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Self-Publishing Secrets: Exclusive BlogWorld Interview with Rachel Thompson

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Today, I have a special treat for you all! I got the chance to sit down with Rachel Thompson to talk about her digital publishing success – and she has some awesome advice for anyone considering the self-publishing route. Let’s take a look at what she had to say about finding success on with Kindle publishing and personal branding for authors.

Allison: For readers who don’t know you, tell us a little bit about you and your content creation experience, especially with self-publishing.

Rachel: I started out as many of your readers have – a blogger, back in ’08. I still blog regularly, every Monday. As my posts became more popular as did my presence on social media, I pulled together many of my more popular essays, wrote original material never seen before, and published my first book, a collection of primarily humorous essays titled A Walk In The Snark in January 2011 which reached #1 on the Kindle Motherhood list in September 2011. I released my second original collection titled The Mancode: Exposed and that book hit the Amazon Overall Top 100 within one month as well as #1 on several key lists including Parenting and Families, Marriage, and Relationships.

It sounds like self-publishing has been good to you! Why did you initially decide to go the self-publishing route rather than the traditional route?

To be honest, I was so excited about the thought of putting together my own work with the fabulous help of experienced people in the field of publishing: my editor, a formatter, a graphic designer, another writer who’d helped many other writers go this route – it simply felt the right way to go. I encourage anyone who wants to indie publish to find others who know the way – there are tons of great resources out there now.

So, do you think digital publishing works better in some genres than others or is this something all authors should be exploring?

I think it can work for any genre. I’ve worked with a few authors who are hesitant due to the full-color graphics of their material, but in the end, the work looks amazing. The medium works better than print in most cases from what I’ve seen. I certainly can’t speak for everyone. It’s taken awhile to bring graphic novels to eBook format but many people are thrilled by it.

A lot of authors are intimidated by the digital self-publishing process. What advice can you give for those not technologically savvy?

To me, formatting an eBook is like math. And ‘Hello, writer here!’ So I hire someone amazing to format my books for me. It’s not that expensive and it’s always done correctly. Other authors I know are deeply involved in the formatting of their books and know every symbol and code (again, math). If it’s worth learning to you, learn it. If it’s not, pay someone. Bottom line: make sure your product looks the best it possibly can or you will hear about it.

You have a very strong personal brand. Can you talk a little bit about how that developed and why having such a definitive identity online is important for authors?

Yes, the Queen of Snark, BadRedhead, et al. Branding is key for any author. When I first started writing my Mancode pieces, there seemed to be, oh I don’t know, a somewhat snarky tone to them? People really responded to that and someone (I honestly don’t remember who) nicknamed me the Queen of Snark and it stuck. As anyone in social media or personal branding will tell you, if it ain’t broke…yea, that.

How has social media and blogging played a role in your success on Amazon?

I initially used Facebook like many do, to connect with family and friends. It was in 2010 that I discovered Twitter and learned the ins and outs and how it can be used to promote your brand effectively that I realized the impact it could have on my author platform. I really got into learning Twitter – all the different applications, analytics, ratios – and became the Collective’s resident expert, teaching free webinars monthly and helping thousands of tweeps online every month. Tip: remember content (no links). Twitter is social, social media is social. Link after link? #notsocial

The connection of Twitter to your blog is critical. Always have your Twitter button prominently displayed. People read left to right, top to bottom, so make it visible! Top right placement is best. If we have to search, we won’t find it, give up and you’ve just lost us as a follower. If we can’t RT (retweet) your posts, we become frustrated. You’ve written great content and now we can’t share it? Ack. And join Triberr! It’s the ultimate connection between Twitter and blogging. Your reach will increase dramatically.

As for my personal success, I participating in numerous blog tours, promotions, and did multiple guest posts connected to my blog and others where the sell links always lead back to Amazon. I’ve also been an early adapter of the Amazon KDP Select program. Absolutely, for me, the best move I’ve ever made, career-wise.

Your books have ranked #1 on Amazon in multiple categories. What’s your top tip for an author who wants to replicate that success but are brand new to digital publishing?

