How To Find The Time To Write

How To Find The Time To Write

 

 

Are you struggling to find the time to write? If time is your enemy then would you like to know how to find the time to write?

I recommend that you analyse what you actually do every 30 minutes over a 24-hour period. This is known as a time audit and is a time management strategy.

Time audit

 

Time management for authors

A time audit tracks what you do throughout the day or even for a week. Its purpose is to ensure that you are not fooling yourself into believing that seductive dream world where you think you are doing your best is actually real.

From time to time, create a 24-hour chart and break this down into 30-minute time slots. Document what you are doing every 30 minutes.

If you don’t want to do it the old fashioned way by drawing up a chart listing 30-minute time slots do it on an app.

Fill in the 30-minute time slots with your activity. Do not leave anything out.

Be brutal.

  • How long were your meals?
  • How long was it between sitting at your desk and then actually starting to work?
  • How long was your coffee break?
  • How many coffee breaks did you have?
  • How many toileting breaks?
  • Did you time your phone calls or just make an estimate?

Track EVERYTHING you do over a 24 hour period. 

Do this for a week. 

Boring?

Yes.

Essential?

Yes. Yes. Yes.

People say to me that they are so busy – busy, busy, busy – and that they work very hard. But there can be a very big discrepancy between what they think they do and what they actually do. 

It is essential to identify the things in your daily life that are eroding your time. 

What’s draining your time? 

Who or what’s stealing your time? 

Is it your family pouring through the open door into your workspace? 

How many calamities did you have to deal with?  

Were you distracted by a news event on television? 

Or a sporting event? 

Do visitors drop in unannounced?

Are you always surfing the net or getting distracted by social media? 

Learn to say “No”. 

If social commitments become a pressure and shrink your time, learn to say something like “Let me take a look at my diary and I’ll get back to you”. 

Classic time-wasters

 

  • Emails
  • Meetings
  • Perfectionism

I’ve come across a number of authors who want to produce a book but they let their need for perfectionism get in the way of their productivity. By trying to be perfect they set very high standards which they can never attain. 

  • Facebook  

Facebook would have to hold the current time-honoured position for being the most effective distraction to steal your time. 

  • Others making demands on your time 
  • Other people demand attention which can encroach upon your time. 
  • There are the visitors who decide to drop in and absorb your time. 
  • There are the household members, your family, who claim your attention.

The possibilities are endless unless you do something about it. 

It doesn’t stop there.

In addition, there are many other time-wasters: 

  • organising files on your computer, 
  • television, 
  • watching movies, 
  • YouTube, 
  • televised sporting events…

By doing a time audit it will become very clear to you where your time is going. If time is being wasted what can you do to rectify the problem? You have to set the boundaries for when and how you will allow the distractions to impinge on the one precious commodity you can never replace, and that is your time.

If you want transformational results, focus on how you are spending the time you have available. If you master your time well, you will be able to create a life balance.  

It won’t be always about sacrificing the activities you like to do. Your book will get written when you achieve time mastery.

 

Time management for authors

Productivity 

 

When you manage your time successfully and practise it, you will make time to pursue your creativity. You will become more productive and you will still include your life’s obligations and have time for some rest and recreation. 

Learn to eliminate what is irrelevant in your day-to-day and you will find that you have more mental space to move forward in your quest for productivity. 

If you fail to do this you will likely feel “busy” all the time. Many activities may not align with your ambitions so it’s possible to waste much of your valuable time on petty matters that do not move you forward on the path you want to travel.

Your life goals are important to you.

Don’t let anyone or anything steal them from you.

If you would like to book a Strategy Call (Discovery Call) about your self-publishing interests then press the green button to schedule a time. 

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Marji Hill

Author and coach

 

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12-Point Action Plan For Self-Publishing Success

12-Point Action Plan For Self-Publishing Success

 

 

1. Profitable niche  

If you publish a book you’d like it to sell, wouldn’t you? The very first step on your journey to success is to write in a niche that is popular with your market. This means researching your market because you want to publish a book that people want, not a book they don’t want.

Publish a book that has some chance of selling.

Find out if other books in your niche are selling and get an angle that’s a bit different to your competition. Even before you start writing your book doing your market research helps you to achieve your goal of publishing a book that’s going to be profitable.

2. Quality  

Create a quality book. Ensure that you are putting quality content out into the marketplace.

A good book will always be around. Ask yourself – does your manuscript have a pleasing interior, has it been professionally edited and proofread, and has the formatting been done by a professional?

3. Cover

Book cover

A book’s cover is the first thing a customer sees so an awesome cover helps a book to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Because the cover is the first impression a customer has of your book the cover can influence buying decisions.

The decision to buy is frequently made on how a cover looks.

The cover profoundly affects the ultimate success of a book.

4. Optimise Metadata  

Optimise your book’s listing on Kindle Direct Publishing(KDP) for success. Before you put pen to paper work out your metadata.

If you are clear on this in advance of publishing your book you will be maximising your chances of having the book discovered in the Amazon marketplace.  

