How to not look like a hack on StoryOrigin

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I use StoryOrigin a lot. For a while, I used both SO and BookFunnel, but I found I preferred SO for a variety of reasons. It used to be free, and I was actually happy when it went to a paid service because even a very low cost of entry helps weed out the no talent hacks. Yes. I said it. (There are a great many folks who will load up newsletter swaps—as many as 70 of them per NL Swap—with really bad DIY covers and questionable content.)

Authors who use newsletter services like StoryOrigin, BookFunnel, Prolficworks, etc. are very familiar with “Freebie seekers.” They eventually get purged from our NewsLetter Lists… likewise with unscrupulous swappers who steal access to your list or repeatedly beg to swap their garbage books that they’ve invested $0 into in hopes that you’ll prominently feature that terrible cover to their audience even though your $600 pro cover (and $400 edit) will be at the bottom of a 30 book catalogue email on a NL list with a 2% open rate out of 212 subs (and one of those recorded opens was the author just testing the link).

You can see I have an ax to grind with NL swap partners who act like hacks. Even though SO is a paid service, it is still free, but with limited features, just like bookfunnel is. I could talk about why I think SO is superior, but I’ll leave that for another time.

However, I’ve run across a great many folks with great covers for books that have decent reviews and they still look like hacks. It’s not their fault (actually it is) but they might have never wrapped their head around how the process works—that ignorance leads them to miss out on swaps and inclusion with group promos so I thought I’d write a hand guide. Ignorance is easily cured so long as a person wishes it so. Sidenote: you may have gotten this link emailed directly to you if you tried to swap with me on SO or enter one of my group promos. Please pay attention to this article’s contents as the things discussed in it are the norm for both SO & BookFunnel. If I sent this to you, take it as an indication that potential swaps may happen further down the line so long as you start using the system correctly.

Without further ado, let’s discuss How not to look like a hack on StoryOrigin.

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StoryOrigin & Bookfunnel: Advice for Rapidly Building an Email list with Integrity

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Through writing newsletters, growing subscriber lists, and looking at data I discovered I’ve gone through multiple stages and seen many shady characters out there trying to build massive newsletter lists at unprecedented rates, but this game is about consistent, manageable growth while building relationships with actual, interested readers.

It is very possible to do this with some speed, but as you do so, beware of list leeches and newsletter stuffers. Below are three distinct stages I saw while growing a newsletter list with both Storyorigin and Bookfunnel.

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You can’t always price your book at 99c on Amazon

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There’s one simple rule authors have to follow in order to have complete pricing control over your book at Amazon. It is especially helpful to be aware of this rule for Children’s book authors, graphic novelists, and books with multimedia content (many nonfiction books) as it can affect launch and pricing strategies.

I recently bumped into this rule, even though I write novels, and here’s how I discovered the need to watch for this rule.

Continue reading You can’t always price your book at 99c on Amazon

Easy Bake Ovens and Cover Designs: What is a Cover Really Supposed to Do?

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I am a member of several online groups that helps authors. One of those groups purposes revolves around cover design. There are a lot of DIY people in there… most of those people know the value of hiring professionals or seeking advanced skills and learning the real elements of what makes book covers sell.

Sometimes people insist on doing themselves and don’t understand why covers are perhaps the most important marketing piece for your book. I taught a workshop at a regional library just yesterday afternoon and my sternest warning was against doing a DIY cover. Here is some of my advice that I recently gave in a cover design group where I used an Easy Bake Oven analogy to explain what a subpar design really tells potential readers. (Also, I talk about selling Bible’s in a porn shop… I’m not surprised that so many people dislike me, lol.)

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Get smart advice: Consultations and Advice in Actions

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One thing is always good advice: get insights from those who have gone before us.

I mentioned yesterday that I do consultations for authors who have questions or want to get feedback/improve sales, clicks, marketability, etc. I’ve often found it helpful to get feedback… not always does it need to be mine, however. One of the most valuable things I’ve taken from author conferences is public reviews/manuscript critiques from industry pros of attendees’ works. I take the relevant info and apply it to my own works and have learned a lot.

Here is a sample critique… Continue reading Get smart advice: Consultations and Advice in Actions

“Any Time Reviews” is an old scam re-emerged

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Anytime Reviews, or http://www.anytimereviews.com is like a zombie plague for authors; it keeps resurfacing after its death. I’ve said it before, but you will never be cold-called/cold-contacted by a legitimate service or publishing agent/publisher unless you’ve sold a million books (and likely in a single title).

I was BCCed by somebody with the address fatlossplrryo2e@gmail.com… That’s a suspicious start—not exactly the email address you’d expect from a legitimate book review company. A little internet research on the old google box brought me down the rabbit hole.

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How to create an online bookstore

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Do you wish you could keep an online bookstore for your website so you can sell autographed books and a few pieces of branded merch? Maybe you’ve tried to do it before but can’t find a cheap or free option? I’ve finally found a solution!

Now authors can sell the books they have on hand (even take directions for personalization/autographs, etc) rather than just sending folks to amazon, or trying to tell people to email you and send money via paypal or venmo on your promise to send books.

Here’s what I found!

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1 Easy Hack for Authors to Increase Profits at Book Sales Events

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You’ve probably heard a bunch of others talk about why they write fiction in series, why you should write in series, or why standalones are bad ideas. While I’m not going to put anything down that might work for someone else, and I have a love/hate relationship with the series/standalone models, there is some wisdom I’ve been able to harness over the last year that has greatly spiked my sales numbers and  I’ve discovered a little tweak that helps me maximize my profits while selling directly.

Here’s the skinny on why you should write in series, and how to make it earn you the most money… Continue reading 1 Easy Hack for Authors to Increase Profits at Book Sales Events

Why is My Mailing List not Growing?

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Are you unhappy with your growth? Do you request newsletter swaps with other authors and have them rejected or ignored? Maybe you get accepted into group promos but nobody ever clicks to signup off of your swaps or your efforts? I may have some answers for you.

I’ve talked about my usage of Story Origin before (it’s like BookFunnel, ProlificWorks, etc.) You don’t need to have been around for very long to know that mailing lists are an author’s best friend. Many times have I said, “I wish I would have started my mailing list two years before I did, or even 6 months before my first book launched had I known the benefits.”

Maybe you’ve been working hard to acquire new members for your list and discovered the hard part: how do you get actual numeric growth? In roughly 10 months I’ve generated 3,369 new contacts via Story Origin, which is not superhuman numbers and I only sent my Newsletter once monthly, at mid-month. I also did not join more than a half dozen or so every month. After half a year I also started promoting and organizing my own group promos. In 2020 I hope to shift to 2x newsletters per month.

Below are the do’s and don’ts I’ve come to learn while being a regular SO user and group promo organizer.

Continue reading Why is My Mailing List not Growing?