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Advertising and Marketing

The Importance of a Strong Book Cover: A Case Study

By: D.F. Hart | Posted on January 8, 2021

We’ve published numerous blogs touting the importance of your cover when it comes to selling your book, but it’s often hard to give a concrete apples-to-apples example because the cover is rarely the only difference between two books. That is, if we looked at the great sales of Book A (with a strong cover) compared to the lower sales of Book B (with a weak cover), it would be impossible to argue that the cover was the sole defining factor. Maybe Book A also had a better blurb, or was written by an author with a stronger following, or was in a more popular genre or sub-genre. Any number of factors could be the cause.  So when D.F. Hart told me of her recent surge in sales after simply changing the covers on an existing series, I knew it was something that our author community would want to hear about…. Read More >

Calculating the real value of your book ads

By: Ginger | Posted on December 18, 2020

As an independent author in charge of your own marketing success, you owe it to yourself to make sure you can properly determine just how effectively your book ads are performing. But if you’ve been assuming that you can simply rely on the advertising dashboard provided by Amazon or Facebook to give you the answers you’re looking for, you need to understand that those numbers can be very misleading, if not completely wrong. To illustrate this, ad expert Ginger takes us through some actual numbers pulled from one of his own recent ad campaigns.   Before I finally published my first successful book, I had spent 25 years carving out a career in advertising and marketing; which probably gave me an advantage when it came to promoting my books. I’m old enough to have entered the advertising industry before the days of Facebook and YouTube – back when people still… Read More >

The 30-day Social Media Challenge

By: Ginger | Posted on December 11, 2020

One of the topics I discuss most often with authors looking for advice on expanding their readership is social media, because the importance of building a following cannot be overstated when it comes to self-publishing. There’s no one else to do it for you, so even if you shun social media in your personal life, you can’t afford to ignore it when it comes to your writing.  That’s why advertising and marketing expert Ginger is here not only to challenge you into using your social, but he’s also handing out plenty of tips on how to do it effectively.   There’s probably nobody reading this who doesn’t know what NaNoWriMo is – the “national novel writing month” in which people commit to writing 50,000 words in 30 days, each November. Well, successful self-published authors spend every month as if it’s NaNoWriMo – because of how important it is to write… Read More >

Twelve Tips for Building a Self-Publishing Career

By: Nate | Posted on December 4, 2020

There are many paths to success and if you poll a dozen different successful self-published authors you might get a dozen unique answers on how they got their career going. But you’ll probably also find that regardless of differences in things such as genre or marketing strategies, most (if not all) of those authors also have a lot in common. This is because, at a lower level, there are some core things that are much more essential to success. So if you’re ready to move from occasional author to serious novelist, Nate has put together a list of twelve self-publishing tips that will help you kickstart your own writing career. Tip 1: Do your research. Not just about your favorite niches and not just the bestsellers, though. Watch and read the news. Watch for trends in other media, like television or movies. And definitely don’t be afraid to step outside… Read More >

Is your book worthy of the ad budget you’re about to spend?

By: Ginger | Posted on November 27, 2020

Nothing burns through ad dollars faster than trying to sell a book that no one wants to buy.  But even if the story is great and an author has done everything right inside their book, that doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t gone completely off the rails on everything else. And unfortunately, it’s the ‘everything else’ that drive readers to click the buy button. In this next installment of Ginger’s continuing series on turning your writing dreams into a reality, he dissects one of his early publications in which he made just about every mistake possible, all so that you can learn from his missteps instead of making them on your own!   The question I get asked most often by other authors is: “How can I advertise my book?” The more important one can sometimes be: “Should I advertise my book?” So, you want to be a successful author –… Read More >

Copyright and Cover Designers

By: Nate | Posted on November 6, 2020

Many authors believe that if you hire a designer to do your covers, you’re free to use the finished product however you see fit – including resizing, zooming in on, or cropping out parts of the images to use in your ads or other promotional material. But be careful, because in many cases, doing those things may actually be in violation of your license agreement. Just because you paid a designer for a cover or purchased some stock images doesn’t mean you’re free to use them however you please.  That’s why Nate is here to go over what is and is not allowed across the various scenarios. You’ve invested a ton of time and energy into making your story perfect, but without an eye-catching cover designed to communicate to your intended audience, you’ll be at a major disadvantage when the time comes to hopefully see some returns on your investment…. Read More >

Be a Plotter when it comes to your writing career!

By: Ginger | Posted on October 30, 2020

Just like some authors start a new story not knowing where it’ll lead, many self-published authors approach their writing career ‘by the seat of their pants.’ But is that the best path to success?  In this installment in our series of posts related to turning your writing dream into a reality, Ginger lays out the argument that the truly successful authors approach their future in publishing with the same discipline as they plot out their stories. That is, they plan things out carefully by deciding on a genre, researching it thoroughly, and then commit to delivering books that meet reader expectations.   It’s a well-known concept – the writer as “plotter” or “pantster.” In fact, we’ve written about it a number of times on this blog! A ‘plotter‘ plans out the path of their story, often using something like a ‘beat sheet’ or a story circle. Successful authors who literally… Read More >

Amazon Exclusive vs Wide: A Case Study

By: Isabel Jolie | Posted on October 23, 2020

The case for going wide or remaining in KDP Select as an Amazon exclusive is fiercely debated, but at the end of the day there is likely no right answer that fits everyone. Like most things, it comes down to experimentation and doing your research. That’s the approach romance author Isabel Jolie took, and luckily for us she was willing to put together this blog breaking down her numbers and what she learned from her experimentation.   To KU or not to KU? It’s a question every author has at least considered and weighed. “Any romance author should do KU.” “KU is a no-brainer for a new author.” These are things I was told – repeatedly. I ultimately chose to go wide, but I did briefly test KU, and the following is what I experienced. Background I released my first book in January 2020. In September, I released my fourth… Read More >

Author Websites: The Whens, Whys and Hows

By: Virginie Carmichael | Posted on October 9, 2020

If you don’t already have an author website, you’ve probably heard or read someone, somewhere, saying you need one. What may not be as clear is why you need one. Or when you need one. Or where to go next if you do decide you actually should have one. That’s why we’ve turned to Virginie Carmichael for help. As someone who has made a business out of helping authors with their websites, Virginie has the answers to all these questions, and more.   Being a successful author is not for the faint of heart. It requires dedication, planning and making some mistakes along the way. You might have already set up a website, and just given up on it because it’s too much of a time suck to manage. Or maybe you haven’t slayed that beast yet, because it just seems too daunting. Or you might not even be sure if… Read More >

Choose an Email Marketing Service That Works for You

By: Annabeth Saryu | Posted on September 25, 2020

Most independent authors are well aware of the importance of a newsletter and the benefits of using a mailing list to handle it, but a quick google search will result in plenty of different email marketing services to choose from. Unfortunately, it’s not a one-size-fits-all sort of problem, since every author has different needs. Luckily, author Annabeth Saryu has already done a lot of research into what factors need to be considered, and she’s put it all together here to make it easier to determine how to pick the service that will work best for you.   Regardless of where an author is in their career, they eventually encounter a piece of universally accepted advice: build your mailing list. Your mailing list not only consists of your most avid readers, but if cultivated properly, also includes your most dedicated customers. While many experts on author marketing stress the value of… Read More >