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6 Ways You Are Destroying Your Chances of Finding Readers

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This week, I am pleased to introduce Mr. Laurence O’Bryan from BOOKSGOSOCIAL.COM, I have been learning a lot from Laurence and his team.  This article was previously published on his site in June 2017. Laurence O’Bryan had 3 books published by Harper Collins around the world. Now he helps other authors get discovered at BooksGoSocial.com.

You’re a writer. You want to find readers. Traditional publishers are paying less and less, and they are taking fewer books these days.

So you decide to self-publish. You think it’s enough to put your book on the internet, that people should buy it, that you’ve done your job.

But have you destroyed your chances of your book finding readers, because of basic mistakes?

Sure, readers are still looking for high-quality stories and help from non fiction books, but these days they use the characteristics of how a book is presented as tells, indicators of the quality of storytelling and writing within.

If you can’t pay attention to these basic tells, they assume it’s unlikely you paid attention to the quality of the writing. And often they are right.

Are you destroying your chances of finding readers with these basic mistakes?

1.  Are you using a home made cover or a cover made by anyone who isn’t a cover designer? Your friend/family member, who is a wonderful artist, is not the person to get to make your cover. They don’t know what is required in your genre for a cover to sell a book. This mistake is often compounded by a refusal to take advice and a stubbornness, despite poor sales, to change a cover. Why do authors become emotionally attached to totally inappropriate covers? What’s that I hear you say, professional covers are too expensive? See our resources at the bottom of this page for how to get covers for less than the price of a dinner for two in a restaurant.

2.  Maybe you haven’t had an editor review your book. You haven’t had a proof reader check it before publication either.  If you get one review on Amazon pointing out basic mistakes in your English, this is almost certainly the kiss of death for your book sales. No, we don’t want to wade through your experimental use of English. We buy books for what we can get from them, a great story, advice, entertainment. You are insulting other self-published writers, and your readers, by not paying, at the very least, for a proof read for your book before you put it on Amazon. We have low cost resources for basic editing listed below.

3.  You priced your ebook too high. Most unknown names need to start with low priced ebooks. Your goal is a high total income, not a high individual sale price. It’s not about what you think a book is worth either. Pricing, in our capitilist system is based on supply and demand, not what the producer thinks their goods are worth. Study the pricing of your competitors, and how new entrants to the market use pricing to secure sales. Start fiction at 99c for an ebook. Move to $2.99 for your ebook after a period. How long that period lasts depends on whether you have another book on the way, other books in the series, and if you have gained some traction in the market yet. Non-fiction can start higher. In all cases look at what authors at a similar point in their career are charging for a similar ebook. Price to market.

4.  Your book description on Amazon is poor. You thought that all that was needed was a few lines, or that a big block of text would do. You spent a long time writing your book, but dashed off your description in a few minutes, without researching how other top selling books in your genre are described, or even noticing things such as layout, use of a hook, introduction of character, location, plot or benefits to the reader, in the case of non-fiction. These are not optional elements to a book description. You need to describe your book in a way that appeals to potential readers. If you want readers, that is. At BooksGoSocial we advise all paid up members on how to change their description to help their book sell. Do all members ask for advice? No, many assume they got this right and even when the advice is a free extra, don’t bother to seek it.

5.  Few reviews on Amazon. Without reviews your book simply will not sell. Don’t look to your family or friends for reviews either. They are not going to go to Amazon and review your book. They don’t read, or they don’t read in your genre, or they hate the fact that you stopped giving them birthday presents. Stop. Seek reviews from readers in your genre. Be patient. This is why publisher send out free advance ebook copies a month before publication to thousands of readers and bloggers. They know it takes time to read a book and that only a few people for every hundred who read a book will review it on Amazon. Again BooksGoSocial has a free service to help with this. In fact we have four free services to help authors get reviews. See below for details.

