at the big Social Media party?  Are you commenting or asking questions?  Are you thanking your followers?  Invite conversation by asking your followers’ opinions on topics, or asking them to tell you what sorts of content they would appreciate.  Everybody likes being asked, and fans and followers feel extra-appreciated when you fulfill these desires. It’s all about conversation, that’s why it is called Social Media networking.
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Videos and Slide Shows.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, and creating a short video is very easy these days.  Load it up to YouTube or any other video sharing site and post the URL for your video frequently on your Social Media sites.  On most of them visitors can click it directly to watch your content – and generates almost double the amount of visitors / views and attracts more content and likes or plusses on Google+.  The same is true for slideshares.

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Photos.
When you are scrolling through the feeds on any social network, what’s the first thing to catch your eye?  I bet images!  No question, photos are THE most popular Social Media tool, and more appealing than text only.  Even if you are not a professional photographer you can use fantastic photos on Social Media – for free.  We listed several sources for free photos you can use on Social Media in former blog posts.  Photos generate more re-tweets and likes, but keep in mind that attaching an image to a Twitter post takes up approximately 11 of your characters.
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Promote or Re-Blog other Posts.
Retweets are a great way to get more followers.  By retweeting something that links to a website or blog, you are doing a service to the website mentioned and the person who originally tweeted the article!  Social Media is all about networking.  Re-tweeting is a very important part of this.
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Polls and Surveys.
Most Social Media sites offer this option automatically.  What could be a question for a poll or survey?  You could ask your readers for example which one of the book covers for your next thriller or non-fiction book they like best.  Survey Monkey offers a free program that allows you to create a survey in minutes with our intuitive web based tool.  PollSnack offers a similar program.
Wepolls.com shows in a YouTube video how it works on their site.

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Contests.
For a photo contest, you can encourage users to submit their own photos and videos in order to win a really attractive prize. Another possibility would be to organize a “pay with a tweet’ contest to win a free book.  In an earlier blog we explained how fast and easy it is to set it up.  Don’t forget to highlight your contest winners in several posts later on.

 

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How does Google Adwords Work?

Google-Adwords
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Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches / year worldwide. There is barely a better place to advertise one might assume.
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What is Google AdWords?
It is a pay per click (PPC) advertising on Google – or just paid advertising. The way it works is simple:

  • People use keywords (or search terms) to search for specific products and services.
  • If the keywords you have chosen matches what people search for, your paid ad appears next to or above organic Google search results.
  • When people click on your ad, they will go to your website to learn more or they will order your product or service.
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Keywords and Other Ad Rank Factors:
Every time a search term, phrase or keyword is put into Google’s search engine, a virtual ad auction takes place in a millisecond. This ad auction determines the order of how the most relevant ads will be organized on the search results page.
For example, if you are bidding US$10 for the keyword “Richmond Nurseries” and your competitor is bidding US$20 for the same keyword, your competitor’s ad wouldn’t necessarily be ranked above yours.

You can test your keywords and phrases with WordTracker, Overture Keyword Selector or Google AdWords Keyword – tools that can help you understand the relative traffic you can expect from a phrase, as well as related phrases that might be used.
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Google takes into account several factors
when determining the ad rank:

If your Google AdWord campaigns generally have a higher click-through-rate than your competitor’s, the probability of your ad being clicked is higher, and accordingly, your ad would be placed above the competitor’s.
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Google takes into account – or better said, their algorithm is judging the quality of your website and the landing page to which you are directing the paid traffic. If your sites are more relevant to the search query than your competitor’s, the user experience would be much higher for your ad than your competitor’s, and your ad would be placed above theirs.  See, how important a professional platform and web presence is!

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Lots of Targeting Choices.
Google AdWords allows you to target specific geographic locations. For each ad campaign, you can select locations where your ad can be shown, such as entire countries, areas within a country, cities, territories, or even a radius around a location. But there is more:

  • AdWords has over 40 language options for campaign targeting.
  • AdWords allows advertisers to select specific hours during the day for optimal targeting.
  • Enhanced campaigns allow advertisers to target mobile device users. Mobile consumption of information and mobile search queries are growing exponentially each month.

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Benefits of Google AdWords.
It’s very easy to measure your return on investment (ROI).  You only pay when someone clicks on your ad (i.e. you pay per click), visits your website, calls you, and you decide how much you want to spend: $5 or $5,000…
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No visitors, no clicks – no fee, you pay only for results!
In other words, when your advertising is working.  You set your own budget, so your costs will depend on what you are trying to accomplish with advertising.

Google AdWords are a measurable, accountable, and flexible way to advertise. You can see how your ads are doing at any time by logging into your Google AdWords account. You can tweak your ads, try new search terms, pause your campaign and re-start whenever you like, for free.  Your business gets found by people on Google precisely when they are searching for the things that you offer.

AdWords campaigns might also give you interesting insights into your competition.  Set up Google Alerts, not only for yourself, but also for all of our competitors to know what they are up to.  Other resources you can use to dig up information on your competitors: Compete.com, or KeywordSpy.com.

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2nd Part of Test Yourself – How Professional are You Publishing?

One-Step-at-a-Time

 

Here is another example of how poorly publishers often treat their author’s presence, this time a small publisher in Kelowna, BC, Canada.  Statement on their website: “Initially a small kitchen-table operation, the company has grown over the past 30 years to become one of Canada’s most respected independent, ecumenical Protestant publishers, with approximately 200 titles in print.”
Well, I believe, they are still at the “small kitchen-table operation” status, or even worse… See how unprofessional they created the sales page of one of their authors at Amazon (BTW: a fantastic book, I read the print version at a friends place – and I am feeling sorry for the author) :

This publishing company did not even
create an authors page at Amazon! 

They totally omitted this great free marketing and SEO tool. Instead they placed “About the Author” under “Editorial Reviews”, a rookie mistake!  Even worse, if this comes from a “30 year old” publishing company!

Editorial Reviews
About the Author
<P class=MsoNormal style=”MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt”><SPAN lang=EN-US>Lee Simpson was the first female publisher<I style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal”> Chatelaine – Canada’s most successful women’s lifestyles magazine. As such, Lee worked contentedly as one of the primary voices in marketing to women for 20 years. Her year of buying nothing was documented by <I style=”mso-bidi-font-style: normal”>The United Church Observer to help spread this message.<?xml:namespace prefix = “o” ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” ><o:p></o:p></SPAN>

I have never seen such a poorly set-up Amazon sales page at a self-publisher’s site, as this one here by a trade publisher!

No matter who’s fault it is, (the publishers or a glitch by Amazon, a publisher (or self-publisher) should periodically check their online presence in order to show a professional appearance to their potential readers and book purchasers.

