Tag Archive | technology

Repost: 3 Tips to Help You Spend Your Book Marketing Money Better

Earlier this week I received this wonderful article called “3 Tips to Help You Spend Your Book Marketing Money Better” in my email from Book Marketing Tools.  Great advice, especially for indie authors just starting to get into the business.  To these three tips I want to add one more of my own:  invest in multiple language editions of your books crafted by quality translators.

 

Here is “3 Tips to Help You Spend Your Book Marketing Money Better” in full as presented in the newsletter I received.

Episode 108 of The Author Hangout Podcast featured this amazing advice from bestselling author Ernie Lindsey: Don’t be afraid to spend money early on on good covers, excellent editors, excellent proofreaders. Don’t be afraid to spend money on looking professional. If you don’t have it to spend early on, save it. Save up until you can. Four years ago, we didn’t know that it was going to get to this point. We didn’t know how professional the indie author community was going to get. So make it a top quality product before you even get it out the door.

Ernie is absolutely right — today’s indie authors need to keep up with an industry that’s producing books that are becoming increasingly indistinguishable from the big-time publishers’ output.
But you’re an indie author, which means that you probably need to make a limited marketing budget stretch as far as possible.
So where should you spend your money to make the biggest impact?
Here are three great tips!
Catherine de Valois

Original cover for “Catherine de Valois” (English edition). The cover is good because it’s genre appropriate and features a lady contemporary to Princess Catherine and wearing the same style of gown she wore.

Aristocratic_Lady_15th_b1899sd

The small addition of a subtitle to the original cover makes it stand out more and provides more information to potential readers, moving it from simply good to GREAT.

#1 — Cover Design
“Dont’ judge a book by its cover” is great advice for everyday life, but it’s terrible advice when it comes to your books!
People are going to judge your book by its cover, no matter how much effort you’ve put into writing your masterpiece, so we recommend spending any extra money you have on professional, market- and genre-appropriate cover design.
This is really important, especially when you consider the way people browse books online these days!
For more info, check out episode 73 of The Author Hangout with guest Jim Palmer, who shared some great thoughts about how you should prioritize cover design, how much you should spend and who you should hire (not Fiverr!!!)
#2 — Hire an Editor
Maybe you’ve been using your spouse, significant other, close friend or family member to give your books a look before you publish. Or perhaps you’ve been relying on feedback from your writer’s group to polish your prose.
There’s nothing wrong with these methods of getting additional sets of eyes on your work, but we recommend that you hire a professional editor to give your book a thorough scrubbing!
Professional editors can be costly — don’t be surprised to get quotes for more than $1,000 — but an experienced, reputable editor can mean the difference between a bestseller and an also ran.
One of the best ways to locate an editor is to check the credits and thank-yous of books that you’ve enjoyed to see who your favorite writers turn to for editing. Don’t be afraid to reach out!
For more detailed advice on finding an editor, read this article from our friend Jane Friedman.
#3 — Supercharge Your Website
Your website is one of the cornerstones of your author platform, and it’s one of the foremost representations of your brand on the internet. So if it doesn’t look good and help you build your fan base, it can actually hurt your business.
Spend as much money as you afford to make it look great and ensure that it provides users with a satisfying experience. If possible, hire an experienced SEO writer to create copy that drives traffic to your site.
And don’t forget to make your site mobile friendly!
-Shawn & R.J. from Book Marketing Tools

Creating Office 2016 desktop shortcuts

My tower computer is dead.  The Windows 10 anniversary update killed it.  That means a new computer and re-buying and re-installing all of my office software.  Ick.  No one likes this.

Today my Office 2016 Home and Student product key arrived via Amazon.  Home and Student is the way to avoid Office 365 which, like Windows 10, treats software as a service — with all the headaches that goes along with it.

 

When it comes to computers, I’m a pretty sharp lass.  In 2001 I taught computer literacy at a small school in New Jersey — back when the lessons included DOS! I taught myself Word, Excel, and even Photoshop which I’ve used since version 1.0 or 2.0 way back in 1996/7!

So I expected it to be easy to get my office programs back on my desktop work space quickly and easily.

Dream on!

Frustrated, I tried every conventional research route.  Then a good friend of mine named NATHAN PARKER who runs a consulting firm gave me this simple (and not intuitive) instruction:

 Right click on one of the Office apps in the Start Menu. Select More then Open File Location. Then right-click on the Office app icon in File Explorer you want on the desktop. Select Send To, then Desktop, Create Shortcut.

creating-shortcut

IT WORKS!

So if you are finding yourself needing to upgrade to Office 2016, try Nathan’s instructions to restore shortcuts to your desktop.

