10,000 hours – 5 years – 5 books published – that’s the minimum a professional author needs – PLUS being educated in the the publishing business, so that predators cannot take advantage of you.
. Artists Train For Years Every Day – for Hours and Hours…
Professions need to be trained! It takes years to become an excellent musician, dancer, singer, painter and writer – and it also takes years to become an excellent publisher. And it involves lots of skills and knowledge business-wise, marketing skills, not to mention, learning constantly new internet techniques and get to know the latest changes in publishing.
It Takes Time…
Many authors have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the time required for effective book promotion and to make meaningful connections with readers. They expect wonders from a single sales campaign, and don’t understand that under-pricing or “selling” for free is not a marketing strategy. And distribution and marketing are also two different things. There is a tremendous amount of time-consuming work that goes into getting a book ready for publication and release.
. … To Research Your Competition.
First of all make a list with possible keywords that readers might use to find a similar book. Check out the complete categories / genres at Amazon,Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Books, Waterstone’s etc. and study all the books, that could be similar to your future work. Visit several public libraries and book stores to find similar books, similar to the one you want to write. Learn about your competition! Borrow the most interesting ones, not only to read them, but also to study the book layout and design. Read the online reviews of their books carefully and learn from the faults of others – not your own!
Steady Wins the Race!
Becoming an author-publisher is a long-term commitment and requires hundreds of small steps on the path to success! Before you start writing, create yourself a road map. Take your time, see your writing & publishing as a long-term project and don’t have unrealistic expectations. The most successful self-publishers don’t view themselves as writers only, but as business owners. They invest in their businesses, hiring experts to fill skill gaps and to gain more time for writing. First create a professional looking book, do the groundwork to build up your author platform, and then have fun, winning one reader at a time.
Never too early to start: Building your brand on Twitter – or any other social media site – doesn’t work overnight. It takes time and as earlier you start as better for you as an author. You will want to have a large following long BEFORE your book is finished (maybe even before you start writing) in order to have a great start when launching your work.
Twitter is wildly popular and it’s a great way for you to interact with your community and reader audience. Introduce yourself on Twitter, similar how you do on all social media sites, in a way that makes people interested in who you are.
Perfecting Your Twitter Name.
The best part of your brand is your name, but your author photo, typography, and colours are also part of your brand. Brand recognition means that those who remember your name are more likely to pick up and promote your work. That’s also true for your social media platforms, such as Twitter for example. Carefully choose your twitter name, background image and your logo.
If your bio, along with your name and @name, is searchable on Twitter, which means people can type it into Twitter’s search engine and find you, without even having to type the account name. With your @name, try to get the actual name of your small publishing business. Keep it short to give others more space to retweet your content or send a direct message (DM).
. Photo – Icon – Avatar, aka Logo.
Your readers like to see the person behind the book. Invest a couple of dollars or more for a brilliant studio photo which you can use for years on all of your Social Media sites, website, blog, Amazon author page or submit to your publisher to use in your books. Publishing businesses use their logo and stick with it everywhere, to have brand consistency.
Party images, pics taken with your phone or computer, landscapes, snapshots from your last vacation, images of your children, wedding photos, art work, dogs or cats, cartoon characters, half-nudes unless you write erotic and any dark photos, that don’t reveal your face, or any photos, taken from the side or from behind and show only your hair and no face. Never have a second person on your social media photo. You might be in love with your partner, but it is less than professional to show this off on Twitter.
The portrait needs to be big enough
Your face should be recognizable
Make sure it’s a photo of “you”, that really shows the best of you
. Use 160 Characters for Your Bio Wisely.
You have only 160 characters for your bio, so make sure your description is clear and concise. Your bio should read like an elevator pitch. The first third of your profile should contain keywords related to your books. Include specific keywords that define your books. Think about what keywords a potential customer or prospect would associate with your books or your publishing company. Which search terms would they use to find your book or your website?
. Start Your Tweets With an Attention Grabber.
You have only 140 characters for a reason, soon maybe 160 – a tweet is supposed to be short and to the point! Start your tweets with something that will get attention. Be subtle about this, though. Don’t use capital letters to show your enthusiasm. Start a tweet with “New” or “Learn” to at least grab the reader’s attention to lead into what you are talking about.
. How to Increase the Amount of Followers:
Use the search function to find like-minded Tweeps, e.g. type in “reading”, “booklover”, “bookworm”, “avid reader”, and most important: “book blogger”, “book reviewer”, etc.
You will want more readers than writers as Twitter followers, right? Type into the search function words with hash tags #amreading or #Goodreads. Check out suggestions: “Who to follow” and there you best click on “view all” on your left bar of your Twitter page. A as more people read your messages, as more Twitter followers you will be able to invite as Goodreads friends.
If you want to become popular on Twitter and have your tweets go viral, check out these small, but significant challenges you might not be aware of. Avoid them. So whom do I follow – or better NOT…
Well, often they only think they are one. They do not follow back, even if they have 10’000 followers, they just follow 66 of their friends. In writing/publishing/photo/marketing circles I found them mainly among literary agents, YA writers and business advisers. Fine with me. As they are not interacting with me, nor re-tweeting anything I am posting, why should I follow them?
Me, Me, Me’s:
They consider Twitter as a free advertising board. When I go to their profile and scroll down I can’t see any re-tweets whatsoever. Some even never re-tweet. Only their continuing posts, varying from three to six subjects, and this for pages and pages… What I found so far: 80% of these are male and/or are introvert writers or leadership business advisers.
Too much of a good thing. They are lovely people, don’t get me wrong. They are re-tweeting, re-tweeting and re-tweeting some more. And if you want to thank them and reciprocate you cannot find anything they are tweeting. Maybe on page 41… But I don’t have time to go through all these hundreds of re-tweets to find anything they originally posted to return their favor.
Veeerrryyy long names:
Like “@Writer-Angelina-Christine-Parastopolis”. If one takes up half of the space just for the name, there is barely anything left for conversation. Just cut it at least in half, thanks.
OK, enough said. These are just four of many challenges that make it difficult to interact with others on Twitter – or prevents tweeps to click on Follow you and for you to build social networks and build a platform. To become popular and successful on Twitter:
Follow others, tweet something valuable for others and don’t use Twitter as a cheap way to advertise!
Create a nice mixture of your own, really interesting tweets and do some re-tweeting.
Choose a very short Twitter name.
Make it as easy and convenient as possible for your fellow tweeps to engage and interact with you.
. Do You Use Twitter To Its Full Potential?
One of the most common questions is “Why Twitter?” Well, Twitter was built to share news and updates from you or your company. Twitter users expect to receive them from you. It is built to send people to other websites – or your author sales page. When done right, you can promote your content over and over again without seeming spammy – something most social networks don’t allow you to do.
The key to a successful Twitter use is to build the right audience. A targeted, engaged Twitter following allows you to succeed. You might have a million followers, and they would be worthless – if it is not the right audience.
Here are Some Strategies:
Create a list of popular bloggers (use Google search) in your field
Use the search function on Twitter and type in relevant keywords
Follow or create Twitter lists
The purpose of these steps is to help you build a solid following that retweets your posts and will follow you on all your other social media platforms and on your website and book sales pages.
. #Hashtags Increases Your Visibility.
