Numbers Poem (Counting to Ten)

Numbers Poem Pic

Zero is the hero; he saved us all.

One is fun; she always has a ball.

Two is new; he was born yesterday.

Three is free; she loves to play.

Four is a bore; he doesn’t like to talk.

Five is alive; she enjoys a good walk.

Six is in a fix; he doesn’t know what to do.

Seven is in Heaven; she never has the flu.

Eight is great; he often lends a hand.

Nine is divine; she sings in a band.

But it’s ten who is going to win.

Copyright (c) 2013 Chris McMullen

Should any educator wish to use this poem, “Numbers Poem (Counting to Ten),” for non-commercial, instructional purposes, it may be used freely for this purpose. (You’re welcome to replace the words “Heaven” and “divine” with other words in case these do not suit your needs or preferences.)

Unpublishing, Republishing, and Updating Your Book

Ideally, you would publish your book perfectly the first time, everything would work out nicely, and you’d live your happily ever after publishing fairy tale.

Ah, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

For whatever reason, suppose you’re considering whether or not to unpublish your book.

Before you decide, you should learn exactly what will happen when you unpublish it. Here are some questions you need to ask:

  • Will the book disappear completely? If not, in what ways will it remain visible?
  • Will the book remain on your author page?
  • If you’re only unpublishing one edition, will the reviews stay linked together?
  • If you republish a revised version later, will old reviews return?
  • How long will it take for the book to be unpublished?

Of course, different publishing services have different policies, as do different online booksellers. So you want to consider all the possibilities.

A book won’t vanish from Amazon. However, an unpublished e-book can be removed so that customers won’t find it when they’re shopping. Print books, on the other hand, are permanently listed for the benefit of anybody who might have a used copy to sell.

At Amazon, once you add a physical book to your author page at AuthorCentral, it will evidently remain there forever. If you publish a paperback, for example, and add it to your author page, even if you unpublish the book, it will remain on your author page. The rationale behind it is that a previous customer could potentially have a used copy to sell, and this allows other customers to purchase such copies.

That’s something to consider when you sign up for an author page and when you add a new book to it. Think it over very carefully to make sure you won’t want to remove it from your author page in the future. (Suppose you have a Kindle edition already on your author page and then publish a paperback edition. If these become linked together, your paperback will appear on your author page even though you didn’t specifically add that edition to your author page.)

However, this isn’t an issue with e-books. If you unpublish a Kindle edition, the e-book can be removed from your author page. If it’s linked to a print edition, the print edition will remain on your author page, but the Kindle edition can be removed.

Suppose you have Kindle and print editions linked together. Some reviews may declare that they are for the Kindle edition or for the print edition. If you unpublish the Kindle edition, all of the reviews for both editions will remain on the print edition’s product page. However, you can politely ask AuthorCentral to unlink the two editions once the Kindle edition is unpublished, if you wish to have the reviews from the Kindle edition removed from the print edition.

A print book can’t truly be unpublished from Amazon. You can disable the Amazon sales channel. If you publish through CreateSpace, you can disable all other sales channels, too. You can even ask CreateSpace to retire the book for you once the sales channels have been disabled. However, the book will still continue to appear on Amazon, even though customers won’t be able to buy new copies directly from Amazon. This allows any customers or vendors who have new or used copies to resell them on Amazon.

If you unpublish an e-book and republish a revised version later, any reviews that you had before could suddenly appear on the republished e-book. It might be a month down the line, if not sooner. (I’ve never tried republishing an e-book, but other authors have discussed their experiences with this.) If it does happen and you’ve made significant revisions, you might contact Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and politely explain this. Nevertheless, nothing prevents a customer who left a review the first time from finding your e-book again and leaving a new review.

You could republish an e-book with a new title or cover. However, this may confuse customers to the point that some of your previous customers buy a second copy of the same book by mistake, which could result in negative reviews. (Perhaps a clear explanation in the blurb could help minimize this.) With a new title, old reviews are unlikely to show up on the republished e-book.

If you just need to revise your book, you may not need to unpublish it. It depends on the circumstances. If it’s desirable to prevent the sale of your book until the corrections are made, then for an e-book you must unpublish it in the meantime, and or a print book you must disable the sales channels until the changes are made.

