fbpx
Featured

Author Marketing: 7 forgotten steps to become a best seller

Author Marketing, an introduction

You think you’ve done the hard part by writing, editing and completing a book. Blood sweat and tears have gone into it and you should be proud. But, now comes the next step, author marketing.

There is a vast amount of information out there when it comes to book marketing and it can easily become overwhelming. I know, I’ve been there!

In this article, I break it down into easy actionable steps designed to get your book out worldwide and achieve best seller status.

  1. Research your genre
  2. Develop an online presence
  3. Create a press pack
  4. Design a cover that looks good in thumbnail
  5. Run targeted ads on social media
  6. Create a mailing list
  7. Network with other authors in your niche

Research your genre

It makes perfect sense to start here, as knowing your genre in depth and in turn your audience is critical to the success of your books. Most prolific readers of a specific genre know exactly what they want from their books. From the style of cover, to the composition of characters, plot lines and tropes included.

Spend the time to do the research and it’ll help your author marketing massively in the long term. You’ll be able to create content that is targeted effectively towards your audience.

Research your genre

Readers

In order to create marketing content that attracts reader of your genre you now have to know your reader inside out. The best way to do this is to develop a reader profile or avatar. Ask the following questions and you’ll gain a good insight into who your readers are and what makes them tick

Demographics

  • Where do they live?
  • What’s their age/ gender?
  • What do they do for work?

Needs

  • Why do they read this genre?
  • What do they gain from it?
  • How many books do they read?
  • How fast do they read?

Social

  • Where do they hang out?
  • How do they like to communicate?
  • What kind of content do they consume?

Once you’ve established answers to all these questions you should have a solid understanding of who your readers are. Pop them all on a blank page, give your reader a name and stick this above your desk. (You can even draw a picture of them if it helps). Now every time you make some marketing content, refer back to your avatar and ask yourself.. Would my reader enjoy this?

Competitors

Unless you’re inventing a whole new genre and revolutionising the writing industry you’re going to have competition, and lots of it. At the last count Amazon has 33 million titles to choose from.

Don’t panic though, you can use this to your advantage. Research similar authors, analyse the content they’re creating. See what works and what doesn’t on their social media accounts. Have they got a blog or a mailing list? What’s their website like?

This can work as an amazing inspiration and give you some great ideas you can put your own spin on.

Develop an online presence

Sadly books won’t sell themselves so in order to get that elusive best seller tag creating an online presence can help generate a buzz about you and your writing.

In the modern age most people are online and is someone is interested in buying your books chances are they’ll want to find out more about you.

Try and start this as early as possible, don’t wait until release date to suddenly start trying to market your book. Create some social media profiles, select a couple you’re comfortable with, build a website and start documenting your journey.

If you want to see what a good author website looks like then have a read of this article I wrote on the subject: 6 ways to stand out from the crowd.

Author marketing - develop an online presence

As a reader it can be fascinating to see behind the scenes of a writers life. The trials and tribulations you go through, the ups and downs can really help people relate to you.

If you’re starting from scratch this is a perfect opportunity to ensure your profiles all have the same username. This makes it easier for people to search for you, makes your brand consistent and helps google to group your content together.

Use this fantastic tool to check if your username is available.

Once you’re established, google yourself and see what pops up, this should serve as a good indicator of your online presence. Try googling Andy Slinger and you’ll see what a strong presence looks like.

Other ways to build your authority are through writing blog posts around your genre, articles for other websites and being interviewed on podcasts and even on YouTube. There are loads of reviewers and bloggers out there who will be more than willing to interview you.

If you want to delve even further into this have a read of this article. SEO for authors: Why is it important?

And remember author marketing is a marathon not a sprint.

Create an author marketing press pack

I would say a Press pack or media kit is one of the most under utilised tools an author can use.

Simply put a press pack is a document that contains everything you need to market your book; A bio, photos, videos and contact details. Alongside your blurb, book details, a press release and commonly asked questions and answers.

I’ll be releasing a guide to press packs soon to walk you through all the steps to creating one to industry standard so look out.

Once you have created one you can use this to approach the media, local papers, radio or even the national press. It makes you look really professional and makes journalists lives easy. I’ve had articles written about me where they have taken the info straight from my media pack and put it straight to print.

You can add this to your website as a downloadable link and also send it to your fans to help spread the word.

Author marketing - Press pack

Design a cover that looks good in thumbnail

You’re going to struggle to sell a book without an extraordinary cover and especially one that doesn’t stand out in thumbnail size on sites like Amazon.

Your cover needs to be specific to the genre you write in. Here’s where you really need to do your research. You should check all the best selling books in your niche and see what they have in common. You’ll find there is a lot more than you first thought.

Readers subconsciously identify with books covers that include certain characteristics and in turn it makes them much more likely to click on your book title when they’re scouring Amazon.

Take the best selling author Mark Dawson for example. He writes in the thriller genre and his books have regularly been seen in the number one spot on Amazon. What do you notice about the covers?

Pretty much every cover features the silhouette of a person stood on a road with a atmospheric moody background. Featuring a strong bold title which takes up a good proportion of the image.

This is no coincidence…

Look at other books in the genre and you’ll find loads more examples of this kind of book cover. Take comparable author Lee Child and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

The similarities are striking and this happens throughout all genres. Once you’ve seen it you can’t unsee it.

Once you have a good idea of the style of cover you want for your book then it’s really advisable to find a professional to design it. You’re going to have to spend some money here but it needn’t break the bank. There are some incredible book cover designers who are reasonably priced out there.

Alternatively there are plenty of sites where you can choose from premade covers. You find a design you like, pay a fee, add your book title, name, blurb and hey presto you have your book cover. There are even websites where you can find premade covers for free although the quality can be questionable.

Before you rush to find a premade cover though I would question the old adage “Never judge a book by it’s cover, ” because everybody does!

Run targeted ads on social media

With a ridiculous amount of daily social media users daily, running ads through social media is an essential author marketing strategy which allows you to get your books directly in front of a very targeted audience.

Remember your reader profile?

Well it’ll come in extremely useful here, allowing you to save so much time and money.

