Indie Author Weekly Update – February 16, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update includes posts that I really like. Yeah, I suppose I shouldn’t use the word really but how else to describe these posts other than to use the word love, which just wouldn’t work in this context.

So please read Jane Friedan’s post on book reviews because this is a question every author asks me. Dave Chesson’s post on Amazon categories is brilliant as usual. And if you want your book to be a BookBub featured deal, you absolutely must read the first post listed below. All the posts below are must-reads.

And have a great weekend, too!

How to Boost Your Chances of Getting a BookBub Featured Deal from BookBub: “In the past, we’ve posted tips and busted myths about getting accepted for a BookBub Featured Deal, and we’ve even listed the top reasons a book is rejected! Since we still get questions on how to bolster one’s chances of getting selected for a Featured Deal, we decided to put together a visual “cheat sheet.” We hope this helps you better understand what our editors are looking for when reviewing submissions, whether you’ve submitted deals before and are looking for a refresher or you’re a new partner in need of a first-time overview.”

Secret Method to Choosing Amazon Book Categories in KDP from Dave Chesson: “The Amazon book categories you choose will have a direct effect on whether or not you become an Amazon Best Seller. Choose the wrong one, and no matter how many books you sell, you won’t become an Amazon bestseller. In truth, there is a lot more to choosing Amazon book categories in KDP, like secret categories that Amazon doesn’t tell you about when publishing, and the simple fact that you can actually be listed for 7 categories legitimately.”

The New Facebook Algorithm: Secrets Behind How It Works and What You Can Do To Succeed from Buffer: “The Facebook algorithm is constantly evolving in order to provide a better experience for users. But few changes to the algorithm have sparked as much interest and conversation as the recent ‘meaningful interactions’ update, in which Facebook said it would be prioritizing posts that create meaningful conversations, especially those from family and friends.”

Five Marketing Tools for Authors Who Hate Marketing from Writer Unboxed: “Disclaimer: Hating marketing is not required to use these tools. In fact, if you enjoy marketing, you’ll have a blast using them. I’m active in several online writing communities, and one of the most frequent things I read about is how much authors hate marketing. It’s usually accompanied by talk about art and creativity, and once in a while someone tosses this suggestion across the virtual meeting room: all you have to do is write a great story and they will come.”

How to Market a Kindle Book: 10 Easy Marketing Strategies for New Authors from Sabrina Ricci: “Writing your book was hard enough, now you have to market it? Oh man… Never fear, here are 10 easy strategies to sell more copies of your book.”

The Essential First Step for New Authors: Book Reviews, Not Sales from Jane Friedman: “You know how good your work is. You created it. You lived with it through the phases of publication gestation: idea, brainstorming, outline, research, writing, and rewriting. You have improved, enhanced, and polished your work to a degree you didn’t think possible. You believe it’s perfect.”

Quote of the Week

Mary Mackey

Frances CaballoAuthor of this blogFrances Caballo is an author and social media strategist and manager for writers. She’s a contributing writer at TheBookDesigner.com and has 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

 

Get Your Visuals Seen!

Get your visuals on Pinterest. But first learn how to use Pinterest. Pick up a copy of my book, Pinterest Just for Writers!

 

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Indie Author Weekly Update – January 26, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

In this week’s Indie Author Update the focus is primarily on book marketing. But also read the post on building your email list by Blogging Wizard because an email list is so important to an author’s success.

Agent Laurie McLean’s Crystal Ball: Publishing Predictions for 2018 by Anne R. Allen and Laurie McLean: “My crystal ball is telling me that not a lot in the publishing industry is going to change from 2017 to 2018. I think publishing was mesmerized by Washington politics in 2017 and were slow to make any forward progress of any sort. Not a lot of new ideas. No new imprints that take advantage of the power of digital publishing and promotion. No exploration of sales innovations that come along with a cheap digital distribution system. Nada.”

