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.

Where To Sell Your Book Online

author writingHave you just finished writing your book but have no idea where to publish and sell it online? Self-publishing is easy, and the route that most authors are taking nowadays.
Publishing your book on Amazon is a great place to start, since the Kindle has become so popular and Amazon is a well-known and trusted site. You can use CreateSpace to publish your book in paperback, and/or KDP to publish your book on kindle. Publishing your book on Amazon is fast, easy, and free. You can make changes to your book at any time, distribute globally, and publish in multiple languages.
Barnes and Noble
Barnes and Noble has made a place for self-publishing writers called NOOK Press, where you can publish your book in eBook or print. Self-publishing your book through NOOK Press is simple. They give you everything you need to create, edit, and sell your books. It’s easy to sign up and try out the features, such as writing, editing, formatting, and collaborating. Just like all other sites, they will charge you a percentage for your sales but is otherwise free to use.
Smashwords is another site that allows you to publish and sell your eBook. The great thing about Smashwords is that it not only publishes your eBook on that site but also on many others. It allows you to distribute your eBook to sites like IBookstore, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, and many others. You will get 80% from sales made from Smashwords and 60% from sales made on the other sites.
Your Own Website or Blog
If you want your book to be easily found by your target audience in search engines like Google and Yahoo, it is important to have a website or blog specifically for the book. On your website, you can sell copies, link to online sellers of your book like the ones mentioned above, and include more information about the book including events, news, reviews, press, social media, etc.

Self-Published Authors – 5 Tips To Get Your Book Noticed

bookshelfYou could write a beautiful novel that’s destined to be a classic of our time, but if you don’t have the right PR strategy, no one’s going to ever read it. Most of the work will come after the book is written and in the form of consistent, high quality book promotion. Here are 5 tips to get your book into the hands of more readers:
1. Start your social media strategy long before your book’s release
The day your book comes out is the not the day you should be creating Twitter and Facebook accounts. Start early, create a separate Twitter account for yourself as an author, mention your upcoming book in your profile and start participating in genre discussions, writer topics and book groups (yes, there are book groups that happen in less than 140 characters). This same idea applies to Facebook.
2. Connect with other successful authors
Find other self-published authors in your genre who write a blog and start commenting. Always include a link to your profile or website and always be engaging. If you’re just posting to get a link up, people will know, so try to keep your comments on topic and interesting. Basically, be sincere.
Follow other authors on Twitter, introduce yourself and start making connections. Yes, you want to connect with readers, not authors, but the right mention from a popular writer means you might get access to their fans.
3. Contact your local bookstore about purchasing or promoting your book
Most local bookstores and libraries are enthusiastic about supporting local authors, even the self-published ones. Get in touch with the purchasing department to see if they’d like to buy the book or if you can donate a copy, but also get in touch with the special events coordinator. Many libraries and bookstores run regular author talks, spotlights on local writers or workshops. Getting your face on to these panels means getting your book into readers’ hands.
4. Have a sale
A benefit to being your own publisher is that you can set your own prices. If you’re delivering your book digitally, this can be as simple as a few clicks. Either giving away your book for free for a few days or drastically reducing the price can lead to a surge in downloads – the idea being that these people read your book, love it, review it and boost your book’s rankings.
5. Hire a PR professional
If you don’t have the time to do your own book promotion, your best option is to hire a professional that has experience promoting self-published books. It can be costly, but with the right PR efforts you will see the return on your investment. Before you hire anyone, make sure you understand exactly what they’ll be doing for you, what you can expect and for how long they’ll continue working for you.
Book promotion isn’t something you can cross off your list in a day. It’s a continuous effort. Working on it for 30 minutes every day for a month is going to be a lot more fruitful than whittling away a Saturday trying to squeeze in your publicity quota. Expect your PR strategy to start well before your book’s release date and continue for as long as you can maintain momentum.

