Tag Archives: marketing

Writing Journal 42: Show Your Expertise In an Ebook

Writing Journal 42: Show Your Expertise In an Ebook

My writing journal for Tuesday, September 23, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

The end is in sight for the novella. I wrote 1,200 words, setting up the major scene which I mentioned yesterday.

So, I’m ready to write the scene. However, since I’m way ahead of the schedule on this book I decided to spend some extra time on the nonfiction book proposal which I’m creating for a client’s memoir. I made good headway on the overview, so Julia’s sending that off to the client for her input.

It must be spring, because Honey’s outside. She didn’t want to come in this morning; she’s enjoying the warmer weather. I’ve got to call her in and make her breakfast.

I read email while I’m eating my toast. We’re almost all caught up with email, because I did a heavy push on it last night. Several students sent me their stories; I’ve got just two left on which I need to provide feedback.

Next, work with my new coaching client.

Showing your expertise in an ebook

I’m working with a new coaching and ghostwriting client who’s starting her own business. She’s got wonderful expertise in her profession, so I suggested that she capitalize on that.

Firstly, we’re setting up a website for her, essentially so that she can collect email addresses of prospects. At the same time, we’re developing a couple of ebooks. One she’ll use as an inducement to sign up for her mailing list. The other, we’ll publish on Kindle Direct Publishing; this will help her to show her expertise. If it happens to make a little money, that will be fine too. :-)

A year ago, I would have suggested that she build out her website into an authority site to get traffic. However, the online world has changed. Yes, you still need all the SEO you can manage. But it’s hard to get search engine traffic for a brand new website, no matter how large and authoritative it might be, so we’re going to skip that for at least a year.

My client needs the ebooks, and social media, AND partnerships to get traction.

I love working with people who are good at what they do; helping them to provide value for others. Our first step will be to work out exactly what she’s offering, and how she’ll brand her new business.

It’s time for my walk. I won’t be able to walk tomorrow, because I have a couple of meetings, so I need to go today.

I’m back from my walk, and spend some time updating my schedule for this week and next. Then I have lunch while browsing social media.

After lunch, I get on with the company history book, using the cluster diagrams I created yesterday. I manage to do 2,000 words on this. Excellent.

The new blog launch

In our meeting yesterday, we discussed the company’s branding, and their new blog. I’ve got to do a proposal and scope. This means a lot of research.

Research tip: only do as much as you need to do.  Start by deciding exactly what you need to know, and create some research questions to answer.

After spending a couple of hours on it, I need a short break. I decide walk to the park with Honey so that I can get some fresh air, and think.

It’s late afternoon; time to I catch up on email and phone calls. I’ll try to work on a couple of short stories tonight; I need to keep up with them so I can get them published in October.

I complete my daily review, count my words, and I’m done for another day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 32: Promoting with Ebooks

Writing Journal 32: Promoting with Ebooks

My writing journal for Saturday, September 13, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Happy days. I made a huge push, and got the final words done on both the nonfiction book with 2,500 words, and the novella, with 1,300 words. Basically, it was just a dash to the finish line. Lots of holes in both books, but that’s OK. At least I have a first draft. No matter how many books you write, each and every one is different, and the challenges are different.

Until you get your first draft done, there’s always a niggling doubt that something will go horrendously wrong, and the book will drive itself off a cliff.

I’m pleased I got that out of the way. It’s Saturday, so it’s a short writing day.

At the moment, my current projects include: blogging, the company history ghostwriting project, and the freebie ebook I’m writing for a client.

Ebooks to promote your business: create your marketing plan first

Here’s a tip for marketing with ebooks.

Although freebie ebooks aren’t the marketing goldmine they used to be, they’re still highly useful. If you’re using them, create your marketing plan first. Start by setting goals: what do you hope to achieve? Who’s your target market? How will you promote your freebie? How will you schedule promotions? Creating a plan first saves time. It also ensure that you’ll get the results you want.

Honey’s ready for her breakfast, so I make my own at the same time. I eat my toast while skimming through email. I’ve got to respond to important messages now, because I have a couple of student coaching calls tonight.

Time for my walk. This week, I’ve had a couple of days when I didn’t walk, and I feel guilty about that. When Honey was younger, she forced me to walk. She’d sit staring up at me reproachfully when “walk” time arrived. If I spent longer than ten minutes finishing up some work, she’d get progressively more reproachful.