5 Easy List Building Techniques To Get You More Email Subscribers from the Blogging Wizard: “Growing your email list is important when starting your online business. Without a list of leads, acquiring business will be difficult. That’s why you often hear from markets that the money is in the list. But how do you go about gaining more subscribers if you already have the basics covered? You’ve invested in a strong lead magnet, made it easy for visitors to sign up to your list, and you even have content upgrades placed in your blog posts for higher conversions. If you are still finding you have little to no sign-ups on a consistent basis, it might mean you need to strategically market your lead magnet or landing page.

How to Increase the ROI of Your BookBub Ads (+ a BookBub Fast Pass) from Writer Unboxed: “Many authors are familiar with BookBub’s Featured Deals, the editorially-selected price promotions included in each daily email. BookBub Ads also appear in these emails, but there are several important differences between the two promotional tools. Most notably, you can run BookBub Ads for any book at any time — full-priced books, new releases, novellas, etc. — without needing to go through any editorial review process. The platform is totally self-serve, allowing you to determine your own budget and timeline.”

How Indie Presses Are Elevating the Publishing World by Jennifer Baker from Electric Literature: “Independent presses are a lifeline in the publishing world. At a time when large publishing houses are merging into even larger conglomerates, writers may feel like finding a home for their work requires a very specific, and at times corporate, mindset. But indies show that there’s another way. Via contests, open calls for submissions (for agented and unagented writers), and targeted requests, independent presses provide an alternate arena, making publishing more of a reality for marginalized artists and those with unique voices and writing styles. Plus, they’re getting more and more recognition. This year Graywolf Press had several titles as finalists or longlisted for the National Book Award. Paul Harding’s Pulitzer winning book Tinkers was published by a university aligned press (Bellevue Literary).”

What Kinds of Social Media Go Viral? from Writers in the Storm: “In last month’s post, I shared social media strategies that support your brand and let you have a life. I don’t know about you, but I like having social media be something I fit into MY life, rather than the other way around. The big question everyone wants to know is: How do I get my post to go viral?” First, we need to understand what kinds of posts get shared extensively and why. There are many many schools of thought on what gets others to share your content, but I decided to go with science because we want results that can be duplicated.”

Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – January 2018 from TheBookDesigner.com and by Amy Collins: “A publisher client of mine priced his new ebook at $9.99 because he believed that a higher-priced ebook would have more cache. He was concerned that a lower-priced ebook would lower the perceived quality of the novel. So he priced his book at the same level that established authors price theirs (even though he was not as well known).”

Quote of the Week

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

Ricardo FayetThe next webinar will be on February 6 at 10 am PST / 1 pm EST and feature Ricardo Fayet from Reedsy. We’ll discuss book marketing and Facebook ads. Sign up now to join the conversation!

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Meet Romantic Suspense Author Sharon Hamilton


Sharon Hamilton is absolutely awesome in this video. There’s no other way to describe it. We talk about how she got into writing about Navy Seals, how she learned to write, why she writes romance, how she developed a street team, how she launches her books, and so much more.

Although Sharon shyly says that she “could be doing more” I can’t imagine an author more hardworking than Sharon. She manages her social media and a Facebook group, sells numerous items on her website, and even writes serials in teams with other romantic suspense authors.

She sells ebooks, paperbacks, serials, audiobooks, and boxed sets.

Don’t let Sharon’s humility fool you; although she is humble – I know Sharon so I can attest to that – she’s a powerhouse romantic suspense writer. In fact, she’s a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has written 32 books.

Here are some of my notes from our recent discussion:

Sharon’s Early Career as a Writer

  • Sharon began to write after her house burned down in 2008. She was living in an apartment mostly by herself while her husband stayed on their property to oversee the rebuilding of their home. She had always wanted to write a book, but as a Realtor, she felt she didn’t have the time.
  • After reading several books in that apartment, on December 15, 2008, she started to write her first novel. By the end of 30 days, she’d written a 90,000-word novel. After finishing the book, she realized she never wanted to work as a Realtor again.
  • She then joined numerous writing classes online – 70 in all. She learned how to write by editing that initial manuscript 57 times. She spent a lot of time and money on that first book. Then she began to understand what was necessary to write a compelling novel and after realizing she liked to write romance novels, she joined the Romance Writers of America association.
  • She then joined two or three different blogging groups. One was a group of authors who wrote romance, and another team wrote in various genres. Everyone in the groups would share each others’ blog posts online, and her following grew.