6.  No interest in learning the basics of marketing. Marketing is not a dirty word. It’s the basic skill that keeps our system moving. If you grew vegetables you’d want to learn how to present them, find buyers, be nice to buyers. Invest in learning the basics. We have a free course on the basics, listed below. Steven King took his books from book store to book store in the 1970’s to find readers. Surely you can invest in yourself too?

Here are the resources mentioned in the post:

1.  For covers see our low-cost selection, and the work we have produced at this Facebook page. You can order a cover at the Store link on the left. They start at $49.

2.  We have an edit report system, which checks for basic mistakes in English. It starts at $29 and is available here. We also have a panel of editors, who will copy edit and give advice on story issues. Email admin@booksgosocial.com for details. Prices for that start at $250 for a complete novel.

3.  We have a free service that will edit your book description. You have to take a basic membership of our book promotion service to get that. Prices start at $49. Go here to sign up.

4.  We have 4 ways to help you get reviews. All are free. Email admin@booksgosocial.com for details.

5.  We have a free course on the basics of digital marketing here. It’s less than one hour of your time, but in 5-minute clips that you can watch whenever suits you.

Whatever you decide to do, please remember that much of the responsibility for how your book sells rests with you.

Good luck with your journey. The world needs new writers. Don’t assume we don’t want to read your book, just because you have had poor sales. Fix the above.

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How to Find Stores That Will Sell Your Book

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Man, I love the idea of my book on the shelves of Wal-Mart and Costco. I love the vision I have of seeing eight copies of my book standing, cover face out, on the top shelf of the reference section in Barnes & Noble. What I don’t love thinking about is this: my book does not belong in any of these stores. I wish it were not so. I wish B&N, Wal-Mart, and Costco would sell my book and that it was the perfect fit for the customers who shop at these places, but it’s not. The type of readers who want a book about the publishing industry (which is what I write about) are more likely shopping online and at conventions.

We all want to sell more books. But before we pitch one more store, I would like us all to take a few moments and ask ourselves some very necessary questions:

1. What kind of places will you pitch your book to?

Are you focusing on bookstores, chains, supermarkets, airport stores, libraries, gift stores, online retailers? Do the types of outlets you’re targeting typically carry your kind of book?

2. Have you considered every store that might sell your book?

Get in the car, let a friend drive, and write down all of the places you see as you ride down the street. Go to malls, strip malls, main streets…Seriously. Write down every store you pass. When you get home, research them online, and weigh their value. Would your book be a good fit for any of them?

3. Do readers of your kind of book shop in stores you want to be in?

Romance novel sales have dropped in bookstores in recent years. More and more sales of this particular genre are moving online. The shelves in bookstores that stretched for miles, filled with romance novels are shorter now that folks can shop in the comfort of their own home. Cookbook sales to the library market on the other hand have exploded! Are the fans of your type of book shopping at the kinds of stores you are targeting?

4. What are your chances of getting into your chosen stores?

Okay. So you have identified the many stores where your book would fit, you have determined that the stores sell books like yours, AND that people shop at those stores looking for books like yours. Nice work! So…can you actually get your book in the stores? It depends upon a few things:

  • Are your books available at the wholesalers where those retailers buy their books?
  • If not, are you willing to sell the books on consignment?
  • Are your books available as discounted and returnable?  (This mostly matters for bookstores.)
  • Are you marketing and creating demand for your book?

5. What can you do to increase your stocking in stores?

When a bookstore agrees to test a book or to place a starting order, you will most likely see an order for one or two books. (What? That’s all? Yup.) They’ll order more if they sell out of those, but upfront, one to two books is all an author will get on a trial run. Take their small buy and be grateful.

If you are more focused on airport stores or major chains, then you will mostly likely get a refusal from the main office. But you can sometimes get your local venue (Costco, airport store, etc.) to agree to let you do an event. If you book a signing or an event that results in many sales, that will be enough to improve your chances of a regional stocking. If your regional stocking does well and makes the company money, then your regional stocking can become a national one. This is a very simplified overview of the process but an accurate one.