It’s not necessary to create a new edition (with a new ISBN, for a print book) when revising your book. You can simply update the current edition, perhaps mentioning this briefly in the blurb. Include the edition number (or something that you’ll recognize) in the Look Inside for your own benefit. This way, when you check out the Look Inside at Amazon, you’ll be able to tell precisely which edition is showing; and if a customer shows you your book or inquires about the content, you’ll be able to check which edition the customer is referencing.

With Kindle, it is possible to notify previous customers that a file has been revised, but it depends on the circumstances and what KDP (not you) decides. You can find a place to send a request to KDP from the KDP help pages.

  • If KDP determines that the issue is minor, they will not contact customers. However, if a customer visits the Managing Your Kindle page at Amazon, the customer can receive the update there. The problem is that the customer won’t know to look for the update.
  • If KDP declares that the issue is critical, your e-book will go off sale until you correct the problem. When you fix it, notify KDP of the update. Then there may be a lengthy delay. Once KDP approves the revision and puts the book back on sale, customers will be notified.
  • If the issue is major, but not critical, in KDP’s eyes, then customers will be notified that an update is available.

There may be lengthy delays if you use an e-book aggregator like Smashwords, if the e-book has already been distributed.

The best action is to do everything possible to get the book right the first time. You only get one chance to make a good first impression.

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing

What would you like to see on our Read Tuesday website?

Read Tuesday

As it may help anyone who participates on Read Tuesday, I would like you to think of the Read Tuesday website as our website, rather than my website. So I encourage your suggestions, comments, ideas, concerns, feedback, etc. 🙂

Reminder: The Read Tuesday concept is our effort to provide readers with a Black Friday or Cyber Monday type of sales event specifically for books. You can learn more about it through the link below.

https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/red_tuesday_idea_for_boosting_book_sales/

I’ll list some of my thoughts here, and invite you to add yours in the comments section.

  • The Read Tuesday banner, once it is ready.
  • A description of the Read Tuesday concept.
  • A separate list of quotes from authors and readers who are looking forward to the event. If you’d like to contribute, all you need to do is give me your quote, whether you’re speaking as an author or reader, how you’d like your name or nickname to appear, what I should put for your location (or leave blank, if you wish), and if you would like me to include, say, your author website. You can contact me by email from my about me page, or leave a comment (whatever you prefer). I intend to sprinkle some throughout the website, and have one page dedicated to it if there are enough.
  • A Like button for Facebook, a Follow button for Twitter, etc. once those pages are setup.
  • A page with information for readers and a page with information for prospective authors.
  • Contact info.

Can you think of other content? What other kinds of images? Other types of pages?

If you have any requests for the style or structure of the website, those suggestions are encouraged, too.

I could try to make a page of participating authors, with names and maybe photos. But if the list gets really long…

I could also try to make a catalog of participating books (perhaps not to be released until closer to the event date). But again, if it gets very long… If anyone can think of a way to make it very easy to add and update, please turn on the lights. 🙂

Of course, all authors can promote their own books through the Read Tuesday event by mentioning their own books while simultaneously spreading word of the program. Similarly, authors can get together in groups (by subgenre, for example, but not necessarily) and make sub-catalogs, featuring their books that will be in the program. Such smaller catalogs could prove more beneficial than a master catalog.

Moody Sales

Moody PicAh, the beginning of the month;

Such a pleasant time for sales.

You can hear the buzz of customers

And the chirruping of registers.

 

Nothing tops the rush hour,

When sales are just ecstatic.

The lines are seemingly endless,

The products quickly vanish.

 

But then it slows down so much;

Sales shed tears from their sadness.

Where did everybody go?

Why have you all abandoned us?

 

Sales always wonder if the end has come

During extensive periods of loneliness.

Is that the end of life as they know it?

Will they never feel energized again?

 

When sales rebound, they jump for joy;

Happier than ever, they smile quite broadly.

They knew the buyers would return.

The experience is so rejuvenating.

 

Then that time of the month comes;

Inevitable, yet sales dread it so.

Those few days where sales are dismal.

You can count on it like clockwork.