By metadata, I’m referring to the title, categories, keywords and the book’s description. When talking about optimising your book’s listing I am referring to building the sales page which happens when you are listing your book on KDP.

5. Price 

As a self-publisher, you decide the price. You can keep changing your price.

If publishing an ebook, you may launch it at $0.99 and then later increase the price to $2.99 or more.

Pricing is something you can play with strategically depending on what it is you are trying to achieve. 

6. Multiple books/series

Produce multiple books in different formats – ebooks, paperbacks, audiobooks. Not only that make these multiple formats available in the various marketplaces around the world.

If you create a series of books you can have your books drive readers from one book to the next. At the back of each book, put links to your other books.

Customers can then be driven from one book to all the others.   To produce a series is a sales strategy because customers can become loyal not only to a series but to you as the author.

7. Reviews 

Customer Reviews, together with Editorial Reviews, provide credibility to your book and social proof. Implement a campaign to generate as many reviews as possible.

Reviews carry a lot of weight with Amazon. Amazon likes you to get reviews so work on a plan to secure them. 

8. Amazon’s promotional tools

Amazon offers a whole suite of marketing tools ranging from paid advertising to free promotional options that help authors reach their target audience on the Kindle store. These include Author Central, KDP Select, Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotions.

9. Author Central   

Amazon Author Central is in effect another author website. It gives you the opportunity to share the most up-to-date information about yourself and your books with millions of readers. It is a one-stop-shop for all information about you and your books on Amazon.

10. Author Website 

Your own author website, or blog, needs to be a focal point of your book marketing strategy. This is your primary online presence.

It’s your hub. From here you will connect with your readers and prospective readers.

On your website, your target audience will learn about you and your books. This audience will see your bio, your books, get an insight into the way you think, have links to your social media platforms, and be able to access the valuable content that you distribute in the form of blog posts.

11. Email list

In addition to your author website, build an email list. This list is your database. You own it.

The email list together with your author website would have to be one of the most valuable assets any author could have. 

Nobody, and no social media platform, can take it away from you. It’s yours and it’s your audience to keep and grow.

12. Marketing strategy 

Marketing involves both paid and unpaid strategies to promote your work and there are a plethora of methods that you can use ranging from online marketing to offline.  In the current world, a social media presence is essential for all authors.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads and YouTube positions you on the map and they help you to boost your audience. 

While online marketing is the primary focus for your marketing activities there is still marketing power in doing offline promotions particularly if you have published a paperback.

 

self-publishing successThere you have it: a 12-point action plan for self-publishing success.

 

If you want to learn how to become a self-published author, have access to tips, information and advice on getting your book written within 30 days, publishing it yourself without breaking the bank, and getting it into the marketplace within 24 hours even if you’ve never done it before then visit my

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Marji Hill

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Author website

Is An Author Website Necessary?

Is An Author Website Necessary?

 

 

Author website

 

Any author planning a career as a writer will be faced with the question – should they have an author website? The answer to this question depends on how serious they are about having a career as an author.

If planning a career as an author and wanting to publish books then clearly the answer is “Yes.”  An author does need to have an author’s website or blog.

Why have an author’s website?

 

An author website is fundamental to establishing an author platform. It’s from here that you tell your story and communicate to your followers information about you and your books.

From your website or blog, you will project your brand. Basically, this means the way you will present yourself and how your followers will perceive you.

Your author platform will lie at the heart of everything you do as an author and will be central to your marketing strategy. It’s a hub – your hub.

You the author are at the centre of your hub and your hub is like a wheel from which all things radiate.

Having an author website, then, is the starting point for building your author platform. From the website, you will communicate information about yourself, your images, books, reviews and testimonials, and sales pages.

The website will become your hub. From here you will communicate with your target audience promoting your book/s, selling your books, and advancing your career.

Author website

You the author will own and control it. The website is your vehicle where you will have all information about you and your books, the links to your books, perhaps even a shopping cart, and there will be a lead magnet to attract followers who will become part of your database.

You can create valuable content in the form of blog posts that are disseminated to your subscribers, and these blog posts will get indexed and ranked on search engines like Google.

You will be seen as an authority in your field of expertise.

From the links in the social media icons on your website, you’ll be able to connect to your various social media platforms allowing for an even wider distribution of your valuable content.

In addition, if you so wish, you may want to monetize your website with affiliate links to generate extra income.

How should you structure an author’s website?

 

An author’s website will be structured with various pages. There will be a

  • Home page
  • About page
  • Contact page
  • Promote your books page
  • Blog page
  • Legal pages such as the Terms & Conditions and Privacy pages
  • Lead magnet
  • Links to social media

When starting out just build a basic website. Don’t have all the bells and whistles or anything too high tech or fancy. Regard your website as a work in progress. Start simple and as you grow and develop as an author so too will your website grow and develop.

WordPress website

 

There are many other website platforms available but WordPress is recognised as the best and easiest platform to use.

And when I refer to WordPress I mean WordPress.org which is the most popular and the number one platform in the world.  WordPress has two platforms (1) wordpress.org, and (2) wordpress.com.

