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How to Write a Book!!!

Based on personal experience, writing a book is hard. It requires a great deal of research, experience, and patience. To be able to consolidate your thoughts and what you’ve learned into a sensible and readable tome is an admirable feat. To decide to self-publish and take on yourself all of the design, printing, distribution, and so much more is tantamount to insanity. Again, based on personal experience.

So, why might you want to self-publish?

If you’ve spent many a late night doing cross-browser testing just to know that your site works flawlessly in twenty-four different browsers — including Mosaic, of course — then maybe you’ll understand the fun that comes from doing it all.

Working with a publisher, you’re left to focus on one core thing: writing. That’s a good thing. A good publisher has the right resources to help you get your idea polished and the distribution network to get your book on store shelves around the world. It’s a very proud moment to be able to walk into a book store and see your book sitting there on the shelf.

Self-publishing can also be a wonderful process as you get to own it from beginning to end. Every decision is yours and if you’re a control freak like me, this can be a very rewarding experience.

While there are many aspects to self-publishing, I’m going to speak to just one of them: creating an ebook.

FORMATS In creating an ebook, you first need to decide what formats you wish to support. There are three main formats, each with their own pros and cons:

PDF EPUB MOBI PDFs are supported on almost every device (Windows, Mac, Kindle, iPad, Android, etc.) and can even be a stepping stone to creating a print version of your book. PDFs allow for full typographic and design control, but at the cost of needing to fit things into a predefined page layout. Is it US Letter or A4? Or is it a format that isn’t easily printed by readers on their home printers?

EPUB is a more fluid format that is supported by the Apple iPad, iPhone, and now on the desktop with OS X Mavericks. It’s also supported by Google Play for Android devices. While EPUB is supported on other devices, you’re likely to choose EPUB because you’re targeting your book at the Apple audience. The EPUB format is HTML-based with support for some CSS and even video and interactive elements. You can create very rich and exciting experiences using the EPUB format that just aren’t possible with PDF or MOBI. However, if you decide to support multiple file formats, you’ll likely find — as I did — that a consistent experience between all formats is easier to build and maintain, and therefore the extra benefits of interactivity go out the window.

MOBI is a format originally developed for the Mobipocket Reader but more popularly supported by the Amazon Kindle. If you’re looking to attract the Kindle audience or publish to Amazon via the Kindle Direct Publishing platform then the HTML-based MOBI format is the format you’ll want to go with.

Distribution will probably factor in heavily with what format you decide to go with. Many people I know who self-publish go with PDF only due to its ubiquity.

If you want to garner a wider audience by distributing via Amazon or the iBookstore then you’ll need to think about supporting all three formats (as I did).

WHAT TOOLS SHOULD I USE? I spent a lot of time figuring out the right toolset and finally got something that suits me just right.

In the past, when working with a publisher, I was given a Microsoft Word template that was passed back and forth between myself, the editor, and tech reviewer. This template has been the bane of any book writer that I’ve spoken to. Not every publisher is like that, though. Some publishers, like O’Reilly, use DocBook, an XML-based format that can be converted into PDF, EPUB, and MOBI.

Publishers already have a style guide and whether it’s DocBook or a Word template, they have the tools already in place to easily convert your work into multiple formats.

Self-publishing means that you’ll likely have to do a lot of tweaking to get things looking and working the way you want them to. I tried DocBook and the open source export tools didn’t create HTML to my liking. Fixing even the most mundane things required fiddling with XSL transformations for hours on end. Not the way I like to spend my time. I can only imagine the hoops I would’ve had to go through to get a PDF to look half-decent.

Tools like Pages or Scrivener offer up the ability to publish to multiple formats, too, but none offered me the control over the output that I truly desired. Have a mentioned that I’m a control freak?

I ended up writing my book using a technology that I already knew quite well: HTML. By writing in HTML, I already had something that I could post on my website, use for the EPUB and use for the MOBI format. All without having to change a thing. (That’s right: the same HTML that is used on SMACSS.com is used in the EPUB and is used in the MOBI.)

What about PDF? I could open up the HTML in a web browser, choose Save as PDF and be done with it but let’s face it: the filename and date attached to every single page doesn’t exactly scream professional. Web browsers actually do a surprisingly poor job with supporting the CSS paged media spec.

I had resorted to copying and pasting the content into Pages and saving as PDF from there. It wasn’t elegant but it worked. However, any changes to my HTML source required redoing those changes in Pages, as well.

