4 Lessons for Authors About the Current State of Publishing

by Jane Friedman

1. An author’s online presence is more critical than ever to long-term marketing strategy.

Industry analyst Mike Shatzkin opened the conference by discussing what he thinks is the greatest challenge right now in the publishing industry. He said that authors have long been recognized as the consumer-facing brand that most matters (to publishers and readers), and that today every author can build some kind of digital presence. However, he said, while a few authors do that very well, most do it badly.

Shatzkin said the biggest failure of traditional publishers to date is the lack of programmatic help for authors in building their digital footprint.

At the very least, he said every house should do a digital audit for every author they contract, which includes concrete suggestions for improving online engagement. To his knowledge, no publisher does, but he thinks it should be every house’s top marketing priority.

Later on, Rand Fishkin of Moz offered some of the most actionable content of the entire event, focused on how authors (or publishers) could improve that digital footprint. (Review his full presentation here.) Two of the big highlights of his talk and Q&A session:

  • Make sure your website is accessible, mobile-friendly and optimized for search. Fishkin said that using WordPress is a great shortcut to ensure your site is following best practices related to SEO. He encouraged authors and publishers to consistently link to a book landing page (on the author website) rather than to Amazon, to help ensure the author website and book landing page owned by the author will turn up as the first search result. Fishkin believes it’s better to control the message and capture that visitor/reader before sending them onto Amazon.
  • Do not split up your content website and promotional websites. For authors, this means don’t split up your author website and your author blog (don’t house them separately) or create separate websites that serve only to promote or sell your books. Authors should integrate all content, whether promotional or not, under a single online umbrella, usually a website built on author name. If you want, buy a domain that closely matches your book title, and have it redirect to your main author site (or possibly create a microsite). Fishkin says it increases the probability of your site ranking number one for important search terms, such as your name, book titles, and keywords related to your work.

2. Be reluctant to trust mainstream media headlines when it comes to publishing sales and trends.

Michael Cader of Publishers Lunch, arguably the foremost expert in reading the tea leaves of publishing industry data, offered an overview of what we know and how we know it when it comes to print and ebook sales.

He listed the biggest misleading conclusions appearing in news headlines—conclusions that consistently misinterpret the sales data.

  1. Print is back!
  2. E-books are dead!
  3. Bookstores are back!
  4. Amazon’s publishing division failed!
  5. If only we could count self-publishing, ebooks are booming!

What every author should know about the current industry data:

  • The flattening of ebook sales started happening back in 2013. Plus, some of the ebook decline we’re seeing may be attributable to rapidly falling Nook sales.
  • Adult ebook sales have been relatively stable; the big decline is in children’s/YA ebook sales due to the lack of a big franchise hit in 2015.
  • A big question is whether customers may be transitioning from ebook purchases to audiobook purchases—some of the most dramatic industry growth is happening in digital audio.
  • Recent print sales gains can be accounted for by coloring books.

To understand the full picture of industry sales requires triangulation of multiple data sources and an understanding of what sales those sources account for (and how the accounting has changed over the years). No single source offers a complete picture, and historical comparisons are difficult. One thing is for sure, however: most mainstream outlets, such as the New York Times, misunderstand the data and apply misleading headlines.

3. Learn to find your readers, go where they go, and speak their language.

Industry marketing expert Peter McCarthy and Rand Fishkin both discussed how to find your readers online and reach them directly. McCarthy described it as picking up “the lingua franca of the customer” with a variety of tools and techniques. He demonstrated how he rapidly tests out phrases to learn and access “adjacencies”—the key concepts, active people, and communities whose interests are aligned with themes, topics, or points from your work. (View or download McCarthy’s 109 slides, featuring step-by-step information.)

For more: https://janefriedman.com/4-lessons-publishing/

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17 Crucial Things Authors Forget to Do When Self-Publishing

by Bryan Hutchinson

http://positivewriter.com/self-publishing/?utm_content=bufferb5552&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

This is a guest post by Shayla Eaton. Shayla is the president of Curiouser Editing and a connoisseur of the writing and editing process, having edited over two hundred books and countless articles, blogs, social media posts, and web copy. She is the author of The Curiouser Crusade and the Pre-Publishing Checklist.

Choosing to self-publish your book means you’re in control of the process. But like Ben Parker said to Spider-Man: “With great self-publishing comes great responsibility.” Or, you know, something like that.

