Guest Post: How YouTube Helps Your Social Media Marketing

By Katherine Lane

It has become more convenient today to give people a lasting impression about you on social media through the different online platforms–that is, depending on what you are into. Facebook is not the only one that offers the opportunity for Internet marketing. Using another platform like YouTube, for instance, can become a helpful business strategy to generate online traffic. Continue reading

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Guest Post: 5 Money-Saving DIY Design Tricks for Self-Publishers

You decided to put your thoughts to paper and have a manuscript that you deem worthy of publication. However, you do not want to pay a company to use expensive and proprietary software to make your book stand out among the rest of the books on a book store shelf or on Amazon. Here are 5 do-it-yourself design tricks that will save you money. Continue reading

What Indie Authors Can Learn From Other Industries

By Adonts (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Adonts (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

As an indie author, it can be fun (and helpful) to learn about what’s going on in other industries. Joe Wikert outlined on DBW what publishers can learn from the podcast model, by offering easy subscriptions (which could arguably be similar to subscribing to blogs or newsletters), delivering content on a regular schedule, and delivering related content to your audience. To me, this could mean working with a network of people to promote each other, the way podcast networks work to help promote multiple podcasts. Recently, I joined a joint author promo mailing list, where about 50 of us each offer a free book for a giveaway, and then we all work to promote the giveaway. The last giveaway we did resulted in a couple thousand entries, and I got a few new people to subscribe to my mailing list.

Authors can also learn from airlines, according to The Bookseller. Airline prices rise and fall depending on the day:

But what if the same seat-pricing model were to be applied to books? A model where the titles would have lower prices on Tuesdays and be more expensive on Fridays. Where the R.R.P. on the back cover becomes as dynamic as a company’s share price. Where we compete to buy books like we do in an EBay auction.

One way to apply this is to heavily discount pre-orders, and slowly raise the price the closer to publication date it gets. Then, the price could continue to fluctuate based on “interest in the author, the genre, the topic, and personalized to the reader’s own interests.”

Indie authors also have a lot in common with independent app developers. One person on Reddit shared how they made over $700k from a premium game and hit #1 in the App Store (and the New Yorker even wrote about it). According to the post, it’s very hard to do as an indie, but what’s important is to release regular updates, cross promote to other games, and ask for reviews.

Another thing authors can learn from is content marketing, which is very similar to writing books. Drift wrote about what they learned growing their website from 200 to 27,000 visitors, and they found that blogging is an investment (so content published a while back can continue to drive traffic, much like the first book in a series can continue to generate interest), quality content is important, as is the amount of effort it takes to promote that content (community sites are great that way, as well as working with influencers), and data can only tell you so much, so it’s better to focus on big picture things in the beginning and not small tweaks.

DBW also advocates content communities, and recommends that authors share research, back stories, databases, and more to allow readers to see what’s behind the scenes and feel part of a community.

Related to content marketing is omnichannel selling. BookMachine shared ten things they learned selling at a conference, including the fact that most people make purchases online and many through their smartphone, knowing their path to purchase is important (so when possible, selling direct may be a good idea), when it comes to making a sale, email is much more effective than social media, social media is helpful for customer service, and things are always changing.

Gumroad’s post, “Nathan Barry’s Lessons Learned Selling $355,759 on Gumroad,” sums up everything nicely. Basically, Nathan recommends being able to contact customers (like in newsletters), pricing based on value, using email to build relationships and launch products, and selling in packages at different values.

What other industries do you follow? Share in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared December 2016.

140 Tools and Resources for Building Your Author Website and/or Blog

By Matthew Bowden www.digitallyrefreshing.com (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/145972) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

By Matthew Bowden http://www.digitallyrefreshing.com (http://www.sxc.hu/photo/145972) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Author websites and blogs are important components to building an author platform. With that in mind, here is a list of resources that can help you set up and optimize your site. Continue reading

Tips for Recording and Publishing Your Own Audiobooks

By Heinrich Böll Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland (Konferenzeindrücke) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Heinrich Böll Stiftung from Berlin, Deutschland (Konferenzeindrücke) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s no secret that audiobooks are growing in popularity, and are becoming part of the self-publishing process. An op-ed in the New York Times wrote about the benefits of listening to stories:

I listen the way I read books as a child, as if I were there watching. The author becomes more transparent, the characters more real.

According to Copyblogger, having an audiobook gives you more credibility as an author.

Publisher’s Weekly recently reported on the rise of audiobook sales, and how that’s changing the industry. More publishers are producing audiobooks, and there’s been some innovation, such as “multivoiced recordings, short-form content, bonus audio-only material added to audiobooks, adaptations of such print formats as graphic novels, and more original content created for audio.” BookMachine talks about mixing short stories with full cast and narrated audio fiction, “where the magic of its stories were brought to life through links to audio dramas that could be change and be added to.”

