Feb 12 – Dreams and nightmares

Today is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday which means tomorrow is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent.

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You can’t live the dream if you look like a nightmare… Garrett of Organo Gold.   Garrett is a young man, dressed in a suit. He looks sharp and intelligent and when he opens his mouth to speak, it is like a moment with Yoda. Bits of wisdom just come out and you’re mesmerized. I particularly liked this quote, because it reminded me of a couple of books I’ve been asked to help lately.

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These books were written over a long period of time and the people who wrote these books really like what they wrote and think the world should experience it.  But when it came to publishing, they took all the short cuts. They did their own layout – even though they had never laid out a book before. They did their own cover, even though they had never created a cover before.  And they published their own books without paying any additional fees just because they could. Now they have a finished book, but no one is buying it. And they would like to know why not.

It is just like the time I did it in 1998. I published Angel On Board with a two-color cover – with no graphics on the cover, spiral bound and using Times New Roman text squished on as small of a page as I could because it reduced the print costs. Yes, I had made a book, and I could sell the book (or at least people bought it) when I sold it to them myself. They caught my passion and bought the book. But the book wasn’t ready to publish and it wasn’t professionally done. I’ll never forget the sweet woman who picked up an early copy of Angel On Board by its spiral bind and held it out to me like it had cooties… “Did that yourself, did ya?” she knowingly asked in a shrill voice that I’ll never forget.

I was proud of my accomplishment and said, “Yes I did.” And I convinced her to buy it. So I thought I had won the day with that encounter. However, in just the next year, I met a cover designer who for $50 made my cover come alive.  See the history of Angel On Board’s cover here.  The result was dramatic. It went from a book that I had to sell to a book that could sell itself.

My point is that we all start out as amateurs and sometimes it shows. Getting just a little professional help can make a world of difference. I started out as an amateur and learned through brute force and ignorance (emphasis on the ignorance) how to navigate through the publishing industry.  I started the publishing company that I wished I could’ve found – one that teaches authors what they need to know to be successful.  I know how it feels to love a book so much and hope that people will understand, read it and share it, and I know the sting of having that not happen or not happen quick enough. But every time when I’ve gone for guidance about it, I do learn more and make things better. The resources are out there. Some are free – and some need to be paid for.

If you have created your book in a vacuum, and it isn’t selling the way you want it to, then perhaps it is time to reach out and get some advice to improve your book. Marketing alone will not help if your book looks ‘like you did it yourself.’  Write to us at http://getting-published.com

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Feb 10 – Milestones and coincidences

#ThingsThatMatter – It’s Umbrella Day  and the styrofoam cooler was invented today – giving rise to so many countless picnics.

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Also, Angel On Board has passed another great milestone. It has received 50 reviews on Amazon.com. Check them out!!! Very sweet sentiments on most of the reviews. Each one reminds me why I wrote the book and makes me feel like it was well-worth the effort!

I’m not the author with the most reviews. That would be Jonathan Manske for “The Law of Attraction Made Simple.” He’s currently tracking at 78! Third place is “The Omen of the Crow” with 40 and fourth place is “The Remnant” with 30. Each and every review is acting like a sales person for its book! They are each so valuable!

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Today, I’d like to talk about titles and some funny things about titles that help sell books.

Last night, I watch Dallas on TNT and the episode was called “Sins of the Father.” We have a book by Dar Tomlinson called Sins of the Father! So, why isn’t this a conflict of interest or copyrights? Because titles can not be copyrighted. They are just ‘ideas.’ The expression of those ideas is the piece that is copyrightable. I have had to educate many authors over the years who want to title their book in one way, but feel they can’t because there is already a book out there by that name. Nothing is stopping them from doing publishing a book with the same title. In fact, it might just help in marketing the way it did with one of our books called “Blind Faith.”

One day, I saw a spike in the sales – especially of the Kindle version – of Blind Faith. I tracked it down to another book on the market that was on the New York Times best-seller list called Blind Faith. People were coming to Amazon.com looking for the NYT Blind Faith and stumbling upon AND BUYING our book, because it was right beside it in the search results. Was that a coincidence? In one way yes, but in another way no.

We work hard to have our books show up high in the search results for their author’s names and their own titles. Just by listing in Amazon.com, there’s no guarantee that your book will show up high in the search for its very own title. It is up to the author/publisher to make that happen!

So, the next time you write a book and think of a good title – before you decide to rename the book because the title is a cliche – think again! It just might be a good thing. No guarantees, but it is something to think about.