Self Publishing

With great self-publishing comes great responsibility. (Click to Tweet)

Don’t overlook these must-haves when self-publishing your book:

1. Check to see if your book title already exists

There are pros and cons to finding that your book title already exists. I believe the con is obvious, but the pro? Some authors use it as a smart marketing tool, because when a potential buyer searches for your competitor’s book title, he’ll find yours as well.

2. Set up an email address for marketing purposes

From signing up for social media platforms to setting up an account with CreateSpace, you’ll want an email address specifically for marketing purposes rather than using your personal address. Pro tip: Don’t use AOL or Hotmail.

3. Add an email signature with website and social media information

This is easy to do: just go to your email settings and craft your signature’s content. You can even add URLs so people can click on over to your book’s website or subscribe to your newsletter.

4. Prepare a promo kit

You’ll need a long and short book summary, a long and short bio, a tagline for your book, and a professional headshot. You’ll have all of this ready to go in your promo folder for when you reach out to bloggers.

5. Gather endorsements

Try to get endorsements from well-known figures who either write in your genre or relate to it somehow. These endorsements will go in the front matter of your book and can also be used for marketing on social media and your website.

Click here to see the stellar endorsement Bryan Hutchinson received for Writer’s Doubt from 21 times New York Times bestselling author Jerry B. Jenkins. He’s using the endorsement to lead his book’s page on his website and on Amazon.

6. Get your ISBN

If you’re printing with CreateSpace, they’ll handle this for you with a free ISBN or paid ones. But if you’re not using a print-on-demand company and are using a local printer instead, you’ll want to purchase your ISBN. I recommend Bowker.

7. Check the licenses of typefaces

Make sure you or the designer has the right to use certain fonts. Pro tip: Tell your formatter what fonts you used, because they might not be visible during the transfer.

8. Get a book trailer

Hey, who says movies are the only ones who get trailers? A book trailer is a modern, engaging way to tell your friends and potential readers about your book.

9. Set up Amazon Author Central page

When you publish your book on Amazon, you’ll want to go here to create the Amazon Author Central page so people can learn more about you—the author. You can link your Twitter page, blog feed, and book trailer on this page. Your future books will show up here too.

10. Write a sample author Q&A

Surely you didn’t think you’d publish a book without an interview or two, right? Craft a sample author Q&A for bloggers and podcasters to use when promoting or reviewing your book.

11. Tease your social media followers with snippets of your book

Your followers are the fish, and your bookish quotes are the bait. Hook them and reel them in. Copy and paste your book quotes into Canva to create high-quality promotional photos.

12. Throw an online launch party

It’s best if someone other than the author hosts this party and it can be done on Facebook. The host will create an event and invite people to the party. There will be giveaways and contests and lots of online sharing about your book.

13. Get in touch with your community

Why do so many authors forget about their local library? Libraries love to promote their own local authors, so talk to them about donating your book or planning a book signing there. You can also publish a press release about your town’s local author (ahem—that’s you) whose book comes out in two weeks!

You can get local bookstores and coffee shops involved. If you’re smart, you’ll host a Night on the Town with a local shopping center, where customers can get raffle tickets, food, freebies, and a signed copy of your book.

14. Add your book on Goodreads

You would be surprised how many authors forget to do this. Users can shelve your book to read for later, update their progress while reading, and review your book after completing it.

15. Brand yourself using photo apps

What are the colors of your book cover? The fonts? The style? Choose a photo app to create a brand that relates to your book, then post the images on social media.

16. Get a contract with your editor

If your editor is a professional, then he or she will have this ready for you. It will outline what the editor will do to your book, the tentative deadline, and how much it will cost. Sadly, too many newbie authors forget about the contract and get themselves into trouble when the editor doesn’t hold up his or her end of the bargain.

17. Form your citations properly

Can we please talk about the sheer terror that overcomes me when I see sloppy (and sometimes nonexistent) citations in a nonfiction manuscript? Here’s a fast rundown and a great tip on crafting citations in under two minutes.

How to Save Money and Do Online Book Publicity Yourself

A woman working at a computer.

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is a book excerpt adapted from the just released Online Marketing for Busy Authors, by author and publicist Fauzia Burke (@FauziaBurke).