Tweets need to be optimized for Twitter’s search engine. Similar to GooglePlus, the inclusion of the right keywords in tweets will allow you be more visible in search queries. Using the right hashtags, links, and images will set you up to be more optimized for Twitter searches. Twitter is allowing people to search through every tweet, ever published. Make sure you have at least 2-3 hashtags on each tweet you post.
Add #hashtags to your tweets and also create tweets based on hashtags that are popular on Twitter at the time (you can see these as “trends” on the left-hand side of your Twitter home page).
Include a #hashtag or two in your posts to get better search results as well. To optimize your hashtag usage, search for the most used hashtags in your industry. Try going to search.twitter.com and enter the hashtag you would like to include in your tweet to see if it’s being widely used. You can also go to hashtags.org to see what’s currently trending. Ask for retweets (but not too often). Studies showed that more than half of all Tweeps will retweet if you simply ask them to! More tips what and how to tweet:
Tweet the latest news
Pick the right time of day
Leave room for a retweet
Use top re-tweet-able phrases
Write a tempting headline
Don’t make the tweet about you
Pick the right time and day of the week, Monday & Friday
Don’t Buy Followers. Never! Ever!
These artificial followers (not real people, just virtual twitter accounts) will never re-tweet you or buy your book.
If you have anything like these numbers – you are in trouble:
268 TWEETS 2004 FOLLOWING 345 FOLLOWERS
Un-follow people who haven’t followed you back after a couple of weeks. This is especially important to avoid “follow limits”. The first limit at Twitter you might hit, is when you have followed 2,000 people. You won’t be able to follow any more until you have 2,000 followers. So remove your non-followers, using Manageflitter.com or Unfollow.com.
However, don’t use their really annoying feature that tweets on your timeline: “Got 5 followers and 9 unfollowers”. This is not only an absolutely useless tweet, but makes you at the same time a free advertiser for them!
. Get Enough Twitter Followers.
Don’t be a Tweep with a pathetic following of less than 100 people. And don’t sign up with only one or two Social Media sites.
Take advantage of the great possibilities of sharing among all these sites. It is almost the same “work” if you are on one site, compared to having a presence on six or eight sites through the help of plug-ins and sharing buttons, as outlined in former blog posts.
Visitors on your Goodreads page click on the Google+ or the Facebook icon and send a message about you and your book to thousands of their followers. Google+ then sends the message automatically to Twitter.
To have lots of Twitter followers is also beneficial for your Goodreads presence, as you can transfer Twitter followers with only one click over to Goodreads!
. Easy Scheduling.
Tweet consistently and tweet at least several times a day. Sign up with the free version of Hootsuite. It really saves a lot of time, helps you planning your tweets over the day (or days) and frees you time to really interact with your followers.
It ensures your consistent presence on Twitter when you’re unable to tweet in person. Once you are familiar how it works and you have lots of followers, you might change to the professional version.
Timing of Your Tweets:
It seems Monday and Friday are the best days of the week, to get re-tweets. Tweet between 8am and 9am and 12pm and 2pm to get a maximum of re-tweets for your Twitter content. If you have a website / blog: Did you already install the “Retweet” button?
. Retweet Buttons.
People are naturally inclined to share content they find valuable. It shows to their followers that they are someone worth following because of the useful information they share, making them a valuable contributor to the social networks. Encouraging your readers to share your book’s content in social media also extends the reach of it to people outside of your direct network.
Special retweet buttons allows readers to easily post a tweet into his or her Twitter account. And it’s not just any tweet, but one that is pre-fabricated by you and links back to your e-book. Retweet buttons allow any reader to easily post a tweet into his or her Twitter account.
. Retweet Buttons: Step by Step Explained.
Create a small graphic (a blue bird on the graphic gives a visual signal to Twitter users) you can place it in your manuscript. Place the retweet image in more than one location of your future book.
So where do you want to send readers? Certainly to your books’ sales page! Use a link shortener, such as bit.ly, as the original Amazon link is too long. Create a short recommendation text to accompany the link. But avoid hashtags in this text or replace them with %23, so instead of #reading, use %23reading.
Acrobat Pro will allow you to create hot-links inside your e-book file. Use the “Link Tool” in Acrobat Pro (under the advanced editing menu), locate the retweet buttons you added into your file and create a clickable link for each retweet graphic.
To keep the link type invisible, highlight style to ‘None’ and select ‘Open a web page’ as the link action. Then hit the ‘Next’ button. You will be prompted to enter your special URL.
Sell Your Free Book for the Price of a Tweet.
Instead of locking your book to Kindle Select and let it download at five days for free, let your readers “pay with a tweet”.
Another great way to introduce your upcoming book to readers: Write a prequel in form of a short free book, including links to your book sales page or your website. But how to let as many readers as possible know about your free one – and at the same time about your new upcoming book? Use the help of Social Media and let your free book or other written content go viral via Twitter by retweeting to your customers friends and followers. Yet, not only can your readers pay with a tweet: FB, Google+ or LinkedIn Posts are possible too! Nowadays it’s sometimes more valuable to have people talking about your book than the money you would earn for a sold copy.
. Comparing Social Media Platforms is Hard, as there is no “Better”.
Twitter lets you follow a hand-picked community of people. Unlike Facebook, where you likely have, out of your total friend base, a few hundred friends you wouldn’t have chosen, Twitter is meant for tailored follower groups, a world not made up of all of the people you have ever met but rather a community of people you admire or would like to know. Tweeps get more immediate responses and it lives somewhere between the worlds of email, instant messaging and blogging. Twitter has a loyal following, especially among the technically savvy; bloggers, online marketers, writers and anyone with something to promote seem to find Twitter extremely valuable – and it really is!
. Twitter is More Mobile-Friendly.
Tweeting from a mobile device will always be quicker and easier. That’s because Twitter was born as a mobile network, like Instagram was. Facebook was born as a website that adapted, as all websites must, eventually to the mobile space. You have only got 140 characters; how long could that take, even if you add a photo?
What to Post on Twitter?
Your first step is to organize your tweets: Start a file where you place all your posts to use in the following months or years.
Take a dozen of your most popular blog posts and break them down into quotes
Share other people’s content
Post video clips and images
Check out “Trends” (in your field) on Twitter and re-tweet
Post excerpts from book reviews
Quotes are always popular…
Thank your followers often and mention them
Scrambling what to tweet? An important point with Twitter is to choose your passion, the topic you want to talk about and also to have your own brand, something people know you for. You certainly can send the occasional tweet about something completely different, but for the most part stick to your important topics.
Re-tweet news in your field on the Internet (Internet & newspapers/magazines)
Articles from your website, or your own blog posts & guest posts
Set up Google alerts (http://google.com/alerts) for news content
. How Often Send Out Tweets?
Unless you have ten-thousands of followers, the chances that many people will see all your tweets and click on links are very small. The number of followers and the tweeting frequency should match. As no one is 24/7 on Twitter, you might have to send your posts two or three times a day, maybe in the morning, around noon time and early evening. As more followers you have and the more you want to build a brand, or announce events, the more you should tweet.
Automate and Save Time.
First of all: Create a file (Notepad or Word document) and create a long list of tweets, using your own blog, guest blog, news etc. from which you copy/paste tweets, using headlines and URL’s. Second: create a folder where you place all your images you might use on Twitter or Google+, some you used on your blog, but also new ones. Automate your tweets so that you don’t have to sit in front of the computer all day long. There are several tools you can use: We are scheduling on Hootsuite and also on Futuretweets, other providers are Gremln. They are slightly different and they serve different purposes.
