Suggestions for Promoting Your Book (on Read Tuesday)


Read Tuesday—a huge book sale on December 10—is an opportunity for all authors to promote their books.

As opposed to promoting your own short-term sale all by yourself, with Read Tuesday you can be part of a large coordinated effort among hundreds of authors.

There are a few ways that Read Tuesday can help you promote your books:

  • You can add your book to the Read Tuesday catalog for free. You just need to agree to discount your book on Tuesday, December 10 and let us know that you will be participating. Find the link to learn more toward the end of this post.
  • We’re promoting the event. Hundreds of authors and readers are already spreading the word about Read Tuesday in many forms, in person and online. We also have a few advertisements running on different sites, targeting book lovers. Some popular authors (like M. Louisa Locke and Jessica James) are participating, which helps lend credibility to the event and draw in more readers.
  • Promoting that your book is participating in Read Tuesday may help you generate more interest than merely promoting your own book.
  • We will announce sale prices, discounts, discount codes, availability, and book extras for the big event. There is no charge to include your book’s information in these announcements.

In addition to adding your book to the book catalog, your author photo to the author catalog, and your sale information (look for a post in the next couple of days about this on the Read Tuesday website; we haven’t started collecting sale price information yet, but will soon), following are suggestions for what else you might do to help promote your books:

  • Green Embers has 38 free advertising slots for indie authors from December 1 thru December 9. (You don’t even have to participate in Read Tuesday to take advantage of this free offer.) This is an amazing offer. All you have to do is click here to sign up. Where else will you get free advertising?
  • Write about your book’s participation in Read Tuesday on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This will help you create interest in your book among your fans, followers, and anyone who stumbles across your author sites. Mention that your book will be on sale, describe what Read Tuesday is, tell what you’re looking forward to, and help to create buzz for your book and the event. Promoting the event along with your book may help to create more interest in your promotion.
  • You’re free to use any of the Read Tuesday images (these were designed by artist Melissa Stevens) in a positive way. You can add one to your sidebar, include the image with your posts, etc. You’re welcome to link to the Read Tuesday website to refer interested readers or authors for more information.
  • Find other authors who are participating in Read Tuesday—look for authors who show signs of past success and authors with books similar to yours—and check out their blogs and social media pages to see ways that they are promoting their books. This will help you generate ideas for how to promote your books.
  • There are many ways to spread the news of your book’s promotion and your book’s participation in Read Tuesday to your target audience. You can share this with any of your interactions with your target audience in person or online. Search for Facebook groups relevant to your genre or category. Consider placing a low-cost advertisement (find a list of services in this post). Ask other authors for ideas. If you have suggestions, feel free to include them in the comments section.
  • Browse the Read Tuesday catalog for books that interest you or other books similar to yours. Instead of just promoting only your book, consider promoting a variety of books that interest you, or multiple books in a given genre (including yours, of course), for example. This might help you create additional interest. Reach out to other authors; you might be able to get together and help promote one another’s books.

For information regarding how to put your book on sale, read this post.

Check out the Read Tuesday sample catalog:

How do authors sign up?

We’ll be collecting discount information soon, and we’ll be promoting sale prices, discount codes, and availability information closer to Read Tuesday, on December 10, 2013.

Read Tuesday: It’s going to be HUGE!

Give the gift of reading this holiday season.

Love books? Check out Read Tuesday, a Black Friday event just for books (all authors can sign up for free): website, Facebook page, Twitter

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

I’m Loving Black Friday—but not for Shopping

Black Friday

This is the best Black Friday ever, at least it is for me, but I won’t be shopping today (except for lunch).

Our heater has been out for nearly two weeks now. It was working fine until the weather decided to bring in a cold spell.

The good news is that it was covered by warranty. The bad news was that the company had technical issues taking the order, so it took a few phone calls and a week of waiting for them to come out.

Just one day after they fixed it, the heater went out again. This time, they were quick to respond, but didn’t have the needed part in stock.

We were hoping to get the heater fixed by Thanksgiving. Some much needed heat would have been something to be very thankful for.

But the part didn’t arrive in time. Today the heater is working again (knock on wood).

So I’m loving this Black Friday. Thanksgiving may be over, but I’m very thankful for this heat.

I feel like a caveman thawing out. I was feeling chilled to the bone until the heater started working again.

We were dressed up like penguins inside our house. We’ve been surviving on one room heater. Sitting around a heater as if it were a campfire.