Oh, and BTW, it’s not a matter of funds to have someone look after the marketing: This publisher is, like many other publishers in Canada, funded by the Government as well as by the province of British Columbia!  See the official acknowledgements in their print and digital books.  Benefit of being a publisher in Canada…
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Check Your Own Self-Publishing, Using this Questionnaire:

  1. Did you find ways to recommend books of your writer friends on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, iBooks etc?  And convince them to do the same for you?  YES / NO

  2. Did you buy your own ISBN (to officially be your own publisher)?  YES / NO
  3. Do you list your book for pre-orders at least 3 months in advance (Amazon) or 12 months on iBooks?  YES / NO
  4. Did you plan Giveaways for your print and e-book via Goodreads (print) and LibraryThing (for e-books)?  YES / NO
  5. How are you planning to promote your Giveaways?  YES / NO
  6. Do you utilize the FREE Event feature on Google+ and Goodreads for Giveaways, book signings, your book launch?  YES / NO

  7. How many reader and writer forums did you join?  YES / NO
  8. Did you use every possibility to add friends to Goodreads?  YES / NO
  9. Did you use Goodreads’ “Share This Book” feature?  YES / NO
  10. Did you connect your blog with your Goodreads page?  YES / NO
  11. Did you already join LinkedIn (over 300 million members) – even if you do not need a job?  YES / NO

  12. Do you know how to import your LinkedIn contacts to Google+?  YES / NO

  13. Do you have hundreds of LinkedIn connections?  YES / NO

  14. Did you create and promote your book via book trailers?

  15. Do you know the tools on the web to help with basic keyword research?  YES / NO

  16. Do you plan a “book-cover-reveal” for your next title?  YES / NO
  17. If you had book signings already, did you take a video about it?  YES / NO
  18. Did you establish a monthly email newsletter for your readers?  YES / NO
  19. Did you create a magnificent book cover?  YES / NO
  20. Are you sure you have the “right” price for your book?  YES / NO
  21. Do you know the “reputation of numbers” in foreign countries?  YES / NO
  22. Do you have the perfect title to ensure the success of your book?  YES / NO
  23. Do you work hard on getting lots of reviews before book launch?  YES / NO
  24. Did you sent out “Advanced Review Copies” of your book?  YES / NO
  25. Do you write lots of book reviews to get the good karma returned?  YES / NO
  26. Do you use several beta readers before the manuscript goes to editing?  YES / NO
  27. Do you use at least two proof readers before the book’s launch?  YES / NO
  28. Do you know what line editing, copy editing and content editing means?  YES / NO
  29. Do you have a profession book layouter for your print version?  YES / NO
  30. Did you or your formatter create a “Table of Contents (TOC) with links to your chapters?  YES / NO
  31. Did you take advantage of hyperlinks in your e-book?  YES / NO
  32. Did you install review links at the last page of your e-book?  YES / NO
  33. Did you install an opt-in link for your email newsletter?  YES / NO
  34. Did you list your author page on all your books?  YES / NO
  35. Do you have a link to your social media sites in your book?  YES / NO
  36. Did you install re-tweet buttons in your e-book?  YES / NO
  37. Do you use the last pages of your book to promote former or future books?  YES / NO
  38. Did you implement pre-worded tweets in your e-book?  YES / NO
  39. Did you create an audiobook as well?  YES / NO
  40. Did you include the sales tax into e-books in foreign countries?  YES / NO
  41. Do you plan a translation of your books into Spanish, French, German, Cantonese, or Russian?  YES / NO
  42. Do you pitch radio / TV stations for an author interview?  YES / NO
  43. Do you write articles for a local newspaper?  YES / NO
  44. Do you diversify, selling your book at several online retailers?  YES / NO
  45. Do you work on getting your book into libraries?  YES / NO
  46. Are you demonstrating the quality of your book to librarians?  YES / NO
  47. Do you work on getting your books into retail bookstores as a “local author”?  YES / NO
  48. Did you “bundle” your books or create box-sets?  Two or more e-books, or one e-book and one print book?  YES / NO
  49. Do you participate regularly in writing contests?  YES / NO
  50. Did you discount your first book before launching a new one?  YES / NO
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How many of these questions could you answer with YES?To implement all these steps and for even more tips read:
111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for free

For more motivation read the author of “Wool” Hugh Howey’s article “So You Want to be a Writer…

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Test Yourself – How Professional are You Publishing? Part 1

Questionnaire

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Just yesterday I wrote a short blog article about Charles Kaiser, mentioning several interesting books of this American Bestseller author, and even watched a video of one of his many interviews he had on national TV.  When I checked out his Amazon and his Goodreads pages however, I was shocked by the unprofessional appearances…

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But it is NOT his Fault!
His publisher, one of the largest in the world, one of the “Big Five” is responsible for this disaster.  They establish the author’s presence to the public, they have the login data, and won’t give their authors access.  However, most, if not all publishers – no exception if large or small trade publishers – need URGENTLY boot-camp-like training on how to build an author platform and how to market books in the 21st century. It was not the first time that I have seen such improper author pages. Hey Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Hachette Livre and HarperCollins: L.I.S.T.E.N…  Don’t embarrass your authors and their readers!

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Self-Publishing Authors Know Better.
In contrast, an hour later, I checked out the online presence of a bestselling self-publishing author with only two books so far and was surprised how professional and appealing her platform is.  She implemented just about every step and everything a perfect author presence needs.  There are dozens, maybe hundred small steps, many of them need just a minute to set up.  This was when I got the idea to set up this test / questionnaire.

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Are You Ready to Answer these Questions?
… and add up your “YES” answers at the end of this little test. Don’t worry, no one is seeing your answers, and how favourable you compare. The test needs to be split in two parts as there are so many test questions.  Today’s questions are regarding your author platform, and the next one will be about the publishing process and your sales efforts.  I think it’s a great way to see what you have already achieved – and where there is room for improvement. Ready? Here it goes:

  1. Do you have a well-defined “target-audience” for your book(s) YES / NO
  2. Do you sell your book on more than two online retailer sites YES / NO
  3. Do you post regularly (at least once a week) in your blog or your website YES / NO
  4. Did you count / make a list of all keywords in your manuscript YES / NO
  5. Do you use at least 3 links in each of your blog posts / web pages YES / NO
  6. Is your website / blog mobile-friendly created YES / NO
  7. Do you have an appealing “About the Author” page / Author Bio site YES / NO
  8. Do you have a sign-up form on your blog/website for an email newsletter YES / NO
  9. Do you have a sales page for each of your books on your website/blog YES / NO
  10. Did you include testimonials or review snippets from happy readers YES / NO
  11. Did you place Share and Follow buttons on your website/blog YES / NO
  12. Do you write regularly guest posts for “high-traffic” book blogs YES / NO
  13. Did you submit your blog to Blog Directories YES / NO
  14. Do you post regularly at Google+ reader/book-lover communities YES / NO
  15. Did you analyze your webpage speed scores with Gtmetrix.com YES / NO
  16. Do you use an attractive, professional author photo at all online sites YES / NO
  17. Do you have a free “about.me” website as virtual “business card” YES / NO
  18. Did you set up your Online Bookstore at your website YES / NO
  19. Did you create an Amazon author page for each country you sell books YES / NO
  20. Did you place editorial reviews to your Amazon sales page YES / NO
  21. Did you use the best-ranking keywords in Amazon’s categories YES / NO
  22. Do you have at least 2,000 followers on Google+, Twitter and GR YES / NO
  23. Do you post regularly blog articles on LinkedIn and Google+ YES / NO
  24. Did you contact at least 10 book reviewers last week / month YES / NO
  25. Did you find Beta Readers / Book Reviewers 3 months before launch YES / NO
  26. Do you ask your reviewers to place Amazon Reviews worldwide YES / NO
  27. Do you ask your readers at the end of the book for reviews YES / NO
  28. Do you place all your online sites / social media links in your book YES / NO
  29. Do you have an email newsletter signup in your ebooks YES / NO
  30. Do you use “Click-to-Tweet” in your books and your website YES / NO
  31. Do you network with book bloggers YES / NO
  32. Do you use social media scheduling site (Hootsuite, Futuretweet etc) YES / NO
  33. Did you create ONE sales link to ALL Amazon “countries” YES / NO
  34. Did you connect ALL your social media sites YES / NO
  35. Are you signed up in at least 10 online reader communities YES / NO
  36. Do you post your book events on free events at Goodreads, Google+ YES / NO
  37. Did you post a “pinned tweet” into your Twitter timeline YES / NO
  38. Did you “feed” your blog to your Goodreads page YES / NO

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How Many YES Answers did you Count?

These were questions, more related to your platform.  The next blog will contain “test” questions related to the publishing process. If you like to learn more about each one of these functions, just type the keyword into the search function on the right upper side of this post and get lots of info and tips through the articles that show up – or get our latest ebook:
111 TIPS ON HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK FOR FREE.

 

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How Can You Measure if Ads Work?

Sales-Ads.

Today I planned to write an article for my Monday blog about the benefits of writing content and giving readers samples of your work – rather than posting ads for their books.  I was already sitting in front of my laptop, clicking through my Google+ timeline, when I stumbled over a post that made me stop in the tracks:

For the second time this week, I heard from authors that their ads at book promo sites don’t work (anymore).  The first article just made me feel like: He didn’t plan his marketing better.  Not even trade publishers buy ads anymore.  Why did he expect to sell books with ads…  But now there is again an article posted where an author explains a bit more in detail her dismal experiences – and she even has a clue why her ads didn’t work anymore.

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Well, this is Common Sense…
“I scheduled an ad in January of 2015, and this time sold 53.  I scheduled an ad for July of 2015 and sold 12.”

Here the author gives herself the answer: “Once a promo site is used two to three times for the same book, it tends to lose effectiveness.  This is more true for some sites than others, and I imagine that has to do with the rate at which new subscribers sign up to receive promo emails.  If I’m scheduling ads faster than the site is adding new subscribers, I can expect the effectiveness to go down considerably with repeated ads.”

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How Will You Measure the Success?
“I signed up again in March of 2015, but this time I also signed up for ads on ReadCheaply, EbookBooster, and EbookLister at the same time.
I sold 78 books, but there’s no way to tell which sites resulted in sales.”

Never run ads for the same book on several sites on the same day!  Yes, she is right: there is no way to measure which ad was successful and which not.  Maybe none of them – readers might just have ordered by coincidence all at the same day.  Promo sites cannot report the numbers of books sold – even though they are all in affiliate programs and make additionally a couple of cents for each book sold.

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Against All Marketing Rules.
“I don’t necessarily have to make my money back in order to consider an ad a success, but I do need to gain some exposure.  I once ran an ad on seven of the lesser-known sites on the same day and sold zero. And no exposure at all.”

Common Business Sense is to get a return of investment.  Why else would you spend money?  Look at the revenue to cost ratio: incremental revenue driven by an ad campaign divided by the cost.  Rule of thumb for most companies is that 5x is a decent return, and 10x is a home run.
Compare the impact of your ads to the money you invested to evaluate the “return of investment” (ROI). Read also the 10 shocking truth about advertising.

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Write More!
The author concludes: “First and foremost it means we need to keep putting out new books.  New material is the way to go….”.

Absolutely! “New material” – however it must not be necessarily books, use your manuscript and the research for your book to write article after article for more exposure.  Let your potential readers discover you on the internet, in magazines and newspapers.  Every fiction manuscript has at least 50 – 100 keywords and topics one could write about.  Consider writing a prequel for each of your books.  There are thousands of media outlets (print and web) your can write for.  And in each of these articles you are mentioned as an author, who wrote …(title of your latest or most important book) added by a link to your book sales or your author page.
Get lots of addresses in our latest book:  111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free. 

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Write More Content, not Only in Book Form.
All the big brands use now content ahead of other marketing forms, and not only communicate, but involve their customers via storytelling. Content offers value, news and appeal, instead of plain promotion.  It is about the consumer (in our case about the readers), not the brand (the author).  These days at least half of the marketing budget is used for content, often re-evaluating their entire advertising strategy – which means also: good writers are on demand.
Make sure that not only your books, blogs and short stories, but also your social media content has substance, and that it adds real value for your audience.  Substance comes from consistent interesting blog content, real-time social media engagement, superb visuals and videos, interesting info-graphics to increase reader loyalty.

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More Ways to Use Your Writing Instead of Ads.
If you have at least half a dozen books, set up one short title permanently for free on Amazon, listing and linking to all your other books. Everything is better than to pay for useless ads.  Get more ideas and detailed explanations in each of our marketing books.