I spend a couple of timer sessions on each project. I’m tempted to spend more time blogging (blogging’s always my favorite project), but I resist, so I can do a little more on the company history. Then I create a couple of cluster diagrams for the ebook, and spend ten minutes on research.

Enough. Time for lunch, and my Saturday errands.

Back again: coaching calls

I got back way too late, but it was fun. Now it’s time to prepare for the coaching calls.

My daily review is done, as is my weekly review. My word counts are good. Now for the calls, and then the writing day is done.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Your Book Proposal: Make It Sell

Your Book Proposal: Make It Sell

Authors tend to panic when writing a book proposal, but it’s a straightforward process. Here’s how to look at it: you’re making a publisher a proposition for a partnership.

Your book proposal is a plan for this partnership, and has two basic elements: an appealing description of your book with some sample chapters, and a plan for marketing your book. The “marketing” aspect is more important than your description of the book, because book ideas are everywhere.

In this article, we’re discussing nonfiction book proposals. If you’re writing fiction, you need to write your novel first. You can then shop it around to literary agents with a query letter, offering a synopsis and chapters.  Alternatively, self publish. If your novel hits the Amazon bestseller lists, you’ll get offers from agents.

Tip: DO NOT write your nonfiction book before you create your book proposal and get a contract

Sadly, you can’t get out of writing a proposal for your book if you hope to get a publishing contract. No one will read your book. Literary agents and publishers read query letters. If they’re interested in your enquiry, they’ll ask you for a proposal.

You need to do your research, then write your proposal. Once the proposal is done, you can send query letters to agents and publishers. You’ll know to whom to send your query, because you researched possible homes for your book before you wrote the proposal.

Which brings us to the most important element in book proposal creation: research.

Research: it’s essential, and exciting

You’ve got an idea for a nonfiction book. You think the book will sell.

Here’s how to proceed:

  • Write a short description of your book, and give it a working title;
  • Research similar books to yours online, and offline;
  • Research the audience for your book;
  • Consider how you’ll market the book.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you’re a dog groomer. You run a grooming salon and boarding kennels. You get an idea for a book “dog grooming the easy way.” Describe the book, and then research, as above.

Here’s why you do all this research up-front, before you start writing. It’s because agents and publishers ask WHY when you send a query letter to them: WHY this book, and WHY now?

Publishers look for bestsellers, because a bestseller keeps them out of the red. They don’t have a crystal ball, so they don’t know where the next bestseller will come from.

At first blush, the dog grooming book looks like an evergreen title, rather than a bestseller. Some publishers like these kinds of titles, because they have the potential to sell for years. These are bread and butter titles, but many fewer of them are being published these days. The exception? Branded series, like the “For Dummies” series of books.

(I’ve just browsed the For Dummies book website. They publish dog-grooming books, so the topic itself is viable. However, to be appealing to a publisher, it needs more.)

If I were writing a book proposal for the dog grooming book, I’d encourage the author to come up with a element which would make the book timely.

 Your book’s competition: know what’s selling

Your publisher will want to know what competition your book faces. There is always competition, so don’t be worried about this, because competition is a good thing — when there’s competition, you know that your subject area is selling. 

Make notes on which books are your own book’s primary competitors. Look at their rankings on Amazon. If you wish, you can check to see how many copies they’re selling each day. The kdp sales rank calculator gives you a rough guide.

In the image below, I checked the Amazon Best Sellers Rank of EL James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, which is currently ranked at 1,630 Paid in the Kindle store. The calculator estimates that it’s selling at 55 to 100 copies a day.

amazon rank calculator

Make a note of all competing titles, with their current sales rank on Amazon.

The competition: how is your book different?

In your book proposal, list the competing titles, and write a sentence or two for each book about the kind of readers the book is targeting.

Aim for five to 10 titles. Now think about how your book could appeal to readers. You’re looking for an angle, a slant, to take with your book, which will target a similar audience to current top-selling titles, but will offer something they don’t.

This is the most challenging part of writing your book proposal, so don’t be surprised if it takes time.

While you’re waiting for inspiration, write the book proposal. Here’s a template you can use from the Ted Weinstein literary agency. The template includes everything you need to cover in your proposal.