With WordPress.org you own and control it. This will allay any danger of losing your site just because someone else decides that it is against their terms of service. With wordpress.org you can choose your own hosting, you can customise it by choosing powerful themes and plugins, and if you want to you can monetise the website.

Learning curve

 

Author website

If all this is new to you there will be at first a steep learning curve but despite this, you can easily learn to build a website yourself and manage it yourself.

Start out by learning the basics, build a simple website,  and get it up and running. That’s all you have to do.

I did, and I’m not a techie type person.

How do you start?

  1. If money is no issue you can hire a web developer which means you’ll be investing anywhere from $500 to thousands of dollars.
  2. You can hire a low budget web developer on Fiverr
  3. If you are the techie type you can DIY
  4. If you want to learn yourself enroll in a course
  5. Find a mentor who can guide you

If you’d like to learn more about what is involved in building an author website, how to establish an author platform, how to outsource, ways to market your book, and in fact, if you want to learn every aspect of the self-publishing journey then consider joining the monthly subscription program How To Become a Self-Published Author.

ACCESS HERE the How To Become A Self-Published Author program. 

 

Marji Hill

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Goal-Setting For Authors

Goal-Setting For Authors

 

 

If you go on a holiday do you do any goal-setting? Just imagine for a moment that you want to go on a holiday. All you know is that you just want to go somewhere/ anywhere.

You love the idea of getting away but you’ve no idea of the destination.  So you can’t plan your holiday because you don’t know where to go.

Unless you take action to decide where you want to go, there will be no planning, no idea how to get there, and no idea where to stay. There is every chance that the holiday will ever happen.

Once you make the decision that you really do want to go on a holiday you can start to plan.  You know then exactly where you want to go and you are determined to get there. 

Even if your travel plans have to be modified you are still determined to reach your holiday destination. This is your goal – goal-setting in its simplest form.

What is goal-setting?

goal-setting

 

Goal-setting is about being very clear on what it is you really want to accomplish. You then establish a time frame for achieving that goal.

On the journey to reach your goal you take measurable steps to help you achieve that goal.

To be an author and self-publisher you need to set goals. Otherwise, you have no focus and no direction.

Effective goal-setting provides you with a framework for actually measuring your progress. By analysing the steps you take to reach your goal you not only measure your progress but you can actually see yourself on the road to success.

As an author, if you are vague about what it is you want to achieve you cannot plan where you want to go. You will drift and procrastinate. 

You may dream about being an author and see yourself living the lifestyle of a writer. Your vision may be writing your book in a romantic getaway or in your fanciful studio but really you are just in love with the concept of being a writer.

It’s the image of yourself as a writer that you dream about not the actual creation of your book.

Unless you have a defined and measurable goal, writing and publishing that first book will only ever be a dream. It will remain a dream and will never happen.

Setting goals helps you to gain clarity on what is really important to you. 

If you don’t have that clarity you cannot create a plan to actually bring your dreams to reality.

 

Dream it

 

The first step in goal setting is to dream a bit.

Find a quiet area and just be with yourself. Let your imagination wander. 

Start to imagine what you’d like to do. Remove all self-limiting beliefs and dream the life you want.

Don’t be frightened of dreaming big. Visualise your dreams. See your dream and think about what it would be like to actually achieve your dreams.

What would it feel like? Brainstorm. Incorporate your dreams into a mind map. Record your dreams into a digital recorder.

Get a pen and paper and brainstorm your dreams. These dreams can include your

  • Family
  • Finances
  • Career
  • Education/Personal Development
  • Spirituality
  • Rest and recreation

Underneath each heading write out your dream.

 

Dates for achieving the dream

goal-setting for authors

Write down a date for achieving your dream because remember a goal is a dream with a date. You are now putting your dreams into a timeframe.

Your dreams are now becoming goals.

Goals need to be broken up into long term goals and short term goals. You may have big goals you want to achieve in a year, three years time, five years or even as far ahead as in ten years time.

But to achieve long term goals you must set short term goals. Set short term goals.

An example of a short term goal is what you are planning to achieve in the next 90 days and then in the next 30 days. These will be smaller, progressive goals.

Achieving smaller, bite-sized goals allows you to have small wins and these help you, and give you the confidence to move towards your bigger goals.

 

How big is your why?

 

When you set a goal to write a book be clear on your reason you want to create it. When you are clear on what it is that motivates you to write, the challenge of getting organised and managing your time to achieve it will resolve.

 

Exercises to help with goal setting

 

We can all work through the exercise of creating and defining our goals but actually achieving them can be a different story. Goal-setting exercises may be helpful to take the steps you need to get there.

 

The pleasure of achieving your goal

 

Try this exercise. Come up with 20 good reasons as to why you must achieve your goal. 

List all the positive outcomes and the benefits you will get from achieving your goal. What pleasures will it give you?

The pain of not achieving

 

Once you’ve done the above exercise list 20 pain points of not achieving your goal. What will it mean to you if you don’t achieve your goal?