Social Media

Social media companies like Facebook, TikTok, Linked in and Twitter have vast amounts of data on their users. This means you can be very specific with who you show your ads to.

For example, you could run an Instagram ad targeting women aged 40 – 60, who have an interest in reading romance novels and have liked one of your posts within the last week. Mind blowing stuff!

This can allow you to advertise to an already ‘warm’ audience who are much more likely to click on your ad.

You can also be clever and target readers who have an interest in other authors of your genre. The opportunities are endless.

Learning the platforms

You’ll have to spend some time here learning the different ad platforms, I recommend Facebook to begin with. But, even with a basic knowledge you can have great success running ads.

I’d strongly suggest doing a course or two to help you on your way. It’ll reap rewards long term and help you climb the book selling rankings.

In addition to social media ads, if you’re selling on Amazon then it makes sense to learn how to advertise on there too.

I’ve written another article, Amazon Ads for Authors: 6 Ways to Make Yours Explosive which will help you no end.

You can even watch my YouTube series Amazon Ads for Authors here too.

Create an author marketing mailing list

If you want to guarantee long term success as an author then you’ll have to build a mailing list.

This gives you a fantastic opportunity to give your fans bonus content and a more personal approach to your communication. Enabling you to build relationships with your readers and the ability to promote your books straight into their inbox.

As a writer there is no better way to communicate with your fans.

In order to set up an author marketing newsletter you’ll have to use an email provider. Sending emails through Gmail or Hotmail won’t cut it.

My personal choice is Mailerlite but there are loads more options out there. Using a platform such as this will ensure your subscribers data is secure (GDPR compliant). It also allows you to create sign up forms, automate a sequence of emails when your readers sign up and schedule emails on demand.

Author Marketing newsletter

To effectively market a book it’s estimated your readers will need to come into contact with you on at least 7 different occasions. Email marketing is a perfect way to do so and enables you to build trust with your readers.

The key to a successful mailing list is to provide more value than promotions. So the more you can give away to your readers (deleted chapters, character profiles, short stories) the more engaged an audience you’ll have and the more likely they are to buy from you in the future.

Plus an email list is an asset you own. If your social media profiles got deleted tomorrow you’d still always have your subscribers.

For a more comprehensive deep dive into Email Marketing be sure to read this article.

Author Newsletter: 7 ways to boost your subscribers list

Network with other authors in your niche

Often overlooked is the power of collaboration. There are some amazing people out there in the author space. Many of which have built up social media followings, mailing lists and have their own great connections.

Focus on building relationships within this incredible community. Not only will you gain unparalleled support but also friends for life.

Author marketing - collaboration

Here I would add, you should give before you ask. Review their books, offer them content relevant to their audience, shout out their social media profiles. Offer value, build trust without expectations.

If you do this well enough it will be reciprocated. Help each other to grow, show support and amazing things will happen.

If you want more ideas for collaboration guess what? I have another blog post here. Author collaborations: the ultimate how to guide.

Conclusion – Author Marketing

Author marketing is a marathon and not a sprint. If you’re looking to market a best selling book and create a sustainable business you have to build it over time.

Create a comprehensive plan which covers all these 7 strategies and break it down. You can’t do everything at once, so don’t try to.

Break down your strategy into monthly, then weekly blocks with your end goal in mind.

That way it won’t be so overwhelming to you and you’ll be able to monitor your progress.

Be sure to monitor your progress every three months. Celebrate what has worked, reproduce great marketing ideas and don’t be hard on yourself if something completely flops.

You have to fail in order to succeed.

And if you need a friendly face to help devise a winning strategy, then book in for a free consultation with me and I’ll help take your author marketing to the next level.

Featured

Author Newsletter: 7 ways to boost your subscribers list

Ask any of the most successful authors out there about author newsletter and all will say it’s an integral part of their business. Many will say it’s the biggest contributing factor to their success. So how do you get a list? What do you include in your newsletters and how on earth do you get people to give away their e-mail address?

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. I’ll give you a detailed overview in this article and point you in the right direction of some incredible resources. Your newsletter doesn’t have to be an afterthought but can be a key part of your author marketing strategy.

  1. How do I set up my author newsletter?
  2. Which provider should I use?
  3. What are the benefits of an author newsletter?
  4. What should I include in my e-mails?
  5. How often should I send out an author newsletter?
  6. Where can I find subscribers?
  7. How do I stop my e-mails falling into spam?

How do I set up my author newsletter?

It isn’t difficult to set up a newsletter. I can walk you through the steps pretty quickly and you’ll have a newsletter set up in no time at all. It would be great if you could just use your regular provider and just bash out an email to your list hit send to your followers. However, there are multiple benefits to using mailing list services that you can’t get through a regular email provider like gmail, which I’ll discuss later.

It’s as simple as choosing a provider, signing up for free, adding in details such as your website and email address and you’re away. The only complex part to this is verifying your website belongs to you. The steps to do this are dependent upon the provider you use but there are loads of YouTube videos to walk you through this process.

Plus if you get stuck here I’m only an email away, so don’t be discouraged.

Which provider should I use?

Author newsletter providers

A lot of this is down to personal preference, dependent on your objectives and budget. Generally though the more subscribers you have the more money you’ll pay (but by the time you’re shelling out cash your list will pay for itself). The majority have a free option up to 1000 subscribers and then charge you a monthly fee upwards of 1000 subscribers.

My personal preference is Mailerlite, due to the huge amounts of features you can include in your newsletters and the aesthetic look you can achieve. Although, I also initially used Mailchimp and loved it. I decided to switch when I hit the 1000 subscribers mark as the costs went up dramatically.

Other people swear by Convertikit, Sendfox, Aweber and Mad Mimi. Do some research and work out which will best suit you. It’s not the end of the world if you get it wrong and want to switch at a later date.

What are the benefits of an author newsletter?

There are so many benefits I’m bound to miss some in this section but I’ll do my best to cover everything.

I strongly believe that done correctly an author newsletter is the most powerful weapon in an authors marketing arsenal, so you’d be silly not to arm yourself with one.

