Category: Marketing and Promotion

Your New Book: Treasure … or Trash?

Believe it or not, the Internet is a Babe in the Woods compared to the venerable book-publishing industry. Before the invention of the Web, publishers had a limited window of opportunity for selling their new titles, which they pursued twice a year with their Spring and Fall lists. With each new list of books released, publishers relegated their old list to the “also-rans” bin. Oh, they kept the books in their inventory, hoping to milk a few additional sales from them. But with newer and fresher titles to promote, they pretty much abandoned the older books to the trash bin.

Today, with the ongoing opportunity for on-line sales, new books stick around practically forever. That creates new promotional venues not only for publishers, who can devote their attentions to their new lists and maintain promotional programs for their old ones, but also for authors.

In today’s marketplace, authors are expected to do their fair share of marketing and promotion–and then some. No longer saddled by the six-months-to-death rule, authors can continue pitching, promoting, marketing, and experimenting with new promotional-and-sales venues even while they work on completing their next works of art. And so can publishers as they prepare their next list.

That means that, if a book doesn’t become a runaway best seller right out of the chute, it still has a chance to perform well. In most cases, that requires the author investing in or stumbling upon (however you want to phrase it) a new, targeted, brilliant, effective series promotions campaign. (Can you say, “Never give up, boys and girls?”)

A case in point is a LitReactor article by Joshua Chaplinsky detailing his experiences in promoting his book. While his comments on professionally designed covers and formatting don’t pertain to EP authors, whose books receive professional editing, design, and development, Chaplinsky’s last three sections are particularly relevant. They’re entitled “Identify your audience;” “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” and “Keep creating content.” Check out the article. In the meantime, remember to keep writing, publishing, and spreading the good news. It’s guaranteed to help you sell more books over the long haul.

The Skinny on Amazon’s Review Policy

Every author in the universe knows the power of obtaining and growing Amazon book reviews. But the mega-retailer has quietly taken aim at putting an end to some of the review-gathering techniques you may have been using for years. In addition to the obviously outright no-no’s such as loading your basket with phony reviews from imaginary people with throwaway e-mail addresses and their own Amazon accounts, there are more “gray areas” with which to contend these days. In short, to stay on the right side of the ‘Zon’s almighty Book of Rules and Regulations when it comes to posting book reviews (or any reviews for that matter), you need to take into consideration the following restrictions:

  • Asking friends, family, and other acquaintances to leave you reviews is forbidden. We can’t have unduly biased assessments of our books on our own book pages, after all! In short, if you know ’em, don’t use ’em. Some of your acquaintances may post reviews anyway without telling you in advance. That’s not the end of the world. Just be aware that that these reviews may suddenly “disappear” from your book’s pages.
  • If you interact with someone on social media, Amazon’s crawling bots may “pick up” your relationship (whether real or imaginary) and remove any reviews by what it considers is a friend or follower. That’s aimed at keeping popular authors with large social-media platforms from stuffing the ballot box with reviews from like-minded followers.
  • Ask people on your ARC (Advance Review Copy) list and other venues to disclose that they received a free book: “I received a free review copy of this book from the author, which in no way biased or slanted my review.”
  • You can’t compensate people in any way for leaving reviews beyond the actual product, itself  (your book, for example). That means holding contests, paying reviewers outright, swapping reviews one-for-one, and other tactics aren’t allowed.

What will Amazon do if it catches you playing with loaded dice? They may simply pull the reviews from your page. But if they determine the crime is egregious enough, you could find yourself going to court. Amazon recently sued more than a thousand sellers for promising to provide “misleading and inauthentic” five-star reviews for a seller’s products through a Website called

Rely on Reedsy – Really!

If you haven’t explored the Reedsy Website’s offerings available to authors and publishers lately, it’s time you did so. Among other great self-marketing and -promotional resources you’ll find:

Best Book-Review Blogs – Discover the best book review blogs in your preferred genre, from general fiction to YA paranormal romance. Their search bar connects you to a vetted catalog of active book blogs and thoughtful, quality book reviewers. A great opportunity to pick up some new reviews.

Book-Promotional Services – Looking for that ideal book promotion site within your price range? Reedsy’s vetted database can eliminate the scammers while their tier system is designed to give you a better picture of the sites that tend to deliver the biggest bang for the buck.

Writing Contests – Adding some book awards to your resume or your book’s Website might be just the ticket for drawing more attention to you and your book without running afoul of the losers and scammers that dwell among legitimate competitions. These are “the finest writing contests of 2018,” according to Reedsy, for both fiction and nonfiction authors of short stories, poetry, essays, novels, and more. 

It Takes More than a Blog

Great. You’re an author with a blog. What next? Well, just sit back, bide your time, and wait for those thousands of dedicated readers to begin buying your book. Right?

Wrong! You don’t need a mere blog. You need a community of dedicated readers to serve as a launching pad for new books, announcements, speaking engagements, contests, and whatever else you might envision to help peddle your wares.

According to author/marketer Joel Friedlander, “Simply having followers or a large email list won’t create engaged readers who will answer calls to action. To create that kind of relationship, bloggers need to project three vital qualities: authority, trust, and likability.”

Friedlander, whose book, A Self-Publisher’s Companion, has become something of a cult marketing guru, goes on. Check out what he has to say.

How To Sell Books

Latino writer promotional guru Marcela Landress has a suggestion for getting the buzz out about your new book.

“No surprise here, but ‘word of mouth’ on Twitter spreads very quickly. The word can spread very fast within a 24-hour period, so the more information available about you, your work, and your interests, the greater the chance of gaining a fan, a feature, or a sale. With that said, I urge you to start the chatter!”