Once you know why you must achieve your goal you will then adapt or modify your daily behaviour. Your mindset and your habits will shift gear as a result of your new way of thinking, the thinking that you must do to ultimately achieve your goal.

It’s those small, consistent changes you make on a daily basis that will lead to bigger results over time. 

Goal-setting tips:

 

  • Goals must be specific 
  • Goals must be achievable 
  • Goals must have a timeframe 
  • Goals must have an action plan 
  • Goals must be recorded and written down
  • Goals must be reviewed several times a day

In conclusion, become very passionate about achieving what it is you want in life. Visualise your goals, affirm them by writing them out and speaking them aloud and, and feel what’s it is like to achieve them.

If you want to learn more about how mindset and goal setting are keys to your success ACCESS HERE the How To Become A Self-Published Author program. You are able to get weekly online lessons that educate you about all the aspects of the self-publishing process.

 

Marji Hill

Author and coach

 

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How To Get Reviews When Self-Publishing On Amazon

How To Get Reviews When Self-Publishing On Amazon

 

Self-Publishing On Amazon

 

When self-publishing on Amazon you are responsible for getting book reviews. An important part of your marketing strategy is to get Customer Reviews as soon as your book is released.  

Reviews don’t just happen automatically. We would all love it if they did. How would it be if reviews just appeared on our listing like being on autopilot?

Getting reviews is just not that simple.  You have to go to work to get reviews.

To obtain Customer Reviews put a campaign strategy in place to get them. 

Customer Reviews are those that give your book a rating and they help customers learn more about your book providing genuine feedback. 

self-publishing on Amazon

Amazon likes you to get Customer Reviews. They provide an independent assessment of your book and they help you to make sales, so get as many reviews as you possibly can.

Reviews validate your book and they provide feedback that can add to your book’s credibility.

Reviews help your book to get discovered on Amazon and this can help sales adding to your income every month. Reviews can also help increase your Amazon Best Seller Ranking (BSR).

Getting Customer Reviews is not an easy process. Getting them is tough and the process requires some mastery if you plan on becoming a successful publisher.

When self-publishing on Amazon there are guidelines for acquiring reviews. Amazon regards some methods as inappropriate so if a review violates Amazon’s Terms of Service then Amazon will delete the review.

Underlying the Amazon Terms of Service is the fact that Amazon will only publish honest reviews that are submitted by unbiased reviewers.

There are multiple methods for getting book reviews but here I’m giving you just one effective way.

You need to have some reviews for your book as soon as you launch it or at least have them in the first few days of release.

 

Advanced Review Copies(ARCs)

self-publishing on Amazon

 

One method for getting early reviews when self-publishing on Amazon is to give out Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) to influencers, bloggers, and others who might be interested in reading your book.

An Advanced Review Copy(ARC) is not the final version of your book. Rather it is an advanced draft of your book that you give to interested readers. It’s usually given out as a digital copy.

By giving out Advanced Review Copies the expectation is that

  1. some readers will submit a book review to Amazon
  2. other readers may provide feedback on your book, and 
  3. influencers or experts are great for getting endorsements or positive quotes that you can use for publicity purposes
  4. But giving a free copy of a book is not be conditional on actually getting a review.

Advanced Review Copies are an effective way of getting your book to readers in the expectation that they will give you feedback and hopefully a review.

On the ARC give a disclaimer. Say that this ARC is a draft – an Advanced Review Copy  – and briefly explain that the content is subject to change and to revision.

Also, inform the reader of the date you plan on launching the book.

Why give out Advanced Review Copies?

 

In this digital age, it is now easier than ever and an effective method to get advanced drafts of your book out to avid readers. An advanced draft in the form of a digital copy is an efficient way of distribution because of the time saved.

It eliminates the cost of printing and postage. ARCs in digital form can be sent out in seconds rather than weeks.

If you can succeed in getting a few reviews published as soon as your book is launched this can help with getting sales.

As a result of giving out Advanced Review Copies, you can get recommendations from influencers and experts in your field which you can then use for publicity purposes. Get a quote that you can put on your paperback’s back cover blurb, or as part of your book’s description, or as an editorial review that you can insert into Amazon Author Central.

Another benefit of giving out Advanced Review Copies is that readers can identify errors in your manuscript because no matter how carefully you’ve edited your book, there will always be mistakes and typos. These errors can then be fixed prior to the publication of your book.

How do you set up this system?

 

self-publishing on Amazon

 

The first thing to do is to build a launch team. A launch team consists of people that you know and think might be a good fit to read your book before it is published. In an ideal world, readers in a launch team will leave a review as soon as your book goes LIVE on Amazon.

As I said earlier you cannot demand that a reader write a review for your book. This is not conditional on giving them a free, advanced copy but you could suggest that they leave a review if they so wished.

Building a launch team

 

Building a launch team does take time because you need to connect with appropriate people, build a relationship with them, and gauge whether or not they qualify to be a reviewer.

There is nothing more frustrating than if you’ve succeeded in getting some reviews only to find that those reviews have been deleted by Amazon because the reviewers didn’t qualify to write a review.