You’ll notice that the audience, competing titles, and your marketing plans are prominent. This material is what counts, and it will make the difference in whether or not your book attracts a publisher.

Agents and publishers look at many book proposals each week. Make yours shine: show that you know that publishing is a business, and you take writing and marketing your book seriously. Your book proposal will then stand out in the crowd.

I wish you all success with your book. :-)

Here’s a slide deck covering the concepts in this article


How to Write a Book Proposal That Sells – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

 

If you need help with your book proposal

I create book proposals for clients. Contact me if you need help with yours. If you wish, I can also help you to get literary representation for your new book.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Book Marketing: Get Results in 30 Minutes a Week

Book Marketing: Get Results in 30 Minutes a Week

Book marketing can be amazingly simple, but nevertheless effective. Even if you hate marketing, you can get great results in just 30 minutes a week. Schedule it once a week, or split it up, into three ten-minute sessions. Even if you hate the idea of promotions, you can do it.

My students ask questions like:

* “HOW do I market?”

* “Is this enough?”

* “What should I do now?”

You’ll find some easy marketing ideas below. Essentially it doesn’t matter WHAT you do, as long as you do some promotion.

A digression: hate marketing? Many hardcore writers do. (Me included, oddly enough, I’d rather write… :-)) If you hate, hate, hate the idea of promotion, forget about it. Write another book. End of digression.

1. Set Up Your Social Media Profiles – Choose One or Two Social Media Websites.

We’re not counting this activity in your 30 minutes a week. Setting up your social media profiles may take you 45 minutes or so, but you only need to do it once. Review your profile every couple of months, as you book marketing activities change, and tweak as necessary.

Before you start, develop some creative material – images. Your creatives can be book covers in various sizes, some CTAs (Calls to Action: advertising images), images of yourself, image quotes from your book, or anything else you choose. Your creatives grab people’s attention. Use canva.com to create FAST images, completely for free.

Now set up profiles on two social media websites. You can choose any two you like. Book marketers get results on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, however your mileage may vary. Choose the two with which you’re most comfortable, and set up your profile pages on these sites.

Here’s my Twitter profile page.

Angela Booth on Twitter

Essential: use your book’s cover as a profile background image: people need to associate you with your book. If you’re promoting several books, create a collage of your book covers, and add the link to your Amazon Author Page on your profile.

2. Create Types of Social Media Shares.

Your types can include:

Shares of Others’ Material.

Let’s say you’ve written a nonfiction ebook about online dating. You an reshare the content of influencers in that niche, or of anyone in the niche, as long as you feel it’s useful and important to your followers. If you’re writing suspense fiction, your can reshare other suspense writers tweets and posts – readers are always looking for great new books.

Thoughts and Questions.

What are you reading? You can post your current reading using the hashtag #amreading. Alternatively, what are you writing? Post using the hashtag #amwriting.

I’m currently on a Georgette Heyer kick, so I’m posting #amreading, as you can see in the Google+ post below.



You can also ask questions of your audience. What are they reading? Who’s their favorite character?

Book Announcements, and Promotional Material.

You were wondering when we were going to get around to promotions, weren’t you – here we go. :-) Promote away. Use your ebook’s covers, quote images, and anything else you’d like. Tweet and post snippets from your book.

VITAL… include your Amazon link, please, so people can buy your book.

It’s easy to forget to do this. I often read something about a book in which I’m interested, and when I search for the retailer link, there isn’t one. I need to copy and paste the book’s title into Amazon… and sometimes I think – “later.” Make it as easy as possible for people to click through to your ebook on Amazon or wherever you’re selling.

Reshares of Your Own Blog Posts.

If you’re running a blog, don’t be shy – reshare your blog posts. Over time, you’ll develop a lot of content. I have around 4,000 posts on one blog, and 2,000 on another. You’ll develop masses of content too: use that content to promote your books.

3. Create Draft Content for Social Media Posts.

I create a week or two’s worth of draft content in a spreadsheet on Sunday evenings. It’s become automatic now, and takes me around 15 minutes. It may take you a little longer when you start out.

4. Schedule Your Content: Use Buffer.

Buffer makes it simple to line up your content for sharing. You can schedule for specific times, or use the Settings scheduler, and so that your posts go out at regular times. Buffer is free for a basic account, and it’s all you need for book marketing.