Feb 8 – Create a quick contest

#scifichat #fridayreads were trending today.  It’s Kite Flying day. 6 days until Valentine’s and only 4 days until Mardi Gras.  So, there’s plenty of ways to tie in your tweets to current events!

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Speaking of that.  One of our authors – Carol Denker – author of Autumn Romance is launching a contest between now and Valentine’s Day.  She will send a book priority mail to whomever gives her the greatest idea of a Valentine’s gift (under $50). Whoever has the most likes, wins the book. She’ll priority mail it on the 12th, autographed so that you can present it to your sweetheart on the 14th.

It is a cool way to market the book. It brings attention to it, creates a buzz around it. Gives people something to look forward to and check back on her page about (creating FB popularity). This also gives the people who put in an entry a reason to share it with friends asking for votes. Very simple and easy to manage. No complicated rules – etc.

Giving away a book for an easy public contest is a good idea. What can you think of, that would get people thinking about your book?

This is just a fun example that I wanted to share. Get creative and hold a contest. You could do it monthly, quarterly – who knows.

Fun stuff! Good work, Carol!

Have a good weekend everybody!

Feb 5 – Valentine’s day starts now!

So what happens you have two conflicting celebrations on the same day? Today is “Disaster Day” and “National Pancake Day” and #IHOP is trending right now. Seems to me the Pancakes have it… I’d rather talk about them anyhow! Who’s with me?

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Well, football season is officially over and that tends to get me looking toward spring, spring activities, new growth and all that lot! Even the groundhog said we’d have an early spring, not to mention global warming. It also feels like people’s pocketbook strings are loosening and more people are buying books right now.

The publishing side of the business is cyclical. I started noticing that the second year I was in business and it has held true ever since. Right now we are in the “I’m going to get this book published this year – New Year’s Resolution” phase. A ton of new projects begin right at the first of the year and this year is no exception. What that means to our business is that those projects will launch in the spring. That’s cool because that takes us through the lull of late February/March when everyone is doing their taxes instead of writing books!

Our next really big commercial holiday is Valentine’s day and if you have a book that deals with love – on any level – you need to work that tie-in from this moment on, until midnight on the 14th. We publish some and we list them on “Great Relationship Books” like “Finding Your Fortune” and “Autumn Romance”. We will be giving them some serious attention between now and the 14th.  We publish several books that are just about relationships, and those are easy to tie into Valentine’s Day. But my challenge to you is, whether there is an obvious tie-in or not, is to come up with 5 tweets about why Valentine’s Day is important to your book.

The moral to today’s story – there is ALWAYS a connection to current events. There is always a way to make your book relevant to what is going on. Sometimes it is challenging to make a connection, but you can do it… You’re smart! You’re an author!

Go ahead – give me a challenging book to tie into a Valentine’s day campaign – I’ll do my best. Write it below in the comments!

Feb 3 – Online is where it is at!

50 Seasons of Quarterbacks by Don Nichols

50 Seasons of Quarterbacks by Don Nichols

#NothingFeelsBetterThan is trending right now. It is Super Bowl Sunday and Cordova Ice Worm Day…

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This year Barnes & Noble is closing about 1/3 of its stores. That’s somewhere between 190-240 stores. It was hard enough getting on those bookshelves when they were in their heyday, but now, they have pulled back, now they aren’t willing to take any risks of any kind on unknown authors. So, stop trying to chase after book store shelf space. That model of doing business is dying if not dead. The same is true with traditional publishers. If you’re still waiting for someone to discover you or appreciate you, guess what – they can’t right now. Their industry is crumbling around them.

What hasn’t stopped happening is how much people are writing. In fact, I think that has increased. And in fact, the methods to get the books out there has become more and more diversified. So, it is a great time to be an author – as long as you’re keeping up with the times.

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Yesterday, I told you about a book launch for Peacemaker 2564AD. It was a successful event. Lots of people came, lots of books sold. But his reach was just his friends and family in the local area. He has a ton more people in his direct circle of influence who would love to go to a launch party for him. So, how do you do a launch party with a much greater reach? Go online!

Don’t just limit this to a launch event. If you have a new class – new lesson  – new anything, think about doing a virtual event!

  • First, become a reseller on Amazon.com for your book. List at least 50 copies (or as many as you have in inventory).  Truly, I hope you’ve already done this.
  • Second, find the link to your book in your Amazon store (not Amazon’s main store.) Angel On Board in my store  vs. Angel On Board in Amazon’s store – note the differences (quantities – ship from location etc).
  • Third, set a time and place for a phone call  1-2 hours long.
  • Fourth, find a free teleconference service like FreeConference.com (http://www.freeconference.com/) . There are several. Test it a couple of times with a small group of friends to get a feel for it.
  • Fifth, send out an e-vite for your time, place, with the phone number / pin # and the link to your book in your store.
  • Sixth, execute the call. Greet everyone. Do a reading. Take questions. Enjoy the visit. And every 15 minutes or so, repeat the web address for your store on Amazon.com.

