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Archive for August, 2011

Resourceful authors do book signings at unusual – er, creative – venues

During a recent visit to Las Vegas to attend a conference that had nothing to do with book marketing, I happened upon one of the most creative book signing locations of all time. Carolyn Ahern, author of a children’s book series featuring Tino Turtle, was signing her book, Tino Turtle Travels to Paris, France at the Paris Hotel and Casino. The adorable plush turtles were the thing that originally caught my eye as my husband and I walked past Ahern’s display in one of the casino’s well-trafficked retail areas.

As Ahern was busy chatting with a customer and we were on a time budget, I did not get to ask where she is from. Thought I might glean the answer from her website, but this author’s site is devoid of ANY details resembling an author bio, so I can’t even hazard a guess as to how much money or effort she put into this adventure. Nevertheless, she got some great exposure. I’m here sharing her link with you, right?

Another author, Lennie Ross, is a Facebook friend who recently released a mystery titled Blow Me, which is set in a hair salon. Although she lives in the Los Angeles area, Lennie has scheduled a few signings in my hometown of Phoenix, at least one of which was at a HAIR SALON. She’s scheduling additional signings at southern California salons, as well, and is using Facebook to great advantage in promoting these events. Very nice!

Are you starting to see a theme? What makes your book special (aka, what’s your hook?) and where can you host book signings that are outside the normal bookstore venues?

My client, Amara Charles, is getting ready to release a new book this September on sacred sexuality that includes info ranging from learning how to read and understand your own and your partner’s sexual anatomy types to discovering how to have a full-body orgasm. Where do we want to hold our signings? You’ve got it – intimacy retailers like Fascinations and Castle Boutique! I’m even looking into out-0f-the-way places like the Erotic Heritage Museum in Las Vegas.

When it comes to Savvy Book Marketing, the sky is the limit. Get creative. Face the fear. Pick up the phone. And CALL! What’s the worst that could happen they say no? You’re no worse off hearing a no than you were before you tried. And … what if they say YES?!

Happy book signings!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM* status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

*Savvy Book Marketer


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What’s the HOOK that will lure that reporter, agent, or publisher to READ your book?

Click twice (slowly – not a double click) on this image to enlarge.
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“So what’s your book about?”

“Well, when I was a little girl, I used to love to collect seashells. In fact, until recently, I still had boxes and boxes of them all over my house. Every time I go to the beach, which is usually at least a couple times a year, I try to find a few new shells for my collection. Eventually, there got to be so many shells, I figured I either had to do something with them, or get rid of them. So I started making …”

“ZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…”

Don’t let this be you!

Whether it’s a media release or the intro page of your book proposal, your marketing materials need a hook. A hook is a highly compelling anecdote, fact, quote, idea, or statistic that will convince a reporter, producer, agent, and/or editor to keep reading … and phone you up for either an interview or a meeting.

The media is absolutely inundated with news releases – a single media outlet can receive thousands of media releases in a single day. Agents and publishers receive book proposals by the wheelbarrow. What does your first SENTENCE say to capture their attention and immediately cause them to think, “I’ve GOT to read this book?” Your hook is the info that QUICKLY convinces someone your book is a must-read.

NOTE: If you can’t find something jaw-droppingly compelling about your book,  it’s unlikely that anyone else will be able to find it either.

We’ll talk next time about about HOW to present a compelling description of your book – but in the meantime, I want you to dig around until you uncover the theme, aspect, storyline, statistic, or other compelling concept that will make any editor or producer sit up and take notice.

MARCIE

__________________

Please contact us if you’d like help putting together your media kit, media releases, or book proposal. Free 30-minute consultation when you mention this post ($99 value).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 25  Create a MiniBük: Fifth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 22 Put Your Book on a CD: Fourth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 18 Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

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Are you committed enough to your brand to TATTOO it onto your body?

I was at dinner with my sister and niece recently, and noticed a young woman at a nearby table with a tattoo of a snake winding around her shoulder. The lines were well defined, and the ink was obviously new. It was quite an elegant snake, mind you. But as I noticed it, I found myself wondering out loud, “How is she going to feel about that snake in 15 or 20 years?”

