Category Archives: Print on Demand

Write the Dream Conference March 7-9, 2014 in Kansas City!

Calling all indie writers within driving distance from KC!

Better hurry: coming this weekend
Write the Dream Conference
Featuring two-time Emmy Award winner Cady McClain
and five other top notch speakers (hey, including me!)
With sessions on Dreamscaping, Editing, EPublishing, Novel Writing, Social Media, Book Covers, Marketing, Funding, Layout and Design, and Brainstorming.
Find out more:

http://www.writethedream.com/the-convention/

From the website: “If you are an aspiring writer who wants to stop talking about writing your story and actually D0 it, then our conference is for you. Please join us in March in Kansas City, Missouri, for your chance to learn the basics of writing and self-publishing your own book and learning from others who have a proven success at reaching the masses. Join keynote speaker, Emmy-award-winning actress, writer, and film producer Cady McClain, who will share with you how she fulfills her own dreams—and hopefully inspire you to do the same.

“Our three-day conference will give you every tool and resource you need to learn how to fulfill your dream of being a published author. You will gain the inspiration to get your story down on paper and take the necessary steps to see it in both e-book form, as well as print. Our conference workshops will include: a set plan to complete that first manuscript; resources to fund your project; tips and tools to help you find a good editor and designer; methods and resources to get your book correctly formatted for distribution; and finally, a plan to help you market and sell your book once it is completed. Step by step, from A to Z, our conference team will walk you through the process— even if you have absolutely no idea where to start. Come for one day or all three— you can choose from three plans that will fit both your time and budget.

“We want to help you share your story…because what you have to say deserves to be told. You don’t need to wait around for the traditional publishers if you want to succeed; all it takes is a good story, will, and determination. Come join us and see what we can do for you!”

Register NOW!
http://www.writethedream.com/the-convention/
Join us at the beautiful Kansas City Convention Center in downtown Kansas City. For more information about the center, click here.
For a complete list of classes and a more detailed description of the conference, click here.
To register for the conference or to check pricing, click here.
If you would like to register by phone or would like more information, please call 816.896.6802.

Free EPublishing Day: Coming to KC and Wichita!

That’s right! I’ll be conducting two, FREE, all-day seminars where, if you’re ready, you can walk in a wannabe and walk out a published author!

Kansas City (Merriam) May 18, 2013

Wichita June 22, 2013

Click for details:

EPublishing Day–Kansas City!

EPublishing Day–Wichita!

Don’t Start Your EBook Promotions with Twitter—Start on Your Amazon Book Page!

Don’t Start Your EBook Promotions with Twitter—Start on Your Amazon Book Page!
(From a guest post I did earlier on Write Brain Trust)

I’ve been amazed to discover how many well-established eBook authors have left out this very important first step out. After all, you’ve written a great book, but who’s going to be compelled to take a good look at it without an attractive package.

First of all, understand that while there are a number of other big online booksellers out there (like Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, etc.), Amazon is the big dog. Your Amazon sales are likely to be as great as ten times what the others’ sales are combined.

With that a given, we need to understand how Amazon’s online store works, especially its eBook department.

  • Amazon uses algorithms, compilations of variable factors, to come up with eBook sales rankings and bestseller status. Although the actual formula is secret and seems to change from time to time, its basic makeup is believed to include:
    • Number of recent sales (past 24-48 hours);
    • EBook price (giving greater value to eBooks priced near $9.99 and less value to eBooks priced at $.99—much less for those downloaded for free);
    • Number of sales in the past month (a lesser value on this than more recent sales);
    • Whether an eBook has been “indie” or traditionally published (my teeth grind on this one!).
  • The lower the ranking, the more visibility your eBook will have, which means the higher the potential for sales.
  • The more your eBook sells, the more likely it will be listed on other eBooks’ pages under headings like: “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought,” “Customers Who Bought Items in Your Recent History Also Bought” and “What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?”
  • When an eBook shopper searches Amazon, its search engine looks for keywords, and it gives value to multiple use of those keywords (estimated to be up to three times).

For the most part, the above concerns are out of eBook authors’ control. So let’s now take a look at the many things the eBook author/publisher does control on their book’s page on Amazon.