Why Sharon Hamilton Writes about Navy Seals

  • Sharon just completed Sleeper Seals. A group of authors who all write military romantic suspense novels decided to coordinate a central theme and release a serial together. Her novel was book five in the series.
  • There is one commander in the series, and each author writes about a different character. She said it’s an excellent way to cross-market books. Several of the books hit the USA Today list. She thinks it’s a solid concept in selling books.
  • Central to Sharon’s books are characters who are Navy Seals. She does that because when her son graduated high school, he decided to become a Navy Seal. Once he passed the training, Sharon learned a lot about the Seals and being a Seal family. In her stories, she uses a lot of the information she has acquired about the Navy Seal community.

Street Teams and Facebook Groups

She developed a street team when a reader came up to her and created a Facebook author page for Sharon. Then the same reader helped Sharon build a street team. The street team became so large that Sharon encouraged many of them to join a Facebook group she calls the Rockin’ Readers.

Sharon eventually streamlined her street team to just eight to ten people who share information about her books. Her Facebook group will occasionally help her post information about her books. She’s had the Facebook group for about six years, and it has more than 500 members. The only rule of the group is that the only books promoted are Sharon’s.

She thinks that the street team and Facebook group are the best way to get the word out about her books. Having a connection with the fans is integral to her success, and she believes any author’s success. Her fans find Sharon.

Sharon also sponsors contests from time to time. To the winners, she sends a variety of t-shirts, books, patches, dog tags, and red wristbands.

Sharon uses eClincher and MeetEdgar to schedule her social media posts. She has 35,000 Likes on her page.

Newsletters, Contests and BookBub Ads

  • She also has a newsletter that goes out once a month. Her readers receive information about new books and excerpts that couldn’t get otherwise. She used to do Facebook parties once a month but believes they are a passing thing.
  • She sponsors a contest on WriterSpace once a month. She also does BookBub ads for pre-orders and new book launches but hasn’t don’t a BookBub promotion yet.
  • She spends more on BookBub ads than anything else. She recently sold 10,000 of her boxed sets with her latest BookBub ad versus the 50 boxed sets a day she would typically sell without the advertisement.
  • She also does Facebook ads using her book trailers. Those generate a lot of interest.
  • She encourages people to follow her on BookBub and Amazon, so even if they lose touch with her on Facebook, her readers will get notices about her books from other venues.
  • Sharon has discovered that her readers like to have boxed sets at a discounted price. She finds that the boxed sets don’t rob from sales of the individual books.
  • The first book in her series Accidental Seal has been free for three years. Once readers read the free book, they become interested in the rest of the series and hopefully those readers will read her other books as well. A series really works, she says. She also bundles her audio books.

The next webinar will be on February 6 at 10 am PST / 1 pm EST and feature Ricardo Fayet from Reedsy. We’ll be discussing book marketing and Facebook ads. Stay tuned for more information about that webinar.

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 12, 2018

Indie Author Weekly Update

This week’s Indie Author Update focuses primarily on book marketing. Be sure to read the posts by Dave Chesson on Kindle keywords and Joel Friedlander’s take on the release of Fire and Fury.

5 Reasons Goodreads is a Book Marketing Staple by Penny Sansevieri: “Goodreads has mixed reviews at best when I chat book marketing strategies with authors at conferences, but I really want 2018 to be about maximizing on YOU, on using what makes you unique to sell more books, and Goodreads is a great platform for achieving that goal.”

Trapped in the Fire and Fury of the World’s Greatest Book Launch by Joel Friedlander: “Like you, I’ve been trapped in what seems like a book marketing fantasy gone mad. Look, I’ve been publishing and marketing books for a long time, and enjoy watching the really big book launches that still dot the cultural calendar. Politicians launching much-awaited books like Bill Clinton’s 1000 +page My Life was a pretty big deal. Every book launch by Tim Ferris uses tactics no one else has seen. Guy Kawasaki has conducted numerous launches for his best selling books.”

