7 Ways To Market Your Ebook

The most important thing to remember when marketing your eBook is that most readers have to see your book several times before they buy.  (Some sources say between 7 – 12 times).  What does this mean for the author trying to market their work?

First, be patient.  Sales will come in time.  You have to build an audience.

Second, try different approaches to marketing your book.  What worked today may or may not work tomorrow, so vary your marketing efforts.

Here are 7 practical ways you can market your book:

1. Guest blog posts.  Look for other authors with blogs and offer to write a guest blog post.  Be sure to include a link to your books at the end of every post you write.

2. Book Bloggers & Reviewers.  This is a great way to gain free exposure for you and your books.  By offering a complimentary book for review, it is a low cost solution to getting your name out there.  (See Finding & Working With Book Reviewers).

3. Amazon Author Central, Goodreads, Shelfari.  These are sites where you can enter your author profile, list your books, add links to your website, etc. all for free.  The more places you are listed, the easier it will be for readers to find you and it improves your search engine optimization.  (See Links Every Self Pub Author Should Know).

4. Website.  As an author, you must to have a website these days.  There are some free and low cost options that are easy to use, like Word Press, Blogger, Yola, and more.  The key things to include on your website:

  • Author contact info – contact form, email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. (See Avoid Black Holes in Your Internet Presence).
  • Author bio (what do you write, why do you write it, what is something fun about you)
  • Books with summary, excerpts, and links to buy for each retailer
  • Other fun items of interest to your readers, like a photo album for your characters, etc.  Think outside of the box.

5. Social Media.  Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and many other sites are all free.  Learn these tools and how to market using them.  For example, on Twitter, repetition is key.  There’s so much information streaming out on Twitter,  that you have to push out a lot of information to be seen.  Facebook is different.  That’s a great way to engage your fans.  Ask questions about your characters.  Give them insider tidbits.  Share links to books you think they’d like.

6. Paid advertising on eBook related sites.  Typically, I budget 5 – 10% of my sales from the previous month for paid advertising.  There are lots of different forms of paid advertising.  ChristianEbooksToday.com is dedicated to helping readers find Christian fiction and nonfiction in a safe environment.  They have many advertising packages available for small and large budgets.  Some other sites include DigitalBookToday.com, IndieAuthorNews.com, WorldLiteraryCafe.com, KindleNationDaily.com, and more.

7. Paid advertising on other sites.  Some ads require you get a graphic designer to create the ad, but if you pick a few of the standard sizes, it can be cost effective.  Then look for blogs and sites that reach your target audience.  I like to advertise on mommy blogs, since that’s a large part of my target audience.  (See Defining A Target Audience).

 

No matter what types of advertising you try, remember that it takes time to build recognition.  Just because you’re not getting many sales or engagement with fans doesn’t mean the advertising isn’t effective.  It takes time and persistence and repetition.

 

Karen BaneyBest-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website:  karenbaney.com.  Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at:  www.myauthorservices.com.

Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses.  They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.

Her latest book, 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success, is now available on Amazon.

Connect with Karen on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Paperback Formatting Guidelines for Self Publishers

Ever wonder how to make your self published paperback version look professional?  Here are some of the things most self publishers overlook.

Front Matter

What is front matter?  Simply put, it’s all of the stuff at the beginning of the book before you get to the first chapter.  It can include:

  • List of other books written by the author
  • Title page
  • Copyright page
  • Work of fiction disclaimer or other disclaimers
  • Dedication
  • Foreword / Introduction

Here are some guidelines for making the front matter look more professional in your paperback edition:

1. Don’t put anything on the first page or save it for customer reviews.  Most mass produced paperbacks leave this page blank or they have little one sentence snippets from famous people, other authors, etc. about the book.

2.  Always start the title page on the right hand side (odd numbered page).

3.  Don’t include page numbers on front matter.  Let me say this again.  Do not include page numbers on the front matter (except in the case of a Foreword / introduction.  Then use small roman numerals.)

4.  Copyright and work of fiction disclaimers typically appear on the reverse of the title page.  This isn’t a hard rule, but it does look nicer.  Also, use a small font (8 pt is good) for copyright and work of fiction disclaimers to help keep it to one page.  Most readers skip right over it.

5.  Start introductions, forewords, dedications, etc. on the right hand side (odd numbered page).

6.  Leave at least one blank page between the front matter and the start of the first chapter.

Chapters

Some guidelines for formatting chapters in your paperback version:

1. Always start chapters on the right hand side (odd numbered page).  So, if the previous chapter ends on the right hand side, in Word, insert a page break (CTRL + ENTER) to leave an extra blank page before the start of the next chapter.