Then I met my Prince Charming: Prince XML. It’s pricey but it works incredibly well. It takes HTML and CSS (that very format I’ve been using for all of my other file formats) and will generate a PDF via a command line interface. Prince supports CSS paged media including headers, footers, page counts, and alternating page styles.

From one format, HTML, I can now easily publish to PDF, MOBI, and EPUB, and even my website. I use the PDF version to send to the printer along with cover art to be bound and ready to ship around the world. It’s amazing how versatile HTML (and CSS) is.

To learn more about writing books with HTML and CSS, I recommend reading Building Books with CSS3 over at A List Apart.

CREATING AN EPUB Let’s take a step back. Prince gets us from HTML to PDF but how do we make an EPUB out of the HTML?

An EPUB file is essentially a ZIP file with a renamed extension. There are some core files that you need to start with:

Root META-INF container.xml mimetype content.opf toc.ncx After that, you can start adding your content to the project. Be sure to update the toc.ncx (Table of Contents) and content.opf (the ebook manifest) with any changes you make to your project.

You can learn more about the file formats with the EPUB Format Construction Guide.

Once all your files are in place, you’ll need to create the EPUB file by running two commands (on OS X, at least):

zip -X0 your-ebook.epub mimetype zip -Xur9D your-ebook.epub * The mimetype needs to be the first file inside the ZIP file and therefore gets added first. Then, the rest of the files are added.

I’ve added a function to my .bash_profile to make this even easier:

function epub() { zip -q0X $@ mimetype; zip -qXr9D $@ * } Then, within the folder from which I want to create an ebook, I just run epub your-ebook.epub from the Terminal command line and the EPUB file should be ready to go.

CREATING THE MOBI We have our EPUB and we have our PDF. The last step is the MOBI file. For this, I call upon Calibre. Calibre can be used as a reader and as a library but I use it exclusively to export my EPUB files to MOBI.

Calibre includes a command line utility to convert from EPUB to MOBI. (To install the command line tools, go to Preferences > Advanced > Miscellaneous and click Install Command Line Tools.)

ebook-convert your-ebook.epub your-ebook.mobi SPREAD THE JOY Now that you have all of your different file formats, you need to get them into the hands of people who want to (ho-ho-hopefully) buy your book!

There are a number of marketplaces such as Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, iBookstore, Google Play, and NOOK Press.

Some publishers, like PragProg and O’Reilly will also add self-published books to their roster if they feel it’s a good fit for their audience.

With any distribution, you’ll have to give up a percentage of your sales—from 30% to 70% of each sale, so consider your options wisely.

Of course, you can always open your own online store and reap as much of the revenue as possible, assuming you can get the traffic to your site. Handling your own distribution allows you to create a deeper one-on-one connection with your customers, something that is impossible with other distribution channels since you don’t get customer information through other services—even though you are giving them a huge chunk of your sales!

GO FORTH AND PROSPER There’s a lot of thought and time that goes into writing a book and just as much thought and time can go into creating, publishing, and marketing your book once you’re done.

In the end, self-publishing can be a very rewarding process and well worth the time that goes into it.

sri 3 years ago
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QUESTION

How should I go about getting millions of kids to own my Kindle books?

sri 3 years ago
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grading sixteen strategies

Analysis: 16 Kindle Book Marketing Strategies (Dissected and Graded) by STEVE SCOTT | Join Him On Facebook Book Marketing Strategies AnalyzedBy now you’ve probably heard about the 80/20 Rule.

You know, the theory that states 80 percent of your results come from 20 percent of your efforts.

When it comes to Kindle Publishing, I feel this rule has many applications.

Sadly, one of them is that 80 percent of book sales are completely out of your hands. If Amazon “likes” your book, they’ll work hard to promote in places like their search engine results, the “Customers Also Bought” section, top category lists and targeted email campaigns.

It’s awesome to know that Amazon does a lot to market your books. The problem? This means that you as an author can only do so much to increase sales. In my experience, only 20 percent of my unit sales are directly affected by specific marketing strategies I’ve implemented. Everything else is driven by the Kindle marketplace.

The good news?

While your efforts only have a minimal impact on book sales, there are a handful of strategies that can have a significant impact on your bottom line. The trick is to know what actually works and what doesn’t.

Today’s post is a special one. Instead of talking about what works, I will show real-world data on the different marketing techniques I’ve tested over the past year. Each strategy will be analyzed, dissected and given an overall grade. Then, at the end, I’ll provide a couple of recommendations based 100 percent on the techniques I’m personally using in my Kindle business.

