Today we will examine the books of a highly successful fiction author to learn some valuable marketability tips.
Historical fiction author M. Louisa Locke has a popular series called the Victorian San Francisco Mystery Series. The first book in the series, Maids of Misfortune, has over 500 customer reviews on Amazon.
You can learn some things about marketability just by visiting the detail page for Maids of Misfortune:
- The cover fits the genre very distinctly. This is incredibly important for a book to be highly marketable. You want your target audience to see the book and instantly recognize that it’s a perfect fit for them. One glance at the cover and you know it’s historical fiction. Your book will be seen in your marketing, search results, customer also bought lists, and more. If you want a significant percentage of the people who see your book to buy your book, you need the cover to grab your target audience.
- Not only that, but the cover is appealing, looks elegant, and the title and author name are easy to read in the thumbnail. The challenge is to make the font interesting, yet still very clear, and fit the genre. This book pulls it off very well. Don’t underestimate the effect that font issues have on sales.
- Check out the other covers in the series. They all fit together, which helps greatly with branding, yet each is distinct.
- The blurb is divided up into short paragraphs. Shoppers have a short attention span, and this blurb addresses that. If the blurb doesn’t interest the buyer immediately and continue to engage the shopper, the shopper will hit the back button of the browser.
- The first sentence of the blurb describes trouble. Now the reader is concerned. The second paragraph starts with a secret, the third introduces a problem, and the last speaks of murder. Each paragraph begins with some way of engaging the reader. Everything reads well and clearly, and no paragraph is too long.
- Look at the categories. Normally, having too many categories poses a problem, but upon closer inspection, each subcategory is very specific and actually is appropriate to the book. You want your book to get into specific categories that are highly relevant for your book, but not to get into categories that aren’t highly relevant (buyers see this, become confused, and back out). Check out this page to learn some Kindle keyword tricks (thanks to S.K. Nicholls and others for pointing this out to me). Check your detail page periodically and contact Author Central if your book gets into a category that isn’t highly relevant.
- M. Louisa Locke’s author photo is a perfect fit for her profile—a Victorian author and retired professor of U.S. and women’s history. Her qualifications certainly help; although she is a fiction author, her expertise relates to the subject her novels.
- The 500 reviews really stand out on the product page. Excellent marketability and effective marketing help to earn sales, and a fraction of those sales may result in customer reviews. One way to help improve this percentage is to encourage customers to contact you and to mention that you would appreciate a review on Amazon. Check out the second paragraph of M. Louisa Locke’s biography.
- If you write fiction, Shelfari offers many book extras that you can add to your product page. Check out the book extras on this product page.
- This book is available on Kindle, paperback, and as an audio book.
- The cover grabs the attention of the target audience, the blurb draws interest, and the reviews lend credibility, but it isn’t a done deal yet. We still have the Look Inside. This Look Inside seals the deal. The cover looks great not only as a thumbnail, but also in the much larger Look Inside. The book comes right out and draws interest right off the bat. You want to develop your story slowly, but readers don’t have such patience for a new author. Come out swinging with your best stuff. Grab the reader’s attention and don’t let go. This book draws interest immediately, and each paragraph starts, like the blurb, with some word or phrase that will draw the reader’s curiosity. The Look Inside fits the genre well, which is highly important, reads well, and appears to be well-edited. These three points can make or break a sale, even when everything else is perfect.
There is more to success than just creating a highly marketable book and product page and throwing it out there. But it’s not a secret. Many popular authors reveal tips that made them successful.
If you visit M. Louisa Locke’s blog, you’ll see that you can learn a great deal there about marketability and marketing. Especially, read these two posts and study the details:
- She has seven tips for selling on Kindle: http://mlouisalocke.com/2011/03/11/check-out-guest-post-7-tips-on-how-to-sell-books-on-kindle/
- M. Louisa Locke also offers excellent advice on how to sell Kindle books using the search bar: http://mlouisalocke.com/2013/11/21/readers-to-booksbooks-to-readers-part-two-how-to-sell-books-in-the-kindle-store-with-the-search-bar/
M. Louisa Locke’s paperback books will be participating in Read Tuesday, a Black Friday type of event just for books on December 10. All authors are welcome to participate (it’s free).
Learn more about M. Louisa Locke: website, author page.
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), Facebook page, Twitter
Still trying to master the categories, but I’m wondering about the audio book. How do you make one of those?
Amazon recommends http://www.amazon.com/gp/seller-account/mm-summary-page.html?ie=UTF8&ld=AZFooterSelfPublish&topic=200260520. Check out ACX and Audible.com at the bottom of the page. If I recall correctly, Misha Burnett and Valerie Alexander recently created audio books. I’d like to, but I don’t see any of my current books being a good fit for it. I have some projects, though, where I will finally get to play with this new toy. 🙂
Thanks. I’m always curious about it because I assume one narrator for all the characters.