Sunday, April 22, 2012

How to Make Your Blog Work as a System for Promoting Your Book

In our previous post, Marketing Your Book After it is Published, we talked about using the content of your book to build followers and attract Google's attention. We did this by blogging out the book paragraph by paragraph.

In this post I will talk about how to use your book blog as the beginning of a system around your book. Blogs are great places to assemble content and in the process of writing a book you most likely gathered a lot of information that was used to write it but never made it into the final product. We can now bring all that back and add more. This information makes great blog post and expands out the your book's reach.

Ok what are some of the things you can do?
  • Add additional content from the cutting room floor. Add and describe pictures, interviews, research material, maybe your thinking on the characters, the places you went
  • Conduct a fuller or further interview with the people that you might have featured in the book. Put in the full interview.
  • Additional tips, techniques, how about a workbook, pictures
  • People love to read about the behind the scenes stuff, how you did it, what did you have to go through. A key thing here is to save all this stuff while you are writing the book so that you can bring it back at this stage. The plane tickets, restaurant stub, menus, there is always tons.
  • Develop a course or an online lecture series that goes along with the book. Even if the course is free and is just a series of blog posts people will learn from it and you might find this becomes your next book.
  • A major goal here is to gather more names for your mailing list, maybe put some of this info behind the signup wall.
  • Set up a chance to meet the author, talk about where you will be and where they can meet you. You can also set up an online meet the author using one of the free video streaming sites such as UStream.tv, announce the date and time and give them a link. This technique can expand your reach globally.
  • The goal here is to add resources that add to the book or to the community around the book.
  • Use the Amazon receipt technique to capture a name from buyers of the book with the addition of bonus content. The person buys your book and then signs up to your mailing list using the Amazon receipt to get access to additional content. What is cool is that you are collecting the names of actual buyers of your book.

The task here is to use your blog as book central, make the book more than just a book but an entire system. Blogs are very good at attracting search traffic because they are updated a lot and are topic focused. Google like this and your readers like this.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Learn How I Published My New Book-How to Stand Out Online

Cover designed using a CreateSpace template

This past week I have been working on putting up a new book called How to Stand Out Online on CreateSpace.com in paperback. Shortly I will put up the same book on Kindle in ebook format and hopefully Smashwords.com for all the other platforms.

I am trying to do it without using any of my desktop publishing programs, using just what they give you in templates and such. I have been taking screen shots and notes on the effort. This info and effort will be used to produce the publishing tutorial modules in an upcoming book on getting your books up online.

It has been interesting to use just the CreateSpace software, it is pretty good. You have to make some compromises, or maybe I haven't figured out all the parts yet but overall I am pretty pleased. The insides of the book were formatted in MSWord and the cover was done using their cover tool.  It works, you need very little to publish a book.

Make sure you sign up over on the right, I am going to be releasing content from my upcoming book and course as I start pulling it together.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Marketing Your Book After it is Published

Bring in visitors from all over
Ok you have published your print book or e-book using CreateSpace/Amazon or Kindle, now comes the hard part getting people to buy it.

The reality is that most books rarely sell more than 150 copies in their lifetime without a lot of marketing time and money. So the challenge is to find ways of marketing that don’t cost a lot of money.

So what do you do? This is where your blog comes back into play. Hopefully you have built up an email list that you can promote your book back out to your have fans and followers. Along with your blog followers your can also connect with your Facebook friends, Linkedin connections, all of the people that are linked to you by your social media platforms.

A great way to promote your book is to blog the entire manuscript, page by page, paragraph by paragraph. Break your book down into small chunks, add clever titles, or story telling titles and then put it out to the world. The key is that you are using your content to attract Google searches. Once on the site you give people a clear path to purchase your book with a thumbnail picture of the cover and link to Amazon.

Authors worry about that people will just read their book here and not buy. Yes that is true, but most people don’t want to read a book one post at a time. But what you are really doing is helping the search engines find your content and send visitors to your site. If they are interested maybe they will buy your book if you give them a clear path to purchase. What you are really doing is building traffic using your book content. To get 1 buyer you need to bring in 100-200 visitors. More visitors more buyers.

