C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

See all my books at AllThatChazz.com.

6 Effective Ways to Promote Your Book

ReunionToday’s guest post is from the author of Reunion, Jeff Bennington! I forget how I ran across Jeff, though it could have been a lot of places since Jeff is a powerful experimenter in the realm of book promotion. His site is The Writing Bomb. He’s also blogged here before on CreateSpace versus Lightning Source–a very popular post, and for good reason: Jeff’s generous with what he learns. Here’s what he picked up from his book campaigns:

In the world of publishing, authors have found many ways to promote their work ranging from book signings with a 3-piece orchestra to dressing up like their characters. After publishing two novels, I’ve tried some of those crazy stunts, but from my experience, there are a few affordable and effective ways to promote your book online that won’t leave you looking like Barney the dinosaur. In fact, online marketing has been touted, and likely is, the best way for an author to promote his or her work.

However, authors have to approach marketing differently based on their genre and subject matter. And let’s be clear, when you promote your book, you can’t always expect immediate gratification and you’re not guaranteed sales. Your premise will drive readers to read a sample and the excerpt will determine your sales. And so, the quality of your writing is ultimately the best sales pitch.

The best promotion for me has come from the following:

#1 Goodreads.com: Goodreads “giveaways” are an incredible tool to publicize your book. I recently posted Reunion in a giveaway and had 787 bites in 5 days, beating out bestsellers that have been on the list for months.

HINT: Don’t post more than one book to give away and do it in one-week spurts. You’ll have to trust me on this.

I also like what my ad on Goodreads is doing. The thing with Goodreads is not how many clicks or sales you get, but how many folks “add” your book to their “to be read” list. When they do that, they are more or less planning on buying your book when they get to it, and they will, because most readers on Goodreads are avid readers and love talking about what they read, so they will also rate and review your book, which is another benefit of that site.

Another secret here is that if you spend X amount of dollars on an ad, you will likely get a lot more “adds” than clicks, which is good because it is a pay-per-click system. But if folks add your book without clicking on the ad then you have effectively extended the life of your ad immeasurably.

#2 Blog: If you don’t have a blog or you’re afraid of starting one or you think it’s too much

Jeff_Bennington

Jeff Bennington

work, then plan on writing your book solely for your mother to enjoy because blogging is only the beginning of what it takes to market your book…and it’s the easiest. It’ll only get harder and more expensive from there.

#3 Kindlenation.com: This is a very good site but you’ll have to plan months in advance to run an ad. It will definitely make your money back and more because they have a lot of readers who buy what they advertise. Programs run from $119 to $349. Kindle Nation reaches from 7,500 to 15,000+ opt-in readers. I paid $99 for an ad that ran in mid May and sold over 200 copies that day. So if you make $2 or $3 a book and spend $119…do the math.

#4 Twitter, Facebook, email lists: These are the most obvious and basic starting points. I’ll put it this way, I got all four of my book blurbs through Twitter connections, two of which are bestselling authors. If you can get that elsewhere, go for it. Basically, you have to tell your social marketing pals about your book.

And, this is important, you have to share their work too.

If you blast your friends and followers with your personal spam, they will retweet and share less and less the more you do it. Share what they are doing and chat with them and you’ll notice a marked difference in how receptive they are to spreading the word about your book. I’ve experimented with this and I can tell you without a shadow of doubt that cross promotion helps.

Strict self-promotion hurts.

However, I have found that tweeting short blurbs, such as “A Riveting and Incredibly Powerful Story of Pain and Triumph!” grabs reader’s attention more than, “Check out my new book, REUNION”. Try both methods and see which works better. Be sure to include a “tiny url” to allow room for your #tags.

HINT: Use the twitter share button on the right side of your Amazon sales page. It has the shortest “tiny url” I’ve seen yet.

#5 Ereadernewstoday.com: I’m on the schedule, so I don’t know for sure, but I’ve heard that Ereadernewstoday.com is a good site to advertise on. This program is $25 a day. Emails will reach about 10,000 book readers through opted-in email blasts.

#6 Blog Tour: Plan for a lot of work. It can be nearly free, but will be the most time consuming. However, if your book sucks, I think a blog tour can backfire. I’m just sayin’.