How To Choose the Right Kindle Keywords by Dave Chesson: “Whether you’re a famous author or this is your first book, Kindle Keywords are an important part of any book marketing strategy. Kindle keywords allow your book to be discovered by hungry shoppers on the world’s largest book market, Amazon, even while you sleep. They help make it so that you get sales and get discovered without having to do major marketing. Plain and simple, they are important.”

Authors’ New Year’s Resolutions for Marketing Their Books from BookBub: “It’s a brand new year, which is a great time to get a fresh start on goals. You may already have personal New Year’s resolutions (exercise more, write more, etc.), but you might want to consider setting specific book sales and marketing goals.”

Six Social Media Marketing Tips For First-Time Authors from BookBaby: “If you’re looking for readership and engagement, finishing your book is the first step. These social media marketing tips can help you frame your approach to the process of promoting yourself and your work online.”

Bring Social Media to Your Blog with Embedded Posts  from TheBookDesigner.com by Frances Caballo: “Embedding your social media posts on your blog or elsewhere on your website can benefit your website in several ways. First, you can demonstrate your social proof to your blog visitors. In other words, they can see your number of shares, retweets, and Likes you’ve accumulated.”

Quote of the Week

Ernest Hemingway quote

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 – November 17, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Update

This edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update is chockfull of helpful tips. From Facebook ads to author websites to cross-promotion, you’ll find information to help you sell more books.

Indie Author Updates

Unpublished Writers and Websites: Should You Have One and What Should It Say? by Jane Friedman: “If you plan to pursue writing as a professional, long-term career, I recommend starting and maintaining an author website even if you’re unpublished. Your website serves as an online home and hub for everything that you do, whether in real life or in the digital realm. You fully own and control it, tell your own story, and connect directly with the media, readers or influencers. It’s hard to overstate its importance over the long term. Consider it the cost of doing business in the digital era, a necessary business card and networking tool.”

Use Your Author Website To Make Readers Care About You As A Writer  from Web Design Relief: “As a writer, your job is to create a narrative that hooks the reader, raises curiosity, elicits empathy, and leaves the reader satisfied. But have you ever considered how these fundamentals of storytelling can be harnessed to improve your author website?”

Email Marketing: The Complete Beginner’s Guide from Blogging Wizard: “If you’re a small business owner doing business online, the thought of not making any conversions can make you lose sleep at night. You work hard at creating your website – or the online version of your brick and mortar business – with a distinct brand and logo. You even heard that blogging can generate up to 67% more leads, so you start your own company blog.”

Pronoun Is Dead: The Ebook Retail Universe Redux from TheBoodDesigner.com and by David Kudler: “I’m bummed. On November 6, Macmillan’s Pronoun, the distributor that I had begun to rely on more and more over the past year, announced that it was shutting down its operations. No new books can be uploaded; Pronoun will remove all existing books from distribution on January 15, 2018.”

The 4 Best Types of Facebook Ads for Authors by Andrea Vahl: “Are you an author who wants to promote your book with Facebook Ads?  It can be overwhelming to know what is going to be most effective.  In this post, I’ll show you the 4 best types of Facebook Ads for Authors and how to approach your marketing strategy on Facebook. The first thing to clear up is that there are different types of authors and different goals for your book.  And once you are clear on the next step a reader should take with you, your marketing strategy becomes clearer.”

14 Ways Authors Can Cross-Promote Each Other’s Books from BookBub: “Many authors cross-promote each other’s books to gain visibility with a relevant new audience of readers. It’s a mutually beneficial way to inexpensively boost book sales and word-of-mouth buzz — and to make new friends and build relationships in the publishing community!”

Awards News

Jesmyn Ward Wins Second National Book Award in Fiction from Publishing Perspectives: “Jesmyn Ward led Wednesday evening’s (November 15) National Book Award honors, for her Sing, Unburied, Sing, becoming a two-time winner of the prize.” Her earlier award came in 2011 for Salvage the Bones (Bloomsbury USA).

