Most authors don't want to rely on others, so take the chance of success into your own hands by using the Self- Publishing Service offered by BookRix. Included here are some practical marketing tips that will help you to gain potential readers that could lead to the success of your eBook sales!
We all need to start somewhere and having a solid understanding of what needs to be done is key to becoming a successful author.
These next several chapters pertain to the very basic necessities of what you should consider when creating an eBook and getting noticed as an Indie Author.
Did you know that books with professionally designed covers sell twice as much as books with poor quality covers? We were shocked, but it’s the truth!
We've all heard the saying “Don't judge a book by its cover”, but don’t fool yourself! A book can have amazing content, but if the cover is unappealing, nobody will take the time to open it.
This applies to printed books as well as eBooks: A stunning cover page might be the one reason why a book catches a reader's attention.
There are tons of books available, so indie books tend to get lost in the shuffle; especially if their appearance is not appealing to potential readers. To be honest, we have to admit that books are often judged by their covers. At BookRix, we feel that a well designed cover means a well written book. Our readers feel the same way.
Of course, you can't let this get you down. Sure, not every author is an enthusiastic artist. Most authors would rather live in a world of words, than deal with images and design. As you've probably already guessed, we spent some time thinking about this, and we've come to the realization that nobody on BookRix should be left to deal with this problem alone; especially when there are so many BookRix members willing to help out.
There are various BookRix groups that discuss the topic “cover design”, but we would like to specifically recommend the "Art Writers” group. There, you will find workshops with instructions to make your own covers AND meet other users who offer their assistance with cover design.
DON'T FORGET: It is extremely important to observe copyright laws at all times! But don’t fear: you can even get advice on this topic from group members. If you lack the confidence or skill to design a cover yourself, ask the group. Our members are great at offering assistance.
All in all, a nice cover attracts attention to your book and therefore, will get you more readers. And that’s exactly what we all want, right? And don't forget - BookRix won't promote your book if it doesn't look good - so put forth a little extra effort!
Go forth, to your design/editing programs, and prosper!
-Make sure your cover art is not poor quality and pixilated (blurred) or has text that appears under or through the title of your book (double text).
-Also make certain your images are not sexually explicit or display illegal activity. This includes hate messages and symbols.
-Don’t ever use anything that is copyrighted. You are responsible if caught and copyright laws are strict. If you do not own it or have the permission from the owner to use it, then you are in violation of the law.
The choice of a title can be crucial! Not only because an appealing title makes the reader curious, attracts attention, and hints to what the book is about; the title can also cause certain associations in the mind of the reader.
Apart from the obvious requirements of a book title, there is another factor that shouldn't be neglected: Luck. There is always the possibility that a reader will come across your book by chance. The author can actively increase this chance just by using common words in the title of the book. There are some keywords that are typed in store searches more often than others. At bookstores (or online shops), some keywords are utilized more than others. An example of a good book title is “My Vampire Love” by BookRix user: jemma. This book title is effective because “vampire” and “love” are frequently searched words.
This can be an advantage on BookRix, too. Properly set keyword tags leads to more readers reading your book. If a reader is interested in vampire stories but your book about vampires is not tagged appropriately with” vampire” themed keywords, your book will not be found. Even if the reader really would like to read it, they won’t be drawn to your book.
Thus, a good choice for a title (and "keywords/tags") determines much more than it seems to at first glance.
Put some thought into your title - it's the one thing that people will remember about your book long after they've read it. The more original and interesting, the more likely the reader is to remember.
If you have the idea and the will power, you can write a book. With the help of BookRix anyone can enter the eBook market too. However, there is an important aspect that is (unfortunately) way too often left aside. As you know, a good story doesn't always make a good book. What good is a great cover design and blurb if the author forgets one of the most important factors: A manuscript written with correct spelling and grammar.
Readers are critical customers. A typo or wrong comma placement can happen once or twice, but eventually the reader gets angry or no longer takes the writer seriously. Misspelling or using words incorrectly is a capital offense. We've all been the victim of using "Their" when it really should be "They're", and it isn't pretty. If an author wants to satisfy their readers, then they have to invest some time (or money) on a thorough grammar check and book edit. The solution for grammatical and spelling errors is relatively simple: Get an editor.