Tattooing has been practiced worldwide for centuries as a means of decorative body modification. According to Wikipedia, the earliest tattoos date to the Alps during the Neolithic era in the fourth-to-fifth millennium BC. Across the ages, people have gotten tattoos for many different reasons: rights of passage, marks of status, symbols of religious/spiritual devotion, decorations for bravery, as sexual lures and/or marks of fertility, declarations of love, punishments, talismans, and as the marks of outcasts, slaves, and convicts. One thing is for sure: a tattoo is a commitment.

Speaking of commitments, you are committed to marketing and selling your book, and you recognize that your book is a business. Now your business has a brand, most likely accompanied by a logo. So here’s the question. Are you as committed to your brand as The Girl With the Snake Tattoo?

If you’re still in the process of designing your logo and building your brand, you’ll want to consider a few things:

  • Check out the logos of other businesses in your industry.
  • Focus on your core message.
  • Make your logo clean and functional.
  • Take your business name into consideration.
  • Illustrate the key benefit you offer.
  • Trendy looks will eventually become dated.
  • Use color advantageously.
  • Pay a designer to create an original logo for you.

Sometimes, when you build a brand people REALLY love, you don’t have to be the one to get the tattoo. Your loyal fans will take care of that for you. Seriously a Wendy’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers tattoo! These are the kinds of fans you want!

Personally, I’ve been toying with the idea of a tattoo for probably as long as Snake Girl has been alive. I may do it one day, even. A small, tasteful Celtic knot on my back or shoulder. Interesting, isn’t it? I love my logo, but you won’t find me getting a tattoo of it anytime soon.

So what are your takeaways from this perhaps seemingly far-flung topic of tattoos?

  1. Branding requires the right image both literally and figuratively.
  2. This image must appeal to your target market.
  3. Your brand is permanent, so choose wisely. Companies do rebrand, but such an undertaking usually involves great time, energy, and expense and is only done for a really good reason.
  4. Raving fans the kind who will tattoo a company’s brand on their bodies are awesome. How can you get YOUR fans to spread the word about you?

You don’t have to tattoo your book cover on your body to successfully market it, but you do need to give some consideration to the overall branding of your book(s), website, blog, print collateral, and other marketing materials. Make sure they are consistent and speak directly to your readers and prospective audience.

Happy brand-building!

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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Create a MiniBük: Fifth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Well, we did it. We’ve been discussing 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. First, we learned how to create a zine. Next, we learned how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. Then we focused on marketing options available on Amazon. Next we went through the steps involved in putting your chapter(s) on a CD. Today is the fifth – and final – installment in this series, and we’ll be discussing the MiniBük as a way to give away sample chapters of your book.

This one is perhaps the most complicated of all the options and is the most like creating a “real” book, because you are creating a miniature version of a real book. The MiniBük is a small book or booklet, the size of a traditional index card. Because if its tiny capacity, the amount of text and number of pages you can include are limited.

You will need a word processing program whose files can be converted to PDF, cover art if you choose, and an Internet connection.

At this point, I have a mea culpa. I have never used the MiniBük program, but I have copies of a couple of them, given to me by someone who has created her own MiniBüks.

As you know if you’ve been reading this series, I include step-by-step instructions for each of the techniques I am recommending. Right now, however, I am quite cranky. I discovered the problem as I was putting this blog post together: the MiniBük website is deficient, in that it completely ignores the final and seemingly most important step in the process: submitting your files. So … I wrote the MiniBük people a letter expressing my irritation [indignation?]. I was hoping to hear back from them so I could provide a helpful answer, but there has been no response as of yet.

I was so cranky about this oversight by the MiniBük people that I was tempted to cancel this post altogether. BUT, that seemed petulant and unwise, as I do believe the MiniBük is quite a valuable tool for promoting sample chapters of your book. So, I leave it to you to decide. If you would still like to pursue the creation of a MiniBük, you can get everything ELSE you need from their site: www.MiniBük.com. The highlights:

  • 48 pages, max, for a saddle-stitched book
  • 64 pages, minimum, for a perfectbound book
  • Use a 20-pt font
  • Use an 8.5 x 11 layout with 1.5-inch margins on the sides and 1-inch margins at the top and bottom
  • Create a PDF of your interior pages
  • Create a PDF of your cover

And that’s all I know.

