The Ten Commandments of Book Selling (Guest Post by Alex Zabala)

Alex ZabalaIf you are an author, here are some tips for selling books on Amazon. There is no silver bullet for success. I can’t guarantee you will sell books if you follow my Ten Commandments. However, failure is almost surely guaranteed if you don’t have a successful plan. Keep in mind that it’s a tough world out there. It’s very difficult to sell books.

These commandments are written in order of importance and production sequence: … more … “The Ten Commandments of Book Selling (Guest Post by Alex Zabala)”

If Your Goal is to Sell Books . . .

the-world-not-the-world. . . change it.

If you write nonfiction, your goal is to build your business using your book as an elegant, even extravagant, $4 business card to give to prospects.

If you write fiction, your goal is to share your story as widely as possible so your fans can find you.

Either way, selling books is an outcome, if it happens at all.

… more … “If Your Goal is to Sell Books . . .”

Marketing, Promotion, and Publicity (Guest Post by Ed Teja)

A conversation with Ed Teja often turns educational. I wrote something about “marketing” and Ed responded very much like this:

Ed Teja
Ed Teja
There are numerous discussions, blogs, courses and (of course) books on things writers can do to sell their work—both better and at all. They are comprehensive, exhausting and often contradictory. Partly the problem is that we confuse the activities that make writers more visible and their books desirable purchases. So, after hearing various comments from writers online, I thought it appropriate to help clarify what are becoming muddy waters.

Writers are supposed to be wordsmiths, so let’s start with some definitions.

  • Marketing activities are things we do to sell books.
  • Promotional activities are things to help with discovery of a product (yes, even a book.)
  • Publicity is work done to gain mind share…to ensure readers are aware of and think about the writer—the person.

We tend to blur these together, resulting in a great deal of confusion. They are quite different. Note that you can squish a bit of this or that from one category to another. I won’t quibble over specifics. The important thing is that an effective business plan must address all three aspects. Although they overlap, they do different things.

Knowing the difference

… more … “Marketing, Promotion, and Publicity (Guest Post by Ed Teja)”

Story Cartel Just Doesn’t Add Up for Me

Story CartelShort version: unless greater benefits roll in over time, I didn’t get anything from Story Cartel which I couldn’t have done just as well myself, without spending $25.

Update: maybe it was me —> Read more

Big Ol’ Nonsense Alert

Stop the presses and hold everything. Fellow writer Libi Astaire pointed out a line in the drawing rules I’d missed:

Every reader who downloads a book gets one entry.

They are rewarded for downloading your book, whether or not they have any intent on reading it, any interest whatsoever.

This violates my primary principle of free: it is not a price, it is a strategy.

“Here, download this” is not a strategy.

The founders of Story Cartel are authors. And they may be good at marketing their service. But they have a long way to go to be good at marketing our books for us.

Long version:

Your genre or network may deliver completely different outcomes, so this isn’t a sweeping condemnation of the tool. It does what it claims to do. My book was exposed to a wider audience, and I got reviews. It just didn’t add enough value to offset the cost.

During the experiment, I got two 4-star reviews from Story Cartel readers. In the same time period I got two 4-star reviews plus one 5-star review from my own network.

Some folks responded to my email to the 23 addresses Story Cartel provided. At least a dozen, more than half, didn’t participate in any manner beyond downloading the book. No review, no response to my two emails, nothing.

One old friend tried to download, couldn’t sort it out, and bought a print version instead. There’s a sale which may have been triggered by Story Cartel, but was consummated because he’s been a friend for 20 years. (I offered him a free copy, but he graciously wanted to reward me for my effort.)

… more … “Story Cartel Just Doesn’t Add Up for Me”

The Difference Between Price and Value and Why it Has Nothing to Do with Your Book

a new pathWhen I read Richard Halliburton’s first book, The Royal Road to Romance it altered how I think about the process of living. Though it is as far from a business book as you can get, it is one reason I make a good living doing things I love.

Another reason (and, to contradict what I said above, even less of a business book) is Dr. Seuss’ unknown classic I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew. A youngster, plagued by problems, sets out for Solla Sollew, “where they never have troubles, at least, very few.” The lesson he learns, again, triggered new thinking and new actions, a different path in life.

At the other end of the spectrum, I own 3/4 of Donald Knuth’s indispensable The Art of Computer Programming and haven’t made it past the first few chapters of book one (the engagingly entitled Fundamental Algorithms, which I assure is dead sexy to Knuth’s target audience.)

… more … “The Difference Between Price and Value and Why it Has Nothing to Do with Your Book”

Launch Print and Digital Versions Simultaneously for Better Sales

Another reason to make both versions available at the same time is to avoid alienating your fans.

“What? No print version?”

“What? No digital version?”

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1115981 by meral akbulut http://www.sxc.hu/profile/merala

Whichever you publish first, someone will feel left out. Don’t miss an opportunity for a sale because you weren’t ready when your fan was ready.

Multi-format sales are slowly bleeding into Amazon. … more … “Launch Print and Digital Versions Simultaneously for Better Sales”

The Introvert’s Guide to Book Marketing by Tim Grahl

introvertI may be a people person, but I’m still a serious introvert. I need 51% of my time to be me, alone. At least 51%. (Best Beloved does not count because, for all practical purposes which don’t involve clothing, we are one.)

I’ve watched Grahl work with Dan Pink and David Burkus (as a member of their street teams for To Sell Is Human and The Myths of Creativity) and Tim is the goods, the real deal, the guy who does it right. Which is what his book is about.

You can even sign up to learn buckets of stuff completely free. But start by reading this article, because it’s pure unadulterated truth about why introverts can be stupendous at marketing.

Wanna Sell Books? Learn Marketing from the Master, Seth Godin

Most of you don’t know how marketing should be done.

It’s not your fault. You’ve seen it done wrong your whole life (especially if you’re my age and grew up in front of a television.)

We confused the possible correlation between Coke ads on TV and the Coke in our fridge with a causation: ad => purchase.

If you intend to sell books, you’re going to do marketing.

In order to succeed, you have to do marketing right.

Nobody knows marketing like Seth does. Nobody.

He’s doing his second online Skillshare marketing class soon. Read about it at his website or at Skillshare.

For $16 you can get a million dollars’ worth of knowledge. Learn at your own pace. Soak in it.

An Online Skillshare Class by Seth Godin

Will This Book Be Right for You?

Most authors think marketing is a scary deep dark hole. I think it’s filled with rainbows and possibly unicorns, so I’m writing a book to see if you can learn to be as goofy about it as I am.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/857803 by Jose Bernalte http://www.mrkstudios.com/

You’ll be disappointed to find that Commonsense Zero-Cost DIY Marketing for Authors will not be a step by step marketing guide. Like all my books it’s a why to rather than a how to.

But it will include lots of information like

… more … “Will This Book Be Right for You?”

Self-Publishing Jump Start and Long Game

Writing to make a profit in 2013 requires either wild blind luck or choosing to write over-the-line sexual encounters. For this brief moment in history, books are a commodity: far more supply than demand.

Stick with it for 5 years, and the opportunists will have faded away or been pruned by market response.

For now, write because you have something to say. Word toward making a profit 5 years from now.

If you understand that self-publishing is a business which is connected to but not the same as the art of writing, you’re light-years ahead of many other authors.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/873643 by K Rayker http://www.sxc.hu/profile/krayker
… more … “Self-Publishing Jump Start and Long Game”