Has Anyone Found Success With Self-Publishing?

Has Anyone Found Success With Self-Publishing?

 

 

Self-publishing

The other day I came across a post in a Facebook group in which an author asked the question:  “Has anyone found success?”

The author, who had self-published on Amazon, said she did everything she was meant to do in the self-publishing process. But she was not making enough money. 

This author was only making US$100 month and she was wanting to make a lot more. Some of the things she had done included:

  • building an email list of 6000 people with a 50% open rate    
  • setting up an ARC (Advanced Review Copy) team so that she had plenty of positive reviews    
  • online book promotions 
  • professionally designed covers  
  • carefully optimised book listings
  • a profitable niche
  • 12 books published on Amazon

So where was this author falling down? What was she not doing right?

Her mentor analysed the publications and this is what he found:

  1. In the Descriptions on the listing pages, there were Warning Disclaimers which prospective customers may have found off-putting.
  2. Each of the multiple short books were stand-alone copies which would have been much better presented as a series.
  3. There were no links in each book driving the reader to the next book. 
  4. The email list needed to be cleaned up to get rid of the inactive users.
  5. The titles were long and contained too many words.
  6. Release dates were inconsistent – some were 3 weeks apart while others were just one week.
  7. There was no brand consistency – all the books were going everywhere and nowhere.
  8. Each book cover looked different as if the books had been written by different authors and even belonging to different genres.
  9. Books were not in the right categories.

It’s not always easy self-publishing your book, is it?. There are so many moving parts, and somehow, you have to get them all moving in unison.

Here is what you can learn from this analysis.

 

OPTIMISE BOOK’S LISTING

 

Master how to optimise your book’s listing to ensure it is optimised for success. Even before you write and publish your book a sound idea is to work out all the metadata you need to maximise your book’s discoverability.  

  • Use keywords in your title but make sure you do it in a way that sounds natural and that you are not criticised for keyword stuffing
  • Come up with multiple keywords that relate to your book idea choosing high potency keywords ie. words with high search volume and low competition. Use long tail specific keywords and fill in the 7 keyword slots that are available for your book’s listing.
  • Choose 10 categories. While you’ll only choose 2 categories when you first list your book you’ll eventually choose another 8 categories
  • Write a compelling description which at the end of the day is really a sales page for your book. Try to use HTML formatting as this helps the customer read through the Description more effectively.

 

MULTIPLE SHORT BOOKS

 

A strategy for promoting sales is a series. Customers can become loyal not only to a series but to you, the author. 

Create multiple, short books which would be suitable to be part of a series.  Use the first book in the series as the lead book and keep referring customers back to that first book. 

After you’ve published other books in the series you might drop the price to .0.99c for that first book. Keep on promoting that first book.

 

BRANDING

 

Create brand consistency. You may do this by having a common element in the title. 

For instance, there may be one word that you can use in each of the titles, for example, “In Paradise,” “Naked in Paradise” Buried in Paradise.”

The book’s cover can have a similar style and maybe with linking colours. Make it easy to see that each book belongs, or is connected to the others.

You can do this with fonts, colours, and where you place the author’s name. There are lots of things you can with the covers to create stylistic unity.

 

TIMING

 

Plan in advance the timing of your book releases. If you have 5 books in your series decide if they will be released every month, every three months, or twice a year.

 

TRAFFIC

 

Have your books drive traffic from one book to another. At the back of each book have links to the other books in the series so that you are driving your customers from one book to the next one and also, always to that first book in the series.

 

EMAIL LIST

 

To have an email list would have to be the most important asset any author could have, and this would have to lie at the heart of any author’s marketing campaign. Keep building your email list and keep it up to date.

 

At the end of the day, never stop learning. Keep on learning to be a better writer and mastering the craft of writing. And remember if you are planning to write fast, and produce lots of books to publish on Amazon, don’t sacrifice your writing quality for speed.

For more tips on how to self-publish on Amazon join the Facebook group – Fast Self-Publishing Online.

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Marji Hill

Author and Coach

Do You Want To Speed Up Your Writing?

Do You Want To Speed Up Your Writing?

 

Writing speed

 

Do you find that you are so slow at writing anything? It takes such a long time to get a piece written.

You struggle with writing, and you find that the writing process is hard.  You keep reading and re-reading, then editing what you write – and keep going over it, trying to find the right words.    

The good news is your writing doesn’t have to be like this. You can change and learn to speed up your writing but it will take focus and discipline.

Writing is a skill and practice will make it better.

The easier it gets, the more you like it. The more you like it, the less you’ll procrastinate. 