Final Thoughts

It is time to stop pushing your book at stores and do your research to find out if your type of readers buy your type of books and from where they purchase them. Drive to your local store and ask them how books in your category are selling. Ask them if your category is a strong one for them. If they say no, get in your car, go to another type of store, and ask them the same thing. Repeat until you run out of stores.

The best thing you can do in ANY case is to work to create demand. It is not enough to get your book into stores, you also have the responsibility to get your book out of them.

# Originally Published at IngramSpark Jan 2017

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Is Your Book Too Long? Is Your Book Too Short?

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What They Did: Published a book that was too long

Zach Obront from Book In a Box recently analyzed the 272 books that have sat at #1 on the NYT Nonfiction Bestseller List over the past 7 years. His primary goal was to understand the ideal range for length, in order to better inform nonfiction authors. Zack found that historically there was a pretty wide spread with most books falling into the 250-450 page range. But when he looked at recent years, he found that the average book length had almost fallen in half since 2011. In 2011, the average NYT #1 Nonfiction Bestseller was 467 pages. Now it’s 273.

And there is also fiction to consider. The average page count of the NY Times Fiction Bestseller List in 2011 was 502. This week, the Paperback List average page count is 398. If you look at the lists for fiction and nonfiction this past week, over 50% of the books on the NY Times Bestseller List are between 250-350 pages.

When publishing POD books, many authors find that they cannot afford to offer the full discount required to get the books into bookstores. The prime cause of this high expense is that the books have over 350 pages and the longer the books, the more expensive the print costs. A great many authors find themselves with books over 100,000 words and when told about the costs of designing and printing a book of that length, do not know what to do next.

What They Should Have Done Instead

Made the book shorter. Readers are voting with their dollars. Remember that the bestselling nonfiction books have an average of 273 pages and the fiction book page count is 398 on average. Movie directors may WANT five and a half hours to tell a story, but they know that their viewers want a shorter length. Does the story you are telling or the advice you are giving HAVE to be in ONE book? Why not two?

Nonfiction authors should work with an editor or a partner to focus the book and the message.

Zach says that he often sees nonfiction authors who try to put too much into their book. When Zach asks them what the focus of the book is, the authors respond that their advice and their experiences are the common thread. They then try to bring everything they are interested in into the book.

Quite often an author’s first manuscript will include personal stories, guidance and advice, examples and lessons learned by the author. This is not the problem. The problem comes when an author’s experiences, guidance, advice, examples, and lessons encompass an entire career. There are so many different aspects in any given topic… so many tangential lessons… but in this day and age, a book needs to stick to one focus.

So what is the answer? Editing it down or splitting it into a few books. Zach often works with folks that need to split their books into two (or more) books.

To start, nonfiction authors need to ask themselves a few questions:

  • Who is the person reading this?
  • Why are they reading this?
  • What parts of this book do not add to the reader’s ability to master this lesson/task?

If a personal story can add to the advice and benefits, then, by all means, add it. But most authors come to see that a LOT of the story they want to tell will not add to the overall goal of the book. The background of WHY the book is being written and HOW the author got to where he/she got to is interesting, but does not add to the reader’s goals when buying the book. That is a story that can be written in a memoir AFTER the “how-to” book is published. The reader bought a book on personal finance or pet care or leadership for a reason. What is that reason? Don’t include ANY words that do not deliver on that goal.

Novelists who have a storyline that they are writing towards also have a choice. If they want to tell a story in 180,000 words, I have no problem with that. But they will not be able to work profitably in a print on demand (POD) model.

If POD is your only choice, then your best bet is to end the story for one book and pick the story up in the next book in the series. In many cases, however, an editor might be a better choice to make. If readers are clearly buying novels under 400 pages in enough quantities to put them on the NY Times Bestseller List, then perhaps fiction authors might want to work with an editor to bring their books in under 120,000 words.

What They Did: Published a book that was too short

Conversely, a number of authors are publishing books at 20,000 – 30,000 words. Publishing an 86 page booklet is FINE as long as you do it knowing what you are achieving and giving up.

