Tag Archives: book review

How to Sell Books in Your Local Community

Often times when writers dream of becoming bestselling authors, we picture worldwide success, with our novels translated into dozens of different languages and adapted into major motion pictures. One of the most important things to keep in mind, though, is that learning how to sell books is a process that starts small and, usually, starts locally.

Your Book Marketing Depends on You

Learning how to sell books is an extremely important skill as an author.

If you are a traditionally published author, you may have a team of people who will help you with marketing, but even then, it is mostly up to you to sell your work. If you are a self-published author, it is completely left to you.

Selling locally is a great way to start because it gives you an in-person advantage. You can be far more personal with people than you can ever be online, which gives a greater sense of who you are and what your books are like.

4 Ways to Sell Books in Your Community

Not sure how to sell books to the people in your local community? Here are four things you can do to get started.

1. Set up an event at your local bookstore

As scary as it can be, you have to take the first step when it comes to promoting yourself. If you wait around for someone else to invite you to an event or ask you to do a signing, you may be waiting around forever.

Take the initiative to send an e-mail or walk into your local bookstore and ask if they would consider hosting a book signing or a presentation/Q&A.

Whatever event you have in mind, make sure you have a clear idea of what it will be so you can properly pitch it. Remember to always be polite and offer the suggestion in a way that will show the bookstore how it will benefit them, as well.

Especially if it is an indie bookstore, talk about how you can promote the location and urge your readers to purchase books through them. The event should be mutually beneficial.

2. Create promotional material

There are a variety of websites you can use to create catchy posters and business cards for a relatively inexpensive price. If you are not comfortable with doing the graphic design yourself, consider asking an artistic friend for some help (make sure you pay them for their time, return the favor however you can, or at least take them out for a cup of coffee afterwards).

Once you have said posters, go to your local library and coffee shop and ask if it would be all right to hang them on their community boards. Wherever you can, put one up.

It might be a good idea to include a QR code on the post that goes to your blog or someplace where readers can easily purchase your book.

Business cards are a must, as well. Make sure they have your name, headshot, and links to your website and social media pages. Whenever you meet someone new in your community, give them a business card. It’s a great and easy way to keep in touch with new friends and let them know about your books.

3. Go to events in your community

One of the best ways to get your community connected with your book is for you to connect with your community.

Whenever there is a local, bookish event, try to attend it (and take your business cards with you!). Authors love to chat with other writers and going to a signing or release party is a great way to start networking.

Others who are attending the event are likely to be big readers, too. Talk to them! Ask them what kinds of books they like, if they’re long-time or recent fans of the author hosting the event, and so on. Once you get into a conversation, you can mention your own book and maybe even swap contact information.

Events at bookstores are not the only ones you should attend, either. Go to classes at your local library or an open mic at a coffee shop. You never know who you’ll end up talking to or who might be interested in buying your book.

4. Write an elevator pitch

These are a must for any book. Any person advising you on how to sell books will eventually tell you to write an elevator pitch.

Simply put, an elevator pitch is, as the name suggests, a pitch for your book that you can relay in the time it would take to ride an elevator with someone. It should be short and snappy, no more than a few lines.

Not sure how to get started writing your elevator pitch? Condensing your book into a one- or two-line premise is a great place to start.

After you’ve written your pitch, rehearse it until you can repeat it in your sleep. This way, when you chat with a fellow reader/writer at an author signing and they ask the inevitable question, “What’s your book about?” you won’t have to stammer and desperately search for the right words.

Writing a glowing description of your book can take days and endless revisions. You don’t have to think of it on the spot.

With an in-person pitch, though, you have to think on your feet. If you’re like me and you don’t like coming up with something on the fly, it would be a good idea to write and revise an elevator pitch you can easily memorize and repeat with a smile.

For an example of what this should look like, here is a pitch I wrote recently for one of my novels:

Lila, an immortal witch, falls for Melody, a mortal witch hunter. The two end up on the run when the demon Angelique decides Lila would be the perfect addition to her team in the upcoming apocalyptic war against humanity.

The pitch should introduce your main character(s) and the antagonist/conflict.

How to Sell Books in Person

Selling books locally is a lot different from networking online, but it comes with several advantages. People are more likely to buy your product if they feel like they have connected with you on a personal level. Plus, getting to know your readers (or potential readers) is such an important part of being an author.

And remember, it isn’t a big deal if you don’t make a sale right away. Sometimes you make a friend first, and maybe later that friend will become a customer, and a long-time fan.

How do you promote your work in your community? Do you have any other tips for how to sell books in your local community, or strategies that have worked for you? Let us know in the comments.