Twitterfeed http://twitterfeed.com/ feeds your blog to Twitter, Facebook etc. A YouTube video shows you step by step how to start Twitter feeds, however there are approx. twenty more videos to watch on YouTube.
Twaitter.com – now Gremln is a free product that allows you to schedule your own tweets (up to 20 an hour) on a single or recurring basis. The process is very easy. You will also find Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn integration, detailed analytics, customizable dashboards, stunning reports, multi-user management, and a whole lot more.
. Link Your Blog to Twitterfeed Gremln.
Every time your blog – or website for that matter – has something new it will be sent to Twitter. When you’ve built up thirty or fifty blog posts, you will have a handful of favorites that you would like to recommend others to read. Post the links in Twaitter or Twitterfeed and schedule them.
Write a blog and feed the posts automatically to Twitter, FB, LinkedIn etc.
. Monitor Your Traffic.
With the increased flow of tweets you will get more replies from people. Be prepared to answer them! You’re also going to have to carefully monitor the traffic that’s coming to your blog and from which Social Media site or organic search it is coming. This is a great way to understand which of your tweets are working and which are not.
Using the analytics on your blog, you can see how many hits you are getting: When do you get peak traffic? Rearange your tweets a little bit and don’t forget to use hashtags with relevant keywords. Try new things. A few video blogs from YouTube, or a series of special blog posts that you can link to. Over time, you can get others to discover you and getting them to re-tweet your posts.
. Last But Not Least: Twitter Lists.
What is a list? Similar to the Google+ Communities, Twitter has it’s lists where you can follow or being followed by people with the same interests. A list is a curated group of Twitter users – for example readers in your book’s genre.
You can create your own, or subscribe to lists created by others. Following a select group of users can be very useful, and a great time-saving feature. But tweets from your lists don’t show up in your primary feed.
Marketing Specialist Whitney Zelmer: “The process of generating ROI from Twitter lists takes time, so be patient. Keep engaging and offering interesting, timely information and you’ll eventually notice that others will start adding you to their lists.”
Where to Find Your Twitter Lists?
Click on your Avatar icon on the right upper spot where it says: “Profile and Settings” and you will find the word “Lists”. The message: “You aren’t following any lists yet” appears. Now click on: “Create a new list”. Give your list a name and a (very) short description.
To add someone to your list, go over to his or her Twitter profile. Click on the Settings icon (right upper row, the small wheel icon, next to the follow button). Scroll down to “add or remove from lists”. You can create up to 20 lists and you have the option to make each one public or private.
Social media star Michael Q Todd gives these tips regarding Twitter Lists: “You can only follow a certain number of people per day and in total. When you make lists however this restriction is blown away. You can make 20 lists and have 500 people on each of them but 500 may be way too many if all those people are highly active.
Your lists help to brand your account. If I want to know what a new connection is primarily interested in I can quickly scan through the topics of the lists that they have created. You can learn a huge amount about people from this. So be careful how you brand your lists! This includes the description as well as the title.” He also advices:
Thank people when they add you to a list
Add your lists to Klout
Constantly modify your lists
Add yourself to your lists (Many people miss this. Where it is powerful is when others start using your lists. They are following lists that I am on and see my tweets because of this.)
Some Twitter users never check their “Home” Twitter feed, they always use their Twitter lists to narrow down interests. Invest more time in your lists!
. SocialMediaExaminer recommends:
“Twitter is a widely used resource to collect and share information, as well as interact and develop relationships with others in your field. To fully utilize the benefits of Twitter for your business, you need to get organized. As Twitter continues to branch out, information will get even more random and difficult to filter. Well-kept lists act as a permanent filter for each of your interests.”
. Get More Twitter Tips:
Is there anything you think of, people can do to become a star in the Twitter-Sphaere, other than to post really great content and be social with others? Any good advices you have for them (or for me : ) Happy Tweeting!
You might have read about this computer program, which after scanning 20,000 books could predict with eighty-four percent accuracy a book’s success. The authors of The Bestseller Code mined the texts of 20,000 novels, published over the past 30 years.
Scientists had developed an algorithm which analyses a book and predict whether or not it will be a commercial success. A technique, called statistical stylometry, which mathematically examines the use of words and grammar, was found to be “surprisingly effective” in determining how popular a book would become.
Which Book Topics and Trends are Promising?
More important than the genre where the topics of:
Human Closeness (not necessarily romance)
Relationships / Marriage
Work / Technology
. Genre Doesn’t Predict Success.
The old saying: “Write Romance or Mystery, stay away from Memoir or Western if you want to land a bestseller” seems to be more or less a myth when you look at bestseller lists. Think Stephen King, who writes horror, Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain, a M/M romance, or Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl. Then there is the erotic genre with 50 Shades of Grey, Harry Potter books, which are classified as fantasy. Thumbing through bestseller lists shows a very wide genre-variety. Lets look at two examples of “Human Closeness” in famous writers’ bestselling books:
. Danielle Steel:
“With glamorous tales of love and heartbreak she has captivated legions of book buyers” wrote the Washington Post once. And Danielle Steel explains in an interview: “I write about the struggles, defeats and victories we all experience in a wide variety of situations, and I think people get caught up in the stories and identify with them and the characters because they see themselves in them. And often, readers find hope in what I write, that they, too, will survive whatever they’re going through.
Almost 150 books, and an estimated 800 million readers worldwide, she has also written children’s books, lyrics and poetry – all while mothering 9 (in words: nine) children. She is very disciplined, and writes in long hour stretches.
. Jodi Picoult:
Her last eight books were all number one on the NYT bestseller list. Human closeness can be found for example in her book Small Great Things, when she tackles the profoundly challenging yet essential concerns of our time: prejudice, race, and justice, but also parental inadequacy and children in peril.
What About Book Series?
Many serialized books are in bestseller lists, which signals that this is what people like to read. Series can be connected in different ways: the setting, theme, characters, profession, or a common element. Publish your series of novels in fast succession! Publishers aren’t interested in waiting five years for a sequel. Nor are Amazon readers… Barbara Freethy wrote: “Is there anything better than stumbling on the first book of a series, falling in love with the writing, the characters, or the story world, and then realizing that there will be many more stories set in that world? There are some series I wish would never end. The characters have become incredibly real to me, and it’s almost as if the world actually exists outside of the books! One of the fun things about creating a connected series is being able to develop a bigger story arc over the entire series.”
And J.A. Konrath wrote in his recent blog: “Series are a very good way to establish your name”.
. Writing Style.
Long sentences are rare in bestsellers – James Joyce might get away with it, but a newbie probably won’t. And keep your title short too. Use a “series title”. A series title builds a ‘brand’.
Looking at The Da Vinci Code and Fifty Shades of Grey shows that they are almost exactly matched in terms of fast and slow moments in their pacing. Most super-bestsellers have symmetrical pacing, so-called page-turners. Bestsellers usually have sex scenes around halfway through.
J.A. Konrath: “If you read a romance novel, you get the first kiss or sex scene at a third or halfway in, which drives the plot curve that follows: will they get together? And successful erotic writers know that. But when you know the rules, break them. You could have a sex scene on page one, like a modern crime writer will have a dead body in the first line.”
. What Else is Important?
Have you ever wondered how some books could reach bestseller status?