Books under 200 pages are perceived as a quick read and often only available online because the market does not consider books under 200 pages worthy of shelf space. Not all stores and libraries will make this decision based on size, but make sure your goals match the size of the book and the amount of content you are providing. If you are TRYING to provide a quick and easy guide, that is one thing. If you are trying to provide a lesson and come across as an authority, your book should have the weight and content that carries gravitas.

Short stories novellas, quick and easy guides… All of these are valid and important book formats. Just please make sure that you are publishing your book in a format and marketing it in venues that appreciate page counts of that shortened length.

What They are Doing Now

Option #1: Publishing the shorter books and mainly focusing their marketing online.

Option #2: Rewriting the manuscript to make sure that the content has taken the time to get ALL of the author’s ideas across.

Option #3: Publishing the content in a non-book format. There are a lot of other ways to publish your stories and ideas.

  • White papers
  • journals
  • magazines
  • online subscriptions
  • blogs
  • articles
  • serialized downloads…

I would love to hear what you think of the balancing act between art/writing and the very real constraints of POD and printing costs. How are YOU handling the new data coming out? Do you think it is long-term? Just a blip? Will eBooks make all of this a moot point soon?

Originally published at www.thebookdesigner.com  June 2017

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Get 30 Sizzling Author, Publishing, Marketing & PR Tips in One Hour OnLine Session

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If you’re an author, an author-to-be, or publisher, you really want to register for this next-level training we’re doing on Tuesday, July 11 at 7pm ET/ 4pm PT.

You will get 30 AWESOME Sizzling HOT Publishing, Marketing & PR Tips in only an hour.

And yes, if you can’t attend live … register anyway. That way you will automatically get the replay the following day.

Register here – Your six publishing pros will do a preview of what it will be like during our amazing 7-day Publishing at Sea cruise we’re doing next January .. the 5th Publishing at Sea event.

Why should you attend tonight regardless of whether you want to cruise with us?

Because we’ll be revealing some very cool publishing strategies and resources for selling more books, faster and with less effort like:

  • How to kick-butt on Amazon … and how to deal with all the changes that challenge indie authors.
  • How to come under the radar for publicity … and get the media to your door.
  • A fast way to spy on your competitors … and discover all their keywords.
  • A boatload of nuggets for anyone designing a book cover … all those things you need to know but didn’t know what to ask.
  • The one thing that most websites don’t have … and you will soar above your competitors.
  • The thing that will POP every One-Sheet you create for you, your book or your business.
  • Plus, too much more to list here …

All this publishing and marketing goodness is 100% completely free so keep your wallets in your pocket. And remember, you’ve got to pre-register to get the replay.

Register herehttps://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8243926363111827969

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Smart Strategies to Maximize Your Exposure with Amazon’s Algorithms

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Guest Post by Tom Corson-Knowles

By now, we’re all familiar with Amazon. It’s become the #1 platform for selling books, both in print and in digital form, and it’s done more to help nourish the self-publishing explosion than any other company out there.

But simply sticking your book up for sale through KDP and waiting for the sales to roll in is a recipe for disappointment. Succeeding as an independent author involves a lot more than just writing: marketing and PR are part of a modern author’s job, too.

And guess what? Amazon can help here, too! It’s more than just a distributor or sales channel: Amazon also offers a variety of ways for authors to promote their work on the site, reaching more readers and making more sales.

Some of Amazon’s programs are only open to bestsellers, which can be a little daunting for a new author—or even an experienced author who’s launching a new book or a new series.

So let’s take a look at Amazon promotion strategies that can help you boost your Kindle sales even if you don’t have a bestseller…yet!

Start Strong

The road to strong Amazon sales starts even before you write your book. With the right planning, strategies, and launch techniques, you can jumpstart your sales from the very start—and begin taking advantage of all the promotion opportunities Amazon has to offer!