By The Magic Violinist
Source: thewritepractice.com

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Amazon Review Policy Change & More

Since Amazon first opened its virtual doors, there have been concerns about reviews. Not just for books but for all the products sold through its site. It is no secret that authors have paid for reviews — and some still do. Or that there have been fake accounts set up to give sock puppet reviews. There have been stories about sellers and manufacturers planting fake reviews as well, all in the hopes of bolstering their product rankings and ratings. From time to time, Amazon has taken steps to combat this trend. One of the last times they did it, they brought in a weighted review system. This one differentiates between “verified purchasers” and those who did not buy the product viz Amazon. Now there is a new policy in place, once that should help — at least until a new way around it is found.

Simply put, Amazon now requires you to purchase a minimum of $50 worth of books or other products before you can leave a review or answer questions about a product. These purchases, and it looks like it is a cumulative amount, must be purchased via credit card or debit card — gift cards won’t count. This means someone can’t set up a fake account, buy themselves a gift card and use it to get around the policy.

Eligibility

To contribute to Customer Reviews or Customer Answers, Spark, or to follow other contributors, you must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com using a valid credit or debit card. Prime subscriptions and promotional discounts don’t qualify towards the $50 minimum. In addition, to contribute to Spark you must also have a paid Prime subscription (free trials do no qualify). You do not need to meet this requirement to read content posted by other contributors or post Customer Questions, create or modify Profile pages, Lists, or Registries

Whether this change will work in the long run, I don’t know. But, for now, I welcome it.

There is, however, one change I wish they would make. There are a number of readers who are active reviewers but whose reviews aren’t weighted as “verified purchases” because they get their books through the Kindle Unlimited Program. Those downloads are as easy to track as “verified purchases”. So why aren’t they given more weight than those reviews from people who have not gotten a particular book from Amazon?

On a totally different topic, I came across this article earlier this morning and it left me not only shaking my head but wanting to rip someone a new one.

Landing a traditional publisher can be a frustrating, convoluted process. Yet, most speakers, professionals and fiction writers want to publish a book. The main reasons being: credibility and retail distribution, followed by logistical help producing and fulfilling sales.

Self-publishing lacks legitimacy, especially now that anyone with internet access can publish on amazon and call themselves an expert on whatever topic they choose. It’s lowering the legitimacy of Amazon bestsellers every single day, while traditional publishing remains an elusive endeavor.

That’s what Loren Kleinman had to say at the beginning of the “interview”. Yeah, way to alienate a lot of authors right off the boat. But I kept reading and I kept wanting to reach through the screen and shake someone. I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions, but here are some of my concerns about what Publishizer does.

The first thing that stood out to me as I looked at their site (which did not inspire a great deal of confidence) is the second step in their process. You “raise funds by selling preorders for 30 days, using our book marketing tools.” This is before you submit your book to publishers. So, how are you going to follow through with these sales after you have signed a contract with a publisher? More importantly, if Publishizer uses these “preorders” as part of their sales package when they market your proposal, I have several more questions: 1) what if you don’t have a large enough number of preorders to show your book has serious traction?  2) Who determines what that number is? and 3) How doe the publishers know these are legitimate sales?

Then there is the fact their “software” determines where to pitch your book. The questions about this are numerous but they boil down to one or two. First, how do they gather their information to make this determination? Second, what publishers are in their main database and how many of those publishers have they actually submitted to? There’s a third question that goes hand-in-hand with all this: how often do they update their database and submission parameters?

If you scroll down, you see they have no cost to “set up” your campaign and you get to keep 70% of your preorders. Oh-oh. That rings more alarm bells. That means they keep 30%. What do the publishers you are trying to sell to think about this?

In the fine print down below, they have some questions and answers. It seems they will pitch at least 30 publishers. This is where it gets interesting. They say they will pitch traditional, advance-paying publishers but also  “independent publishers and high-quality hybrid publishers”. Anyone want to take a bet one which type they sign with more often? In the links at the bottom of the page, they have a list of publishers. Another knock because that list is not alphabetical.

Now, this site might be completely legit and it might have successfully helped authors get viable contracts. I don’t know. What I’m saying is if you are contemplating using it, be sure to read all the fine print first and do an in-depth search on it before “signing” anything.

Until later!

By Amanda

Source: madgeniusclub.com

 

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5 Reasons Goodreads is a Book Marketing Staple

Goodreads has mixed reviews at best when I chat book marketing strategies with authors at conferences, but I really want 2018 to be about maximizing on YOU, on using what makes you unique to sell more books, and Goodreads is a great platform for achieving that goal.