We are not talking about how to buy your way onto a bestseller list… It should be – according to Author Media:
Certainly: excellent writing.
An essential internal factor is your author platform.
An external factor is luck.
And last, but not least: Write a book the world needs. To write a bestseller, often you have to say something unique that the world is ready to hear.
The Secret Ingredients of a Bestseller.
A computer program found The Circleby Dave Eggers had the perfect DNA. It is not a page-turner like The Da Vinci Code, because it was brief, it has a plot, but it also has big ideas – and three popular topics: technology, jobs and “human closeness”.
Amazing also the variety of reviews: 5 star 27% – 4 star 28% – 3 star 19% –
2 star 15% – 1 star by 11% of Amazon reviewers. A book with bestseller DNA – but not THE bestseller, at least not in terms of millions of copies sold – yet.
As Harper Lee said: “I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide.”
And Nora Roberts: “You have to have the three D’s: drive, discipline and desire. If you’re missing any one of those three, you can have all the talent in the world, but it’s going to be really hard to get anything done.”
. Helpful Reading: How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author
by Janet Evanovich https://www.amazon.ca/How-Write-Secrets-Bestselling-Author/dp/0312354282
“If you can IMAGINE it, you can create it” said Napoleon Hill. “Ideas are the beginning points of all fortunes” And Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul) said: “People who do not have goals work for people who have goals.”
Here is the Secret for Writers:
One single step every day and in three months you will have a great author platform, and you will have established your author brand. 111 Tips on How to Market Your Book for Free makes it really easy for you. Just follow the small steps in this guide book, written by an experienced publisher and marketing specialist. If you follow these steps, you WILL become a successful author.
. The Only Guide Book that Authors will Ever Need.
It might not be that easy to become a truly successful self-published author, when you have to learn everything from scratch. But there is help: Get a cornucopia of detailed instructions and tips for your book marketing. Both, publishing novices and experienced authors will find these information immense valuable and helpful.
. Includes Almost 600 Direct Links.
Readers of our latest book will be provided with over 111 tips, (and almost 600 links) on how to successfully promote their books for free – in an “organic” way. Successful publishing cannot only be done through content writing, networking, but through many other small, savvy steps during the writing, publishing and book-layout process – which are described in detail.
. Detailed Plans and Smart Strategies for Your Book’s Success.
This author guide to free (or very low cost) book marketing and professional publishing, provides authors with valuable tips and hands-on instructions how to connect directly with their readers, how to find lots of bloggers and reviewers, establish a solid platform and strengthen their author brand.
Content marketing secrets and the latest social media networking tips will enable authors to capitalize on their writing, their competence and to increase their readership tremendously. 111 detailed-explained tips, and hundreds of links will help every self-publisher to find and implement numerous “passive” book marketing steps – in detail explained throughout this how-to-manual, leading the way to publishing success. Here are the chapters:
MORE WRITING = CONTENT BOOK MARKETING
HOW TO CREATE YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM
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Using these steps will turn out to a long-term time investment. They won’t initiate an immediate spike in book sales; rather, they will improve the amount of your readers and the exposure of your books. Remember: all of your writing is an asset that can keep making you money for decades to come!
A certain time-commitment will be necessary, at least in the beginning, depending on your level of your involvement. Yet, you will learn how to connect with reader communities, book bloggers, reviewers and social media followers and the more you use these marketing tools, the faster you can handle them. Which means that your fan and reader base increases. Some of these tasks are not obvious “book marketing” tasks, but they are essential for your success as an author.
. For Whom is this Book Useful?
Self-Publishers and authors who work with traditional publishers alike will profit from this book marketing and publishing guide. Get inspirations and encouragement from someone who has 35+ years of experience in print and e-book publishing, book marketing, online writing and magazine publishing.
Authors don’t need a finished manuscript – they need an audience first! Alone in 2015, more than 500,000 new English-language books have been published.
If you are an author with a 90,000 word manuscript ready to roll – just hold your horses – see how much work you have to do to find just ten people who are willing to buy your book.
Make Sure Your Book Has Readers Before You Publish.
If you can’t build a small audience, how can you expect to build a large audience? In order to survive the crowded space, some publishers are enhancing their efforts to help with their books’ discovery. Quality content has always been the top priority of successful publishers. However, with growing sales through online retailers, a book’s discoverability has become nearly as important.
Work hard to make sure your story and the writing is the best it can be, let several beta readers go through the manuscript, have it professionally edited. Create an outstanding cover image. And in the meantime: put your novel on hold and focus on short stories, blog articles or even a short free e-book as a teaser and network on social media.
. Promote Your Future Book Through Short Stories.
Savvy authors are building excitement and attract readers to their upcoming books.
Short stories or prequels can be the backstories for the longer book to come or standalone narratives that add to a reader’s knowledge of the characters or scene.
Create Buzz and Momentum.
Have fun to create several backstories for the longer book to come. Don’t see prequels as a marketing gig, they are valuable parts of your author platform and brand. Don’t forget: Promotion of your book must start long before you finish your manuscript if you don’t want to lose sales and success!
. Competition is Growing by the Day…
Do what you as a writer likes most: WRITE! Not only 90.000-word-manuscripts, but also short stories and blog articles.
Without even the bare minimum of an audience (or even good friends) your book won’t get picked up, and certainly won’t sell.
It’s not only “writers write” but also “author audiences”. Wise words: “If you want book sales, buy books. If you want book reviews, write reviews for all of the books you read. If you want people to like your Facebook page or follow you on Twitter, like your readers’ and friends’ Facebook pages and follow them on Twitter.”
Sean Blanda: “Call it the ‘anti-marketing’ plan: by building genuine connections with readers we can dramatically improve the chances of success.”
People who support your crowd-funding campaigns aren’t just money suppliers or future customers; they are also your mentors and teachers – comparable to Beta Readers. . Just because you love your product or idea, doesn’t mean everyone else will “get it” straight away and open their purse. Here are some tips on how to have a successful campaign on Kickstarter, IndieGogo and other idea incubators:
1. Start Your Online Presence Early!
Plan at least 4 – 6 months time to prepare your website, blog and social media platform. Start networking, write lots of blog articles, upload images from your work to your website. Start also to collect sign-ups for a future newsletter on your website. You will need it as soon as the crowd funding process starts!
Start creating and producing videos about your writing or production process, or show what problems your product will solve, along with life references from leaders in your field. Be funny, for goodness sake! Worst mistake is having a boring video.
But don’t load it up yet, wait until you can show it on the crowd funding site, only then placing it online and link from the newsletter to potential backers.
2. Make a Business Plan.
YES, you need to start your crowdfunding organized! This is a business! Find out who are your potential readers – and your competition? Too often, authors write books before knowing the depth of their reader base.
Also, check out your suppliers – for authors: editors, layout-ers, formatters, printers etc. – calculate conservatively the money you need a sufficient cushion for hidden or for unexpected expenses.
For Authors: Crowdfunding is a way to pre-order books before they are produced – invaluable for a startup author-publisher. Crowdfunding means you have readers before your book is published.
3. Create a Media Kit.
Dedicate a page of your website as a media / press page. Generating publicity for your crowdfunding pledge, using a press kit / media kit is essential, even if it is only one page. You will be much more attractive as an interviewee, event participant or having your book reviewed when your press kit can be downloaded by anyone who takes an interest.