From the blog you can also create events, market the author, conduct interviews, both written and in video, tie in other products, special editions, audio book-ipad, calendar, mugs, the list is almost endless.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Building of a Product with Make, Market Launch It

Over the last two months I have been taking a course with Mike Koenings and Pamela Hendrickson called Make, Market Launch It. The course is about how to build information products. Something I have been trying to do for several years but couldn't figure it out. Along came MML and it just seemed closer than anything else I have tried. I have used it to push me to develop my own product on how to publish books. I now have 14 books selling and what I am trying to do teach others how to do this.
I have now finished the course, I have gone through all 7 modules, every video, every pdf. I have learned a ton. That was my goal to watch the entire program before the conference that they are having in a week or so in San Diego. Through this program I have figured out a product to work on, how to publish a book, that seems to be evolving into how to live a freelance or independent life by building and publishing products based on what you do
Another goal from MML was to give an hour talk on my publishing system, use it as the foundation. Did that also in March in front of 25 people through the Boston Internet Marketing Meetup that I am part of, it went great. Huge thank you to Lew Sabbag who listened to my run throughs and offered lots of great ideas. Because I now talk about this stuff all the time people are now contacting me to have me help them with their books, how cool is that. That is what happens when you tell people what you are doing. 
My next step is rewriting the rough book I made for the talk and figuring out the parts of the product. My next goal is to have a product in the can by this September, a book, some modules, some videos, and offer it for sale. 
So a big thank you to Pamela Hendrickson and Mike Koenigs for this course, it has been a fantastic push to get this far. Because of this my life has changed over the last two months. I am in a new direction and all kinds of cool stuff is happening. Alright back to writing. To learn more about Make, Market Launch it checkout their website http://www.makemarketlaunch.com

The Tim Ferriss Effect for Getting Exposure for Your Book

Thinking of promoting your books and efforts. It isn't something that happens overnight, it is something that takes months if not years of effort. Connected here is an excellent article by Michael Ellsberg of Forbes magazine on connecting with important bloggers that can advance your stuff. The man he is talking about is Tim Ferriss the author of the 4 Hour Work Week. Ellsberg's main point for marketing you book is to connect with a popular single-author blog that is related to your topic and get to know them well and contribute to their conversation.

Check out the full post on Forbes.com  The Tim Ferriss Effect: Lessons From My Successful Book Launch

Monday, April 9, 2012

Pre-Marketing Your Book Using Your Blog

Your blog platform works on both ends of the book writing process. On the front end you can give out pre-launch material, free chapters, or even the entire book in rough format. One should also be building followers, ask for feedback, promoting yourself and the upcoming book. Some authors use their platform to test plot line, I have used it to test covers and internal layouts and design. Blogger has a great little poll feature, our use a service like SurveyMonkey.com. Your blog is there to have a dialog with your readers and followers.

In this next section of our Make Market Publish Your Book posts we will cover pre-marketing, post-marketing and developing your marketing platform further.

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

How to Make, Upload and Host a PDF Tips Sheet on Your Blog


We are often helping people get going with the marketing of their book. One of the first steps is publishing a small pdf chapter, or tips list or maybe a resource list for your readers. You can start distributing your content and getting it out there.

This video lays out how to make a simple tips sheet and host it on your blog so readers can download it.

Steps include:
1. Make a list of helpful tips in MS Word or some word processing program
2. Save it as a PDF
3. Extract the cover page and save it as a jpg for making your thumbnail
4. Make a thumbnail graphic for the blog in Photo shop or Paintbrush
 - Size should be about 3 inches at 72 dpi
5. Host your Tips sheet in Google Docs
6. Set the share option for the public, copy the link for use in your blog
7. Go back to your blog, add an picture widget to the side of your blog
8. Link this image to the pdf in your Google Docs using the share link
9. Test the link

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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Making Videos for your Books and Products

One of the important tasks that you should do for promoting your products is to make videos. The technology has gotten so much easier and with sites like YouTube you now have world wide delivery for basically free. It is very easy to show the features and benefits of your product. I have been working on quite a few videos lately for many of my different books. I will talk more about making videos later but to put the word out there, start making and start posting your own product and story videos.


This is a video I recently completed for my book, USA and the 50 US States coloring book. It is hosted on YouTube and it is also embedded in the book store page for the book. You can see the entire page on our site www.freeusandworldmaps.com

Friday, April 6, 2012

Resources for Setting Up Your Book Platform

One of the ways to build an audience for your e-book and print book is to release it online in short posts. I have been reworking the text for my Make, Market Publish Your Book and putting it up here as I work through each part. Each section has a resource area and for the first chapter the resources are about the platforms that you use to build your audience and research your market and topic. So they include blogs, social media sites, an e-mail management host, and different sites for researching and doing polls.

Chapter 1 Resources

Blog Platforms

Single topic publishing sites

Social Media Sites

e-Mail Management Sites

Research Sites to Figure Our Your Market

Survey Sites
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E-reader and Tablet Owners Read More Books, Learn More

Excellent article today on PaidContent.org or the four key takeaways from a recent Pew study on e-reading.
1. E-readers reading more books than people who don't own a device. 24 to 15
2. Kindle still rules as the number 1 reader
3. Online bookstore are a powerful source for recommendations
4. Lending and borrowing, most prefer to buy but the jury is still out

check out the entire article plus excellent charts at
http://paidcontent.org/2012/04/05/pew-e-reading-study-takeaway/

I think a big message here is get your books up on Kindle.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Do You Have the Right Title for Your Book?