Firstly though I want make the distinction between traffic you borrow and traffic you own. It’s all well and good having hundreds upon thousands of followers through your social media channels but what if Facebook, Instagram and Twitter went bust tomorrow (unlikely but possible). Or what if your account got blocked or hacked into. You’d lose everything and then where would you be?

By having people sign up to your mailing list it then becomes traffic you own. A lovely little list of fans you can nourish, connect with and develop special relationships with. These are people who have come to your party and want to have a good time and potentially buy your amazing books. Look after these people and they will become super fans for life. Just don’t upset them and make them unsubscribe.

So if I haven’t convinced you enough already of the power of newsletters here are some more benefits for you…

  • Cost effective marketing.
  • Establishes and increases credibility
  • Builds brand recognition
  • Educates prospects and clients.
  • Connects with your target market.

All this without the noise of social media distracting from your message. If you think about it, when someone opens your email they are solely concentrated on your email. There are no adverts, no posts, no little pop ups getting in the way. It’s the most intimate way of marketing to an already engaged customer. They signed up so they already like what you do, right?

author newsletter planning

What should I include in my e-mails?

Although this is all down to personal preference; your newsletter is your world and should be unique to you. It should demonstrate your personality, be fun, engaging and provide value to your fans.

The way I like to write my letters is to my ideal customer. Give them a name, an age, interests and character traits. Construct an avatar as though they are a real person and make them real. You can even make an image of them.

Then when you write your newsletter, personalise it to your dream customer. This works as a self-fulfilling prophesy, so if you continue to write like this it’ll result in you having an engaged list of your ideal subscribers.

It’s also essential you give more than you receive. Don’t be that person who is shouting buy my book, buy my book, buy my book on every email. Send extracts of your book, links to your new blog, get them involved in choosing a cover design, highlight a recent interview you’ve done and ask their opinion on new ideas you have.

It’s a big thing to give away your email address so ensure you’re making it worth their while before you ask them to buy your hot new release.

One thing you should always include in every single newsletter is a call to action or CTA. Ask a question, get an opinion on something, click on a link or just ask for a reply. Not only does this help you engage with your fans but also helps your emails arrive in inboxes and not junk mail.

How often should I send out an author newsletter?

Although sending out newsletters is a no brainer when it comes to your marketing needs the frequency of these is pretty much down to you. But I’d highly suggest you send at least one a month if not two if possible.

This keeps you at the forefront of your audiences mind and ensures you don’t get forgotten about. There’s a school of thought that says you should send them out monthly or even daily, however I’m a realist and know time as an author is a precious commodity.

What I would do is set expectations for your subscribers. Tell them you’ll be sending out one a month and stick to it. Let them know when you’re going to be sending them out and they’ll be much more likely to check their inbox and open your emails.

author newsletter statistics

Where to find subscribers and how to attract them?

There are loads of ways to find subscribers many of which are really simple.

  • Add a link in the back of your book.
  • Add links to all your social media platforms.
  • Have a sign up form on your website.
  • Run a giveaway or competition.
  • Use Facebook advertising.
  • Mailing list swaps.
  • Book funnel.
  • Story Origin.

So there’s all these methods and more but what incentive have people got to sign up for your author newsletter?

Here is where you need to use that wonderful creative brain of yours to create what’s known as a lead magnet. This is a wonderful freebie to entice your dream customers into your lovely little world.

Many authors use a free book, a novella or a few chapters of the book to reel people in. If you’re just starting out this isn’t always possible so you could throw together character profiles or a back story to your books.

As a children’s author I use a free kids activity pack for mine. Well actually I use two as I’ve got two books. This is great for the kids and gives parents a bit of peace, a win win scenario.

Invest lots of time in your lead magnet. If you get it right you’ll have a large influx of subscribers.

Spam

How do I stop my e-mails falling into spam?

You’ve invested all this time into building an awesome newsletter but yet all that’s happening is it’s falling into people’s junk mail. Your open rates are on the decline and you just want to give it al up. Don’t panic, where there’s a will there’s a way!

Make sure you use a verified e-mail address. hotmail, gmail won’t cut it. I use andyslinger@andyslinger.com. Hit the link and you can send me an email.

Get your subscribers to white list your address. This is basically adding you to their trusted list of senders or contacts. When I get people to sign up I give them a reminder to do this. They don’t always do it but a percentage will and this makes sure my emails end up in their inbox.

Improve your subject line. No one wants to open an email if it isn’t enticing, see my Instagram post below.

Pop a post on your social media to let your subscribers know there is a newsletter ready and waiting for them. You’ll be surprised how much difference this can make.

Also, make sure you enable ‘double-opt in.’ All this means is when people sign up for your newsletter they will automatically be sent an email saying are you sure you want to join this list. They click on the link and they’re signed up fully. This helps to stop people signing up who are never going to open your emails.

Finally, clean up your list. Twice a year do a check up on subscriber open rates. Find those subscribers who aren’t opening your emails (how rude!) send them an email asking if they want to continue getting your newsletter. If not then it’s time to say bye bye. Harsh but what’s the point in them being there if they aren’t engaging with you and thereby killing your open rates.

Author Newsletter the end

I hope you’ve found a lot of value in this article, if you have any questions please feel free to ask me. There is a little chat icon over on the left where you can contact me directly. And also have a look at other great blog posts I’ve written – Author websites, Author SEO.

It would be great if you could share this post with any author friends you think could benefit from it too.

Oh and you didn’t think I’d do an blog post on newsletters without giving you the opportunity to join mine right? Just add your email below and you’ll get added to my weekly newsletter. I’ll give you hints, tips and trick on growing your online presence, helping you to sell more books, enjoy!

Indie Publishing: 5 self-publishing mistakes not to make

Introduction to Indie Publishing

Indie publishing has become a huge part of the book world in the last few years. But what is Indie Publishing? And what mistakes should you avoid if you want to publish your book this way?

This article will reveal all that and more. Whilst giving you some top tips on getting your indie book into the hands of your readers and climbing those best-seller rankings.

What is indie publishing?

Indie publishing is the act of independently publishing a book without going through a traditional publishing house. Indie publishing isn’t a new concept. The first known indie publisher was William Morris who founded Kelmscott Press back in 1890.