Realize your first book isn’t going to be your moneymaker. It’s your name maker. Pricing it above $2.99 will only upset readers and it won’t sell. If you’re in this to make money, think again. If you want to put out a quality product, make your name, and hopefully have people read your story, great. Pay for ads, pulse price at 99cents, do blog tours, work your social media constantly, be nice to people, give away without expectation to receive, and if you don’t know how to do something, hire someone who does.

All while writing your next book.

You are your own boss in digital publishing. Work hard, work smart. It won’t happen quickly (it took me nine months to hit #1 with my first book remember) but only a month with my second. My favorite quote is from my quietly brilliant genius writer friend who came up with the title A Walk In the Snark:

What is the best way to promote your book? Write another.
~ Ryne Douglas Pearson, screenwriter of KNOWING

If you could do it again – go back in time and self-publish your first book again – what would you do differently?

Well, the dreaded deadlines of course. Yea, yea, I know. (Hey, you asked.)

Many people think that just because you’re self-publishing you don’t have deadlines to meet but that’s completely untrue. I had a high-exposure blog tour to enter, my editor had another project to finish, and my formatter was about to throw my job out the window. So if I could have taken another month to add or remove an essay, would I? Perhaps. I did take greater care with the second book, removing those time constraints, other people’s desires and pressures to “get the book done already!” and it was a much more pleasant process.

I’m working on my next book in a similar manner – I don’t believe I need to publish a book every month or so which seems to be popular among many indie writers. I’m not criticizing in any way – it’s important to build up their backlist, absolutely. I’m simply not that prolific!

My next book will be out before summer and I’m quite comfortable with that schedule. I still have a social media consulting business to run, and I’m a wife and mom. My brain is always on, but at some point, even the redhead needs to rest!

I’ve been writing since age ten, and blogging helped me find my way back to my calling. I don’t think I ever could have dreamed people would be reading my books or interviews. I’m grateful for the help people have given me and inspired every day by ideas and words I can’t wait to write.

As long as I have coffee. And Nutella is nice, too.

Thanks for such great advice and information about self-publishing, Rachel! Readers, in addition to checking out her blog and the books listed above, you can also check out Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide To Self-Publishing Success, which Rachel cowrote with Carolyn McCray and Amber Scott.

23 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Blog to Book

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Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Blog to Book

If you combine all your blog posts after a year or so of blogging, they’d probably be the length of a book…so why not write a book? At least, that’s the mindset some bloggers have. When you’re niche blogging, you learn an incredible amount of information about a topic and are always on top of news stories in your industry, which definitely qualifies you to write in book (at least, in most cases). Combine that with your already-built-in audience of buyers – i.e., your blog readers – and you’re any publisher’s dream!

Right?

Well, maybe. Finding an agent/editor to take you on might still be a challenge. And you also have the option of self-publishing, a topic we’ve definitely covered before here at BlogWorld. But having a blog is without a doubt one of the routes you can take to becoming a published book author. The below brilliant bloggers can help you out with even more great advice!

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

From Blog to Book Deal: How 6 Authors Did It by Brenna Ehrlich

If they did it so can you! Well, at least, that’s the hope. In this post, Brenna talks to six different authors about the varied ways they landed book deals, how they drove traffic to their blogs, and more. The biggest take-away message from this post? Not everyone goes about the blog-to-book thing the same way! In this post, you can find out how popular bloggs like Ben Huh and Pam Slim landed book deals, but keep in mind that your own path might be a little different. From the post:

Ever since roughly 2005, publishers have been looking toward the Internet in order to find new fodder for the printed page, and this year, those literary folk found themselves flush with talent. Everything from Tweets to Twinkies served as inspiration for books, bridging the digital divide to bring your computer screen to your coffee table. So how did they do it? How did these weekend website warriors snag book deals?

After checking out the complete post at Mashable, you can find more from Brenna on her own site,  Stuff Hipsters Hate, or by following her on Twitter @brenna_e.

From Blogger to Book Author: The Four-Step Guide by Jeff Goins

As we’ve seen with the last post, bloggers can take make different routes to becoming published book authors. However, there are four main steps to getting published (for most people at least, and while following these steps doesn’t guarantee you J.K Rowling-like success, it does make it easier for you to get a book deal. In this guest post for Problogger, Jeff Goins talks about his publishing experiences and how you can replicate his success. Writes Jeff,

Recently, I signed a contract with a book publisher. I had always hoped to one day publish a book, but I never thought it would happen in a few months.