The goal of the press kit is the same as of all other marketing tools: It should grab the reader’s attention, and provide media people with information and images in a variety of sizes and formats.
Copy your media kit, including images, add a business card to be prepared, if you should meet members of the media or other influencers in person.
. 4. Tell the Story of Your Project.
Don’t forget: 80% – 95% of all consumer decisions how to spend their money, is done by emotional motivations. Write your pitch not like a technical business letter, but rather a story, or a letter, you would write to a friend, and with the “big picture” in mind. Gear you pitch more towards the “who” and “why”. For the “how” and “what” and all the technical details, point readers toward your website. Let your potential backers know who you are and why you want to write the book, create the documentary or manufacture the item. Who will benefit from your work and how does it change something?
Writing your pitch will take a while, let beta-readers tell you their impression when reading it, and certainly give it to an editor. You could also use the help of copywriters who offer their services at freelance sites, such as Elance or Fiverr.
. 5. Gather Your Friends.
Gather your friends and followers and ask them who might be willing to give your crowd funding campaign a push. Be aware that you need these friends to help create your successful pledge – and maybe also to jump in when you are short of volunteers.
There is a lot of competition on these crowdfunding sites, so if you want to stand out, use not only your social media platform, but also your real-life contacts, your own networks and their networks’ networks. If you want people to back your project you have to tell them about it. More than once… Folks have to hear a message about seven! times, before they act!
Writing teacher Jane Friedman reminds also: “If you are going to ask others to help you, you need to return the favor. And the ideal scenario is if you’ve already been helpful to people in the past—that you don’t turn up only when you need something. Be sure to reach out to your captains and thank them, but also ask how you can help them. Make a thank-you list and post it on your Facebook page or website. Throw a thank-you party.”
Raising funds pre-publication can help authors to produce a higher quality book. Crowdfunding offers an opportunity to prove market viability for a book, find readers, reviewers and influencers.
. Kano, for example, who became the Great Britain’s most crowdfunded idea ever, advices:“Give people reasons to care and share. These folks threw money at you when all you had was a good idea. They’re willing to wait months for your idea to arrive. Give back what they gave, and then more.”
Recently an author wrote in a forum: “I’m seriously debating whether or not I should opt out of the KDP Select program (after my three months are up). I’ve had very few borrows to make it pay, so it’s only really the promotion days that seem to be a plus. My last book did okay on free promo, but not a lot of sales to follow.” Well, I have read similar posts during the last two or three years on a regular basis.
Many authors doubt, as Amazon Kindle Free Days, CountDown Deals and Borrows are not that lucrative any more. KDP Select can be a viable marketing tool, but the biggest disadvantage is the “exclusivity” an author has to adhere too, which causes a lot of effort and planning on other retailers sites, and lost sales there – as you will have to pull your books from all other vendors, you cannot even leave them for free there.
The KDP Select Program is Optional.
As an indie author, you are not required to agree to the program or use a program tied to KDP Select. However, if you enrol in KDP Select, you are signing away your right to use your e-book for anything other than reaching the KindleUnlimited crowd, and to get the right to offer free uploads of your e-book (5 days), Countdown Deals, Kindle Giveaways, and to participate at KindleUnlimited.
Kindle Free Days:
When you have that many downloads of your free book, you may climb to the top of your particular Kindle subject category – if scammers haven’t clogged the free book categories. Just read David Gaughran’s article: KU Scammers Attack Amazon’s Free Ebook Charts. .
However, getting to the top of the “free” category doesn’t affect your paid ranking – after the free days end and your book starts costing money again. .
If you pay a large sum to certain promotion websites and newsletters, you are promised that hundred thousands of readers receive notification about your free book. But this only working out for authors who
already have a significant following, or
are selling a series and offer the first book as a free download
Theoretically, if readers get hooked, they might eventually purchase the rest of the author’s works. But for authors with little to no name recognition and just one or two books published, it’s more difficult to see how using free days can significantly increase their sales.
Kindle Countdown Deals:
Kindle allows you to cut the price of your book down to 99 cents. However, this feature is largely useless in isolation if you’re an unknown author. There’s no point in slicing the price of your work to just under one dollar if only a few (if any) readers will ever note it. Quite a few online promoters offer to boost your countdown deal—often for a hefty fee. But it is important that you have enough reviews, and an online presence, perhaps also some blogger interviews.
Amazon’s latest feature allows Kindle authors to offer a number of their books as a giveaway prize, similar to those at Goodreads. If an author has a significant Twitter, Google+ or Amazon following, Giveaways can prove a useful feature. You can even earn royalties from the books your participants “win” – since you pay for them.
Giveaways do not only improve the numbers of followers, it could potentially increase the number of reviews within the following months. Giveaways do not necessarily translate into high rank-jumping at Amazon in the long run.
Rather than to pay for individual copies of books, those who’ve signed up for the program can read all they want. Authors receive a certain amount of royalties per page read, which amounts to less than half a cent per page. The question is, if people who download them, like they download a Netflix video, will they become your dedicated future readers and book buyers.
KDP offers a lot of promotional tools, to let readers download or borrow your books, which results usually in higher visibility for a short time. Since last year, participating authors are only paid by pages read, instead of by the number of books downloaded. However, none of these measures will build you a huge audience right away. It can perhaps improve sales for a short time, but none will make your book a bestseller.
. Exclusivity with KDP has its Downsides Too.
While you are exclusive with Amazon, you can’t receive e-book income from any other online stores, but you can still have audio-books in iTunes and your paperbacks at Kobo, Barnes & Noble and other retailers, or sell them from your website. Being exclusive with Amazon means relying wholly on one vendor for the income as a writer. Many authors aren’t so sure of its benefit, due to the restrictions Amazon imposes, only 23 percent of all e-books are in KDP Select.
. Unfair for Self-Publishers: There is also some unfairness towards self-publishing authors: Amazon’s traditionally published books of legacy publishing houses have no exclusivity requirements – and can be sold wherever the publisher wishes. .
Marketing steps by traditional publishers are usually for their bestselling authors only. This includes for example: Advance Book Reviews, posted on the book’s cover, book tours and signings of celebrity authors, lots of media coverage including reviews, speaking engagements, book signing tours, and placing new books at major bookstores who report to bestseller lists. How can author-publishers use the methods of global trade publishers to promote their self-published books?
. 7 Million Self-Published Titles: Stiff Competition!
Since years, millions of new self-published books appear, and almost all can be found at online retailer’s websites. 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 and self-publishing has been dropping almost fifty percent per year, obviously “separating the wheat from the chaff”.
You might not be yet a New York Times bestselling author. You don’t have a publicist. And your Amazon sales numbers are awful. Should you quit writing books? No, absolutely not!
For those authors who want to succeed at self-publishing: use also some traditional marketing methods, create a business plan and a budget, including anywhere from 5-10% for your overall book marketing, website / blog hosting, IT help, and graphic designers.
Traditional publishing uses multiple ways to promote their latest books. Self-published authors attempt to market their books to the entire world via Amazon, social media, and their website, it seems. Publishers select books in order to stay in business, and also to determine what the publishing house’s identity is.
Here’s how you can copy traditional ways to market your books – adjusted to self-publishing. One step at a time, but continually every day – split in small tasks.
1. Start Early!
Market Research – the very first step to do! An editor for a publishing house will need to make a case that the book fills a market need. And to do that, the publishing house will look carefully at what’s out there. Has the competition a recent publication in this sub-genre? Does the manuscript have similar scope? Is it widely available?