However, in recent years there has been a huge rise in indie publishing, providing huge competition for the big 5 publishing houses; Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, Penguin/Random House, Hachette Book Group, and MacMillan.

What’s the difference between indie publishing and self- publishing?

These terms are often used interchangeably and are very similar concepts. There is however an important distinction.

Self-publishing relates to an indie author who completes the whole process of publishing a book themselves. So they’ll write and publish the book whilst retaining their own publishing rights.

Indie publishing is where the indie author uses an indie publishing house to publish their books and therefore gives up some or all their publishing rights. These publishing houses tend to focus on a specific genre or a handful of authors.

Self Publishing mistakes

Indie publishing gives you control over the whole process of getting your book out into the world. With companies like Amazon offering print-on-demand services, publishing like this has never been easier.

You could write your book, upload a cover, and have your book on sale the next day, which is incredible. I highly recommend self-publishing. I managed to publish two Amazon best sellers through this method and if you follow these tips, you could do the same.

Covers

That old adage “Never judge a book by its cover” is overly romanticised. Although we’d all love to believe it, people do judge books by their covers.

Having the right book cover can make or break your book sales.

You’ll need a cover that looks great in a thumbnail (the small-sized image you see on Amazon). So the title needs to stand out and be legible. It also needs to be in keeping with your genre.

Particular genres have their own unique styles which are immediately identifiable to readers. So do your research.

Don’t be tempted by trying to create your own cover, it will stand out a mile. Or even using a regular designer instead of a book cover designer.

If you’re going to spend money, then this is the element you need to spend it on. The more you spend the better the end product, but it doesn’t need to cost the world.

You can pick up great designs on Fiverr or even pre-made book covers where you just add your title.

Editing

It’s easy to think you won’t need a professional editor. But, if your aim is to actually sell some books, you’d be wrong.

Professional editing can be the difference between a good book and a great book.

Poor grammar, spelling, punctuation and typos are not acceptable if you want your readers to take your books seriously.

I used Reedsy to find my editors. You can choose your editor based on their experience, genre and even see which books they have edited before.

How much indie publishing costs

Don’t presume it’s going to be really cheap to publish a great book. There are ways to cut costs but I wouldn’t recommend them.

My advice here is to keep a track of what you’re spending. Everything you spend will need to be recouped through your sales if you’re going to make a profit.

So spend money on your cover, editing and save any other expenditure for ads when you release your book.

Pre-orders

A huge mistake I made when publishing my first book was setting it on pre-order and got all my friends and family to order a copy. Then when it came to launch day I got hardly any sales.

This wasn’t an issue until I realised all those sales hadn’t affected my Amazon ranking. So I had around 50 book sales which didn’t push my ranking up.

If I launched without a pre-order, I’d have hit the top new releases section on Amazon.

Don’t make the same mistake as me.

Pre-orders can be used as great tool for already established authors and authors with a series of books to release in quick succession. But, as a first-time author, I learned the hard way.

Marketing

You can’t get away with marketing your book after it’s launched and assuming you’re going to get loads of sales.

The earlier you begin the better, and as a general rule of thumb you should be putting as much effort into your book marketing as your writing.

There are a million and one ways to market a book and I’ve a tonne of resources and articles to help you.

To begin with document your journey. Set up a couple social media profiles where you think your ideal reader will hang out. If you show your audience the trials and tribulations of writing a book, it’s surprising how many will become your cheerleaders.

Be sure to check out my top 5 ways to promote your book on social media for a more in depth guide.

It’s not necessary to create a website at first, that can come with time. But, if you’re in this for the long-term then I’d highly recommend starting an email list. This will be the best marketing tool you’ll have at your disposal later down the line.

After you’ve set up an email list, focus your attention on learning Amazon ads. If you’re selling on Amazon it’s a crucial element of your marketing strategy.

And if you need a hand with any of this marketing malarkey get in touch with me. It’s my speciality. I help authors just like you to become best-sellers.

Book Marketing Services: Everything you need to know

Book marketing services are an absolute minefield. You release your first book into the world expecting a host of sales to appear from nowhere, to find only a few of your friends and family actually bother to buy it.

After a few hapless efforts to try and generate some more sales, which have the effect of waving a miniature flag in a cathedral, you give up or look to find someone to help you. Enter the world of book marketing services.

What are book marketing services?

There are loads of different types of book marketing services out there. Some of which are a complete waste of time and others which I’d deem essential to growing your author business. Book marketing experts can help you with everything from building and maintaining an engaged email list, to running adverts for your books and helping with social media. They can assist you in devising a marketing strategy, building your author brand and also help with PR. Some provide you with ‘done-for-you’ services whereas others coach and train you to do the marketing yourself.

Why do I need them?

Especially as a novice writer, it’s a steep learning curve when it comes to the world of book publishing. It’s a massive uphill task to do everything necessary to make your book successful. Even if you’re not self-publishing and have managed to bag yourself a traditional contract, the expectation is still that you’ll still do an element of promotion and PR.

Some publishers like to see a decent sized social media following behind a writer and an engaged email list. If these kind of things aren’t your forte, then there are loads of options to help you out there.

If you’re self-publishing then the onus is on you to do it all. So, when time is at a premium, enlisting the help of a trained professional could be the smart thing to do.

I would always recommend you learn how to do everything involved in publishing, even if long-term you pay someone to take control of certain aspects of it. As a writer you’re running a business and as such, you should always work out where your time is best spent and how much it’s worth.

Work out what your long term goals are, what you can do achieve them and then you’ll soon see where you need the help.

What can you do for free?

Before you spend a penny on Book marketing services it’s imperative that you look at all the free options before you start splashing the cash. There are loads of writers with incredible newsletters, loads of free courses and a wealth of blog articles out there which will give you a whole host of knowledge.

Here are some of my favourite resources.

Once you’ve learned all you can for free it may then be time to invest in some book marketing services.

How do I get started using book marketing services?

As I mentioned before you need to know your long term vision when it comes to your author business. Is your ambition just to become a best-seller or do you want to make a career from your writing? This will inform you in your choices.

