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.

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

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.)

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

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.

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

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!

Continue reading How to create an online bookstore

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?

Monetize your Newsletter for Holiday Sales With Your Mailing List

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If you’re like me, you try to plan in advance. That does NOT mean actually taking action (just because it’s snowing out here in Minnesota that doesn’t mean it’s time to play Christmas music yet!) I write this in my local coffee shop. Jingle Bell Rock is on their house sound system.

Anyway, mailing lists and promotions take a good deal of forethought to do well, so this is a timely blog post. Hopefully, young padawan writers, you have been systematically building your mailing list throughout the year(s). It’s time for it to pay off for you!

If you aren’t utilizing your newsletter or author’s mailing list, you are leaving cash on the table. I’ll show you just how much potential below! Continue reading Monetize your Newsletter for Holiday Sales With Your Mailing List

How one Indie Author sells 400-500 books at ComicCon

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If you’ve read some of my back articles, you know I’m a big fan of tabling at events to meet new readers and sell books. I’m also a fan of math… but I also really hate math—at least I hate algebra. I like the kind of math that helps me decide where my boundaries and expectations can be set. For example, I know that I generally make about $9-11 per book sold at a convention so I need to move about 15 books to break even on a table or booth that costs me $150. For small/mid-sized cons I typically sell about one book per 2-0.5% (I usually sell about 25 books per every 2,000-3,000 people in attendance. I could get a tighter average, but I don’t generally trust the accuracy of attendance numbers for cons that size—they tend to rely on table sales to stay afloat and want their headcounts to look good and feel they are “technically truthful” by counting folks twice if they enter, leave, and re-enter. They might also count vendors and con staff, etc.)

Knowing what you normally do is obviously beneficial. But so is knowing what could be possible. While I tend to sell about 30 at these sized events, I’ve doubled that figure almost 50% of the time (1 part increasing product, 1 part being good/getting better at cold sales, 1 part good product, 1 part great marketing materials.) I had a chance to chat with Lydia Sherrer on a Facebook Group we are both a part of. We do much of the same things, but she scaled up her efforts and hit where I’d like to get to with her sales booth. I’ll be giving it a run soon, but she lays out exactly how she sells hundreds of books at the conventions she does.

Check out her methods … Continue reading How one Indie Author sells 400-500 books at ComicCon