Let’s face it: Every author thinks their work is perfect. This occurs because, unfortunately, after a while a certain “blindness” develops. The author knows what has to be in a certain sentence and therefore, they think a quick read over is enough – in doing so the missing letters or incorrect punctuation are often missed.
Just because an author solicits the help of an editor doesn't mean they have poor writing skills. On the contrary, a good writer insists on an editor to turn their already very good book into a work of perfection.
BookRix has on-site helpers who have gathered in the following groups: “Editing 101”, “Elite Editing for Writers”, and “Serious Writers”. These are users who like to revise written works and have a passion for finding and eliminating common mistakes. While they might not substitute a complete and professional edit, the major mistakes will be fixed. More than likely, you'll even learn something new about the rules of writing.
If all our community editors are unavailable, the next best method is to find your own. Think about a well written indie book that you've read recently that was without mistakes. Contact the author and find out who edited their book. Now you can either hire that editor or ask her/him to suggest somebody else who can help you.
Unfortunately, professional editors can be quite expensive. Therefore, you (as the author) have to decide whether to invest your money or your own time to do it yourself. Otherwise, the only remaining option is to trust another member of BookRix or a friend (that is good with grammar and spelling) to help you in doing a good job in regards to editing your book for you.
No matter what you choose, we recommend at least one beta test. This is done by having someone read the story before it is put up for sale. This reader does not have to be a professional editor, but he/she will find the majority of mistakes that will annoy other readers when reading the book – and that’s what counts.
-Please have as many eyes possible read through your work before putting it up for sale. It’s critical that you have your book edited for grammar and spelling. Your book will be rejected if it’s poorly written, doesn’t make sense, or has numerous spelling/grammatical errors.
Aside from fame and glory, what is the one thing that all published authors want? Profits. Don't deny it, you know it's true.
When you decide to publish your book, you've probably already received good feedback from fellow BookRix community members, or at least your close friends and family. Now you want to get your book out there for the world to see (and buy). After you make an amazingly creative cover, and edit out all those mistakes, the last thing you need to worry about is pricing your book.
As an indie author we don’t recommend overpricing your book. The fact of the matter is readers won't spend a lot of money on an unknown writer and/or book. If you want to entice new readers, try pricing your book at a lower cost. Most readers are willing to take a chance, as long as it's not going to cost them very much.
Another thing to consider, when choosing a price, is the length of your book. If you are selling a short story (less than 100 pages) you should think about marking down the price. Nobody is going to pay more than $2.99 for a short story by an unknown author. Try pricing your first book anywhere between $0.99 and $2.99 if you want results. If you are selling an epic masterpiece (more than 200 pages) you can probably assume that the reader will be willing to pay more. Just remember, you are a new author - the most important thing right now is getting your book out there to as many readers as possible. Worry about the money later. Just because you think all your work and effort is worth more than $6.99 doesn't mean the potential buyer will agree with you. How could they know that it took you two years of your life to complete?
Another benefit to keeping your sale price low is, not only could it sell more books, but you can increase your chances of making the ranking charts of Amazon and other shops. This is stellar exposure!
If your book is part of a series, there is one sure way to make more profit: When you publish the second part of the series, consider sharing the first part completely free. New readers are often attracted to free books and after having read the first part, they will be more than happy to pay for the next installment! After a few months of free sharing, mark your first book to an affordable $2.99 and your second to a profitable $3.99+. It works every time.
If you are unwilling to share your masterpiece completely free (even though we just told you it works every time...) you can write up a short story introduction to your book/series and share that for free. This is a great way to attract those potential readers who love free books (readers who love free books are usually avid readers who read so much it's starting to hurt their wallets) and get them interested in your writing and interested enough to pay for your book. Once you've reeled them in, you'll be able to keep them on your hook using your author’s website and book blog.
So remember, overpriced books don't sell. Sure, you might sell one or two, but wouldn't you rather sell 50 at a lower price?
We previously mentioned that a good cover can tempt a reader to open a book. But is it really that simple? Initially, the cover attracts a potential reader; whether or not the book will be opened depends on many other factors.
One of these factors is the blurb, without a doubt: The cover will definitely attract readers, but the blurb decides whether the book is read or not. When it comes to the blurb, the author has the opportunity to prove his or her writing skills. Creating an appealing synopsis for the whole story with only a few words often seems impossible, but with our help you'll be "blurbing" in no time!