Also, be mindful of many people out there trying to make a quick buck. If you’ve ever received random messages on Instagram promising to promote your book to thousands of engaged readers for a really low price then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

True professionals will give you value for free, whether that be through podcasts, newsletters, blogs or educational videos. Many will offer free consultations to establish how they can help you and to make sure you are the right fit for their services. They will focus on value over price and give you comprehensive solutions to your problems.

Do your research, take your time and select the services that are right for you. You may find it could be your ticket to that best selling author badge on your books.

To schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me then hit this link >>

Story Origin: A comprehensive marketing platform for Authors?

I often get asked by frustrated authors “How do I build my Author platform and my email list?” This is no mean feat and such a hugely overlooked part of marketing books. Too many authors simplistically think by throwing up a webpage and adding a link to their social media profiles it’s enough to sell their books.

The reality of the situation is very different. It’s estimated a potential reader must come into contact with you on 7 different occasions before they are in a state where they will consider buying.

So how do you get these readers into a warm buying state? You invite them to join your email list, get them to know you, like you and trust you. From there you have a fan who will buy your books and hopefully become an advocate of you.

But, how do you get readers onto your list in the first place?

Enter Story origin…

What is Story Origin?

Story Origin is the creation of founder Evan Gow, a marketing platform and a community of authors. It enables authors to grow their list, increase their sales and also find reviewers for their books.

I came across Story Origin a couple of years ago when I realised the potential of building an email list. I was immediately impressed with the amount of features, which opened my eyes to all the different ways to find new voracious readers.

The key features

Review and Beta copies

If you want to find reviewers for your books and distribute beta copies safely without fear of piracy then Story Origin has it covered. You can even track how much the people you have given access to have read.

With the beta copies, you can brilliantly embed questionnaires in between chapters. This is an incredible way to get feed back and compare across all your beta readers.

Story Origin also helps you vet reviews that request audio codes from you too so you can be sure that they’re getting into the hands of people that will listen to and review your audio books. With audio books out-selling Ebooks in 2021, the platform is helping to future proof your business.

Newsletter and Promo Swaps

This is my favourite part of Story Origin and where I gained the most success. By uploading a reader magnet to the platform, (a short story or I used a kids activity pack) you can then get involved with other authors and help each other to grow your email list.

Just search for authors who write in a similar genre and agree to mention each other in future newsletters. This is a fantastic way to build up your list as you’re targeting readers who are interested in your genre. Win, Win!

Alternatively, you can join a group promotion. Here you team up with multiple authors to promote your books on a single landing page. Because you all promote the same link you are amplifying the traffic that you’re all sending to the page. More traffic = more sales!

This is such a handy thing to have. Your readers click the link on the link created by Story Origin and it transports them to their local Amazon store. Less clicks mean more chance of a sale.

Story Origin Word Count tracker

If you need something to keep your writing on track then this is for you. Set a target and it’ll break it down into words per day. If you miss a day don’t panic, Story Origin will adjust the word count targets accordingly.

Story Origin Case Study

If you’re still unsure about Story Origin then I’ll use myself as a case study. I managed to get myself a huge twenty something subscribers before I joined up to the platform. After 6 months, Story origin had assisted me in getting this number close to 2000.

I did this primarily through newsletter swaps, I made sure I was sending out one or two newsletters a month and mentioned 2 or 3 authors each time. They mentioned me and before I knew it my email list began to grow.

The bigger my list grew, the more authors wanted to swap with me and so on.

I perfected my email opening sequence and I found that 25% + of new subscribers went on to click the link to my book in my final automated email.

Although I can’t say definitively how many of these readers purchased my books, I can say there was a major upturn in my sales which I will attribute to this.

And lets face it, even if they didn’t buy, many of these readers will be on my list for years to come and are only an email away from buying subsequent releases of mine.

Have a look at the platform and see what you think here.

5 amazing book promotion ideas for self publishing authors

Writing a book can seem like the difficult part until you realise you’re going to have to market your book to get it in front of the right readers. The task can seem overwhelming at first, especially to the less business minded writers. Don’t panic though, try these fantastic book promotion ideas to revive a dead book or help launch a new one. You won’t be disappointed.

1. Create a website

This may sound like simple advice but you can create a bog standard boring website with a bio, books and contact tab and readers will click on and come off it 10 seconds later. But, if you think outside the box and give people an exciting reason to visit your site then it will work wonders.

Website book promotion ideas

Add a promotions and competition tab to your site and always have a contest running, give your potential readers a reason to come back time and time again.

Giveaway a chapter of your book in exchange for an email address, think outside the box and offer other amazing freebies.

Create a blog, this is an amazing way to keep your site fresh and exciting. If done correctly using searchable keywords you can get your articles to rank on google and give you free traffic to your site.

I’ve written a comprehensive article here on how to make your author website stand out here.

2. Guest blogging

If you haven’t got your own blog then there is no reason why you can’t write an article for someone else’s website. There are loads of paid opportunities out there and I’d highly recommend free blogging too. Most sites will allow you to add links to your website and books so you can find and capture a new audience.

There are many writers out there that use guest blogging as their one and only book marketing strategy and make a career from it. You’re a writer aren’t you? Then why wouldn’t you rustle up some articles to take advantage of this.

3. Podcast appearances

Podcasts are an ever growing medium, which show no sign of slowing up. There has been an emergence in podcasts specifically for writers over the last few years, so this is the perfect opportunity for your author business.

Research some relevant podcasts, have a listen and if it sounds like something you’d like to feature on then make an approach. Most podcasters are continually on the look out for guests so get involved. You can even use the appearances as great promotional material later on too.

4. Email Marketing

This is something I have a huge passion for, with good reason. It’s the most effective form of marketing, demands your audiences undivided attention and is proven to be the highest converting book promotion idea.

If you haven’t already done so, start building an email list today. And if you need help I’ve already written a super handy article to help you on your way.

5. Amazon Advertising

If you’re selling your books on Amazon then it is a no brainer to advertise on Amazon too. Think about it like this, your ideal reader is on Amazon searching through similar books to yours. You can serve an advert on their book page and get them to buy your book too. This is an amazing book promotion idea and only costs you money when they click on the link to your book. If you want to know more about Amazon ads, yes you guessed it, I’ve written an article on that too.

