How to Sell a Truckload of Books with Penny Sansevieri


I recently invited Penny Sansevieri to my Conversations with Frances webinar series. Below you’ll find a condensed summary of some of our conversation. Be sure to watch the video to glean all of Penny’s great suggestions.

  • Book selling strategies vary depending on the genre and title. But what we know is 95% of books are sold by word of mouth. So look at getting reviews. The No. 1 thing she recommends is building your list of super fans or a street team.
  • 99% of authors don’t market their books. A good measure of authors believe in the field of dreams theory … that because they wrote a book, readers will come.
  • Authors need to turn to their super fan base to get them to review books. You don’t need a huge list as long as your readers are fanatical about your writing.
  • One way to build a fan base is to include a letter in the back of the book and ask readers to contact you. The next step is to add them to your email list and start communicating with you. Then start asking them questions, such as what they want to see in your book or let them help you to select a book cover. They in turn get exclusive deals. For example, give them a free book two weeks before a book goes off presale or a tote.
  • According to the book The Curve, you need 1,000 super fans to get on the New York Times bestseller list.
  • Nowadays, it’s easier to connect with readers due to social media, email, and video.
  • Book launches are very important but the most successful books are those that are promoted over the long term.
  • Pre-orders are fun but once the pre-order is over sales can drop and that can in turn will hurt sales.
  • She loves to re-launch books. Sometimes you can split up books and create a series. Consider refreshing a cover. Update the content.
  • Book series are doing better than movie series.
  • Christmas novellas are popular.
  • Always pitch bloggers for reviews. Reviews continue to help your amazon visibility. Amazon is just a search engine and it responds to the same cues as Google does. Continually reach out to readers, ask readers for reviews, and do speaking engagements. Give out character trading cards.
  • How should authors use social media to promote their books? There’s a lot of noise out there that’s not productive. You need to remember that it’s about conversations. Also, it’s not about being everywhere but being where it counts. Cut out the useless noise and get rid of the social media sites that are doing anything for you. In some cases a video connection can be great.
  • Start to research similar authors in your genre. You want to find what social media sites they are on, where they’re getting the most momentum, and invest your time there.
  • Be sure to talk to your readers on social media.

The Next Webinar is January 11th!

Sharon HamiltonSharon Hamilton started writing several years ago on a rainy day. It’s wasn’t long before she was publishing, writing more books, blogging, and achieving success as an indie author. We’ll follow the trajectory of her career and the factors that contributed to her success in this webinar. Join us on January 11 at 11 am PST / 2 pm EST.

 

 

 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Indie Author Weekly Update – January 5, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

I hope you enjoy this week’s Indie Author Update. You’ll find book marketing and publishing predictions, help with being Google friendly, and information on Amazon keyword search.

Guest Post: 10 Tips on How to Be Google Friendly in 2018  from Sabrina Ricci and by Chris Hickman: ” Webmasters who want to rank high in Google’s engine need to ensure that their sites conform to Google’s standards. Google wants its highest-ranked sites for any keyword to have a high level of quality. By controlling for quality, users can have a good experience with their searches and retain their good impression of Google.”

2018 Book Publishing Predictions – Are Indie Authors Losing their Independence? by Mark Coker: “Welcome to my annual publishing predictions post where I prognosticate about the future and share my views on the state of the indie nation. Each year around this time I polish off my imaginary crystal ball and ask it what the heck is going to happen next.”

The Fast Book Marketing Start In 2018 from the Book Marketing Buzz Club: “The New Year is upon us.  Enthusiasm is in the air.  Everyone feels a bit of optimism when they think about writing a book or promoting one in 2018.  Everything feels possible, seems hopeful, and looks good.  We are on our annual kick to see the bright potential in our lives, the world, and our writing careers. But that feeling can only be sustained and validated with hard work.”

Optimizing Your Books for Amazon Keyword Search from Jane Friedman by Penny Sansevieri: “Even though many experts talk about Amazon keywords, categories, and pricing, few experts mention this important fact: Amazon is more a search engine than a store. In fact, Amazon is the ‘Google’ of online buying.”