Now, there is a fee for creating these books. I want to clarify that this is a way for you to give away chapters at no cost to your readers but you will have to pay anywhere from 53 cents each to $2.25 each for the MiniBüks.

So there you have it. Five ways to give your readers and prospective readers a look at your writing before they buy your book(s). And there are dozens of other ways, too. Sites like Scribd, Helium, and Figment allow you to post your writing. StumbleUpon and other social bookmarking sites enable you to recommend your blog or site with excerpts. The ideas are nearly endless. Put on your SBM* thinking cap and discover some new ones of your own!

If you come up with any great new ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments section! And, if you’ve got sample chapter(s) you’d like me to share, please send me a link and I’ll create a category called MARCIE’S READERS WRITE.

MARCIE

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

Please contact us if you need help with any of the 5 methods of giving away your writing to  your readers and prospective readers. Free 30-minute consultation when you mention this post ($99 value).

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Monday, August 22 Put Your Book on a CD: Fourth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 18 Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 15 How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

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Look BEYOND your network to build your author platform

I was interviewed today by a self-publishing consultant for a new program she is putting together to guide first-time authors through the publishing and marketing processes. As is common in these interview scenarios, the interviewer sent me her questions ahead of time. The following is one of the best questions I’ve been asked in a long time.

What if an author’s own personal network
is not interested in their particular book?

Although the natural place for an author to begin growing their platform is with their current network, the fact is that the people in your network may NOT be interested in this particular book.

What then?

A few things…

(1)  Do your research. Go back to your reasons for writing the  book in the first place. Determine WHO your audience is and WHY they are interested in it.

(2)  Next, answer some questions about this target audience:

  • What are their demographics (age, education, marital/parenting status)?
  • What are their psychographics (personality traits, values, attitudes)?
  • What kinds of books, magazines, and Web sites do they already read?
  • Where, how, and with whom do they spend their time?
  • To which organizations and associations do they belong?
  • How can you best gain access to them, both virtually and in real life?

The answers to these questions will be your jumping off points for building your platform.

(3)  Don’t dismiss that uninterested network so quickly. Now that you’ve got some concrete data about the audience with whom you want to connect, comb through your personal network to determine who among them is ALREADY CONNECTED to any of these people and ask them to make the appropriate introductions for you.

(4)  Call on your personal network to become your ambassadors. Say you’ve morphed from your traditional topic of sales training into merchandising, and your personal network isn’t really interested in a  book on this subject. They are, however, hard-earned and loyal fans. So leverage your credentials and goodwill with them by calling on your network to share your new book topic with their own networks. The worst they can do is say no in which case you’re really no further behind than you were before asking. Best case scenario, someone from your existing network opens a door for you to the perfect liaison to help you grow your platform!

If this is your first book and you don’t already have a sizable platform, growing it will take time. But with diligence, consistency, and quality content and communication, you can do it. It’s never too early to start!

Happy platform-building…

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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CreateSpace pluses seem to outweigh the minuses

I first heard about CreateSpace about 3 years ago from a very savvy Web marketer friend. Acquired by Amazon.com in 2005, the company (formerly CustomFlix) was at the time an  on-demand DVD distributor. Since then, CreateSpace has expanded to become highly competitive in the production of on-demand books, CDs, and video.

Having had two clients who published back-to-back books, one through Lightning Source and the other through CreateSpace, I was sorely disappointed with the quality of the Lightning Source book and pleasantly surprised that CreateSpace exceeded all my expectations. I have subsequently listed my own title through them, and things seem to be going quite well.

A couple weeks ago, Marcie began a series called “5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing” one of those ways was taking advantage of the general tools offered by Amazon. As an Amazon company, it’s no surprise that CreateSpace also offers lots of useful tools for its authors. After its core POD service and access to distribution channels, perhaps its greatest asset is the CreateSpace Community, which offers lots of help for authors from both staff and other authors. The sheer numbers participating on the discussion streams indicates a lot of activity taking place here.