What made this possible? In a word: blogging.

After checking out the complete post, you can find more from Jeff at his blog Goins, Writer and on Twitter @jeffgoins.

Please Don’t Blog Your Book: 4 Reasons Why by Jane Friedman

With the success of so many bloggers becoming print authors, those with a dream of getting published are turning to blogs as a why to get a foot in the door. And that’s a great idea…but blogging pieces from your not-yet-published manuscript really isn’t the way to go about doing it. You can get a book deal if you start a blog, but in this post, Jane talks about why it is so important not to “blog your book” – writing a blog and writing a book are two very different animals. Almost all successful book authors who started as bloggers wrote nearly completely new material. Rehashing blog posts into a book just doesn’t work. From the post:

It seems almost silly to have to state it, but blogging (as a form of writing) holds tremendous merit on its own. Writers who ask, “Can I blog to get a book deal?” probably think of the blog as a lesser form of writing, merely a vehicle to something “better.” No. A blog has its own reasons for being, and blogs do not aspire to become books if they are truly written as blogs.

You can find more from Jane on Twitter @janefriedman.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about blog to book? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link.

Next Week’s Topic: TBD

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

The 12 New Media Days of Christmas: 6 Publishers a-Publishing

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During the 12 New Media Days of Christmas, we’re counting down the days until Santa comes by featuring some of the best blog posts of 2011 from awesome writers within the BlogWorld community! Skip to the end to read more posts in this holiday series and don’t forget to leave a comment if you’ve written a post about today’s topic!

One of the things I love about the new media industry is watching the publishing industry grow and change. Today, I’ve gathered some interesting blog posts about this topic, and I’d encourage you to read them all if you’re a book publisher, writer, online content creator, marketer…basically, if you all should be reading these posts!

Post too long? Head to the Quick Links section for just a list of the links included in this post without all the analysis and quotes!

1. The Future of Books and Publishing by Mitch Joel at Six Pixels of Separation

I don’t have time to listen to many podcasts, but Mitch Joel’s is one I really enjoy. In this episode, Mitch talks with Hugh McGuire about some really cool new tools in the publishing world. The publishing world is going through a lot of changes right now, but those changes don’t have to be bad. In fact, I think they’re pretty exciting. During the podcast, Mitch and Hugh talk about this exciting future.

Writes Mitch,

The book publishing industry is going through dramatic change and digitization. With that comes some fascinating lessons for marketers and marketing. Enjoy the conversation…

After listening to his podcast, you can find Mitch on Twitter @MitchJoel. He’d the author of the Six Pixels of Separation book and also writes for The Montreal Gazette and Vancouver Sun.

BONUS: I featured Chris Brogan earlier in this 12 New Media Days series, but he also have a great interview with Hugh published on his blog that is totally worth checking out!


 

2. The Economics of Self-Publishing an Ebook by Simon Owens at The Next Web

Self publishing is a hot topic. At one time, you weren’t really considered a legitimate author if you self published. Sure you could do it, but it was hard to sell copies of your book, since retailers didn’t (and still don’t) want to stock self-published books. That’s not to mention the out-of-pocket costs for the author. But now, publishing an ebook is pretty simple, and not only can you sell your book on your own blog, but you can also upload it to the Kindle and Nook marketplaces. And authors? Well, some of them are making a killing. In this post, Simon writes about some of the authors who have found success with self-publishing, along with topics like pricing, where the big publishing houses are going from here, and more. From the post:

Recent figures released by Amazon indicate that its ebooks are now outselling their print counterparts. Most the top sellers in the Kindle store also have print editions, but there are dozens of “indie” authors who are selling thousands of ebooks a month without a print version.

Simon also blogs at his own site, Bloggasm, and you can find him on Twitter @simonowens. He’s also the Director of Editorial & Outreach at JESS3.


 

3. How to Publish Your First Book by Donny Gamble at DonnyGamble.com (guest post for ZacJohnson.com)

If you’re brand new to the idea of self-publishing an ebook, this post is a good place to start. It all starts with a good idea, which is the same thing you need before starting the traditional publishing process as well! If you have a great idea that will really help people, self-publishing is pretty easy. Donny talks about his experiences in this post, and you can easy replicate these ideas to publish your own posts. He writes,

Do you have a book swimming around in your head? Maybe you’ve got one already written but have never known how to offer it or where. Now you do. If you make the decision now, you can realistically see your dream come to fruition before the end of the year.