Exercise the writing muscle

 

Writing is just like a muscle. It’s got to be exercised otherwise, you will not have the ability to do it. 

Writing requires practice.

Practising your writing is just like doing a physical workout at the gym. The repetition of exercises helps you to improve and get stronger. 

The muscles get stronger. You start at a certain level, let’s say, for example,10 repetitions. 

Then over time, you increase these repetitions. 

If you started out with 2-kilogram dumbbells, you then over time increase the weight of the dumbells. You monitor your increasing strength. 

The exercise of writing is just the same. Practise makes you better. Practise makes you stronger. 

You become more experienced at writing and you master your craft.

Write every day

 

Every day!  If you suffer writer’s block and you have nothing to write about? Don’t worry.  

Describe what you see in front of you. Don’t wait for creativity to come to you. Don’t wait for the muse to magically appear. Just write, write, and write.

Creativity will come when it comes.  

I want to tell you a way to practise your writing. It may be new to some but not to others.  

It’s the concept of the writing sprint that has been explored in depth by Chris Fox. He says that he can consistently write 4,000 words an hour and sometimes spike up to 5,000 words an hour.

Incredible, hey?

 

The writing sprint concept

 

The idea is to allocate a set amount of time, and then within that time, you write as fast as you can.

For example, set your alarm for 10 minutes. Within that time you will write. 

As soon as the alarm goes off you stop. The length of your sprint is up to you.  

In the first week practise writing for 10 minutes each day just as you might do some physical exercise.

You start off gently, but as you get more strength and get better at doing it your ability improves.

  • Just pour out the words.  
  • The faster you write, the more you write.  
  • The more you write, the better you write.
  • The faster you write, the sooner you’ll edit.

At the end of your first week of doing these short, daily writing sprints review your progress. 

Keep monitoring your progress.

You are exercising your writing ability and your mind.

In the second week increase your writing time to 20 minutes. As the weeks go by keep increasing the length of writing time.

As you write you will need to be focused, determined and exercise the discipline to perform the task. Let the words come out. Make sure you refrain from editing and don’t even think about the words you write. Just write!

Your outpouring may be rough but that doesn’t matter. It’s just a very rough draft.

Down the track, your writing can be refined.

Once you develop the writing habit and practise it on a daily basis you will surprise yourself at how well you are improving over time.

Not only are you exercising your writing skill you are exercising your mind.

Keep documenting your progress – when you started, the end time. How many words did you write during your sprint? Keep a track of this. It is vital to measure your progress.

The more you pour out the words the more you’ll get experienced and the more you learn about the craft of writing.

Give it a go!

SOURCE

Fox, Chris  5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter. 2015. Kindle eBook.

Marji Hill

Author & Coach

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Oops! Mistakes First-Time Authors Make When Self-Publishing

Oops! Mistakes First-Time Authors  Make When Self-Publishing

 

Mistakes authors make

 

Mistake No. 1 – The Cover

 

When I published my first book on Amazon I created a Kindle eBook and a Paperback. 

At the time I used Cover Creator to build my book cover.  It was easy to do, and I felt proud that I had made my own cover. 

Before too long, I was criticised from someone online who said I needed to do something about the cover. The book really needed a professional cover better than I was able to do myself.

So I revised the book and had a new cover made. I outsourced to a cover designer on Fiverr. My cover was dramatically improved and it now looked professional.

Most people do judge a book by the cover. If you screw up on the cover either your book won’t sell or your sales will be low.

The cover creates the first impression, gives a clue as to what your book is about, and from that first glance a reader decides whether or not to take a closer look at your book.

Creating your own cover can spell disaster for a first-time author.

 

Mistake no. 2  – The Title

 

Recently, I was given a manuscript to assess and the first reaction I had was, what a terrible title. It was bland, lame and ordinary.  

There was nothing distinctive about the title, nothing to entice a reader to buy the book, there was no sub-title to explained things further, and nothing to indicate the benefits of the book. 

It was a title that would have relegated the book to the sales prevention department.

 

Mistake no. 3  – Editing

 

I meet many highly educated people who believe that their text does not need editing. 

If there has been some editing they may have done a couple of self-edits and family and friends might have done their bit too.

Because you can publish a book for very little cost on Amazon – even no cost – the temptation is to prepare the manuscript yourself for publication and risk having an end product looking like the job of an amateur.

Don’t compromise the quality of your book. Your goal as a self-publisher is to make your manuscript as good as it can possibly be, so seek the services of an independent, professional editor.