 

Copyright (c) 2013 Chris McMullen

Read Tuesday: Have Website, Need Slogan

Read Tuesday

I changed it to Read Tuesday because http://www.readtuesday.com was available. I also purchased the domain so we now have a website for it. Don’t rush over there; it’s empty as of yet. 🙂

I asked an artist to work on the images. But it’s still not too late to share your ideas and help shape things. We’ll include “Read Tuesday” and the date (December 10, 2013) with the images. I’d like a set of images that include a slogan of sorts. TamrahJo provided a suggestion for some text. Does anyone else have ideas? We could really use slogan, phrase, or other short text ideas.

Regarding the catalog idea, I’m thinking we may not want to release it, if we make one, until much closer to the event date. Just like stores don’t want you to know exactly what will be on sale and for how much too far in advance.

There is an opportunity for someone who loves Twitter or Facebook to take one of these on or get involved with it. If you run one of these, you can have your name on the about me section, and you have the opportunity to interact with people through the Red Tuesday concept. I’ll do it if needed, but I know some of you have a knack for these, so I’ll give you the chance. I have other ideas beyond social media, but Twitter and Facebook pages are probably something we want to get up and running very soon.

Once we have the images ready to go, we’ll want to build buzz for it and start promoting it. Remember, if you write a post or article about Read Tuesday, you’re able to promote your own book while promoting the program simultaneously (at a minimum, you’re going to mention that your own book, Whatever the Title Is, will be in the program, and your audience may look forward to it).

You have a chance to help shape this event. If you have ideas, you are encouraged to share them. Ideas are greatly appreciated. 🙂

Red Tuesday: Initial Brainstorm

Red Tuesday Pic

The idea behind Red Tuesday is for authors to get together and provide a book-oriented version of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can learn more about the idea here:

https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/red_tuesday_idea_for_boosting_book_sales/

The purpose of this post is to brainstorm the ideas that we’ll need to get started. Most of this should be done in the comments section below. We’ll need more brainstorming sessions as we go. Here we should focus on just getting things underway.

Red Tuesday is an opportunity for otherwise ‘independent’ authors (we largely behave this way when we sit down to write and when we market, even those of us who are traditionally published) to organize together and form something special – without, hopefully, too much more work than we would do just to have our own separate promotions. Here at WordPress, there is a strong sense of community among authors and artists. If we participate and harness this community feeling, we may all benefit from Red Tuesday.

It’s not about one person succeeding from the work of many others, and it’s not about one person being in charge. It’s about several people collaborating together. The beauty of the marketing involved is that every author can promote his or her own books while simultaneously promoting Red Tuesday.

BRANDING IMAGE: We want to brand the concept of Red Tuesday. Therefore, we need an image that we can use to help brand this visually. We want to include this image on all of our marketing materials for Red Tuesday. The more people see this image, the better.

We want to use the same image over and over, but we’ll need it to come in a few different forms. We’ll need a couple of headers for blogs or social media, an image to insert into our posts, a sidebar image, a thumbnail image, a logo, and anything else we think of. Essentially, we’ll need a variation of the same image in various aspect ratios.

TamrahJo drafted a good concept (see below). It will be easy to produce the image in a variety of shapes and sizes, it’s really suggestive about the idea of gifting books, it matches the color of the event (red), it fits with the holiday theme, and it has a cute play on the color and verb homophones. I made a similar image for this post (above).

http://wp.me/aZNrI-WF

What we need is an improvement on our efforts (or a better idea, if anyone has one). If you can make a better present, bow, font, etc.

Whatever image we use, we will need permission for every author who participates to use the image for their Red Tuesday marketing (except for possibly putting in a restriction to prevent anyone from abusing the idea). This means that any images or text used must grant this permission, also.

Again, we’ll need the images to come in an assortment of sizes, suitable for various purposes. It may also be desirable for some of the images to include text (a slogan, for example), but others to exclude it.

BRANDING TEXT: We’ll need a slogan, catch-phrase, strapline, marketing line, blurb, and/or whatever other short text may be useful to help us brand the concept of Red Tuesday successfully. Again, we’ll need permission for every participating author to use the ideas that we decide to go with. TamrahJo included a suggestion for some text in the draft of the branding image (along with font effects).

