4 Ways to Increase Book Sales

books, reading, john grishamYou’ve put the finishing touches on your book and are ready to show it to the world. You hope to get readers and add a few extra dollars in your pocket at the same time. Ebooks in particular are extremely profitable. People love the ease of being able to instantly download a book to their phone or iPad. But it can be a challenge to sell your book if you aren’t a well-known author. And to become a successful author, you have to sell some books. The good news is that there are low cost ways to get the word out about your book and establish your credibility as an author.
Here are 4 ways to help you bring in the sales:
Offer a Free Chapter
People hesitate to buy when they’re not sure about the quality of your writing or the information you offer, especially if you’re a new author. One way to motivate them is to offer a free chapter from your book. To do this, make a chapter available for instant download right from your website. Even better, give away a free chapter in exchange for an email address. You can use their email address to send information about future ebooks you’re authoring. Giving away a free chapter is a good way to get your prospective reader “hooked” on what you have to offer.
Get Your Book Reviewed
If you’re listing your book on sites like Amazon, it’s important to have good reviews. Since customers can’t flip through the book, they often base their decision to buy on book reviews left on the site. Reviews are especially important if you’re a new author. To get your book reviewed, visit sites relevant to your topic, and offer a free copy of your book in exchange for a review.
Another way to get your book reviewed is to send a copy to relevant blogs and book reviewers, and ask them to read it. If they like it, they’ll mention it on their blog where it could reach thousands of eyes. Not only do you get a review, you get free publicity. Not every blog will review your book, but be persistent. Some will.
Don’t Be Afraid to Give Away Copies
Offer a copy of your book to people who have a large following on social media sites. If they enjoy your book, encourage them to share it with their friends and followers. This is a quick and easy way to get the word out about your book. The more copies you giveaway, the more reviews you’ll see. Make sure you are giving away copies to the right people though (if you have a mystery book, search for people who enjoy reading mysteries). You can also giveaway free copies of your book directly through Amazon and Goodreads, they each have their own giveaway platform.
Submit Articles to Relevant Websites to Market Your Book
Do a search for popular websites and magazines relevant to your topic. Websites are always looking for quality content. Submit a unique article or an excerpt from your book that their readers would enjoy. Make sure the article is a good fit for their site and something that their readers would find interesting. At the bottom of the article, include your bio, mentioning your book with a link to your website.
The Bottom Line?
There are lots of books out there, and how you market it can make or break it. Give these tips a try and see if they don’t make a difference. Promoting your book can be a full time job, so if you don’t have the time or energy, hiring a publicist to handle your book promotion may be your best bet.

The Importance of Editors

Believe it or not, the editor is the author’s best friend. They are invested in making your book the best possible version of itself, and you the best possible author you can be. So, while we don’t officially require a work to be edited before running a PR campaign for it, hiring an editor is HIGHLY recommended for the betterment of your campaign. Many reviewers will flat out refuse to read a book that hasn’t been professionally edited, and we can’t really blame them. A raw manuscript can be riddled with unseen typos that knock the reader out the world you’ve built. And that can ruin the entire experience!
Before hiring an editor, however, make sure you do your research and find one that will best suit your book and its needs. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about editors out there.
This article from the Huffington Post reveals 7 myths about editors that authors should most definitely remember are just that, myths.
Now, we highly recommend reading the full article, but here are some of the tips we found the most important to remember.
1. Editors are NOT out to get you, defame your book, or humiliate you.
giphy (1)
If you and your book do well, it looks good for your editor and their own credibility, so there is no reason that they would actively seek to put that in jeopardy. Try to keep that in mind when receiving criticism. These are merely suggestions from a trained eye who is not as attached to the book as you are (and that’s a good thing!). It’s always better to have a fresh set of eyes and a new perspective, so keep calm, discuss the issues, and make your way towards an even better book.
2. ALL writers need editors.
edit quote, stephen king
This kind of goes back to the issue of attachment. It is only natural that you think your book is perfect just the way it is from the get-go. It’s your baby and it’s definitely an accomplishment, but you’ve spent so much time working on it, dreaming about it, and forming an intimate relationship with your characters that some bias is inevitable. An editor acts as both spell-check and springboard, and is more likely to notice grammatical, spelling, or content kinks that you may have just been too close to the work to have seen. From the self-published pamphlet writer, to bestselling and prolific writer, Stephen King, everyone needs an editor.
3. An editor should be researched and talked to, not just randomly hired.
Charles Dickens
We all take more of an interest in books that appeal to our tastes. Personally, I’m a sucker for historical fiction. So when hiring an editor, make sure that they are trained, experienced, and have a genuine interest in the type of book that you’re offering. As I said, an editor can be a springboard for ideas, and that leads to all kinds of potential both for your work and your personal life. Take the two figures pictured above, from Flavorwire’s article on 8 Famous Author/Editor relationships.
These two gentlemen are the renowned Charles Dickens and his editor, Edward Bulwer-Lytton. After much deliberation, Dickens eventually allowed Pip and Estella to be together by the end of Great Expectations based on the argument made by his editor and friend, Bulwer-Lytton, that the original ending was much too sad. In fact, Bulwer-Lytton was such a good friend and important part of Dickens’s life that Dickens named his youngest son Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens for him.
Finding an editor is both a necessity and important step in the publishing process. It can be painful to hear their opinions sometimes, but they really are just trying to make you the best author you can be, and your book a success. Take the time, do the research, and really get to know your editor. That could be the person you name your future child after!