The Secret to Success With a Self-Published Book on Amazon: You Need Reviews

Listing Books for FreeGetting a book on Amazon isn’t difficult anymore. If you can’t find a publisher for your book today, you can easily self-publish for very little money and put it up on Amazon. While it’s very easy to bring a book to market today, it’s more difficult than ever to get in front of readers. Bowker is the exclusive issuer of ISBN book identification numbers in the US.  The company’s figures reveal that authors publish thousands of new titles every single day in the US. As a writer with a self-published book out on Amazon, how are you supposed to stand out in a crowd this size? The idea should be to get as many Amazon reviews as possible on your product page. But how do you do this when you are a new author?
When you are an unknown, only existing readers who write honest and convincing reviews can get you new readers. There’s no other way that potential readers can know what you’re like. The Amazon Algorithm pays attention to positive user reviews. The more reviews you have, the higher up in Amazon’s search results you go.
How do you get book reviews? A variety of reviewers exist:
Media Outlets: There are book reviewers at every major media outlet… The Los Angeles Times, Denver Post, BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, etc. They all have writers on staff that cover books. If you hire a PR firm to promote your book they will reach out to media contacts nationwide that cover books or your specific genre to see if they would be interested in reviewing your book. Book reviews in newspapers, magazines, or online are a great way to get the word out about your book. And most media contacts will be willing to publish a review for your book on Amazon as well, just make sure your publicist asks.
Amazon Top Reviewers: Thousands of customers on Amazon are very dedicated to writing good, honest reviews. It’s their way of giving something back to the world and earning the respect of the community. Many of them write 3 or 4 full reviews each day on every manner of product, books included. While it can be hard to get the attention of these reviewers, you may succeed if you are persistent.
To find these reviewers, you should head to Amazon.com/review/top-reviewers. This page offers a full listing of all the top Amazon reviewers. Once you find a reviewer who reviews books in your genre, you should click on their nickname to view their Amazon profile. They usually have contact information displayed. If you can’t find any address, you should try looking them up on Facebook or Google+. When you establish contact, you can ask them if they might be willing to review your book if you send them a copy.
Reader reviewers on Amazon: Amazon has many dedicated reader reviewers. Unlike the Top Reviewers reader reviewers only review books. Often, they stick to the genres that they know. They tend to write thoughtful, well-researched reviews that reach many potential buyers. GoodReads is another book website that has such dedicated reader reviewers.
Regular book buyers: Regular readers don’t tend to write many reviews. Usually, only 1% ever end up writing a proper one. If you make a point to include a heartfelt request for a review at the end of your book, you will usually get a few people to respond. They are not all likely to be five-star reviews, though. Getting plenty of honest reviews, though, can win people’s respect. The very fact that many readers would bother to review your book makes you look worthwhile.
Each time a reader writes a review, you should reply to it by clicking on the Add a comment button. You should thank them for their review and perhaps try to discuss something they’ve said. Reader engagement is a valuable public relations tool in the book business. It can attract many new reviews.
Book blogs: Many people who are passionate about books run blogs about the genres that they like. They tend to have thousands of fans who turn to them for advice. You should search on Google for bloggers in your genre and then write to them, asking them to review your book.
Many of these bloggers write reviews on their own blogs and then posts extracts from their reviews on Amazon. If you’re interested in filling your Amazon product page with such good reviews, you need to find bloggers who write on Amazon in this way.
Bloggers tend to be busy people. Usually, the best way to get a blogger’s attention is to write a personalized pitch. You need to go to the blog, learn the blogger’s name, read some of the reviews, gather information and use it all to tell them why exactly you feel they would be just right for your book. You need to look like you’ve done your homework.   
Amazon gives you a great deal of power
It can take time to build a following on Amazon. The retailing giant, though, gives you powerful tools. When you decide to learn to use them and stay the course, success as an author turns out to not be as hard to come by as it first appears.