Okay, it might be a little too close to the end of the year for this still to be true, but you can definitely have a book published by this time next year! After reading Donny’s post, check out his book, #Code Bytes – Conversations with Internet Entrepreneurs, and follow him on Twitter @donnygamblejr.


 

4. Self-Publishing versus e-Publishing by Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott at Unruly Guides

While we often equate self-publishing with ebook pushing, as Suzanne points out in this point, it isn’t your only option. If you want to build your business, print versions might make sense for you as well, depending on your goals and target market. Check out this post to learn about your options, including both traditional print self-publishing and print on demand. From the post:

Self-publishing means you take on all the responsibility of getting noticed. You have to set aside time to market yourself. I like to do all my connective work (facebook, blog) in the morning – even before I am dressed. I spend about an hour, sometimes less, and then I take a small break, preparing myself for my writing.

One thing every author needs to ingrain in their mind – you are a business and the commodity is you. Not your books, but you.

You can find Suzanne on Twitter @unrulyguides and also like her Facebook page. If you sign up for her newsletter on her sidebar, you can download her guide, 10 Tools for Finding Author Success for free!


 

5. Self-Publishing: A Game Changer for the Publishing Industry by Abby Johnson at WebProNews (with Jim Kukral)

A lot of what Jim is saying in this video with WebProNews is echoing what others are saying as well about the publishing industry. He also talks his experiences publishing, both traditionally and in this new online world. I love his ideas about pre-selling or pledging, which is how he’s marketing his new three-book series. Traditional publishing might not be totally dead, but Jim makes some really good points about how it is evolving. Says Jim,

“[Traditional publishing techniques] are not going to die…they’re just changing. The model of having a thousand books put out by a big publisher every six months is going to change simply from the fact that bookstores can’t support that anymore….they’re gong to scale back and handpick books they know are going to sell.”

You can add Abby to your circles on Google+ and follow WebProNews on Twitter @webpronews. Jim is on Twitter @jimkukral. He’s the author of Internet Marketing for Business Answers and a number of other books, which you can find on his website, JimKukral.com.


 

6. 6 Reasons Why I Chose to Self-Publish my Novel by Ali Luke at Aliventures

Whether you are publishing an informational book/guide in conjunction with your blog or are publishing a novel, as Ali is doing, there are some clear advantages to self-publishing for some people.

Is self-publishing the right option for you? The answer it’s “yes” for everyone, but Ali’s post will help you decide. For her, it was the best option! Writes Ali,

Seven months ago, I wrote a rather provocatively-titled post here on Aliventures: Why I’m Giving Up on My Dream.

I explained why the writing dream of “get an agent” then “land a book deal” wasn’t looking so great to me anymore. And I outlined my plan to publish Lycopolis myself.

A couple of weeks ago, I went ahead and did it.

Read about Ali’s experiences, and then follow her on Twitter @aliventures. You can also check out her online shop, where you find ebooks such as The Blogger’s Guide to Irresistible Ebooks, The Blogger’s Guide to Freelancing, and The Blogger’s Guide to Effective Writing. And definitely check out her new novel, Lycopolis!


Quick Links

For those of you short on time, here’s a list of the links covered in this post:

  1. The Future of Books and Publishing by Mitch Joel (@MitchJoel)
  2. The Economics of Self-Publishing an Ebook by Simon Owens (@simonowens)
  3. How to Publish Your First Book by Donny Gamble (@donnygamblejr)
  4. Self-Publishing versus e-Publishing by Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott (@unrulyguides)
  5. Self-Publishing: A Game Changer for the Publishing Industry by Abby Johnson at WebProNews (@webpronews) with Jim Kukral (@jimkukral)
  6. 6 Reasons Why I Chose to Self-Publish my Novel by Ali Luke (@aliventures)

Other posts in the 12 New Media Days of Christmas series will be linked here as they go live:

12 Bloggers Monetizing
11 Emailers List Building
10 Google+ Users a-Sharing
9 Vloggers Recording
8 Links a-Baiting
7 Community Managers a-Managing
6 Publishers a-Publishing (this post)
5 Traffic Tips
4 New Media Case Studies
3 Must-Read New Media Interviews
2 Top New Media News Stories of 2011
And a Partridge in a Pear Tree

You can also check out the all the posts from 2010 and 2011 here, and don’t forget: If you wrote a post in 2011 about today’s topic (digital publishing), PLEASE leave the link in a comment below to share with the community!