Many of Amazon’s best promotional programs are only available to bestsellers. Now, there are more than 19,669 bestseller lists on Amazon, so becoming a bestseller is a little less of a challenge than it seems on the surface.

Choose Your Categories

Getting that “bestseller” status still takes a little strategic groundwork, though. First, you need to choose your categories carefully when uploading to KDP. You’re only allowed to select two of Amazon’s internal categories, so it’s best to choose two in different top-level categories if you can, to maximize the potential for showing up in search and making a bestseller list (or two).

For example, your romantic ghost story has a better chance of moving up in the ranks if you list it under both the Romance and Science Fiction & Fantasy top-level (or “parent”) categories, then choose the appropriate sub-categories. So you might end up with Romance > Paranormal and Fantasy > Romantic, which gives you a lot more opportunities to rise up in the ranks among different audiences.

Use KDP Select to Launch Strong

The first 30 days are the most important time for making an impression on Amazon. There are multiple programs that highlight strong-selling new titles, making it even easier for them to gain momentum and make exponentially more sales.

This means that you have to really make an impact with your new book when it first hits the Kindle store. For new authors, or authors with a new series, this can be a bit of a challenge. One way to turbocharge your launch is to offer your book free for a limited time by enrolling in KDP Select, which lets you set your price as free for up to 5 days out of every three months.

This helps you take advantage of Amazon programs in a few ways.

More Readers for Amazon’s Algorithms

Amazon is known for its strong recommendation engine, where it displays titles that might be of interest to customers as part of “Customers Who Bought This Also Bought…” Of course, you can’t get into this promotion area if people haven’t bought your book—which is why offering your new title for free or at a discount for a limited time when you’re launching is a great strategy! Those free downloads count as purchases for the purpose of getting into the recommendation engine. And once you’re there, more readers will see your book and potentially purchase it.

More Reviews

The more reviews you get, the better you perform in Amazon’s search rankings. So launching strong with plenty of four- and five-star reviews automatically shoots you up the search and recommendation rankings, increasing the chances that more people will buy your book when it goes to regular price after your launch.

Pre-Orders

Using Amazon’s pre-order function can also help you off to a strong start, because it lets you drive your newsletter subscribers and other contacts to an actual sales page even before you’ve finished the book. Any pre-orders count toward your bestseller status and can help you land in Amazon’s Hot New Releases section before your book is actually live. From there, the sales will just keep growing as more people discover your book!

Amazon Marketing Services (AMS)

Another great way to boost your visibility and sales on Amazon is to make use of Amazon Marketing Services (AMS). These paid ads let you promote your books alongside similar titles or to readers who have searched for similar keywords, kind of like using Google AdWords.

These ads send readers straight to your book’s sales page on Amazon, where they’ll see all those great reviews you’ve gotten through your smart launch strategy.

Now the sales start snowballing as more and more people find and buy your book, helping you appear in more places in the recommendation engine and moving you up that bestseller list so that you can appear in even more places through Amazon’s internal promotions!

Kindle Countdown Deals

Once your book is launched and selling, you might want to try using sales or discount deals to help climb the bestseller lists and unlock the power of Amazon’s algorithms.

When you’re enrolled in KDP Select, you can take advantage of Kindle Countdown Deals, which let you put your book on sale for a short, specified period of time and shows a countdown timer of how long the promotion has left, encouraging readers to buy now rather than waffling.

You can run one Countdown Deal of up to seven days every 90 days, discounting your price by at least a dollar (and going all the way down to a sale price of 99 cents).

Best of all, if running your deal (and promoting it to your newsletter subscribers and others) helps land you a coveted bestseller slot, Amazon will help you even more with promotion!

If you have a bestselling book that’s currently doing a Countdown Deal, Amazon will promote it on the Special Deals section of Kindle devices, in the Kindle app, and on the Kindle Countdown Deals page in the Amazon store. And what does that mean? More exposure and more sales!

By launching your book with a smart strategy, ramping up interest by using a KDP Select giveaway, taking out targeted Amazon Marketing Services ads, and using Kindle Countdown Deals to maintain your momentum, you can not only boost your Kindle sales, you can also climb the bestseller ranks.