It wasn’t how I planned my Thanksgiving break. At least, I still have a few days left.

If you live up north, I’m sure it’s much colder there. But if your heater was working, I’d have rather spent the past two weeks up there. 🙂

We did save some money on the gas bill, though that isn’t the way I want to save money…

No shopping for me this Black Friday. I’m waiting for Read Tuesday, of course.

Love books? Check out Read Tuesday, a Black Friday event just for books (all authors can sign up for free): website, Facebook page, Twitter

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

Thanks for Reading and Writing


There is much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Of course, we must give thanks to family, friends, neighbors, loved ones, health, and well-being.

I’d also like to express my thanks for reading and writing:

  • All those struggling writers from times before who left behind a classic for me to enjoy.
  • And the struggling writers from today who provide more good books to read.
  • Teachers who gave me the gifts of reading and writing.
  • Authors of children’s books for inspiring reading at a young age.
  • The amazing community here at WordPress.
  • Readers who discovered and read my blog or any of my books (I wouldn’t be a writer without you).
  • The invention of the computer because the typewriter lacks a critical backspace key (in my case, the whole page would be smeared with white-out).
  • The invention of the alphabet (just imagine writing abstract ideas with hieroglyphics).

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Love books? Check out Read Tuesday, a Black Friday event just for books (all authors can sign up for free): website, Facebook page, Twitter

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

An Opportunity for Authors to Promote Their Books

Buying Books Pic

All authors need exposure for their books. Unfortunately, this isn’t easy to get.

It’s rare that a free promotional opportunity comes by that requires very little effort, so when one does, you want to notice it and take advantage of it.

Black Friday is almost here. It seems like there should be a great promotional opportunity here, doesn’t it? But with all the sales of electronics, toys, and clothing that are heavily advertised for this occasion, books are likely to go largely unnoticed.

If only there was a day like this just for book lovers. Oh, but there is: It’s called Read Tuesday and will make its debut on December 10, 2013.

This is a great promotional opportunity for authors (and a great buying opportunity for readers, and a great gifting opportunity for the holidays):

  • Participation is free, so what do you have to lose?
  • Effort is minimal. Just put your book on a short-term sale that includes December 10. Send me the url to where you book will be on sale and I’ll add it to the Read Tuesday catalog. Ta-da! Free exposure for your book. (If you would also spread the word about your book’s participation in Read Tuesday, that will help you out, too.)
  • The event is being promoted on your behalf. Struggling to promote your own books? Having your book included in a catalog that is being promoted is worth a shot, isn’t it? The event is gaining popularity daily, with some popular authors signed up and even published authors showing interest.
  • Many authors use the one-day promotional discount effectively, putting the book on sale and promoting it heavily. We’re not putting one book on sale and promoting it. No. We’re putting hundreds of books on sale and promoting the event as a big holiday sale.
  • Every author who signs up increases interest in the event. Your book will be one more book in the catalog. Over a hundred authors before you have helped to stimulate much interest already. You have a chance to add to this. Every author counts.
  • What are you waiting for? Maybe you’re waiting until after December 10, so you can read about the success stories of hundreds of other participating Read Tuesday authors. If so, it will be a long wait until Read Tuesday returns in 2014.

Book lovers can check out the catalog by clicking here.

Authors can learn how to sign up by clicking here.

Give the gift of reading this holiday season.

Join over 600 followers (@ReadTuesday) on Twitter.

Be one of over 900 book lovers to Like the Read Tuesday Facebook page.

Chris McMullen, founder of Read Tuesday and author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers, Volume 1 (formatting/publishing) and Volume 2 (packaging/marketing), Facebook page, Twitter

A Chance for Indies to Show Them



What can indie authors do?

We have a chance to show what we can do.


With every book we publish, we show our individual talents.

When we band together, we display the power of teamwork.


Not all indies are participating in Read Tuesday,

Though all are welcome and joining is free and easy.


Yet Read Tuesday, a Black Friday event for book lovers on December 10,

Has a chance to show what indies can do when we unite.


It’s not just a great day to buy books at great savings,

To spread the joy of reading and promote literacy.


It’s something more; an opportunity for indies to do something grand,

To promote an event worthy of its own day.


Department stores created Black Friday and Cyber Monday,

But indies have come together to produce Read Tuesday.


Readers have a chance to demonstrate their support for all good books,

Not just those books with a particular stamp on their covers.