On the other hand, if a CreateSpace rep tries to sell you on their marketing tools, RUN!!! The CreateSpace marketing options are largely a scam, nothing more than a money-making machine for the company that will cost you as much as 20 TIMES MORE than you could be paying for the exact same products/services elsewhere.

Click twice (slowly – not a double click) on this image to enlarge.

So, on the whole, CreateSpace’s author services get a thumbs-up, while their marketing tools get a big raspberry and a giant thumbs-down.

While I never recommend that you shop solely on price, when it comes to spending money to get your book written, published, printed, and into the marketplace, be a truly Savvy Book Marketer and remember to do your research! These are some of the players you may need on your team, so do a good scouting job!

  • Editor
  • Book designer
  • Typesetter
  • Proofreader
  • Printer
  • Distributor
  • Social media strategist
  • Book trailer expert
  • Web designer
  • Print collateral (bookmarks, postcards, etc.)

Get references, compare notes, and make sure you are getting the best value for your money.

Happy marketing…

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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Put Your Book on a CD: Fourth of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been discussing 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. First, we learned how to create a zine. Next, we learned how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. Then we focused on marketing options available on Amazon. Today we’re going explore the possibility of putting your chapter(s) on a CD.

As mentioned above, we already talked about how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. This process of putting your chapter(s) on a CD will call on the PDF aspect of the eBook formatting.

The necessary supplies are a little more complicated, but easy enough to come by:

  • CD face labels
  • Blank CD
  • 8-1/2 by 11  OR 8-1/2 by 14 paper
  • CD or DVD case
  • CD burner on your computer
  • Scissors or paper cutter

Now, I won’t lie to you. This one is easy if you’ve got some basic design skills; if not, you might want to enlist some help.

Step 1

Start by translating some aspect of your cover to a CD face label. It can be as simple as using a postage-stamp image of the cover with the title and adding the word “eBook,” but you’ve got to make sure all of your graphics and text will fit on the printable portion of the label.

The easiest thing is to use a design program like Photoshop or CorelDraw, but you can also do this in a Microsoft program like Word or Publisher.

CD labels come two to a page. Determine whether the brand of labels you purchases lines up centered or off centered. The easiest thing for printing the off-centered labels is to print one, then flip the sheet over and put it back in your printer to do the second one.

The size of a CD label is:

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Step 2

The next step is deciding whether you will use a CD jewel case or a DVD case. Although jewel cases are less expensive and easier to carry in your purse or backpack, a DVD case is a little more formal and may express a higher degree of professionalism.

If you use a CD jewel case with a solid back, you will only need to worry about transferring the front cover of your book. However, you can include a tray liner that gives you more room for branding and descriptive text.

You can print a jewel case cover and inlay card on 8-1/2 by 11  paper.

The dimensions for a jewel case are:

Bleed means that the image prints off the side of the page. Bleed dimensions allow a little extra for cutting.

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If you use a DVD cover, you will need to transfer/create a front, back, and spine.

You will need to use 8-1/2 by 14 paper to print a DVD cover.

The dimensions for a DVD cover are:

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Step 3

Once you’ve printed your cover, cut it to size and insert it into your jewel case or DVD case.

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Step 4

In order to save your PDF file(s) to a CD, you will need a CD burner. Most newer computers come with this software already installed. Roxio is a burner that is commonly included on a fully loaded computer.

If your computer does not have CD-burning capabilities, you will either need to purchase the software or find a free version online. There are some decent ones available, but it may take a little digging through the Google to find them.

Save your PDF file(s) to the CD, and affix the label to it. Put the CD/DVD in the case and you’re good to go.

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While the process is easy enough, it can be time-consuming, so I recommend you make a decent number of CDs at a time. By the way, this will also work as a way to sell/distribute your entire book. If you get to the point where you find yourself making a LOT of them, you might consider outsourcing this project to a company that will burn the CDs and make the covers for you. One benefit of  doing it that way is the option to have the CD label silk-screened onto the CD, which increases professionalism another degree.