It’s exciting to think of the possibilities, but if you’re just starting out, how do you make and sell your own audiobooks? Here are some things to consider. Continue reading

Indie Authors: Where Do You Get Your Industry News?

Courtesy of Stefano Corso, via Wikimedia Commons

Courtesy of Stefano Corso, via Wikimedia Commons

As an indie authorpreneur, it’s important to stay on top of the latest trends, not only in self-publishing, but in the publishing industry as a whole.

Here are some sites and blogs that I read regularly. Some of them cover the publishing industry, including news, book deals, and job moves. Others give updates on the indie world, such as Amazon algorithm changes or hot book genre trends. And some speculate on the future of publishing, and how digital affects the way books are made and consumer. I’ve found them all useful and often fascinating:

I’ve also set up Google alerts for the keywords “book publishing”, “digital publishing”, “ebooks” and “self publishing.” Come to think of it, I should probably add another one for “indie authors.” I get these alerts once a week (I used to get them daily, but found that to be too overwhelming).

As for my list, I get most articles delivered to my inbox, which I scan in the mornings. If something looks particularly interesting, I bookmark it to read more thoroughly later.

This is definitely not a complete list–there are so many helpful sites out there. Where do you go to get your news?

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared February 2016.

Indie Authors: An Overview of Book Reviews

By Ramchand Bruce Phagoo (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Ramchand Bruce Phagoo (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sure, we all know that getting authentic reviews, and ideally that are 4- and 5-stars, is a key component to a book’s success. In fact, you need a certain number of 4-star reviews just to be considered for a BookBub promotion.

Because of this, there are tons of resources online that give indie authors advice on how to find reviewers and contact them. Funds for Writers and eNovel Authors at Work gives some tips, such as keeping in mind that not everyone who initially agrees to review your book will do so (possibly due to time constraints or other factors in their life). It’s also important to keep in mind that it takes time to get your book reviewed.

As Jackie Weger at eNovel Authors at Work puts it:

Book reviews are NOT instant. One must wait for the reader to read the dang book. Patience is required.  All reviewers have a TBR stack ahead of you. There is a protocol for approaching reviewers. In your email: Greet the reviewer by name. State your name and the name of your book and offer a one line tag. DO NOT send your book cold turkey. ASK FIRST. Or follow the instruction on the blog to submit your book for review.

Another approach is to go the book club circuit route, as talked about on Book Works. This also takes time, since you will need to reach out to small, niche groups. The upside is you’ll probably find a small group of people who not only love reading, but probably like your book (if you find a group who likes your genre).

And then there are paid reviews. This means paying a fee for a professional book reviewer or organization to give an honest review. These services tend to give credibility to a book, but can be expensive (running in the hundreds of dollars). MediaShift has a great Q&A post with Blue Ink Review.

However, sometimes reviews are not always accurate. Christina Larmer on Huffington Post writes how sometimes reviews are incorrect, such as a review of one of her books that talks about missing pages, even though there are no missing pages. Yet, she couldn’t get the review removed, which may be misleading to potential readers. She ends her piece with a request for reviewers to “Keep it real”:

Just be sure to make it honest and believable, and it will not only pass muster with the Powers That Be, you will be doing your fellow readers a good service. Because each genuine review you write gives other potential readers a chance to understand a little about the book and whether it’s worth investing in. Then they can go in, eyes wide open, before they press ‘download’.

What are your experiences with getting book reviews? Please share in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared July 2016.

Indie Authors: Book Promotion Tools and Tips

By Volkan berber (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Volkan berber (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Marketing is a crucial part of book publishing. If no one knows your book is out there, how can you expect people to read it?

With that in mind, here’s a compilation of tips and tools that can help you with your book promotion efforts. Continue reading

Indie Authors: Getting Your Book Discovered

By Santjo2011 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Santjo2011 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

With hundreds of thousands of new books being published each year, it’s hard for indie authors to stand out.

One strategy I’ve written about before is going permafree, meaning you set one book in a series to permanently free, as a way to entice readers to buy the rest of the books in the series.

To add fodder to that idea, M. Louisa Locke writes about how using the permafree strategy freed up more of her time for actually writing (instead of working to constantly promote all her books). And Bacon and Books shares their experience with giving away books for free, at least temporarily.

If you’re looking to promote your book (whether you’re having a sale, offering it for free, or making it permafree), here a few websites you can try:

Additionally, check out my post, “7 Strategies and 110 Tools to Help Indie Authors Find Readers and Reviewers.”

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared April 2016.

Indie Authors: An Overview of Book Distribution Options

By Zufrieden (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Zufrieden (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to selling books, most people think of Amazon and Kindle. Although Amazon may be the biggest ebook distributor, it’s not the only option for indie authors. Continue reading