 

Mistake No. 4 – Formatting

 

I’ve seen the results of amateurs formatting their books for Amazon either as Kindle eBooks or Paperbacks.

If a Kindle eBook is not formatted according to the Kindle Direct Publishing(KDP) guidelines it can end up with a lot of formatting mistakes, and if published, it will need to be withdrawn from sale and done again.

Whether you are publishing on Amazon, Ingram Spark, Lulu or whoever, make sure that you understand the technical requirements needed for the formatting. 

Follow the relevant guidelines closely, and understand the type of file that is necessary for publishing the book.

Formatting is something that I would definitely outsource to a professional. First-time authors who are new to the self-publishing process should engage the services of professionals to help them with producing their books. 

It is possible to get professional help and it is possible to do this on a budget.

For regular free tips and access to the Masterclass on writing and self-publishing, tune in to the Fast Self-Publishing Online community each week on a Thursday.

 

Marji Hill

Author & Coach

 

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4 Excuses That Can Derail A First-Time Author?

4 Excuses That Can Derail A First-Time Author?

 

New author

 

You know, so many people say they want to write a book. Many talk about the book they are going to write and then for one reason or another they will talk themselves out of it or just let their book idea fall by the wayside.

Many would-be authors get stranded at the start. They just don’t seem to be able to begin writing their book. 

Some are waiting for the ideal time. Others are searching for the perfect place to write, and there are those who believe that they must be in a place which they will think is their inspiration nook. 

Or there will be something else.  Another excuse. Anything.

 

Time

 

Time is a big problem for many. Well, let me tell you something. 

You have all the time in the world to do everything that is truly important to you.

Time

Now let’s say you are planning to start, and this is the day, but next a friend or partner interrupts your plan and says let’s meet for a coffee and you do just that.

At that point in time meeting for a coffee is what’s important.

Meeting for a coffee has become more important than writing your book. So the coffee meeting gets a higher priority in your time allocation than actually working on your book.

Prioritising your obligations is the major principle behind managing your time and being more productive. You need to identify the elements that make up the core of your existence and then rank those commitments.

Working out your priorities is what will help you to see where you can find time for your creative pursuits. The task of writing will need to be ranked highly on your list of priorities.

 

Life gets in the way

 

People’s lives are full of all the things they are obligated to do. The people who repetitively say they are “gonna write their book” lead active, busy lives. 

Life gets in the way, however. For many would-be authors, they never sit down long enough to focus on their writing and produce a manuscript. 

They overload their time and do everything else except what they say they want to do, and that is to write.

 

Procrastination

 

Do you fritter your time away pursuing meaningless activities and do you sabotage yourself by letting time slip by? 

Those who suffer from procrastination tend to put all their energy into tasks that have lesser importance? 

If you have a job you will show up for work every day otherwise you’ll be sacked. You are not likely to say “oh’ I really don’t feel like it today” and so don’t go to work. 

If you have a job you’ll show up or else suffer the consequences.

As a writer, you must show up at the appointed time to write. You need to make that commitment to yourself otherwise you’ll be a victim of procrastination. 

Procrastination will become more important than writing your book. 

You must manage yourself by making an appointment with yourself. You must allocate time to write – maybe 30 or 60 minutes a day or longer. 

Set a goal for writing “x” number of words each day and go for it. It does come down to discipline, and your motivation for doing it.

 

Self-limiting beliefs

 

Never stop dreaming

 

I believe that many suffer doubts about their ability to write and they fear that they are not good enough? They doubt their knowledge and worry that they don’t know enough. 

They fear what others will think and worry that their friends and family will not be supportive.  

Try this exercise. Write down all your self-limiting beliefs.  

Once you’ve identified these write a positive statement beside each self-limiting belief. Put them in the form of a positive affirmation that will demonstrate to you that you do have what it takes to be a successful author.

As you write down these 5 limiting beliefs and then counter these with positive statements you say to yourself that you’re knocking out those self-limiting beliefs that are pulling you down.

Turn those self-limiting beliefs into positive affirmations. 

For example,

I’m very knowledgeable about my subject matter.

I have great writing ability.

I never worry about what others think of me.

I forge ahead and do what I want to do.

I am a successful author.

Once you identify the negative beliefs and turn them into positives read them each day, and better still, say them out loud every day.  You will become unstoppable. 

You’ll then find the time to sit down and write that book!

 

The solution

 

The problems of getting organised, managing your time, procrastination, and self-doubt will resolve when you crystallise your reason to write. 

Some writers, just like artists, say they write when they get the inspiration – so they wait for the muse to magically appear. 