One of the nicest things you can do with an eBook on CD is autograph it. Although there are interesting new technologies emerging to allow for digital autographs, with a physical product in hand, you can sign your John Hancock the old-fashioned way, with a Sharpie or a plain old ballpoint pen.

Make sure to check back on Thursday when we’ll be discussing Minibüks as a way to give away free samples of your work. 

MARCIE

__________________

Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 18 Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 15 How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

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Today’s  marketing is ANYTHING but a linear process

Not all that long ago, it was virtually a given when studying marketing to learn about the sales funnel the top-down model of building a customer base.

Social media has largely changed that. A fantastic article from Marketing Profs details this shift and the emerging winding road that is now the “client cycle.” Whereas metrics knowing WHERE your clients and customers are coming from are still important, the methods for tracking them has changed in response to the new marketing. According to Marketing Profs:

Whether they’re interested in a new pair of shoes or a new virtual private network, future customers can first engage with a potential purchase in many ways. That engagement could be via a billboard with a URL that they type into their smartphone’s mobile browser, or a click on a Facebook wall post from a friend’s feed, or a search on Google.

* * *

The best marketers can hope to do in such an environment is to manage the process so that even though all roads may not lead to Rome, eventually all roads lead to, and through, digital “toll booths” of content and information exchange.
What this means is there’s no right way or wrong way to begin a book marketing campaign, and there is no correct point of entry. That being said, you have to start somewhere. Do your research to determine where YOUR readers are most likely to come from. I still believe a blog is one of the fastest ways with the best return when it comes to staking a claim for your market, but you must determine the right way for you.
f
Once you understand that marketing is not a linear process, you can embrace the holistic approach necessary to create your various on- and offline “toll booths.”
g
The takeaways from this message are important:
  • We are inundated with thousands of marketing messages every day.
  • People are taking diverse paths to find the market for the goods [books] they consume.
  • You are missing the boat if you are not using a diverse strategy to reach them.
  • Your diverse strategy must include BOTH on- and offline components.
  • A deep understanding of relationship marketing is utterly essential.
  • Relationship marketing means the focus is on the prospective buyer, not the campaign.
  • You are not your buyer, even though you wrote the book they will wind up buying.
  • We need new tools to measure the new marketing.

As Marcie said early on, the most important thing is that you get started!

Happy marketing…

Laura

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

Read Full Post »

Amazon’s Author Central: Third of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been focusing on 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. First, we learned how to create a zine. Next, we learned how to format your sample chapter(s) as an eBook. Today we’re going to discuss the marketing options available for authors on Amazon.

Love them or hate them, Amazon sells a LOT of books. And while it’s not a perfect system, they do a decent job with free promotional tools for authors. Today we’re going to examine 2 aspects of Amazon’s marketing tools for authors: (1) the Look Inside program, and (2) Amazon’s Author Central.

An astonishing number of authors who sell their books through Amazon are not taking advantage of these tools. Case in point: Even authors of marketing books are not utilizing this feature, as illustrated below. Three of the top five authors in the general topic of marketing do not have the Look Inside feature attached to their books.

One of the laments of the  move toward digital bookselling is the fact that you can’t wander through the store or pick up the book and page through it. I agree! Amazon offers the next best thing with its Look Inside program. Personally, I cannot imagine purchasing a book I have not examined ahead of time, if only to see the Table of Contents, front and back covers, and a sample chapter. It astonishes me that any author would neglect this important piece of marketing.

In order to use the Look Inside feature, an author must first be signed up with Amazon’s Author Central program. It’s pretty simple. Just click the JOIN NOW button and follow the prompts.

First, enter the name under which your book(s) is published.

Next, claim your title(s).

Then you will be directed to a page that allows you to:

  • Update your profile and bibliography
    • Add a photo and biography to an Author Central Profile
    • View and edit our list of your books
  • Add a blog
    • Add a blog you already write using an RSS feed
  • Learn more
    • Enroll your books in Kindle
    • Join Search Inside the Book
    • Become an Amazon Associate

It’s through the link on this page that you sign up for the Look/Search Inside program.