Conclusion book promotion ideas

Book promotion ideas don’t need to be difficult they just need to be creative. Think of the things that would entice you as a reader and use your creativity to brainstorm more. An hour spent brainstorming unique ideas will serve you well in the long-term.

If you need extra inspiration then be sure to sign up for my weekly book marketing newsletter below. Tips, tricks and marketing hacks straight to your inbox.

Book marketing for self published authors: the truth

With all the freedom you gain as a self published author you also gain a huge amount of responsibility as a result of it. Book marketing for self published authors can be a minefield, especially as you don’t get the support and guidance you would from a traditional publisher. However, don’t panic I’m here to guide you and give you a huge list of free activities you can use to market your book(s). All you need to do is try one or two each week and you’ll soon see some amazing results.

  1. Look out for podcast opportunities.
  2. Create a press pack.
  3. Search out free places to list your book release.
  4. Create a free promotion on Amazon.
  5. Contact the local newspapers.
  6. Write a guest blog article for another website.
  7. Create a blog of your own.
  8. Showcase a review on your social media channels.
  9. Host a live broadcast.
  10. Master your elevator pitch.
  11. Create some graphics on Canva to promote your book.
  12. Join readers groups on Facebook and get involved.
  13. Launch a newsletter.
  14. Create a freebie to entice subscribers.
  15. Promote your other books in the back matter of a book.
  16. Launch a giveaway.
  17. Start a Facebook group.
  18. Pin a link to your book to the top of your Facebook profile.
  19. Pin a link to your book to the top of your Twitter profile.
  20. Add a link in bio to your book on your Instagram page.
  21. Plan a blog tour.
  22. Collaborate with other authors.
  23. Create a Goodreads author page and ‘claim’ your book title(s).
  24. Set up Google Alerts and include your name and the name of your books. So you’ll be notified anytime they are mentioned.
  25. Create an Amazon authors page with links to all your social media profiles.
  26. Optimise your Amazon books blurb using HTML.
  27. Do a reading at your local library.

Book Marketing for self published authors doesn’t need to be complex, as you can see from the examples above. Sure there are loads of fancy and complex ways to market your books and yes over time you can add these to your repertoire. But first do the easy stuff well and you’ll see incremental increases in your book sales. Oh and one last thing, if you want weekly tips and tricks to market your books, straight into your inbox weekly then sign up to my newsletter below.

How to promote a book on social media

You’ve poured your heart and soul into writing the best book you could possibly have written. But, to make it all worthwhile you could do with selling a few. The best advice you’ve received is to promote your book on social media. So here it is, the definitive article on how to promote a book on social media.

  1. Create shareable content
  2. Social media contests
  3. Author collaborations
  4. Use social influencers
  5. Consistency
  6. Produce a blog
  7. Create a Facebook group
  8. Connect with your readers
  9. Offer a freebie

1. Create shareable content

If you can get other social media users to share your posts it’s going to massively multiply the amount of views it gets. Try producing something controversial, funny, or something that teaches your audience something new. Have a think of the types of things you would share on your social media profiles then replicate this type of content.

The miracle is this: The more we share, the more we have…

2. Social Media contests

An easy way to get eyes on your book and create awareness of you as an author. Give away a signed copy or two of your book and/or other merchandise. Get other users to tag people and share your giveaway to get additional entries. I’d recommend a giveaway every couple of months and keep it fresh and exciting.


3. Author collaborations

Why wouldn’t you double the amount of eyeballs on your content? Make a social media post together, interview each other live on Instagram or review each others books. This is one of the best ways to promote your books on social media. Check this article I’ve written on collaborations for more details.

4. Social influencers

You can take a free or paid approach to promoting your content through influencers here. There are huge amounts of book bloggers with big social media followings. Get to know them and they may well read and promote your book for free. And if not, you can even pay some to do this. If they have the right audience this can be a fantastic tactic.


5. Consistency

Show up daily, or you’ll vanish into obscurity. If you’ve picked a couple of Social Media platforms, create a content plan (with different content on each) and schedule some content. Make sure you set aside a little time each day to engage with your followers and search for new ones. Never leave a comment without a reply, it’s just rude.


6. Produce a blog

A blog is the perfect way to showcase your talent and show your social media followers another side to you. All you need to do is direct your followers to your website. In my blogs I’ll often add in a piece of content from one of my other platforms. This highlights to my audience I have more great content out there. See below…



7. Create a Facebook group

It’s one thing having an Author Facebook page but if you can manage to grow a Facebook group the rewards can be incredible. At the beginning you create the content and instigate debate but as your group grows they begin to take control. This is a fabulous place to promote your books with people who know, like and trust you.


8. Offer a freebie

Give away a chapter of your book through your Social Media, create an activity pack or even give away the first book in a series to your fans. It’s a great incentive for your followers to join your email list and carry on supporting you. If you’re giving away lots of value then you’ll definitely soon build up a loyal following.

Author Collaborations, the ultimate how to guide.

Writing can be a very lonely passion. Countless hours are spent at the keyboard with only your own thoughts to keep you going. So when I talk about author collaborations this can seem rather daunting. However, if you want to boost your network and the reach of your books then this is a no brainer. I truly believe the author community is one of the most supportive and helpful group of people I’ve ever met. So get in touch with authors of a similar genre and see how you can help each other.

  1. Interviews
  2. Author collaborations articles
  3. Takeover
  4. Newsletter swaps
  5. Book reviews
  6. Events
  7. Author Collaboration conclusion

Interviews

Why not interview one another on your social media channels, not only is this great practice for when your books make you rich and famous, it also helps you reach a whole new audience. And, if you are collaborating with an author of the same genre, they are targeting the same audience.

Interviews can take the form of pre recorded video interviews, audio or even a live broadcast on Instagram or Facebook. If you’re really clever you can get up to four authors to join an Instagram live together. Why wouldn’t you use the opportunity to get four times the audience views?

Author Collaborations Articles

You’re a writer so why not write an article or a piece of content for a fellow author? You only need to write 500 to 1000 words and you’re helping someone else out whilst showcasing your talents.