WEBSITE: Unfortunately, it appears that the ‘redtuesday’ domain has already been taken as a .com site. We could throw in a hyphen, but then anyone who misses the little hyphen will go elsewhere. Perhaps we could add the word ‘books’ to the end of it.

We should have one website setup that’s geared to tell customers all about Red Tuesday. This is a link that we’d want to include with all of our promotional materials.

I don’t mind springing for the domain name. I could put together something basic, or add basic materials that others prepare. But if there are any volunteers with web skills, maybe that could lead to something better. I guess we could start with a WordPress template, or I could get something from GoDaddy, for example.

To begin with, we want to include our Red Tuesday branding image and a description of the program. What else could we put here?

Perhaps catalogs (including subcatalogs) listing books by genre (or subgenre) that will be discounted on Red Tuesday. (We could also highlight a few books that have very deep discounts – good examples that may help to draw interest.) Depending on how many books wind up in the program, this could be an extensive catalog. We want to make it easy for customers to sort through it, appealing to look at, and easy to update as new authors join in. If there is an easy way to do this, maybe where authors can add their own books yet the formatting still looks nice, it would be nice to find it. It will probably take some volunteer efforts to put this together, but hopefully we can think of some automated services to help do much of the work…

Maybe an extensive catalog isn’t worth the effort. Being buried in a long list – if the list becomes long – probably isn’t the most helpful marketing tool. What will be helpful is when authors individually promote their own books while simultaneously promoting Red Tuesday.

(We could also have a humble page that gives credit to any volunteers who provide valuable services.)

What else should we have on the website? For now, we just want to get it started with the minimum, and we can add to it as we go along.

We want a different hub to direct interested authors rather than the website designed for customers (though some authors, like me, will be shopping for books on Red Tuesday, too). Our blogs can help with this. Remember, you’re welcome to create your own posts about Red Tuesday (reblogging isn’t the only way to spread the word, though you’re also welcome to reblog Red Tuesday posts).

MORE: There are other things we’ll need soon, but these are a few things that we’ll need right away. Can you think of anything else that we’ll need immediately? If so, please bring these up in the comments.

COMMUNITY: Through our involvement in Red Tuesday, we can be part of something much bigger than ourselves. The magic word is participation. Please share and discuss your ideas in the comments section below. Brainstorming isn’t about one person coming up with ideas, but about many people bouncing ideas off of one another and discussing them to see where it leads.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

Red Tuesday: Idea for Boosting * Your * 4th Quarter Book Sales

Fourth Quarter Pic

This idea came to me this morning. It has the potential to help you sell many books in the fourth quarter. It’s a simple idea; it’s free; and it will be easy. It just involves a little marketing, but, as you know, marketing is exactly the kind of work that can move books.

I’m not talking about marketing for a few sales. I see potential for a great deal of exposure.

THE PROBLEM: Black Friday and Cyber Monday are huge days for holiday shopping among retailers. However, booksellers probably won’t reduce the price of your book any more than usual, they probably won’t advertise your book as part of the sale, and you might even sell fewer books than normal because all of the customers are too busy buying electronics, toys, tools, and clothing.

You can discount your book significantly on these days and promote your sale to help stimulate some traffic during this time, but it probably won’t be any more effective than promoting your book this way on any other day of the year. In fact, it may be better to do this on some other day where you’re readers aren’t too busy shopping for other items.

THE IDEA: Thousands of authors participate in special one-day pricing of incredible discounts. We’ll call it Red Tuesday (a homophone with the past tense of what you do with a book). Actually, we’ll do it again just after Christmas, when everyone just got a new e-reader and still has holiday money to spend. We’ll call this one White Thursday (a play on “write,” perhaps).

It’s simple, really: Each author promotes his or her own discount while simultaneously promoting the huge event. You don’t do any more work than normal, but by being part of a huge group of authors involved in this, you can gain the enhanced publicity of the event as a whole.

For example, you would write, “Title of My Book will be 80% off as part of the Super Incredible Red Tuesday Extravaganza.” Take a moment to briefly describe what Red Tuesday is all about in addition to promoting your book. Link to the event page as well as to your book. Think of all the content you could post on your blog and social media regarding Red Tuesday, where you will also mention your own book’s participation in the event. Red Tuesday helps you with your marketing.