My experience is that when you embark on some creative pursuit, inspiration will spring from the sheer act of systematically working on what is in front of you. The repetitive act of creating a piece of writing or artwork will, in turn, result in inspiration. 

You can make it happen. If you develop the habit of writing daily, even for short bursts of time, productivity and creativity will advance.

This, in turn, creates momentum.

How big is your why? 

 

Your inner drive will propel your creativity and you will be compelled to move forward. Nothing will stop you. 

Nothing will get in your way. When you examine the reason for wanting to create a book many of the challenges will resolve if the “why” is big enough. 

When the “why” is big, you are driven internally and you will pursue your goals relentlessly.

Don’t wait for success to happen because, if you do, it’s going to be a very long wait. You have to take the initiative, seize control, create opportunities, and make things happen. 

 

Hill, Marji. How Big Is Your Why?: An Author’s Guide To Time Management And Productivity To Achieve Transformational Results (Fast Self-Publishing Online, Book 1). The Prison Tree Press. Kindle Edition.

Marji Hill

Author and Coach

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An Authors’ Dream Come True With Self-Publishing On Amazon

An Authors’ Dream Come True With Self-Publishing On Amazon

Self-publishing

 

Key benefits

 

There are nine key benefits to publishing your book on Amazon:

  1. It is inexpensive to start the publishing process
  2. Self-publishers can start earning income quickly
  3. It is possible to earn up to 70% in royalties
  4. There is a worldwide distribution
  5. The listing and publishing process is simple and easy
  6. Authors maintain creative control over their book
  7. Earn additional income from customers borrowing books
  8. Get a marketing boost for up to 5 days from time to time
  9. Amazon gives you the option to fix errors if you spot them after publishing.

To avoid major mistakes and risks associated with poor publishing outcome it’s important to learn the fundamentals of listing and marketing your book within the Amazon ecosystem.

Rejection from mainstream publishers

 

No longer do you have to find a mainstream publisher to publish your book. Gone are the days of receiving reject letters and feeling frustrated, discouraged and disappointed that a mainstream publisher has rejected your book.

Instead, you can now replace these feelings with excitement, a buzz, and even euphoria when you make that first sale. A dream come true!

Print on demand

 

Self-publishing on Amazon means you can archive those days of the past when if you self-published you had to invest in a large print run. Publishing on Amazon is free.

With the Paperback platform, it’s Print on Demand. Simply buy one copy, 10 copies, 200 copies, whatever.

There is no upfront investment or risk to investing in your book as you don’t have to sell to recoup the money by selling lots of books.

There are no upfront costs so when a Paperback is sold, Amazon ships it to the buyer and you the author receive a royalty. This is passive income.

Passive income stream

 

When you start to see the sales you realize the potential for developing another income stream. – a passive income. This means that your book royalties may help fund the lifestyle you so desire.

Revisions

 

Have you ever feared to publish a book only to find that the cover design is terrible, there are mistakes in the text or other errors? Well, you can relax.

There is no need to stress. Amazon has a process for revision.

After publishing, it is possible to make changes to your manuscript, to fix any errors, refine your content to the best of your ability, or to update the cover.

Millions of potential customers

 

Finally, by publishing on Amazon authors are exposing their book to millions of potential customers. This is an amazing opportunity to create brand awareness to the thousands if not millions of people who could become their customers, and authors are promoting their brand for free.

A dream come true

 

The best part is that the process for publishing on Amazon is simple but to maximize the results you desire, authors need a coach to guide them. They can say goodbye to feelings of being lost, suffering frustration, and procrastination.

Instead, an author can experience the ecstasy of having their first book published, a dream come true, and realize the potential of a gateway to future income opportunities.

 

Marji Hill

Founder of Fast Self-Publishing Online

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Self-Publishing On Amazon

Self-Publishing On Amazon

 

 

Profit From The Net

Self-Publish On Amazon

 

The process of self-publishing your own book can be very simple. Publishing it on the Amazon platform is a breeze and is easier than ever.

It can also be very challenging and complex.

While self-publishing on Amazon is relatively easy it is not all that easy to do it well or to build your customer base.

It requires a lot of work and effort.

My First Self-Publishing Experience

 

I published my first book both as a Kindle eBook and as a Paperback. The Paperback was published on what was formerly CreateSpace.

Now both Kindle eBook and Paperback versions are published on the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform.

Once I had finalized the manuscript and had it professionally edited, I outsourced the formatting to a professional. I found the outsourcer on Upwork and he was situated in the Czech Republic.