A blurb shouldn't provide too much information, but rather tease potential readers into thinking about what will happen in the book. However, there still has to be enough information to entice the readers.
In addition, the author will find more obstacles in his or her way:
1. How can the author objectively decide whether or not the blurb achieves the desired result?
2. The author is influenced by his/her work, so how will she/he know if the blurb appeals to the target audience.
3. Does the blurb fit the book’s content?
4. Does the blurb raise expectations the book can't meet? This would be bad as it is misleading and sets the reader up for dissatisfaction. This might result in upset readers writing a bad book review.
Of course, our users have found a solution for these problems: They get help from fellow BookRix members who will collectively and honestly critique and improve their blurbs.
We want to show you the options on BookRix for getting more attention as an author.
Build up a network; invite your friends and colleagues to read your book on BookRix and then kindly ask them to share it. Use our groups to look for contacts who share the same interests as you. Find fans of the topics or genres you write in and connect with them. These contacts are not only important^, as they might be your potential readers, but they can also forward you important information such as events that could provide a promotional platform for you.
Post a link to your book in the corresponding groups and recommend it to users who might be interested. Take part in contests on BookRix as this increases your visibility within the community. When members know who you are, they will be more inclined to read your books .
Don’t wait for others to help you, become prominent as an author by giving thoughtful, helpful and good reviews. This will peak other readers interest in you. Consequently they will see what you are doing and also find your books through your profile. Furthermore, an author who has received a thorough review is more willing to read another authors work and write a review themselves. These reviews serve as a form of advertisement, as many readers look to reviews prior to reading a new book. The more reviews (and it’s good to have a combination of good and constructive), the more interest will grow for your book.
Consider other authors as colleagues or partners. It won’t help to treat them as competitors because we’ve seen that authors can help each other a lot. An author who spoils things with other authors is always disadvantaged. This is not just a proven result from communities such as BookRix, but it’s also common knowledge that authors support each other and share networks. Thus they significantly increase their reach – regardless of the platform.
We all know that if someone else says something great about something, then that something is more likely to be tried out by someone else. You know? Totally! Basically, we are talking about reviews and comments here. Of course you want readers to speak highly of your work. When they leave a positive comment/review, you know you have pleased your readers.
Reviews and comments can be made via BookRix and external shops like Amazon. Get your BookRix friends involved and motivate them to post reviews/comments on your books that are sold on external eBook stores including BookRix as well. Take it to heart that a reader left a comment for you and don’t be nervous or offended if there are negative comments too. Providing these comments are constructive, they are ok.
Commenting on the books of other authors can spark activity and positive feedback, as they may be more inclined to read your work and return the favor by commenting on your book. This is part of supporting each other!
Presentation is everything. Well, almost everything. A profile is gift wrapping of yourself, just as your book cover is to your book. Displaying yourself in a professional yet personal manner, can draw potential readers to your work as well as giving that personal touch for your readers to get to know you; the author.
Your BookRix profile should be genuine, informative and filled with tidbits about you, your writing, interests, inspirations, etc. Allow your readers to know you. The sky’s the limit here. In addition, writing in the first person gives your profile personality, reality and also that personal voice. The more you let your readers know about you, the more others can relate to you and that will peak their interest in your writing.
When it comes to your profile picture this should show the true essence of you. Appear friendly, approachable and realistic. Don’t be afraid to show your smiling face. We all like to know that there is a real person behind the words and a good profile picture says a lot about you.
There are some great tactics to getting a potential reader hooked on your work. One way is to tease them with some freebies like a short story based on your novel that includes your characters. This gives a taste of your writing style and a peek into the world you have created in your book.
Another way is to create a book series and give away the first book for free. Once you have your readers hooked on the first book, what would stop them from wanting books 2, 3 and 4?
You gotta look at it this way; it’s much easier to promote something when it’s for free. It can mean the difference of selling a few books vs. getting 1000+ downloads. Those free downloads just exposed 1000+ people to your work and this is what leads to fans. This is also about starting off the relationship with your readers on the right foot, risk free.
Something else to keep in mind is not to give away just anything for free. You want to wow your readers from the beginning and show them what you’re made of. Give out your best work so that your readers will know that anything else that comes from you will be great too. You can always offer your books for free for a limited time and then charge for them when you feel that you have gotten the popularity thing down pat.