Quote of the Week

Richard Price

 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

 

Join Sharon Hamilton and I on January 11

Sharon HamiltonSharon Hamilton started writing several years ago on a rainy day. It’s wasn’t long before she was publishing, writing more books, blogging, and achieving success as an indie author. We’ll follow the trajectory of her career and the factors that contributed to her success in this webinar. Join us on January 11 at 11 am PST / 2 pm EST.

 

 

 

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Indie Author Weekly Update – December 15, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update focuses on book marketing. I’m sure you’ll enjoy these posts by Penny Sansevieri, Jane Friedman, Amy Collins and others.

A Book Launch Plan for First-Time Authors Without an Online Presence  by Jane Friedman: “While it’s not easy to launch a book without any kind of online presence, many first-time authors are in exactly that position. Unfortunately, it’s an exercise in frustration to launch one’s online presence—and get up to speed on social media—in conjunction with a book release. It’s like trying to drive a car at the same time you’re building it. At some point, you’ll end up on the side of the road.”

5 Characteristics of a Bestseller Every Indie Author Must Nail  by Penny Sansevieri: “In over 16 years in this book marketing business and as an indie author myself, I’ll admit I still get surprised. Almost weekly. Some books that you’d swear are a sure thing, never take off. Others that publish on a wing and a prayer, end of being cult favorites. But I can tell you that there are 5 characteristics of a bestseller that every indie author should take note of in prep for publication.”

“Am I Still a Real Writer If I Don’t Feel Compelled to Write?” by Elisa Gabbert: “There are some (a lot?) of writers who say shit like, “I have to write, I couldn’t not write, writing saves my life” etc. etc. (like cough my ex before last whom I’ll apparently never get over). So the reason I don’t think I’m a real writer, even though I’ve been published and some writers/people I respect have told me I can write well is because I don’t feel like I have to write.”

You have to check out these best writing websites for writers right now! writing websites by Amber Roshay: “Are you an author already or would you like to become one? There’s so much to learn once you start down this path. I had my first novel published in 2015. Now I have 5 books out and hope to keep writing them. Over the past few years I’ve discovered some terrific websites that have become long term resources for me as an author.”

Getting Holiday Book Sales as the Big Day Approaches: Steps 7-9  from BookBaby  Note: This post is a three-part series. Get the first part here and the second part here.: “You’re competing with so much holiday marketing – TV ads, radio blitzes, triple the amount of emails landing in your in-box – but there are still plenty of opportunities to have your voice heard and your message received. As a self-published author you just have to think a little differently and take advantage of a few tried-and-true book selling tactics.”

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – December 2017 from Joel Friedlander by Amy Collins: “Do This Not That for December is focused on guidance for authors who have dreamed of quitting their day jobs and making a living as writers. There are a LOT of us who have published our first book hoping that the sales from that book would give us a steady income. The bad news? The numbers show that very few authors make a living with their first book. The good news? A LOT of authors make a living as writers by publishing numerous books. Do you want to make a living as a writer? Then be a writer. Keep writing.”

Just for Fun

A Hogwarts House Reading List: 20 Books for Gryffindors by Book Riot: “So, you’re a Gryffindor, a member of the best house. (Hey, nobody ever said arrogance wasn’t also a Gryffindor quality, right?) Maybe you’re a Harry type who doesn’t usually read unless you’ve got an assignment due tomorrow or have some Horcruxes to hunt down, or maybe you’re a Hermione type who’s never met a book you didn’t want to read. Either way, this list should have you covered!”

Quote of the Week

Tony Hillerman

 

Want to save time with social media? Get Avoid Social Media Time Suck for FREE.

Social Media Time Suck

 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

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Use GIFS to Ignite Your Book Marketing

via GIPHY

GIFS are all the rage. You see them on Twitter, Facebook, email newsletters, and virtually wherever you turn your attention to on the internet.

Experts will tell you that the only way to stop your followers from scanning a Twitter newsfeed is with a GIF.

Actually, GIFs are so eye-catching that wherever you use them, people will stop, smile, and replay the GIF a second or third time – at least.

You can also use GIFs for book marketing. You just need a sense of humor and a dash of ingenuity.

