Indie Authors: Using YouTube

Video can be a very important component of an indie author’s marketing strategy. In addition to book trailers, authors can make videos for a myriad of purposes, such as

  • Behind the scenes
  • Showing off research that went into the book
  • Interviews
  • Having actors play characters or scenes
  • Explaining concepts (for nonfiction books)
  • Animating themes or concepts

Explaining concepts, in particular, can be a great way to attract viewers (who may become readers). Brainy Marketer has an excellent post on why these types of videos are so good, but basically they are short, usually animated videos that really engage viewers because they are entertaining, get to the point, and have calls to action at the end (such as, “Buy this book to learn more).


Although there are other options for where to post your video, YouTube probably makes the most sense for most people.

Because Google owns YouTube, videos that are properly indexed (meaning have good metadata) tend to be highly ranked and easily found. This means you should put a lot of thought into your title, subtitle, categories, and description. Having solid keywords relating to your content can really help. Author Marketing Experts also offers six ways to promote your YouTube channel, which includes getting a custom channel and annotating your channel.

If you get enough hits on YouTube, you can earn money via their advertising program. YouTube has also recently started a subscription service, where users can pay a monthly fee for access to videos without ads. Although the service is geared towards music videos, high quality videos showing other kinds of content may also be successful.

Have you seen success with videos? Please share in the comments!

Indie Authors: Blogging

Blogging is great for writers. If nothing else, blogging can be a way to practice writing, often in shorter chunks (at least compared to a book).

Blogging is not for everyone, and it took me a long time to even get in the habit of blogging. But now that I’ve established a routine, I really enjoy coming up with new content, or sharing links I’ve found valuable over the years. I love doing research, and blogging allows me to turn a lot of my research into something concrete, and hopefully useful.

For authors, there are a lot of ways to approach blogging. According to Anne R. Allen, blogs can grow with your career as a writer. It helps you develop your writing, build a platform and help make yourself enticing to agents and publishers, and introduce new work to readers.

Of course you can use your blog to help with content marketing for your books. Book Promotion shares a lot of great tips for how to blog and use social media to forge connections with readers. You can also use your blog to ask questions and get feedback.

You can also use your blog to write a book, as Nina Amir advocates. For people who do NaBoBlogMo (blog a book in a month) she offers a list of 31 things to do after you’ve blogged the book and want to sell it as a book. One interesting point is she recommends writing about 20% additional content, to add value to the book.

Blogs can also be a revenue source, especially if you have a large following. Rafflecopter shares their experience about partnering with bloggers via advertising to help maximize their reach.

One last thing to consider is how many blogs you want to maintain. The Book Designer outlines strategies for authors who want one site or multiple sites. Sites can include book sales pages, articles, and more.

Do you blog? If so, please share your experiences in the comments! What works? How do you get in the habit of blogging? What do you write about?

Indie Authors: Launching a Book

At first, launching a book may seem daunting. But it helps to plan the launch in increments, and also, know that ebooks have an indefinite shelf life, so that even though it’s nice to have a strong start, there’s always time to build up buzz and excitement around a book.

Creating a Book Launch Plan

Direct Contact PR offers an excellent list/set of guidelines on what to do when figuring out a book’s publicity plan. It includes what you need to take into consideration, depending on the phase of the book and when it is published, how to target customers and create a media kit, planning out a media calendar, and more.

GetPublishedTV also has a great video that outlines how to do a book launch.

And author Lindsay Buroker outlines, in great detail, exactly what you should do to market a book series. She goes in depth for each book, and talks about the number of books you should include in the series.

Virtual Book Tour

Book blog tours are popular, and a great way to drum up publicity for your book. Nina Amir outlines how to plan out your time, content, stops, and media kit before diving in to a blog tour.

Where Writers Win also shares tips on how to host a virtual book party. Tips include making the party an all day, multi-author event on Facebook, with raffles to giveaway copies of the book(s).

Other Tips

Lindsay Buroker also discusses the strategies new indie authors should consider implementing, including buying advertising and starting a mailing list (so you can announce your book launch to interested readers!).

There are also plenty of new and exciting ways to promote your book, so keep your eyes peeled for opportunities. One example is last July, when authors around the world gave away copies of their ebooks for free on Digital Book Day (a similar initiative to World Book Night).

For more ideas, check out Lynnette Phillips’ Digital Publishing Resources on


Guest Post: The UK Self Publishing Conference

Emily Benet

Emily Benet

By Derek Cross – Cross Publishing Services

The third annual Self-Publishing Conference covered a multitude of useful topics for aspiring and established authors alike. One topic in particular held resonance: using social media to promote books.

On May 9, the third Self-Publishing Conference was held in UK’s Leicester University. Over 150 budding and published authors congregated to hear key figures and publishing industry experts offer advice on topics covering every aspect of book writing, publishing and marketing, from the first draft to publication. Topics covered included: landing an agent; for authors; getting reviews; selling to libraries and retailers, using NetGalley; rights and licensing; choosing print or ebooks. Continue reading

Ebook Review: Midmen

midmen_coverMidmen by Steve Ochs

Eighty percent of modern, middle-aged men are having what is known as a midlife crisis. These men represent the highest concentration of wealth, the longest terms of unemployment and (drum roll please) the highest rate of suicide. They also represent over four million inappropriate gold stud earrings, seventeen billion individual hair transplants and eight thousand miles of hairy muffin top. These are the MIDMEN.

