Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Selling Your Book When It's No Longer "New"

months and years (or even weeks) but that should just be one part of a book's overall marketing plan anyway.  We have a saying in my marketing department:  "Marketing a book is a marathon, not a sprint."  However, some authors feel like if they don't sell thousands of books within a few weeks of the release date, they are basically done and their opportunities have passed them by. 
I have worked with some authors for almost five years now, and in a few cases they sell more books now than they did when their book was first released.  In fact, their sales increase with each passing year.  How is this possible?

1.  They target their niche market, not just bookstores.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with selling your book in a bookstore.  If stores have picked up your book and they are stocking it on the shelf, that is great.  But shelf space alone won't sell your book.  Who is going to buy it?  Your target audience.  If you have a web site or blog (you should), then be sure to tell your readers where your book is available.  Whether you realize it or not, you wrote your book for a specific audience.  Sell your book directly to them.  If you have written a romance novel, target blogs dedicated to romance novels, visit book clubs, do events at gift shops, and locate events frequented by lots of women (the target audience of romance novels).  Do this enough times, and you'll start generating the best advertising of all for your book:  word-of-mouth.

2.  They write more than one book.  Can your first book be made into a series?  Readers who loved the first book will buy the second, third and following books in the series.  If a reader discovers the second book first, they will want to go back and read the first book to get the back story.  If you have built a good fan base for the first book of a planned series, then you'll have a ready-made audience for the subsequent books.

3.  They don't stop marketing their book.  Some authors give their book marketing the good ol' college try for a few months, get discouraged or lose interest and then just stop promoting their book.  Big mistake.  Developing a following as a writer is a lot like starting a new business.  Success isn't going to come overnight, and it takes time to build a list of loyal customers (readers).  The first few months after a book's release is a good beginning, but the best could still be ahead of you.  One author I work with has been interviewed for a documentary on the History Channel, but that opportunity didn't come along until her book had been out for more than three years.  What if she had given up after the first year?


4.  They target new readers.  OK, so the book has been out a couple of years and has sold a couple of thousand copies.  There are still plenty of people out there who haven't read your book.  The book may not be new, but it is new to those readers.  It may seem like you have spoken at every Rotary Club and bookstore in your area, but what about other nearby cities?  Do you do events in other areas when you travel?  Do you reach out to readers via Facebook, message boards, Twitter, bloggers, etc.?  If not, you have a lot of work to do.  Recently, one of the authors I work with found their best success selling their books at signings in coffee houses, after I scheduled their first coffee house event for them.  "I didn't even think of approaching coffee shops," they said.  Car dealerships know that people don't buy cars every week, so they are constantly looking for new customers who are in the market for a car.  Think of places where you might find new readers.  You can only hit up the local bookstores so many times for events. 


5.  They network.  You won't sell books just sitting around the house.  You've got to do some networking.  Online networking is great, but that still isn't a replacement for good ol' face-to-face networking.  If you are doing a speaking engagement, let those in attendance know that you're available to speak at other venues, too.  That event could lead to several others.  You never know who is in attendance.  


The fact is, unless your book contains completely dated material, the only one who really knows your book isn't "new" is you (and those who have already purchased your book).  Broaden your horizons, don't give up, be persistent, continue to spread the word about your book, and the early groundwork you do could lead to bigger and better things.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Most Popular Posts of the Week

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Guest Post: Book Signing Nightmares


Book Signing Nightmares



Book Signing Nightmares

By Teresa Slack



Book signings. Ugh. The mere thought is enough to send shudders down the spine of those of us who have sat behind a table of books, wearing an insipid grin while praying that someone, anyone, will come over and talk to us.

Book signings are a lot of legwork, networking, interviews, and basically debasing yourself to the free world for little or no apparent reward. Leading up to a recent author event, I did radio interviews and was featured in two local papers. The library where I was to sign and read from my book bought radio spots for the event. Even after all that, response was regrettably low.

In a depressed, dejected state, I prepared for another book signing event in another out of the way locale. A forty-five-minute drive with gas prices kissing three dollars a gallon to sell a couple of books.

I know what you're thinking. Book signings are for the reader, not the writer. It's all about networking. I realize that. But the cold hard facts are that since getting published, I'm having a hard time finding time to do what I'm paid (hmm) to do...write. Regardless, I put on a happy face, loaded up the minivan, and headed out.

A sixth grader met me at the door of the library. "Are you the writer?" he asked. He held the door open while my husband and I carried in our boxes--one containing books, in the other; flyers, a door prize, bookmarks, a sign-in notebook, and all my other writer paraphernalia. While I was setting up the table, preparing myself for a dismal turnout at this small off-the-beaten-path branch library, a young man entered. He turned out to be from the local paper, his presence requested by the librarian. He interviewed me before the signing and then exited. I went through my spiel for six people, one of whom was my mother.

"Why am I doing this?" I asked myself after selling five books, barely enough to replace the gas in my tank.
But it's all about networking.

And the boy who met me at the door? It turns out I have a fan besides my mother. He had been waiting to meet me all afternoon. He didn't have money for a book, but asked if I would autograph a picture and an author event flyer that he paid a quarter to print off of the library's computer.

So why do I do this? An entire evening where I ended up selling five books?

It turned out I got more than just treated nicely by a sixth grader that evening. The following week, my interview made the front page of three different newspapers in neighboring counties. My next reading/signing more than doubled in attendance and books sold.

Yes, readings and signings are never as exciting as they appear on television. It's a lot of driving, a lot of schmoozing, and little outward reward. But it's fun. I meet honest, helpful, friendly people. And my offer to autograph a copy of one of my books has yet to be refused.

Don't go to a reading/book signing expecting to sell a carload of books. Go prepared to speak to a few people, make some friends, and hopefully leave them happy for having left the comfort of their homes to listen to you speak for thirty minutes. They will appreciate it. Your local library will appreciate it. If nothing else, your significant other will enjoy the opportunity to show you off.

Relax. Have fun. Unless you are a professional athlete or ex-president, it will take a lot of time and more hard work than you bargained for. But your book is worth it. Your message will get out there, one reader at a time. Be patient. It may not get any easier, but someday a sixth grader may ask for your autograph, and it will be worth all the effort.

Teresa Slack is the author of five novels, including Streams of Mercy, the first in a series of Jenna's Creek Novels, and A Tender Reed, both published for the Christian fiction market.  Marketing her books has been her biggest challenge so far. It is a job, she says, that never ends. Read more about her and her fiction on her website http://www.teresaslack.com.



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Saturday, December 11, 2010

What It Means to Be a Professional Author

"Professionalism:  It's not the job you do.  It's how you do your job."  Author unknown.