I stress “qualify” to be a reviewer. If a reviewer submits a review for your book on Amazon they must be eligible to leave a review. There are guidelines on Amazon for reviewers.

To qualify a reviewer must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com using a valid credit or debit card in the past 12 months.  

As you build your launch team include the email addresses of your team members in your email database. Have a dedicated email list of reviewers for ease of connection.

As you are getting ready to publish your book inform your team about the forthcoming book. Keep them in the loop.

At least a couple of weeks prior to your launch date give advanced drafts of your book to your team and explain that you plan to launch the book on a specified date. 

You will need to send a reminder to your team to get them to read your book and to provide some feedback. Then if they wish to submit a review that they should do this as soon as the book is launched.

This approach is recommended particularly when self-publishing on Amazon for the first time. 

Explain to your launch team how to submit a review.

When a reviewer on your launch team does submit reviews they should state that they received an advance copy and that they are offering their honest review. 

Distributing Advanced Review Copies (ARCs) a couple of weeks prior to self-publishing your book on Amazon is an effective method for getting the review process started.

You may want to learn more about self-publishing on Amazon.    ACCESS HERE the How To Become A Self-Published Author subscription program. This consists of weekly online lessons that educate you about the self-publishing process.

 

Marji Hill

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5 Steps To Finishing Your Book

5 Steps To Finishing Your Book

 

 

Many aspiring authors talk about the book they plan to write but how many actually finish their book?

If you put a number of would-be authors in a room and asked about their book creation, only half would even start their book and out of those that did, probably only half of those would ever finish it.

5 steps to finishing your book

 

 

Step 1 – Complete the first draft

 

Every writer’s immediate goal should be to complete the first draft of their book. Some authors may take years to do this and others may take months.

I suggest that you aim to complete the first draft of a manuscript within 30 days.

Why? Finishing the first draft of a manuscript is an achievement. It is psychologically sound for you to know that you can do it. It helps you create momentum.

If you take on the challenge of creating a book within 30 days then set a word count that is achievable. Let’s say you set a word count goal of 10,000 words and your aim is to write some words every day and you keep writing until you achieve those 10,000 words.

You may decide to write 1000 words a day, or just 500 words. By setting a bite-sized word count each day you will complete the first draft of your manuscript.

As you write your first draft do not edit it. The editing mindset is very different to the writing one so refrain from editing that first draft.

The purpose of that first draft is very straight forward – it is simply to exist.

The important thing is to get the words down no matter how rough. Don’t be concerned if you think the writing is all junk and that it is full of mistakes and errors.

 

Step 2  – Take a break

 

5 steps to finishing your book

When the first draft is finished print out the document. A good idea is then to bind it so that it looks like a book.

Your next move is to put the manuscript away. Put it in a drawer or cupboard.

Don’t look at it. Don’t touch it. Even forget about it.

Refrain from looking at it for 1 or 2 months, or if you have a tight deadline, put it away for at least a week.

Relax. Let your mind unwind for a bit before taking on the rewriting and editing of your manuscript.    

When you do look at the manuscript again you will look at it from a fresh perspective.

As you read through it you will notice the errors more easily.

On this rough first draft scribble notes, ideas, cross things out, add bits.

 

Step 3 – The 2nd draft

 

You are ready now to start the rewrite. This is when you can start to self-edit.

Here’s a tip: Save a copy of the first draft and then create a new document for the second draft. That way you will always have a copy of the first draft.

Create a schedule for completing the second draft.

Work on the manuscript and revise it until you get it to an acceptable state; something that you are happy with.

Then it’s time to get some beta readers. They could be family, relatives, trusted friends, or acquaintances. You want their feedback. 

Beta readers evaluate your book from a reader’s perspective. 

Once you have given the manuscript to some beta readers put your second draft away and out of sight again. 

Once again take a break from the manuscript.   

After some time has passed come back to it. As before, print a copy of the second draft and write your notes and comments on the pages of the manuscript.

Collate the feedback from your beta readers.

 

5 steps to finishing your book

 

Step 4 – Do more drafts as need be

 

Depending on the genre and your level of expertise, you might rewrite your manuscript two or three or more times. 

Newer writers may create many drafts until they gain competence and experience at producing a manuscript.

Before you hand the manuscript over to a professional or independent editor make sure you’ve read and revised it a few times until you’ve got it to an advanced state.

 

Step 5 – Professional editor

 

When you are finished with your self-editing hand over the manuscript to a professional editor or to someone who has at least had plenty of experience as an editor.

Your manuscript does need to be seen from another person’s eyes – ideally a set of professional eyes. So yes, you can certainly do your own editing but as the creator, you are a bit too close to the writing. 

Accept that, and know that an independent edit only makes your manuscript better.

Once your manuscript has been edited and proofread it can then go through the final stages of preparing it for publication.

To learn more about writing, self-publishing, and marketing your book ACCESS HERE the How To Become A Self-Published Author subscription program which consists of weekly online lessons that educate, motivate and inspire.