One author is really tiny. Together as a community, we can thrive.

All we need to do is spread the word and get super-mega-incredible participation among authors.

If we can get significant participation, it will open up many marketing opportunities that may otherwise elude us. Imagine the growth and buzz building up so large that the media takes notice. I have a list of other ideas below, and more will come. Together, we can help Red Tuesday go viral.

ELIGIBILITY: You just need to be an author who is willing to significantly discount your book on Red Tuesday and/or White Thursday. All authors are welcome, regardless of how you published, what you write, etc. (You don’t have to worry about your book being listed in an electronic catalog with an adult content book because we could always make separate catalogs for different kinds of books. At this point, there is no guarantee that there will be a catalog; that’s just one of the ideas below.)

If your book is already 99 cents, pretty much the only way to discount it is to make it free. However, many authors might want to just drop their prices, but not make them free. Why not allow for both? Any catalogs could easily come in separate editions for discounted titles and freebies. We could also feature the deepest discounts at the top to help catch interest in the program.

I have several e-books priced between $2.99 to $5.99. I’m thinking to drop all of the prices to 99 cents (except where the file size is so large that it prevents the e-book from being priced this low).

I also sell several paperbacks. These could be reduced, too. Or I could make a significant percent-off discount code for my CreateSpace eStore. Or I could sell them from my website at 50% off and take payments through PayPal.

The important thing is to make the book on sale during the promotion for a significant discount.

EXPRESS YOUR INTEREST: If you’re interested in this, please post a comment below to let us know. If there doesn’t appear to be interest, this idea will just slowly die out. The idea can only succeed through your participation. Please share the idea to help spread the news, so that we can find more authors who are willing to participate.

If there is plenty of initial interest, then we’ll move onto the next step and Red Tuesday may become a reality and a success.

We’re still in the planning stages. So if you have ideas, suggestions, comments, or concerns, this is a good time to express them. Nothing is set in stone yet.

There is no cost. You’re only commitment is to significantly lower your price for Red Tuesday and/or White Thursday. Any other work will strictly be voluntary. It would be wise for you to promote your discount and the event in order to help you get the most out of it.

MORE INFORMATION: As long as there continues to be significant interest, I’ll post information about Red Tuesday here on my blog. Please feel free to help spread the news – directly, by reblogging, or by creating your own posts about Red Tuesday.

If there is significant interest, I’ll send out a sign-up post on my blog, whereby authors can sign up. If you have a better idea for how to get authors to sign up besides just using the comments section of a sign-up post, please share your idea.

If several authors sign up, I will put up regular posts with information, ideas, suggestions, etc. here on my blog. Again, feel free to help spread this information.

DATES: In 2013, Black Friday is November 29 and Cyber Monday is December 2. Everyone is now exhausted from shopping. So my thought is to wait until Tuesday, December 10 to celebrate Red Tuesday. Then we’ll have White Thursday on January 3. (I liked White Wednesday better, but it falls on January 2, just a day after New Year’s.)

IDEAS: First we need to brand the concept of Red Tuesday. We’ll want to have a small number of images that we can all use with our blog posts and other Red Tuesday promotions. I can announce a contest to submit images for consideration. Then we’ll use the winning image to brand our image. Everyone should use this image with all of their Red Tuesday promotional materials.

We’ll also want to brand White Thursday (which will come about a month later). But we want White Thursday to be a surprise. We don’t want readers skipping Red Tuesday, knowing that White Thursday will come later. We want to generate huge exposure twice, not once. We’ll need a different image for White Thursday.

Some kind of catchy slogan, jingle, strapline, or something of this sort would be nice, too. I can solicit suggestions in a separate post.

Soon we’ll need to build a great deal of buzz and generate plenty of author participation. We can post and reblog about Red Tuesday to spread the word. Assuming this takes off, I’ll make a post in a couple of days with more ideas of how to help create buzz for this special day.

If we succeed in creating ample buzz for Red Tuesday, this may create additional marketing opportunities. Write an article about it and try to publish it in a relevant high-traffic zone. (Your article won’t go to waste because you can always post it to your bog if it doesn’t get used anywhere else.) We can try to get writers with a large following to write about Red Tuesday, and we can aim for a little media attention.