Fiction Writing Contests

Fiction Writing Contests Worth Your Time (Winter 2017 Edition) from Writer Unboxed: “Much like editors are looking for reasons to reject work, I want to focus on opportunities worth my time. Thus, my list of writing contests below includes reasons to submit to that particular writing contest. May you find a promising opportunity among this list and spend less time searching for where to send your exceptional work.”

Quote of the Week

Ernest Hemingway

New to blogging? Check out Blogging Just for Writers 

Blogging Just for Writers by Frances Caballo

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 – February 24, 2017

Indie Author Update

Here’s another edition of the Indie Author Update. This week’s topics include book marketing, Facebook advertising, and blogging tips.

Kevin TumlinsonI hope you join me for the next  Conversations with Frances when I interview Draft2Digital marketing director and blockbuster author Kevin Tumlinson. Kevin is considered a prolific author, and was named one of Shelf Media Group’s 100 Notable Indies in 2016. I hope you’ll join us on March 1st at 1 pm PST as he shares his marketing tips.


Indie Author Updates

10 Tips To Up Your Book Marketing Skills Right Now by Rachel Thompson: “The basic premise of book marketing is this: write great books that people want to read, then effectively market them. If you’re self-published, use professional editors, designers, and formatters so your book looks amazing. I self-pub’d my first three books and invested in those services through scrimping and saving. Now you can crowdfund. It’s doable.”

Write great books and then effectively market them. Click To Tweet

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Indie Author Weekly Update – February 10, 2017

Indie Author Update

This week’s Indie Author Update covers a gamut of topics, from marketing plans to blogging to Twitter.

I normally schedule one Conversations with Frances each month but in March and April I’m breaking the patter and featuring four guests instead of two. I hope you check out the lineup and sign up for these free webinars.

Indie Author Updates

How I Became a Bestseller with a Coordinated Marketing Plan from BookBub Partners: “When my first novel, The Fairy Tale Bride, was traditionally published in October of 2000, I had all the usual hopes and dreams of new writers — letters from readers, great reviews, and, of course, becoming a bestselling author.”

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Indie Author Weekly Update February 3, 2017

Indie Author Weekly Updates

Today’s Indie Author Weekly Update encompasses every topic, from increasing ebook sales to book promotion and from Facebook to building a website. I hope you enjoy these blog posts from across the internet from experts in publishing and social media.

On a personal front, I’m busy getting ready for the San Francisco Writers Conference, where I’ll be teaching two sessions and participating in two panels. If you’ve never been to this conference, you should check into it. Even if you can’t attend the entire conference, there are pre- and post-sessions that are available separately. Besides, you can’t beat the setting: the conference is at the Mark Hopkin Hotel. I hope to see some of you there.


Indie Author Updates

A Powerful Shortcut for Discovering Keywords to Increase Ebook Sales  Digital Book World: “Indie authors and ebook publishers have a powerful tool for increasing book sales that costs nothing and already exists in their online book selling setup: keywords. The keywords associated with an ebook in an online store can help drive readers to your sales page. When you attract more people to your book’s sales page, the more opportunities you have to make sales.”

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Indie Author Weekly Update December 9, 2016

Indie Author Update

I hope you enjoy this week’s edition of the Indie Author Weekly Update. Be sure to read Joel Friedlander’s series on how he got his start in blogging and soared to success. It’s a fascinating story.

So why the dogs in the image above? Why not? Those who know me well, know that I love dogs. I have an English Lab and fostered dogs for the Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue. Why the snow in the above picture? It doesn’t snow where I live, but it is brisk and feels like it might snow.

I hope you enjoy this week’s selection below and that you have a lovely weekend. Keep warm!


Indie Author Updates

Video Will Be Huge in 2017…Get Ready! from BookWorks: “Video is incredibly popular. Experts estimate that in 2017 and beyond, video will make up 69% of consumer internet traffic. Back in 2015, consumers spent an average of five-and-a-half hours a day watching video content. That number continues to rise. On Facebook alone, some 500 million users view 8 billion videos on a daily basis. Video, because people watch so much of it, is useful in book marketing. At the same time, it’s important to keep your videos to approximately 90 seconds. Five percent of viewers will stop watching a video after 1 minute and 60% by 2 minutes.”

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