Monday, December 27, 2010

Selling Your Soul to Market Your Book

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If you are a new author, you need to make smart choices about where to invest your marketing efforts without breaking the bank. If you have considered hiring a marketing expert, you need to know that what they guarantee is exposure, not book sales. YOU are your own best (and most motivated) marketing expert. Here are the most effective ways to market your first book...and a couple of things that usually don’t result in a lot of sales:


Radio Interviews: You may not sell a million books as a result of a couple of radio interviews, but it is a great experience. Be sure to get one of your interviews from the radio station's website as an MP-3 audio and post it on your own website.

Book Reviews: Get friends and family to post reviews of your book on However, you will probably find it difficult to get book reviews in a timely manner, so it is possible to hire a publicist to help you obtain book reviews (ask me who you should hire). Many people would not look at a book with only two five-star reviews. Definitely money well spent.

Also, as I have mentioned before, the inside-the-book program on Amazon is excellent. The plain and simple truth is that many readers won’t buy the book if they can’t look inside it, and if they don’t already know the author.


Email blast. You can easily spend around $250 on an email marketing campaign. Spending this kind of money with no way to measure and document the campaign’s success is not the best way to go.

I have also known an author who emailed her book cover and relevant information to all the libraries and independent bookstores in the United States and Canada. This type of campaign usually costs around $400 and results in little or no sales.

Remember--you need a good website, blog, and social networking site to connect with people. You also need to be willing to get out and speak to the public about your book. Keep writing things about which you are passionate, and then develop a marketing strategy that works. 

Monday, December 20, 2010

5 Attributes of a Title That Sells

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An innovative book title should be distinctive and hook the reader. It is what makes a shopper grab your book from the shelf and open it to the inside flap to learn more. The jacket cover can finish the job of convincing him/her that your story is worth reading. Your job is to create a title that grabs the attention of the reader. Here are five things to consider when naming your book:

Catchy--Your book title should be catchy. A potential reader will often spend only 5 minutes in a bookstore grabbing a book on his/her lunch break, or on the way to catch a flight. An author needs to work hard to make the 30 seconds spent looking at the book’s cover turn into the decision to buy that book.

Fitting--Your book title should fit the book. It should give the potential reader a clue about what the book will be about.

Brief--Your book title should convey a message, but not be too long as to bore potential readers. They should be able to read your title at a glance, requiring no time at all for it to register with the brain. The DaVinci Code is a good example of a short title. Brevity is a virtue.

Compelling--Your book title should captivate the potential reader, initiating a response of interest and curiosity. Find intriguing aspects of your story that your readers can visualize, and then use those words in the title.

Unique--Try to make your title different from others. Do a quick search online to make sure that the title you are considering hasn’t been used before. Global Books in Print is an excellent bibliographic tool with millions of titles in its database. The more unique the title, the more it will stand out from the rest.

Don’t ever hesitate to rely on the expertise and editorial changes of your editor or publisher. They are your best resource when it comes to marketing and publishing.  Although creating the most marketable title definitely takes some work, having the right title can make a world of difference when it comes to book sales—because people DO in fact judge a book by its cover!

Monday, December 13, 2010

5 Writing Exercises You Can Do Every Day

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Writing exercises are an invaluable way to keep you writing every single day (even when you really don’t feel like it). There are many different writing exercises that you can do to keep the words and ideas flowing, but here are 5 simple exercises that you can do every day:

One of the best daily writing exercises is journaling. Keeping a journal is an easy way to express your writing goals and ideas. Journaling has been proven to be an effective way to brainstorm when you are at a loss for a writing subject.  Another good writing exercise is to describe a photo. Choose one photo or image each day and write about it. This challenges you to put your visual ideas into words.

You can also commit to writing a daily blog, if you don’t mind letting others read your thoughts. This is a good writing exercise, as long as you focus on quality writing and not on the blog development itself.  Another good writing exercise begins with a good book. Pick a book by your favorite author and take a sentence from it. Use that sentence as the start of a very short story and write one per day.

A fun writing activity is the “fortunately, unfortunately” exercise. Write a line that starts with “fortunately” and then write a line following it that starts with “unfortunately.” Continue this pattern through an entire page of writing. This exercise often makes you laugh, which helps make writing fun again.

These daily writing exercises can be done in less than an hour. Committing at least that much time each day can greatly improve your writing and benefit you as an author. So write on, writer!

Monday, December 6, 2010

3 Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills

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Even if you have a good grasp of basic writing concepts, you should always strive to be a better writer. While there are many writing clinics, boot camps and daily writing exercises awaiting your spare time, there are other ways to improve your writing that do not require great quantities of time and money. You should definitely work to develop your own process and use methods that inspire you, but when you are short on time and energy, here are 3 easy ways to immediately improve your writing skills:

One of the keys to being a good writer is to be an avid reader! Finding authors whose work you devour and love can teach you many things about how to write. You can learn what attracts you stylistically, what subjects really grab your attention, and conversely, what annoys you. Typically, the way to create your best work is to write about what you love, and there is certainly nothing wrong with emulating an author whom you admire.

Another effective way to improve your writing skills is to memorize correct grammar and punctuation rules. Not only does correct grammar show that you are professional and competent, but it will also make your writing look cleaner. A writing style manual is one of the best investments you can make to fine-tune your grammar and punctuation.

Finally, another effective way to improve your writing skills is to solicit a little constructive criticism from your friends and family. Select people that you can trust to intelligently analyze your work and who will give their honest opinions. While it makes you feel good to hear that you are an amazing writer, a candid evaluation is often the best way to recognize any flaws in your work and ultimately improve as a writer.

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