She advised authors to be social, share themselves, and be authentic. “Make sure that you have a variety of places where you can share information and grow your features, publicize your book, and share your successes. All of these outlets provide more exposure for your book and help to establish a strong digital footprint. Publicity breeds more publicity. So, my advice is to chat it up, be social, and continue building a social network.”

However, she admonishes authors not to be a living, breathing advertisement. Her rule of thumb? Share on a four-to-one ratio. “You can post something self-promotional if you post four other non-promotional links that are helpful to your followers. The key is to build credibility.”

In other words, convince the reader that you’re interested most of all in him.

Book Reviewer Links #3

Here’s yet another round of book-reviewer links you might want to check out. The links tested live before publication. If an e-mail bounces, run a search for the organization and find a current Contacts e-mail address on that Website. You may have to do some fancy footwork to find reviewers appropriate to your book’s theme or genre or find information on how to submit your book for review.Always strive to provide the review sites you contact with whatever they require in order to review your book. Be prepared to wait for from several weeks to several months for the reviews to go live, and, of course, be as courteous when corresponding with your contacts or reviewers as possible.

BookBub – To Be or Not To Be?

If you haven’t yet heard about the ultra-successful eBook site, BookBub, take heart. You will. BookBub promotes itself as a place where readers and authors come together. Here’s what you might not know.

If you’re an avid reader who’s concerned about eBooks at the lowest possible price, BookBub will send you email alerts whenever a book that fits your criteria is offered at a deeply discounted price (and oftentimes completely free). It claims to have more than two million subscribers, which would make it the premier service for e-book discounting.

According to the BookBub Website, publishers often provide flash sales on their books in order to stimulate sales or to make them stand out from the competition. However, these price reductions are generally only offered for a limited period of time, and finding out when they occur can be a painstaking process.

To change this, BookBub sends its subscribers daily e-mail updates for discounted eBooks that are free or deeply discounted; of top quality content; available for a limited time, and geared to your reading preferences. The categories handled include:

  • Bestsellers
  • Mysteries, Thrillers, & Action
  • Romance
  • Other Fiction
  • Fantasy, Science Fiction, & Horror
  • Nonfiction

Once you complete a short form, you’ll begin receiving free daily e-mail alerts. You’ll also be able to enter your eBooks for BookBub promotions, which have been known to generate thousands of downloads and tons of author-recognition. For more information, check out the BookBub Website.

Creating Your Own PR Buzz

With a growing number of PR firms pitching their book-promotion packages, it’s refreshing to learn that you don’t need to hire an expensive public relations firm to reach the media and sell more books. “Public relations” means creating a story that a newspaper, magazine, radio, or TV journalist will find newsworthy. Have you written a book about health? Send out a short pitch about how your book has helped someone overcome a health condition and improved his life. Female exploitation? Let the world know how you fought it and won. The media loves true stories: what better way to enter into a win-win relationship with a journalist? 

Be on the lookout for ways to get your book some free ink. Position yourself as an expert on your topic rather than simply another writer out to snag more sales. The media loves legitimate news stories. Offer your local or national news Ten Tips for Coin Collecting or Aging Gracefully or Digging for Gold in the Wild West. Talk to the editors, get to know your local news figures, and become a trusted source in your area. Then simply casually mention your credentials, Web address, and book title with a link to where it can be purchased.


Book Reviewer Links #2

Here are some additional links that tested live when last checked in mid-January 2018. You may have to do some fancy footwork to find reviewers appropriate to your book’s theme or genre or find information on how to submit your book for review. If all else fails, send out an e-mail query to the contact listed on-site. Always strive to provide the review sites you contact with whatever they require in order to review your book. Be prepared to wait for from several weeks to several months for the reviews to go live, and, of course, be as courteous when corresponding with your contacts or reviewers as possible.

  • (specializing in genre fiction reviews from horror and true crime to romance)
  • (hundreds of monthly reviews)
  • (wouldn’t you love to meet ’em? A monthly web magazine and daily blog for those who love to read)
  • (ForeWord reviews books from small presses)
  • (the “eye candy” of review sites wrapped up in a single package)
  • (great traffic, great lists, great reviews, and great e-blast updates)
  • (book reviews, interviews, e-Books, and self-publishing advice)
  • (news and reviews from Library Journal staffers)
  • (like Goodreads, a hybrid community of readers, writers, and reviewers with some 1.5 million readers)
  • (easy links to get a book reviewed or become a reviewer)
  • (for serious books and authors, with lots of lists, interviews, and reviews)
  • (“Page Turner” is the name of the blog featuring criticism, contention, and conversation about “books that matter”)
  • (The New York Review of Books has great traffic and plenty of reading material)
  • (not for everyone, of course, but worth a shot)
  • (a universe all to its own)
  • (an Amazon-owned site where you can click-and-buy as well as join your favorite reading tribe)
  • (co-founded by long-time P/W executive editor, John Mutter, with reader and trade versions)


Five Things This Self-Published Author Did To Sell Over 20,000 Books with Almost No Money

Two years ago, author Rob Dircks self-published his first sci-fi novel, Where the Hell Is Tesla? It sold 10,000 copies in the first 12 months and has since sold a whopping 18,000 copies. His second novel sold nearly 5,000 copies, and his new release, Don’t Touch the Blue Stuff! is “opening strong, too,” according to the author. How did he do it? Was it luck? Skill? A magic spell? Something in between?

The title of this article in Entrepreneur says it all. But the article itself says even more. Check it out and learn, learn, learn!