Let’s get to it.

DevelopGoodHabits.com: A Year’s Worth of Data

If you’ve followed along with the Authority Internet Business case study, then you know I started monetizing my site DevelopGoodHabits.com (DGH) about a year ago (May 2013). From the beginning, I’ve been fairly vigilant about tracking each marketing campaign. This means I have a year’s worth of data from every email, Fiverr gig, advertisement, social media campaign and section of my blog.

With a few exceptions (which I’ll mention), the following analysis will only contain marketing campaigns for my “habit books” that I promoted through the DGH brand, with a date range of May1, 2013 to April 30, 2014. This means I won’t analyze the other 33 books in my catalog. This is an important distinction because I wanted to give the best real-world example of what actually works with launching new books and increasing sales on old ones.

How to Create Kindle Book Tracking Links

Unfortunately, not everyone can create tracking links for their books. You have to be part of Amazon’s Associates program, which isn’t available in many states and countries. That said, if you’re really interested in turning a Kindle business into a full-time gig, then you could always create an LLC in an Amazon-approved state and then open up an account there.

WARNING: This is not legal advice, just a suggestion. I’d recommend talking to a lawyer if this is something you’d like to do.

Creating a tracking link isn’t that hard, but here is a short tutorial.

First, create a new campaign for whatever you’re trying to measure. In your Associates account, do this by selecting the “manage” link:

Amazon Associates Tracking 1

Next, click the “Add Tracking ID” link:

analysis2

Third, create a unique tracking ID. Pay close attention to this step because if you have dozens of books and marketing campaigns, then it’s important to use an intelligent naming convention. For instance, I prefer to use short acronyms and abbreviations that describe each title in the following order:

The Book Line –> Marketing Strategy –> Individual Campaign –> Book Promoted

So let’s pretend I’m promoting a book called “Supercool Habits” as part of my habit book line. The marketing strategy would be email and the individual campaign would be the book launch.

This would look like: dghemaillaunchsupercool. And here’s the individual breakdown: dgh (DevelopGoodHabits), email (email marketing strategy), launch (individual campaign) and supercool (book promoted).

All you have to do is create this label, search for it, and if it’s not already used, add it as a tracking link.

Here’s how this would look in Amazon:

analysis3

Once you’ve set up a link, select it on the left side of the screen and click the Links & Banners –> Product Links option on the top part of your screen:

Amazon Associates Tracking 4

Finally, look for the book on the next page by searching for the title within the Kindle store; then select the “Get Link” option.

analysis5

Don’t worry; this whole process is actually really easy once you’ve done it a few times.

At this point, you might be wondering if it’s really worth it to track individual campaigns. My answer is a resounding YES! This goes back to our discussion of the 80/20 rule. By identifying the marketing campaigns that work, you know where to best spend your time and money. This kind of information is priceless when it comes to growing your Kindle business.

With that in mind, let’s go over the data from the past year. To keep things interesting, let me go from worst to best.

16 Kindle Book Marketing Strategies (Analyzed and Graded)

1: Fiverr Promotions

Clicks: 820 / Sales: 0 / Conversion Rate: 0.00%

Analysis: We’ve all been tempted to purchase one of those Fiverr gigs that promise to promote a book to “thousands” of loyal fans and followers. But have you ever tracked the success of these campaigns? I have, and the results are horrendous.

25 campaigns, $125 and five hours later, I can say with certainty that Fiverr sucks when it comes to promoting a paid or discounted book. Sure, it might be great for promoting a free offer, but I honestly feel that even if someone downloads your free book, they probably won’t turn into a paying customer.

Grade: F-

2: SlideShare Presentations

Clicks: 58 / Sales: 0 / Conversion Rate: 0.00%

Analysis: In my last traffic and income report, I raved about the awesomeness of SlideShare.net. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered that while it’s a great way to build an email list, it doesn’t generate book sales.

So far, I’ve created three different SlideShare decks and not one has generated sales. I’m still going to test it a few more times, but so far it’s a dud. My thinking is that this site is considered “cold traffic” so you need to get people on a list and build a relationship before asking for a sale.

Grade: D

3: Call-to-Actions (CTA) in the Backs of Your Books

Clicks: 644 / Sales: 42 / Conversion Rate: 6.52%

Analysis: This strategy is a major disappointment. For many months, I operated under the illusion that I was being pretty smart by creating a targeted “call to action” at the end of every book. The idea here is I would identify “what else” readers would want after reading a book, then I would recommend one specific title that would help them. In theory, this would encourage readers to keep buying more books.

