Every Day Book Marketing is Easy, Fast and Effective

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Authors: Use the Power of FREE and Create Super Fans for Your Books

How to Turn a Freebie Lover Into a Super Fan
A feImage Courtesy of Chapperal HSw years ago I worked on a project with Days of Our Lives. For those of you who grew up with soap operas (or maybe still try to catch them from time to time) you know that this show has been on the air for 47-odd years. A couple of years ago they released a book, a coffee table book celebrating 45 years of the show. It was a big, pricey, coffee table book, and most bookstores couldn’t keep it in stock. In fact, the publisher went back for many, many printings of it. A funny backstory of this is that initially Barnes & Noble didn’t order enough books, figuring no one would buy them. Clearly, someone should have done some market research. Amazon stocked up, and stocked up heavily, and once Barnes & Noble sold out, guess where soap fans went?

So, I was at the Daytime Emmy Awards in Vegas during this book release time and, prior to the start of the awards show, I was outside the auditorium as many of the fans started arriving. Hundreds of them had been there for hours. I was walking around with the Days book when a woman walked up to me. She asked, “Are you with the show?” Before I had a chance to say no, she launched into a particular issue she was having with Days. She said that several of the sets were reusing the throw pillows and it was distracting to her to see them used over and over again in different houses. Now, you might think this was creepy, that someone noticed something like that, but I see something very different here. I see a Super Fan. You want someone to notice the throw pillows because that means that they not only care about what you’re offering, but they care enough to tell you how to make it better, and, they care enough to support whatever it is that you’re doing.

When you think about creating Super Fans, I think that we can all take a lesson from the Soap Opera market. These actors spend an inordinate amount of time visiting with fans, having lunches with them, sending them correspondence, responding to them on social media (and most, if not all of them, manage their own social media accounts).

With all of the options we have for television these days, soaps should have died out years ago, but they haven’t. Why? The Super Fan.

How can you build a Super Fan? Well, it starts with free (which we discussed in the last issue) and it continues with engagement.

Creating the Super Fan

In one test case, we asked one of our authors to put up a blog post about who she’d cast if her book became a movie. Her fans loved it and she got a ton of comments.

The fact is that 83% percent of Americans want to write a book, and 100% of those authors have dreamed of their book becoming a movie or a TV series. This post resonated with readers visually and also keyed in to their core interest of becoming an author and living the dream.
Then, we took this a step further. We added character profiles to the site: Pictures of the characters along with snippets about them:  http://www.thepublicistnovel.com/about-the-book

I’ve also encouraged this author to pull together a playlist for her book and to ask fans for the songs they think fit with the characters.

Then, we also had trading cards made for the book. You can get these done at GotPrint, and I had them designed on 99Designs for $150.

Easy. I also had them done for my How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon. I have taken both of these sets of cards to events and authors *love* them. In fact, I just took 200 cards of each to ASJA, and I figured I’d wind up taking a bunch home with me but they were gobbled up.

The next step was to take these trading cards (for the fiction book) and send them to every blogger or reader who had reviewed the book. The result? Raves on Twitter, along with a post from a blogger who had taken a picture of the cards.

I also did this with the Amazon cards (sending them to reviewers) and they *loved* this!

Oh, and remember that letter to readers we put in the back of the book? Well, readers responded (some just wrote reviews and did not email, but others did both). To those fans who emailed the author, we offered to let them read book three (the final book in the series) in galley form to get their feedback on the book. Feedback from readers who love you? You bet. Guess what? They loved it. Some posted it to their Facebook page and told all their friends, others tweeted on it. This small gesture made readers feel important, and we all want to feel like we matter, don’t we?

Why does all of  this work? Clearly there’s some fun engagement going on but it’s  more than that: We’re really taking the time to spend time with our readers, even if it’s just virtually.

It takes very little to respond to an email. I mean I get emails from authors wanting advice all the time. I try to respond to many, if not all. It takes a few minutes, but the process of connecting with a reader in a really honest way can benefit you ten-fold.

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Understanding the Metric of Free

Last issue we talked about the power of free and how you can use free to drive your success. We had a book we were promoting as a 2-day freebie. In those two days the book generated 61,000 downloads.  Out of that, the author got a couple of hundred emails from readers (and this happened almost immediately) who had read and loved the book and were encouraged to write to her (thanks to the letter in the back of the book!).

This author decided to take this process a step further and she wrote back to all the readers, telling them that they’d been included in her Exclusive Reader Club which means that they would get access to her next book, for free, just for writing (and posting a review, although she did not ask them for a good one, just that they post a review). This model helps to build a community with readers. She also invited the readers who wrote to invite up to ten of their friends to join this “club” and again, the “cost” of entry was a review. She didn’t even tell them to buy the book, if the reader felt that $1.99 was an unfair price, she’d send it to them for free.

Now this might seem counterintuitive to you, but what she’s doing is building solid rapport with her readers, building trust, and also being fair. She wants a review but if you don’t want to buy the book, you don’t have to. To date, no one has asked for a freebie. Why? Because they came into this “funnel” through a friend. A friend tells them about the book and “you should sign up for book three for free,” and since we trust our friends, we know that they probably know what we like. We’ll see where this winds up when her next book comes out, but for now, this is turning out to be a great way to build an eager tribe of Super Fans.