We can make a webpage specifically for the Red Tuesday event and everyone can link to it in all of their posts. If we’re able to make any electronic catalogs of books (volunteers can make this possible), we’ll post them on the event page and circulate them in others, too.

If many authors do a few small things in the way of promoting Red Tuesday, it will really add up. We all have different areas of expertise. If you’re a video whiz, for example, you can post a trailer on YouTube about Red Tuesday, and the rest of us can help get people to check it out. Remember, any marketing that you do voluntarily to promote Red Tuesday will also help you with your own book as a part of your promotion.

As we approach Red Tuesday, our marketing campaign should go nuts. Everyone should be posting and promoting in anticipation, and especially on Red Tuesday itself.

It’s very important to reduce your price in time, allowing for probable delays (which can be several hours or more – and may be longer if there is widespread participation) to get your book’s price reduced in time for the big event. Better early than late.

GREAT FOR READERS: Red Tuesday doesn’t just have the potential to benefit authors. It can greatly benefit readers, too. Red Tuesday would be a great day to stock up on books by all your favorite participating authors. It’s also a great day to buy books as gifts. There is ample reason for authors and readers alike to spread the word and make Red Tuesday a huge hit.

Sure, some readers will see Red Tuesday coming and try to hold off of buying books until Red Tuesday comes around. There will still be readers buying books before then. If your sales rank does slide somewhat going into Red Tuesday, just think what a potential avalanche of sales on Red Tuesday could do for it. The better you promote your discount and Red Tuesday and the more marketable your book, the better your chances of having a successful Red Tuesday.

NO GUARANTEES: There is no guarantee that this will improve your exposure or increase your sales. However, if participation is widespread, there is much potential for numerous authors to receive a marked boost in both exposure and sales. The more marketable your book (i.e. good content, appealing cover, effective blurb, well-formatted and -edited, attractive storyline and characterization, and good readability), the better the prospects for you to benefit from the promotion. Also, the more active participation we receive and the more effective we are, collectively, at marketing the event, the better the chances of success.

FINAL WORD: Ideas, comments, suggestions, and concerns are not only welcome, they are strongly encouraged. 🙂

We can be part of something much bigger than ourselves. The magic word is participation.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

Online Marketing: Feel like a Dog Chasing its Tail?

Marketing Net Pic

Joe published a book. Sales are slow. He learns that he needs to market the book.

He develops a blog. It starts out small and grows slowly. Even the blog needs to be promoted.

Joe joins Facebook and Twitter. His experience there is much like his blog.

He makes a website for his book. That entails SEO optimization.

Joe includes links to his social media sites, author website, and book from his blog.

He links to his social media sites, book, and blog from his author website.

He adds a fan page to his book to help drive traffic to his blog, social media sites, and author website.

Wait a minute. Joe wants his online marketing to drive traffic to his book, but he’s using his readers to promote his websites. Huh?

Here’s what it looks like to Joe:

  • A drives traffic to B, C, D, and E.
  • B drives traffic to A, C, D, and E.
  • C drives traffic to A, B, D, and E.
  • D drives traffic to A, B, C, and E.
  • E drives traffic to A, B, C, and D.

That’s great except for one little detail: There wasn’t a source of traffic anywhere to begin with!

Are we just driving around in circles? Where does the traffic come from? Are all of Joe’s followers other authors trying to market their own books?

These are natural things to wonder when you first explore online marketing.

The author who is wondering such things might wish to be aware of the following points:

  • It would have been helpful for Joe to do some effective premarketing.1
  • Joe wants a simple, easy, magical source of traffic. In reality, marketing requires work, patience, and wisdom.
  • A ton of instant sales would be really nice, but this is really difficult to come by for a new author on the first book. A gradual increase in sales is more realistic and can become significant over a long period of time.
  • Marketability2 is as important as the marketing. Any problems with the content, cover, blurb, writing, editing, or formatting can render the marketing ineffective.
  • Local offline marketing can be quite effective for many new authors, and this can help stimulate the online marketing.

Think of your combined marketing efforts as an ever-expanding marketing net.

If your online content is designed well, someone in your target audience who wanders into your marketing net is likely to check out one or more other components of your online platform: your blog, your social media sites, your author website, your book website, your fan page, your book’s product page, your author page, etc.

