Friday, March 21, 2014

When was the last time you updated your book?

It’s a jungle out there. If you want to sell your books, you need to keep them fresh.

Add new information every six months, every year at the least. Write a bold headline, and place it at the top of your book description – new and revised on 09/09/09. This lets everyone know your book is current and up to date.

Let me give you an example. Just over two years ago Kindle gurus cracked the Amazon HTML code. Dozens of books were written proclaiming this one small trick could help you sell thousands of extra books. Six months ago Amazon started sending out notices they were going to enforce HTML standards, and listing that violated their policies would be taken down.

What that means is no more pictures in book descriptions. No more videos.

Ninety-five percent of those books haven’t been updated to reflect the new policies. Why? The authors don’t care enough about their books to keep them current.

Let me give you another example. These same eBook gurus suggested writing reviews in your genre was a great marketing tool to bring readers to your books. To make it work, you just had to change your profile name to “author a. author, author of my greatest book.” It was a great strategy, and it worked for over a year. Then one morning I woke up to discover Amazon changed my signature to “An Amazon Reader.” Again, very few authors have updated their books to mention this change.

Why is this so important?

Other authors are watching. You have to keep an eye out for interlopers in your niche. It’s like a jungle out there. These are the new guys. They smell the money you’re making. They can’t wait to grab a piece of your action. Who can blame them?

You don’t have to worry about most of them. Most of them are lazy. These are the guys who copy and paste a little from here, a little from there. It’s mainly bullshit, and no one’s going to read their books anyway. But there are a few really smart interlopers out there. They study what you’re doing. They focus in on a segment of your niche looking for a spot where they can grab a foothold.

You need to intervene early.

Smart authors are constantly studying their niche and their competition. Look at your niche the way one of these interlopers would. Ask yourself, what else is there? Can I get more specific? Rather than writing about selling on eBay, can I write about selling clothes on eBay? What other areas do my readers need to know more about – international shipping, lowering fees, bookkeeping, etc.

Be proactive. Go after those niches before the trolls push you out of your own market.

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