According to Amazon, joining the Look Inside program will do 3 things for you, as an author: 

When shoppers search for books on Amazon.com, Amazon uses the actual words from the text of participating books not just the author, title, and keywords supplied by the publisher to return the best possible results for each search. For matches that come from text inside the book, Amazon also displays a short excerpt and links to the page(s) where the query matched.

Titles you submit to Search Inside are automatically eligible for personalization and merchandising features throughout Amazon. For example, if a customer views a book by another author that uses one of your key terms and later returns to Amazon, he may see a recommendation for your book.

From any book detail page, customers have the opportunity to sample the book using our Look Inside reader. This includes being able to preview sample pages, view a random page or search for a specific reference or character.

LOOK INSIDE REQUIREMENTS

  • Do not include dashes in your filename.
  • PDF is text-based (as opposed to image-based)
  • The PDF is free of security (changes, selection, document printing are allowed).
  • All fonts are embedded especially if custom fonts are used.
  • A front cover is provided, either as a bookmark in the PDF or as a separate file (PDF or JPG)
  • The order of pages in the PDF corresponds to the physical book. Each page in the PDF file must correspond to one page in the physical printed book.

A single PDF which includes all required components in a single bookmarked PDF. This will include:

  • The front cover
  • All printed pages
  • In addition to the front cover, Amazon prefers to have a back cover as well. They also would prefer to have the front flap, back flap, and spine, if possible.

Much like Smashwords, the author can determine how much of the book’s interior will be previewed, the least being 10 percent, and increasing in 10 percent increments.

AUTHOR CENTRAL

In addition to the Look Inside feature, Amazon also makes a detailed author’s page available to each author. Again, I cannot imagine trying to sell books on Amazon without taking the time to complete this step. It costs you NOTHING but time and a little imagination!

For your effort, you get to include 8 pieces of information:

  1. Author bio
  2. A list of your books
  3. Upcoming events and book signings
  4. Customer discussions – DO THIS!
  5. A link to your blog
  6. Photos from your book and/or topic
  7. Videos, including book trailers and interviews
  8. Your Twitter feed

With all of those benefits available to you that enable you not only to give away a sample of your work, but also to interact with your readers on a one-on-one basis, you can’t afford to skip these marketing steps!

Make sure to check back on Monday when we’ll be talking about how to put your sample chapters on a DVD so that you can give them away for free. 

MARCIE

__________________

*Savvy Book Marketer

__________________

Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

__________________

We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

__________________

If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

__________________

PREVIOUS POSTS

How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 15 How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 8 – 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing

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You an EXPERT? Leave the public domain works alone and write your own stuff.

OK this is just my opinion (as is most of what you’ll read on this blog), but I think co-opting public domain* materials to create your own books or info products is a cop-out.  It’s not illegal, but it is a lazy shortcut that shortchanges the reader, the person whom you, as a writer, want to be keeping at the forefront of your focus.

“Wow – those seem like fightin’ words, Laura!”

I suppose they do, because I am adamant about this. And here’s why:

I believe that whether we acknowledge it or not, we each have an area of expertise. It doesn’t have to be business related, but there’s probably something in your life that you do better than most people, even if it’s just taking the time to chat with Grandma and Great-Aunt Edna when they come to visit. If you’re writing a book you plan to sell, owning that expertise is crucial.

The question to ponder is: How did you develop your expertise? Perhaps you studied, read, researched, interviewed, and/or put in lots of hands-on time and effort developing this specialized knowledge. The fact is, now you have that knowledge, and that’s what people are paying you for.

By the time you get to the point where you are willing to commit to writing a book, I honestly feel that you should have enough experience, opinions, and knowledge to craft your OWN book. That’s not to say that you can’t and won’t use other experts’ knowledge as source material for your work, but in writing your book, you are publishing your thoughts, your opinions, your expert point of view.

On the other hand, reading a public domain book, rearranging a few words, and putting it forth as your own do not make you an expert. If you’re honest, you’ll admit that  this amounts to nothing more than a cheesy get-rich-quick scheme, and we all know where most of those wind up, don’t we? If making money is your only reason for writing a book, you might want to rethink that.