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Sampling is the Best Way to Hook a Reader.
Retail businesses always have known the importance of sampling.  Now, readers can download samples of any book published electronically.  If they like the book, they will most likely buy it.  Some reader communities are even specialist in offering sample chapters (i.g. Wattpad) before the book’s launch.  Equally important is a large following on Goodreads, on Google+ (for a great SEO), Twitter, and in a variety of literary sites and communities.
Why not browse through the blog posts at SavvyBookWriters where I explain in detail, how you can show your future readers, book purchasers and reviewers your writing talent:

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/how-else-can-you-leverage-your-manuscript/

http://www.savvybookwriters.com/how-to-become-an-aureate-web-content-writer/

http://www.savvybookwriters.com/how-to-create-curated-content/

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/05/16/writing-for-magazines-waste-of-time/

http://www.savvybookwriters.com/why-you-should-split-your-book-apart/

https://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/09/15/well-paying-markets-you-can-write-for/

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Don’t Throw Money for ads Down the Drain.
I must admit, I am reading very few fiction books, so I have never heard about this very prolific author before, who has written around a dozen fiction books, short stories – and even a how-to-guide book about self-publishing, where she admits on page 107: “….one thing that stood out is the need for continuing crash courses in marketing.”
I hope she convinced lots of writers of her article on TheBookDesigner that advertising is NOT marketing and often not a good idea to sell books via ads – even not to get more exposure.  Browsing through the author’s books, I was pretty impressed with her writing style, and she could for sure get far more exposure (and often well-paid) at magazines, guest blogs, or writing for newspapers – on and off-line.  Better than throwing money for ads down the drain.  If you need more ideas read “How to Organize Your Book Marketing”.

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Don’t Forget these 3 Basics Book Promotion Tools

Book-Promotion-Tools

Why do authors often not even use the free “tools” they have at hand to promote their books?  I don’t want to bash book marketing skills of authors here – the opposite, I want to help you to succeed.  And remind you to use the basic free tools you have at hand to promote your work.
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As you know from my books and thousands of articles I wrote during the last couple of years, I am recommending either free “111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free” or very inexpensive “Book Marketing on a Shoestring” ways of book marketing.
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What do I Mean With Free / Low-Cost Tools?
How much did you pay for a link to your Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, or  Barnes & Noble, or other online retailer book sales page? Uploading your book at these online retail websites is totally free and they do not charge you for providing a link, nor do they charge authors for storing books and offering the titles for sale.  Only when a customer purchases and downloads a book they subtract their commission.  Did you know that trade publishers have to pay for prominent shelf spaces at bookstore chains to display their NYT Bestsellers?

You as an author who sell through Amazon (or other online retailers) receive even a free author page which you can fill with images of all your book titles, and with up to seven other photos, with articles about yourself and your books, with book trailers, events, a link to your Twitter page …

How much did you pay for your book cover?  Ten dollar, one-hundred or five-hundred dollar?  An attractive cover is essential to sell your book, no matter if print or digital.  Once purchased, you have dozens – if not hundreds – of marketing possibilities, to use your book’s cover.

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Let’s see how you can use these “Free Tools”:

1. Links to Sales and Author Page
You might remember that I wrote a blog post last year about this (arrogant) author.  She was a participant of one of my book marketing seminars, and a first-time book author.  I offered her generously to post and tweet about her title for free – before the book’s launch to ten-thousand of our followers and blog readers. I asked her to send me all the book’s information (blurb, title, links, etc.).  Months later I received a one-sentence email from her: “My book … is now available on Amazon, please look it up”.  I was appalled and almost furious.  You can imagine that I did not “look it up”, instead I deleted this email and all online ties / following on social media, etc. with this rookie writer.  What did she think? Other writers pay hundreds of dollars for book promotion – and she is not even giving a link to her sales page?

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2. Links to Your Website / Blog and Your Sales Page.

Your First Step: Shorten Your Online Retail Links.  No one wants to see or use this link:  http://www.amazon.com/Tips-Market-Your-Book-Free-ebook/dp/B018RA72LY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1452818012&sr=1-1&keywords=111+tips+on+how+to+market+your+book+for+free
Shorten it to this link (everything after /ref is not necessary):
http://www.amazon.com/Tips-Market-Your-Book-Free-ebook/dp/B018RA72LY
Or even shorter, using Bit.ly: http://amzn.to/1QQDEgc
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International Book Sales Link
A smart software developer created a program that lets you send out one link, and no matter where your readers are, they come to their own country’s Amazon website.  It works great.  Try it out with our own Amazon sales link. Just sign in with the developers site: http://www.booklinker.net/.  Two more companies currently offer a similar service: SmartURL  and Georiot.
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Link your Google+ Page to Your own Website.
Get more recommendations for your site in Google search and grow your audience on Google+.
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Comment on Other Blogs.
Take the time to find bloggers who write about topics similar to those you write about. When they have something good to say or you can add something to what they have written, leave a comment on their blog.  Each time you do so, you leave behind a link to yourself, your website, or your blog.  If people who read your comment find what you have written interesting, they will click on the link to find out more about you.  They may then decide to become regular blog readers or subscribers, newsletter subscribers, or book buyers.
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Signature Link in all Emails.
Every day you send out dozens of emails to friends, business colleagues, your doctor, lawyer or accountant, or to potential readers or editors … Email signatures (a.k.a. sig lines) are powerful, low-cost, high-return marketing tools (a virtual business card or ad) for writers.  But very few authors use this free way of getting the emails recipient’s attention to their books.

Gmail makes it real easy to create an email signature.  Email signatures can be added under “settings” in your email service. At Gmail it is the small tool icon on the upper right part of the your email page. Click on it to come to the “settings” page and scroll down to Signature: (appended at the end of all outgoing messages). When you click on the link underneath, that says “Learn More” you will find tips and samples for email signatures, and how you can create signatures for the Gmail app for Android, the Gmail app for iPhone and iPad, and mobile web browsers.
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Use http:about.me.  
Your email signature should answer who you are, what you do, and how you can be contacted. In times when people are overloaded with information, use an email signature that is minimal and does not require much space. When using About.me, you can place all your information, including an image, in one single link. You will be surprised what a great and attractive tool it will be. Best of all: You can link your blog to About.me and always show your latest posts to visitors.
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Link when Guest Blogging or Writing for a Magazine / Newspaper. 
To write for other blogs or websites, including LinkedIn, has lots of benefits, from building authority to generating backlinks to your book sales site.  Include a link or two to a post on your own blog / website or to your online sales page.  The anchor text of the links should have a search engine friendly keyword.  Never write: click here.  Always use specific keywords from your own articles.

Link to Your Amazon Author / Sales Page.
Most Important is: Create a Perfect Amazon Author Page. It takes a long time until your own website will have the amount of visitors, compared to your Amazon Author Pages (provided you send out the link to it wherever there is a possibility). See an example of a great author page at Fiza Pathan’s Amazon presence.
Be the “face” of your books and create an author page for each Amazon “country” – your Amazon.com author page is NOT transferred to Amazon.de, Amazon.fr or Amazon.ca, for example.