And while Goodreads has gotten a bad rap for being where books go to get slaughtered by reviews, that’s honestly not fair.

Good books and engaged authors get great reviews on Goodreads. See how that works?

So it’s time to buck up and start using Goodreads to your advantage!

Be an engaged author on Goodreads. I promise you, a good book paired with genuine engagement on…

 

And here are 5 tips to get you motivated:

It’s Not Typical Social Media

Social media is generally one of the biggest book marketing hurdles for authors that I talk to.

They either don’t have time to juggle all the platforms they signed up for, or they’re completely confused about where to start and how to keep it going.

So I suggest they focus on Goodreads.

I never recommend being on social media just to check it off your list.

If you’re not good at it, or you don’t put in the time but send people there via your website or email marketing, you’re risking doing more harm than good.

Goodreads is for readers and authors, so if you’re suffering from an aversion to social media, let Goodreads be where you focus your attention.

High Quality, High Volume Users

Another great benefit is the volume of high quality, targeted users.

Goodreads has 65 million members and counting, and guess what? They all love books!

Honestly, as authors, we couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.

Maybe your ad dollars and content on other social sites may be getting lost in the shuffle. Reach avid readers on Goodreads, guaranteed.

Groups That Get Real Engagement

Targeted reader groups are gold when it comes to book marketing and engagement,.

Talk about a captivated audience!

But here’s a dose of reality. I’ve dabbled in groups on other social sites, both personally and for my authors, and they are tough going.

Starting from scratch is never easy, and sometimes it’s really not necessary.

The reader groups on Goodreads are established, active, and users trust them. Use this to your advantage.

You Can Find the Right Readers

An extension of your group activity should be a focus on your genre as well.

And your goal shouldn’t be to sell your book but to prove you’re also a fan of your own genres (you are right?), this kind of book marketing is more about networking, and it will take you far, I assure you.

If you become “one of the diehards” in your genre groups on Goodreads you can almost guarantee your fellow groupies will support you by checking out your next release.

Participate in a genuine way. You will be genuinely rewarded.

It Can Be a Great Alternative to a Website

If you don’t have a website, or you don’t have one that you can update easily or frequently, Goodreads can be a great alternative.

You have a great section for a bio, you can create and announce events, run giveaways, host author Q&As.

You can even host your blog on Goodreads. And to make “blog” seem less scary, just think if it as regular fan and follower updates on your work, your writing schedule, giveaway promotions and release announcements. See? Fun stuff!

The Takeaway

Goodreads can be daunting, but it’s gotten a bad rap with authors and that really needs to stop.  If you need help with this magnificent tool or any other book marketing tool, contact me!

Besides, if you wanted everything to be easy you wouldn’t have decided to become a published author in the first place – because this book marketing stuff isn’t for the faint of heart – but the more you jump in feet first with these strategies, the easier they become to execute.

If you’re an author already on the Goodreads train, I’d love to hear how you’ve incorporated it into your book marketing in ways you’ve really benefit from!

Source: amarketingexpert.com

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5 Ways your Online Review Screams You’re a Writer and not an Ordinary Reader

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From The Seekers at Seekerville, with guest Melissa Jagears.

 

I know I’m not the only one who has her eyes glaze over when reading influencers-who-also-happen-to-be-writers’ Amazon reviews. I’ll totally skip reviews that look like a writer (or a friend of the author) wrote them because that’s not what I’m looking for as a reader (or even as an author, frankly). So I’d like to share some things that make me bypass a writer’s review.

 

Fellow writers are necessary influencers, don’t get me wrong. But writers need to write their Amazon reviews so readers connect with them. When writing reviews, you need to remember what it was like when you used to be just a reader sharing your favorite book with another reader. Because when my eyes begin glazing over, or your review makes me think you’re the author’s friend, well . . . . that isn’t exactly conducive to persuading me to purchase the book. [A book review on a writer’s blog is different from a store product review which is what I’m addressing.]

 

The reason readers check out reviews before they purchase is to find the opinions of other readers. If I think a writer wrote it, I don’t trust them—even if you don’t know the author from Adam, I’m going to think you do. Because all authors know each other, right? Amazon sure believes we do, hence taking down reviews on other authors because we’re either sabotaging our competition or we’re BFFs working the system, of course! How I can spot a review written by a writer (Besides recognizing the name).

 

1) Writer-reviewers use story craft jargon.

 

Do you remember how lost you were when you joined your first group of writers and they casually chatted about GMCs, interior monologue, and backstory dumps? How many of you had to sheepishly ask, “What does Deep POV mean?”  NIX THE STORY CRAFT JARGON IN YOUR REVIEWS.

 

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