A Budding Author’s Guide to Self-Publishing Your Book

Publishing CompaniesAn author’s origin story can be a pretty personal thing. Maybe you’ve been a great writer your whole life and you finally wrote that book your friends and family have been encouraging you to write for years.  Maybe you’ve just been through something life-changing and know that others would benefit from your experience.  Whatever led you here, here you are, you’ve breathed life into a story and it’s time to share it with the world.
Unfortunately, the publishing club is a fairly exclusive one these days and the demand for traditional publishing is so high that actually being published is near impossible if you head to one of the bigger houses.   But fear not! We have had the good fortune of working with authors from independent publishing houses who are more open to new members in the author club. Here are just a few that we’ve worked with in the past:
Xlibris Publishing provides a variety of services including black-and-white, full color, and specialty publishing.  Their specialty publishing covers formats for various genres of publication.  For example, they have specific formats for poetry and children’s books that wouldn’t be the same type used for sci-fi, literary fiction, etc. They also provide editorial and marketing services as part of their packages.  If you would like to add your book to the Library of Congress, publish a leatherback version, or expedite the publication process (just to name a few), Xlibris has add-on services available for additional costs.  Xlibris has over 40,000 authors signed with them. You can read about some of their experiences here.
Smashwords exclusively publishes e-books, which is something important to know going in.  They have access to publication through major vendors including iBooks and Barnes & Noble, and thousands of libraries all over the world through companies such as OverDrive, Gardners, and Odilo.  Other services include Smashwords Coupon Manager, Pricing Manager, and Daily Sales Reporting so you can see how your campaign is progressing on a regular basis. By signing with Smashwords you can earn 60% of your books’ sales from retailers and 80% of the list price from books purchased on the Smashwords store.   Here’s an in-depth review of Smashwords from The Independent Publishing Magazine.
CreateSpace is a hub of independent publishing, offering its services to authors, musicians, and filmmakers.  They claim some of the best royalties offered in the business, but you can decide for yourself using their royalty calculator.  Their publishing package includes design, editing, and marketing services and access to free tools like a cover creator, interior reviewer, and preview – where you can allow reviewers to see an early edition of your book, give feedback, and make your changes before final publication. CreateSpace is owned by Amazon, so you are also ensured a listing of your title on both Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, and Kindle in addition to your own website. Here’s an in-depth look at CreateSpace from TopTenReviews.
As you can see, there are pros and cons to each of the available self-publishing services, but only you can determine which one’s services are the best fit for you and your work. It could be that none of the above companies work for you and that’s fine too! These are only a few of the ones that our authors have used, but there are plenty more out there.  We’ve provided some other possibilities in the graphic above so feel free to explore, do some research, and find your perfect publishing service!