  • Add a professional author photo & biography
  • Add all your books
  • Add videos (e.g. trailers for your books)
  • Add up to seven additional photos, e.g. you writing your books or scenes from your book
  • Add images or graphics from your books content
  • Add a biography – make sure to update it frequently
  • List events, such as book readings or book launches
  • Add your Twitter address so people can see your latest Tweet and easily follow you
  • Set up the “Search Inside/Look Inside” feature
  • Add an RSS feed, linking to your blog – a great way to get your blog in front of new people and encourage them to follow you
  • View and edit the list of books you have written – the Amazon system doesn’t always get it right. If you have written more than one book, it will link your titles together, and allow your readers to find all of your work.
  • Edit your product description and “about the author” section, and add any professional reviews you have had to editorial reviews.
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3. Cover Images
Your book cover is valuable in marketing terms. A stunning book cover is one of the best marketing tools for any writer! Use it generously – even before your book’s launch. We are a visual culture; naturally it influences our book-buying habits. It’s a fact that buyers for the chain stores for example will order more copies of a book they find visually appealing, so their opinion counts.
Social media is an increasingly important discovery tool for all forms of entertainment. This is where authors should show off their book’s cover:

  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Vine
  • Flickr
  • YouTube
  • Google+
  • Goodreads
  • Twitter … you name it.

Start a cover poll, long before your book’s launch, and get input from your readers. Try several color versions, or a monochrome version.
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The next step is a cover reveal, a couple of weeks before launch, and even before you start your pre-order period at Amazon or iBooks.
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Embed links to your Instagram or Flickr site in photos you use on blogs, share it on social media sites such as Twitter, Google+, FB, or Tumblr. Doing this draws visitors from third-party sites to your photo pages. Pinterest for example created a feature that allows sharing from Flickr, automatically showing proper credit and a link back to the original photographer.
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Tagging and grouping photos: You can use up to 75 tags to describe your photo of the book cover, way more than on Amazon or any other page for that matter. 75 tags are a lot of possibilities to let people know about your book! Don’t forget to add notes, including a link to explain your photo, mentioning your book.
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Flickr is not the only site where you can show images of your book and its topics.  Find a list of the best photo sharing sites on Social Times or on Wikipedia where you can even find the number of registered members and their Alexa Web Ranking.
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Create a slide show about your book on Slideshare.com and use your cover photo several times in a variety of displays.
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Join KindleBoards, Wattpad, Shelfari, LibraryThing, Bibliophile, Book Buzzr and dozens of other reader communities where you can show the cover of your book.
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Create or join Google+ communities, network with readers and writers, post your blog articles or – in rare cases – blandly promote your book, showing the cover prominently at the timeline. ONLY on a few of the communities allow this, others don’t accept it. Read their terms before joining.
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Last but not least:  Send your book’s cover image to all your readers, friends, followers, to your family and even to your local newspaper – always along with a link to your sales page or your author website.  It does not cost you a dime.  But chances are, that they buy your book for themselves or a friend, or recommend it, along with an image and a sales link that you provided. 

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Trade Publisher’s Unethical Contract Practices

Publishing-Contract

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You might have read several articles we published in the past about the unethical contract practices of trade and Vanity publishers, and how they deceive their authors. Headlines were for example:

“Less than Minimum Wage for Authors?”

“The Traps in Publishing Contracts”

“What Publishers Won’t Tell You”

In these articles and many others we were pointing to the worst parts of publishing contracts, found under these paragraphs:

Duration of the contract
Rights granted by the author to the publisher
Territory for these rights
Out-of-Print Termination
Reversion of rights
Advances and Royalties
Statements and Payments
Competing Works

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What about Arbitration, Marketing or Editing?
Do you contract with a publisher who made you a book contract offer demanding arbitration, an unfavourable marketing or editing clause in its contract?

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Arbitration Instead of Civil Court.
Arbitration clauses, hidden in fine print of many contracts, often buried under other headings, like “Reversion”, “Termination”, “Dispute” or “Miscellaneous”.

Arbitration clauses have deprived authors of one of their most fundamental constitutional rights: to sue in court.  Judges and juries have been replaced by arbitrators who commonly consider the companies their clients.”  But arbitration clauses are increasingly common in publishing contracts, and even in the “Terms of Use” of some major self-publishing platforms.  Are you aware of their implications?  Kobo Writing Life, Smashwords, Draft2Digital, BookBaby, and IngramSpark for example don’t have arbitration clauses. Lulu includes an arbitration clause with a class action ban.
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Law in Plain English for Writers.
This valuable 300-pages guide book for authors explains: …”be aware that the resulting arbitration decision cannot be appeal and the process will not contain many of the procedural safeguards that are a part of the judicial process.”
And: “Arbitration does not provide for any pre-trial discovery, unless the contract allows the American Arbitration Association’s Commercial Rules to be used.” Just two examples of the valuable tips in this inexpensive law guide book for every writer – whether first-time author, seasoned freelancer or professional journalist.
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Next Problem: Marketing
When I red a fantastic book recently I was curious if this author has a digital version of the title available. Her Amazon page – set up by her publisher – shocked me, it’s the worst author page I have ever seen! I looked up the “publisher”, a tiny, home-run company in Kelowna, BC, Canada.

Until two decades ago, publishing houses did some marketing for books. Now, in the best case, publishers might send out some galleys to reviewers and wait to see if anyone is interested. Then they focus all their publicity on the books they expect to be a bestseller.  Rachelle Gartner a publishing agent set up a whole page, listing marketing efforts of publishers – in the best case, and for the VIP authors.

If you want your book to be a success, YOU will have to do ALL the publicity yourself!  That’s how it works most of the time.

Marketing activities vary widely from publisher to publisher.  The “bigger” the author, and the more money they expect to make on the author, the more they’ll spend on marketing.

On the other end of the spectrum is a publishing contract that states: “publicity is at our discretion” – even if it is just a lousy press release, sent to a list of people the author provided. With this move some publishers want to emphasize that marketing is under their control – even though they have no knowledge of professional publishing.
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Editing Clauses.
Writers need assurance that they will be a partner in the editing process, and that their work won’t be changed in major ways without their permission.  And publishers need the right of final approval–they don’t want to be forced to publish a manuscript that the author can’t or won’t revise to their satisfaction.
Usually the editor at the publishing house will provide revision suggestions and the author will carry them out. For copy editing, the publisher usually has discretion. But the author should have the opportunity to see and approve the copy edited manuscript before it goes to press.

Clauses like this: “publisher shall have the right to edit and revise the manuscript for any and all uses contemplated under this agreement” disregards the authors copyright, and allows the publisher to edit the author’s work without consulting or even informing him or her.“ “The publisher shall be entitled to develop, alter, edit, and proof the content, usage, format, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling of the Work to conform to the Publisher’s style, the subject matter, and intended audience previously agreed upon by the parties of this Agreement.” It means the same as above, but in more nebulous terms.