Own the Shelf

In a world where anyone can publish and many do, you really need to own the shelf – your shelf, your genre. How can you do that? By publishing a lot. Now, keep in mind that short is the new long so these don’t have to be long books.

In fact a few weeks ago I talked to a publisher who told me that a word count between 20,000 and 50,000 was their sweet spot. They said that they sell a ton of books at that word count. This does not mean that they don’t publish full-length books because they do. But sometimes you just want a quick read, right? So does your reader. Owning the shelf is not just key to exposure but also, if you’re trying to build your Super Fan empire, they’re going to want more of your books – and this is a great way to give your readers what they want.

Sell the Experience

I just finished a fantastic book by Nicholas Lovell called The Curve. If you haven’t read it I highly  encourage  you to do so. This  author talks about the Super Fan and goes on to say that technically, you only need 1,000 Super Fans to get a bestseller. I mean, think about it. A Super Fan will tell ten of their friends, maybe 100 or more. You’re more inclined to buy something when someone you trust recommends  it, right? Hence the Super Fan.

When I say “sell the experience” what I mean is that you use free to lower the barrier to entry, to build that Super Fan-dom and now what? Now it’s time to roll out things like Special Editions, Fan events (I had an author who planned a fan tea event at a local tea shop and it was a huge hit). Sure, you can do a book signing and those are great, but sell the experience. You want each of your fans to feel special, right? Make them feel special. People will pay for an experience.

Consider Starbucks. Twenty years ago if someone had told me I’d be dishing out $5 for a latte I’d tell them they were crazy (and I’m not even sure I knew what a latte was back then). Starbucks charges between $3 and $5 for a specialty beverage, you’d think that at some point their success would drop off, but it does not seem to be declining. Starbucks sells an experience and so should you.

To create a wildly successful book, you need Super Fans. And whether you liked it or hated it, the insane success of the book Fifty Shades of Grey was largely due to the Super Fans who loved this book so much that they shared it with their friends and enthusiastically recommended it to their friends on social media.

Super Fans are golden, whether they are recommending a book or telling you about the throw pillows – you should cherish each and every one of them. Oh, and I did get the message to Days, and the throw pillows were changed. I bet that fan was thrilled!

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Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

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Become an “author-preneur”

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Q: Why Do We Need A Strong Social Media Presence?

Hurry_Time_iStockI am always taken aback when I hear this question. But then I think of how many people have commented on the time social media takes from their day, so I briefly answered with a few of the benefits social media can offer and listed “5 Tips For A  Time-Saving Social Media Strategy”

~~~~~Click to Tweet~~~~~

A: Times have changed. Today our community is much larger and if you’re going to build your author platform or sell books you have to create a global image for yourself and your book. Doing it through social media is economical, efficient and wide-reaching. Through social media networking you can increase your reader sales and fanbase, attract visitors to your site and find the attention for your work you’re looking for.

Consider these ideas for saving some time creating your targeted audience on social media:

1.   Prioritize Your Day – Who says you have to check-in with your tweeps first thing?

2.   Time Yourself – Decide how much time you’re going to spend on social media and stick to it. Is 15, 20 or 30 minutes all you’re going to allow yourself? Good, you’ve got a busy day ahead of you.

3.   Use RSS Feeds – Deliver fresh content to Twitter, Facebook and more by sharing your blog posts automatically every time you publish. Set this up quickly and easily using Dlvr.it  

4. Preschedule Tweets and Posts – Your name, book and message can appear online automatically sporadically throughout the day when you set up instant posts via Timely.is orHootSuite. This way your identity is kept before your audience, seen by a wider group of people and you don’t have to continually take the time out of your day to initiate the activity.

5.   Comment and Sign It – There are other social platforms besides Twitter and Facebook. Set aside a block of time a day or two each week to visit other blogs, discussion boards and groups. Comment on a post and remember to leave your signature complete with your name, book title and web or blog site address. 

Related Post: What Social Media Can Do For You (Infographic)

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Do Author Signings Work?

Are You Taking Advantage of Your Contacts?

growing up writing


Marketing is time consuming, there’s no doubt about it, but the benefits are about far more than selling a few books.

From two signings I have sold books, sure, but what I didn’t expect were the associated benefits.


Here’s the list:

1.  I met Nick who works in the bookshop where my signings took place. His day job is as a journalist with a local radio station. I donated half a dozen books and he promoted Dirt Busters in prime time. His promotions manager also contacted me.

2.  I met Steve who is also an Indie Author. We met later for coffee and it turns out he is a motivational coach in his spare time. His day job is with local schools where he runs Outdoors Programs. He is going to help me set up and run Writers Retreats for students.

3.  I met Janet who bought Dirt Busters fir…

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Using hashtags… the RIGHT way By Jo Linsdell

With over 255 million monthly active users Twitters news stream can get overwhelming. Hashtags are a great way to find and be found in the sea of tweets. On Twitter, hashtags are used to highlight keywords and categorise your tweets. There are lots of companies that study statistics, behaviour, and tweets on Twitter and their research confirms that tweets with hashtags get more engagement than those without. One study carried out by Dan Zarella found that tweets with one or more hashtags are 55 percent more likely to get retweeted.

Unfortunately a lot of people don’t know who to use them though. Adding #a #hashtag #to #every #word is just plain annoying and offers no benefits at all. They need to be used the right way.

Hashtags can be a great way to mark yourself as an expert in your field and also help you reach your target audience. They help your tweets show up in search results and make it easier for readers to find your content.

So what hashtags should you be using?