Take a series of pictures while reading from your newest book or have someone take pictures of you while you write or type at your desk. Any of these examples can be used to market yourself and your books and add some levity along the way.

Let’s get down to how to create a GIF. You can snap the pictures – or have someone snap them for you – or search for a GIF and use it instead. Or you can have someone take a series of shots as you read through a book, making it appear that you are quite the speed reader.

Did you know that you can use Canva.com to create a GIF? Just create a series of images, upload them to an app, then grab the URL and use it on social media or in your MailChimp newsletter.

Using my dog as an example, I took a series of pictures of her, uploaded them to the application Giphy, added a tag, and voila, here’s my GIF.

via GIPHY

You can also add GIFs to your MailChimp newsletter. Use the search bar at Giphy to find a GIF and copy the URL.

Then when you’re on MailChimp, click the image icon.

Then paste the URL from Giphy.

Voila, you have a GIF for your newsletter.

via GIPHY

Why Authors Need to Use GIFs

According to HootSuite, here are a few reasons why you should start using GIFs:

  • GIFs show that you’re paying attention to internet trends
  • GIFs show that you and your brand has a fun side
  • GIFs can add more context to a shorter message, post, or Tweet
  • GIFs get your message across in a shorter amount of time
  • GIFs are easily shareable
  • GIFs convey emotions better than text or photos alone

GIF Applications

There are two main applications you can use to find GIFs.

  1. Giphy
  2. Bin

Use these applications to create GIFs.

When using Giphy, you have the options to copy the link to add to MailChimp, download the GIF for uploading to social media, embed the GIF in a blog post (as I did in this post), and to share the GIF directly from Giphy to a variety of social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Learn to Make Your Own GIFs

How do you plan to use GIFs in your book marketing?


Want to save time with social media? Get Avoid Social Media Time Suck for FREE.

Social Media Time Suck

 

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a regular speaker at the San Francisco Writers Conference. In addition, she’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com, and blogger and Social Media Expert for BookWorks. She’s written several social media books including the 2nd edition of Social Media Just for Writers and The Author’s Guide to Goodreads. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online, building their platform, finding new readers, and selling more books. Her clients include authors of every genre and writers’ conferences. Not sure how you’re doing online? Sign up for my free email course.

Practical tips for marketing your books on the social web

Penny is Coming!

Join the next Conversations with Frances when Penny Sansevieri, aka @Bookgal, comes on the show to talk about how to sell more books. Every indie author will want to attend this free webinar. Register now!

Meet Rebecca Vnuk of IndiePicks Magazine

Rebecca Vnuk


Rebecca VnukToday’s blog post is an interview with Rebecca Vnuk, Editor in Chief of
IndiePicks Magazine. Rebecca was most recently the Editor for Collection Management and Library Outreach with Booklist Publications and has an MLIS from Dominican University. Before her editing career, Rebecca worked for a decade as a public librarian, in a variety of positions from Readers’ Advisor to adult services management. She is the author of three reference books on the topic of Women’s Fiction, as well as a best-selling book on weeding library collections.

Please explain why IndiePicks was formed and what it hopes to accomplish.

Our publisher, Naomi Blackburn, is a huge fan of indie authors. She noticed that the review magazines she’d look at in her local library rarely mentioned indies and never mentioned any self-pubbed authors, so she decided she wanted to create a review magazine that would.

Do you see IndiePicks as filling a void in the industry?

Yes–it’s hard enough for librarians and readers to keep up with what the “Big Five” are putting out there, and many times, libraries won’t/can’t order books without a professional review.

Which categories or genres does IndiePicks consider? Are there genres that IndiePicks won’t consider?

Right now, we have started with ten reviewers who cover General Fiction, General Nonfiction, YA, Children’s, Romance, Horror, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Mystery/Thrillers. We hope to grow in the new year to separate out even more fiction and non-fiction categories. We’ll consider any book that’s well-written!

What is meant by the statement that “IndiePicks is a recommended-only resource”?

Some review sources do offer negative reviews, but we’d prefer to use our space to promote only books that our review team would recommend to readers or purchase for their own library collections.