“Publisher shall have the right to correct errors, and/or edit and revise the Work for any and all uses contemplated under this agreement, provided that the meaning of the Work is not materially altered.” Which means, the publisher is not required to consult you or get your permission before making those changes. These type of clauses regarding the editing give all the power over the manuscript to the publisher.
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Bestselling Author Kristine Rusch: “Anyone who reads my blog regularly understands that I believe these “standard” book contracts are horrible.  No writer should sign some of the clauses in these contracts, and no writer should ever consider licensing rights under many of these terms.”

I wrote an entire book three years ago about contract terms writers should avoid.  Unfortunately, the book needs updating—not because the terms I mentioned are gone now, but because even WORSE ones have joined them.”

“I believe writers should understand what they sign, and walk away from bad contracts.  Simply knowing that publishers will negotiate many of these points will help writers in standing up for themselves—without agents, who often make the problem worse, generally speaking.”

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Get Legal Tips from Professionals.
Bestselling author and self-publishing advocate J.A. Konrath wrote: “The trade publishing system is designed to take advantage of Authors’ naivete and lack of bargaining power, and it uses the promise of publication as a carrot to get them to accept onerous, deeply biased terms.”

Best advice for any author is to know what they get into, to understand the publishing contract and to consult a contract lawyer before signing the papers. As Copylaw.com advices: “While it is difficult to see how your publishing agreement will play out in the long term, the decisions you make today could have profound, long term consequences.”
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The author “Law in Plain English for Writers
Lawyer Leonard DuBoff, was teaching intellectual property law for twenty-five years, and writes really simple and easy to understand.

The Fine Print of Self-Publishing
by Mark Levine does not only provide sound advice, but also lists publishers and Vanity Publishers that authors must avoid under all circumstances.

Helen Sedwick, a Californian attorney and novelist, shows in the chapter “Understanding Key Contract Provisions” of her Legal Handbook the clauses of publishers and explains on the other side of the page what these provisions mean for the author.
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If you are still eager to sign a contract, you should at least know what you get into, and what the contract clauses really mean.  Try to negotiate.  Ask the publisher to add a clause, to ensure that your consent is required for changes – less the editing.

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The “Amazon of Social Media”

Aerbook

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Ever wondered how you can manage to sell your print books worldwide, maybe even selling books of your writer friends, or those that you reviewed and titles you are passionate about?  Maybe you even tried to get into book stores and libraries with your ebooks or to sell as an affiliate of Amazon?  A lot of time and work effort and often only a few bucks at the end – despite being on Social Media and having thousands of followers.
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There is a Solution:
Aer.io combines the simplicity and zero risk of an affiliate program with the earnings potential and email relationships of a full eCommerce investment – without you the author or publisher having to stock or ship anything!
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Joel Friedlaender
“Even before their acquisition by Ingram, I would have said the big news for 2016 is the evolution of Ron Martinez’s retailing tools at Aer.io, which, for the first time starts to address the problem of distribution for indie authors – especially those who publish print books.  Aer.io allows authors to sell direct to readers on their own site or through the social web.”
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Social Media and Author Websites as “Point of Sale”.
Aerbook, now a venture of Ingram that creates retail opportunities in social media for publishers and authors.  It allows (self) publishers to connect with their readers via the social streams through their timeline, news feed, and boards—on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and similar applications, offering product information, sample chapters, social sharing, and use of the “buy” buttons.

It’s a shift from just advertising to commerce, available to any book via interactive social content and links to purchasing opportunities that can be sent down the social streams of targeted consumers, alongside their posts, RTs, and social chit chat.

The service is focused on selling digital books as well as print books.  Unlike on the traditional Web, where the user “visits” various URLs, or social media sites, content comes to the user via a news feed or on their social media timeline.  The ability to sell directly to consumers via social media is key to Aerbook’s utility.
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This is How it Works:
When a Twitter or Facebook user clicks on an Aerbook link in his or her timeline, the Aerbook Cloud Reader opens, which can be used to read a sample chapter (or the entire book if the publisher chooses), share the excerpt, download it, or buy the book outright.

The Aerbook Cloud Reader can be viewed on laptops and mobile devices, and publishers can use it to sell print or digital books.  The service allows publishers to push books periodically into the social stream.

Publishers and authors can upload conventional epub files or PDF of their e-books to Aerbook and convert them into its format, adding keywords and metadata.  The company offers three product plans, one of them is book retail sales:
Aerbook Retail, which is free, includes a product page with a book sample, social sharing, and buy buttons to sell directly from the social stream. Aerbook fulfills the orders, and the publisher gets 85% of NET sales.  The plan also includes metrics, usage, and best of all: buyer data – well, if the buyer agrees.
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A Turn-Key Solution. Set up in Minutes.
Start selling in a day. Storefront, social marketing tools, mobile-optimized cart and checkout, and fulfillment for both print and eBooks, even audio or games.
Reliable consumer direct fulfillment for print books by Ingram Content Group – you don’t need to ship anything.  Aerbook multi-format ebook fulfillment in ePub and Kindle formats.
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Try it for Free.
There’s no upfront or ongoing cost to set up an embeddable Aer.io storefront, curating from their extended catalog of 14 million books, DVDs and Blu-Rays, Graphic Novels, Games, and more.
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Upload Your Own eBooks.
…and offer them alongside print editions drawn from the millions of books in Ingram Content Group’s warehouse. Then brand your offerings and sell on your site and on the social web. There’s no setup or annual fee for your Aer.io Retail page. Aer.io earns 10% of the selling price on each sale, and handles fulfillment, support, stats and more.  Plus ask for and get user email from within the sample.  In addition to selling directly, add links to retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.
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See an Example of a Book Sales Page.
Embed a storefront with a line of code, or commerce-enable an existing website and book pages.  Aer.io requires no code development.  All you need is an empty web or blog page, and your books will be presented in a mobile, responsive storefront, full of rich product detail.

If you already have a fully developed website with detailed book pages, you can add the Aer.io “Buy” and “Preview” buttons without ever using their storefront.  The choice, and the power to retain the value of your investment, is yours.  Preview and sell in social streams and native apps, desktop and mobile.
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What’s the Deal?
Aer.io combines the simplicity and zero risk of an affiliate program with the earnings potential and email relationships of a full eCommerce investment. Authors cannot only sell their own books, but also any book, available from the largest wholesale company Ingram which represents 28,000 publishers.
See an example economics for a hardcover book on their website.