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. The most powerful and essential steps you can take toward promoting your book begins long before the actual writing of the book. At least two years before the book is published, start building a network of supporters and reviewers.
. 2. Advance Book Reviews in Magazines and Newspapers.
Did you ever wonder why brand new books had already reviews? The Amazon-owned Goodreads website noted that some 4,000 (in words: four-thousand) ARC’s, Advance Reader Copies for “The Girl on the Train” were sent out to not only to booksellers, but also readers (including Stephen King) and book critics to build a buzz around the title long before it hit the shelves.
New author-publishers can learn a lot in bookstores: Check out how professionally published books look like: Many of these trade books have either on their back cover (paperback) or on their binding flap (hard cover) several snippets of early book reviews, as well as endorsements from bestselling writers or other professionals, that were already written before the book was printed.
Traditional publishers may budget anywhere from fifty to several hundred “free and review” copies. Advance Review Copies (ARC’s) are what they send out half a year before book launch date. How these pre-editions (Galleys) are produced and to whom they should be sent is explained in How to Get Reviews Before Your Books Launch. Prepare your book review query well in advance and learn what to avoid when pitching to reviewers.
3. Set up Your Book for Pre-Orders.
Pre-Orders on Apple iBooks can start up to 1 year before book launch, and at Amazon you can start three months before, but calculate at least three weeks for pre-orders at Amazon. Don’t forget to set up your book also for Giveaways on Goodreads and LibraryThing at the same time. This will give you plenty of time to promote the book heavily before its launch day, and to gather the first orders from your readers.
4. Print Format is Essential!
Traditional publishers concentrate on print books, which still make up for about 60% of the book market, depending if you look at book sales numbers or revenue per book. Audio Books: The audio-book market is certainly growing, and Trade Publishers are not only investing in digital (even so it took them a very long time) books, but also in audio-books.
E-book authors might be happy with their sales on Amazon, Apple, Kobo or Barnes & Noble. They might have even turned it into an audio book. But the questions for a “real” book, paperback or hard-cover copy from conservative friends or elderly family members are nagging… And wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a Chapters or Baker & Taylor or one of these rare independent book shops and see your book in the shelf? You will not earn a fortune, not even a living, but for a couple of months it is a nice pocket change. Only months… yes, because longer than this, barely any book will stay in the book store, unless it really is a bestseller and gets re-printed.
If you go the indie route and choose for example the POD services, your book will never get discarded (good: no-return-policy in Print-on-Demand worldwide distribution), however it will not be automatically distributed to bookstores, customers can only order it there.
Why not additionally create an audio-book from your novel or even from non-fiction? Audio-books are becoming more and more popular! Your readers can listen to your audio-books, which can easily double their book consumption because they are using time that previously was not available and turning it into valuable “reading” time. They can listen in the car, bus, train, plane… while exercising, walking or hiking, on the beach or while doing mundane tasks around the house or yard. Special needs readers, such as blind ones will have access to your written words in form of an audio-book.
Audio-books can be listened to on an iPod or iPhone/SmartPhone or other MP3 player, even on most e-readers such as Kindle and Nook.
A membership at www.Audible.com (owned by Amazon.com) is a good deal for your readers. They can choose from various plans, and easily download digital audio-books to their preferred device. Or your readers can go to their local public library to get audio-books for free.
. 6. Book Sales at Several Outlets.
Imagine you could buy all books from Penguin only in one book chain… Publishers distribute their books to as many outlets as possible, to brick-and-mortar stores, independent booksellers, mass markets, online book sellers, even via Affiliate programs.
Authors: Sell your books, e-books and audio-books not only through Amazon, but as well on Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo websites, to have your “eggs in more than one basket”. And don’t forget the potentially huge potential market for hardcover books, selling them to libraries all over the country! However, there are way more online retailers for e-books and books than just Apple, Sony, Diesel, Kobo or Barnes & Noble. Sign up with a book distributor / fulfillment company for your print-version of the book. Distributors mostly require just three books to be listed as a publishing business, and if authors have not written three books yet, they can band together with other authors to reach this minimum. Aggregators will distribute also single books. See a comparison of book distributors here.
Traditional publishers and the books of their authors can be found on Bowker’s global database of books. How to get into “Books in Print”, a worldwide database and to register your book for FREE! with Bowker is the topic of another blog post.
7. Set up Your Own Book Sales Page.
Many big publishers and major online retailers sell from their own website print and digital books – and so can you! How? Get all the information you need to start selling your titles from our former article: How to Sell Your Books From Your Own Website.
Make at least 30% more on your books, compared to selling it on Amazon, B&N, or Kobo – up to 95% of the book’s sales price. Get your revenue immediately and get to know your readers, a very important point for your future marketing and to keep in contact with your customers. ALWAYS include your website, blog and social media information in your book, no matter if e-book (where readers can have a direct link to your sites) or print book, so that readers can join / contact you.
8. Sell Your Books to Libraries.
All traditional publishers sell their books to libraries. According to statistics from the American Library Association and the Book Industry Study Group, libraries yearly purchase books for nearly $2 billion. But not only books, also audio-books and other forms of publications. Around 95% from major publishers. Imagine, you sold your $15 book at a 50% discount to only 10% of these libraries, you will earn more than $75,000. But how can you tap into the lucrative library market? It is explained in detail, including valuable links of wholesale companies who sell to libraries, in a former blog article at SavvyBookWriters.
9. Attend Book Shows & Fairs.
Representation at the applicable trade shows includes bookseller trade shows like the Bookseller Expo America (BEA) or one of the regional bookseller shows, such as the New England Booksellers Association, Book Shows for the Library Association (ALA) and certainly the world’s most important, the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany every October.
Which Book Fairs or other Literary Events will you attend in the coming months to present your work? How to organize your participation and how to attract visitors is explained in detail in this blog post, pointing out the do’s and don’ts at book fairs.
. 10. Offer Book Signings.
An author tour can take various forms. Two weeks of travel, flights from city to city, an author appearance every day, twice a day if possible. Publishers often make their choice on the basis of three factors: if the book can sell in quantity in bookstores; if the book can be reviewed in newspapers, not simply journals; and if the author is presentable. How you can organize your own book signing is explained in detail, even with a time-table, here on this blog post at SavvyBookWriters.com/blog.
11. Lobby to Book Clubs.
Traditional Book Publishers sometimes sponsor book clubs, or invite them to participate in a contest, such as the one offered by Random House of Canada “Book Clubs are Beautiful”. Members suggests four or five books that they must have read and then the voting and lobbying begins until they’ve got their list. member suggests four or five books that they must have read and then the voting and lobbying begins until they’ve got their list.
Authors on the book clubs list have attended a meeting or contacted them by phone or email. Writers can find easily contact addresses of book clubs via Google Search. Offer them a free copy of your book, just as big publishers do. Don’t overlook the virtual book clubs at Goodreads, Wattpad, Bibliophile, LibraryThing etc.
12. Enter Writing Contests.
Many published authors compete in writing contests, and publishing houses sometimes organize contests. How to Get More Readers from an Award: Publicity around a book award will boost your book sales. Contests are a great way to hone your craft and show the world how much better you are than other writers. Winning a book award for your self-published fiction or nonfiction book is a great way to gain recognition and approval. You will not only see an increase in your book sales – if you market it well – you also can add the award sticker to your cover and mention the achievement on your back cover, in your books’ description, and in all your marketing and promotions – online or offline. Here is a list of 25 Writing Competitions You Should Enter.