Read Tuesday won’t be like any other Tuesday;

It will be a Tuesday with many opportunities.


Book lovers can find great discounts on books,

Authors can find a free resource to help promote their books.


May you have a wonderful Read Tuesday. 🙂

Love books? Check out Read Tuesday, a Black Friday event just for books (all authors can sign up for free): website, Facebook page, Twitter


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

Turning Pro: Taking Indie Authorship to the Next Level


You would like to start out looking like a pro.

Many wise authors strive for this:

  • Searching for similar titles to see what may be highly marketable.
  • Asking experienced authors, editors, publicists, and small publishers for advice.
  • Doing research on writing, formatting, publishing, and marketing.
  • Trying to build a following before publishing.
  • Joining a writing group to improve as a writer.
  • Receiving ample feedback from the target audience.
  • Hiring a cover designer and editor.
  • Building buzz prior to a book’s release.
  • Writing a press release and distributing it to the media.

These are great things to do, and they can help immensely.

Yet, no matter how hard you try to nail your first book, you always improve and grow as an author:

  • After establishing yourself as an author, you have a fan base to work with and toward.
  • You find yourself reading a book, wondering why you didn’t think of that, or something you see triggers a design idea for your book.
  • A reader provides a helpful suggestion that you hadn’t considered.
  • You come across publishing tips you wish you’d known previously.
  • Once you have enough books out, you may start thinking more and more about becoming a small publisher.
  • New connections may open new possibilities for your books.

Unless your book is free or you donate 100% of the proceeds to charity, then technically you’re a professional author. But that’s not what I mean by professional. Rather, there comes a point in every writer’s career where you feel that you’ve made the transition from amateurish to professional. When you’re more experienced, wiser, and your writing has matured, you realize you’ve made some transition. This probably doesn’t happen just once, but several times over the course of writing.

Another thing I don’t mean is any distinction between indie and traditional authors. More and more traditional authors are also indie publishing, often with a pen name, which really blurs any line you might want to draw between them. It’s not how you publish that matters most to a reader, but how professional the book is. There are different degrees of professionalism even within traditionally published books.

As you grow as an author and strive to become more professional, here are some of the things you might consider:

  • ISBN options. When you start out, it’s hard to invest more than about $10 in an ISBN option. As your sales grow, you start to consider buying a block of ISBN’s. For example, in the US Bowker offers 10 for $250 or 100 for $575. As you start to think of developing a serious imprint and expanding your distribution options, this might fit your needs.
  • Professional websites. You may want something that looks more like a website and less like a blog. You might want your own domain name. You may add a site for your book and another for your imprint. At Facebook, you may add an author page or book page. If you create a Facebook page (i.e. more than just a Facebook account), it will have a Like option, and if you feed your WordPress blog into Facebook (but beware of this issue), those Facebook page Likes add to your follower tally (so do Twitter Follows if you feed your blog into Twitter). From your Facebook home, find the Create a Page option on the bottom-left. For an author page, click Artist, Band, or Public Figure; one of the options is author. (You can also make a page for your book by selecting Entertainment.)
  • Professional help. As your sales grow, you might consider investing more on cover design or editing, or even interior design. Although I’ve enjoyed designing my books, I’ve found a cover designer and had covers made for my most recent books and works in progress. I like the new covers much better, so I’m very pleased with this decision. I’ve also purchased illustrations and designs for book interiors.
  • Advertising. It’s difficult to invest in advertising when you’re starting out. There is a huge risk that you won’t recover your investment. You wish you could throw a little money out there to relieve you of the need to market your books, but it doesn’t work out that way. But once you’ve achieved some degree of success, you can better gauge your book’s marketability, you know you will have some initial support, and your current royalties can help cover your investment. You may be looking for ways that an advertisement can complement your marketing, such as a paid advertisement for a one-day book promotion.
  • Giving back. When you start out, you need a lot of help. As you gain experience, you have more knowledge to share and need less help. You might pay it forward, helping new authors through blog posts or who approach you with questions (whereas most people don’t like unsolicited advice). As you become more efficient with your own marketing, you might help a little to promote up-and-coming new authors whose work you like.

I’m presently collaborating on a publishing project with other authors to create a new series of math and writing workbooks. There is a creative element that will hopefully help engage children in learning fundamental skills. We’re getting professional covers for the series and professional illustrations for the interiors. We have a logo. We’ll use an imprint and purchase ISBN’s. We’ll be setting up a website. Our goal is to create a professional series of math and writing workbooks that meet the needs of students, parents, homeschoolers, and teachers.