Marji Hill

Author and coach

 

 

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11 Powerful Marketing Strategies To Promote Your Book 

11 Powerful Marketing Strategies To Promote Your Book 

 

 

Marketing strategies

 

Authors in 2021 need to be responsible for their own marketing so I am giving you 11 powerful marketing strategies to promote your book.

Gone are the days when authors could leave all the marketing of their books to their publishers. Even if you have a mainstream publisher it’s now expected that the author do a lot of their own marketing.

No matter whether you are with a mainstream publisher or you are a self-publisher you have to get the word out about your books.

Unfortunately, marketing is one of those things that will stress many authors and it is something that a lot of authors prefer to avoid.

 

How to market your book

 

How to market your book

Here is a brief overview of how to market your book. I’m breaking this large topic down into 11 powerful marketing strategies that you can implement – the end goal being to sell more books.

Marketing your book is about communicating your message to your target audience and letting that audience know that your book is available for purchase. You give that audience a reason why they should buy your book. 

In essence marketing is very simple – it’s about getting the word out.

Publishing your book on Amazon doesn’t end there with just a click of the Publish button. Clicking the Publish button is really just the start   of the action. 

Your job is to get the word out there that you have a book, and that your target market should buy it.

There are many marketing tactics you can use to do this so I have selected just 11 fundamental strategies to help you along your way.

 

1. Marketing starts even before you start writing

 

Marketing your book starts even before you start writing it. You have to do your market research to validate your idea to ensure that your chosen niche is one which could be profitable.

 

 2. Create an attractive looking book

 

Readers do tend to judge a book by its cover and so your cover is one of the most important elements of your marketing package.  

As well as the cover the interior needs to look appealing and be professionally designed, edited and formatted.

 

3. Build a sales page

 

The cornerstone of your Amazon sales strategy is to have a strong listing page – in other words a compelling sales page with a description of your book.

Once readers visit your book’s listing page this is when and where they make a decision to buy or not to buy.

 

 4. Learn the secrets of the Amazon ecosystem

 

Amazon offers a suite of marketing tools ranging from paid advertising to free promotional options.

If you enrol your eBook in KDP Select  you can access a range of promotional tools such as Kindle Unlimited, Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotions to help you get the word out to more readers and make more money.  Not only that you can set up an Author Page on Amazon Author Central

 

 5. Get Book Reviews

 

Customer Reviews, together with Editorial Reviews, help add to a book’s credibility and provide social proof helping customers learn more about your book. You need to get as many reviews as possible because they carry a lot of weight on Amazon.

 

 6. Build your author website

 

Wordpress website

Your own author website should be a central element of your book marketing strategy. It is your hub from where you’ll communicate with your audience and it is where your readers will learn about you the author, your books, the way you think, links to your social media platforms, and all things pertaining to you and your books.

On this website you will have a lead magnet to attract new people to your readership and it will be from here that you will build your email list and data base.

 

 7.  Email list

 

An email list, together with an author’s website, would have to be one of the most valuable assets any author could have.  

The idea is to have an email list of followers with whom you can communicate. Communicating with these people on your list helps you to build your audience and you can establish  relationships of mutual respect and trust.

When the fans in your data base get to like and trust you they become your raving fans. These are the people who will buy your book.

 

8.  Create valuable content

 

An author may want to blog to create valuable content in the form of blog posts and articles to gain and maintain readers and followers. 

But blogging is not for everyone – it is not a must for authors – but if you are inclined or wired that way it can be an effective addition to your marketing strategy and aid in the building of an author platform.

 

9.  Social media

 

Social media links

In the current world we live, a social media presence is essential for all authors whether they be fiction writers, poets, non-fiction writers, children’s book authors, or any other kind of writer.

Social media puts you on the map and helps to boost your audience.  

Start building social media profiles immediately on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Goodreads and YouTube.

   

10.  Podcasts

 

Podcasts are trending as a marketing tool because while radio is less popular these days, people are still interested in audio content. Podcasts have taken over from radio and they help you build credibility, drive brand awareness, and grow your audience. 

Podcasts help you position yourself as an expert so think in terms of cementing your authority by hosting a podcast.

 

 11. Value of offline promotion

 

While online marketing is the primary focus for your marketing activities there is still marketing power in doing promotions offline particularly if you have published a paperback.

There are mary activities you can do to promote your book, activities such as:

  • having a book launch to promote and sell  
  • participating in a trade show, book fair, festival or market
  • offering your book as a prize at a charity or community event
  • doing promotions in bookshops and libraries
  • do a press release
  • get interviews on community radio, local newspaper, or television
  • and, build your personal network.

Marketing strategies to promote your book

There you have it. 11 powerful marketing strategies to promote your book. 

To learn more you may like to ACCESS HERE the “How to become a self-published author” program consisting of 52 weeks of online lessons that educate, motivate and inspire.

Marji Hill

Author and coach

 

 

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How Long Should A Book Be?

How Long Should A Book Be?

 

 

The question about how long should a book be is a common one among aspiring authors.