Writing the Perfect Blurb for Your Novel

WritingWe don’t know who first said that you should never judge a book by its cover, but its safe to say that they were not in the bookselling business. A great cover is key to a successful novel, and getting the cover copy right is a vital part of this.
Cover copy, commonly known as the blurb, is the text on the back of your book. It is your “elevator pitch” to the reader, your twenty-second window grab their attention and convince them that they need to read your book. So how do you hook them?
Ideally you might want to start with a logline, a single sentence that sums up the entire novel. This might be an actual synopsis like:
She said she wouldn’t date him if he was the last man on earth…and now he is!
Another great option is to use a line from the book itself, assuming that you have one really succinct line that sums up the whole novel.
This logline is just a way to grab attention so that they will go on to read the rest of your cover copy. The ideal blurb is around 200 words broken up into three or four paragraphs, giving your reader a strong flavor of the book but leaving them curious to find out what’s inside. What to include is entirely up to you but remember you’ll need to convey the following:
Even if you think your genre is obvious from the cover design, don’t be afraid to explicitly state it in your cover copy. Also, try to write your copy in the same genre as your novel: for a thriller, use taut language focusing on action; for romance, use evocative language and focus on relationships.
The particular tone you use in the novel can play a big part in keeping your readers hooked, and the cover copy should give them a taste of that tone. This is especially important in a well-defined genre like crime, romance or sci-fi, where readers have a vague idea of the story you’re going to tell, but want to know how you’re going to tell it.
The one thing that sells books in any genre is this: a terrific protagonist. Your hero or heroine is going to be your reader’s new best friend if they read this book, so you have to make it clear why they would want to meet this person. Who are they and what makes them unique?
Fitting your plot into the cover copy can be a real challenge. The best advice is to not try to summarize it as such, but to pick out a few key plot elements and include those. What challenges will your protagonist face? What dangers must be survived, what questions must be answered? In essence, what elements of the plot drive your hero on through the novel? Focus on those, and it should help drive potential readers to the cash register.
Any pre-publication praise you’ve received can go at the end of your cover copy and this can help sell novels. But the quality of the praise is important. Unless the praise is coming from a household name, try to state exactly what qualifies them to offer an expert opinion. For example, if the praise is from another author, be sure to put Author of… after their name. Reviews are even better and if you can include the name of the publication it lends a real legitimacy to your book.
Writing your cover copy might seem like a small job after you’ve completed an entire novel, but getting it right can take a long time. Be sure to show it to others for feedback and tweak every single word until it’s just perfect. Good luck!

Should you try to sell your book in stores?

bookstoreMost bookstores do not typically want self-published authors on their shelves, and in our opinion, the fight for your spot is probably not worth the effort. Putting your book beside the latest release from a major publishing house is not going to attract the sales you want, so we have advice for you on focusing your efforts online.
Nowadays, most people are buying their books online, so having your book available for sale at a bookstore should not be a priority. With online self-publishing being as easy as it is, this is also a great way to launch your book at a low cost and with the best results. Furthermore, your audience is much more likely to invest a smaller amount of money on an ebook and rely on online reviews to make their decision than to spend more on a paperback novel by an unknown author. Focusing on online sales allows you to reach more potential customers and market yourself to a specific audience that you know will be interested in your book, rather than waiting for the right person to stumble upon it in a bookstore.
If your book is regional, like ‘Dining Guide for New Orleans’ or ‘Hiking Trails in San Diego’ it might be a worthwhile investment to sell your book in local bookstores or coffee shops. This market tends to shop for physical copies and seeks a local’s advice on travel, hotspots and eateries. Bookstores may accept your book on consignment, depending on how your book compliments their inventory and how well it sells. To have your book in a store on consignment, you must pitch your book to the bookstore and be willing to surrender copies that will not be paid for until they are sold. It is a bit of a different process than is typical of professionally published books, but it could be a great way to draw attention from locals.
Whether or not you should sell your book in a bookstore is ultimately your decision and definitely depends on your target market; for example, older readers may be more likely to invest in a paperback copy of your self-published book if they are not familiar or comfortable with ebooks. However, it is often more practical to invest your time in online sales to begin with and build an audience that way, targeting a specific market and allowing your audience to grow through online sales and reviews. In either case, publicity is the common thread in gaining sales and is key in building an audience for your self-published book.

Self-Editing: The Key to Better Writing

Typing on a laptopDo you struggle self-editing? You are not alone. Many authors waste time and effort trying to improve their writing. This article provides methods you can use to edit your work more efficiently, improving its quality and reducing your publishing time.
Editing can transform an ordinary piece of writing into a great one. Yet many authors struggle to recognize and correct their own mistakes, resulting in finished work that is far below their own expectations. Fortunately, anyone can learn to become a better editor by following a few simple tips.
Use editing sites.
Many writers are unaware, or skeptical, of editing sites and applications. Not only are they designed to point out spelling errors, but they can also catch complex expressions, redundant phrases, and passive voice. While they are still limited to eliminating simple mistakes, they are a great tool for authors of all experience levels. Take care, however, to always double-check your work, as even the best editing sites won’t catch every mistake.
Get a second opinion.
Writers typically commit the same unique errors over and over, and this repetition can make recognizing and correcting these mistakes difficult. This is why many authors get a second opinion of their work, whether it is by a friend, family member, professional editor, or another author. In fact, many online writing communities are eager to look over the work of their members, although this does pose a risk of plagiarism. A second opinion should always be taken with a grain of salt, however, as not every suggestion will help improve your work.
Find the techniques that work best for you.
Writers use many techniques to recognize the mistakes in their work, from reading out loud or backwards, to focusing on a single word at a time. But finding the techniques that work best for you can be awkward and difficult, especially if you don’t know where to begin. Start by trying one technique at a time on short pieces of writing, keeping track of their overall improvement. This way, you can quickly find the methods that help you improve your writing the most.
Wait to edit your work.
Many authors make the mistake of editing their work too soon after it is written. Since their own writing is still fresh in their minds, they can fail to see typos, incoherent sentences, and other mistakes. Even waiting a single day before fixing your work can help, but you should wait at least a week for the best results.
Editing is a necessary part of writing well. Although some authors may find it intimidating, it requires only dedication and the willingness to learn.