Maybe a traditional publisher would like to have this series. But we’re indie all the way. 🙂

We’re hoping to launch the series in the spring or summer of 2014.

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

How to Put Your Book on Sale

On Sale Now

Table of Contents:

I. paperback

A. at your CreateSpace eStore

B. at Amazon using CreateSpace

C. at your website

II. e-book

A. with Kindle

B. with Smashwords, Nook, Kobo, etc.

I. paperback

A. at your CreateSpace eStore

  • It’s quick and easy. Just make discount codes.
    • Click on a book from your dashboard to open its project homepage.
    • Select ‘Channels’ on the ‘Distribute’ column.
    • Choose ‘Discount Codes’ under CreateSpace eStore.
    • Look for the ‘click here’ link in the paragraph above the table.
    • This will create a new code. Click ‘View Codes’ to see them all.
    • Copy and paste the code into the table (previous window).
    • Choose dollars off or percentage off.
  • Enter a ridiculous amount, like 99% off, and CS will tell you the maximum discount you can offer. This way, you don’t have to guess or figure it out yourself.
  • If you want to make a royalty on the sale, don’t choose your maximum discount. The smaller your discount, the greater your royalty.
  • (List price — discount) x 0.8 — book cost = royalty. Example: ($7.99 — 20%) x 0.8 — $2.53 = ($7.99 —$1.60) x 0.8 — $2.53 = $6.39 x 0.8 — $2.53 = $5.11 — $2.53 = $2.58.
  • Make sure you are happy with your royalty. If you want to double-check your math, feel free to use the comments section below.
  • You can use the same discount code for multiple books. This makes it easy to put several books on sale for 20% off, for example.
  • However, you must add the discount code to each book separately.
  • Here are some important notes:
    • Customers must sign up for a CreateSpace account. They don’t have to publish a book, but they do need to enter a username and password.
    • Customers know and trust Amazon. Customers who aren’t already familiar with CreateSpace may be reluctant to use it.
    • Customers must pay shipping at CreateSpace. Customers who qualify for free shipping at Amazon might not want to pay for shipping at CreateSpace.
    • Shipping is cheaper when purchasing multiple books. Encourage customers to buy multiple books at CreateSpace to save on shipping.
  • When your sale is over, return to the table of discount codes, check the box to delete the discount, and save your changes.

B. at Amazon using CreateSpace

  • Simply reduce your list price.
  • Customers won’t know that your book is on sale by viewing your product page at Amazon; you’ll have to promote the sale price to spread the word.
  • If you have Expanded Distribution, this will limit the possible discount.
  • You may disable the Expanded Distribution during your sale in order to offer a deeper discount.
  • It can take weeks for your Expanded Distribution changes to propagate throughout the system. Disabling and enabling this channel before and after your sale may create an interesting ripple effect, but if you primarily sell through Amazon, you might not be as concerned about this.
  • The sale price might change in a matter of hours, but according to CreateSpace, it could take up to 5 days for the list price to change at Amazon. This extreme time frame may be unlikely, but if you invest time, effort, or money on a promotion, you’d hate for Murphy’s law to strike.
  • What’s the harm in putting your paperback on sale 5 days early leading up to the big day? Better safe than sorry. When the event is over and you raise the price, if it doesn’t change immediately, it just makes your sale last a little longer.
  • You may be paid a royalty based on the lower list price for some books that sell at the original list price. The royalty payments just after a price change may be based on the lower royalty, even if the book sold at the higher list price. You probably expect to sell many more books at the lower price anyway, so if your promotion is successful, this may be a minor concern.

C. at your website

  • A third option is to sell your book directly: in person, through your website, via PayPal, etc.
  • Advantages:
    • You can potentially draw a higher royalty.
    • This allows you to also make a more enticing discount.
    • If you order stock in advance, you can be sure that the customer is receiving a quality book. Be sure to allow ample time to exchange defects (and to exchange defects of replacements, if needed).
    • Alternatively, you can order your book at CreateSpace and have it drop-shipped  to the customer. No packing ship will reveal sensitive information. You won’t be able to see the book before it ships to prevent the customer from receiving a possible defect, but this way you don’t have to pay shipping twice (though if you order in large quantities, you save on shipping from CreateSpace to you).
  • Disadvantages:
    • You have to deal with the hassles of collecting payments (although PayPal is a convenient option).
    • You have to deal with the hassles of packing and shipping, unless you drop ship.
    • You run the risk of defects if you drop ship.
    • Some customers may be reluctant to purchase directly from you.