From there, Amazon will start promoting your book more and more to its customers through its algorithmic recommendation engine, putting your work in front of readers who are ready to buy.

Through the magic of smart strategies designed to take advantage of Amazon’s algorithms, you can go from “new launch” to “bestseller” and build the kind of momentum you need to make a full-time author income!

– – –

Want to learn more about making a full-time income as an author? Visit TCK Publishing, an independent publisher and resource for modern writers.

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FAQ About Approaching Amazon Reviewers

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Question: Is there a special way of communicating with Vine Reviewers? Or do you simply comment on their review like you suggested doing with regular reviewers?

You can click on the reviewers name and see if they have an email listed, email them and ask if they want to review the book.

OR  you can go to AMS.AMAZON.COM and pay $1500 to have Amazon offer your book to Vine Reviewers for you.

Question: What is the best way to find Top Amazon reviewers? How do you contact them?

I would go here https://www.amazon.com/review/hall-of-fame  and just click on each reviewer, find their website or blog and get their email address that way.  When you ask for a review, give them the option of a PDF, an eBook, or a print copy.  Make sure you include your email address.

Question: Is it best to contact them before or after your book’s release date? And if before, how far out from the release date?

You should wait until the book’s release date because they cannot post a review until it is up and you want to have books in hand to send them the MOMENT that they ask.

Question: How many reviewers of the same book would you contact? Do you find there is a point at which contacting too many seems overboard or possibly unprofessional?

No number is too high.  I counsel folks to reach out to 20-25 reviewers each week and never stop.  Ever.

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Announcing Our New LIFT OFF PROGRAM – We Sell Your Book to Stores and Libraries

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What will it take to get your book into libraries and independent bookstores?

Introducing the New Shelves Books Lift Off Program

Ready to explore your book’s potential in the “offline” world? Let us help with a turnkey program that lets you see what’s possible before you invest a significant amount of time, energy, and funds.

Here’s how it works:

You send me your book, and I will read it and give you my HONEST opinion as to its chances in the book and library market. When a book isn’t widely embraced, it’s usually because it doesn’t meet current market standards. That’s why I want to see your book first. It gives me a chance to assess the potential for success based on my years of experience in this industry. I will be honest about your chances before I charge you a penny. (It’s kinda what I’m known for . . . . )

If we agree to proceed I will create for you:

  1. Sales plan
  2. Book Information sheet
  3. Marketing plan checklist (based on your input)
  4. Cover letter
  5. Sales call script
  6. Database of US Bookstores and Libraries with contact information

THEN, one of my highly trained staff members will call and email 100 stores/libraries to pitch your book. Our goal is to get your book into their databases and onto their shelves.

Once we have contacted 100 stores/libraries, we’ll send you a report detailing store responses: yes; no; or more information, please.

After you review those results and assess your book’s potential, you have three options:

  1. You can bring the work in-house using the materials and kit I give you.
  2. We can move ahead with another 100 stores/libraries for an additional fee.
  3. You can decide to focus on another segment of the marketplace.

What can you expect? In my experience:

A few books are accepted by 20-30 locations

MOST are tested in 10-20 locations

Some find a home in 5 or so stores/libraries

The Purpose? The Lift Off Program is designed to give you everything you need for a sales campaign plus generate immediate feedback and results from those first 100 calls – all in just one month.

With this approach, you haven’t invested a huge amount of money and have all the tools you need to use on your own going forward for this book and your next one.

Ready to take action? CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

We are currently accepting only 4 books a month in this program to give every client our full attention. So book now and save your spot!

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What Libraries Look For in a Self-Published Book

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If you are lookinDog, Dogue De Bordeaux, Mastiffg for a new source of income from your book, you might want to consider libraries. Libraries in the US are experiencing a huge surge in foot traffic. Public librarians are seeing a lot more patrons and their checkout rates are skyrocketing
. Need more good news? Their budgets are going up too. In many cities, the annual budget for libraries is increasing and libraries are opening new locations and reopening at historical rates.