This post isn't about marketing or selling books per se, but it does touch upon a subject that can definitely affect your success as a professional author and that is acting and operating as a professional author.  But, what does it mean to be a "professional author?"

You have published a book, it is being distributed, you have done book signing events and you are earning money (even if it is a small royalty) each time a copy of your book is sold.  By any definition in the publishing world, that makes you a professional author.

Publishing (writing, editing, designing, marketing) is a business, just like any other business...banking, teaching, construction, selling insurance, etc.  Whether most people like to admit it, being an author is basically a job, an artistic one, but a job nonetheless, and people who work a job are expected to act with a certain amount of professionalism.  Some authors have made the comment to me that "I have never written a book before.  I am new to this."  While that may be true, everyone has worked a job at some point in their life, and so they should have a pretty good idea of what is expected in a professional working relationship.  It is no different in publishing than it is in any other industry.

Professional authors:

Should not only show up for their book signing events, but be on time (early would be better).  You don't want to be known amongst the bookstores as the author who can't be depended upon to be an event that they have set up and worked to pre-promote.  If there are special circumstances (illness, death in the family) call the bookstore and explain the situation to the manager.  They are people, too.  They will understand and they will likely postpone the event. 

Should be gracious with bookstores that are hosting their events.  Bookstores are under no obligation to schedule a book signing event with anyone.  The fact that they have agreed to let you come to their store and let you promote your book shows that they are already supporting you.  Yet, some authors get angry with bookstore managers who "didn't take out an ad in the paper" or "promote my event."  I have even heard of authors who have berated managers in the store and leave because there was no table and chair set up for them as soon as they walked into the store for their event.  Would these authors behave the same way if they went to a scheduled meeting for their day job and the people they were meeting weren't ready for them yet?  Probably not.

Should not have unreasonable expectations of their friends and family.  Writing a book is your dream, not theirs.  Don't expect that they will be as excited about your book coming out as you are.  It's even possible that they won't buy a copy of your book (in fact, they will probably expect a FREE book).  I already know that my parents aren't going to buy my book when it's finally finished, because they aren't really going to be interested in a book about how to sell books.  But, they'll still want a copy that they can show to their friends.  That's OK.  They'll each get one as a gift. 

Should read EVERYTHING that their publisher sends to them.  This includes the publishing contract.  You would be surprised at how many authors don't read theirs thoroughly, or ask questions if they don't understand something in the contract.  At my company, we provide a marketing guide for authors before their book goes to print.  I can always tell when an author hasn't read theirs, and it happens a lot.  Your publisher, no matter who it is, provides information to you with good reason.  You wouldn't ignore paperwork that crosses your desk at work.  It's the same with forms, guides and contracts sent to you by your publisher.

Should deal with their publisher's employees in a professional manner.  There is no doubt about it, a book is an author's baby.  You have poured your heart and soul into producing it, and it is an emotional experience.  However, publishing is still a business.  If there is an issue you need to discuss,  it is definitely acceptable to speak with your publisher about it in a professional manner.  Calling the publisher and yelling at the employees or writing emails in all caps with four-letter words sprinkled throughout is not acceptable, just as it would not be acceptable at an author's regular day job.  It's rare, but it does happen.  When communicating with your publisher, stop a moment and think to yourself "would I say or write this to my co-workers or supervisors?"  If the answer is "no," then it definitely should not be sent to your publisher, no matter how upset you might be.

Should have reasonable expectations.  There are no guarantees in life, and publishing is no different.  If someone starts a new restaurant, salon, construction company or any other kind of business, there is no guarantee that it is going to succeed and make the business owner a millionaire.  Writing a book is no different.  Hard work and persistence can and do pay off in the publishing industry, but the overnight successes are rare.  Bestselling authors are nearly as rare as Grammy Award-winning musicians.  Plenty work in the industry with moderate success, but not everyone reaches that level.  It's OK to shoot for the stars, but realize that no publisher or publicist can guarantee success. 

Remember, nobody achieves success on their own.  Those who are truly successful, whether it's Donald Trump, Bill Gates or James Patterson, needed somebody's help at some point in their professional lives.  For an author, those people are the publisher, the bookstore managers, the publicists and many people they may not ever meet face-to-face along the way.  Treat each one the way you would like to be treated, and you may be surprised at the results.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So, What Good Is All This Advice, Anyway?

Well, it's official:  this blog is now more than a year old.  It's hard to believe that I have spent nearly 13 months writing this blog, dispensing book marketing and promotion advice.  I am actually a bit surprised by the number of readers I have gained, as well as the reaction I have received to many of the posts.  This blog has a diverse readership, ranging from new authors who have just published their first book to best-selling authors from major "name" publishers.  It has readers not only in the U.S., but also in France, Africa, Canada and Singapore.  It has been rewarding knowing that I have helped authors in their quest to promote their books.

But, have I?

The advice here sounds good, and it is based upon my experience marketing books.  The experience I have gained from the past five years of working for a publisher has been invaluable, and I pass this information along to help authors save a lot of time, money and frustration.  I have really enjoyed it. 

To put the advice I give into perspective, I thought I would include portions of actual emails that I and other members of the staff have received from our authors, along with the blog posts that reflect the advice apparently followed by the authors.  After all, seeing is believing.  I have omitted the names of the authors, but have not altered the content of the emails.

How To Schedule Speaking Engagements

"I have started calling area churches. I did stop at a few but they are closed during the week so I have come up with a new strategy. I am calling churches and then following up with a letter a week later if I haven’t heard from them.  The second church I called was an amazing experience, to say the least. I was able to speak with the senior pastor who also pastors 2 additional churches. He said that my call was an answer to his prayer!! He had been praying for something new and fresh to come along as his sermons were getting stale and he was tired of talking about the rich and the war; whatever that means. I met with him the following day and we spent an hour together talking. I was able to meet his wife. He wants me to come and do a 6 to 8 week ministry on surviving abuse on Tuesday evenings from 7 pm – 9 pm. He also took my book cover flyer and my info sheet and said he was taking it down to a District conference he was attending this past week. He thought my book was so timely that he wants me to share my testimony with all churches in the state! "


"A BIG HUGE THANK YOU for however you got me into Dallas Child Magazine!!!   i saw it on-line last night and was soooooooooo excited!  but today i received copies in the mail and you cannot even imagine how thrilled i am!!!!    as i told you before -- it has always been a dream of mine to have a book published -- but when i have looked through countless magazines i always thought "how cool would it be to have your book picked to be in one of these lists!"   and both dreams have come true!!!"