The outsourcer prepared the two files according to the guidelines laid out by KDP and CreateSpace. As I was totally inexperienced at self-publishing online and hopeless at the techie side of things, he helped me by uploading the files to my Amazon account.

I used the KDP Cover Creator to design the book’s cover. Eventually, after the book had been published for some time, I realized this cover was very average and ordinary.

My next step was to outsource the design of another cover. I went to Fiverr and chose an outsourcer from India. He made a new cover for me and he uploaded the cover file to my account and for this, he only charged me a few dollars.

Need for professionalism

 

While it is relatively easy to list your book both as a Kindle eBook and as a Paperback on Amazon there are certain areas where mistakes can be made and you risk having a badly published book.

This is where professionalism comes into play.

Unless you are expert yourself outsource the services of professionals to help you with

  1. the cover
  2. editing
  3. formatting

It is possible to find professionals to help you with these services and to get the help you need that is affordable.

Do not risk publishing a book that looks amateurish and unprofessional. It can result in bad reviews and little or no sales.

You must produce a professional looking publication.

The process of listing your book for sale on the Amazon platforms is fairly straightforward. You just need to follow the prompts.

The Amazon market place

 

And it is quick to do. You can have your book published and listed for sale on the Amazon market place within 24 hours.

Just think how you will feel seeing your book published and out there in the market place, listed for sale, and for all the world to see.

It’s certainly exciting! It’s a time for celebration!

And into the bargain when you make that first sale, experience the most incredible feeling of euphoria. It’s sensational! What a high!

No longer do you need to go through painstaking efforts to land a book deal with a mainstream publisher that can lock you into tough deadlines and where you can only generate around 5% or 10% in royalties.

Self-publishing on Amazon means you are in control. You control the content, the interior design, the cover, the price, the marketing, and the distribution. And you can generate up to 70% in royalties.

But it is at this point where the next and challenging part of the self-publishing process starts. To become a successful author and a successful seller you must master the fundamentals of publishing and marketing on Amazon.

Marji Hill

Founder of Fast Self-Publishing Online 

Facebook group:  Fast Self-Publishing Online

The Power Of The 30-Day Writing Challenge

The Power Of The 30-Day Writing Challenge

 

 

Self-publishing

Self-publishing

 

The biggest challenge for most would-be writers is to actually complete a manuscript. The challenge is to get that first draft finished.

All motivated and fired up they start the manuscript. A few pages are written and then for one reason or another they derail. These writers never complete their manuscript.

They may talk a lot about the book they are writing but that’s as far as they get.

Or they want to write a book but they feel lost and don’t know how to start.

What derails a newbie author?

The “Why”

The major problem is that their desire to write a book is not strong enough. It comes down in essence to the “Why”.

It’s knowing their reason for writing and wanting to produce a book. Producing that book is way down on their list of life’s priorities.

If the “Why” is not strong and compelling enough to drive a newbie writer forward then they very quickly and easily fall into the trap of procrastination and it’s associated list of excuses: not enough time to write, life gets in the way, lack of focus, not feeling expert enough, and lack of confidence. There is no plan of action.

Momentum

 

The power of the 30-day challenge, that is to write a book within 30 days, is that it creates momentum. It helps speed up the self-publishing process.

Momentum in the writing process is very powerful and can help a person reach their ultimate goal. Once they make a start they are fired up to reach their goal and as they work towards a 30-day deadline and keep writing more and more, motion is generated.

It becomes unstoppable. Inspiration springs up and fresh ideas abound.

What seemed originally impossible is suddenly possible.

So the power of the 30-day challenge is:

  • the momentum it breeds
  • the self-publishing process speeds up
  • a new belief system is set up – “I can do this”
  • it’s proof that they can produce fast
  • that they can publish sooner rather than later
  • get closer to generating income
  • that it builds a sense of achievement
  • and, establishes self-confidence

If the “Why” is not compelling enough then completing that manuscript can easily fall victim to procrastination and a whole set of excuses.

The first thing a newbie author must do is work on their mindset and sort out why they want to do it. Once there is clarity here they can set their goal for completing their manuscript and then plan to make a daily habit to write.

By writing something every day and working to a plan it will be easy for the newbie writer to complete their manuscript within 30 days.

Marji Hill

Founder of Fast Self Publishing Online

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11 Marketing Hacks For Creating A Successful Book

11 Marketing Hacks For Creating A Successful Book

 

self-publishing on Amazon

  

Is your dream to create a bestselling book? Or, at least do you dream about producing a book that sells?