If you go this route, you better get your book professionally edited and proofed and have a great cover and good formatting because that’s what book bloggers and reviewers expect.

Basically, when it comes to promoting your book. You better make sure it is a damn good book or you’ll have a 7-digit Amazon ranking within a month. I know. I’ve seen it. But don’t get overwhelmed. I’m a newer author and I’m not breaking any records, but I believe these six methods of promotion will help you tremendously, especially if you are in the process of building your platform as I am.

Thanks for reading. What methods have you used to promote your book? How did it turn out? Let me know.

Jeff Bennington, author of REUNION & other thrillers

CLICK THE COVER TO BUY REUNION NOW:

Reunion

And here are more of Jeff’s links:

The Rumblin’ 

Killing the Giants

The Writing Bomb 

www.jeffbennington.com

Filed under: Books, Guest blog post, Publicity & Promotion, Writers, , , , , , , , , , ,

Life & book marketing update shouted from a speeding car

Happy Sunday. Things are moving somewhat quickly as I start making transitions to writing full-time. I have a marketing plan: It’s important to be prolific. I believe in being available across as many e-platforms as possible (and zero DRM). Having just one ebook up won’t cut it. Being prolific allows cross-promotion (e.g. You like this? Then you might like to buy that, too!)

Over the coming months I’ll be offering individual short stories (at 0.99 each), a collection of short stories ($1.99 or 2.99, haven’t decided yet), a novella ($1.99) and another collection of short stories with a quirky hook I can market effectively ($2.99). At some point I’ll package the aforementioned individual stories—there are six—in another book (conveniently priced at $2.99 probably.)

There are several full-length novels that are written and need revision before they’re ready to be swallowed by the masses, but most of them are for next year.

A few things about the slingshot launches:

1. I’m doing a soft launch until I have a bunch of ebooks available. Then I’ll be carpet bombing (more details to come in another post on what that means.)

2. I will be launching another website in addition to this one. Chazz Writes is all about writing craft and publishing and I intend to continue. However, I have broader plans for the new website that will expand my mandate and goals. I’ll be talking about a lot of different things on the new site.

3. And I do mean talking. I’ll be incorporating video and podcasts. Fancy plans with pants to match. More on that closer to the new website launch.

4. I want to do  a hard launch of the first novel in my line, but I’m not sure if I can pull it together for Christmas. There are more than the usual variables. For instance, I need to get permissions to use the names of a major Hollywood star and a major porn star. (Yes, I’m familiar with the rules of fair use—and both characters as they appear in the novel are adored by the hero. However, this isn’t a fair use issue. It’s a Smashwords rule issue.)

5. I’m not in the least interested this year in printing books with which to assail bookstores. It’s a lot of work for less reward. It’s an exciting venture I do not, at present, have time to pursue. (And yes, I’ve looked at the numbers.)

6. However, I will need printed Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) for promotional purposes when the hard launch takes off. I’ll be using CreateSpace to print a few sample copies since there is no punishing fee for each revision. For bigger print runs, once the formatting is solidified, I’ll switch to Lightning Source.

If you’re wondering how I’ll get it all done, sometimes I wonder, too. Then I remember that I’m severely underemployed. (Except for the soul-crushing poverty, it’s a fantastic advantage and a real time saver.)

There’s more to the book marketing and promotion plan and I’ll share it with you as soon as I can. In the meantime, back to my editing suite in the batcave beneath the bunker under the Chuck E. Cheese.

Thanks to my buddies Jeff Bennington, author of Reunion, and author Rebecca Senese (look her up, she’s a fountain of short stories), for clarifying my strategy on the issues in #6. Both these lovely people have guest blogged here. You’ll remember Rebecca did a great job summarizing the workings of Smashwords and Jeff compared CreateSpace with Lightning Source. (If you don’t remember their posts, search this site in the search box top right. Sorry! I’d link it for you but I’m in a huge hurry just this minute. I bet you can guess why when you see this tiny portion of my to-do list.)

Jeff tells me he will do me the honour of another guest blog soon. I think the discussion will be about book promotion and what he found effective for his massive push for Reunion

Filed under: authors, blogs & blogging, Books, DIY, e-reader, ebooks, getting it done, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, What about Chazz?, Writers, , , , , , , , , ,

Write. Commit. Do.