books in library

How To Get More Reviews For Your Indie Novel

books in libraryWhat good is publishing your book if it never gets read? Know the basics of what it takes to get your indie novel reviewed.
The prospects for independent authors today are better than ever thanks to the phenomenon of digital self-publishing. Publishing through e-reader devices such as the Kindle and Nook is as easy as clicking a mouse. Once no-name writers such as Amanda Hocking (My Blood Approves series) and Hugh Howey (Wool) have managed to engineer breakthroughs to traditional publishing by going “indie”. To say that the once accepted publishing boundaries are shifting is an understatement, they’re dissolving. Despite the digital disruption some traditional publishing methods are still necessary for indie author success. Garnering book reviews for your indie novel is one such practice.
Books need to be read and authors, especially indie authors, need to get their novels reviewed. Just as digital self-publishing has changed the publishing world, blogs and social media have transformed the book review process. Blogging and social media sharing have blown the book review process wide open. This may sound fantastic, but what is important for indie authors to realize is that digital self-publishing has increased the competition for reviews. Now that anyone can self-publish with the click of a button the amount of material being generated on a daily basis is enormous. The fight for readers and reviews is fierce. It is a competition. Indie authors need to realize that they’re competing for reviews and tailoring their indie novel review request is critical to winning.
The reality is that review demand is outstripping supply. The odds of getting reviewed are stacked against most authors despite the hundreds of blogs and websites reviewing indie novels. Most book review blogs that are listed to websites such as Blog Nation or The IndieView are inundated with novels, novellas and short fiction for review. The stark reality is that many book review blogs have become de facto slush readers. Add the current Internet marketing trend of authors hiring online specialists and publicists to navigate the social media world, and the reality is that only a fraction of submitted indie novels will ever be reviewed. Review blogs now offering paid or “sponsored” reviews should drive this fact home for aspiring indie authors.
How does an independent author get more reviews for their indie novel? The simple answer is by paying attention to detail. Type of work and genres accepted for review are two important items indie authors need to quickly assess when adding prospective book review blogs to their submission lists. After the author has compiled a list of prospective book review websites and blogs, time must be taken to actually read their review and submission policies. Many blogs are maintained by a lone reviewer; crafting personalized review requests should always be done when possible.
Making the submitted indie novel easier for review is also vital. Many indie authors lack confidence in their work or are fearful that their creative genius will be stolen. Reality is that the majority of submitted novels will not be read so the chances of copyright infringement or creative stealing isn’t realistic. Always send a copy of the novel with the review request. The indie author needs to muster their self-confidence and have faith in their work–supply the reviewer with a complimentary copy of the work for review. This is why electronic versions of the material are vital. Eliminate all unnecessary communication. The submitting author must take the time to learn the preferred electronic format of the reviewer. Provide the indie novel in the proper format as easily as possible.
Usually, only a brief email needs to be submitted with the work to be reviewed. This is the time for an astute author to shine. Realizing that the bulk of review submissions are spam emails is critical to increasing the odds of a positive review. How the submission email should read needs to be site specific. The author should be familiar with the individual reviewer and respect their submission policies. When possible, always address the reviewer by name. Tailored novel review submissions always have an advantage and will typically rise above the pack.
The indie author’s goal for review is simple; pay attention to detail and tilt the odds in the favor of getting your novel reviewed. This sounds clear and simple, but the reality is many indie authors opt for complexity. They create complex avenues for obtaining a copy of their work. Many lack confidence and fail to categorize their indie novel correctly. The result is usually failure. Again, the amount of indie novels submitted for review is growing daily. Getting an indie novel reviewed is a competition. Indie authors need to pay attention to the review blog or website submission policies, tailor the submission accordingly and confidently send a copy of their novel for review. Authors that do these simple things correctly on a regular basis should see their review rates increase, transforming indie author dreams into reality.