So, there you go. Once you’re set up with the types of material you’re sharing, you can create and schedule your book marketing in just 30 minutes a week. See? Marketing can be easy. Dip into your social media accounts for a couple of minutes occasionally during the week, to respond to people.

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, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Super-Fast Product Creation: Buy PLR and Profit

Super-Fast Product Creation: Buy PLR and Profit

I love product creation; it’s been a mainstay of my online business since 2002. However, there are hassles. Product creation takes time, above all. You can cut down on that time dramatically when you buy PLR.

Not familiar with PLR? I’m currently offering PLR to three products which I’ve withdrawn, and explained PLR like this:

If you’re not familiar with the term, “private label rights” products, commonly referred to as “PLR”, are products to which you have extensive rights. You can put your name on the products and sell them as your own; you can add and remove text; you can split them up to make new products; you can offer them as bonuses to your own products… basically, you can treat them as your own, and use them in any way you choose.

How to Use Purchased PLR in Your Own Products.

You can use PLR products you’ve purchased in many different ways:

  • To kickstart your own product creation;
  • As social media content;
  • As bonus added-value material to your own products;
  • On membership sites;
  • In newsletters you’re sending out to customers;
  • As the basis of audio, video or presentation material you create.

I created a monthly newsletter for a UK gym company for several years, and bought health and fitness PLR extensively to repurpose in the publications. The balance of new content to PLR was around 50/ 50. The company was happy, because they got inexpensive content, and I was happy because I spent less time on the newsletter each month.

When I created a social media campaign for a marketing company, I used a lot of edited PLR in tweets, Facebook postings with images, and as fast and easy reports. When you look at PLR as raw material, it’s like baking a cake. You have the basic flour, fat and protein. By the time you’ve mixed it up and baked it, the raw material is completely transformed.

Death by PLR: Avoid It – Use PLR as Raw Material.

Once Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) became popular a few years back, Internet marketers jumped on it mindlessly. They shoveled PLR onto the Kindle bookstore. Predictably, Amazon got very cross, and swept away much PLR.

Pay close attention to what Amazon says:

Public Domain and Other Non-Exclusive Content

Some types of content, such as public domain content, may be free to use by anyone, or may be licensed for use by more than one party. We will not accept content that is freely available on the web unless you are the copyright owner of that content. For example, if you received your book content from a source that allows you and others to re-distribute it, and the content is freely available on the web, we will not accept it for sale on the Kindle store. We do accept public domain content, however we may choose to not sell a public domain book if its content is undifferentiated or barely differentiated from one or more other books.

You can use PLR as the basis of your own products. Remember what I said about using PLR as raw material, then baking it into something which looks completely different?

I don’t use PLR on Amazon; I publish content under several pen names, and ghostwrite ebooks for clients. However, if I wanted to sell an ebook on Google+ for small business for example, I’d buy good PLR and use it as raw material. Why not? It would kickstart my own thinking, and by the time I’d revised, edited and added fresh content, its own mother wouldn’t recognize it as PLR.

If you’re wary of product creation, even though you know it would benefit your business, take a fresh look at it, with the idea of judiciously using PLR in your new products. It saves time.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Marketing Your Book On Twitter: 2 Ideas

Marketing Your Book On Twitter: 2 Ideas

You want to market your book, and you’ve heard both good and bad things about Twitter. Can you use Twitter for marketing?

Of course you can. Consider these ideas.

Interest and intrigue: don’t mention your book.

Here’s a recent tweet I liked, from Samhain, a digital publisher.

It’s an intriguing question, and it doesn’t mention the book. If you were in Samhain’s target market, and you saw this tweet, would you click?

The link goes to a book on Samhain’s store.

Consider ways you could use the “question” technique to market your book. Keeping your target market in mind, make a list of questions. Keep your questions short. You’ve only got 140 characters, and you need to leave some of those characters for retweets.

Pull quotes from your book, and create images.

 

Collect some quotes from your book. Turn them into images, and post them on Twitter. Then post them on Pinterest, and on Google+ and Facebook.

Marketing your book needn’t take much time — you can do it in five minutes. Put these two ideas to work; they’re easy.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.