A Guide to Finding a Publisher for First Time Authors

laptop, writingSo you’ve finished your novel. It’s finalized, ready to go, and you know it’s going to be a hit. What do you do next? This is a simple 4 step guide for those who want to try to find a publisher without going through an agent.
1. Scope Out Publishers 
It sounds like an easy enough step, but how do you go about it? You might have seen suggestions to check out your local bookstore and jot down the publishers of books in your genre. But there are easier ways. More likely than not, you’ll find that a lot of those publishing houses do not take unsolicited submissions.
So where do you turn? Your best sources are yearly updated writer’s market books, such as Writer’s Market by Robert Lee Brewer, or Novel and Short Story Writer’s Market by Alice Pope. These contain information on almost every publishing house you could want, as well as agents and literary contests. Flip through these and find publishers who are accepting unsolicited submissions in your genre. It is also a good idea to then check out their websites for their most up-to-date information, such as whether they are currently open for submissions.
The internet is actually a more useful resource than a lot of other guides let on. There are quite a few lists of independent publishers out there and many of these lists are generated by other writers or collaborations of writers who have been through the same process. However, it should only be used as a secondary resource as these are not always official or licensed lists. Here are some lists of publishers from Book Market, IPG Book, and Flavor Wire to get you started.
Another option to consider would be genre-specific publishers. For example, Harlequin and Crimson Romance specifically publish romance novels while Down and Out or Mulholland Books are geared towards mystery and crime books.  This could be ideal in the sense that each publishing house has experience promoting your book’s genre and most likely already has a following.  Some of their customers would be inclined to buy your work simply because it was published by a company that has published other books that they enjoyed. One thing to be mindful of is that publishing through a genre-specific company would commit you to that one genre. For example, Harlequin may love your romance novel, but wouldn’t be interested in a new family drama you were working on.
There are pros and cons to each of these routes to publication, but you know yourself and your book best so be sure to weigh your options before committing to one.
2. Follow the Submission Guidelines
There is no better way to make a good first impression then to follow the publisher’s guidelines to the letter. There is also no better way to make a bad first impression then to disregard the guidelines. You will find that there is an astonishing amount of variability in what different houses look for in a submission package, so you’ll need to be flexible.
Some houses may want your full manuscript, some the first few chapters, and others may want a sampling from various chapters. Some accept electronic submissions while others do not. Some want a one page summary and others want a ten page summary. You get the idea.
It is a good idea to have certain generic pieces of your proposal prepared. For example, have a basic cover letter ready that allows for variability depending on what the publisher is looking for. Prepare a summary of your novel that is a couple of pages long that you can lengthen or shorten as need be.
Once you have put together a submission package that has all of the necessary parts, it’s time for the next step.
3. Send It Out and Wait
Most publishers will provide information on the length of their turnaround time, but it is important to know that it could easily take longer (or shorter, if you are lucky!). Be patient. If it takes a lot longer than they said it would, then it is okay to send a short message asking if your submission has been received.
Most houses are very good about not leaving you hanging and letting you know if you have been rejected. Once in a while, however, you might get no reply at all. In that case, see it as a rejection and move on.
If you happen to get accepted, then congratulations and best of luck! If not, then move on to the final step.
4. Deal with Rejections and Feedback
The number one thing to do when you get a rejection is to remember not to write back telling the publisher that they have made a mistake. This may sound silly to you, but people do it. Simply accept it, and move on. Unless you are one of the luckiest people to ever try to publish a book, chances are you will face rejection before acceptance. If you really believe that your manuscript can make it, then keep trying.
There is, however, the possibility that your book is not as great as you thought it was. You have to be willing to be critical and honest with yourself. Maybe you don’t need to give up on the whole thing, but it might need some editing or a re-write. Sometimes it takes a second pair of eyes to catch something you missed when you were so close to the project. It’s up to you to decide.
Once in a while a publisher, even if they reject you, may also send along feedback and pointers. This is a good thing and you should take it as a learning opportunity. The fact that even though they rejected you, they took the time to make constructive comments lets you know that they think you and your manuscript were worth their time. They might even ask you to resubmit after making the corrections.
Really take their suggestions to heart. Chances are that advice coming from someone in the publishing world will only improve your manuscript and increase your chances with other houses, as they typically look for similar things.
Of course it is always up to you to decide what advice to implement in your writing. You may receive contradicting advice from two different publishers! Ultimately, it is left to your discretion. Just remember to use every bit of feedback and every rejection as an opportunity to grow.