13. Content Writing for Magazines & Newspapers.
World-famous bestseller writers from big publishing houses, such as Ernest Hemingway, Margaret Atwood, Tom Chiarella, Gloria Steinem and Stephen King did it: Writing occasionally short stories and magazine articles – before blogs became fashionable.
Your book has been launched months ago or even last year. NOW readers need to see something NEW from you. It doesn’t need to be a whole new book:
. The three main assets you have already
your writing skills
the content you already penned
the research you have done for your book(s) can be used to write at least 20 – 30 articles or blog posts – and if regularly posted on Google+ it is raising your Search Engine Ranking (SEO) on Google tremendously
More benefits of writing content:
it is a subtle way to promote your book
you receive valuable backlinks to your website or blog
you will have lots of possibilities to post on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook
include links to your articles in email newsletter (that you hopefully send out regularly to your readers)
Post these articles on your blog or contribute guest blogs to other sites that are focused on the same topics as your book.
Content is used to draw in your ideal readers / reviewers, it will link to your book sales page or your website and it helps a lot to build a platform. Last but not least it gives you a lot of material to post and to tweet. The result: you will increase your exposure, show your writing skills, grow a loyal following and attract reviewers – in one sentence: you will achieve success with your writing – and in many cases, even get paid for it.
14. Press Kits on Your Website.
Bestseller authors at traditional publisher have the support of the publisher’s in-house (or out-sourced) publicity department. How much publicity support depends on many factors, but there are the basic elements that a publicity department will likely provide: Book Press Materials. Near publication date, the book’s publicist will email the electronic version of the press kits to a large number of applicable editors and producers to garner interest in the book. Book Media Follow-Up is the next step. The book publicist will follow up with any media outlet that responds to the mailings or e-mailings, will mail additional copies of the finished book, and will make additional calls or emails to other outlets to remind them the book is in their in-box.
To get the word out about the upcoming book launch, to receive positive articles in newspapers., magazine, book blogs, or to get interviews, writers should professionally deal with anyone who could tout their book – not only national press or TV. Don’t make these common errors: Not having a press page on your website for example.
Unfortunately most writers are not aware that journalists, bloggers or radio hosts need a bit more information than what they see on an Amazon page. And they won’t just copy and paste your “about the author” or the description of your book on the sales page. Check out Stephen King’s website, see how he organized his page for the media, where journalists can download high-resolution press photos.
15. Radio Interviews.
Bestseller authors often appear as guest at TV or radio stations. Publicists for major publishing houses have longstanding contacts to their editors and arrange interviews for bestseller authors.
Authors can go the same route, starting with internet radio stations, such as this one: The Book Report. Don’t forget when you plan the marketing of your public events, to announce it for free on Google+ and on Goodreads, use their free Event pages.
. 16. Speaking Engagements.
Keynote Speakers and Motivational Speakers are handsomely paid, often $10.000 to 15,000 for a two-hour speech! Most celebrity authors, found as speakers, are writing Non-Fiction books.
. 17. Foreign Rights.
Basic subsidiary rights that publishers contract with their authors include translation into foreign languages, foreign rights, and reprint of selections by other publishers in other countries, just to name a few. For example: An American publisher may also license a book to a British house for separate English-language publication in the UK and the Commonwealth.
Foreign Rights as well as translations into other languages can be a great way to leverage the value of your manuscript – but don’t expect big numbers right away. Additionally, it will add an international, professional image to you and your books. Revenue will be an advance and approximately 6 – 10% royalty of the retail price, minus percentage for the agent. Try to get the highest advance possible. It’s also a long-term project as it takes around 18 months until the book is translated and finally available online and in bookstores – and another half year for royalties to arrive. There are platforms on the internet, which enable self-publishers to offer their books or search for foreign publishers. You might call it DIY Selling of Your Foreign Book Rights, which doesn’t require agents, and their stiff commissions. To consult a foreign rights contract lawyer before giving the manuscript away, is highly recommended – and certainly a thorough research.
18. Bookstore Placement.
Placement in bookstores, both chain and local (especially bookstores that report numbers to the Bestsellers List) William Germano explains in his book:
Trade publishers’ marketing departments issue all kinds of catalogs to promote books—ones you see and ones you won’t unless you’re a librarian or a bookseller. The trade catalog is a publisher’s principal tool for making sales to bookstores. Publishers with two trade catalogs bring out one per publishing season. The fall season usually begins in September and continues through the winter. The spring season begins in February or March, and continues through the early summer. Books to be announced in a catalog must be securely in place at the publishing house up to a year ahead.
. 19. Placement of Books in Big Box Stores.
Wandering into a Walmart or Shoppers DrugMart outlet, you will most likely find close to the entrance / cashier desk the shelves of magazines and books, often from Bestseller authors. Big publishing houses sell tons of books to these big box stores – at steep discounts I must add.
If your books are selling like hot cakes, consider selling in bulk too. Book wholesalers or websites, such as ChainStoreGuide.com and TheSalesmansGuide.com, provide contact information for hundreds of buyers. You could also visit the websites of your most coveted outlets. Target even maintains a “vendor hotline” to answer questions by phone. However, be aware that having at least a dozen books is the minimum before you approach purchaser at big box stores vendor department. They will not order single titles. If you have a book that should go into a specific department, for instance Sporting Goods, Electronics, Childrens, etc. contact the local store manager and ask who the purchaser is for that specific department, check out this YouTube video.
20. Reader Communities.
Not something, where trade publishers have a huge presence, but important for self-publishers: For a book to sell, you need to create the demand. You need an audience, a platform – which you will get when your book is showing up on many websites and forums, visible to readers, bloggers and to book reviewers. There are top websites where you can sign up, join the community, show your books or upload parts of your writing.
Start with Wattpad, Goodreads and LibraryThing! Wattpad has more than 45 million members spending an average 30 minutes on the platform per visit. There are more than 130,000 signups daily. The service is offered in English, Spanish, Danish, Polish, Italian, Swedish, German, Turkish, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, Catalan, a total of more than 50 languages.
This is just a small selection of the many book marketing activities that authors can copy from major publishers – beside Social Media networking.
“Just Because You Wrote a Book, Readers Won’t Line Up To Buy It!”
Authors who take their publishing endeavour seriously and work as hard on their publishing business & book marketing as they do on their writing, will always succeed!
Find many more detailed tips and links to all aspects of author-publishing and book marketing at SavvyBookWriters, especially how you can act like a professional publisher and take your books to the next level. Try to wring the maximum value out of your work – by creating magazine and newspaper articles, short ebooks, audio-books, magazine excerpts, foreign language editions and more. Remember that you don’t have to do all of this at once! Take one step after the other.
Generally I am writing for Indie authors, and how they can successfully run their publishing business. However, many of these tips, especially those about book marketing, can be used by “published” authors as well. But in these promising times for author-publishers, there are still many writers who want to go with a trade publisher. As always: Author Beware! Get helpful information in this article, such as the – very detailed – checklist for your publishing contract negotiations.
“A book is a book, except when it comes to e-Book royalties.”