"Just returned from a fantastic event at Prairie Grove Battlefield.  Sold lots of books! Averaged $1,000 per day sales in the 3 day event.  Had so many returning customers who are now avid fans (that was fun!)"

Do you have any success stories based upon the information you have learned from this blog?  I'd love to hear them!  
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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Most Popular Posts of the Week

It's time once again to mention the Top 5 posts of the week. If you missed them the first time around, here is your chance to check them out. The Top 5 posts of the week, in order and by number of readers:

1.  No Book Signing is a Failure

2.  Capitalize on Keyword Searches on Amazon

3.  What's it REALLY like to be a New York Times Bestselling Author?

4.  How to Market Your Book on Facebook

5.  Do you need a publicist?
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Guest Post: No Book Signing is a Failure

No Book Signing Is a Failure



No Book Signing Is a Failure

By Mike Saxton


People seem to like numbers for a variety of reasons. Even those who aren't into math (of which there are many) like to gauge success or failure in terms of numbers. When it comes to book signing events, there's even a number for that too which is the magic number 8. If you sell 8 books, you can consider it a success.

Here is my take on the whole math equaling success or failure paradigm. Math is wonderful for architects and engineers. It is great for use in sending spacecraft into orbit, calculating gravitational pull, producing grade point averages, and a whole host of other things. What it isn't good for is determining true success or failure.

When we use math to determine how successful something is, we are looking at only one dimension: whether or not we made the numbers. In pretty much everything we do in society, we measure success by numbers. Grades, standardized test scores, balance sheets, income statements, and a whole host of other types of reports are regularly crunched and run. If the "goal" number is made, there is hand shaking, pats on the back, etc. If they are exceeded, there is champagne, profit-sharing (sometimes), parties, or other such gestures. If they are not made, there are consultants, re-trainings, disciplinary actions, and sometimes even terminations.

"It is important to acknowledge a mistake instantly, correct it, and learn from it. That literally turns a failure into a success. Success is on the far side of failure." - T.J. Watson, former President of IBM

When we don't look at the other side of the rating, we miss the most important part. When we don't make numbers, we are often driven to find out what we need to do to make the numbers. We know that if we want to continue in whatever it is that we are doing, we need to improve. When we make the numbers, we typically stagnate. That's why it is important to raise the bar for ourselves. If we get to the point where we consistently make the "8 books per signing" with little or no effort, that is great. That means that if we really focus and act as if we are not making the grade so to speak, we could do 12 books per signing, or 20 books per signing and so on.

If you find yourself at a book signing and you do not make the numbers that you were hoping (especially if it is under the standard 8 copies), it is time to pull apart what you did and see what you could have improved on. Talk to whoever it was that hosted the signing for their input. The answers could be obvious (science fiction book signing in a store that primarily sells non-fiction books) or a little more subtle. The point is, you didn't fail if you learned how to do it better. Actually, failures early on could lead you to success that would be far beyond what you would be able to do if you consistently made the minimum sales.

Remember, if you look at failure as a road to success, you will remove fear of said failure. If you go into your events knowing that you can't fail, then you won't fail.
Mike Saxton
Author
http://www.7scorpions.com

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Capitalize on Keyword Searches on Amazon


Today's guest post is part of the virtual book tour  for How to Sell More Books on Amazon, by Dana Lynn Smith.

Amazon.com, the world's largest bookstore, has more than 14 million titles listed on the site. While it's easy to direct customers to your book's Amazon sales page through your own promotional efforts, it's more of a challenge to get found by shoppers who are already on the Amazon site.

Customers often search for books (especially nonfiction titles) using the keyword search feature on Amazon. To perform a keyword search, select "Books" from the drop-down menu near the top of the home page, then enter keywords in the search box to the right. From the next screen, you can click on the "Advanced Search" button to perform a more specific search.

Keyword searches bring up results based on availability, popularity (number of books already sold on the site), and relevance to the keywords being searched. Amazon's search engine looks for keyword matches in the title/subtitle and tag fields. If you haven't yet published your nonfiction book, try to use important keywords in the title and/or subtitle. 

Tags are keywords that customers have associated with products to help them and other shoppers find items related to that keyword. To add tags for your book or Kindle ebook, scroll down your book page on Amazon to find the "Tags Customers Associate with this Product" section, then click on the small "Tag this Product" button to open a pop-up window where you can add tags. Click the "Save Tags" button when you are finished adding your tags.

Word order matters, so create different search tags with variations on your most important keywords. You can add up to 15 tags per product. If you're publishing in Kindle format, there's also a place on the Kindle publishing dashboard to enter important keywords and select appropriate book categories as you are publishing the ebook.

Keyword searches can be a valuable source of traffic on Amazon.com, so be sure to tag your book with keywords that your target customers are likely to use in their searches.

Excerpted from How to Sell More Books on Amazon, by book marketing coach Dana Lynn Smith. This new ebook, available in both PDF and Kindle format, outlines strategies for boosting visibility on Amazon.com, increasing sales, and improving profits. For more book marketing tips, follow @BookMarketer on Twitter and get Dana's free Top Book Marketing Tips ebook at www.TheSavvyBookMarketer.com

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Most Popular Posts of the Week

It's time once again to mention the Top 5 posts of the week.  If you missed them the first time around, here is your chance to check them out.  The Top 5 posts of the week, in order and by number of readers:

1.  Author Interview:  Tom Llewellyn

2.  What's It REALLY Like to be a New York Times Bestselling Author?

3.  How Do Books Get Stocked in Bookstores?

4.  How to Market Your Book on Facebook

5.  How to Sell Your Books in Bulk
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Monday, November 22, 2010

Author Interview: Tom Llewellyn

If the name Tom Llewellyn sounds familiar to you, it's because he has been featured in a previous post on this very blog.  Tom had blogged about his publishing contract with Tricycle Press, an imprint of Random House, and just how much money he could expect to earn from sales of his new book.  Since then, Tom has learned that the future of his next book, Letter Off Dead, is up in the air, now that Random House plans to shut down Tricycle Press.

Tom was kind enough to answer a few questions about how he marketed and promoted his first book, The Tilting House.  What stuck out to me in the interview is that Tom doesn't take credit for the sales or success of his first book, but it is apparent from his answers that he has worked very, very hard to promote and market The Tilting House.


How many copies of your first book have you sold?

The last I heard, The Tilting House has sold a little over 8,000 copies. It’s in its second printing. The first printing sold out in about a month. It was made a Junior Library Guild selection, which helped a lot.

Where did most of your sales occur?  Online?  Bookstores?  Self-sales? 