2.  Remove page numbers from blank page(s) between chapters.  This is one of the most frustrating and often overlooked formats in a paperback version.  But, if you pick up any mass produced novel, you’ll see that it’s common to remove page numbers from all blank pages.

3.  It is alright to use fancy fonts, image dividers, etc. to make the start of your chapter stand out (don’t use lots of different fonts in the body of chapters).  Just make sure it’s consistent throughout the entire book.  Pick one font and size for chapter headings and stick with it.  Pick one image divider and use it consistently.  Pick one set of spacing for the chapter header from the top of the page and use it consistently.  One way to ensure consistency in Word is to set up a Style for chapter headings.

4.  Limit the number of fonts and font types (italics, bold, etc.) that you use in the chapter body.  Too many fonts and font sizes makes the book look amateurish.  Don’t forget to justify the text – which means the right and left sides of the text should be flush against the margin.

5.  Don’t forget your gutters.  This is another big pain point.  Not all margins are created equal.  My advice for dealing with gutters and margins:  do this first or download a template from your Print On Demand (POD) vendor (i.e. Create Space, Lulu, etc.).

6.  Keep page number formatting consistent.  The best approach is to always center it.

7.  Keep paragraph spacing and indents consistent.  One of the best ways to do this is to use a Style in Word.  Most paperback books do not have the extra line spacing that comes as the default in Word, so it’s a good idea to change it.  Most novels also use a 0.3” indent to start new paragraphs.  Manuals, textbooks, etc., tend to use no indent and bigger line spacing at the end of a paragraph.  When in doubt, pull a few books off your shelf (or go to a library) and observe the nuances.

8.  What font size should you use for the chapter body?  Typically something between 10 – 12 pt.

9.  Keep an eye out for weird line breaking.  Sometimes you may want to add a hypen to break a word across two lines to avoid strange spacing between words.  Other times, you may want to rewrite the sentence so the spacing looks more pleasing to the eye.

Back Matter

Back matter can include items like:

  • Acknowledgements
  • Authors Notes
  • References
  • Bibliographies
  • Indexes
  • Author Bio
  • Author website and list of author’s other books, etc.

Consistency between chapters and the back matter help it look more professional.  Try this ideas:

1.  Start each new type of back matter on the right hand side (odd numbered page).

2.  Try using the same headings for Authors Notes, Acknowledgements, etc., as what you used for chapter headings.  If it doesn’t look right, then pick some new formatting, but keep it consistent.

3.  Depending on the type of book you have, you may want to remove the page numbers from all back matter.  Cases where you might not want to do this would be for long appendices, indexes, etc.  When in doubt, observe what other mass produced books do.

4.  Don’t forget to include author information inside the paperback book in the back matter.  This is a great opportunity to let readers know about your website, how to find you on social media, and give them a sneak peek at your next book.  Make it count.

5.  Leave a few blank pages at the end.  Some POD vendors require that the total number of pages be divisible by 4, which means a few blanks at the end to make it happen.  It also looks nicer not to end the book with text on the last page.

Cover Design

This is one area where I strongly encourage you to hire a professional designer.  While many POD vendors offer do-it-yourself options, the best way to get a professional looking print cover is to use a professional designer.

If you do decide to foray into the world of designing your own cover, be sure to look for the POD vendor’s cover template for the size and number of pages of the book you’re producing.  This means all your other formatting has to be final before you do the cover layout so you will know your final page count.

Final Words of Advice

When possible, start with a template from your POD vendor.  This can save you a ton of time and hassle.  Most of them have templates for each paper size they produce.  You may have to do a little digging, but they are there.

Get friendly with Word.  If you aren’t comfortable with concepts like styles, page breaks, page numbering, etc., consider taking a class or watching online tutorials on the web for the version of Word that you’re using.  These skills will help you beyond just formatting your paperback version.

Always order a printed proof.  Even though some POD vendors offer online previews (which I strongly encourage you to use), you’ll still want to get a printed copy.  Then carefully read through the printed proof.  Look for line spacing and formatting errors.  You may even find editorial errors missed by you or your editors.  Once, I found missing page numbers on a few chapters.  It’s worth the time and money to make sure you get it right.

Lastly, be patient with yourself—especially on your first go around.  It takes time to work through the nuances of formatting.  Allow yourself several days the first time.  Give yourself a quiet place to work on it.  Oh, and a glass of wine can sometimes come in handy.

 

Karen BaneyBest-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website:  karenbaney.com.  Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at:  www.myauthorservices.com.

Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses.  They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.

Her latest book, 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success, is now available on Amazon.

Connect with Karen on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

 

Maximizing Free Days on Kindle Select

KindleFire-MainMenuI recently gave Kindle Select a try and enjoyed some pretty amazing results.  I offered my new romance novel, Nickels, free for a Wed. and Thurs.  During those days, it had over 29,500 downloads in 6 countries.  It ranked #3 on overall Kindle Free best seller list, #1 in Kindle Free Fiction, #1 in Religious Fiction, and #1 in Contemporary Romance.

In the first two days following the free days, I sold over 700 copies and had over 190 borrows from Prime members.  My sales ranking has gone as high as #125 in Kindle Paid and #1 in Religious Fiction.

How did I do it?  By maximizing the use of my free days and promoting like crazy.

Here’s my checklist to help make the most of your Kindle Select Free Days.

Before Your Free Days

1. Sign up for KDP Select.

2. Schedule your free days.  Consider scheduling on a Wed / Thurs or just Thurs to capitalize on the exposure.  Big sales days in a week are Fri, Sat, Sun.  So don’t give it away free on those days.

3. Send requests to following to get your free book listed.  Do this a few days ahead of time to give the site owners time to post your book.

4.  Add a Goodreads event and send it to all of your Goodreads friends.

On Your Free Days

1. Post on Facebook pages on your free day(s):

2.  Add “Kindle Freebie” and “Kindle Free” tags to your book on Amazon page.

3.  Post about your free book on your other social networking sites (Linked In, Stumble Upon, Triberr, Google+, etc.)

4.  Tweet like crazy.

5.  Get authors in your cross promotion group to tweet like crazy (and thank them for it).

6.  Send email newsletter.

7.  Post about it on your blog.

8.  Get your mouse-clicking refresh-button-hitting finger ready to watch the downloads roll in!

After Your Free Days

1.  Don’t lower your price.  You just did a lot of hard work to generate sales by offering it free.  Keep your book at regular price and enjoy the higher royalties on the new wave of sales.

2.  Keep up the momentum for a few days.  If your free days ended before the weekend, keep up strong promotion efforts (through social networking) through the weekend.

 

Christian Genre Specific sites:

Do you know of any genre specific sites?  If you’d like to share them, please leave a comment below.  Thanks!

UPDATE 05/31/2012:  Before rushing out to sign up for KDP Select, read the rest of my story:  The Pros and Cons of KDP Select

UPDATE 01/27/2013:  After six months away from KDP Select, I make almost 27% of my income on B&N.  I strongly encourage authors to use KDP Select for new releases for the first 90 days, then use other retailers to broaden your reach.

 

Karen BaneyBest-selling self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  To learn more about her novels visit her website:  karenbaney.com.  Authors can find tips and information on self-publishing and marketing at:  www.myauthorservices.com.

Karen and her husband, Jim, also run several online businesses.  They make their home in Gilbert, AZ, with their two dogs.

Her latest book, 10 Keys to eBook Marketing Success, is now available on Amazon.

Connect with Karen on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Editing For the Self Published Author

Sometimes it feels like editing should be a four letter word.  As authors, we hate it.  Some of us are very bad at it.  But it is a necessary evil—even more so for a self published author.

There are many different ways to get good editing without costing a fortune.  One of the things I do is swap editing with other authors.  I have one author who edits all my books.  In exchange, I edit hers and give her advice on how to self publish.

What about your network of contacts?  Do you have any former English teachers, professors, or editors in your network?  If so, think about approaching them for editing help.

Take some time to brush up on your own editing skills.  Even after I get my work back from my editors, I make changes and read through my manuscript several more times.  I find things they missed or things I messed up when I made an edit they suggested.  By spending a little time brushing up on my grammar, punctuation, etc., I am constantly sharpening my skills.

Of course, you can always hire a professional editor.  There are many out there.  If you do decide to go this route, get a recommendation or see if you can get them to edit a sample for you.  Make sure you get your money’s worth.

Lastly, when a reader inevitably finds something in your final published work, don’t stress about it.  Just take some time to fix it and re-upload it.  No matter how many times a book passes through editing, there are always little things that get missed.  Give yourself permission to be slightly less than perfect.  After all, you’re only human.

 

Self-published author, Karen Baney, enjoys sharing information to help authors learn about the Business of Writing.  She holds a Masters of Business Administration from Arizona State University and has worked in various business related career fields for the past 20 years.  She writes Christian Historical Fiction and Contemporary Romance novels.  For more information about Karen’s books, visit her Amazon Page.