 

Origin:https://janefriedman.com/online-book-publicity/


There are two ways to go about getting attention in the media: one is to hire experts to help you reach the media, and the other is to do the legwork yourself.

I’ll be honest: publicity is not rocket science. If you are committed to the process, you can do it yourself. It will take you longer, and you will certainly spend many hours chasing opportunities, but you’ll save money. When you hire a PR expert, you are hiring them for their time, expertise, and contacts. Unfortunately, results are not guaranteed. Trust me—that fact is as frustrating for us in the field as it is for you.

There’s another thing to consider, and this may be difficult to hear: if you are self-publishing your book, you will probably get fewer reviews than if you were published by an established publisher. This is simply the truth. I totally understand the reasons to self-publish, but it’s important to be aware of the implications of that decision on your publicity prospects. It definitely means that you’ll have to focus more time on guest blogging and interviews.

Focus on Online Opportunities

If you decide you want to do the publicity work yourself, focus on the internet. Traditional media (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio) require great contacts and long lead times. It’s easy to make mistakes, and you certainly want to avoid those when it comes to publicity.

For busy authors, online publicity will be a lot more effective. Online publicity, however, is not for everyone. It takes patience and a thick skin, since you may face rejection and silence.

What Online Opportunities Are Best?

Authors often ask me what the top website for generating sales is. It’s a legitimate question, but the answer is not necessarily obvious. In my experience, there is no single site that generates sales for every kind of book. Because the web is so segmented, different sites impact different books, so it all depends on your audience. One of our clients asked us to reach out to sushi sites to help promote his novel. When I asked him why, he said, “Because the main character loves sushi.” Now that may seem reasonable, but have you ever seen a sushi site featuring a novel just because the main character liked sushi? Probably not.

Another client asked us to get his book featured on the homepage of Gap.com. “The Gap.com? The people who make jeans?” I asked, confused. He said, “Yes, because their customer is my demographic.” This may seem like a creative idea, but have you ever seen a book on the homepage of Gap.com? Probably not.

Your time is limited and the internet is vast, so try to manage your expectations. If something has never been done before, it’s probably a long shot.

How to Find the Best Opportunities for Your Book

When authors come to me and say, “I want to reach book bloggers” or “I want to reach mommy bloggers,” I often have to tell them that bloggers have more specific tastes than they may realize. For example, when reaching out to mommy bloggers, it is really important to know the age of their kids. Pitching a teen parenting book to a mommy blogger with a baby won’t get you far. Pitching a sci-fi novel to a blogger who loves historical romances won’t work either. Sending a World War II book to a blogger who covers the Civil War will make for a cranky blogger, and sending a press release to the wrong person may actually get you blacklisted. So if you want to take on this work, please approach it carefully and diligently. A misstep can be damaging for your brand, and unfortunately Google has a long memory.

  • Search for blogs. If you are looking for bloggers to review your book, look for the ones who have already reviewed books. One of the ways you can narrow your search is by doing a Google search for a competing book. If you only search for the name or title, too many things will come up and it will be a chore to figure out which ones are reviews. However, you can do a Google search for the author’s name or book title in quotes and the phrase “book review” or “interview,” and you will get much more refined search results—for example: “Brene Brown” “Daring Greatly” “book review.”
  • Know their beat. The best piece of advice to any author trying to build a relationship with bloggers is to build that relationship through mutual respect, trust, and consistency. Make sure you know the blogger’s focus and area of interest.
  • Work with a range of bloggers. It’s good to know how much traffic a blog has, but don’t dismiss bloggers with less traffic. It is important to look at the full reach of a blogger. Sometimes blog features from smaller blogs can generate more chatter on social networks. It’s a good idea to follow them on Twitter, Like them on Facebook, and check out their social networks, like Goodreads. Some bloggers post reviews on multiple sites, so they can be more valuable for that reason alone.
  • Make things easier. Understanding the needs of bloggers and online editors will help you work with them. Make note of the type of coverage they specialize in. Do they like to interview authors, review books, do raffles, or post guest blogs? Then make sure you send them the materials they need in a timely fashion. If you promise them a review copy of a book, send it quickly.
  • Approach bloggers one at a time. Every time I say that, people either roll their eyes in disbelief or try to sell me on the benefits of mail-merge mass email. But here’s the honest truth: you are better off reaching out to 50 bloggers one at a time than to 500 via a mass email. You’ll actually get better results. Is it time-consuming and labor-intensive? You bet. Is it worth it? Yes!
  • Follow up, but don’t push. Without follow-up nothing will come of your pitching, so you need to find time to follow up and develop skills in asking without being pushy or rude. Every good publicist masters the delicate art of begging.
  • Represent good content. Don’t send out press releases, articles, or op-eds that are not written well. Make sure the content that leaves your hands always looks professional and does not have spelling or grammatical mistakes.