Last Saturday night I went for a long walk with She Who Must be Obeyed. We talked about the future.  I’d analyzed the finances. I’d considered my options. Now I have  a plan. I’ve been on both sides of the argument for and against self-publishing (and a lot of those arguments against were good objections when they were true not so long ago.)

It’s time for some grown-up decisions since I’ve been a kid in long pants for some time now. I have a manuscript to publish. Well, several, actually (and plans for more.) What to do with them though?

I’ve read Seth Godin, JA Konrath, Dean Wesley Smith, Barry Eisler and Cory Doctorow. I’ve read multiple defences of the status quo from legacy publishing. In the end, the latter were not convincing. I’ve spoken to Rebecca Senese about her experience with Smashwords and Jeff Bennington blogged in this space about Lightning Source. I kept an open mind as long as I could and decided I have to jump. Now.

Inspired by Kevin Smith, I see where the puck is going and I will not chase after where the puck has been. I’ve decided to pick myself, go big, go indie and publish my books myself. I’ll be using Smashwords and Lightning Source.

What are the main reasons I’m committing to indie? I’m looking forward to having the first book out by November. Traditional publishing would take much, much longer than that even if I struck a deal tomorrow (and the royalty rates are not favorable.)

I have had mainstream interest in the first book. I was concerned that self-publishing is seen by some as cheating the system, an evasion of gatekeepers who ensure quality. As I’ve explained in previous posts, I reject that premise.

JA Konrath ran the numbers. Ross Laird was very persuasive. Barry Eisler really got my attention when he said opting for self-publishing came down to a business decision versus an ego decision. That rang true for me personally.

Self-publishing is not the quick route to publication some people think it is. I won’t be skipping lightly over editing. I’ll be doing most everything a traditional publisher would do. I’m a tad intimidated by the tech side of things, but I’m a smart guy. I can generally figure most things out or ask for help. And I worked inside traditional publishing for five years so I’m not intimidated by a lot of things that would worry others. I’ve written and published a lot already so I’m not going in starry-eyed. But I am optimistic and excited. Much of the time, this is going to be fun!

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go with a New York publisher, a Canadian press, a university press, a small press or a micro press. I am saying this is the right choice for me because it suits my temperament and it suits the material (cross-genre, late YA with humor and sex, drugs and school bullying wrapped up with some literary pretensions.) Books coming later fall into horror (a plague’s coming so buckle up) and two fantasies (one with a vampire cannibal cult, the other is angels in the End of Days). Also, there’s a sexy and occasionally horror-oriented short story collection. Down the road I can see two non-fiction books, as well. Lots to do.

This is my time (before it’s too late…I hope.) I’ve started up several businesses to  employ myself. I haven’t had a “real” job working for someone else since 1991! I’m used to living on the edge of the real world. Self-publishing is for me. It might not be for you. I need choice and independence. I need to be a control freak about some things. (Okay, a lot of things.)

So, thank you to everyone who responded to my Twitter announcement last week with such kind wishes.

And before anybody tries jumping on my head about my decision,

let’s try this:

I’ll be me. You be you.

Filed under: My fiction, self-publishing, short stories, , , , , , , , , ,

Support authors. Buy books.

FYI: I promised the big announcement today.

That post drops here

at 12:01 pm EST.

Now, to business:

Author Jeff Bennington from The Writing Bomb wrote a very helpful post for Chazz Writes comparing his publishing experience with Lightning Source vs CreateSpace. 

Besides helping self-publishers out with some great information, Jeff’s written a great book. The early reviews are very exciting, so I’m not just asking that you help out an author. I’m asking that you enjoy a good book.

http://www.amazon.ca/Reunion-Jeff-P-Bennington/dp/0615450865/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1302828982&sr=1-1Jeff is trying to climb high in Amazon‘s rankings today so readers can find his novel. Get in on the ground floor and help kickstart Jeff’s career. He’s encouraging fans and future fans to buy Reunion today. The novel has received great reviews, so why not? It’s not expensive.

Check out the awesome reviews and blurbs here.

Why not buy two? I will.