If you don’t want to write a full article you can always contribute to an article. Imagine a blog article like this that includes multiple authors?

It doesn’t even need to be an article like this, why not collaborate on an Instagram or Facebook post. Make content for each other and share the workload.

Author collaborations content

Takeover

Have you ever thought of taking over someone’s social media accounts for the day? This can really help to skyrocket interest in you.

This is particularly effective on Instagram stories and other video related platforms. You can easily batch create a load of stories, save them to your camera and send them to your collaborator. They can then share this content to their stories at regular intervals to create the illusion of a takeover.

Newsletter swaps

Why not mention a fellow author in your latest newsletter and let them return the favour? You can link to their book or a sign up form to their newsletter. You can never discount the power of recommendations.

There are now services like BookFunnel and Story Origin where you can find newsletter swaps and get involved in giveaways. Have you given them a try yet?

The form you have selected does not exist.

Book reviews

We all know how important book reviews are to an author. But when was the last time you reviewed a fellow authors book?

Give one a read and post it all over your social media channels and maybe they can return the favour. Not only are you helping a fellow author out, but, you’re also showing your audience that you’re a reader too whilst building trust.

Events

Why not organise an event with local authors, this could be a book fair, a series of workshops or some live readings. Some authors even coincide their book launches so they can do a big launch together for maximum impact.

You can even bring events online, you just need to be creative with your approach and always keep your audiences in mind.

Author Collaboration event

Author Collaborations Conclusion

These are just a handful of ways you can collaborate and there are many more out there. The more you work with others the more we will all grow.

Please let me know of any creative ideas you’ve got for new author collaborations and tell me if you’ve had any successful partnerships in the past.

I’d also love to show my commitment to collaborate with you guys. Tell me your best idea and I’ll choose the top 3 and collaborate with you over the next few weeks.

Just send me an email by clicking on this link.

Email Marketing: 5 reasons to utilise this strategy

In the digital world Email is a comparative dinosaur, having been invented 50 years ago this year. It still however remains a powerhouse of the modern digital age and will not be disappearing anytime soon. If you want to build an amazing community and monetise your assets then Email Marketing should be front and centre of your strategy.

  1. Cost effective email marketing
  2. Traffic you own
  3. Automated email marketing
  4. Personalised email
  5. Demands attention

1. Cost effective Email marketing

Email Marketing software is ridiculously cheap with most platforms free until you hit 1000 subscribers, so there is no excuse to not give it a go. The price generally goes up incrementally, so the more subscribers you have, the more you’ll pay. Providing you make the most of the medium this will pay for itself 1000 times over. Check out services like Mailerlite, Mailchimp and Convertikit which are all great options.

2. Traffic you own

An e-mail list is the greatest asset you can own as a writer.

Instead of being reliant on borrowed Social Media platforms, this is your list and is described as traffic you own. If Facebook closed tomorrow, or you lost your account for one reason or another you’d still have your e-mail list. These people are to be cherished, nurtured and cared for. They are your tribe, your people and your community.

Anyone who gives their email address to you is showing a high level of interest in you and your books. They have come over to your platform and will listen to what you have to say. Keep providing value on a regular basis and they could be on your email list for years to come.

3. Automated Email marketing

This for me is one of the most exciting parts of email marketing. You can set up an opening sequence of emails so that when someone joins your list they get sent a series of emails as and when you decide, without you even having to click a button. It can be doing the work for you and making money while you sleep.

You can also set up triggers to be automated. So for example, if someone clicks a link in one of your emails, then another series of emails could automatically be sent out.

Alongside this you could link it to your online shop, sending customers an email if they show interest in a certain product or abandon their cart without paying (how dare they).

I even have an automated sequence for people who don’t open my emails. They are sent an email to ask if they really want to be a subscriber and if not then my system takes them off the list.

4. Personalised Email

Depending what information you ask for when someone subscribes to your subscriber list, or even the information you require later, you can personalise all your emails to each specific subscriber.

Your loyal followers may see their name in the subject of the email and you can address each email to them. This all helps you to create that deep connection and show your subscribers they really matter.

You can even set up an automation to wish them a Happy Birthday. Who wouldn’t love that?

5. Demands attention

When you send out 1000 emails, 1000 emails are sent to your followers. Of those 1000 emails, on average you’d estimate 40% are opened and read. So that’s 400 emails, that have had your subscribers’ undivided attention, without the social media scroll going on around them

Compare this to a platform such as Instagram where you’d be doing well if 10% saw your post, and even then might scroll right past it.

If you use exciting email headlines and your emails contain valuable content, then people will look forward to your next email. They will look out for the next one and it will demand their attention.

Conclusion

As a writer, why wouldn’t you want the opportunity to write personally to all your readers on a regular basis? Why wouldn’t you showcase your literary talents and show insight into your world?

Email marketing can help you build a tribe of loyal supporters who know, like and trust you. Treat them right and they will continue to support you through thick and thin (and even buy your books).

Invest time and effort in to email marketing now and it’ll serve you for years to come. And if you need help boosting your subscribers list, I’ve got just the article for you here…

Amazon Ads for Authors: 6 Ways To Make Yours Explosive

Amazon ads for Authors Intro

It’s no secret that in order to sell lots of books you have a great marketing plan. In this article I’m going to focus Amazon Ads for Authors. If you haven’t done them before, take a big breath, they are really easy to set up. Making them profitable though is the hard part and this is where I come in.

I’m going to give you some great tips to simplify the process and ensure you don’t spend more money than you make in royalties, so you too can become an Amazon best-selling author.

  1. Keyword research
  2. Book marketing copy
  3. Also boughts
  4. Kick – starting Amazon Ads for Authors
  5. Little and often
  6. Amazon keyword reports

1. Keyword Research

Amazon adverts run primarily on keywords. Simply put these are the words people type into the Amazon search engine to find what they’re looking for. So if someone is looking for a book, then at a basic level they will type the word ‘book’ and get a list of results.

When you advertise on Amazon, you tell Amazon which keywords you want your book ad to show up for. You also select how much you’re willing to spend for this to show up high on the list (known as a bid).