I don’t know where the books sold—definitely not by me. As far as I know, sales have come nearly solely from Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Noble, and to libraries and schools. I wish I had a clearer view into where sales were happening.

Was your book widely available in bookstores?

Yeah, it was (and is) in Borders and Barnes and Noble nationwide and available via Amazon. I know through word of mouth that many independent bookstores carried it as well, like Powell’s Books, University Bookstore in Seattle, Kings Books in Tacoma, etc.

How much help did your publisher give you in the marketing of your book?

Not as much as I expected (he says, while hoping he sounds grateful to be published at all). They sent out promotional copies, distributed the book in their catalog, blogged about it and sent me a whole bunch of customized bookmarks. They might have done a lot of other important activities as well.

Did you hire a publicist, or did you work on marketing and promotion on your own? If you hired a publicist, what types of things did they do for you?

I did not hire a publicist. Should I have?

What types of marketing activities did you handle on your own?

I’m a marketer for a living, having worked as director of marketing for a number of firms and currently working as creative director for a major financial services company. So I’ve got a bit of a head start in this area. A very talented designer friend of mine built a cool website (www.thetiltinghouse.com) and created a book trailer you can see there as well. I setup and completed interviews in local newspapers. I held a pretty massive book launch party—about which the publisher’s rep said it was the biggest launch party she’d ever seen. I’ve done a whole bunch of author talks at local schools and still continue to do them. And I’ve done a whole bunch of blog interviews—kind of like this one.

I also have a number of other projects, including a book blog—(www.letteroffdead.com) and a street art project (www.beautifulangle.com). The followings I’ve created on those projects have definitely helped with The Tilting House.

Which marketing activities have been the most helpful in selling your book?

Since I don’t have much insight into where the sales are coming from, it’s difficult to know. They all seem to help a little bit, but it would be hugely helpful if there was more transparency into the sales sources. If I, the author, am given the responsibility for marketing, which it seems I am, then I should also be given the information to allow me to do an informed job.

What was the biggest misconception you had before you started promoting your work?

I assumed the publisher would take a more active role. As a professional marketer, I’m a huge believer in the power of marketing. Statistics consistently show that investments in advertising dollars nearly always pay off through increased sales. Especially with books, when a book sale is literally one click away from a banner ad or a search engine marketing term. So I’m surprised the publisher doesn’t spend more on that. It wouldn’t make sense for me, because I simply get too little of the sales proceeds. But I wish the publisher would pony up a little more dough and effort on promotions.

How vital is social media such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to your marketing?

It’s huge. I tweet a huge amount. My next book, Letter Off Dead, actually started as a blog—and was generating 10,000 unique visitors a month in less than six months. And I connect with other bloggers—like you—as much as I can stand.

How vital is niche marketing to promoting your work? How do you identify and reach out to your book’s niche audiences?

My first book, The Tilting House, is not really a niche book. It’s broad market middle reader fiction. My second book, Letter Off Dead, has more of a niche appeal as it deals specifically with junior high school, death and the afterlife. So I’ve been reaching out, via blogs and twitter, to junior high librarians, to grief counselors and to those interested in exploring metaphysical themes.

What advice do you have for new authors when it comes to marketing and promoting their books?

Don’t think that your job stops when you’re done writing your manuscript. Learn how to blog and tweet. Learn how to pitch the unique aspects of your story to local news sources. Network like mad. And never let a blog post that relates to your book go by without asking for an interview. You just might get one.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Most Popular Posts of the Week

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Think a Major Book Deal Guarantees Sales? Think Again.

Every once in awhile, I receive an email from an author that goes something like this:

"I think for my next book I'll try to get a deal with a big-name publishing company.  Then my book will be in every bookstore and I'll have more sales.  I'll definitely make more money." 

This may be true of some celebrity authors, but as I have pointed out in the past, celebrity authors didn't start that way.  They had to work, often for several years, before they got to that point.  Besides, signing with a "big-name publishing company" isn't necessarily a guarantee of success, either. 

Case in point, Tom Llewellyn, author of the soon-to-be published book "Letter Off Dead."  Tom signed a deal with a "big-name publishing company"...Random House.  In the publishing industry, they don't get much more big-name than that.  Tom recently blogged about his publishing contract

Basically, it looks something like this (in Tom's words):
If the book sells well enough to go into second printings, then I get royalty checks a couple of times a year, based on sales. Fee breakdowns are as follows:
Hardbacks: 15% of THE AMOUNT RECEIVED BY THE PUBLISHER
Paperbacks: 12%
Audiobooks: 10%
E-books 25%
And then, if someone pays a bazillion dollars for the movie rights, I get 70% and the publisher gets 30%

Now, let's assume (since we don't yet know) that the hardcover edition of "Letter Off Dead" will retail for $20.  The distributor will get a 55 percent discount, so the price Random House receives would be in the neighborhood of $9.00 per copy.  Of that, Tom will get 15 percent, or $1.35 for each hardcover copy that sells.  If the second printing of the book is in the range of 5,000 copies AND they all sell, Tom stands to earn about $6,750 from the second printing of his book.  Of course, we are assuming the retail price here, but you get the idea.  It's hardly the multi-million dollar deal many authors envision. 

Tom states it himself in his blog: 
"How much money does a guy like me make on a book like this? Not much. It works out to be about a buck a book – in hardbacks. So if I sell 10 million copies, I’m rich.
But if I sell, 10,000 copies, the whole thing works out to be about 50 cents an hour. Paperbacks pay less, because they sell for less."

Writers don't write strictly for the money, of course.  They write because they love it, and as I've stated here before, few writers can live on royalties alone.   Of course, Tom does have other projects, such as his other title The Tilting House.   

So what's the bottom line?  Having a connected publisher helps, but does not guarantee the success of any book, and those multi-million dollar publisher contracts are few and far between.  All authors need to work to promote and sell their books, no matter who is publishing their book. 
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Most Popular Posts of the Week

These are the most popular posts of the past week, according to the number of readers.  If you missed out on one of these posts the first time around, here they are again!

The Biggest Mistake Authors Make

How to Market Your Book on Facebook

Seven Simple Tips to Getting Your Book Reviewed

Brand Your Name, Don't Promote Your Book

How Do Books Get Stocked in Bookstores?
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Friday, November 12, 2010

The Biggest Mistake Authors Make

When an author first releases a book, it is a given that they will make a few mistakes when it comes to marketing and promoting their book. That’s OK. You are basically starting a new business from scratch, and not every idea for promoting your book is going to be a good one. This blog is dedicated to helping authors avoid some of those mistakes and concentrate on the things that actually do work.