Three Books Written For Bloggers by Bloggers

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I’ve really been into reading books about blogging lately and have snatched up some good ones I think you should know about. Two are geared specifically for mom bloggers and one is for anyone who blogs.

As bloggers, I truly believe we should continually be educating ourselves about this ever-changing industry. Allison gives us some fantastic blogging tips here and there are several blogs I follow on a weekly basis that give me ideas and insight into the blogging industry.

There are also some great books out there that I believe are a must-read. Here’s my list of three books written by bloggers for bloggers:

1. ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income – by Darren Rowse and Chris Garrett

I devoured Darren and Chris‘s first Problogger book when it came out in 2008. I had only been blogging for about 3 years and knew I had so much more to learn. I still remember fixing myself a cup of coffee, turning off the TV and computer and snuggling up on the couch for a good read. I am so glad I invested the money and the time in this book.

And now they have the updated version of ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income that came out in April of 2010. Yes, I bought that one as well.

If you’re fairly new to blogging, I would recommend picking up a copy of this book. It lays a good foundation for you and walks you through the steps of turning your blogging hobby, into a full-time career. Which is exactly what the authors of the book have done.

2. Mom Blogging for Dummies by Wendy Piersall, Foreward by Heather Armstrong

Obviously the title gives it away that this is for mom bloggers. Mom Blogging for Dummies was written by Wendy Piersall, who is a brilliant blogger and has turned it into a career. The book came out in July of this year, so it’s very up-to-date (although blogging seems to change everyday doesn’t it?).

Whether you are ready to start your very first mom blog or you need some help taking your existing one to the next level, this book is for you. I’ve been blogging since 2005 and gained so much by reading Wendy’s book.

My favorite part was definitely the 10 examples of successful mom bloggers that she gave. It was interesting to read about their stories and how they got to where they are today. Some make money from their blogs and some make money as a direct result of their blog. It goes to show blogging isn’t a cookie cutter industry.

Wendy takes you through topics such as choosing a business model, writing a blog post people will want to read, how to be brand friendly and how to think like an entrepreneur.

3. The Digital Mom Handbook: How to Blog, Vlog, Tweet, and Facebook Your Way to a Dream Career at Home by Audrey McClelland and Colleen Padilla

The Digital Mom Handbook to me was very inspirational. It also was recently released in July of this year. Audrey and Colleen told their stories of how they got to where they are now – both top mom bloggers and making a fantastic living at it. They also talk about juggling the role as mom and business woman, something a lot of moms struggle with on a daily basis.

Here are their seven basic steps to success given in the book:

1. Find your passion.
2. Hang a digital “shingle” and start typing.
3. Find your tribe.
4. Make opportunity knock and learn how to answer that door.
5. Manage the Benjamins.
6. Don’t forget the children!
7. Live happily ever after by living your values.

A great read for any mom who has found herself, by accident or on purpose, in the world of blogging and trying to turn it into a living.

All of these books do have one common theme – find your passion and write about it. Don’t do what Deal Debbie is doing just because it seems to be working for her. Find a topic you love and go for it!

Are there any books on blogging you have read and would recommend?

Six Simple Ways to Market Your EBook – After the Launch

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Session: How to Write EBooks That Practically Sell Themselves
Speaker: Ali Luke

There’s tons of great advice out there about launching an eBook – and for good reason: you’ll get rapid sales in the first week or two. But unless your eBook is incredibly topical, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t keep on selling well, long after the launch is over.
And this isn’t just good for you … it’s also good for your audience. Chances are, new folks are stopping by your site (or following you on Twitter, or liking your page on Facebook) every day. Your new readers might love to get their hands on your eBook – but they need to know it exists.
I’ll start off with the easiest, quickest tips and work up to more time-consuming ones.