To be honest, this strategy has been a flop. Sure, it has generated 42 sales, but the conversion rate isn’t great and this is the result from more than 10,000 book purchases over the course of two months. Do the math and you’ll see that the numbers are pretty low.

Grade: D+

4: Email to Author Page

Clicks: 56 / Sales: 7 / Conversion Rate: 12.50%

Analysis: Later on, we’ll talk about the importance of email marketing. However, this strategy isn’t always a magic pill for generating sales. For instance, one strategy I tried was creating an autoresponder email (almost like a solo ad) that promoted my habits author page. I ran this for a month and only saw seven total sales.

As you’ll see, an autoresponder sequence can do amazing things for your book business, but there’s a risk every time you “pitch” a product to subscribers. Done incorrectly, every marketing campaign will hurt your overall relationship. In my opinion, promoting just my author page is not worth the cost of potentially damaging my relationship with readers.

Grade: C-

5: Sidebar Sticky Widget

Clicks: 408 / Sales: 46 / Conversion Rate: 11.27%

Analysis: This is another example of my delusions of grandeur being dashed by cold, hard data. On DGH, I installed a widget that randomly displays a clickable image of one of my books, which sticks to the page as a reader scrolls down. In a year’s time, this has only generated 46 sales. We’re talking about a site that gets hundreds of visitors a day, and this technique has only generated a sale about once every nine days. Ouch!

The only reason I didn’t grade this lower is because I don’t have anything better to put in its place. Eventually, I’m going to find a better way to leverage this area of my blog.

Grade: C

6: Menu Link

Clicks: 768 / Sales: 63 / Conversion Rate: 8.2%

Analysis: The DGH blog also has a direct link to my habit books in the header tab. Like the sidebar widget, this has been in place for almost a year, and the sales don’t add up to much.

Grade: C

7: “Latest” Email

Clicks: 254 / Sales: 22 / Conversion Rate: 8.66%

Analysis: After testing a dedicated email to my author page (strategy #4), I changed the scope of the message and created a “blind” link that recommended my latest book. The idea here is I’d have a permanent autoresponder that encouraged readers to check out special deals and offers. All I had to do was swap out the link whenever I had something new to offer.

I’m currently testing this strategy, but so far I’ve only seen so-so results. Again, there is a cost to being too promotional with your email list. Frankly, I don’t think 22 sales in a month is worth this cost.

Grade: C

8: Thank You Page

Clicks: 566 / Sales: 86 / Conversion Rate: 15.19%

Analysis: This is another strategy I’ve recently started to test. Whenever people subscribe to your list, they’re brought to a “thank you page,” which acts as a reminder to check their inboxes for the free offer and encourages them to take a specific action. In the past, I’ve used this area to build up my social media platforms, but for the past month, I’ve tested promoting my latest Countdown Deal or book launch.

So far the results have been decent—about three sales a day. That said, the thank you page is one of the most important areas of your website. Like your email list, if you get too “promotion happy,” you could lose credibility with subscribers.

Grade: C+

9: Hello Bar

Clicks: 277 / Sales: 45 / Conversion Rate: 16.24%

Analysis: I’ve only tested Hello Bar for a few weeks. Basically, this is a plugin that generates a clickable banner ad at the top of your blog. What makes it compelling is you can test different color/text/book promos to see what actually works for your audience. (Important: Hello Bar doesn’t work in some browsers, so I recommend using Firefox.)

I’d say 45 sales in a few weeks’ time is worth a closer look. Currently I’m playing around with the color schemes and calls to action. I hope to find the right formula to maximize book sales.

Grade: B-

10: Facebook (Organic)

Clicks: 408 / Sales: 72 / Conversion Rate: 17.65%

Analysis: Let me start by saying I’m not a Facebook expert. Actually, I’m pretty bad at all forms of social media. That said, I started tracking this traffic source about two months ago and was honestly surprised that my half-assed efforts generated decent book sales.

Now what do I mean by “organic” Facebook? Basically, it means I’m part of a Kindle-specific group where I try to regularly provide value, plus I have about 2,000 friends on my page. To be honest, I don’t follow any sort of strategy with this site. I often forget to mention my latest book on my page. But, these aren’t bad results for a traffic source that I often forget about.