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Simon & Schuster Publishing House by class representative Sheldon Blau, MD., – represented by Law offices Lloyd J. Jassin. Why? Lloyd J. Jassin explains:
“The royalty rate for e-book sales is much lower than the rate for the license of rights. If categorized as a “LICENSE”, the author receives 50% of net receipts, rather than 25% of net typically paid to authors for the “SALE” of an e-book.”
If you work with a trade publisher, better check your contract, if it says: “license” or “e-book-sale”… And while you are at it, go through your publishing contract, and compare it with the following list, compiled by contract lawyer Lloyd J. Jassin.
Publishing Contract Negotiations.
Negotiating a publishing contract is a lot like buying a house or a car. There’s some give and take, not everyone will get the same deal, especially for new authors and sometimes you have to pass on a publishing offer, if there are non-negotiation clauses that would interfere with your writing career. What can authors do to get a fair deal? Before navigating the minefield of book negotiation, READ the contract you have been offered, carefully, several times, line for line… Use the checklist below, and ask the publisher or your agent IN WRITING what the clauses mean which you don’t understand, and think long and hard about the consequences for you. Don’t accept a phone answer, get it in writing!
BEFORE you sign the contract, make an appointment with a contract lawyer to handle your contract negotiations. Agents are not trained and able to give you legal advice! How to hire an attorney who can help you is described in Kristine Rusch’s useful article.
A couple of hundred dollars are a good investment that helps you possibly with all contracts during your writing career.
. Publishing Contract: Checklist What to Negotiate:
I. General Provisions
1. Name/address of parties
-Why kind of author? Joint? Single? Corporate entity?
2. Description of work (synopsis)
-Tentative title, no. of words, intended audience, fiction, non-fiction…
II. Grant of Rights and Territory
1. Is it an assignment of “all rights” or a license agreement?
2. Term or time period (i.e., usually the life of the copyright)
3. Geographic scope
b) Limited (e.g., U.S., its possessions and Canada)
4. Exclusive rights granted
a) Primary rights
b) Secondary (subsidiary rights)
1) First serial (i.e., pre-publication excerpts)
2) Second serial
-Video Recordings / Audio Recordings
-Other digital versions (apps, enhanced eBooks)
-Merchandising (commercial tie-in) rights
-Foreign translations rights
-British Commonwealth rights
III. Manuscript Delivery
1. Delivery requirements
a) When due? Is the date realistic? Time is of the essence?
b) What format? Specify size of paper, spacing, margins, etc.
c) What to deliver?
-Number of manuscript copies, disks (what WP format?)
-Index (who pays?)
-Number of illustrations, charts, photos (who pays?)
d) Copyright permissions and releases
-Scope of rights (does it parallel grant of rights?)
2. Manuscript Acceptance
a) Criteria: Satisfactory in “form and content” or at “sole discretion” of the
publisher? (Note: Historically, this clause has been a litigation flashpoint)
b) Termination for unsatisfactory manuscript
c) Termination for changed market conditions
d) How is notice of acceptance or dissatisfaction given
e) Good faith duty to edit
f) Return of the author advance
-First proceeds clause
-False first proceeds clause
IV. Copyright Ownership
1. In whose name will work be registered?
3. When will work be registered? (Should be done within statutory period).
4. Joint authors
5. License versus assignment
6. Independent Contractor or Work for hire
7. Reserved rights
-Overlap between audio & multimedia on the one hand, & performance rights on the other
-Overlap between print on the one hand, & screenplay / play publishing on the other
V. Author’s Representations & Warranties
1. Author sole creator
2. Not previously published; not in public domain
3. Does not infringe any copyrights
4. Does not invade right of privacy or publicity
5. Not libelous or obscene
6. No errors or omissions in any recipe, formula or instructions
7. Limited only to material delivered by Author
VI. Indemnity & Insurance Provisions
1. Author indemnifies publisher
2. Does indemnity apply to claims and breaches?
3. Can publisher withhold legal expenses? Is it held in an interest
4. Is author added as additional insured on publisher’s insurance?
5. Does publisher have ability to settle claims without prior approval of
author? If so, are there a dollar amount limitation?
1. Duty to publish within [insert number] months of ?
a) Force majeure (acts of god)
– Any cap on delays?
2. Advertising and promotion
3. Right to use author’s approved name and likeness
4. Bound galleys/review copies
5. Style or manner of publication
a) Title consultation or approval?
b) Book jacket
– Right of consultation? Approval?
c) Changes in manuscript
6. Initial publication by specific imprint or publisher may sublicense
VIII. Advances & Royalties
1. Advance against future royalties
2. When payable? (in halves, thirds, etc.)
3. Royalties and subsidiary rights:
a) Primary rights
-Trade paperback royalties
-Mass market royalties
1) deep discount and special sales
2) mail order sales
3) premium sales
4) small printing
5) slow moving inventory
6) bundling with other works
b) Secondary (subsidiary) rights royalty splits
-Book club (sales from publisher’s inventory v. licensing rights)
-Serialization (first serial, second serial)
-Anthologies, selection rights
-Large print editions
-Future technology rights
. -Audio rights
4. Reasonable reserve for returns
a) What percentage is withheld?
b) When liquidated?
5. What is royalty based on? (Retail price? wholesale price? net price?)
a) At average discount of 50%, 20% of net is same as 10% of list
b) At average discount of 40%, 16-2/3% of net is same as 10% of list
c) At average discount of 20%, 12-1/2% of net is the same as 10% of list
6. Recoupment of advances
IX. Accounting Statements
1. Annual, semiannual, or quarterly statements
2. Payment dates
4. Audit rights
5. Limit on time to object to statements
6. Limit on time to bring legal action
7. Examination on contingency basis
8. Pass through clause for subsidiary rights income
9. Reversion of rights for failure to account
X. Revised Editions
2. By whom?
3. Royalty reductions if done by third party
4. Sale of revised edition treated as sale of new book?
5. Reviser/Author credit
1. Definition of next work
2. When does option period start?
3. Definiteness of terms (i.e., is option legally enforceable?)
4. What type of option? (e.g., first look, matching, topping)
XII. Competing Works
1. How is competing work defined?
2. How long does non-compete run?
3. Any reasonable accommodations?
1. How defined? (Eg, __ copies sold over __ accounting periods)
2. Notice requirements
3. Author’s right to purchase digital files, inventory
1. What triggers reversion of rights?
a) Failure to publisher within ___ months of manuscript acceptance
b) Failure to account to author after due notice
c) Failure to keep book in print (see Section X)
2. Survival of Author’s representations and warranties
3. Licenses granted prior to termination survive
4. First proceeds clause
1. Choice of governing law
2. Mediation / Arbitration?
5. Literary agency clause
6. Personal guarantee if the author is a business entity, not a human being.
In case you ever need their advice: Law Offices of Lloyd J. Jassin 1501 Broadway, New York, NY 10036 phone 212.354.4442 .
LLOYD JASSIN is a New York-based publishing attorney. He teaches a digital rights & permission at the NYU Publishing Program. He is co-author of the Copyright Permission and Libel Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide for Writers, Editors and Publishers (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.).
Lloyd has written extensively on negotiating contracts in the publishing and entertainment industries, and lectures frequently on contract and copyright issues affecting creators and their publisher partners. A long-time supporter of independent presses, he is First Amendment counsel to the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and sits on the advisory board of The Beacon Press, one of America’s oldest independent presses.
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