#1: Add a Link to Email/Forum Signatures

This will only take you a couple of minutes – and could get your eBook in front of hundreds of people. Just add a line to your email signature. It can be as simple as this:

Author of EBOOK TITLE, available from LINK

You might also want to include a brief quote from a testimonial, or a note about who the book is for.
If you use any forums, check whether it’s okay to link to your eBook sales page in your signature – different sites will have different rules about this. On private forums, such as the Third Tribe, you might want to include a custom discount code.

#2: Mention it on Your About Page

If you take a quick look at your blog’s analytics, then you’ll probably see that the most popular static page is the About page. New readers want to see who you are and what your blog is all about. The About page is a great place to mention any products or services – including eBooks.

Since you’ve got a lot more space on an About page than in an email signature, you’ll want to give enough information to draw readers in. Add your eBook’s cover image, plus a short description of key benefits (perhaps in bullet-point format). Encourage readers to “click here to find out more” rather than “click here to buy now” – it’s not such a big commitment.

#3: Send a Sample to Everyone on Your Email List

Your newsletter or mailing list is a great marketing tool – assuming you use it right. That means avoiding overloading your readers with offers and promotions … whilst ensuring that you’re not completely silent about your eBook.

One great way to promote your eBook is to provide an exclusive free sample to your email list. Your readers will be thrilled – and you may well make some new sales. Make your sample genuinely useful (perhaps a quarter to a third of your full eBook) and use the last page of it to tell readers how to get the full eBook.

If you don’t have an email list yet, or if your list is very small, a free sample of your eBook makes a great sign-up incentive.

#4: Guest Post on a Relevant Blog

Perhaps your own blog doesn’t have many readers yet – a few dozen, or a few hundred. You could keep promoting your eBook to them, but chances are, they’re going to get a bit bored of hearing about something they’ve already bought (or already dismissed).
Luckily, it’s not too hard to get your eBook in front of an audience of thousands – or ten of thousands – of readers. How? Write a guest post, and promote your eBook in the bio.

For maximum effect, look for a blog that:

  • Has readers who are used to buying eBooks (e.g. ProBlogger or Copyblogger).
  • Hasn’t done any large promotions recently.
  • Allows a link in the body of your post, as well as in the bio.
  • Is on-topic: you’ll want to write a guest post that’s related to your eBook.

You might even want to give a special discount code for that blog’s readers: this offers an extra incentive to buy, and also helps you track where sales are coming from.

#5: Hold an EBook Sale

We all love a bargain – so putting your eBook on sale for a week or two will help undecided buyers to make up their minds! Sales are more powerful if you don’t hold them too often, and if you offer a significant discount.

It’s a good idea to have a reason for a sale (and “I need to pay my taxes” isn’t ideal). You might try:

  • A charity sale: all or some of the money will go to a specific charity.
  • Your birthday, or your blog’s birthday.
  • A summer, Thanksgiving or January sale (though bear in mind that lots of other bloggers might be doing the same).
  • A “secret” sale for a specific group of people – e.g. your Facebook page, email list or Twitter followers.

A sale is a great time to revamp your promotional copy: do you have new testimonials to add to your eBook’s sales page, or case studies that you can include?

#6: Write a Related EBook

Writing a second eBook isn’t a short-term option – but it can be a hugely effective marketing technique (as well as a new source of revenue in itself).

If you’ve got two eBooks on related topics – for instance, “How to Get Started With Your Digital Camera” and “How to Take Great Portraits With Your Digital Camera” – then you can easily create an up-sell, or give a discount code to buyers so that they can get the other eBook. That way, the new eBook will boost sales of the first.

And you don’t have to stop at two. I’ve got three eBooks (so far!) in The Blogger’s Guide series, and this has meant that I can provide all three as a bundle, offering readers a significant discount. Plenty of other eBook authors use the same technique: check out Holly Lisle’s “writing clinics bundle” for another example.

So … if your eBook is gathering dust on the virtual shelves, pick two ideas from above (one shorter-term, one longer-term) to get sales going again. And if you’ve got a tip to add to the list, please share it with us in the comments below.

Hear what else Ali has to say:

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

Ali Luke is speaking at BlogWorld on “How to Write EBooks That Practically Sell Themselves” (Saturday 5th Nov, 3.30pm). She’s also the author of The Blogger’s Guide to Irresistible EBooks, currently just $29, and blogs about writing at Aliventures.