This is the highest amount you’re willing to spend for a reader to see an ad for your book and click on it. So for a term like ‘book,’ as you can image competition is fierce between advertisers.

Bids on this particular keyword are likely to be stupidly high and a sure fire way to blow your advertising budget in a nano-second.

Instead there is a method to get cheaper clicks on your books which also narrows down your target audience.

This is where you need to think like a customer. When you type in a search term like ‘book’ you’ll get books of every genre, most of which don’t interest you at all. As a result, you’ll try and narrow your search. You may then type ‘for kids’ and if you still don’t get the results you desire, you may add ‘aged 7 to 11.’

So you end up with a chain of keywords ‘books for kids aged 7 to 11.’ This is known as a a long – chain keyword. These are the kind of keywords you want to be using to get your book in front of more readers.

There will be much less competition for this keyword, so the cost of someone clicking on your advert is much less. The cheaper the better right? Cheaper clicks mean there is a much higher chance of making a profit

So, how do you find a list of keywords like this? The good news is there are free ways, the bad news is they are time consuming.

To start with, write a list of all the keywords you can related to your book. It’s name, location, characters, genre, tropes, distinguishing features. For my books it would be things like twins, superheroes, middle grade fiction, children’s books, Northern England, series.

Type these words into amazon and look at the suggestions Amazon gives you, use these as your keywords. Type enough things in and you’ll soon generate a list of a few hundred keywords.

Book marketing keywords

You can also use the same method in google, to produce similar lists of keywords.

Alternatively, check out Goodreads for lists of books in your genre. You’ll quickly be able to find thousands of similar books to yours. Take these book titles or the names of authors and use them as your keywords.

Then when a potential reader types in the name of a similar author to you, on the results list an ad for your book may show up.

Alongside these methods there are paid tools you can use to give you massive lists of keywords which will cut the time spent generating keywords in half. I highly recommend Publisher Rocket as a quick way to generate a list of relevant keywords.

2. Book Marketing Copy

If you are running ads In the US you have the option to add text to your advert and I’d always suggest you do so. You have a limited number of characters so this needs to be short snappy and really entice the readers to click on your ad.

I’ve trialled both ads with and without copy and the ones with definitely outperform those without.

The hardest part here is selling your book in just one sentence. As writers we’re used to writing lots and lots of text and expanding our word count.

“Less is more when it comes to ad copy.”

You have 5 seconds to capture someone’s attention so make it captivating. If you’re really struggling here you can always go down the route of saying something along the lines of

“Fans of Andy Slinger (famous author) will love this book…”

See what I mean; short, snappy and guaranteed to make people stop and click.

If you want to find out more about copy writing I’ve written another article about it here..

Copywriting skills: How to improve your book sales.

3. Also boughts

When you click on your book page, lurking underneath your book description there is a bar of books that says something along the lines of “people who bought these books also bought.” This is vital information to look at.

Firstly, this will show if your book is sat in the correct Amazon categories. So if the books here are completely unrelated to yours, you have an issue. In this case give me a shout to help resolve it before you move any further with this section.

If they’re all in the same genre as yours then these are perfect books to target. Copy the titles and use them as keywords in your ads. Then click on these books and see what their also boughts are, then guess what? Copy these titles again.

Before you know it you’ve built up a huge list of authors and book titles to target in your ads.

Just for ease of use I tend to copy these all into a big spread sheet, organised into categories. Then if I’m struggling for key words or inspiration I can refer back to it at any time.

4. Kick starting Amazon ads for Authors

Book marketing; kick starting your Amazon ads for authors

You may be worried about your ads spending lots of your money but with Amazon ads for authors it’s sometimes hard to get them to spend at all. You pay nothing for impressions, (to have your ad seen by potential readers) you only pay when someone clicks on your book.

Sometimes, though these ads won’t even generate impressions at all or in very low numbers. So I would suggest always selecting an end date which is a month from now (remember to extend it later if your ad is performing well). This gives your ad an immediate boost and it’ll show impressions straight away.

Also, keep your daily spend on an advert to no more than $5. It is extremely unlikely to spend this money but if it does, congratulations you’re getting clicks on your book and potential sales anyway.

5. Little and often

The most effective way to run Amazon ads is little and often, I tend to check them once a week and generate 5 new ads at the same time.

Keep your budgets per click low, a maximum of 30 cents and you have far more of a chance of becoming profitable.

“When it comes to Amazon ads, go for quantity.”

Lots of ads generating a small number of profitable clicks is the way to make more book sales. Remember you’re looking for relevant keywords, with low competition.

Be consistent with analysing your ads, you don’t need to check them daily but definitely once a week. Turn any off that aren’t generating sales after a month, and keep on producing new ads.

This process carries on and on until you discover those incredible keywords that sell your book for a minimal spend.

6. Amazon keyword reports

Amazon Keyword report

Did you know you can get a copy of the effectiveness of all your keywords e-mailed to you whenever you like?

Just look at the top left and create your own report. You can decide how often you get it sent to you, I have it sent to me monthly.

This is a really quick and easy way to see the search terms which are performing in your ads. I make a list of all the terms that have generated sales and then create a new ad with them, a super ad!

Because you know these terms are effective, you can raise the cost per click to 35 cents or even 40 cents if you have a series. Thus generating even more sales.

You can also restart the keyword research process again using these terms in google and amazon like you did before, thus generating even more keywords.

Amazon ads for Authors conclusion

Amazon ads for authors take a little time to master and can seem overwhelming to most at first. But don’t panic, keep it simple, follow my advice and you won’t go far wrong.

If you do lose money on your ads at first, think of it a different way. You pay when someone clicks on your book, not when they see your ad.

I have ads that have generated millions of impressions. So millions of people have seen my book cover, for no cost. Even if you’re not generating sales initially, you are generating exposure and lots of it.

You are also gathering data. You’re discovering which keywords work and which don’t. Just think how many sales you could generate in a month or two or following this weekly approach.

Besides, if you get stuck and need a hand, I’m really nice I’m always here. Send me an e-mail, DM me on Instagram or even use the little chat circle in the left corner of this screen.

If you haven’t done already, join my e-mail list of like minded authors and get free marketing tips straight in your inbox.