What a virtual event does is give your extended friends and family a chance to celebrate your accomplishment with you and they’ll buy your book from you to be sure to get an autographed copy. This sale goes through the Amazon.com merchant account, so you don’t have to do any credit card processing. Best of all, Amazon.com registers a multitude of sales of your book and you get to see your sales rank improve dramatically – very likely to a best-seller status at least in one category. All this gets done in 1-2 hours!

Try it you’ll like it!

If you want help coordinating a virtual event, it is a service we provide. Call us at 303.794.8888 or e-mail publisher@bookstobelievein.com!

Go team go!

 

Feb 2 – Happy Candlemas and congrats to Gordon Savage…

Happy Groundhog Day – or Candlemas, which is the half way point between the Winter Solstice and Vernal Equinox. Now that I know the name “Candlemas” – I want that to Trend, so at least one of your tweets today should contain the word #Candlemas. You can make a difference… rah rah Twitter Power!

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Okay – seriously folks… Today I attended the launch party celebration for Peacemaker 2564AD – a great new sci-fi novel. There was a good turnout and several people I’ve known for quite some time were there, at Gordon’s invitation (not mine), but I’d also known them for many years. One of them is a staple in the Denver book marketing community named Joe Sabah. Joe is 80+ years- young and he’s still going very strong, as an author and a book marketer. He still gives several seminars a month about public speaking – another of his passions.

I can’t really demonstrate in this blog how easy it is to go out and just talk about your book, I must let you know that I do it any chance that I get. If I can get a captive audience of 3 or more, I’ll give a presentation – on angels, on publishing. It doesn’t matter. Today I was asked to speak quickly about the best way that these launch-party attendees could help their author friend. I didn’t have a speech prepared, but I was asked to go up and deliver one all the same. I did. It was fun. I hope it will help out Gordon.

What I taught the attendees was the importance of reviewing the books that they read on Amazon.com. That alone will do so much good for any book. But better yet, in the title line for the review – describe the book by naming its niche. So, in the case of Peacemaker, instead of saying “Great book” – say “Great Sci-Fi book” or “Peacemaker 2564 is a stunning Sci-Fi novel.” Amazon.com looks at the titles of the reviews and uses those words to develop relevance for their search engines. So anyone looking for a Sci-Fi Novel will have a better chance of finding Gordon’s book if his reviews all say Sci-Fi in their title.

That list of keywords you have by your side – those are the words that need to be in your reviews. If you know who gave you the review, and if it doesn’t contain a keyword, ask them to update their review with it – as a personal favor. They likely will and it will mean the world to your future sales!

Congratulations to Gordon Savage and to his new Sci-Fi Novel Peacemaker 2564AD!

Jan 31 – End of the first month… You gotta love it!

#SometimesYouHaveTo – It’s National Popcorn day and my husband told we can have it for dinner! So, good day!

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We’ve been doing this together for a month now. I’ve learned some cool things from you guys too and I appreciate all the comments. I hope you’re reading and sharing in those as well.

I have you’ve incorporated some of these ideas into your routine and have gotten used to marketing your book on a daily basis! Congrats if you did do that!

party hatsI get to celebrate an accomplishment! Technorati just told me that they’ll put this blog in their directory. That was a multi-step process, but it is complete now and everyone communicating with me here will get more exposure. So keep those cards and letters coming (or comments, comments are good)!

I absolutely have the best job in the world. I get to work with dreamers and creative types and we help people make their dreams a reality. Some of those are life-long dreams!  Today, I worked with a man to help him organize his book. Later, I get to go to the printers and review a proof for a 2/22 launch! Tomorrow, we attend a launch party for a great new sci-fi coming out. Today, I’ve added new books to Amazon.com, re-published a couple of Kindles, tweeted on several books, and advised a couple more authors. This is fun!

When you love what you do, it shows. That is why loving the book marketing process will actually help your books to sell. Embracing the marketing process, instead of dreading it shows in the quality of the blog-posts and the rest of your social media. If you just do the bare minimum, those are the results you get. If you go the extra mile, you’ll start to see results and that momentum will grow and grow.

So today, go write a Facebook post about how grateful you are to your readers and how you love to reach out to them.  Remember to use your power word at the end of the post!