Ghosts of the Past: the Dark Side of Medieval politics

Ghost of the Past Chinese webLast week the Ghosts of the Past debuted in Chinese language edition thanks to the careful work of some of the best translators in all of Beijing.  One measure of feedback I received from my editor was just how dark and sexy the book was.  Given my well deserved scholarly reputation as a historian, Ghosts of the Past and its equally saucy sequel Princess Anyu Returns might seem out of place from the rest of my work.  Out of place until you look deeper into history and explore the treacherous realm of sexual politics that was the experience for most medieval noble and royal women.

Life for women has always been somewhat of a treacherous experience filled with dangers.  With few or no legal rights or protections, women rarely decided for themselves who to have sex with, let alone marry.  Instead the men in their families, their governments, and their religions held almost complete control over their bodies.  Among women of high social status this meant that women’s bodies were tools for gaining wealth, power, and social status by those in position to use them.

Ghosts of the Past cover webThis social and political reality for women underscores the sometimes brutally dark sides to Beinarian society.  Sex and childbearing are tools the villains (both female and male) use at their leisure to impose their will on others, advancing mysterious agendas that only become clear after Princess Anyu Returns from her exile.   These agendas add spice to both Ghosts of the Past and Princess Anyu Returns with twists and turns around every corner.  Villains use sex and violence freely to achieve their goals, predating on the innocent and using every method at their disposal to thwart the heroes and heroines.  They are just as likely to kill as seduce and use offspring created at the expense of their enemies as weapons against them.

It is a dark, dystopic realm where only the bravest dare tread.

Are you brave enough to travel there?

 

Find the Ghosts of the Past in English on Amazon, Barnes/Noble, Smashwords, and iTunes or in Chinese on Amazon, Chinese Amazon, and Douban.

Followup News: Booklinker REVERSES advertising policy

Blogging makes a difference!  After reporting on 4th October 2014 regarding Booklinker’s new plan to charge authors a monthly fee to use their links without intrusive advertisements before customers can reach Amazon.com, Booklinker has JUST REVERSED their decision,

“Laurel A. Rockefeller,

This is just a quick email to let you know that we at BookLinker have reversed our decision to use advertising as a means to fund our service.

This means that all BookLinker links are now completely back to the way they were a few days ago – i.e. no advertising whatsoever.

After having reviewed the situation, we are now uninanmously committed to an ad-free BookLinker forever.

Many thanks to those of you who provided us with feedback, and we have already refunded everyone who had already signed up for the premium plan.

It was at least encouraging to realise just how much our service is appreciated!”

 

Will this change my marketing strategy?  Probably not; I already deleted every viewbook.at link address from my files.  But this does represent a clear victory for the power of  our voices.  Change DOES HAPPEN when we band together and say “no” to something.

 

Let us continue to use our voices together to make the market place more fair to everyone, removing all thoughts of competition from our mind and replacing these with a sense of community.  Together we all sell more books.  Together we all make a difference to our world.

Reblog: B&N Testing Espresso Book Machines

Yesterday I found this article about “Espresso” Book Machines on Publisher’s Weekly.

 

For those unfamiliar with the term, espresso book machines are essentially print-on-demand kiosks located in traditional book-and-mortar bookstores.  That Barnes and Noble is testing these machines at their Union Square store in Manhattan doesn’t surprise me at all.  It is a very long time coming and a market trend I saw as the future of paperback publishing many months ago.  As a former Brooklynite, I appreciate the specific store B/N is testing these at.  It’s a great location (right next to Petco) that gets extra traffic from the famous Union Square farmer’s market which is always crowded and directly across from Beth Israel hospital.

 

Here is the Publisher’s Weekly text in full:

Barnes & Noble is the latest bricks-and-mortar bookselling operation to become involved with the Espresso Book Machine. The country’s largest bookstore chain recently began a test of the system at three of its outlets—its New York City store at Union Square plus stores in Paramus, N.J, and Willow Grove, Pa.

According to a company spokesperson, customers will be able to make a physical print book of a hard-to-find book, a public domain title or self publish a book. “The purpose of the test,” the spokesperson said, “is to gauge consumer interest.”

“[The pilot] is part of our continued program to grow our base of machines. We’re delighted to be testing our machines in Barnes & Noble. We’ve gone from indies to multi-retailers,” said Dane Neller, CEO of EBM maker On Demand Books.

Books-A-Million installed two Espresso machines last November and the print-on-demand system has been used by a number of independent booksellers for several years, although some store owners have replaced the Espresso with other options.

Neller told PW that On Demand will continue to look at other retail channels, including those outside the book business. By the end of the year he anticipates having close to 100 machines in retail stores.

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