MIDMEN: The Modern Man’s Guide to Surviving Midlife Crisis is more than just an informative self help book for a growing, if rapidly balding, generation. It is strong medicine dissolved into a spoonful of beer that men can easily digest. However, men are notoriously averse to buying self-help books and, because publishers know that, there isn’t much out there. But they are the primary readers of humor books. Eureka.

MIDMEN is a 50/50 blend of Louis CK and Dr. Phil. It’s half Men are From Mars Women Are From Venus and half Tucker Max; kind of a Fifty Shades of John Grey. MIDMEN keeps the reader laughing as it spoon-feeds him genuine survival information. Covering areas as diverse as health, finance, family and death, MIDMEN leads its MIDMAN reader through an insidious series of sections and chapters that surreptitiously reinforce his sense of well being as he faces life’s second half.

MIDMEN: The Modern Man’s Guide to Surviving Midlife Crisis is a frank – okay downright rude – collection of facts, quizzes and anecdotes that offers readers a way to identify what really matters in life and get it scheduled in by sharing wisdom like: “Who is a MIDMAN? He’s the guy with eyes that can’t stop looking at younger women who can’t stop not giving a sh*t.” “The average middle-aged couple has sex once a week, twice if they also sleep with each other.” “… the question, ‘Are you pre-menstrual?’ is famously punishable by death.” “If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” Men have felt this way about boobs for years, now we need to apply it to our dreams.

Continue reading

Indie Authors: Selling Books

After doing all the hard work of writing, editing, and designing your book, it’s nice to be able to sell it.

There are a number of creative ways to sell an ebook these days. Book Promotion Hub recommends selling via online book clubs, which includes Goodreads, Amazon Book Club,, and Book Mooch.

You can also collaborate with people, or as Michelle from Random Writing Rants calls it, “Product Partnering.” Her particular example was very innovative. She wrote a geocaching mystery and then asked her Facebook followers if they would plant her book in geocaching sites in their states–she got 650 responses, and her book planted in all 50 states and some Canadian provinces.

Another technique that works for a lot of indie authors is to combine their books into boxed sets, and then cross-promote. Author Diane Capri gave advice on ALLi based on her experience selling a boxed set, which includes good packaging and pricing, being inclusive, and being generous.

For more ideas on how to sell your book, check out these links:

Got any other ideas? Please share in the comments!

Literacy Programs

I often write about all the cool, new ways to publish digitally. But of course there would be no point to any of this without literacy.

So, I just want to take a moment and give a shoutout to a few places and platforms that are helping to teach people of all ages how to read.

In New York City there’s a place called 826 Valencia, which is a non-profit that helps kids ages 6 to 18 with their creative writing skills, as well as helps them get ready for college.

Tikatok is a “digital publishing studio for students to write and publish their own work.” Currently it has projects for science, social science, and ELA (literacy).

Last is America’s Literacy Directory, which offers information for people wanting to continue their education, or people who want more education. You can search for the programs nearest to you.

Publishing Children’s Ebooks

The children’s book market is expanding. According to IBISWorld, “e-readers and other popular devices, like tablets and smartphones, make books easier to buy, read and store. Animation and other extra features made possible by these and other devices are making e-books particularly attractive to children.”

Jane Friedman also reported that “Children are starting to read e-books at a younger age, and the e-book format is growing as a percentage share of all books purchased. (It increased to 21% in 2014, up from 14% in 2013.)” She shared a great chart from Nielsen on where books rank for different age groups. You can see it here.

It may still be easier to go the traditional route to publish children’s books (and by children’s books I mean heavily illustrated books, not YA), but more options are popping up for those who want to self-publish. To get a better feel for how it all works, I self-published my first picture ebook, called Apple’s Adventures. I’m also in the process of editing the second book in my How to Make Ebooks series, which will focus on how to create picture ebooks, also known as fixed format ebooks. Continue reading

Ebook Review: The Vanishing

the-vanishingThe Vanishing by David J. Delaney

Detective Dean Cornell is investigating the murder of a young woman when he and his partner stumble across a second brutal murder.

Hunting for the killer through the streets of Sydney he discovers another young girl has vanished, leaving a distraught father holding onto whatever hope he can.

Dean and the detectives of Sydney homicide desperately try to unfold the mystery of the dead and the missing.

Can they find the killer before another life is lost?

Continue reading

Indie Authors: Press Releases

Press releases may be considered to be a more traditional form of marketing, but they can still be very effective, even for books.

Part of the trick is to release the press release at the right time, usually around a book’s launch. Then you need to drive traffic towards it.

But before doing that, you need to know how to write an effective press release. Something that doesn’t just sound like, “hey, buy my book!” has a great database of articles, including “The Power of Modern Press Releases.” The article introduces and goes over how to effectively use master pages, and it includes five helpful videos.

Below is an excerpt:

The modern press release format includes

  • Title
  • Subhead
  • Body
  • Quote
  • Boilerplate

The title summarizes the whole release. It needs to be short (fitting on one line, often in text larger than the rest of the release) and capture reader interest. The title can make or break a press release. It needs to be pithy, powerful, and to the point.

The subhead is twolines of italicized text supporting the title. It plays off the title, offering more description. I still see a lot of releases that miss this critical opportunity to further educate a reader and lure them into reading the whole release.

Read the full article here.