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May 2012

Book Marketing Essentials for Fiction Writers

Many publishing experts agree that fiction is more difficult to market than nonfiction. Fiction involves so many genres and sub-genres and sub- sub-genres. Also, readers' opinions about fiction are much more subjection. What one person loves, another may hate - there is no right or wrong. Plus ther is so much more competition.

To help you meet this challenge, here are some essential marketing tips for fiction writers.

1. Get out there. Marketing fiction successfully is all about getting out there and meeting people, setting up book readings and lectures and interviews.

2. Get a booth. A booth is a great way to put yourself in front of readers, and there are book festivals in every state. A great resource to search for book festivals is www.bookfestival.com.

3. Enter a contest. There are hundred of contests out there: large and small, regional and national, genre-specific and general. Find one that fits you and your book and enter it! It's great exposure.

4. Reviews. Obtaining reviews of your book is one of the most important strategies for fiction writers. A great review can really boost sales.

5. Work with schools. Many schools bring writers in for workshops, writer-in-residence programs and readings. Search the internet for programs in your area. You may not be able to sell your book to the students, but the relationship can lead to newspaper coverage and expand your network of contacts.

6. Give a reading. Giving readings is one of the most important ways that fiction authors can market their work. Not only do you have the opportunity to read your work, but you can also answer questions about your book, providing information that can make your audience more interested in buying.

7. Write another book. This is more important for fiction writers than for nonfiction - and is essential for children's books. Everyone loves to read a book by an author they know. Once your readers become involved in your first book, it is much easier to get them to buy the second...and the third.

8. Brand yourself and your book. Branding is about making your name and the names of your books familiar ot the public. And it can be as simple as making sure the covers of your books have a similar look and feel.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Karen Hodges Miller's new book, Sell Your Book.]


7 Ingenious Ways to Use Amazon.com to Your Advantage

Every day thousands of book buyers go to Amazon.com to select from the millions of titles they offer. If you are going to use Amazon, it makes sense to capitalize on every possible means to influence those who visit earth's biggest bookstore. These seven ideas won't cost you a cent in most cases, but may help level the playing field with your competition.

1. Read other books and write customer reviews. There are ways to insert information about your own book as you review worthy competing titles. For example, you can compare the two books, sign off as author of XYZ, and provide a link directly to your own book listing on Amazon.com.

2. Use Amazon's best-seller list for detective work. Search the best seller lists via general subjects as well as specific topics. You can obtain information about what else is available on you topic and how each one ranks.

3. Garner scads of customer reviews for your book. Having a dozen or more consumer reviews on your site is a good thing. And the best way to obtain consumer reviews is to ask for them. Having helpful reviews can impact the way people decide on what to buy and will give you increased exposure elsewhere on Amazon.com.

4. Get your book into the hands of Amazon's top reviewers. Troll Amazon's list of top reviewers. These are not Amazon employees, but avid readers who enjoy critiquing books. Select those who regularly post reviews of books in a genre similar to yours and ask them if they will review your book.

5. Participate in the "Search Inside the Book" program. This free program enables potential book buyers to see electronically what is on the pages. It also enhances the search optimization for your book for customers who are searching in the subject your book falls into. 

6. Participate in "discussion boards." Have an opinion to voice? A question to pose to readers? A book that needs promoting? Amazon.com has numerous discussion boards about books. The easiest way to locate them is to go to their communities section and find the right topic(s).

7. Sign up for "Author Central." This free author blog offers participants the opportunity to share with readers the most up-to-date information about themselves and their work. There is also a customer discussion feature that provides a forum for customers to communicate with the author right on the page.

With work and perseverance, you'll discover the above ideas can be great ways to create promotional buzz for your book - and, hopefully sales.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing, 5th edition, co-authored by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier.]


Nine Steps In Successfully Writing a Non-fiction Book

While there are a number of choices when it comes to producing, distributing and promoting your non-fiction book, following a single system for writing it can prove to be extremely beneficial. Here is a way to save time by consolidating some of the writing steps.

Step #1: Research your topic. Proper research will help you determine if there is a market for what you are writing about, as well as identify where and how you can gather material for your book. Research sources are many and can include bookstores, the Internet, magazines, associations and book/writing events.

Step #2: Narrow your focus. As you learn more about your subject matter, you will discover that by making your book more specific, more potential buyers will identify with it.

Step #3: Draft back cover sales copy first. One of the greatest obstacles to book writing is lack of focus. Drafting your back cover before you write your book will help you focus on your readers and will guide you to what will be in your book.

Step #4: Select a working title. Drafting your back cover copy may likely produce several ideas for your book's title and subtitle. A "working title" will provide you with something to refer to as you write your book.

Step #5: Gather and use quotations. Including pertinant quotations (obtained during your research) in your book will add to its credibility.

Step #6: Add stories. Readers love stories. These accounts help them to remember the points you are trying to make. Stories can demonstrate that you are writing from experience and will add depth to your writing.

Step #7: Don't start writing with chapter one. Very few writers begin at the beginning. Write where your research and thoughts take you. You can fill in the blanks, including the introduction, later.

Step #8: Have your manuscript edited. No writer is so good that he or she should skip editing. While the information is yours, rely on a picky English pro to check the punctuation, grammar and style of your book. Then re-read your manuscript to make sure that the editor improved the copy without making material changes.

Step #9: Obtain feedback on your manuscript. One secret to good material is peer review. Smart non-fiction authors take each chapter of a nearly complete manuscript and send it off to at least four experts on that chapter's subject.

[This post was created , with permission, from excerpts taken from Dan Poynter's Self-Publishing Manual, Volume 2, written by Dan Poynter.]


You Don't Have to be a Writer to be an Author

Did you know that on any given week, up to half of the books on any non-fiction best seller list are written by someone other than the name on the book? The reason is simple. Being an expert, an eyewitness or a celebrity does not necessarily mean that one is also a skilled writer and communicator. Enter the ghostwriter.

Ghostwriters typically work for any of four kinds of clients. One is the expert who writes to preserve and share his or her knowledge. Another has an extraordinary first-person perspective and experience to relate. The third is a celebrity or aspiring celebrity who wants a book to memorialize or launch a career. The fourth has a fictional story to tell, but not the necessary storytelling skills.

For example, you don't think Lee Iaccoca wrote his best-selling books all by himself do you? Iaccoca is the author. The book contains his information. But he did and does not have the time to be a writer.

In addition, ghostwriters can fill in for any skill or knowledge authors may lack. In recognition for their expertise, ghostwriters are typically paid a cash fee plus a percentage of the author's royalties. In return, ghostwriters take a vow of perpetual silence.

If you are not a fully-skilled writer but have expert knowledge or an extraordinary experience to share, or seek to launch or enhance your image, you may want to consider hiring a ghostwriter. It could be a very smart move.

[This post was created, with permission, from excerpts taken from Successful Nonfiction, written by Dan Poynter.]