Grade: B-

11: Kindle Countdown Deal “Solo Email”

Clicks: 497 / Sales: 89 / Conversion Rate: 17.9%

Analysis: Now we’re starting to talk about the benefits of having a large email list. Last month, I tested the strategy of sending a “solo email” for a book that’s going through a Countdown Deal (“70 Healthy Habits”). In the past, I resisted this idea because I thought that most subscribers wouldn’t be interested in my older books, but this one test showed that it’s smart to promote your older titles to an email list.

The trick, I feel, is to occasionally promote a Countdown Deal—no more than once or twice a month. Plus, you want to send this message to the subscribers who have completely gone through your engagement-building autresponder sequence (more on this later.)

Overall, I’m loving this strategy so far and will continue to test it.

Grade: B

12: Group Author Event

Clicks: 610 / Sales: 544 / Conversion Rate: 89.2% * (see notes)

Analysis: One strategy that’s extremely successful is to be part of a group author event. This is where you get a bunch of writers together (that all have a similar theme to their books) where they all offer a price break on their book. One of these events can get a lot of publicity because each person is supposed to promote it to their followers.

At the end of February, I was part of the “March to a Bestseller” event hosted by Bryan Cohen. Unfortunately, I can’t accurately track what this event brought in sales. I know that the link to my list generated 544 total book sales, with 29 purchases of my title “Writing Habit Mastery.” What I do know is at the end of my Countdown Deal, this book had 796 total sales, which made it one of my successful promotions to date.

Overall, I recommend being part of an author event if you’re asked. I’m just not sure I’d be interested in putting one together because that it’s a time consuming strategy (again a big thanks to Bryan for his hard work).

Grade: B+

13: In Content Blog Links

Clicks: 1805 / Sales: 304 / Conversion Rate: 16.84%

Analysis: Recommending your books within blog content is a decent way to supplement your sales. While you won’t get a flood of purchases all at once (unless you create a promotional article), you will get a sale or two per day.

Like a lot of strategies in this post, I haven’t fully tested this idea. But I feel that it doesn’t hurt to recommend a book if you’re talking about a technique that directly relates to a topic you’ve covered in one of your Kindle books.

Grade: B+

14: “Last Chance” Offer via Email

Clicks: 495 / Sales: 89 / Conversion Rate: 17.98%

Analysis: As you’ll see in the last two strategies, sending an email during a book launch can drive a lot of sales. But many people (including myself) often forget to follow up a few days later with a quick reminder about this discount. In the last month, I’ve tested two “last chance” emails for books about to go up from the $0.99 launch price to $2.99. While the earnings aren’t astronomical, I feel they give your book that last push to improve your visibility on Amazon.

The trick to using this technique effectively is to only email the people who haven’t taken any sort of action on your previous message. Personally, I recommend contacting people who match this criteria:

Are currently subscribed Have completed your autoresponder sequence Didn’t click on the link to your book in the last message As an example, here’s how this looks in Aweber for the promotion of my most recent book Habit Stacking:

Amazon Associates Tracking 6

You never know when someone might have missed a message. By sending a single follow-up email, you can turn those lost clicks into book readers.

Grade: A-

15: $0.99 Book Launch via Email (Steve Scott Site)

Clicks: 3289 / Sales: 697 / Conversion Rate 21.19%

Analysis: This is the part of the analysis where I skew from a “100 percent pure case study.” About six months ago, I made the decision to promote my habit-related Kindle books to email subscribers for this site. (Read the second Traffic & Income Report for more on this decision.) I’d be lying if I said this strategy didn’t have a positive impact. In fact, I’ve sent an email for the past five book launches, which netted a total of 697 sales. As a result, this has become my #2 favorite strategy for promoting Kindle books.

Sidebar: I know a few people are annoyed with this decision. My response? I know that most people won’t buy a book – even at $0.99 – if they’re not interested in the subject matter. Yes, I’ll admit that the “Authority Internet Business” case study has been skewed because of this decision. But I also know that there are lots of people who are interested in both Internet business principles and habit development. So it would have been a dumb decision on my part to not at least offer people a chance to check out my latest book at a discounted price.

I do recognize that most people won’t have the opportunity to promote their books to multiple email lists. That said, you could gain the same benefit by aligning yourself with other successful authors in your niche. Then you can agree to help one another out by promoting your latest books through email marketing. I know this strategy works because it’s what I’m starting to do with a small group of Kindle publishers.