Exclusivity: You can opt for the ability to make your own or other books “private” to your Aer.io Store, to make it unavailable for sale via any third party Aer.io Store Partner, so that you sell it exclusively.
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The Small Print: 
Currently this program seems to be best suited to US-authors and national publishers: You will need to have access to a U.S. bank account in order to receive Referral Fees under this agreement.  Aer.io will not transfer your commissions in any amount to any non-U.S. bank account or entity, and you will be required to provide a U.S. Social Security number or Tax ID when setting up your account.
Good: Referral fees will be payable on demand when Referral Fees earned by you are in excess of ten dollars ($10.00).  In order to initiate payment, you will use the interface in the Aer.io dashboard.  You can download a sales report that lists books sold, date and time, that includes the email address (where provided with permission to contact) for each sale. The report format is a CSV file that can be opened or imported into Excel or other financial software.
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Aerbook / Aer.io has been described as “Amazon for Twitter,” but one should also add Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and other social media applications.  The good thing is, you can send a sample of your book around the world, not just have it displayed in one online bookstore.
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Conclusion:
If you want to sell ebooks via your website (provided you are not in KDP Select) get all the information from a former article here: SavvyBookWriters How to Set-up Your Online Bookstore.  The eCommerce platforms described there charge only very small fees per month, this way your revenue will be likely over 90%.

However, if you would prefer to extend the reach of your digital AND your print book version tremendously, and stock your own virtual bookstore with an almost unlimited amount of books – plus a very sophisticated marketing system that is included – then Aerbook  is for you.  Their referral payments are approx. five times higher than those from affiliate programs for books at online retailers.

A third possibility is to sell your ebooks on both: your website and through Aerbook.  Your print version is best suited to sell via their app to worldwide retailers, bookstores and libraries thanks to the Ingram Content Group ownership of Aerbook / Aer.io and their distribution services across the world.

You as an Indie author can also use Aerbook  to achieve the same goals as those of traditionally published writers. ~ Socialmediajustforwriters.com

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More About Aerbook:

Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dpmg3m1TnC8

http://www.thebookseller.com/futurebook/when-you-are-destination-aerbooks-native-commerce-publishing

http://www.adweek.com/galleycat/harpercollins-now-selling-ebooks-on-social-networks/97667

http://socialmediajustforwriters.com/mobile-web-for-authors/

http://www.savvybookwriters.com/the-best-place-to-find-your-readers/

 

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Recipes for Writing and Publishing Success

Writing-Success

Snippets from:
111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free
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If anyone has earned Bestseller status for a book, than it is YOURS. You worked very hard for years on your first novel, invested in a professional editor and you chose one of the best book cover artists.

But your book sales are still disappointing… and your friends are postponing their promised book reviews from week to week.  You get more depressed from day to day and don’t even want to read tweets or posts on Social Media where authors are bragging over their bestselling works.  Even worse for you is to check the weekly NYT Bestsellers.  Becoming a bestseller author seems to be totally out of reach – or is it? Here is what you can do about it, but first some hard facts:
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7 Million Self-Published Titles: Stiff Competition.
Since 2010 roughly 7 million new self-published books appeared, almost all at online retailer’s websites.  And not only new books will launch every day, but also these titles will be offered for many years to come, as most of them are in digital format. The “gold rush” seems to be over.
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How NYT Bestsellers are “Made”:
Bestseller does not mean an outstanding book in quality-writing, it means only: sold in high numbers during a certain period, compared to other books who sold less copies.  And it means a print book, mostly as hardcovers and sold at book chains and mass markets.  This way to count numbers excludes: ebooks, audiobooks, books sold in other countries than USA, and self-published books.

If you can spend between $60,000 and $100,000 for marketing, you can use the services of a promotion company, e.g. the San Diego-based ResultSource.com who will buy your books en masse in chain stores to get your book into the bestseller lists …  We explained in detail “The Dark Side of Bestseller Lists”.  First investigated while writing “The Mystery of the Book Sales Spike” by Jeffrey Trachtenberg for the Wallstreet Journal.
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Roadblocks for Independent Writers
– and How to Overcome them.

  1. Without your personal ISBN (not from a POD) and without national distributors e.g. Ingram/ LightningSource etc., bookstores will / cannot even order a book for a customer. If your book is not internationally listed at Bowker, bookstores cannot find it in their computer.
  2. Big media reviewers do not even accept 10% of the submissions they receive – and as an independent author you are competing with traditional publishers – who know these reviewers for many years and might even be friends with them – and mostly are also their advertising customers …. you get the idea?
  3. Bookstores are still very reluctant to order self-published books from CreateSpace – after all, Amazon is their hardest competitor.

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Dreams Don’t Work – Unless YOU Do!

Bestseller authors who are the most successful, understand that publishing is a business. If no one knows about your book, then how can you expect to make sales? Nobody ever made money writing a book – only by selling it!

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Plan a Budget.
Here at SavvyBookWriters.com/blogg we have more than 1,230 articles, explaining authors in detail how they can overcome all these obstacles.  Succeeding at self-publishing means also to use some traditional marketing methods, and a budget, including anywhere from 5-10% for your overall book marketing, including a website or blog, paying for IT help, a web designer, or Google ads.
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Start early and do Your Market Research!
Authors, and especially self-publishing authors need to study their competition carefully too: Read their books, study book covers, pricing, reviews, and the marketing of competing books.
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Bestseller Authors Need Years.
Building up their audience takes lots of time, so it is surprising, that authors dream of their first book as a potential bestseller, and don’t realize that it takes a long time and hard work to get an audience, one reader at a time – especially if they did not do the groundwork to build a huge following at Social Media, in reader forums or in real-life before they start publishing.
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Get Help from a Publishing Professional.
A book marketing professional has to learn years and years.  Why, as an author, not take advantage of their knowledge to keep your head free for writing and interacting with readers?  No one would start a catering business without learning to cook, and knowing how to present food or how to find customers.  Writing a book does not make for a publisher.  Take the time to build your author platform and establish a brand, it will eventually give you an advantage in the market, no matter if you are self-publishing or if you go with a trade publisher.
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Print is a Must!
Print books still make up for about 60% of the book market, depending if you look at book sales numbers or revenue per book. The audio-book market is certainly growing too. Libraries order both book forms, however prefer hardcover with spine.  How to sell / distribute to libraries is explained in detail in our blog article.