However, of all of the rookie mistakes a first-time author can make, there is one that towers above all others, and guarantees that a book will not be a success. It will relegate a title to the remainder bin of bookstores, or even worse, cause an author to have several copies of their book collecting dust in their garage. What is this mistake, you might ask? OK, here it is:

Doing nothing.

That’s right, if an author does nothing to promote and market their book, their book is not going to sell, no matter how hard a publisher may try. If an author isn’t involved in the marketing and promotion process, nothing a publisher does is going to make that title fly off the bookstore shelves and get into readers’ hands. Jim Miller, one of my co-workers, says it best: “Readers purchase books based upon the reputation and talent of the author. We can’t create that for you.” He’s right.

So why would an author do nothing to help get their book into the marketplace? Here are a few common reasons:

1. Fear of failure. Authors love to write, but they don’t always love to meet people face-to-face, sell themselves (and their book) or read negative reviews of their book. The thing is, this comes with the territory of being an author. Think about how often actors and celebrities come under the microscope. When someone releases a book and it gets some attention, some of that attention is going to be focused on the author, and it isn’t always the good kind. Remember, it’s not personal. It’s just business.

2. Unreasonable expectations. On the other hand, some authors feel that once they have written their book and it is printed, their job is done. They expect a publicist and the publisher to do all of the selling. While you may get some assistance from a publicist and a publisher, the lion’s share of making your book known to the reading world falls on you. After all, you are the person who wrote the books. If a bookstore is interested in hosting an author for an event, or if a media outlet is interested in doing an interview, they don’t want the publicist or the publisher, they want the person who wrote the book, the author. Even if your book is stocked by several bookstores, forget about just sitting back and waiting for the royalty checks to roll in. You have to help those books move.

3. Disappointment. Many authors have visions of hitting their book’s release date and seeing it take off like a rocket to the top of the New York Times Bestsellers list. This rarely ever happens. Bestsellers are often the result of an author spending years developing a readership and a fan base that will go to the bookstore and buy anything the author writes. When authors don’t see the kind of sales they expected, many of them get disappointed and give up. Often, this happens just a few months, or even a few weeks, after the book is released. Remember, you are starting a new business venture, and those are not built in the matter of a few weeks or months. It takes time to build a fan base. Working hard to promote a book won’t guarantee success, but doing nothing to promote yourself and your book will most definitely guarantee failure.

Marketing and promoting a book can seem like a daunting task, but if you do just one thing a day to raise awareness of yourself and your book, you can break it down into manageable, realistic chunks. Avoid the mistake of doing nothing, and you will see something happen with your book.
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Brand Your Name, Don't Promote Your Book

Brand Your Name, Don't Promote Your Book



Brand Your Name, Don't Promote Your Book

By Joanne Troppello


That's a strong statement, I know, but I wanted to capture your attention.

Stephen King, J. K. Rowling, Dean Koontz, Nora Roberts, Michael Crichton, James Patterson, Anne Rice, Mary Higgins Clark...we all know those names or at least a good portion of them. So what's my point? Just that...we know their names; we don't all remember the names of their books.

Your fans are not going to always be able to spout off the titles of all your books, but if they like your work and if you've become popular, they will remember your name. If they know your name, they can easily find you online or in the bookstores. When they find your website, then they can look up your books. When they go to the bookstores, they can find your specific titles.

As an author, hopefully you will continually be writing more books. Your readers may not always know your current works, but they'll keep track of what you're working on and when your new releases come out. So, how do you (and me), as up and coming authors waiting for the day you'll be on the best seller lists, brand your name and market yourselves as authors?

That question being put out there, you still, of course, need to work hard on marketing each of your books, but the way to really become popular is to market your name.

One of the best ways to brand yourself is to have a website. You always need to have an online presence; that includes branding yourself in the social media networks. Another good idea is that you should always try to write articles in your trade, and post them in free online writing networks. Usually, you just need to register and then you can begin posting articles; sometimes certain sites will need to review your articles first. These sites will allow readers to link to your profile, where they can follow a link to your website. Other online article posting sites allow you to list a byline with a direct link to your website.

You must remember that you are your greatest fan and you need to take advantage of that fact and promote yourself wherever you go. Of course, some people may feel this is taking you down to ego-land, but there are ways to promote yourself and your work without seeming to be overbearing. I don't usually like to be in the center of attention, but as my husband mentioned the other day, I'm an author now and I'd better get used to it.

Join writers groups and other writing associations and always attach your byline in everything that you write and have your "elevator speech" prepared and ready to use at all times. So what's an elevator speech? It's a short pitch on something you're trying to market and since you're trying to market yourself, be prepared to tell people that you are an author and when your next book is going to be released. Be ready to hand out a business card or at least be able to give out your website.

Blogging is another way to brand your name. You always want your readers, potential readers and the press to go to your website. You can do this by offering them something. How do you do that? You need to provide good content that is always updated. That's why it's good to have a blog directly on your website or if you have it through another online service, to at least have the blog link prominently displayed on your site. You can even create a newsletter. This will be a bit more time consuming than writing a daily or weekly blog, but it is something that you can think about as you get farther along in your writing career.

Don't forget to keep on promoting your name. You are your biggest fan! Make your marketing count!

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Five Reasons Authors Need a Web Site

Do I need a web site?

This is a question I get often from new authors who have books that are about to release. They aren't sure if they should invest the time, money and effort into building a web site to help promote and market their book.  Some authors decide that they don't want to mess around with a web site, and decide they'll just build a Facebook fan page and call it a day.

Big mistake.

About three years ago, the Codex Group conducted a survey of nearly 21,000 book shoppers.  They discovered that the majority of readers depended upon author web sites as a means of getting to know the author better.  Also, of those who had visited an author web site in the past week, 38 percent purchased a book.  Bottom line:  if a reader can't find you online, you are missing out on readers (and book sales).

Too many authors make the mistake of using their web site as a billboard for advertising their book, but an author web site should be much more than that.  Here are five important reasons and author needs a web site:

1.  Readers want to know more about you.  If you are a new author releasing your first book, nobody outside of your circle of friends and family know about you or your book.  Why did you write the book?  When did you start writing?  Where did you go to college?  Where in the U.S. do you live?  Who is your favorite author?  What books are you reading now?  Are you writing anything else, and if so, can you post a few samples on your site?  These are things readers want to know.

2.  The media want to know about you.  Almost every time a reporter contacts me about doing an interview with an author, one of the first questions they ask me is "what is the author's web address?"  They want to check out the author and get to know about them before the interview.  If the author doesn't have a web site that is definitely a handicap.