The larger your net, the more opportunities there are for potential people in your target audience to wander into it. Having content that attracts your target audience helps greatly.

It takes time to build your marketing net. It takes time for your target audience to discover your net. It takes time for your following to grow. It takes motivation, diligence, and patience.

It’s not about money. It’s about helping your target audience find a product that they’re likely to be interested in. It’s about blogging because you have ideas to share. It’s about writing because you have a strong passion for it. It’s about marketing because you have a passion to share your work.

It’s about gaining exposure for your work.

Following are some specific things that you can do to help stimulate traffic.

For example, a temporary, infrequent reduction in price or freebie can help with exposure. For this to be most effective, you must build a modest following first (one benefit of premarketing). This greatly helps you spread the word through your marketing net. Price doesn’t generate interest. Creating the perception of value and spreading the word generates interest. You have to promote a sale for the discount to draw readers in.

An advertisement that reaches a large percentage of your target audience can help promote short-term interest and increase your exposure. Don’t focus solely on the initial return. Consider what the potential exposure, if promoted effectively, may do in the long run. It’s very important for an advertisement to reach your specific target audience3 and for your book to be highly marketable for it to pay off. Keep the investment low because there is no guarantee that it will pay quick dividends. Do a cost-benefit analysis.4

Having multiple books or a series also widens your net. This offers previous readers an opportunity to get more (provided that your previous content was good enough to warrant it).

Local offline marketing can be a valuable resource. Meeting people in person allows you to show your personality and charm them. Being able to meet an author in person is a treat. See if small, local, indie bookstores or other stores that sell books have any interest in your book. Perhaps a school or library would be interested in a reading. Find out where your target audience is likely to be and make an effort to meet and interact with them. A small, local paper may have column inches to fill with a local story about you or your book.

Effective premarketing can lend early sales to start out with a strong sales rank and may also earn early reviews. It also enables you to build your following prior to the launch of your book.

Getting a blog review, interview, and especially publishing an article relevant for your target audience in a high-traffic area can help draw in readers.

Related Posts:

1. Premarketing Ideas:

https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2013/03/23/marketing-isnt-an-afterthought/

2. Marketability:

https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/marketing-why-isnt-it-working/

3. Target audience:

https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/target-your-audience/

4. Cost-benefit analysis:

https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/cost-benefit-analysis-for-marketing-books/

Want More? To find more posts about marketing and publishing, click on one of the links in the Index on the sidebar to the right. Choose Cover Design, Blurb, Formatting/Editing, Marketing, Writing, or Publishing.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

Have you Considered These Benefits of Kindle MatchBook?

First I’ll address how customers can benefit from Kindle’s new MatchBook, and then I’ll conclude with how authors and publishers can benefit from it.

The new Kindle MatchBook allows customers who buy a print edition (hardcover or paperback) of a book to buy the Kindle edition of the same book at a discounted price – if the publisher enrolls the book in the program. The discount will be at least 50% off the digital list price, and may be up to 100%.

https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=AVJCUBZXDNUM4

Have you ever bought a book as a hard copy because that was the most convenient way to read it? Maybe it was a nonfiction book, such as a how-to guide. You want the book spread open, with a lot of information on one page, as you try out the instructions. Maybe you have highlighting and annotations throughout the book. The index and glossary may have been quite handy.

Every once in a while, you really wished that you had the book with you, but didn’t. Too bad you couldn’t find a copy of it on your cell phone.

Imagine if you could have downloaded a copy of the e-book for free, or a low price like 99 cents (pretty cheap compared to a print copy that may run $10 to $25, or so). This way, you could always have the e-book right at your fingertips, while still enjoying the print edition.

Here is another example of how to benefit from MatchBook. You can buy the print edition at the going price and the Kindle edition at the discounted MatchBook price. When you finish reading the print edition, you can resell it, give it to a friend, or lend it to a neighbor, for example, while still retaining the digital copy for yourself. This lets you share your book with others and keep it, too.

This could be handy for books that are published as print editions first, and Kindle editions later, provided that they are enrolled in Kindle MatchBook (and assuming that Amazon doesn’t impose a time limit on taking advantage of the MatchBook offer – or perhaps the e-book will be available for preorder, if published by one of the big publishing houses).