Books for library-use need a Library of Congress Catalog in Publication block or, for a self-published book, Publishers Catalog in Publication block and / or a listing with Bowker word wide.
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Choose the Right Categories.
Be very carefully in which categories you place your book, especially on Amazon and other online retailers, so that readers find you easily and that you are not placed in a category with too much competition.
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How to Get Prestigious Book Reviews.
Check out professionally published books:  Many of these trade books have either on their back cover (paperback) or on their binding flap (hard cover) several snippets of the book reviews, as well as endorsements from bestselling writers or other professionals, that were already written before the book was printed.  It is not easy to get your book reviewed in these journals: however, it is possible. Librarians read reviews — at least those in Library Journal and Kirkus.  Both are paid reviews, so are a couple other professional book reviewers, which are often used by Trade Publishers, and are open to independent authors as well.
Study the Magazine’s / Newspaper’s review submission guidelines – and follow to the point!  Read also their previous columns, maybe a book review fits into this column, rather than in the book review editors’ section.
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Find Professional Networks.
Long before your manuscript is finished (or even better: before you start your book) get yourself into professional networks: Join lots of reader communities, such as Goodreads, Wattpad, LibraryThing etc..
Joining reader communities, and posting sample chapters (immediately after you write them) also helps to attract book lovers who often are approachable for review inquiries.
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Send out Advanced Reader Copies.
ARC’s, or advance review copies to booksellers and journalists: 8 – 6 months BEFORE your publication date! Because ARCs may not have been put through the entire editing process, the copy will often differ slightly from the standard edition of the book. You need professional reviews to entice pre-orders and early readers / reviewers.
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Turn Writing Content Into Income.
Why?  These networks with editors and publishing professionals will not only help you to improve your writing portfolio (and you even get paid for it) but it also improves your chances to get coverage by your “colleagues” – in contrast to beg an editor of a prestigious newspaper or magazine to review your book.  Clever Marketing and reaching millions of people can be done totally free (other than your time).  Just use your creativity and imagination!

  • Be self-assured and don’t hesitate to pitch international newspapers / blogs. It takes as much time as to pitch your local neighbourhood paper.
  • Write something of value for readers – which is “by chance” part of your book, such as travel tips to the location of your books plot, museums, festivals or public transportation that are mentioned in your book.
  • You have to do your research anyway, why not use the material you gather and write several articles that you can offer – always mentioning your book.
  • As a writer you know how to write, just learn how to write online content by reading lots of online articles and how they are set-up
  • Have a stunning photo of yourself on your books cover!
  • Prepare a Media Kit on your website – and in print, with perfect book description and professional photos.
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Online Marketing and Social Media
“At the very least, authors should be blogging” – that’s what publishers and agents expect.  Blogs are an essential tool of any writer.  Not only does it get you writing on a regular schedule, it lubricates your writer’s brain, eases that fear of putting yourself out there in the world.
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Social Media Tips.
In order to be found on the Internet’s Search Engines you need to be on Google+.  Second comes Goodreads where all the book lovers are, and then Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.  Try to stick with readers, reviewers and book bloggers on these Social Media platforms.
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Become Friends with Book Bloggers and Reviewers.
Careers everywhere depend on networking, same with a writing career.  Start making “friends” with reviewers, long before your book is finished: Search on your social media sites for reviewers, reviews, book bloggers, etc. when using the search function on top of Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and Google+ pages.  At Goodreads, reviewers are listed, so you can conveniently choose them as friends and follow them for a while, see which book genres they prefer, before you approach them.
Check out the bestsellers in your genre (in bookstores or online) and find names of reviewers.  If these reviewers have a blog (and most do), comment on their articles.  Offer them well-written guest blogs, geared to their topics and readership.
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Learn from these Writers:
In previous blogs we explained how: “Smart Authors Get Paid for Marketing Their Books!” and “FREE, Brilliant Book Marketing to a Million Audience“. 
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Write Something of Value for Readers.
– which is “by chance” part of your book, such as travel tips to the location of your books plot, museums, festivals, restaurants or public transportation that are mentioned in your book.  You have to do your research for your books anyway, why not use the material you gather and write several articles that you can offer – always mentioning your book.  One more way of content writing: Try to write as many guest blogs as possible for top bloggers that are high on Google and Alexa rankings.  It will give you and your books more exposure and new readers.
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Why Asking for (media) Book Reviews?
When you could get both: book promotion and at the same time (often) being paid? I know, it is a new concept to many writers, but when you think about it – it makes really sense: why use your time and effort to chase reviewers, when you can use your energy to leverage your books content and your research content – to create articles that you can pitch to both, print and online newspapers and magazines?”
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Perfect for Shy Writers.
Content book marketing is also perfect for shy writers who might cringe at stepping outside their comfort zone. They can promote their books at the end of each article they write and even add links to their website or book sales page.  Writing content will not transform your book into an overnight success, but it is a wonderful option for a long-term strategy, to build an author’s platform and it gives your readers a sample of your writing.  BTW: Traditional media is more and more outsourcing, barely any full-time writing staff is left, which means they are open to pitches from freelance contributors…
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Josh Pigford, a Social Media Marketing Guru:
“The bottom line is that people trust editorial content more than they trust advertisements.  Do the right mix.  Whether your business is as big as Colgate or whether you are a one-person start up, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to utilize this simple fact in order to engage your audience and build your customer base.” 
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Do’s and Don’ts in Content Writing / Blogging.

  • Headline attention – encourage readers to read the next line
  • Use keywords that resonate with your audience
  • Use simple and direct works
  • Exciting, interesting, controversial, sensational all work well
  • Numbers / lists / real data works / infographics are popular

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Your Email Newsletter:
Don’t forget to install an opt-in email list to be able to contact your fans!  Lori Taylor wrote in an article: “Ask any serious blogger the biggest blogging mistake they have made.  All of them will tell you the same thing.  Their biggest regret is failing to set up an email list as soon as they started their blog.  Money is not an issue – nor is it difficult to set up a list.  MailChimp.com is free – if your email list is under 1,500 email subscribers, while you can try out AWeber.com for just $1.  Adding a signup form to the sidebar of your blog is simply a case of copying and pasting some html code.
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Conclusion:
The possibilities to market your book are endless, and it should be an ongoing process to build your author brand and to establish a huge platform from where you can interact with your readers.

At our online seminars we help you to get ideas how to use your books’ content to write, promote and how you can even make money with your articles.

However to become a recognized and “real” author with lots of book sales, you need to write at least three to five books and dozens of magazine or newspaper articles for your portfolio.  It will take time – a couple of years – but you will eventually become a Bestseller author.  

Take Stephen King as a role model and never, ever give up! Have fun writing and meeting your readers!

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Here Some Links to Professional Book Marketing Tips:

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/checklist-how-to-organize-your-book-marketing/

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/7-tips-to-promote-your-book-for-free/

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/08/24/17-tips-how-to-successful-run-book-giveaways/

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/benefit-of-writing-contests-and-book-awards/

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/successful-selling-books-the-non-traditional-way/

http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/how-to-choose-the-right-genre-for-your-book/

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