Other teasers for your books can be book trailers (this can be tricky because you don’t want your little flick to look cheap and make your book look bad). If you have the connections to someone that has great video/audio editing tools, then it doesn’t hurt to invest a little extra to make a professional trailer. This is something that you can use for promotions on your own BookRix profile, Facebook fan page, YouTube or other social media platforms.
It’s very important to stay close to your readers/fans. This way you can always inform them of new work, promotions, campaigns, contests, giveaways, etc.
Let your readers know where they can find you and how they can get more information about you and your work (email address, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, newsletters).
Your BookRix Profile and Facebook account are great places to interact with your readers and allows your readers/fans to interact with each other. Your books are the link between your fans, and Facebook is a great tool that connects fans who otherwise never would have met.
Connecting with your fans on a personal level, such as replying to comments or emails, makes your fans feel special and shows them that you care. Your fans are the people who are reading and buying your books. Keep them close so you don’t lose them.
Stay Active! The key to mastering the social media channels is staying active in all the major venues. If readers can’t find you, chances are they won’t know about your books. These next few chapters are all about learning how to get yourself out there!
Setting up author pages on sites such as Goodreads, Shelfari and Amazon (and any more you can find) will help get your name out there and allow readers to share, review and learn more about you and your books.
With over 10 million registered members and 22 million monthly unique users they are the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world.
Goodreads offer a variety of advertising options that will help you:
• generate prerelease buzz
• start a dialogue with fans on the site that can continue post campaign
• increase your book's discoverability in a crowded marketplace
• create awareness on the publication date
• drive purchase intent which can lead to sales
They are happy to help you create a book discovery package that meets your budget and marketing goals.
Advertising on Goodreads is a great way to promote yourself to a targeted group of book lovers who will add your book to their "to-read" shelf. Not only will this give your viral marketing efforts a big boost, but it puts your book in the hands of consumers who intend to purchase, read and share it.
It's also a great complement to their FREE Author program that allows you to list giveaways, communicate with fans, syndicate your blog, show video content, and create book widgets for your own site.
You can find more info here:
Author Program How-To:
If you have a budget of more than $5,000 per month please email them with more details about your marketing goals so they can help you create a custom integrated package that will meet and beat your marketing expectations.
If you have a budget of less than $5,000 per month they recommend using their self-serve advertising which allows you to target your Pay Per Click ads to your desired audience. Please check out their best practices for more helpful tips.
SIGN UP HERE: http://www.goodreads.com/advertisers/ad_home
*Information direct from their website
Shelfari introduces readers to a global community of book lovers and encourages them to share their literary inclinations and passions with peers, friends, and total strangers (for now). Shelfari is a gathering place for authors, aspiring authors, publishers, and readers, and has many tools and features to help these groups connect with each other in a fun and engaging way. Their mission is to enhance the experience of reading by connecting readers in meaningful conversations about the published word.
Build virtual bookshelves to express themselves to their friends and to the world
Discover books that are popular in their trusted circles of friends
Influence peers by rating and discussing books online
Discover and learn from people with similar reading tastes
Participate in online book groups to further explore literature and share ideas
Interact with and learn from authors
Shelfari is a community-powered encyclopedia and social site for book lovers. There are many ways for authors to get involved with their books and readers on Shelfari. Shelfari has book pages that are editable by the community. You can add memorable quotes, characters, glossary, description and other information to your book’s page. Just click on your book cover or title, which takes you to the book page. Shelfari’s Book Extras are available on the Kindle device and Kindle applications for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. These details are very helpful for readers and we encourage you to help add information to your books. Learn more in the FAQ section on "Shelfari Book Extras on Kindle"
Shelfari also has author detail pages for all published authors with a book in their catalog. You can find your detail page by clicking your name beneath the title of your book. If your book does not correctly show your name, click on the cover or title which takes you to the book page. On the book page, edit the Authors & Contributors section. Once the change is approved by the Shelfari Librarians then your book will be updated with the correct author information. Click through your name to your author detail page and begin adding and editing biographical and other information that would be interesting to readers.
Shelfari provides authors who participate on Author Central (see below information on Amazon) with an "Amazon Author" badge on their avatars.