Grade: A

16: $0.99 Book Launch via Email (Develop Good Habits)

Clicks: 3646 / Sales: 1054 / Conversion Rate 28.91%

Analysis: Okay, here is the cream of the crop when it comes to promoting a Kindle book. Put simply, using an email list to launch your latest Kindle book can generate a huge number of sales in a short amount of time. If you launch a book for a week at $0.99, you’ll get a lot of visibility and traction in Amazon’s marketplace. From there, Amazon will promote this book on their various sales channels.

I’ve used this sales tactic for about 10 months and, so far, it has been my top marketing strategy. You won’t make a lot of money up front, but if you can get over 100 sales in that first week, your book will start to get extra visibility on Amazon. From there, you’ll get a consistent level of sales when a book goes up to its normal “post-launch” price—usually $2.99 or higher.

Grade: A+++

How to Apply this Information to Your Kindle Business

Think back to our discussion of the 80/20 rule. If you look closely at the data, you’ll see that sales on Amazon are largely determined by a handful of strategies: email marketing, blog advertising and building relationships. So what’s the next step? In my opinion, your goal is to find what’s working for your business and focus on improving these techniques.

I feel the “key takeaway” from this article is the importance of email marketing when it comes to driving Kindle book sales. I guaran-freakin-tee that it’s going to get harder and harder to compete as more people discover the advantages of Kindle publishing. In order to stand out, you’ll need an email list of people interested in your niche and books. Honestly, the best thing you can do right now is start building a list (here’s how) and identify the traffic strategies that convert browsers into subscribers (here’s how).

Now let’s say you’re a little more advanced and get the importance of list building. What do you do then? My advice is to tweak what’s working and see if you can maximize the results. Put simply, I’d recommend putting your list-building efforts into overdrive.

As an example, last week I looked at the above data and realized two things: 1. Email marketing was my top strategy. 2. Most of my other strategies generated minimal results. As a result, over the next few months I’m doing a number of things to improve the effectiveness of my marketing efforts:

1. Create a New Lead Magnet. The “77 Good Habits to Live a Better Life” report is getting a bit stale. I feel that my opt-in rates will improve if I create a slam-dunk, no-brainer type of free offer. Specifically, I’m toying with the idea of giving away the audio version of my “Habit Stacking” book (credit to Chandler Bolt for this awesome suggestion). I feel this is a smart move because it’s something that I plan on actually selling. So every new subscriber gets a freebie that has real-world value.

2. Substitute Low-Converting Offers. As you’ve seen, a lot of marketing campaigns simply don’t generate a significant amount of book sales, so it only makes sense to swap them out with a free offer. Specifically, I could easily substitute the calls to action at the end of my book with a compelling free offer. That would take readers who might like my book and hopefully turn them into loyal fans. Sure, I might lose a sale or two, but I feel this will have a positive long-term impact whenever I have a new or discounted book to offer.

3. Build a Better Autoresponder Sequence. As of right now, my autoresponder sequence is a mix of quality content and direct sales pitches. The “salesy” stuff doesn’t convert well, so the smart move is to create a 14- to 21-day series of emails that focuses on relationship-building. If you think about, a good sequence is only about 7 to 12 messages long, and by the time subscribers are done with it, they will be familiar with how habit development can help them.

This strategy is similar to what Gary Vaynerchuk recommends: Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. If I can give away great content in the first few weeks, it won’t be hard to convince subscribers to check out a new book and possibly leave a positive review.

4. Generate More Traffic. Throughout this case study, I’ve emphasized the importance of not relying too much on Amazon. It’s nice to see a steady stream of sales, but you never want to assume it’ll be around forever. That’s why it’s important to build your own stream of traffic.

In regards to improving sales, I now know that email marketing is my #1 strategy, so it only makes sense to add as many subscribers as possible. A simple way to do this is to generate more Web traffic. That’s why, for the next few months, I’m focusing on improving my results from SlideShare and organic search results. (Here’s a post that dissects the different sources of traffic to DGH.)

5. Test Paid Advertising. In the past, I’ve avoided the expensive paid book advertising platforms like Ereader News Today and BookBub because most don’t allow tracking links. But now I feel it’s time to test them out and see if they can generate a noticeable bump in sales.

Read more: http://www.stevescottsite.com/book-marketing#ixzz3aAmE0iW8

sri 3 years ago
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great tips

As an author, your job isn’t only to write books, but also to market them so that you will get sales and profit from your efforts. Nowadays, there are more and more competitors coming into the publishing game. If you don’t implement solid marketing strategies, you will lose your share of sales to authors who put forth greater efforts to market their books. Here are the top 10 things you must do if you want to optimize sales of your Kindle books.