With over 3 billion dollars a year being spent in US libraries (according to ALA Materials Survey released March 2016) on materials (read: books), it is time for you to spend some of your sales and marketing time presenting your book to librarians.

Before you pick up the phone or keyboard, you need to know one key piece of information: what libraries look for in a book.

#1 They want books that will appeal to their patrons.

The higher the checkout rate at a local library, the more successful the library is rated. Books that appeal to patrons mean higher checkout rates and the librarians are seen as successful and the libraries get to keep their budgets intact.

#2 They want books that drive traffic into their libraries.

The more people that visit a library, the more needed the library is to the community. Budgets go up, more staff is needed, and everyone gets to keep their job and continue with their main goal which is…

#3 They want to be of service to their communities.

Librarians the world all over have one common characteristic…they want to be helpful. It is the main reason why they become librarians. So, if you (as an author) can be of help to their patrons, you should offer! Write an article for their newsletter, offer a workshop, host a club or event…

#4 They want to save time and look good to their bosses.

Librarians are just like the rest of us. They are overworked, busy, and want to go home at the end of every day knowing that they are well respected. If you can help the librarians order successful books quickly and easily, you are doing great. Do what you can to make a librarian’s job easier, and you will have a lot of sales.

#5 They want to work with authors that understand these first four goals.

If you approach librarians with a marketing plan that will drive traffic into their branch, and you can show them that your book will do well on their shelves; if you can offer them your book easily and through wholesalers that they already work with and can offer their patrons some added benefits….You are well on your way!

Materials librarians use to decide which books to buy

  • a one page sales sheet with your book’s details and description
  • a one page sheet about the author that showcases what a great person you are
  • a marketing plan and outline showing all the ways you are going to promote the book
  • a list of things you are willing to do to help the library promote the book and your topic
  • Reviews from trusted sources

Now that you know what libraries look for in a book, create an email that focuses on the librarian’s goals instead of on how great your book is. A proper attitude, the right tone, and the right materials will get you much further than your belief that your book should be a best-seller.

*Originally published on IngramSpark.com by Amy Collins and New Shelves Books. Dec 20, 2016

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What to do AFTER you upload your book on Amazon

Your Book’s First Day on Amazon.com

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There are things we want to see on our book’s Amazon page:

  • Search Inside working nicely (but not showing TOO much of the book)
  • All versions of our book showing up on all the different book’s pages and linked together
  • Our Author Page highlighted and linked
  • Our reviews from previous editions posted on the current edition
  • Perhaps our book discounted by Amazon to give it a “boost”

We also want to see our book on the top of the list when we type in the title or our author name.

But these things won’t happen right away.  The week that you upload your book is too soon to expect to see these things. Links, listings, Search Inside, reviews… these items take some time to find, enact, and post.  So when you first upload your book, please be patient with Amazon and give the computer minions time to get to all of the thousands of books that were uploaded on the same day your book was.

BUT, there are things you can do to speed up the process a bit.

  1. You can email CreateSpace or Amazon Advantage customer service with the ISBNs of all of our versions of your book and ask them to link them together.
  2. Go into Author Central and choose “Call Me”. They will call you and you can request that they copy the reviews and materials from your first edition to your current edition.
  3. You can also ask them to assign your book to a specific category you have seen but could not find in the drop down list on your upload page.  (This is a great way to position your book against your direct competition and get a higher ranking)
  4. Go into Author Central and make sure ALL versions of your book are listed on your bibliography. If not, claim them.

As for where your book falls in the list when you type the title or author name into the search bar, that is strictly based on demand and number of views and sales. The quickest way to get to the top?  Search by title name, find your book, click on it, and buy a copy. Then choose that EXACT URL (with search tags) in the URL bar and copy to send to your friends to click on and purchase.  After a few purchases, your book will be up near the top of the list when people type in the title!