Collectors should see a great benefit of Kindle MatchBook. Suppose you buy a brand new first edition and wish to collect it. You can keep it in mint condition by not reading the print edition at all: Simply save the collectible copy and read the Kindle edition instead.

Authors and publishers should expect to do more than merely enroll their books in the program and see what happens. All authors and publishers who are familiar with marketing know that books don’t sell themselves – i.e. just hitting the publish button isn’t enough. It takes marketing to sell books.

Similarly, just enrolling the books in Kindle MatchBook isn’t enough. If that’s all authors and publishers do, they shouldn’t expect to see a significant impact from MatchBook.

Instead, what authors and publishers need to do is promote the benefits of MatchBook to their potential customers. Just like always, price doesn’t sell books. However, marketing helps customers find books that meet their needs.

Here are a few ways to promote the benefits of MatchBook:

  • Promote the discounted MatchBook price. If the Kindle edition is free with the purchase of a print copy, market this selling point. Even if it’s not free, the discount is worth promoting as an incentive. Make potential customers aware of this through your marketing endeavors.
  • Spread the word about the possible benefits of MatchBook. Help to convey the idea that it’s beneficial to customers. Give specific examples to show customers how they might individually benefit from the program. Especially, giving them ideas that might not have occurred to them might get their attention.
  • Help to build positive buzz for this new marketing tool, while specifically trying to build buzz for how customers might benefit from MatchBook for your books.

Note that if the digital list price is $2.99 or higher and you ordinarily earn a 70% royalty (after subtracting the delivery charge based on the file size), you will still earn a 70% royalty on the MatchBook price even if it is 99 cents or $1.99. (You normally earn 35% on any Kindle e-book priced below $2.99, so it’s pretty cool that they’re paying 70% on these 99-cent and $1.99 MatchBook prices.) You’ll be able to see what your royalty will be before you hit the publish button.

Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Vol. 1 (formatting/publishing) and Vol. 2 (packaging/marketing)

Home of Phones Homophones

Home of Phone Pic

My dog wags it tail when I tell this tale.

No man can know more about fish than you.

My dear, you love fishing more than hunting deer.

You’re the master of your trade.

So you enter a contest, but not to sew.

It’s for fishing, of course, and begins at four.

You don’t know what to do because it’s only two.

It’s not enough time to stay in an inn.

Right then you get the idea to write.

You list in red ink every book you’ve ever read.

Soon the time has passed. It’s half past three.

You reached the blue sea just before the horn blew.

With spirits high, you say, “Hi.”

You agree to play fair. Let’s see how you fare.

If you break the rules, you’ll find that you’re fined.

They count to ten and bang on the tin.

It’s time to see if you can find a big fish in the sea.

You set sail with a boat that you bought at a sale.

Where you go you wear your very best gear.

You use an ant for bait that you got from your aunt.

Your main advantage is your lucky horse’s mane,

Hare’s foot, and magic mermaid hair.

We shall pray for your prey.

The poor fish would rather be stung by a bee.

You caught your fish while napping in a cot.

Even though I’m here, I don’t believe what I hear.

However, I did see it with my eye.

Then you pick it up with your feet. What a feat!

Go this way to the scale. It’s time to weigh the fish.

They’re measuring their prizes over there.

Now we wait to discover the weight.

When will we find out if you win?

Your son is watching anxiously in the sun.

His stomach is in a knot, but yours is not.

You’re the one who has won the prize.

They write your name with a pen on a pin.

They mail it to you by a postman who is male.

You’re our hero of the hour.

Let’s cook the poor fish and pour water on your pores.

Fry the fish in flour. Decorate it with a flower.

It’s time to spice it up by adding some thyme.

When you add a beet, the flavor can’t be beat.

Everyone knows the smell delights your nose.

We wipe our bare feet on your bear rug.

We meet at the table to eat the meat.

The maid has the table nicely made.

Just after we ate the clock struck eight.

Thanks for stopping by. It’s time to say, “Bye.”

 

Copyright (c) 2013 Chris McMullen

Should any educator wish to use the above edition of this poem, “Home of Phone Homophones,” for non-commercial, instructional purposes, it may be used freely for this purpose.