3.  Shoppers research their purchases online before buying.  Even if a reader intends to buy a book at a bookstore, they may very well do some comparison shopping online, looking for reviews and articles about the book.  If an author has a web site with a page dedicated to endorsements, articles, reviews, etc., it helps "seal the deal," even if the reader doesn't purchase the book through the author's site. 

4.  Readers are buying more books online.  Bookstores have seen declining sales, not just because readers are buying fewer books, but because they are buying their books online.  Ebooks are also taking a bite out of the bookstores' bottom line.  If you don't have a web site to catch some of those potential readers, there are many, many other authors out there who do have sites that might catch their attention instead.

5.  You never know who might see your site.   I personally know an author who got a movie deal in part because the producers visited the author's web site after hearing about his book and liked what they saw.  I constantly hear from authors that they want "nationwide" promotion and publicity for their book.  Why stop there?  Get a web site and you potentially have a worldwide audience, and one of your web site visitors could give you the big break you have been working so hard to get. 

Look at it this way:  every company in the U.S. that is successful has a web site.  Every successful, bestselling author in the U.S. has a web site (you can see Jeff Kinney's web site here).   If you want to be taken seriously as a professional author, you should have a web site.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to Market Your Book on Facebook - 14 Steps to an Awesome Fan Page


How to Market Your Book on Facebook - 14 Steps to an Awesome Fan Page



How to Market Your Book on Facebook - 14 Steps to an Awesome Fan Page

By Patricia Benesh


Today's authors are capitalizing on the promotional opportunities for creating readership on Facebook. They know that 250 million users log into Facebook once a day, spending an average of 55 minutes on the site, while more than 500 million active users log in at least once a month. Plus 150 million get their Facebook fix on their mobile devices. It's no wonder that Facebook is number two in terms of Internet popularity, after Google. A Facebook page is as essential as a web site or blog, offering writers an unparalleled venue for engaging with readers.

More savvy authors are taking Facebook a step further-creating fan pages. Fan pages are extraordinarily effective in promoting books. A perusal of authors' fan pages shows they display all manner of content to attract and hold audiences.

Deepak Chopra's official fan page features the meditation music and the photo album of serene images we might expect to see from this world famous spiritual leader.

Tony Robbins's page includes an event schedule and workshop video clips, showing the power behind this nationally known motivational speaker.

Justin Halpern includes reviews and his older SMDS to keep his Sh*t My Dad Says fans laughing.

At Arielle Ford's fan page, readers can sign up for her newsletter to stay up to date with her books and latest PR information.

In launching his touching new book about gratitude, Walter Green prominently features a heartfelt author video on his fan page.

While all very different, these fan pages have one critical element in common. They speak to their target audiences. According to Online and Social Media Marketing Consultant, Amy Porterfield, "The secret to a successful Facebook Page is artful engagement. When you take the time to really get to know your fans (their likes, interests and triggers), you can deliver content and experiences that will capture their interest quickly and keep them coming back for more. Make it about them (and not about you or your brand) and you will have a fan for life!"

Ready to roll up your sleeves and tackle your own fan page? You need only 14 steps and you are on your way to creating a powerful ingredient to your marketing mix.
1. Log into Facebook.

2. On the left column click Ads and Pages,

3. Click the Create a Page.

4. On the right side, under the Official Page, click brand, product, or organization.

5. In the text box page name, enter either the title of your book or your name as author.

6. Check the box stating you are the representative of the business.

Now you are ready to develop your new fan page:
7. Upload a feature photo. Realize this is the primary image associated with your site. You might choose the book cover (like Halpern) or your photo (like Robbins and Ford) or a combination of the cover and photo (like Green). Remember, you can post lots of other photos in albums on your site. The primary photo should be strongly associated with your book or your brand.

8. Provide basic information-Highlight content related to your pitch, endorsements, back cover, and dust jacket material.

9. Import relevant content, such as RSS blog feeds, YouTube videos, images, music, and other elements associated with your book that will engage your audience.

10. Post updates-weekly at least and inform your fans about your news and relevant news from other sites.
11. Promote the page with a "like" button. (Note that Green's page uses a red arrow to make sure viewers don't overlook the button.

12. Set the page to your mobile phone

13. Send status updates to Twitter

14. Enhance your page with apps, such as polls, games, and other apps to make it fun and engaging. For thoughtful reviews on Facebook apps visit the Facebook applications blog. Consider developing a custom app for your Facebook fan page. Although it can be pricey, but it can add great value to your page.
Important note: Since Facebook pages do not provide for "friending" someone, as on a standard Facebook page, you will need to invite your contacts to become fans of your page. Publicize your page by putting a button or link in your e-mail signature line so it is seen by everyone you e-mail, post a button on your web site and blog, and announce your page through Facebook and Twitter. Don't forget to include the link on your business cards and other promotional literature.

A last thought: Patiently tend your page to build your fan base, devoting a few hours each week. Be sure to add fresh content that provides value to those who read it-then promote, promote, promote! Soon you will see how this amazing social media tool benefits you and your readers.

For a decade, Patricia Benesh has been providing personal coaching and a range of "success-oriented services" to fiction and nonfiction writers at http://AuthorAssist.com. No matter what your writing level or publishing goal (traditional publishing, self-publishing), AuthorAssist helps ensure you are ready to publish and promote your book. Get complimentary feedback on your writing at http://AuthorAssist.com/complimentary.html.

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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Authors and Taxes

Each week, I am assigned new authors to work with on marketing and promoting their books.  I look forward to working with new authors and learning more about a new book that Tate Publishing is releasing into the marketplace.  I am asked the usual questions about the media, bookstores, book signing events and if I can get the author on Oprah, but by far the most often-asked question I get concerns taxes.

Specifically:

Does the author have to collect sales tax when they directly sell their books?
How do they report royalty income on their federal and state income tax returns?
Does the author have to get a business license or state tax ID number in order to collect sales taxes?
Can I "write-off" my expenditures as business expenses?

The short answer to all of this is this:  I am in no way qualified to give anyone tax advice.  I'm not an accountant, and after taking two accounting courses in college, I decided I would never want to be an accountant. 

However, smarter people than I have already written about this subject.  I'll condense some of the info here, and include links to the complete articles so you can look them over yourself. 

1.  Does the author have to collect sales taxes when they directly resell their books?  This really depends upon the state in which you are selling your books.  Each state is different, and in fact, different counties within those states can have differing sales tax rates.  The short answer is "yes, if your state has a sales tax, you'll need to pay the tax for the books you sell."  You can either add that cost to the sales price of your books, or just take a smaller portion of the sale and pay the sales tax yourself.