  1. A Catchy Book Cover

There are already many experts talking about the importance of book cover design. But how do you know if you actually have a nice cover? Here’s how to find out.

The first step to evaluate your cover is to look at the font and colors you’re using. For font, be sure to use large, bold text, because it stands out when readers scan through listings on Amazon. For colors, always use contrasting colors for text and background. This makes the text stand out and grab the reader’s attention.

The next step is to evaluate the overall design, and this is something that you might need help from other people to evaluate because your opinion isn’t usually the same as others, especially when it comes to judging your own work. You might want to ask your friends’ opinions or use forums like Warrior Forum or kboards, or in Facebook groups about Kindle publishing such as Pat Flynn’s Group. You can see an example of how to ask for opinions in the below image which I got from Pat Flynn’s Group.

Book Cover Feedbacks

Normally if you want to get an appealing cover, I would recommend you to hire a high-paid designer (more than $100 per cover design) because he or she will have more skills, more understanding, and will invest more time in creating the book cover design for you.

In my opinion, if you put in the effort to create a quality book, you deserve a nice package or cover design for it. My cover designs cost me about $150 each. In fact, if you’re one of my readers, you might have decided to buy my book because of the cover itself. That’s why if you have the budget, I recommend you hire a decent designer.

  1. Build an Email List

You might have heard about building an email list, but do you actually do it? If you want to be a successful author, you must build an email list. There are four reasons that you should start right now:

It helps you develop relationships with your readers. In any business, developing relationships with customers is a key to long-term success. An email system answers this question, because almost everyone has an email account, and according to ExactTarget, 91% of consumers check email at least daily. That’s why it’s a great tool for reaching your readers and connecting with them. It helps you get more book sales. Steve Scott, whose overall author rank is #1 in the Business & Money Category on Amazon, suggests that every author build an email list because it is the key to driving book Follow this link, where he explains why email marketing is important: http://www.stevescottsite.com/book-marketing It helps you to sell other products. Top Internet marketers use email as a main tool to sell products because they get the highest response rate with email. As an author, you don’t always have to sell only books. You can also sell related products that help your customers solve their problems, like video/audio courses, etc. These products usually have higher prices than books and you will get more revenue from selling them. It’s easy to set up! Email service providers allow you to automatically deliver a series of emails to new opt-in subscribers. You write the messages and create a squeeze page (a landing page where readers can put their names and email addresses) only once, and they will do the job automatically. If you are a Kindle author, you can grow your email list easily by inviting readers to join your email list from your book with an attached link to your squeeze page. Here’s an example:

email kindle ebook marketing

With this approach, you will sell your books, while building an email list and selling related products, all at the same time. Check out this link for more interesting statistics on email marketing that will make you realize its power: http://www.slideshare.net/Salesforce/25-mind-blowing-email-marketing-stats

  1. Give Your Book a Great Name

One tip for naming your book is to insert keyword(s) that you want to target for Amazon searchers. But the game isn’t over yet. After you’ve identified the keyword that you want to target, you need to combine it with other words to make it a great name. A good name should (1) be specific, (2) be relevant, and (3) grasp readers’ attention. Being specific means telling your readers exactly what your book is about. Being relevant means your title should imply that you and the reader share common ground–and confront the same problems.

For example, “How to Lose Belly Fat in 21 Days without Starving Your Diet” is a good title because first, it’s specific—telling prospective readers how long before they will get results. Second, it’s relevant—targeting people who have belly fat. And third, the words “without starving your diet” grasp readers’ attention, because most people who are overweight don’t want to starve themselves in order to lose belly fat.

  1. Select the Right Categories

Amazon allows you to select two categories that your book will fall into. It’s important that you select categories where they will have the greatest sales potential. You can know this by looking at your competitors in a particular category to see if there are any books that rank above 20,000. If there are at least 2 books that rank above 20,000, it indicates that this category has sales potential that you could target. See below.

Rank kindle ebook marketing

  1. Reviews

No, this is not the tip about finding more reviews. In my opinion, you don’t need a hundred reviews to become a bestseller. If you browse the Amazon Kindle Store, you will see that there are many books that only have a few reviews but rank better than books that have more than a hundred of them.

But there’s one thing you need to be careful of, and that is negative reviews. If your book has less than four stars on average, it will affect your book sales. In this case, you need to think about improving your book. Read through negative reviews and find out what common problems readers are complaining about. After you improve it, go back and comment on those reviews that you’ve already fixed the issues. Readers will admire you for doing so.