For this strategy to work best, it would be great if you bought the book today, April 15, if you please. It’s tax day in the States, so console yourself and forget about that horror by reading Jeff’s cool horror story.

Please support the arts and chill with a good book. Thank you.

UPDATE: Just bought two copies of Reunion.

Can’t wait!

Filed under: authors, book reviews, Books, publishing, Writers, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Createspace or Lightning Source: Pros & cons breakdown

Jeff_Bennington

Jeff Bennington

I’m trying to decide what company to go with to get my novel out. Smashwords grinds manuscripts into all e-book formats, of course, but what about the paper book issue? Createspace or Lightning Source? I recently asked some authors about their experience with companies that facilitate self-publishers. Some were satisfied with Createspace and others were fine with Lightning Source. Jeff Bennington, author of a paranormal thriller, Reunion as well as the blog The Writing Bomb,  hit me with a great, detailed reply. He has experience with both Createspace and Lightning Source. Rather than pushing me one way or another, he laid out the pros and cons as he sees it from his experience.

“Dude!” I said (because in my mind I’m still seventeen and it’s the ’80s.)  “This isn’t a mere reply to my question. This, sir, is a blog post. How about it?” He graciously said yes.  Here’s his breakdown:

Cons


At Lightning Source, starting an account is a bit cumbersome (much more paperwork than Createspace.) Once the paperwork was complete I had to get my cover just right, but Joleene Naylor, an independent cover artist, helped me do that with ease.
However, I’m not as happy with Lightning Source’s ink/cover quality as I am with Createspace. Lightning Source’s paper is much thinner than Createspace. (Same number of pages and Lightning Source is at least 1/4″ thinner. Very strange.)
The initial work to get a proof copy is somewhat exhausting and cost $39 (overnight, mandatory) for a proof every time!
I can get five proofs for $50 (overnight, not mandatory with Createspace).
I’ll use Createspace the next time if I discover that print copies just aren’t the thing for my books. I used them this time to get advanced reading copies (ARCs) out early. Createspace was fast and easy to work with but I was very limited on the back cover and spine art.
Expect 1 to 2 days for email return. But if you call..they answer.

Pros


The number one reason to use Lightning Source is the distribution: return availability and full industry discount (45-55%). That was enough for me because very few publishers for indies do that and if they say, as Createspace does, that they have full distribution, you better make doubly sure that the wholesale discount is 45+ and that you can have a return policy. Createspace  never told me that. I asked and they said, “We don’t make that decision.” I say “Bull^%$#!” Of course they do. They are the publisher.
With Lightning Source, you are definitely the publisher. I like that.
If you have a newer mac formatting is easy. Lightning Source will upload your sized PDF with no worries.
Once the book was uploaded and passed the tests, things moved rather quickly. Give yourself 2 months to get your account in process and book uploadedReunion
The best thing is you are assigned a customer rep—a real and a very nice and helpful person. My rep at Lightning Source is Carol Egan. She is wonderful!

Overall, I’m happy so far. I mostly want my print version to be available to local stores for signings (if I have one) and a lot of my friends and family want to buy it at a store. I can’t do that with most other self-pub outlets. Lightning Source is the real thing. Great for a small press…like me!

 

Right about now you’re bubbling over with gratitude for Jeff”s insights. Act on it and check out his book. Reunion just launched and the reviews on Amazon are very good. Plus, you need to own it for research purposes. (See what you think of the binding etc.,…) Buy Reunion.

 

Filed under: author Q&A, authors, Books, DIY, ebooks, publishing, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , ,

Writers: Self-publishing links

Patricia Benesh writes in the Huffington Post about the five questions you should ask yourself before going the self-publishing route.

At Self-publishing Central there’s a blog post about the journey to publication and finding peer support along the way.

Eoin Purcell‘s blog writes about the state of the traditional publishing industry and how it’s not all bad news. In fact, libraries are trending up.

And Jeff Bennington over at The Writing Bomb writes a compelling post evaluating Lightning Source versus Create Space. Do check that out!

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Filed under: authors, blogs & blogging, Books, DIY, ebooks, self-publishing, Useful writing links, web reviews, Writers, writing tips, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

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Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

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