One of the things that happens when we write our book is that we often fall in love with the working title. This is the title that you use when you talk about your book to your friends and family. Very often this title doesn’t end up being a very good one for Google or Amazon search. Remember books are often found by searching. It is worth spending some time coming up with a good descriptive title, you are trying to get your book found. Using Google and Amazon instant search you can get a pretty good idea of how people look for your type of book. Combine this with the other titles you find when you research on your topic and come up with a good one. Try to work in the main keyword phrase that comes in the search results.

My first music chord book was called Notebook Music Chords, Chord and Music Charts for the Everyday Play, because I thought I would put my guitar chord charts into a notebook to take with me to gigs and music jams and it was directed to beginners. No one bought that book because no one searches for guitar chord books using the word Notebook, they search on guitar chords. After some research I realized a lot of people used the word Essential and guitar and mandolin chords. I renamed the book Essential Music Chords for Guitar, Mandolin, Ukulele and Banjo. It has done fine.

You can check out the book on Amazon.com (affiliate link)


Monday, April 2, 2012

How to Analyze Your Book Topic and Market Using Amazon.com

Ok you have done an initial look on Amazon, looked at instant search to see keywords on your topic and selected a phrase. Initial when you do a search you are looking to see that there are actual products, books and other items that are selling. A lot of books and items means this is an active market.You only really want to be in a market where people are spending actual money buying real things.

First, look at the search results.
  • You want to see that there are a good number of books selling in your topic. You want to see that your are looking at an active market.
  • Look at the top 10 books, the titles, the design, what words are being used in the titles, what keywords they are using?
  • Are the titles clear about what the books are about. Look at the subtitles, this is a great way to figure out what your title should be. You can add a pretty long subtitle to your book, which is a great way to add more keywords.
  • You want to spend time looking at the books that have high sales ranking, remember books come up by relevance but the results are not necessarily sorted in order of sales. There are over 8 million books on Amazon. Number eight million is at the bottom and #1 at the top. As you come down the search results page you will see different books that relate to your topic. Look at ones with a sales rank below 500,000, preferable below 100,000 or 50,000. Sales ranks is listed in the Product Details section of each book, see below.
The next step is to select and review the top 5 to 10 books in your category. Click on a cover and start working your way down the sales page.

Top of Page
  • Look at the title and subtitle, how is it phrased, what key words are there
  • Look at the cover picture, can you tell what the book is about, remember our sales image is 1.5 to 2" wide, small type doesn't work any more, what is the book about. This will give you great info for figuring out your own book cover. You need to be able to read the cover when it is thumbnail
  • How many places is it being sold, how many reviews, is it in paperback, Kindle, look a all this
  • Check out Click to Look Inside! How are they laying out the book, what is the design, front matter etc. One of the most valuable parts of Look Inside is getting to see the Table of Contents. The TOC has all the information that should be in your book, how it is broken down and what to include. The task here is to look at several books and then combine their TOCs together into your book outline. You can very quickly pull a book together but looking through successful book's TOCs or figure out what is missing in yours. We aren't copying but we are looking for information, inspiration and what is missing from our project. There is gold here.
Book Description
  • Look at descriptions, what are they writing about, what keywords are there. Descriptions are keys to understanding the book and also its success in being found in search. Lots of great ideas hear. 
Frequently Bought Together and Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
  • Once a book starts to sell Amazon bundles it with other products that customers buy. Take a look at those products. This is also a good indicator of what your next product should be and the pricing. You could also make these bundle yourself and sell them on your own site.
  • Go through all these books and analyze them, there is a wealth of market info here
Editorial Reviews 
  • This is like looking at Customer Reviews but from the media, it is a good review of how the book is seen but it might be built more from press releases than from actual readers.
Product Details
  • Some key information here, we see the size of the book, page numbers, physical size, and the publisher. What I see that is the most important is the Sales Rank
  • Sales Rank. We want to look at book with a sales rank below 500,000, preferable below 100,000 or 50,000. Bestselling books are in the 10,000 and lower area. This tells us which book are successful, we also want to pay attention to books that are ranking in 2 or more categories. This info will tell us where these books fall on the shelf and how the world sees them. Some to remember is that the ranking seems to be a daily snapshot. The numbers can move around a lot but is gives you a feel for what books are selling and which are not. I use this information alot to figure out which book I need to pay attention to. 
Customer Reviews
  • Customer Reviews are the gold in Amazon. Customers will write in what they like, what they don't, what is missing,  how things should be fixed. There is a ton to learn by reading the book reviews that you can add to your book.
  • Make a list and write down all of this key info. 
  • The review are also a great place to help you build the phrases that you will use for your book description, back cover jacket text, your press release.
  • You want to be looking at books that have a healthy number of reviews, more than 5-8, if a book has 30-50 then you have a popular book or at least a book that effects people.