II. e-book

A. with Kindle

  • There are three options:
    • KDP Select authors can run a Countdown Deal.
    • KDP Select authors can run a free promotion.
    • Without KDP Select, you can still make a temporary change in list price.
  • Using the new Kindle Countdown Deal:
    • You can’t run both a Countdown Deal and a free promo during the same 90-day enrollment period.
    • The book must be enrolled in KDP Select for 30 days.
    • You must wait 30 days after changing the list price.
    • The regular list price must be at least $2.99 for the US and 1.99 pounds for the UK.
    • The sale price must be at least $1.00 off the regular list price.
    • Customers can see how much they are saving and when the sale ends.
    • If you ordinarily earn 70% royalties, you will still earn 70% even if the promotional list price is under $2.99.
    • If you have a large mobi file size, do the math to see what your royalty will be at the promotional list price; you don’t want to be shocked later.
    • You can’t publish at Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, or any other e-book retailers while enrolled in KDP Select.
  • Using the KDP Select free promo:
    • You can’t run both a Countdown Deal and a free promo during the same 90-day enrollment period.
    • Giving the first book of a series away for free may help to generate sales of other books in your series.
    • You don’t earn any royalties during the free promo; you just hope the promo helps to create exposure and interest afterward.
    • Your sales rank will fall off during the free promo; you need to get sales afterward to improve your sales rank.
    • Many people don’t check out your blurb or Look Inside since it’s free; many people who get your book won’t read it.
    • You must promote your free promo effectively to make the most out of it.
    • The free promo is a good time for bloggers and book reviewers to pick up advance review copies.
    • You also want bloggers and book review sites to feature your free promo before it starts.
    • If your book is 99 cents or at the minimum list price for its file size, the free promo is the only way you can discount your book (other than through price matching).
    • You can’t publish at Smashwords, Kobo, Nook, or any other e-book retailers while enrolled in KDP Select.
  • For those who aren’t in KDP Select:
    • If your book isn’t already at the minimum possible list price, all you need to do is republish your book at the lower list price prior to the sale (it may take 12-24 hours for this to take effect in the US and longer in other countries) and back at the original list price after the sale.
    • Check your converted mobi file size on page 2 of the publishing steps at KDP. If it’s greater than 10 MB, the minimum list price is $2.99 and if it’s greater than 3 MB, the minimum list price is $1.99; otherwise, the minimum list price is 99 cents. You’d hate to promise a sale only to discover later that you can’t do it.
    • Customers won’t know that your book is on sale by viewing your product page at Amazon; you’ll have to promote the sale price to spread the word.

B. with Smashwords, Nook, Kobo, etc.

  • The easiest way to create discounts with Smashwords is with the coupon manager.
    • Go to your dashboard and choose “Coupon Manager.”
    • This allows you to distribute coupons for customers to use.
    • Your list price must be 99 cents or higher (unless you want to use the coupon to make your book free).
    • Coupons only work for Smashwords sales. They do not work at Apple, Nook, Sony, Kobo, etc.
  • Alternatively, you can change your list price.
    • Be sure to also change your list price for Kindle at the same time, otherwise you can get into permanent price match issues. Even then, the big e-reader companies, like Kindle and Nook, like for your list price to be the same, and it’s difficult to synchronize, especially using Smashwords for Nook. If publishing directly with Nook, the price change will occur in about 12-24 hours, so it will be much more in sync with the Kindle list price.
    • The Smashwords list price updates immediately, but other retail channels will take 5 days to multiple weeks to update. This makes it impractical to run a short-term promotion through those channels using Smashwords.
    • If you want to run a short-term promotion and have your book published at a variety of e-book retailers, it’s best to publish your e-book directly with Kindle, Nook, Kobo, and anywhere else that option is available. This way, the prices will update in about 12-24 hours for US sales, keeping your list prices relatively in sync over the course of the promotion.

If you want your sale to be successful, you must promote it effectively. See these articles for more on this:

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

Love books? Check out Read Tuesday, a Black Friday event just for books (all authors can sign up for free): website, Facebook page, Twitter