The Book Marketing Landscape


This infographic illustrates some of the most popular services and platforms for authors. These are the players that help turn unknown writers into household names:
The Book Marketing Landscape
To learn more, go to http://bestthrillers.com/book-marketing/the-book-marketing-landscape-infographic-2

Tips For Ebook Publishing Success

Everyone has a story to tell. Not everyone has the knack for publishing their stories. Once you have a great idea, you try to write it down as professionally as possible, but then you have to go through the struggle of publishing it. Traditional publishers and agents are difficult to crack through, and even when you do land a publishing contract, you’ll have to jump through a lot of hoops to get your story up to your publisher’s standards. There’s nothing wrong with traditional publishing, but if it were easy to get into, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.
Fortunately for the millions of brilliant writers out there, traditional publishing is no longer the only option. Self-publishing is not only possible, it’s logical, easy, inexpensive, and more widely accepted than, say, a decade ago. If you truly are a talented writer, there should be nothing to hold you back from publishing your greatest works. But perhaps you are worried about the cost. If that’s the case, stop worrying, it’s very inexpensive to publish an ebook. Also, most authors don’t have million dollar trust funds backing up their efforts.
Start with an ebook
The first thing you’ll want to do is to test the waters, see if there is a market for your book. If there’s not a big market, you can grow one. Do this by first publishing your book in ebook format. Creating an ebook used to be complicated. A few years ago, you had to understand the various formats, such as epub and mobi. To convert a book from a typical MS Word document, you had to be pretty skilled in a publishing software, like Adobe InDesign. That’s not the case anymore. Electronic book distributors, such as Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Smashwords, Sony, and even Apple iTunes have worked hard to help great writers become published authors. If you can follow directions, you can easily turn your novels into professional looking ebooks. Amazon Kindle has a complete step-by-step guide that will help you set up your book in Kindle format. Not only is the service free, but you’ll have an option to exclusively list your book with KDP Select for 90 days in exchange for a monthly share of their KDP fund. Barnes and Noble Nook is also free and easy to set up. They actually accept your manuscript as a Word document as long as you format it correctly. If you’d rather reach all ebook outlets at once, your best option would be Smashwords, which is an incredibly author-friendly site that will take your manuscript (conformed to their style guide) and convert it into all ebook formats. Then they distribute your book to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple, etc. and pay all of your royalties at their one site. This service is one hundred percent free to you.
Tips for ebook publishing success:
1. Edit your book. This is extremely important. If you can’t afford a professional editor, do it yourself, but be extremely careful. First, run the manuscript through your word processor’s spell and grammar check. Next, since these automated checks are not one hundred percent reliable, borrow a copy of Chicago Manual of Style from the library and go through the manuscript again. Once you’re sure you have no errors, you probably still do have some, so have friends or family read it and mark corrections.
2. Create an attractive book cover. Again, this could cost money and our goal is to do it all for as low-cost as possible. For as low as $5.00, you can have a decent book cover created on Fiverr.
3. Make sure your ebook is reasonably priced. You can’t have your ebook listed at $80, it’s just not going to sell. Most ebooks are in the $0-$10 price range. Offering your ebook for free on Amazon for free for a few days is a great way to get the word out about your book and increase reviews.
4. Market your book through mass social marketing. Build a Facebook page for your book. Join Linked-In groups and share your Amazon author page. Use Twitter and RSS feeds and whatever you can find that will help spread the word.
5. Get reviews. There are hundreds of reviewers out there who are willing to provide free book reviews in exchange for a copy of your book. If you still want to keep this process going at no cost, some reviewers are willing to review a PDF copy of your book. To avoid looking like a cheapskate, request the reviews before your publication date.
Now that you know what it takes to get published, what are you waiting for? Get that manuscript finished, polish it off, and become the published author you were meant to be.