To get your book published on Amazon is the easy part. However, it’s just a small part of the publishing process.

But what so many authors don’t realise is that the adventure of self-publishing starts even before you publish on Amazon. Don’t go to all the effort of creating your book, throw it on to Amazon, and then hold your breath while you wait for it to sell. And then work out how to sell it.

 

Self-publishing apprenticeship

 

Your self-publishing apprenticeship is about learning the steps of marketing your book within the Amazon space. 

And then you must learn how to market your book beyond the Amazon ecosystem.

Don’t wait until your book is published to plan your marketing strategy. Your book in itself should be the ultimate marketing tool. 

Here are 11 different hacks to give yourself a leg up, and getting these right will increase the success of your book exponentially. 

1. Research

 

There are endless opportunities and thousands of potential niches from where you can get ideas for writing and publishing. 

One methodology is to go direct to amazon.com to do very specific niche research to find a category that could be profitable.  There are other ways to stimulate ideas. 

Trendhunter is a great favourite of mine. 

You could explore Google Trends, Ezine articles, Clickbank, JVZoo – even your local bookstore, if you still have access to one. 

Not only for non-fiction the opportunity gets even greater when you start looking at fiction. You can explore romance, mystery, erotica, and more.

Children’s books are another huge opportunity.

The key to your research is to find a niche that is profitable. Learn the attributes of successful books in your niche and model them. Once you know what a successful book looks like, consider your own book and try to think what added value you can bring to the readers, and what could give you the edge to set yourself apart from the competition.

2. Cover

 

self-publishing on Amazon

A book’s cover is the first impression a reader gets of your book. The cover is what will get a prospective customer to take a closer look because it’s the cover that stands out in the crowded market place. 

So often buying decisions are made on what the cover looks like.

3. Title 

After the cover, the title is a sales tool in itself. It’s the next thing a customer looks at. 

Just like the cover, a title may influence a decision to buy or not to buy and it helps a book to get discovered on Amazon.

A subtitle provides additional information about the book. It can pinpoint the central problem or pain point for your readership. It can also expand on the benefit to be had from reading the book.

4. Categories  

 

Categories are the big broad terms that describe your book. They are like the sections of a bookstore where you can find your book so the key is to target the best ones.

Just like the cover and the title,  a book’s category positions the book in the market place and helps with the discoverability of your book on Amazon. 

Choosing the right categories places your book in front of customers who are most likely to buy your book. 

When doing your book’s listing on KDP you are asked to select the two (2) most relevant categories. While you are asked to select just two you can in fact select 10. Did you know that?

Your choice of categories also influences whether or not your book becomes a bestseller. It’s even possible to find out the number of books you need to sell in a category to reach that number 1 position.  

 

5. Keywords 

 

Keywords are also another way to help customers find your book. The idea is to select a word or phrase that readers are most likely to use when searching for a book. 

KDP gives you 7 keyword slots.  Then within each slot, there is space for 50 characters.

Put an appropriate phrase into the slot choosing one that customers are likely to use when searching for a book. 

Keywords are a very big topic. There are a number of methodologies for selecting keywords and information about the mistakes to avoid when choosing them. 

 

6. Description

 

Your book’s description on the listing page is a sales letter and this is your opportunity to help a customer make a buying decision.

There is space in the description area for 4000 characters so maximise this opportunity to craft a description that will sell your book.

Tips for a good description include correct formatting, a strong opening hook to attract a customer’s interest, bullet points, and a call to action.

 

7. Author Central

 

Author Central on Amazon is in effect like another website for authors. It’s a place where your customers can learn about you.

This is the opportunity to share up-to-date information about yourself and your works to millions of readers. 

You will include biographical details, bibliographic information, synchronise blog posts, list events, have photographs and videos, and include reviews.

 

self-publishing on Amazon

8. Reviews

 

Customer Reviews are those reviews that give your book a rating. They help customers to learn more about your book by providing genuine feedback. 

Get as many reviews as possible because they validate your book providing social proof which adds to your book’s credibility.

 

9. Editorial reviews 

 

Editorial reviews are different from the customer reviews and you can list up to five of them. They are comments, or testimonials that others have said about you, your book, or even your previous books. 

They are entered into Author Central but they show up on your book’s detail page.

 

10. KDP Select 

 

When starting out with publishing on Amazon join KDP Select. This is the 90 day exclusivity period for digital books which allows you to take advantage of the free giveaway days to promote your book and which in turn may help you generate more reviews.