Keep Detailed Notes on What Happens

All of these tips are fine, but unless you keep track of your research they’ll be difficult to implement. At my firm, we have several fields in our custom-designed database that help us develop relationships with bloggers. We record when the contact was added, by whom, and any notes about their likes and dislikes. We also keep track of all the books sent to every blogger and which bloggers then featured our books. This practice allows us to learn more about the blogger with every interaction and send them only the books they would be inclined to cover. You can use a spreadsheet or database to keep track of your PR work. It’s a good idea to keep thorough notes so you don’t get confused about whom you’ve contacted and what the results were.

If you are doing your own publicity, consider developing an ongoing dialogue and relationship with the bloggers. Share their information and be generous. Everyone appreciates a digital nod these days. Help them before you need their help.

Craft Personalized Pitches, Wait, Follow Up, Repeat

I know it’s counterintuitive, but I hate press releases. They never really work for my publicity firm. I find that having a conversation is a much better way to get the attention of the person on the other end. If you have done your research, it will be a lot easier to pitch the blogger and editor with something specific. It’s better to pitch fewer people individually than to pitch hundreds of people in one mass email.

Once you have searched for bloggers and pitched your book, you will need to wait for responses. If editors/bloggers request the book, your pitch is working. If not, you’ll have to use another pitch. Try connecting your book to something in the news or a new study. When you do get a response, pounce on it. Attention is fleeting, and you don’t want to wait. If the editor/blogger asks for a book or an interview, accommodate them right away.

Then in a couple of weeks follow up and make sure they got the book and ask if there is anything you can do to help. That’s the cycle. It’s not difficult. It’s not rocket science. However, it requires lots of time and patience. Contacts with the media are worth so much because a publicist’s relationship with an editor will boost your chances of getting a feature. If you are willing to put in the work, you can build the same contacts and relationships within your niche. It will just take some time.

Research Tools and Other Resources

If you’re having a difficult time identifying the right blogs or websites for your pitch, here are some research tools that my firm uses. New tools show up all the time, and if I find a cool new one I will post it at FauziaBurke.com.

  • Social Mention. This site allows you to search an author, company, or topic across the web. You can get results from 100 social media sites in one place. My favorite part is that it gives you sentiment (positive, neutral, or negative) of the mentions all over the web, along with top keywords and top hashtags. It’s handy.
  • TweetReach. This is one of my favorite sites. It allows you to search a topic, author, handle, or name and see how many people were reached by those tweets. You can also see who sent the tweets and how many followers they have. This is a helpful tool to search for people who have influence.
  • Twitter Counter. I love this site. It allows you to see the Twitter stats for any handle. You can see if the trend is for gaining followers or losing them. It also shows you how many tweets are made every day by any handle. TwitterCounter is useful for research and for monitoring the success of your Twitter feeds, especially if you have multiple accounts.
  • Google Trends. If you are working on a news topic, this is an excellent source because it gives you insights into the amount of traffic and geographic visit patterns.
  • Twazzup. This site allows you to filter news from live Twitter content. It’s helpful to see trending topics and influencers for a given subject. It’s better for searching topics than for searching for an author’s name.
  • Klout. One of the most popular Twitter research tools, Klout measures influence rather than just the number of followers. It’s not without controversy, however, since many believe its metrics aren’t accurate.
  • Alltop. This site has top stories and blogs on every topic imaginable. Pick the topics that relate to your book and check out curated information.
  • PR Daily from Ragan’s. They have a great newsletter called PR Daily with tips and ideas.
  • Cover for Online Marketing for Busy Authors by Fauzia BurkeHARO. Help a Reporter Out connects journalists on deadline with expert sources. It’s a good idea to sign up for the free newsletter and then pounce on any opportunities you can. We have gotten some good hits from it.