A short eBook can be just as satisfying to read as a long eBook, and a short paperback is the same. The issue is really about giving the reader good value; it’s not about how long a book should be.

Kindle eBooks

 

Nowhere can I find in the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) guidelines information about the minimum size for an eBook. They do not appear to set a minimum size.

KDP hasn’t set any definitive limits on the minimum length of a self-published Kindle eBook.

Kindle Short Reads

 

On the Amazon website, there is a category called Kindle Short Reads.

When you drill down a bit further you will see that Kindle Short Reads has a number of sub-categories. These categories are broken down into the length of time it takes to read an eBook and then the number of pages the eBook has.

 

    • 15 minutes (1-11 pages)
    • 30 minutes (12-21 pages)
    • 45 minutes (22-32 pages)
    • One hour (33-43 pages)
    • 90 minutes (44-64 pages)
    • Two hours or more (65-100 pages)

 

It is quite obvious that the minimum size for a short read eBook ranges from just a few pages to about 100 pages and the reading time ranges from 15 minutes to two hours. These Kindle Short Reads give you some idea of the acceptable sizes for Kindle eBooks.

Don’t spend too much time worrying about the best size for your eBook. There is no hard and fast rule with Kindle eBooks.

Try to ensure that your minimum word count is not lower than 2500 words – the length of a short-short story.

Amazon is more concerned with Kindle eBook file size rather than with word count or the number of pages. You can upload eBook manuscript files up to 650MB. 

Focus on outlining your Kindle eBook, plot out the story or information, and decide how to best present the information. Then get into serious business of writing.

It doesn’t matter if your book is 2,500 words or 250,000 words the important thing to remember is to provide your readers with value.

Paperbacks

 

For Paperbacks the Paperback Submission Guidelines in KDP state that the minimum page count for a paperback is 24 pages.

Does a paperback need to be 150-200 pages or more?

No. There is no hard and fast rule for how long a paperback should be. 

The genre may impact the size of a paperback. Many illustrated children’s books are about 32 pages with just a few words and a lot of illustrations.

A short story could be at least 24 pages while a full-length novel could be 500 or 1000 pages.

For a non-fiction book, I personally try to aim for a minimum of 10,000 words. Depending on the size of the font and the number of illustrations or photographs a 10,000-word book can be anywhere between 50-100 pages.

But again there is no hard and fast rule.

A paperback book should be as long as is needed. What is being communicated to the reader should be told in as many words as it takes.

If you want the author name and the title to be on the spine of the book the paperback needs to be about 110 pages. Amazon specifies this, otherwise, a book with fewer pages is unlikely to have the information on the spine of the book.

There is no definitive answer to this question about how long a manuscript should be.  

You could examine books in your genre and look at the number of pages. Model your book on some of these.

But ultimately the size of your paperback is your decision.

In a couple of weeks, I will be launching an online program of 52 weekly lessons on how to become a self-published author. In the meantime learn more about self-publishing in my Free Online Class. 

 

Marji Hill

Author and Coach

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Want Raving Fans With An Author’s Email List?

Want Raving Fans With An Author’s Email List?

 

Email list of raving fans

An email list would have to be one of the most important assets of an author’s tool kit. As well, it would have to be a focal point of any author platform.

You’ve heard the saying, I’m sure, that  “The money is in the list”. An email list is a way of getting a group of raving fans.

The idea is to have an email list of followers with whom you can communicate. Communicating with these people on your list helps you to build your audience and you can establish relationships of mutual respect and trust.

Your followers want to hear from you, they want to learn from you, and they are happy to receive your emails. 

Permission for communication was given when they gave you their email address and if they don’t want to communicate with you they will unsubscribe. 

 

Why an email list?

 

With an email list, relationships are built and its members become your followers. As this author-audience relationship evolves it eventually becomes a relationship of trust.

The email list is about building your own audience – an audience that gets to like and trust you.

These are the people who become your raving fans. These are the ones who will buy your book.

When you release a new book you’ve already got a list of people excited to buy it.

Just imagine building a large audience, let’s say the list is 5,000 or 10,000. It’s a no-brainer – you’d just have to make sales, wouldn’t you think?

Reviews

 

With an email list, you can build a list of reviewers. They become your review team. Whenever you release a new book you can tell the review team about your latest book.

You can source people who would be interested in joining your ARC (Advance Review Copy) team. These are readers who would like to receive an advanced copy of your book prior to its publication. 

Then when the book is published on Amazon they post a customer review.

Own your database

 

Even if you build large followings on social media you still need to build an email list that you own. The problem with having large lists on social media you don’t own those lists.

You can lose those followers. Social media accounts can be blocked or suspended and you can find that you have no access to your followers because you did not abide by their rules. You did not play their game and you’ve been relying on these platforms for your success.

As a priority, you need to direct your contacts to your email list, the list that you own.

Build an email list in 4 easy steps

 

To successfully build your email list you will need to invest in a few tools:

  1. Get a domain name
  2. Build an author’s website or landing page
  3. Select an autoresponder
  4. Put a Lead Magnet onto your website (that is, have something that will give people an incentive to give you their email address)

With your Lead Magnet, you collect email addresses and these go into your autoresponder. You then send out automated emails on a regular basis giving your audience real value. 