  • Overall, all the information that the author submits for their eBook should contain pertinent keywords in order to optimize the potential for Amazon’s search engine to find their eBook page (search engine optimization, a.k.a. SEO).
  • Cover—critical!
    • Should look professional
    • Images should be clear even in thumbnail
    • Title and author name should be clear even in thumbnail
    • Cover image file name should contain pertinent keywords (SEO)
  • Title: Did you know you can add a subtitle to your main title, even though that subtitle doesn’t show up on the eBook’s cover, for example: KNIGHT’S BIG EASY—a Men’s Action Adventure Thriller (SEO).
  • Once your book is listed on Amazon, add images below the cover by uploading them with “Share your own customer images”. These images can be alternate covers, pictures of places, characters—just about anything you want that you feel might help sell your eBook.
  • Price: Consider this very carefully. The price of your eBook will put it into certain undefined buying groups, where lower price may be more important than perceived value or vice versa.
  • “Likes”: Ensure that not only you click the “thumbs up” like button, but all your friends, relatives and associates do as well. It’s believed that Amazon’s algorithm include likes, although at a lesser value than other factors. Besides, the more likes your eBook has, the more perceived credibility it may have.
  • Reviews: Although you can’t control this very well, you can solicit reviews. They are considered super important to many eBook shoppers. And, when you do get some favorable ones, be sure you and your friends find those favorable reviews and click on “yes” where it asks “Was this review helpful to you?” Why? Because the most helpful reviews are listed first. You can also comment on reviews, but be very careful, and never be negative or argumentative with a reviewer. Also, remember that reviews will stay with your book … forever! So ensure it’s in great shape before you ePublish it.
  • “Formats”: Other versions of your eBook, such as paperback, might actually help sell your eBook. When a paperback version is listed with that formats higher list price, Amazon adds the comment “You Save $XX” on the eBook version’s page. This makes it appear to be a bargain since your print book will generally be considerably higher [i.e., “Print List Price $12.95, Kindle Price $.99, You Save $11.96 (92%)”].
  • “Book Description”: Basically, this is your book jacket synopsis. Also, very critical to sales, ensure you edit this sales aid carefully. It should start with a pitch that includes a good hook, and it should read like a movie trailer. Don’t forget to include those keywords (SEO)!
  • “Book Description” Plus: Make your book description stand out from the rest. Did you know you can use colors (like Amazon orange), and format text to at least a limited degree using some of the html language accepted by Amazon?
  • The “Customers Who Bought …” and similar sections: Although mostly beyond your control, how about if you purchase your own book (I recommend purchasing your own book once right after it’s listed), and then go to the list of bestselling free eBooks in your eBook’s category (genre) and download several of those? Why? Because your eBook might just show up on these other eBooks’ pages which gives you added visibility.
  • “Editorial Reviews”: if you have a CreateSpace POD version (paperback) of your eBook, when you give CS the book information, they have a spot for you to include editorial reviews. Try not to leave this blank! Be sure to include any reviews you’ve been given in the past. Include keywords where you can for SEO.
  • “More About the Author” Bio: Be sure to set yourself up with an Author Central page (https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/profile). On Author Central you can add information such as your bio. Again, think SEO!
  • “Book Extras from the Shelfari Community”: Get a free membership with Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/. With it you’ll be able to list character bios and other neat info about your story that will appear on its eBook page (SEO).
  • “Tags”: These are keywords—and you can actually add up to fifteen to your eBook’s page. Ask your friends, relatives and associates to either agree with the ones you’ve listed or make up their own. The more, the better: again, think SEO. When you list these keywords, consider which ones readers might use to search for a story like yours.
  • “Categories” or genres: You’ll decide these when you upload your eBook to be listed. Amazon now limits your listing to two, however, they might list your eBook under more categories, themselves. This is another decision you should consider carefully, even though you can change your categories at any time and as many times as you wish.
  • Listmania: This is a category grouping you can make on your own, and it is then offered for other Amazon shoppers to use. Although not as popular as a plain old keyword search, I understand many eBook buyers rely at least occasionally on Listmania lists. You can find out more at:

There you go indies! I’m sure I forgot a few little tips, and I certainly didn’t explain many in great detail. But I think you get the picture. You can do all the social networking, tweeting and Facebooking you want, but if you lead potential customers to your eBook page and what they see doesn’t stand out and isn’t professionally done, it’s likely they’ll pass on by. And for the eBook shoppers already hunting on Amazon for their next great read, you need to ensure their keyword search is likely to find your eBook.

I’ll bet you’ve got a lot to do, so let’s get busy! And don’t forget to pay it forward—help other indie author friends in making their eBook pages more attractive and more visible to readers: review, “like”, “tag” and “find helpful” their best reviews. Together we can attain greater success!

BIG NEWS for Indies!

What’s Happening for IWA Members

  • Kessler and IWA Are Working On The Definitive Marketing and Promotions EBook for EBook Authors:

THE MASTER PLAN: What John Locke Conveniently Left Out and Much More!
The Guide to Promoting and Marketing Your EBook Novel

—you can add your $.02-worth in the book with a linked byline (upon approval), and it will be free! For the working outline: Click Here!