2.  How do I report royalty income on my income tax returns?  Basically, royalties are treated like income.   Whenever I have done some freelance work in the past, I always had to report that as self-employment income, and there is a form for that.  If your royalty income is very small there are certain conditions under which you can claim your writing is a "hobby," but for the most part, Uncle Sam wants his cut of your royalties.

3.  Does the author have to get a business license or state tax ID number to collect sales taxes?
Again, depending upon the state where you are located, you may need to get some type of license to collect the sales tax, and you might event realize some tax advantages to treating your writing like your own small business and get a business license.  This is something which you will REALLY want to run by an accountant (again, that is so not me).

4.  Can I write-off my writing expenditures as business expenses?  There may be some expenses that you can write-off, especially if you are working out of a home office and your book is providing you with income.  As long as you can prove you are actively pursuing writing as a career, you may have some deductions at your disposal.

Disclaimer:  Did I mention I'm not an accountant?  OK, good!  Seriously, this article is for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as actual tax advice.  If you are serious about being a professional author and pursuing writing as a career, find yourself a great accountant!

Other articles I recommend (seriously, you should really read these):

Simple Record Keeping and Tax Deductions for Authors

The Issue of Sales Tax on Books

Taxes and Finances for Writers
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Seven Simple Tips to Getting Your Book Reviewed by Paula Krapf

Today's guest post is courtesy of Tony Eldridge, creator of Marketing Tips For Authors.
http://blog.marketingtipsforauthors.com/


I am excited to introduce our guest today, Paula Krapf. She is the Chief Operating Officer of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., a company that has its finger on the pulse of the publishing industry. She will be blogging on a subject that every writer wants to learn more about: How to get your book reviewed.

You may also want to check out the Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: Blogging Ideas the Whole Year Through. This is the summary of the Blog Talk Radio program that Paula interviewed me on as a guest. You can also replay the interview on demand when you want to listen to it.

Make sure you check out the great additional resources that Paula lists at the end of the post.

7 Simple Steps to Getting Your Book Reviewed
By Paula Krapf

Your book is ready for reviews and all you need to figure out is where and how to find the appropriate reviewers – so you can add the reviews to your website (you were planning to add the reviews to your own site, right?), find blurbs for your book cover if you don't have any yet, and just generally spread the word about your book.

But first, you need to know what to look for and where to go online to find reviewers.

1. Google is your friend

You can always start with Google and type in your “genre” + “book reviews” to start building your list; or, if you are familiar with books already published that are in your genre you can type in the “book title” + “book reviews” in order to discover reviewers who have reviewed similar material and might therefore be open to reviewing your book. When doing these searches, be prepared to do some serious groundwork, however – you'll need to visit each of these sites not only to collect contact information but to learn about the blogger and his or her site. You'll want to make sure they're still accepting review requests, see the genres they typically review and get a general feel for the blog and its tone and whether you feel it fits you.

2. Use the free tools

If you can, download Google's free toolbar which includes the Google Page Rank (GPR) algorithm. This is a useful tool for determining the “weight” of a given site; the higher the rank (from 0-10), the more important Google deems the site. What you want to try to do is find the most active people who review in your genre. A rank of 3 is very good for a review blog; although that doesn't mean you should discard anything below a GPR of 3. You should also read the blog and get a sense of whether the blog attracts readers; one sure sign of this is the fact that there are comments following the blog posts. Certain factors don't weigh as heavily – for instance, many blogs have Google subscribers, but this number can be misleading as those who join have to sign up to do so. There are many regular blog readers who simply won't take the time to sign up, so the number of Google subscribers may not mean much. You'll also want to see if the blogger is active on sites like Twitter and Facebook; if so, then the books they review are most likely posted to those popular social networking sites, which is great additional exposure for you and your book.

3. Read the fine print

In addition, most bloggers post their blog policies and genre/publishing preferences – it's important to read their policies in order to understand what they review, preferred genres, whether they'll consider self-published books and how long they may need to review your book. Here's a great example of a review policy: http://blog.mawbooks.com/contact-me/. If you're working on a tight timeframe and they indicate it could take 6 months to get to your book, well... you probably won't pitch them. Then again, if your book is in a small niche and this blogger and site seem perfect for you, a longer wait might be worthwhile. Many authors do not read the review policies before pitching bloggers, which is a bad idea. This information is readily available and there for a reason. Also, never send attachments via email but DO send links: to your author bio, photo, press release, books blurbs and book excerpts. These should all be on your website, and including them in your pitch is a great way to make it easy for prospective reviewers to learn about you and your book.

4. Reviews versus blog tour considerations

There is a difference between pitching for reviews versus seeking a blog tour. Requesting reviews could lead to coverage at any time, really, unless you work out a timeframe with the reviewer, but each situation is handled separately. A blog tour is typically coverage of your book by a certain number of bloggers within a given timeframe – a week, two weeks, a month. Blog tours can consist of reviews, interviews, guest posts and giveaways – there are many options. But before you seek bloggers to fill your tour dates figure out in advance what you'd like to do, how long you'd like to do the tour (so you know how many bloggers you'll need) and if you can't prepare guest posts in advance at least have some topics ready to present. Some bloggers love blog tours, others don't want any part of it. Your research will uncover the best prospects to pitch; just give yourself plenty of advance time to set up your tour. Bloggers are busy so you may find a certain number must decline due to other commitments and you'll need to seek others in their place.

5. Be thorough

The key is to do your homework – research the blog, the blogger and learn the things that matter, such as the blogger's name, contact information and preferred genres so you can send a professional, personalized pitch. If your genre is a natural fit for them it's a fact you can use in your pitch by indicating that your book is similar to other books they've reviewed (and provide examples). Also become familiar with their style – some bloggers tend to emphasize the positive and if they can't say anything nice, they may decline to review the book. Others prefer to be honest (brutally) if need be. Some bloggers are not afraid to tear and book and its author apart and are quite merciless in their approach. You need to know this before you pitch and be honest with yourself – look at the tone of the blog as ask yourself how you'd feel having your book reviewed the same way. If you can't handle it, don't do it. There are hundreds of blogs out there and there's room for you to decide that a certain blog or blogs don't work for you.

6. Free versus paid

One final note regarding paid reviews or tours. There are some review sites that charge for reviews claiming that they must compensate their reviewers for their time. There are sites that will charge you for a blog tour. They do not do anything you can't do yourself – research and identify bloggers, pitch, schedule, send books – so let the buyer beware, as the saying goes. You may be much better off going the free route in the book blogosphere where hundreds of bloggers connect with each other daily and work hard to provide as much exposure as they can for each book.