  1. Promote Your Book

Promoting your book is one of the keys to its success. After you have a new book published, you need to let everyone know about it! This is to create exposure and gain residual sales after the promotion has ended.

Free day promotions and promotional discounts are still effective, but you need a large volume of downloads (for free day promotion) and purchases (for promotional discounts) in order to benefit fully from these strategies.

There are four main ways to promote your book, and I recommend you use all of these strategies.

Promote your book to your own audience, using email, blogs, and social media. Ask your partners who are in the same market to help you promote. Pay to use a book promotion site. From my experience, two of the most effective are: fkbooksandtips.com and https://authors.ereadernewstoday.com/. Submit your book to free book listing sites. Here’s where you can find the list of these sites: http://www.chaiwatspace.com/Free-Days-Book-Listing-Sites.pdf. In this step, if you want to save time, you can hire a virtual assistant on a site such as oDesk to help you promote your book.

  1. Book Descriptions That Sell

If you browse Amazon book detail pages, you will find that many book descriptions are boring to read. They don’t help readers understand the purpose and benefits of the book, and they don’t lead to purchases. You can turn this into an advantage, by writing compelling descriptions that grab attention and produce sales.

Normally the structure of a book description is comprised of a headline, introduction, bullet(s), and closing. From what I learned in the copywriting field, the bullet part is the most important because it’s the part that tells the benefits of your book. In this section I will talk about how to write good bullets.

The first step is to understand the benefits. Start by asking questions such as these:

What benefits will readers gain from reading my book? How will my book help readers to solve problems? What outcome does my reader want or expect? Remember that readers don’t want your book—they want the benefits that they will receive from your book. When you describe your book in terms of benefits, it will make an emotional impact on your readers. Sales people understand that customers buy things mostly based on emotions. That’s why writing a book description that “tugs at the heartstrings” will help to maximize your sales potential.

After you identify benefits, list them in bullets along with the features. So how is a feature different from a benefit? Features are just attributes. For example, the camera on a mobile phone is a feature. But a benefit is what a customer will receive from using the feature. For example, the benefits of the camera on a mobile phone are sharing good times with friends, and making life easier (because it makes bringing the camera unnecessary).

When you’re selling information such as a book, listing the features is generally easy. From there, you can derive and explain the benefit(s). Take a look at the sample bullet below, assuming that I have written a book about productivity.

How small changes in your routine can help you gain more energy, better focus, and at least double your productivity. The “small changes” that are mentioned represent a feature of the book. Gaining more energy, focus, and doubling your productivity are the benefits that you will get from this feature.

Below is another example. Let’s say I want to write a bullet about this blog post that you’re reading—here’s how I would do it.

10 Kindle eBook marketing strategies that you must use to sell more books. As you can see, the bullet is simple to write. In this case, “10 Kindle eBook marketing strategies” is a feature, and selling more books is the benefit. Hopefully, now you get the idea of why bullets are important and how to write good bullets. But if you want to see even more bullet examples, you can look at one of my books’ sales pages. When you follow, scroll down to the Book Description section.

  1. Writing More Books

When you launch a new book, it will potentially boost sales of your other books too. I’ve seen stats that say you can increase your other books’ sales up to 60% or more if you publish and promote a new book (that’s related to your previous books). The reason is that once a reader finishes reading your book, he or she may want to buy another of your books to help solve a related problem.

Try to publish a new book every 2 or 3 months, and you will continuously grow sales and leads.

  1. Are You Focusing on the Wrong Thing?

If you’re solely using social media to market your books, you might as well stop. On average, statistics show that only about 0.25% to 1% of your customers buy your book through a link on social media. This means you have to build a massive audience of fans and followers before you will get good results with social media.

There are two main things that should be your top priorities: (1) writing more quality books, and (2) building an email list.

  1. Build a Network of Partners that Will Help You Grow

If you want to succeed quickly, you must make connections with people in the same industry, because -(1) you will help each other grow by sharing inside information, and (2) partners will help you promote your books and other platforms.

If you are not well known yet, reaching out to top authors will be hard at first. You can start by making contact with authors who are slightly more experienced than you, with about three to five people at first. You can get their contact information by searching their author names on search engines and by viewing the contact information on their websites.

There you have it, 10 actions to help you market your kindle ebook better. Now it’s time to evaluate your marketing efforts and make sure you are using all the tips that are listed above and if not, then make a plan to implement them today. I’m confident that they will help you sell more books.

sri 3 years ago
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TANGENT!

sri 3 years ago
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