Sunday, January 26, 2014

How many times do you rewrite your book descriptions?

Normally when I put together a description for one of my books I go on a search and explore mission. I’ll grab a couple clips here, a couple of lines here, and then I will write a few sentences to tie them all together.

In the past, it’s been a pretty good strategy for me, and it’s sold a lot of books. When it came time to release my newest book, I Wish I Had Never Been Born: Rediscovering Abraham Lincoln, I did the same thing. 

But, after about twelve hours I began to have second thoughts. One of the major ones concerned my title. It’s an obscure quip from Abraham Lincoln, and one I was pretty sure readers would have a hard time understanding. After all, Lincoln is known as one of our greatest war Presidents. He was quick witted, and more often than not humorous, so many readers probably would find their selves asking what my title was all about.

With that thought in mind, I decided to scrap everything I had so far, and use my introduction to frame the background behind my title. I think by doing that it answered a lot of reader’s questions, and helped them decide to maybe read this book, if for no other reason than to see what else they could learn about this man named Abraham Lincoln.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Have you made the move to Nook?

Have you made the move to Nook?

I moved several of my books to Nook last week and was pleasantly surprised by the results. No. I’m not getting rich, but one or two sales are trickling in every day. One of my Bundle books that normally sells one copy per month on Amazon has sold five copies this week on Nook.

I’ve got five books listed on Smashwords now; three of them are in the premium catalog. No sales yet, but I’m hoping for good things once they get pushed out to Kobo, the iStore, and more.

Just curious more than anything else, how many of you have made a move off of Amazon? What were the results?

Nookpress makes it quick and easy to transition to Barnes and Noble. There were no files to convert, and no magic voodoo I had to perform to get my books set up. I copied my description, keywords, and everything from Amazon into Nook and it worked fine.

Smashwords was a whole other animal, but that’s another post. For now, I would like to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly about other author’s experiences with Barnes and Noble.

Did your Amazon sales go down after you made the move? Did you make enough sales on Barnes and Noble to cover the loans you forfeited using KDP Select?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Review: Indie Publishing Essentials by Camille Picott

I just finished reading Indie Publishing Essentials by Camille Picott.

It is an interesting short read that covers nine points she feels are essential to developing your career as an author. First, on her list is developing your author or brand statement. You can read more about that in my previous post, click here.

Put simply this requires boiling what you are all about down to one simple sentence. You need to give readers the essence of your brand in less than ten words.

Can you do it?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What's Your Brand Statement?

As authors, we’re always trying to promote ourselves and do what we can to put our works in front of a new group of readers.

The problem is a lot of authors take the shotgun approach. They blast their message out there to everyone hoping a few people will act on it. It’s possible one or two people will take a peek and maybe even drop $2.99 to buy your work, but odds are it’s going to miss its mark with most of the people you broadcast your message to.

The thing is you’re casting too wide of a net. When you target everyone, you’re likely to miss the folks who would be most interested in purchasing your book.

What you need to do is develop a brand statement. You should be able, to sum up what you’re all about in one sentence.

In my case, I write short easy to implement solutions designed to help my readers with e-commerce problems related to selling online – specifically on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, and Fiverr. That’s a good start at my brand statement. Overtime I've narrowed it down even further. I wanted to make it as easy as possible for readers to understand what I’m all about.

Is Steve Scott the Next eBook Guru?

For those of you not familiar with Steve Scott, he’s penned some of the best books out there on how to write, develop, and market short nonfiction works on Kindle.

Most of his books are no longer than 80 to 100 pages and tackle one specific issue facing Kindle authors. They give you a quick overview of the problem and move right into solutions you can add to your writer’s toolbox.

Here is a quick rundown of his titles.

There’s also one more he penned under his alter ego – S. J. Scott.

A blog post doesn’t give me a whole lot of space to delve into each book. Instead, I will tell you what I like about each of them. If you like what you see take a chance and drop $2.99 to see if it can help you or not.

Writing Style Reality Check

I’m doing it all wrong!

Every book I read about how to write faster and better says you need to do a quick brain dump. Don’t worry about how the words come out, they say. Just get into your groove and let it all come out.

I can’t do that.

When I see a typo, I’ve got to go back and correct it. Same thing happens when Word shows me those green squiggly lines. I’ve got to go back and correct those grammatical errors. Don’t know why. It’s just the way I’ve been programmed.

For me, it’s easier to do it right the first time. I take a lot of time rewriting as I go. I agonize over words. Which one sounds better? Should I say it this way, or would it sound better this way? My thought is if I leave it uncorrected I’m going to let it go, and it’s going to be published that way.

I don’t know about you, but I forget things.

If I don’t do something right away when I’m thinking about it, it’s gone. Sure I can make myself a bunch of notes. Maybe I will get around to using them, maybe I won’t.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Kindle, Print, or Audio, Which format is more important to your success?

It seems to me a lot of Kauthors are doing it all wrong. They have this tenacious focus on eBooks believing that print is dead.

The truth is anything but that. Yes, a lot of people have moved on to the new technology and wouldn’t dream of serving all of their new books up on anything but an e-reader. The thing is there are still a lot of people out there who like to read their books old style. They enjoy the feel of a book in their hands. They want to highlight their favorite passages; they want to make notes in the margins, and they just love to fold the corners to mark their favorite pages. Some people like it both ways. They like the feel of a good book in their hands for those lazy days around the house, but they load up their Kindles for when they’re on the go. Amazon recognized this with their Kindle Match-Book program. It lets readers pick up free or discounted eBooks when they purchase the print version.

What authors need to understand is readers appreciate a choice. How'd that old candy bar jingle put it, "Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't." Camille Picott in her recent book, Indie Publishing Essentials, touches on this same subject. She tries to make all of her books available in print, eBook, and audio format because she never knows how readers are going to want her book served up. She writes that many months her audio books outsell the Kindle and print editions.

How about you? If you’re books are only available on Kindle, how many dollars are you missing out on in lost royalties? How many readers are you losing out on because you’re not offering them a choice?

In my own case, the majority of my books are available in eBook and print.

KDP Free Days - Do They Really Matter Anymore?

KDP Free Days are the old stand by for launching your Kindle book, and for reinvigorating a book with sluggish sales.

There’s a lot of talk among authors that free has lost its allure, and books are no longer enjoying the sales bump they used to enjoy after a great free run. Part of that is true, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that running a free promo can’t help your book.

It just means you need to better understand what results you can expect to receive from your free run.

If you’re launching a new book free is still one of the best ways to get the word out there and to get people reading and talking about your book.

If you’ve already run through two or three KPD Free Promos free may no longer be the best option for you. One, because with so many new books being added to the Amazon catalog every day it’s getting harder and harder to get noticed; and two, with recent changes to how free books are counted towards sales numbers a free promo (even a wildly successful one) isn’t going to give your book the sales bump you were hoping for.

KDP Free Days or Kindle Count Down Deal - What's all the fuss about?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about how to best use the Kindle Countdown Deal.

Some authors don’t understand how to use it; some worry about it not being available in all areas; others look at it as a watered down work around for KDP Free Days.

First, we need to take a look at exactly what the Countdown Deal is. In Amazon’s own words it’s a “new KDP Select benefit that lets authors provide readers with limited time discount promotions on their books available on and Amazon.UK. It’s a great opportunity to earn more royalties and increase discoverability of your book. Customers will see the regular price and the promotional price on the book’s detail page, as well as a countdown clock showing how much time is left at the promotional price. You’ll also continue to earn your selected royalty rate on each sale during the promotion.”

A quick read through of Amazon’s description will answer many of the concerns authors have about using Kindle Countdown Deals.