Visit the BookRix Shelfari page for an example of a personal shelf: http://www.shelfari.com/o1514898858
And try Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games) page for an example of an author’s profile and shelf: http://www.shelfari.com/authors/a337403/Suzanne-Collins/
*Information direct from their website
If you're an author with a book listed in the Amazon catalog (which you will be when using the BookRix publishing service), you are eligible to join Author Central. At Author Central, you can share the most up-to-date information about yourself and your works with millions of readers. Add your biography, photos, blog, video, and tour events to the Author Page (your homepage on Amazon.com). The Author Page on Amazon.com provides a handy place for customers/readers to learn about you. Helping them get to know you is an effective way to introduce them to—or better educate them about—your books.
You use Author Central to personalize the contents of the Author Page dedicated to your books. Here’s how to start:
Set up your Author Central account if you haven’t already.
In Author Central, click the Profile tab. You’ll see sections for adding or changing your biography, photos, videos, speaking or other events, and blog feeds.
Click the add or edit link next to a section. Instructions appear, along with space to add information.
If you don’t add information to a section, that section does not appear on the Author Page. Sections are always available in Author Central so you can add or change the information later.
The creation process for an Author Page starts as soon as you sign up for Author Central. It can take 3 to 5 days for the Author Page to appear on the Amazon.com site. You can begin adding content to an Author Page as soon as you sign up. Once your Author Central account is set up and approved by a publisher, changes appear on the Author Page within 24 hours of the time you add them in Author Central.
Here is Stephanie Myers’ (author of the Twilight saga) Amazon.com Author Page as an example: http://www.amazon.com/Stephenie-Meyer/e/B001H6GO92/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1357725590&sr=1-1
Facebook and Twitter are the two most popular social media outlets for authors and readers alike. Using them to your advantage is easy and fun.
It’s hard to imagine life without Facebook. You keep in touch with family, share photos with your friends, tag yourself at your favorite hotspots, and share what’s on your mind. As a writer, the next step is to create your own Facebook Fan Page so that your fans can follow and share your posts. This is a great resource for spreading news about upcoming books, giveaways on your blog, or even thoughts and musings from your everyday life. By creating a Facebook Fan Page, you can connect with authors, give reading recommendations, discuss book tours, and much more. Another benefit of having a Facebook Fan Page is that you can focus on expanding your fan base, while keeping your personal profile for close friends and family members. You can use your Facebook Fan Page almost the same way as your own website or blog (see Author Website/Blog section below for more information) but by having a Fan Page, you can target audience better without spamming your friends and coworkers with up to date info on your written work
Having fans visit your Facebook page is awesome, but having fans on your email list is a completely different ball game. Email interaction establishes dialog and allows you the ability to deliver what you want, when you want. If you have a lot of information you’d like to share, perhaps a weekly or monthly newsletter would be best. We suggest establishing a simple ‘mailing list’ App to your Facebook page. This easy to use application gives users the option of providing their preferred email address for you to utilize.
You should also find literary related groups about book, self-publishing, and writing workshops– be active and get yourself out there. You might be surprised by how many active groups are available. Joining Facebook groups is a simple one-click process. Once you’ve joined you should participate in conversations, start new topics, and share what you’re working on. The key to groups is staying active and engaging with likeminded people. It’s an excellent networking resource.
For anyone who doesn’t already know, Twitter is an online social networking service that enables users to send/read text-based messages knows as “tweets”. It has over 500 million registered users who generate over 340 million tweets daily. Twitter is now one of the ten most visited websites on the Internet. Being active on Twitter is a no brainer.
Similar to Facebook, Twitter is an effective yet simple way to stay connected with people and things you love. It’s also a great way to network with others and promote! Have a favorite author? Chances are they’re on Twitter. (To start, try this list of 100+ Authors on Twitter: http://mashable.com/2009/05/08/twitter-authors/). You can also find publishers, agents and industry news. Branch out and find the people you want to receive updates from by expanding your follow list. Not sure where to begin? Try using hashtags – it’s the # symbol (referred to as the “pound key” or “number key”) followed by a topic. Here are a few examples: #booklover, #ebooks, #writing, etc. By entering phrases like these into the Twitter search field, you can locate users from all over the world who have included that particular hashtag into their tweet. This cool feature allows you to discover new people and topics that interest you. Your outgoing Tweets can be about the book you’re writing, things you derive inspiration from, events you plan on attending, and so forth. You can find writers working on similar projects and share challenges and personal progress as a means of inspiration. The Twitter world is your oyster! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to install the Twitter application to your Smartphone. This makes Tweeting-on-the-go a breeze. The best way to experience Twitter is just to dive in and have fun!