I encourage you: If you want to write a book, write a book. But put in the work, time, energy, effort, and money to become a REAL expert. Your readers will thank you, and it will pay off in your business.

Laura

* Here’s a great explanation of public domain and the accompanying questions of copyright.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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The Art of Captivation: What makes us LOVE that book, movie, song…?

You probably have one of your own. That CD or MP3 you’ve listened to 1,000 times. For me, it’s the first 3 songs from U2’s Joshua Tree (Side A for you old-school vinyl enthusiasts). I’m not sure what it is about The Edge’s primal guitar beat that is so captivating, but it is as intoxicating to me as any drink. I hear the intro to “The Streets Have No Name” and I want to climb inside the music. Add an open car window on the freeway at midnight, and I’m in heaven.

Right now, you might be relating, or thinking I have terrible taste in that overblown Irish quartet. The point isn’t that you agree with my taste, but that you can relate to the concept of music you absolutely love.

 

These passionate responses are not exclusive to music. What about that movie you’ve watched dozens of times? The painting that mesmerizes you? The book that’s falling apart, you’ve read it so many times?

What makes them so special? Although there are general success indicators, the answer to that question is personal to each of us.

For example, the music industry has distilled the prediction of hit records (primarily from new artists) down to a science. Ever wondered why so many hits have such a similar sound? It might be related to the fact that music researchers in labs hook up test subjects to electrodes and measure their responses to numbers of beats, rhythms, and tones. The studios then generally take risks only on those artists whose music meets the standards predicted by the research.

Similarly, a guy decided to research what makes an Academy Award-winning movie. He got copies of 25 years’ worth of Oscar winners, watched them, and dissected and recorded the similarities between them. Then, he turned his research into a screenwriting class for which he charges thousands of dollars. Not surprisingly, many of his students sell their scripts and see them made into films.

Even with these behind-the-scenes “manipulations,” not every song the studios release becomes a hit, nor does every screenplay from this man’s class become a movie. They are indicators, though.

One thing I’ve observed about most popular art forms is that they’re usually of decent quality. Of course, every now and then a lousy book or movie finds a cult following, but more often than not, the things we like as a culture are pretty good. However, even the most popular books, movies, and music will never appeal to everyone.

As a personal example, it’s just in the last 15 years that I’ve begun to like the Beatles. And to this day, I’m still not a fan of one of the most popular bands of all time, The Rolling Stones. Both inarguably quality artists, but one appeals to me much more than the other, and even that one took some time to grow on me.

What does all of this have to do with you and marketing your book? A few quick reminders:

  • If you want to sell books, make the best book you can.
  • There are success formulas; one of them may work for you.
  • When it comes right down to it, taste is individual. Some readers will resonate with you; those are the ones you want to find and cultivate.
  • Even if you hit a home run with your book, there will be some people who don’t like it.

Study the movies, music, and books you love; pay attention to what about them captivates you. Are there hints you can glean about developing and capturing a similar passion in your readers?

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Two things you can do next: (1) Visit the Write | Market | Design Facebook page and “LIKE” it if you like it. (2) Visit Laura’s other blog.

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How to Make an eBook: Second of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

We’ve been talking about 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing to readers and prospective readers. Last time, we learned how to create a zine. Today we’re going to focus on the easiest, most common ways to make a chapter or selection from your book into an eBook that you can give away for free.

If you’ve already converted your book or published an eBook, you can probably skip this post, except to say that you might want consider cropping it to offer just one or two chapters as a free giveaway through your blog, website, or social media outlets.

All of these processes are done electronically, so the only equipment you’ll need is a computer and Internet access.

We’re going to discuss 4 of the most common methods of eBook conversion:

  1. PDF
  2. Mobipocket
  3. Smashwords
  4. Text files

The thing to keep in mind is that an eBook CAN be an exact electronic duplicate of a printed book, but it doesn’t have to be, and frequently is not. The popularity of eBooks is continuing to skyrocket, and with it a multitude of eReaders is becoming available. However, not all of them are equipped to handle graphics or fancy pagination, so a decent rule of thumb, at least for the time being, is that simpler is better when converting your writing into eBooks.