 

11. Price 

 

As a self-publisher, you are the person that decides the price. If you so wish you can keep changing your price. When launching your book you may price your book at 0.99c in order to increase sales and get some verified reviews.

You may choose to offer your book for free as part of the KDP Select promotion. Then after launching you may increase your price to $2.99 or higher.

You can play with pricing strategically depending on what it is you are trying to achieve.

The ultimate marketing tool

 

You as author and self-publisher are in charge of your own destiny in this world of Amazon book publishing. You have the power to make your book a success and with it create the ultimate marketing tool.

Achieve maximum visibility and create that powerful first impression by mastering the 11 fundamentals of self-publishing on Amazon.

​​​​​​​If you would like to ​​​​​​​unlock your true potential as a writer, publish your book the simple, low-cost way, and see it out there in the market place, listed for sale, for all the world to see you are invited to join my free online class.

Marji Hill

Author & Coach

 

 

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Steps To Building An Author Blog

Steps to Building An Author Blog

 

Author Blog

Author’s marketing strategy

 

While an email list should lie at the heart of an author’s marketing strategy an author blog, on the other hand, can help you to build your email list. A blog can be a host to a lead magnet that attracts people to your list.

So both the author blog and email list are central to an author’s marketing strategy.

An author blog is a website. As well as hosting a lead generating machine a successful author blog can act as a hub of valuable content for the author’s growing list of subscribers.

WordPress

 

I recommend building an author blog with WordPress. There are a lot of other platforms out there in the online space but WordPress is recognised as the best and easiest platform to use. 

When I refer to WordPress I mean WordPress.org which is the most popular and the number 1 platform in the world. 

Setting up a WordPress website is not a steep learning curve; you can easily learn to build a website yourself and manage it yourself.

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

WordPress platforms

 

Wordpress

WordPress has two platforms (1) wordpress.org, and (2) wordpress.com.   

With wordpress.org you arrange and pay for the hosting of your website.  With wordpress.com, on the other hand, it is all done for you.

With wordpress.com you don’t have the same freedom that you have with wordpress .org, you cannot monetise it, and you cannot install Plugins and Themes beyond those already there.

WordPress.com has its limitations. Primarily with wordpress.com you do not own or control your website.

Take it from me wordpress.org is the way to go.

The learning curve

 

The experience I personally had learning to build my own websites was one of the best online learnings in my online education.

These are the benefits that I enjoy:

  • I am in control of my websites
  • I own my websites
  • I can delete a website or build a new one whenever I want to
  • I do not have to go to a web developer to do this for me
  • This means a saving of thousands of dollars
  • I am able to maintain my websites myself
  • I have the freedom to build whatever site I want to and whenever I want to  

Once you learn the fundamentals of building a WordPress website you can go on from there. You don’t have to start out with all the bells and whistles or anything high tech or fancy.

A website grows with you as you grow in your knowledge and its application.

Build a basic website and get it up and running. That’s all you have to do.

With an author website (or blog) you will be able to

  • market and promote your books
  • provide links to your books
  • build an email list
  • get ranked on search engines like Google
  • become an authority in your field of expertise
  • and, even make an additional income by incorporating affiliate links

Steps to set up your author blog

 

So how do you go about setting up your wordpress.org platform?

A person would good technical ability can easily build their own WordPress website. 

Even if you are not a “techie” type person you can still learn to build your own website. It is not rocket science.

I, for one, am not known for my technical abilities. Yet, I know the basics of building a wordpress.org website.

Once I learned the fundamentals of doing this, I quickly went on to build 10 in the space of one week! Mind you, I did make some serious mistakes and I did have to rebuild those websites that I attempted to build. 

But you do learn from making mistakes.

I eventually went on to build about 20 WordPress websites.

I learnt to build WordPress websites by having my coach hold my hand. On Zoom she walked me through the steps that were needed to set up my sites.

Building a website

Building a website

I shall now share an outline of these steps.

  • Domain Name   Research and register a domain name. I use Go Daddy. The current cost is around $13.95 although you can probably get a cheaper promotional offer if doing it for the first time
  • Hosting  Choose web hosting and select a plan. Again I use Go Daddy which starts at $4.95 month. I was advised to choose the Deluxe ($6.95 month) or Ultimate (10.95) plan as there is greater flexibility and more options.
  • Installation    Install WordPress. This is free.
  • Theme  Choose a Theme which controls the visual appearance of your website.
  •  Pages – Create static, one-off pages. You will need to set up several pages with text and images: 
  • Static home page
  • About page 
  • Blog page
  • Contact page
  • Privacy
  • Terms & Conditions
  • Posts   These are your blog posts
  • Menus for navigating the website
  • Widgets If you have ever been to a website and seen in the sidebar a lead magnet, a video, references to your latest blog post a Widget is what you use to put these things there
  • Plugins   Plugins are like an App, a piece of software, that performs different functions. Plugins are added to your website and they do whatever functions you are seeking to install. Thousands of WordPress plugins are available for free.  
  • Security – SSL Certificate, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)standards, reCapture
  • Social media links
  • Mobile responsive