13 Brilliant Bloggers Talk About Kindle Publishing

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Brilliant Bloggers is a weekly series here at BlogWorld where we look at the best posts from around the web all surrounding a specific topic. Every week, we’ll feature three of the most brilliant bloggers out there, along with a huge list of more resources where you can learn about the topic. You can see more Brilliant Blogger posts or learn how to submit your link for an upcoming edition here.

This Week’s Topic: Kindle Publishing

With the announcement of the new Kindle Fire and the price drop on other Kindles, this e-reader is only going to continue to grow in popularity. While I don’t think it’s an iPad killer by any stretch of the imagination, since more and more consumers are purchasing Kindles, bloggers need to be aware of this platform when they self-publish. Today, some brilliant bloggers are talking about Kindle publishing and how this can effect your publishing plans in the future.

The list is small but mighty today! Don’t forget to add your own links in the comments!

Advice from Brilliant Bloggers:

A Radical New Way to Tap the Kindle Economy by Jonathan Fields and Sean Platt

This is like cheating because you’re getting two brilliant bloggers for the price of one! In this video, Jonathan talks to Sean about publishing fiction in a new way on Kindle by using an episodic model rather than a more traditional way of publishing. I seriously love this idea and might need to modify it to use for nonfiction. Check out the video on JonathanFields.com, then follow Jonathan and Sean on Twitter at @jonathanfields and @writerdad respectively.

Amanda Hocking and the 99-Cent Kindle Millionaires by Nathan Bransford

Of all the posts out there about Kindle publishing, I think this one is the best that I’ve seen that is essentially an explanation of the costs associated with publishing and why (or why not) there’s millions to be made on Kindle. It’s a really informative post that can definitely help you determine whether or not you should publish on Kindle and what your pricing should be, even if you’re going a more traditional publishing route. You can find Nathan on Twitter @NathanBransford.

How to Self-Publish on Amazon, Kindle and iBookStore by Dragos Roua

In this post, Dragos goes over everything you need to know as a self-publisher who wants to make their work available on e-readers. He talks about the difference between digital and print so you can make the best decision, along with the process you’ll need to follow to get your work up and going online. Dragos is on Twitter @dragosroua.

Even More Brilliant Advice:

Did I miss your post or a post by someone you know about publishing on Kindle? Unintentional! Help me out by leaving a comment below with the link!

Next Week’s Topic: Interviews

I’d love to include a link to your post next week – and if you head to the Brilliant Bloggers Schedule, you can see even more upcoming posts. We all have something to learn from one another, so please don’t be shy! Head to the schedule today to learn how to submit your post so I won’t miss it.

Jim Kukral on How Self-Publishing is a Game Changer for the Publishing Industry

Author:

To say that the publishing industry has changed over the past few years is an understatement. People have gone from curling up in a chair and reading a newspaper or book to getting these same experiences through their smartphone, tablet, and other digital devices.

Another big change in the publishing industry, and specifically with book publishing, is the growing trend of self-publishing. Jim Kukral, the CEO of Digital Book Launch, is an advocate of self-publishing because it opens up so many mor eopportunities for writers.

Interestingly, Kukral didn’t see the full power of self-publishing until after he had a book traditionally published.

“All the things that needed to make the book a success, I was really in control of,” he pointed out.

He also developed an interesting monetization strategy by using crowdsourcing to pre-fund his books before they’re even written. He started this campaign around a month ago and has already raised over $20,000, which is a pretty powerful plug in favor of self-publishing.

Jim Kukral will be speaking about this topic in further detail in his “Turning One Billion Into 5 Billion: Harry Potter Author J.K. Rowlings Shows Us How To Self Publish & Profit” session during the Social Media Business Summit at BlogWorld LA. Be sure to check it out!

Watch more videos and see why other speakers are attending BlogWorld LA. See all Speakers here.

Learn more about BlogWorld LA and register Here!

BlogWorld and New Media Expo is partnering with WebProNews, a news publication covering search, social media, and ebusiness, in an effort to broadcast how new media can grow your business, brand, and audience. WebProNews has covered BWE since its first show in 2007. Check out reports from previous shows here and stay tuned for much more coverage from BWE LA.

Authors: Where Your Blog Lives

Author:

It’s a huge consideration!