Before you begin any of these processes, make sure you:

  • Abbreviate your file to include only the chapter(s) you want to give away for free.
  • Double check that you have not inadvertently cut off any sections while you were creating your excerpt.
  • Give one last run-through for grammar and spelling errors you may previously have missed, especially if this is the first time you will be publishing your work.
  • Unless you will be using the PDF method to convert your chapter(s), make sure you’ve got it stripped down to a simplified file with few images and no fancy pagination.

PDFs

PDFs are the best way to ensure consistency between the printed
book and the ebook conversion
, but they’re limited to use on a computer,
tablet, or smartphone that can read them –
and they won’t translate
for many eReaders.

Depending on how your computer is configured, once you’ve got your file
saved the way you want for the conversion, you may be able to hit “Print”
and select “Adobe PDF” as your “printer” option.

A second possibility if you’re saving from a MS Word 2007 document is to choose
the “Save As” command and then select the PDF option.

If you do not appear to have a PDF conversion mechanism of any sort already
installed, you can download a free piece of conversion software called CutePDF
that works quite well.

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MOBIPOCKET

MobiPocket is the ebook technology employed by Amazon’s Kindle eReader.
Convert your MS Word files to .mobi files using the free Mobipocket eBook Creator. Download the software and follow the instructions and prompts.

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SMASHWORDS

Smashwords is a free online service you can use to convert your books
(or chapters) to eBooks. It’s quite a nice program because it will allow you
to upload to ALL of the major eReaders (including Kindle), but it requires
a VERY stripped down version of your text with next to no formatting.

The Smashwords.com site also gives you four pricing options:

  • FREE
  • Let the reader set the price
  • You set a fixed price for the book
  • You can specify that a portion of a book you have for sale is available
    for free
    .

Visit the site and follow the prompts to upload your book.

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TEXT FILES

The easiest way to convert a file that almost
anyone can read on almost any platform is simply
by saving it as a .TXT file.

1. In any version of MS Word, choose the
“Save As” command and select “Other Formats.”
2. Find the drop-down menu.
3. Choose RTF or Rich Text File, and hit
“Save.”

 

That’s it for our four simple ways to convert your sample chapter to an eBook. Once you’ve converted it, the next thing is to TELL PEOPLE it’s available. Announce it on Facebook. Send a couple Tweets. And, of course, let your mailing list know. You can even ask other authors, editors, marketers, literary types, and anyone who loves and supports you to help you get the word out.

Make it a personal mission to have 500 people read your free chapter(s) within a certain period of time. This means, of course, you’ll have to figure out how to know they’ve read it. One way might be to motivate your pre-readers to comment about your chapter on your blog by announcing that you’ll enter all commenters into a drawing for a copy of the finished book. This will do two things for you:

(1) Give you feedback on the book.

(2) Give you an idea of how many people the chapters are reaching.

Remember, these are just a few ideas. Put on that SBM* Thinking Cap and see what other wonderful ways you can dream up to get the word out about your free chapter(s). If anything awesome comes of this experience for you, please come back and share it in our comments section!

Make sure to check back on Thursday when we’ll be discussing Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature as a way to give away free samples of your work. 

MARCIE

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*Savvy Book Marketer

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Visit Write | Market | Design to download your Marketing Skills Evaluation. This will help you determine how close you are to SBM status, and where you may need a little extra boost.

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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If you’d like us to add a link to your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog, please send us a note. If we think it’s a good fit, we’ll be happy to add you. Of course, we’d appreciate the reciprocity of the same!

Additionally, Marcie would be happy to make a guest appearance on your writing/self-publishing/book marketing blog. Just let us know the theme or your idea (preferably including a 6-panel concept), and we’ll see what we can draft for you.

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PREVIOUS POSTS

Thursday, August 11 How to Make a Zine: First of 5 easy ways to give away samples of your writing

Monday, August 8 – 5 easy ways to give away FREE SAMPLES of your writing

Thursday, August 4 A Savvy Book Marketer embraces the idea of giving freely

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