  • Start your MASTER PLAN Promo for everyone  now and get your books in front of thousands (and it’s free, of course): Click Here!
  • Kessler’s Hanging His Editing/Mentoring and Cover Art Producing Shingle Out Again—need help? (No, it’s not free, silly!) Click Here!
  • Coming to Kansas City and to Wichita—the IWA Seminar and Discussion Forum—don’t miss out (it’s fre-ee): Click Here!

We’ll discuss everything on THE MASTER PLAN outline, including:

1. Ten things you can control on your Amazon book’s page that will optimize its visibility and its reader attractability;

2. How to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and not use up valuable writing/family time;

3. What’s the best price point for your work;

4. How to get reviews;

5. So very much more!

EBook Writing Made Simple! is now available!

EBooks Vs Print — is there a difference?

Amazon for Kindle!

NOTE: Among the many books published concerning eBooks, none are about the actual writing of an eBook novel–until now!

THIS EBOOK FOCUSES SOLEY ON THE ACTUAL WRITING OF NOVELS INTENDED FOR THE EBOOK-READING PUBLIC. It does not deal with the ePublishing or marketing of such work–there are literally dozens of great eBooks out there already to help you with that.

IS WRITING AN EBOOK NOVEL the same as writing a novel intended for the traditional publishing industry? It doesn’t have to be–it can be much better. Why? When writing an eBook novel, you’re writing for the reader and not the uptight, rutted, NYC publishing industry. Find out how, and have fun writing again!

This eBook is especially designed for the beginning eBook writer, but it is also a great guide for the novelist who wants to think out of the box. With the huge new market writers have discovered in writing eBooks, opportunities abound for authors who take a different tack and understand this new venue from a clearer perspective. Writing for reader entertainment by bending and even breaking the uptight traditional publishing industry’s stiff and restrictive guidelines frees the author’s creativity.

Come take a look at the fiction-writing craft from a whole new angle and discover the innovative and effective ways to reach your readers.

From the basics of fiction writing and the strict unbudging conventions of a steadfast traditional publishing industry to how to break the rules for pure entertainment value, this book encompasses it all. A 500+ word lexicon of terms every writer should know is included.

Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover? Readers Do!

That said, do you need a pro to help you design a professional-looking cover? After all, when readers begin searching for their next purchase, after they click on or supply their search terms, what do they see first? The cover.

 

Do yourself a favor: search Amazon for ten minutes. Take a close look at the book covers in your genre—the covers of the bestselling books in your category. How do they compare to yours? Now do a search for books that other indies have produced, maybe some friends’/acquaintances’ books, especially the .99 ones listed on your book page under “customers who bought this item also bought….” Search until you find something really awful. It didn’t take that long, did it?

What about important issues for these thumb-size versions of book covers like font size and simplicity vs. busy/overloaded? Do you see some bad examples. Look back at your cover art and carefully consider how it compares to the covers produced by traditionally published books. Would you really chose your book over some of the other top-selling authors’? Just because your own friends haven’t told you your book cover “bites,” doesn’t mean it doesn’t!

Will it be worth it to purchase new cover art for your old book? Should you let a pro design your new novel’s cover? That’s up to you, of course. I’d ask this: are you in this book ‘ritin’ business for the long haul? Can you afford $25 to $100 for a really professional looking cover? Will a facelift on your old book pay for itself in sales profits in the long run?

For further research, below you’ll find a link to Mark Coker’s list of book cover designers and eBook formatters. I’ve given this important info its own tab on our IWA site.

Most of these folks are very reasonable. But here’s a word of caution: be sure to check out these people’s websites and their previous work before you make a deal. I’ve posted Mark’s List at:

http://writersmatrix.com/wordpress/?page_id=122

Should I do a Print On Demand paperback besides an eBook?

Indie authors are finding the most success with eBooks, by a considerable amount. But, since Print on Demand is easy and free through Amazon’s CreateSpace.com, what will it hurt? Then, you’ll have something tangible you can give to reviewers, friends and relatives, besides having one more way to market your work. There are other POD printers out there that do a fine job. Many of them charge a fee, depending on the extent of the work needed from their end. You should check out Lulu.com, iUniverse.com, Xlibris.com, and others before you make up your mind. Also, several of these POD printers, including Lulu.com will do hardcover books besides the popular trade paperback—CreateSpace.com only does trade paper but has a great distribution network. And no one is to say you can’t do both–trade paperback with CreateSpace.com and hardcover with Lulu.com.