Options for setting up a website

  • 1. Hire a web developer which may cost you anywhere from $500 and upwards (literally thousands of dollars). 
  • DIY if you have plenty of technical talent
  • Enrol in a course
  • Learn to do it yourself but with a helping hand to guide you.

 

If you would like to build an author website feel free to have a no-obligation strategy call with me.

Book Now

 

Marji Hill

Author and coach

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The Power Of An Email List For Authors

 

The Power Of An Email List For Authors

 

Email list

 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “The money is in the list”. 

To have an email list would have to be the most important asset any author could have. It would have to lie at the heart of any author’s marketing campaign.

The idea is to have an email list of people with whom you can communicate. The people on your list is your audience with whom you can build relationships and trust.

They want to hear from you and learn from you and they are happy to receive your emails. Their permission has been given to you to connect with them.

If they don’t want to hear from you they will unsubscribe. As your email list grows you are building a following that is pleased to read the content of your email.

 

The old names list

 

Prior to the advent of the internet and the concept of email marketing we talked about the Names List. If you were in sales and marketing you’d be asked, “How big is your Names List?.”  

The old concept of your Names List has evolved in the online space to the email list. It’s this list that you can ultimately sell to.

As an author presumably you want to be able to sell your book. You’ve put so much love, sweat and tears into it that it would be wonderful to be renumerated for the effort that you’ve made.

So don’t put off building your mailing list! 

Let’s look at some of the reasons for building an email list.

 

Benefits of having an email list

 

You need a list of people who could be interested in buying and reading your book. If these people have given you permission to contact them then when you release a new book you’ve got a list of raving fans to promote to.

With an email list, you can develop relationships with members of your list and they 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. Over time this audience gets to know you and they decide if they like you they will start to trust you.

If you build a large audience, for instance, let’s say you build a list of 5,000 or 10,000 people there is every chance that you will sell many copies of your book. Think of the difference if someone is trying to sell their book but they have no email list; they will be struggling, but if you have a large email list that you’ve been nurturing you will inevitably be successful.

Even if you build large lists in social media you still need to build your own email list. The problem with having large lists on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest you don’t own those lists.

So often I’ve heard that accounts have been blocked or suspended and you 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.

With an email list, you can build a list of reviewers. These 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.  

Once you set up your autoresponder, that is, the software for handling your email list, you can send out automated emails on a regular basis. This way you keep your audience up-to-date with your latest book, or that book you are currently working on, or 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, or on anyone else to do your marketing for you.

How to build an email list in 8 steps?

 

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

Step 1. Build an author website so that you can host a lead magnet

Step 2. domain name

Step 3. autoresponder

Step 4. lead magnet, that is, to have something that will give people an incentive to provide you with their email address.

Brainstorm what could be useful to your target market. Think of something that could be really useful in the form of a:

  •       free chapter
  •       free ebook
  •       report
  •       article
  •       checklist
  •       free online class
  •       webinar
  •       page in your book inviting readers to join your list
  •       video

Step 5. Start an email campaign, and do this on a regular basis, to provide your subscribers with valuable content

Step 6. Educate your audience and then promote whatever it is you are selling

Step 7. Have a Call To Action at the end of the email 

Step 8. Analyse the results

 

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

 

What is your biggest takeaway from this?

  1. 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 its FREE.  Aweber is low cost, there’s Get Response, ConvertKit and Active Campaign. I use Keap which is part of Infusionsoft.
  2. Set up a website or landing page
  3. Offer a great incentive with your Lead magnet

Remember, the idea is to build a list and communicate with your people on a regular basis. These are people who have given you their permission to do so.

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

Don’t put off building your mailing list! It has proven to be one of the best assets authors can have when implementing a marketing strategy.

Fast Self-Publishing Online is designed for those who want to create a book, self-publish it on Amazon, and market it to the world.

In my Facebook community, I’m taking people to the next level so I serve you with more free tools, information, tips and inspiration to help you play a bigger game.

If you haven’t already done so, Click here to become a member of the Facebook group.

Marji Hill

Author and Coach

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