This way you keep your audience up-to-date with your latest book, or that book you are currently working on, or you will share fresh ideas or anything else that is relevant or of value to your people.

You as the author are in control of your marketing. You are not dependent on a Publisher’s distribution system, social media, or anything else.

Lead Magnets

Brainstorm incentives that you could offer people so that they will give you their email: 

  •       free chapter of your book
  •       free ebook
  •       a report
  •       an article
  •       checklist
  •       free online class
  •       webinar
  •       video

When should you start building your list? Start now. If possible start even before you’ve written your book.

Your takeaway?

 

  • Find an autoresponder that is right for you. When starting out the most popular one is Mailchimp. It’s a good place to start. And it’s FREE.  
  • Aweber is a low-cost autoresponder, there’s Get Response, ConvertKit and Active Campaign. I use Keap which is part of Infusionsoft.
  • Get a domain name and build a website or landing page
  • Offer a great incentive with your Lead magnet

Remember, the idea is to build an email list and to communicate with these people on a regular basis.  

Give them valuable content because if you don’t they will unsubscribe.

Don’t put off building your email list! It has proven to be one of the best assets authors can have when establishing a database of raving fans.

Coming soon is an online program of 52 weekly lessons on how to become a self-published author so watch this space. In the meantime learn more about self-publishing in my Free Online Class. 

 

Marji Hill

Author and Coach

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Are You Wondering What To Write About?

Are You Wondering What To Write About?

 

 

Are you wondering what to write about?

Are you racking your brains wondering what to write about? Are you struggling to come up with a good idea?

Do you want to write in a profitable niche?

You know that you need to write in a popular niche but you don’t know how to go about researching this?

A niche is a focused, targeted area that you serve particularly well. It is small and it’s specific.  When a buyer looks at it they can instantly connect to it, they can relate to it, and they can even say “That’s me. I’m in.”

Profitable niche

A profitable niche in the context of writing refers to producing a book in a niche market. There are so many niches you can pursue. You can start by examining a general, broad niche and then you can niche down and write a book in a very specific and defined niche. 

On Amazon, a niche is also known as a category.

The key to finding a profitable niche is to do some market research to identify a market that is popular with readers.

Here are some examples of broad, profitable niches:

  • health and fitness, weight loss
  • finance – how to get out of debt
  • relationships & dating – helping men for women find their ideal partner
  • personal development – how to be successful in business,  
  • self-help – how to meditate, how to de-stress
  • pets
  • technology
  • beauty and how to look young

Steps To Researching a Profitable Niche

Choose a broad niche that appeals to you.

Step 1

Visit the US Amazon website (amazon.com). In the Search Bar enter the name of your niche. You will see that the Pet niche gets over 70,000 results; Mindfulness gets over 30,000; health and fitness get over 100,000. These are all very big niches.

Step 2

Drill down to find a more specific niche. Check niches that interest you in Books and also in the Kindle Store. In Books, the Health & Fitness niche gets results of over 60,000. In the Kindle Store, there are over 50,000.

Step 3

If you examine the drop-down autosuggestions you will see different aspects of these niches. Explore these. Look at the weight loss niche. The autosuggestions suggest specific angles to weight loss like:

  • weight loss for women
  • weight loss and menopause
  • weight loss cookbook
  • weight loss hypnosis

Step 4

Become familiar with the books that are available in your niche. Identify the pain points, the problems and challenges your niche has. 

Think about what could be the biggest pain or problem this market is experiencing?

Is there a problem or a challenge that you can solve?

When doing your research keep at the front of your mind how your target audience could benefit from reading your book?  

Step 5

The book that you write should offer a benefit to your reader so that they will feel so compelled to read it that they will hit the buy button. 

At the end of the day, people buy things that they NEED.

Once you are comfortable with the niche market you’ve chosen you can then do more research.

Step 6

You want to find out if the topic you’ve chosen has the potential to make sales.

This process involves finding out if other books in your niche are selling because you want to put the odds in your favour.

Step 7

Two methods for doing this are keyword research and research into a book’s categories.

Keyword research and research into categories are fundamental elements for successfully publishing on Amazon.

As a self-publisher, your job when listing your book on the Amazon platform Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is to give the right metadata to Amazon so that readers can find your book and so that you can make sales.

Being able to analyse profitable keywords and categories will help you with your market research because if you get this right, tweaking your metadata may result in hundreds of more visitors to your book’s detail page and this can equate to greater sales.

It’s an area of learning where over time you need to develop mastery and it requires a lot of hard work, experience and knowledge. 

You will need to learn the techniques for doing it and learn to analyse the results so that you will know in advance, before you even write your book, that your idea has some chance of being successful.

If you’d like access to more tips and advice tune into my free video Masterclass on writing and self-publishing in the Fast Self-Publishing Online community.

 

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Marji Hill

Author & Coach

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