7. You do know best

Don't be afraid to trust your gut, either. You might find a gem of a blog that has a low Google Page Rank, but it's a nice-looking site, well written, has regular commenters and basically demonstrates a commitment to reviewing books – if you like what you see don't sweat the statistics, make a pitch! There are things you can do to boost your reviews such as posting your reviews on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, and those techniques will help you gain even wider exposure for that review. Once you find blogs you like, you can also look at their blogrolls for additional blogs to check out – often bloggers who like similar books list each other on their blogrolls.

Additional resources

Looking for sites to pitch? Here are some great and useful lists:

* Book Reviewers on the Web – this list includes industry standards, literary blogs, off the beaten track blogs and the more opinion-driven book bloggers, http://robinmizell.wordpress.com/book-reviewers

* Midwest Book Review – a listing of a number of sites to check out, http://www.midwestbookreview.com/links/othr_rev.htm

* Best of the Web blogs – blog listing with a description of each blog listed, http://blogs.botw.org/Arts/Literature/Book_Reviews/

* YA Book Blog Directory – bloggers who specialize in Young Adult books, http://yabookblogdirectory.blogspot.com/p/ya-book-blogger-list.html

* Kidlitosphere Central – bloggers in Children's and Young Adult Literature, http://www.kidlitosphere.org/bloggers/

* Book Blog Directory – a large list of blogs followed by a brief description, http://directory.kaysbookshelf.com/

* FSB – search by genre(s) for bloggers, http://www.fsbmedia.com/book_blogger_search.php

* Book Blogs Search – a huge listing of blogs, http://fyreflybooks.wordpress.com/about/book-blogs-search/

* Things to know about Blog Book Tours - http://blogbooktours.blogspot.com/2010/06/blog-tips-to-consider.html



Paula Krapf is Chief Operating Officer of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., a marketing and publicity firm that specializes in Internet promotion, strategically working with social networking sites, blogs, micro-blogs, ezines, video sites, and other relevant sites to push an author's message into the virtual community and connect with sites related to the book's topic, positioning the author in his or her market. In the past 15 months their creative marketing strategies have helped land 10 books on the New York Times Bestseller list. Get free tips from our blog, http://www.amarketingexpert.com/blog/ and our biweekly newsletter Book Marketing Expert, http://www.amarketingexpert.com/. You can find Paula on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PaulaatAME.
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Monday, October 25, 2010

How Blogging Benefits You As An Author

How Blogging Benefits You As An Author



How Blogging Benefits You As An Author

By Charles Jacobs


As a writer planning to blog, your first decision is whether you want to write about the topic covered in your most recent book or about the process of writing and publishing a book. Or possibly both. Both are subjects you should know well.
The option is yours. You can always mount two blogs. Or better yet, combine the two subjects in a single blog. Either way, you must be certain that you have the time to keep them updated. That's crucial. A blog requires continuous fresh information or commentary to keep readers coming back. Allow your blog to become stale, and you will see a speedy exodus of visitors.
You certainly don't have to feel restricted to the two subjects I mentioned above. I picked them because you're a writer, but you have the option to select any topic you wish to concentrate on. However, that topic should in some way relate back to your book. After-all, your reason for embarking on this blogging gig was to hype and sell your book.
Content Rules
The prime consideration as you sit down to plan each edition is to remember that this site is not an advertisement for your book. Not even an advertorial. To be effective, a blog must offer solid content. It is an informational resource; not a promotional vehicle to sell your book or boost your vanity. The days of mental meanderings about personal issues that characterized the early stage of the blogosphere just won't cut it any longer. Leave those messages to Twitter.
The ideal blog serves as a treasure chest of information on a subject the reader wants or needs. Consequently, it is imperative to keep it updated with fresh material on a regular basis. I suggest that updates be made at least every week and more frequently if possible. Archiving earlier issues is important too. This gives your visitors the opportunity to research back to find the information they need which may be contained in a previous blog that you posted.
Starting Your Blog
There's little risk to developing your own blog. If money is a concern, you can find free sites on the Internet to assist you in building it. If you are unsure whether or not you can sustain a blog with its demanding updates, create a chart of 25 or so subtopics that you can write about within the overall subject to which you plan to dedicate your blog. That will assure you of substance for at least 25 weeks of posting as you get into the swing of blogging on a regular basis.
By entering "Creating a blog" in your favorite search engine, you'll find an assortment of free design sites that will lead you step-by-step through the process. One of the most popular is www.blogger.com, a product of Google, but you will find others as well. For those who want a more sophisticated blog with a design that is unique to them, most website designers also prepare customized blogs. Search the Internet for them, and check out their galleries of websites to find the best.
The designer's function is to create the shell into which you can easily drop copy whenever you prepare a new post. The prices range widely. They are based on the designer's experience and expertise.
Your Blog Is Your Signature
A visit to your blog is the closest contact most readers will ever have with you. They will judge you and your work by the quality of the blog. A well executed blog will boost sales of your book and contribute to building your reputation as an expert in the field you choose to write about.
Two major factors will form each blog visitor's opinion. The overall impression of the site-its cleanliness, neatness, excitement-will tell the reader a great deal about you. The quality of the content you place on the blog will bring him/her back again and again and will serve as an invitation to read articles you write, visit your website and perhaps buy your book.
Taking Full Advantage of the Blogosphere
Using the blogging world to your greatest advantage includes reaching out beyond your own site and placing material on the sites of other popular bloggers. This can be done by either posting comments to the content on the other blog or by actually offering content to a fellow blogger.
You have a distinct advantage in placing your copy elsewhere because bloggers function as a close-knit community and are usually quite welcoming of submissions by fellow bloggers. This is a carry-over from the early days of blogging. As a newcomer to the communications world, blogging was disparaged by other journalists and looked upon as an amateurish, often narcissistic form of writing. That has changed dramatically today, but the sense of camaraderie between bloggers remains strong.
Stick to a Schedule
It is essential to stick strictly to a regular schedule of posting, as I stated above. This doesn't mean you suddenly have to devote your life to blogging. If you devote 10 to 12 hours a week to creating your own posts and supplementing them with comments on other blogs, you can enjoy a great deal of success and build a sizeable following. You'll gain great satisfaction and have a good deal of fun as well. So join the thousands upon thousands of your fellow writers who have discovered this marvelous tool for harnessing the promotional power of the Internet.
View more than 60 free, informative articles by author and editor Charles Jacobs. Click on to his new website http://www.wisewriter.com. Click on "Library" to discover this world of information to help you write, publish and promote better. Read Charles' widely-heralded book "The Writer Within You," named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR seven times and a gold and bronze medal winner.

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