Monday, November 23, 2015

Review: Book Reviews That Sell by Dr. Gary Webb

Book Reviews That Sell: Discover the Secrets of Getting a Boatload of Great ReviewsBook Reviews That Sell: Discover the Secrets of Getting a Boatload of Great Reviews by Gary Webb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Book Reviews That Sell offers an easy to implement strategy for increasing the number of reviews for your books.

The author gives the usual cautions: Don't buy book reviews on Fiverr. Don't exchange reviews with members of author groups or circles, and don't move too fast.

What the author does a good job of doing is explaining what you should look for in reviewers. One thing he cautions is you don't want reviews from just anyone. You want reviews from people who will like your book, have read and reviewed books similar to it, and who understand, an effective review is generally longer than one or two sentences. It should say why you liked or didn't like the book. It should explain what readers can expect to gain from reading your book. At the very least, it should offer several thoughtful comments on your content.

The other section I liked was on how to collect endorsements for your book. You know, the front matter you see in many books where authors and experts rave about why you should by this book, or how reading it is going to change your life. I think, this, if anything else, will be my major takeaway from this book. I definitely understand how endorsements could help to grow my sales, especially if they are written by the right people.

Overall, a good book, that will help you score more reviews, and hopefully grow your sales.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Is Free Still Viable a Marketing Tool on Amazon?

I just finished my most successful free run on Kindle. History Bytes, 37 People, Places, and Events That Shaped American History ranked number three in the Kindle Free Store after giving away 24,000 copies in a forty-eight hour period.

Not too shabby.

Especially for a book that ranked 215,000 in the Kindle Paid Store just hours before it started, it's free run. Two weeks before that I ran another high performing free run with my book, Life Without the BS: Rants, Raves, and Other Crazy Stuff. At the end of its five-day free run, it rocketed up to number twenty-three in the Kindle Free Store. Since then, it ranked number one in one of the political humor categories for nearly two weeks. Just recently, it was knocked down a peg to number two. Still not bad for a book, that ranked around 600,000 just before I started promoting it.

It's still too soon to tell what will happen with History Bytes. I assume it will rocket up the charts, and become a top seller in several of the history categories.

But, there is the question of ROI (return on investment).

It cost a small fortune to promote each book and push it up the charts. After two weeks, Life Without the BS has sold seventy copies (including 26 sales, and 47 Kindle Unlimited reads). In dollars and cents, that is roughly $80.00 in royalties versus the $189.00 spent to promote the book.

Is that a good investment?

I'm not sure. The odds are I will come close to breaking even by the end of the month so moneywise, it's a bust. Reader-wise - my book was made available to nearly 9,000 new readers. If only ten percent of them read it, that's 900 new people who've read one of my books. If just ten percent of them purchase my new book, that's 90 new readers waiting to plunk down $2.99 for the new "Nick book."

I can live with that.

I spent just over $400.00 to promote History Bytes. If I don't sell a single copy, that's still 24,000 more books out there. If we assume ten percent of the people who took time out to download it actually read it, that's 2400 new readers. Based on the same math I used with Life Without the BS, that's 240 people who will be ready, willing, and able to purchase my new book.

I ran a similar promotion with History Bytes three months ago when I first released it. That promotion cost me $200.00, and I ended up giving away nearly 13,000 books in a five-day period. Over the next five months, I sold nearly 250 copies at $2.99 each and gathered another 400 plus Kindle Unlimited reads.

I'm hoping for better results this time but will take whatever I can get.


I think the big takeaway is FREE is still a great option for getting the word out, and giving your book a boost, but ... And, this is a big but. It's only going to work if you promote the hell out of your free days and make the most of it. If you want to sell more books, you've got to rank in the top one hundred - better yet in the top twenty of all books in the Kindle Free Store to really make an impact on your sales once your book returns to paid.

That's my take on it.

What's yours?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Babelcube Introduces Paperback Books to Their Translation Service.

Babelcube has added an exciting new feature for 2015 - Print books for your foreign translations.

The really nice thing is, they've made it simple to use. You don't need to know anything about publishing, formatting, or book layout to publish your paperback, just follow Babelcube's four easy steps.

To get started go to your Translations page. It's changed now to include a box labeled Paperbacks. Click on Paperbacks, and you will be taken to the first step of creating your new book.

When you click on Paperbacks, the following box appears. It's titled Book File. Basically, you have the option of using the interior file that Babelcube generated for your book, or uploading one of your own.

You can view the file generated by Babelcube by clicking the blue link labeled here. When you do this, it downloads a PDF file of your book's content. The nice thing is, Babelcube has done all of the work for you. They've formatted the text, added page numbers, and headers with your name and the title. I did a quick look through all of my books, and the page breaks are fine. 

The only fault I can find is they chose to go with a 5 x 8 sizing for the books, rather that the standard 6 x 9 size for a trade paperback. It's not a big deal, and if most of the books they publish are fiction, it makes sense, because most novels are 5 x 8.

At the bottom of this page, you need to choose whether you are going to use the book file supplied by Babelcube, or if you prefer to upload your own.

The next section is labeled Book Properties. It lets you choose the page and cover styles for your book, Page style is a personal preference, white or cream. I prefer cream because it looks more like a regular book you can pick up at the book store. If you want a more professional look, or have numerous illustrations, white pages may be a better choice.

The next choice is whether you would like a matte or glossy cover. What that means is a dull finish (matte) or a shiny finish (glossy).My personal preference is matte, especially if the book uses dark colors like black, navy blue, or green.

The other key take away from this page is the book size - 5 x 8 inches.

Step 3 is for you to upload your Book Cover.

If you've never formatted a paperback book before, this it the trickiest step. The cover needs to be sized based on the number of pages and the page style. When it is done properly, the cover wraps around the pages for a perfect fit. If you want the book title and your name on the spine, your book needs to be roughly 123 pages. If it is less than that the spine should be left blank.

I would recommend having your cover designer format the cover. That way you're guaranteed a perfect fit, and a great looking layout.

I have my covers made by a designer on Fiverr.

It's simple, inexpensive, and it's sized perfectly every time. All I have to do is send them the front cover design (normally the same one I use for my book on Babelcube), a copy of the blurb (back cover text), and a few notes about the size and formatting. I give them the book size (5 x 8), the number of pages, and the page style (white or cream). The designer takes it from there and turns it into a publishable cover.

For do-it-yourselfer's, Babelcube has a template you can download to help size and design your own cover.

The final step is to set your price, or Book Price as it is labeled by Babelcube.

This step shows you the cost of printing your book, the minimum price you are required to set for your book, and then it has a box for your to enter your price. The really cool thing is - when you enter the price, your expected royalty is shown below the price box. This gives you a chance to see how much you will make at different prices.

As soon as you're happy with your price and expected royalties, click Final Step: Publish Paperback, and the presses will start whirling.

Turning your book into a paperback really is that easy. Visit Babelcube today, and give it a shot.

Cover for my book Freaking Idiots Guide to Selling on eBay in it's Spanish edition

Cover for my book Sell it Online in it's Italian edition