Running your own personal website is the most effective way to gain readers and then keep them interested. Many authors associate a blog with (a lot of) work, stress and time. They often question themselves:
What’s the benefit of a blog and why should I take the trouble to create one? Sure, it’s true that you can gain readers without a blog, however, with a blog you will end up with a lot more. Thanks to the Internet, creating and maintaining a blog really isn't time consuming any more: There are different “model sets” and "templates" helping to conjure a blog within a few minutes.
Why should an author invest their time in a blog? Let’s start with the most obvious advantage: Bloggers often connect with each other. On almost every blog you can find the so-called “link list” which directly links to other blogs recommended by the blog owner. It’s really easy to get added to these lists because between bloggers it’s common to see: “you link me, I link you” – especially for authors with similar themes and genres. The more links to your blog, the more readers will visit it. And new blog visitors are almost guaranteed to become new readers at the same time!
Attracting new readers depends on how the author presents themself. A blog offers countless opportunities to introduce yourself and your work. Here are several useful tips for your website:
Make it easy to use. Short profiles of the characters, an extensive biography of you (the author), a summary of your work, a reading sample, a list of links to external interviews and book reviews – All of your information should be conveniently gathered in one place to be accessed by the reader so they don’t have to go searching for it.
Have your very own author email address for fans to connect with you personally.
Have a “follow me” area where users can either check a box or enter their email address to follow along with your blog. You can inform them about anything exciting on your website and let them know when you are releasing a new book. If readers don’t know you have a new book, how can they be expected to buy it and read it? Using this, you can also offer your own newsletter. Just make sure you don’t bombard your readers with daily emails – Save the newsletter/email for the really important news.
Hold giveaways and contests. This will hook your readers in as well as drawing new fans who love free stuff. Be as creative as you want!
Have a live story that you add to every day until it’s finished. Your readers can comment and criticize you along the way, making them feel like they are part of your creative process. They can also watch the story grow, something that is unique only to live stories!
Create a fan art page – Your readers can share their artwork based on your book(s). This works best for Fantasy and Science Fiction, but can be fun for any genre.
Using your blog, share personal info about your daily life. Readers love learning more about their favorite authors. You can also use this to personally inform them about upcoming book releases and it won’t seem pushy. Besides, readers can give their feedback by using the comments section. In so doing, all reader comments are clearly visible for the blog owner. As a result, the blog serves as a communication platform between authors and readers.
Offer exclusive content. Have a new book set to release next month? Share a short story based on one of your characters to give your fans a little taste of what’s to come. What you choose to showcase is entirely up to you (i.e. an exclusive interview, a signed eCopy of your book, release of the first chapter in your upcoming book, etc.). This content can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, your newsletter or your blog. However we suggest posting the content in only one channel, yet advertising it across all social media platforms. This way you ensure your fans are reached, yet you’ve demonstrated its exclusivity. Entice them by showing them that you are forever grateful for their support.
Include links to your author pages on Twitter and Facebook (and your blog if you decided to have a webpage AND a blog). After you've published, make sure you also have a Wiki page. There are so many ways to get yourself out there. The more effort you put in, the more results you're going to get.
Have a camera or a camera phone? Take some photos! It adds a nice touch to your blog and really helps personalize your blogspace. Not sure what to capture on virtual film? How about a photo of your workspace, the view from your window, nature around you, your favorite reading spot, local library, things you see while exploring, a family pet (careful not to get trigger happy with the cat photos!), a nice meal you made for dinner, etc. Get creative! You can incorporate a variety of things into your blog; the idea is to have fun with it!
Fans can now find all the important information on one website. Beyond that, they can use this website for getting in touch with their idol (that’s you!).
If you already have a blog, feel free to share the link with us in our “Web Writer's” group!
We would like to use this opportunity to inform all authors who have published on BookRix, about a right you all have: The right to distribute free copies of your book for reviews. However, it is important that this marketing opportunity is not taken lightly. Out there, in the all mighty World Wide Web, there are many book review blogs – some have five readers, others have more than five thousand readers.
All authors should ask themselves the following question: Is it worth it to send the reviewer a free copy of my book? There is a strong temptation to offer your book to any book blog, because you want to be mentioned within the reading community as often as possible. HOWEVER, we recommend approaching “larger” blogs first.