Last time we discussed why aspiring authors need a blog in order to build a solid social platform  that will sell their books.

Today let’s take a closer look at how to create your very own blog.

There are 2 basic options: Hosted or Self-Hosted

Hosted Blogs:

PROs:

  • Are easy to maintain
  • Are free
  • Are becoming easier to customize

CONs:

  • Less design creativity
  • Less commenting control
  • No advertising allowed on WordPress.com
  • One influential, disgruntled reader could get you banned.

Self-Hosted Blogs:

PROs:

  • Control: You own this virtual “real estate” and get to decide on the infinite variety of     plugins that suits you and change it as much as you like.
  • Money: Yes, you can make money via your blogging efforts if you self-host
  • Commenting: You get more control over this process and can customize it with any number of enticing, community building plugins that will spread the word about your site.
  • Ownership: You’re free to publish whatever photos, videos, and written content your heart desires without the risk of becoming banned because somebody got offended.

CONs:

  • Are more trouble to maintain
  • Involve cost ($150 – $5000, on average)
  • All the choices can be overwhelming and incite analysis paralysis!

NOTE: There are many blogging platforms, but I’m going to stick with WordPress and Blogger for this series because it’s they’re easiest to use and most popular platforms worldwide.

This is the second in a series of posts targeted at helping aspiring authors to get published by building an awesome blog that will serve as the foundation for their social platform. Are you a writer or do you know one? Please share! This series will put writers on the fast track to getting published.

Are you an aspiring author or have you already published a book? Please share your best advice and experiences down below.

Kobo’s New App Adds Social Functions

Author:

E-book retailer Kobo announced a new feature to its app which adds a social functionality to the e-book reading experience. It’s called Kobo Pulse and it’s been integrated into the Kobo app to take your reading to a whole new level.

With Kobo Pulse, you can see who’s reading the same book you are, share ideas on passages and books with other readers. The new feature also has Facebook integration using their newly announced Open Graph.

Back in December of 2010, Kobo announced a new product called Reading Life. It collects your reading activities and displays your reading statistics in a series of graphs and charts. It also rewards users with badges when they meet new characters or reach new milestones in their reading. Kobo Pulse has been integrated into this product as well.

The new feature was announced last week at f8, Facebook’s developer conference.

Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis said, “We’re moving into an era where social eReading will change the nature of how and what we read. With Kobo Pulse, readers can get more out of reading. Books are now alive.  The end is no longer the end.  Readers get to participate, adding their voice, which actually lives within the reading experience itself through Pulse.”

Here’s a video walking you through the Kobo experience.

For those of you who are big e-book readers, what do you think of the added social features? Is this something you would find useful and fun?

Why Authors Need a Blog

Author:

You might be asking yourself: With all the research, outlining, book proposals, actual book writing, and then revisions, why on earth should I spend my precious time blogging?

Because you want to sell your book.

It’s been said that 7 out every 10 Americans want to publish a book. If this number includes you then you’ve got to build a solid social platform that will appeal to publishers. Even if you plan on publishing independently, you’re going to need a thriving social platform that’s been built over time. As I’ve been dipping my toe into the giant ocean of authors and publishers for the Literally Social podcast, I’m discovering a common theme: successful, influential, best-selling authors all have a strong, multi-faceted social media platform that’s been built over time. Blogging is the foundation for that platform.

But why do I need a blog?

Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr,  and TypePad are all great social networks. They all function as micro-blogs, too. There are 2 major problems with trying to build your social platform on these light-weight social webs, however:

1.  Social Networks don’t belong to you. If any one of them changes their terms of service, or goes virtually extinct, your influence there can become extremely limited.

2.  Social Networks aren’t extensive enough to give people a real idea of who you are or what you write about. People want to get to know authors today more than ever. And they want to know what drives writers and where they get their inspiration. Social networks only provide a fleeting glimpse into who you are and what your writing is all about.  Blogs give you an opportunity to share all your posts, an about page, a media kit, testimonials, and more.

Next time we’ll discuss your best options. And it won’t hurt or be expensive. I promise. 😉

Are you an aspiring author or have you already published a book? Please share your best advice and experiences down below.

Have friends, colleagues, or clients who are looking to get published? Please share this first in a series of posts to save them innumerable hours and frustration as they work on building their social platforms.

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