Stop Dreaming and Start Publishing

book with flowersIf you are a writer at heart, then you have no doubt dreamed about becoming a published author. With all the tools available for potential new authors, there’s no excuse to not fulfill your dream. This article covers the steps you’ll need to take to finally publish that best selling novel you’ve worked so hard on.
Once upon a time, thousands of writers slaved over their typewriters, pecking away at the keys for hours on end, hoping that their books would become the greatest best sellers of all time. Writing the masterpiece was just the first step in a long, grueling, and often disappointing process. Once the writer put years of his life into his book, he had to somehow convince a publisher that his book was better than all the others. If he couldn’t convince a publisher, he had to find an agent, which was just as difficult, if not more so, than finding a publisher. Manuscripts piled up and became dusty, and many great authors were never discovered.
But the story has a happy sequel to it. Part two takes place in a world where all writers have a chance to become published authors. This is where we are today. If you are a great writer, there is no reason why you can’t publish your book. Thanks to on-demand services such as Lulu, Create Space, and Lightning Source, talented authors can produce their own books and sell them on a per-order basis. There are some mild setup fees required to publish a printed book, but once the title is established, you can sell it indefinitely with little or no additional cost. The procedure is fairly simple, and usually these services provide you with a representative to help you through.
If you’re not sure you’re ready for print, or you don’t think you can afford the initial setup fees, try publishing your first book as an ebook. Ebook formatting used to be a tedious task, but ebook distributors like Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook have gone to great lengths to make the process as painless as possible. All you have to do is follow a style guide. If you’ve done any  professional writing or editing before, you’re already familiar with style guides, so you shouldn’t have any problems. If you’re worried about conforming to epub format or if you just want to hit all the distributors at once, Smashwords is a very good option. Smashwords sells only ebooks, and they are very author-friendly. They have a fairly strict style guide, but there is a very good reason. They take your properly formatted manuscript and grind it into various ebook formats so that it is compatible with a multitude of e-readers. Then they distribute the ebook to all the popular venues, including Kindle, Nook, Apple iBook, and Sony. They store your ebooks, sell them, display them, and provide you with monthly sales reports. And it doesn’t cost you a dime.
Getting started
The first thing you should do, of course, is write your book. Get your creative juices flowing. Spend some quality writing time every day, if possible. Next, hire someone to edit the book. Even though you’re a good writer and probably got all A’s in freshman composition, you are too attached to your work to do a quality job. Be sure to hire someone who specializes in editing genres like yours, because grammatical styles differ slightly between genres. For example, a journalistic style (like Associated Press), may omit grammatically correct commas to save space. Fiction style supports the writing out of numbers, while nonfiction uses just the number itself. It is important for your editor to know what style you want him or her to follow.
Format the book
Download the style guides for all of your publishing distributors, and start working your book into conformity. Start with ebook format, because it’s simpler. With ebooks, you’ll have to strip off most of your word processing formatting and will add it back for print. Save a separate file each for Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords, so you can easily upload and maintain each. Next, format your print version and save it to a separate file. The simplest print publishing venue is probably Create Space, but you may prefer another distributor. Make sure you follow the formatting guides exactly. If you don’t, the resulting errors could cause delays.
Create a cover
Whether you decide to e-publish or go straight to print, you’ll need an attractive cover. People do look at covers when shopping for books, and they do tend to be drawn to the better looking ones. If you can afford it, hire an artist. You don’t have to hire someone to create the cover, just someone to provide a visually pleasing front cover image. Lightning Source provides cover templates, whether you use their services or not, and you can work your new artwork into it using Photoshop or some other image editing software.
Upload your book
Finally, visit all your chosen distributors’ websites and upload the files according to their instructions. Because you are self-publishing and will not likely sell your books at brick and mortar stores, you can set your royalties at a higher rate than a traditionally published book. You’ll receive even more of a benefit by not having to share that royalty with an agent or publisher. Once you’ve got all your files uploaded to all the right places, all you need to do is wait for sales. To speed things up, be sure to research successful marketing methods for self-published authors, hire a publicist, and sign up for as many social networking sites as you can.
Write your next book
Just because you’ve published one book, it doesn’t mean you’re done. It’s time to get started on your next book. A true author produces many books and keeps his fans happy for years. Each time you publish a new book, the process will be easier for you.
Congratulations on taking the first step. Now that you have the information you need, dust off all those old manuscript and get publishing.