 

 

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HOW TO CREATE AN ONLINE PRESS KIT

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Sanda-BeckwithThis week I am honored to host Sandra Beckwith, the owner of BuildBookBuzz and one of the most knowledgeable marketers I have ever met.  Please enjoy this article she has written expressly for New Shelves Readers:

What’s one of the best ways to get media exposure for your book?

Demonstrate that you’re “media-friendly” by creating an online press kit for your website.

An online press kit houses all the materials a journalist needs to determine whether to report on your book or its topic, or to use you as an expert resource for an article or segment related to your book.

4 reasons for an online press kit

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, you need one.

Here’s what your online press kit will do for you, your site, and your book:

  • Help journalists find you when they’re looking for interview sources.
  • Improve search engine optimization (SEO) so that your site show up when people search for terms related to your book. (That’s because your press kit elements will contain those search terms.)
  • Give journalists the information they need to report on your book – sometimes, without even contacting you.
  • Provide readers with detailed information that helps them decide to purchase your book.

8 online press kit elements

What should you include in your online press kit?

Consider these eight elements. The first five are essentials; the last three are good to have, but optional.

  1. Announcement press release: This versatile tool helps people understand the value of your book. When writing it, include an objective description, information on why people will benefit from reading it, your author credentials, and how to purchase it. (Get detailed instructions in Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book.)
  2. Author bio: Is this on your book’s jacket flap or back cover already? Just copy and paste! Two to three paragraphs are usually enough. (But be sure you don’t make these four common author bio mistakes.)
  3. Author photo: Provide a professional, current author photo in a JPG format that journalists and bloggers can save and use.
  4. Book cover image: Media outlets and bloggers will want to use your book cover as an illustration, so make it possible for them to do so without contacting you for the file.
  5. Author Q&A: The question-and-answer list is particularly popular with radio talk show hosts, who don’t have time to read guest books and must rely on publicity materials you provide.
  6. Optional tip sheet: This is a type of news release that offers tips or advice in a bulleted or numbered format. It’s used by both fiction and nonfiction authors to get widespread media and blog exposure. Not familiar with tip sheets? Read, “How to promote your book with tip sheets.”
  7. Optional quiz: Newspaper, magazines, newspapers, bloggers, and radio talk show hosts love quizzes, so give them what they want! They’re fun to create, too.
  8. Optional fact sheet: If you find yourself continually referring to specific details during conversations about your book (with the media or others), consider summarize them in a bullet point fact sheet that places all of the information in one document called a fact sheet. It will save everyone time while helping your SEO.

Don’t make this common mistake

Finally, avoid the mistake that many authors, publicists, and publishers make in their press rooms: Do not make these documents available in PDF format only.

There are two reasons for this advice:

  • Because people use different software and systems, not everybody can copy and paste easily from PDF files. Even when they can, journalists often lose formatting. That means they have to find and insert important paragraph breaks, and so on. Don’t force them to do any more work than necessary.
  • If your PDF is saved as an image, search engines can’t search it – which makes it useless for SEO.

Here’s what you want to do: Make everything but the images available in a text format that’s similar to all of the other content on your site.

One of my favorite examples is my student Candy Harrington’s press room for her book, 22 Accessible Road Trips: Driving Vacations for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. See how easy it is to copy and paste information from her book announcement press release?

Writing your online press kit elements

You can create all of these materials easily yourself. You wrote the book, so you can write all the materials that support it, right?

Instead of reinventing the wheel, though, take the easy route and let me help you. Get a template and a real-life sample/example for each of your written press kit elements – as well as templates and samples for other important book publicity tools – in my popular author workbook, Build Book Buzz Publicity Forms & Templates.

This time-saving resource that includes instructions for creating these elements (except the images) and many others used by authors guides you through the process with fill-in-the blanks forms and samples.

What’s in your author press room? Please share a link to it, too!  

Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested. Download Sandra’s free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” and you’ll also receive her free weekly newsletter loaded with book marketing tips and advice. 

 

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