4 Lessons for Authors About the Current State of Publishing

by Jane Friedman

1. An author’s online presence is more critical than ever to long-term marketing strategy.

Industry analyst Mike Shatzkin opened the conference by discussing what he thinks is the greatest challenge right now in the publishing industry. He said that authors have long been recognized as the consumer-facing brand that most matters (to publishers and readers), and that today every author can build some kind of digital presence. However, he said, while a few authors do that very well, most do it badly.

Shatzkin said the biggest failure of traditional publishers to date is the lack of programmatic help for authors in building their digital footprint.

At the very least, he said every house should do a digital audit for every author they contract, which includes concrete suggestions for improving online engagement. To his knowledge, no publisher does, but he thinks it should be every house’s top marketing priority.

Later on, Rand Fishkin of Moz offered some of the most actionable content of the entire event, focused on how authors (or publishers) could improve that digital footprint. (Review his full presentation here.) Two of the big highlights of his talk and Q&A session:

  • Make sure your website is accessible, mobile-friendly and optimized for search. Fishkin said that using WordPress is a great shortcut to ensure your site is following best practices related to SEO. He encouraged authors and publishers to consistently link to a book landing page (on the author website) rather than to Amazon, to help ensure the author website and book landing page owned by the author will turn up as the first search result. Fishkin believes it’s better to control the message and capture that visitor/reader before sending them onto Amazon.
  • Do not split up your content website and promotional websites. For authors, this means don’t split up your author website and your author blog (don’t house them separately) or create separate websites that serve only to promote or sell your books. Authors should integrate all content, whether promotional or not, under a single online umbrella, usually a website built on author name. If you want, buy a domain that closely matches your book title, and have it redirect to your main author site (or possibly create a microsite). Fishkin says it increases the probability of your site ranking number one for important search terms, such as your name, book titles, and keywords related to your work.

2. Be reluctant to trust mainstream media headlines when it comes to publishing sales and trends.

Michael Cader of Publishers Lunch, arguably the foremost expert in reading the tea leaves of publishing industry data, offered an overview of what we know and how we know it when it comes to print and ebook sales.

He listed the biggest misleading conclusions appearing in news headlines—conclusions that consistently misinterpret the sales data.

  1. Print is back!
  2. E-books are dead!
  3. Bookstores are back!
  4. Amazon’s publishing division failed!
  5. If only we could count self-publishing, ebooks are booming!

What every author should know about the current industry data:

  • The flattening of ebook sales started happening back in 2013. Plus, some of the ebook decline we’re seeing may be attributable to rapidly falling Nook sales.
  • Adult ebook sales have been relatively stable; the big decline is in children’s/YA ebook sales due to the lack of a big franchise hit in 2015.
  • A big question is whether customers may be transitioning from ebook purchases to audiobook purchases—some of the most dramatic industry growth is happening in digital audio.
  • Recent print sales gains can be accounted for by coloring books.

To understand the full picture of industry sales requires triangulation of multiple data sources and an understanding of what sales those sources account for (and how the accounting has changed over the years). No single source offers a complete picture, and historical comparisons are difficult. One thing is for sure, however: most mainstream outlets, such as the New York Times, misunderstand the data and apply misleading headlines.

3. Learn to find your readers, go where they go, and speak their language.

Industry marketing expert Peter McCarthy and Rand Fishkin both discussed how to find your readers online and reach them directly. McCarthy described it as picking up “the lingua franca of the customer” with a variety of tools and techniques. He demonstrated how he rapidly tests out phrases to learn and access “adjacencies”—the key concepts, active people, and communities whose interests are aligned with themes, topics, or points from your work. (View or download McCarthy’s 109 slides, featuring step-by-step information.)

For more: https://janefriedman.com/4-lessons-publishing/

Ready to Sell Your New Book? 9 Book Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

September 30, 2015 By

book marketing

When an author hits “publish,” they often think the hard work of book publishing is done. After all of the writing and editing and formatting, finally having the book live in various online marketplaces seems like a relief.

But while publishing a book is an enormous deal, and one that you should be proud of, you’re not going to sell many books without marketing.

Many authors are overwhelmed by the thought of marketing. It is not an easy group of tasks to complete, and it feels overwhelming.

Here are nine frequent book marketing mistakes. They may seem like common sense, but each one is based on mistakes I’ve seen authors make in the past.

 

Click here for the original article: http://thewritelife.com/9-book-marketing-mistakes-to-avoid/