Here are a few things an author has to consider:
Which genre is the blog owner reviewing? If you do your research, you should be able to find a large variety of bloggers who are interested in your genre and they will appreciate the fact that you read and understood their Review Policy before you contacted them. Find bloggers who write about similar content. They can be writers, avid readers, teachers, book lovers, library enthusiasts, etc. Don’t limit yourself to one category – the key here is diversity.
How many readers does the blog have? You should be able to find a counter with this information on the blog (often at the bottom or to the side), however, if you are unable to find out, you can always contact the blogger.
What do the previous reviews look like? For example if an author criticizes vampire novels in a negative way, as they are obsolete in his/her view, you should not offer your vampire novel for writing a review. Find reviewers who enjoy reading books that are similar to yours.
Does the blog owner blog regularly? If the blogger is regular with their postings, it probably means they have regular readers who expect new material consistently. If the blogger is consistent, then the readers will come back in search of more and find your book’s review.
Do the reviews also appear on Amazon, Kobo, etc.? Adding a review and rating to your book in the shops takes very little time and after having read your book, they might as well help you out by sharing their opinions in the shops where other potential buyers can view it.
If these questions have been answered to your satisfaction, you can then approach the blog owner. It is important not to appear as an “enthusiastic fan,” but to say clearly that you are a new author and you believe the blog owner would like your work. THEN ask about writing a review. Of course you will need to provide a reading sample (in ePub format) for free.
It is recommended to send the blurb and the cover image as well as a link to the reading sample. It is not recommended to send the whole book as an ePub via email as this might be intrusive. Also, the blogger will then have the opportunity to read the whole book, even if they don’t want to review it.
There are a few other options when it comes to blogs. Many bloggers are interested in having authors write guest blogs for their site. This is a great way to get your name out there as a writer and as an active member of the book community. It’s also a great way to make connections with other bloggers (you can then invite them to do the same on your blog/website). You can create a promotional banner for your book so that they can embed it into their blog. If a blogger likes you (and/or your book) they will most likely offer this service for free. It’s like having a miniature ad campaign. Another great way to entice bloggers to work with you is to offer free material for their blog. They can create a giveaway that will keep their readers happy and draw new readers in – and you can give away a free copy of your book to gain more fans!
If you can connect with several bloggers, there is one last option for promotion – you can organize a blog tour for your book(s). First of all, you email all your blog contacts, asking them if they will be part of your tour. Next, you set up a schedule for when each blogger will be involved. Now you decide which blogger will feature a book review, an author interview, a giveaway, etc. If you have 14 bloggers willing to help, that’s two straight weeks of promoting your book (or one month spread out if you don’t want to overdo your self-promotion). Each blog will have readers that will follow your book to each new stop on the tour. They will be interested in new content, so make sure there is very little repetition. You will need to respond to comments at each stop to show your readers that you care about them. If you are having giveaways (which we highly recommend) then you can offer your own books, but it can also be older sale books, short stories, exclusives, or even books by fellow authors if you are willing to help out your fellow indie writers (with their permission of course). The most effective blog tours often have a “Faithful Follower Award” to give out at the end of the tour to the reader who visits and comments on the most stops (readers love book gift cards). This will encourage readers to follow your tour and will also attract new fans (People love free stuff!).
This is one of the more creative methods available for self-promotion. YouTube is popular for a reason: People enjoy watching videos. So fire up your webcam and get inspired! An effective book trailer for your book (on YouTube) is a fun way to offer readers a free preview of your book, especially if your weakness is writing a blurb. You can use images and music to create emotional intrigue and leave your readers wanting more. If you’re not sure how to make a book trailer, there are plenty of BookRix members who are willing to help – just ask in the “Art Writers” group. You can also use online videos to showcase a book reading. Fans love to see their favorite authors reading their books aloud. It’s personal and it’s fun! If you find that your readers are sending you a lot of questions, you can also use video to answer commonly asked questions. Readers will get to see your face and therefore feel closer to you and see that you care enough to take the time to respond. Fans love being recognized, so use this opportunity to give them a shout out. Example “Rebecca in Munich and Gen in San Francisco want to know if the characters in my book are based on people I know“, etc. Just remember to speak slowly and clearly so your listeners can hear you.
Release Date: 02-06-2013
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