Why don’t libraries include independently-published books? Or, do some libraries carry these books that you know of? Is there a process for considering them?

Some do, many do not. There are a lot of factors at play, from whether or not they are getting requests for these books to whether or not they are seeing reviews for them (can’t buy them if you don’t know about them!). That’s where we’d like to think we come in. Several of our reviewers are actively adding indie books to their public library collections, and that’s part of the reason they’ve been selected to review for us!

Why do you think some libraries are hesitant to include independently published books?

I would wager that it’s mostly because they don’t know enough about them. If they aren’t getting professional reviews, then librarians don’t know if they are any good or not. We are in tough times right now for most library budgets, and many librarians simply aren’t comfortable spending precious dollars on unproven works or unknown authors. It’s a difficult spot to be in.

What is your vision as editor for IndiePicks Magazine?

I hope that we continue to grow and add more reviewers, which equals more books that we can review each month! I also would love to see us branch out into a one-stop shop for indies. Who knows? Webinars? Lists? All kinds of opportunities await.

[Read more…]

Platform Building & Media Relations for Indie Authors

Chris Well recently joined me on a Conversations with Frances broadcast. Hear what he had to say about media relations and platform building for indie authors.


Chris started young in the media; by college he was writing for national magazines. Later, he worked in radio and worked as an editor with a magazine. Over the years, he has accumulated 25 years in the media working with a number of brands. This is what he had to say:

The right email to the right reporter will get you coverage. That said, any author can find media coverage.

[Read more…]

How to Crush It on Social Media as an Introvert

introvert

Are You an Introvert? Here’s Your Dilemma

Selfies, bad grammar, cryptic status updates (“some people don’t deserve my time…”) and verbal diarrhea. Ugh. What is the obsession with social media? How can anyone enjoy this drivel?

And who has time for it? With everyone competing for attention no one is going to pay any attention to you, right?

Why would you put yourself ‘out there’ only to be ignored, or worse, ridiculed?

Using social media for book marketing can be an intimidating prospect for any author, but especially a self-published introvert. Fortunately, you can learn how to make it work for you.

Using social media for book marketing can be an intimidating for introvertsClick To Tweet

[Read more…]

Indie Author Weekly Updates – June 21, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Weekly Update includes posts from Helen Sedwick, Jane Friedman, Penny Sansevieri, Joel Friedman, and Orna Ross. You’ll find posts about piracy, resources for authors, marketing, and  top blog posts for the first half of 2017.

Why the picture of the Labrador retriever pup above? We’re now in the dog days of summer. How are you spending them? (I’m just trying to stay cool!)


Indie Author Update

Digital Piracy & Illegal Downloads: Author Options by Helen Sedwick from BookWorks: “Sooner or later, every author suffers that dreadful experience of finding websites offering free illegal downloads of her book. For most of us, our first reaction to such digital piracy is to send a nasty email or better yet, hire an attorney to write one for us. After all, someone is stealing our work! Wait! Before you pay hard-earned money to an attorney, let’s look at less expensive options.”

[Read more…]

Turn Your Blog into a Book Production Machine with Nina Amir 

I recently interviewed Inspiration to Creation Coach Nina Amir as part of my Conversations with Frances series. We talked about blogging, how to blog a book, and what blogging has done for Nina’s life and career. Be sure to listen to the webinar. I’m certain you’ll learn a lot.

Here are a few notes from this webinar with Nina Amir:

What did blogging do for Nina Amir’s life?

[Read more…]

Protecting Your Rights and Your Wallet with Helen Sedwick

In this hour-long webinar, attorney and author Helen Sedwick reviews a wide range of issues from intellectual property, copyright issues, publishers to be wary of, and fraudulent entities wanting complete control over your book and its film rights.

Here are a few notes from Helen’s presentation:

  • Intellectual property is a product of the mind.
  • You can protect intellectual property just like you can protect your car or home.
  • There are people and companies who will try to take control of your intellectual property from you.
  • Some of the worst entities are contests where the prize is the content sponsors get the right to publish your book, merchandizing rights, film rights, etc.

[Read more…]