~~~~~Click To Tweet~~~~~

As your main goal is to build your author brand and sell more books, you need to think of keywords related to your niche and the topic of your book. You’ve probably already done this exercise when you where writing your book description and picking which categories your book would be labelled under. Take those keywords and use them in your tweets. By singling in on a few hashtags related to your niche you can build name recognition around those terms. When people think of that word they think of you as your tweets come up regularly in searches on that topic.

Hashtags are also used to make it easier to follow conversations on Twitter. Live chats happen all the time on Twitter and can be a great way to reach a new audience and connect with new readers.

using hashtags the right way infographic2Pin on Pinterest

If you host an interview or get interviewed in a live Twitter chat you should create a unique hashtag of your own to make it easier for readers to follow along and interact with you during the event. Using a tool like www.TweetChat.com is useful for following a specific hashtag during a live event.

Are you using hashtags to make your content stand out on Twitter? Do you have a unique hashtag specifically for tweets about your book? What hashtag are you most likely to be found tweeting?

Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator and internationally recognized marketing expert. She is also the founder and organizer of the annual online event “Promo Day” (www.PromoDay.info) and the Writers and Authors blog http://WritersAndAuthors.blogspot.com). Her latest release How to be Twittertastic is available now from all Amazon stores. To find out more about Jo and her projects visit her website http://www.JoLinsdell.com.

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Introducing How to be Twittertastic by Jo Linsdell

VBTbannerHowtobeTwittertasticRAbout the book: Are you ready to be Twittertastic? Twitter is the most immediate of all social media and allows you to connect with readers and others from the literary industry from all over the world. The fastest growing network with a 44% growth from 2012-2013 Twitter now boosts 255 million monthly active users. How to be Twittertastic teaches you what Twitter is and how to use it to  build your author brand, connect with readers, and sell more books. Learn strategies and tips that will help you leverage your Twitter presence and get the most out of your tweets.

What’s covered:

  • How to set up your profile and personalise it
  • Creating your network
  • Ideas for making the most out of the new features
  • Tweets- Types of content you can share
  •  Retweets, hashtags, and other Twitter terminology made simple
  •  Twitter etiquette- Dos and Don’ts of the Twitterverse
  •  Time savers

twitter_tweet_this_65band more… How to be Twittertastic is the first book in the Writers and Authors Guide to Social Media series.

  • Release date: 1st July 2014
  • Product Details: Kindle
  • File Size: 2191 KB
  • Print Length: 94 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Purchasing links:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00LFFRYEE http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00LFFRYEE http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00LFFRYEE http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00LFFRYEE

Author bio: Jo Linsdell is a best selling author and illustrator and internationally recognized marketing expert. She is also the founder and organizer of the annual online event “Promo Day” (www.PromoDay.info) and the Writers and Authors blog (http://WritersAndAuthors.blogspot.com). To find out more about Jo and her projects visit her website http://www.JoLinsdell.com. Author website: http://www.JoLinsdell.com

Goodreads book page: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00LFFRYEE

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/657184934375734/

Social Media Links:





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You can also see Jo’s guest post “Using Hashtags…the right way” this Thursday, 7/17 here on Book World Marketing.


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46 Top Websites to Promote Your Book for FREE

Too many authors overlook the benefits of FREE or they offer their book in a Giveaway2giveaway but don’t promote the event. Then they figure they’ve proven their point. If you don’t promote you might just as well not bother!

Savvy Writers & e-Books online

Book Store Stand out Against Thousands of Books

Added June 23, 2013:

Dear Reader:  This list of websites, which we compiled in March 2012, grew in the meantime to almost 100.  Please visit our two new blog posts with even more possibilities to announce your work for free:



All three blog posts are officially copyright registered.  To link to our blog posts, and let your own readers know about these websites, please use the RE-BLOG link on top of this page. Thanks!  Please learn about re-blogging here:


Original Article from March 11, 2012:

1. Goodreads
Use your free membership to promote yourself and your books. Reviews are essential and reviews on Goodreads site help your book to really stand out to millions of visitors.

2. Wattpad
Wattpad has experienced explosive growth since its inception and has become the world’s most popular destination to publish and…

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Your Best marketing Tools

Promote-Graphic-TWO-5Top 10 Mistakes Every Author Should Avoid
As any author discovers, there’s plenty of free advice out there for what they should – and shouldn’t do – when publishing a book. If I had to create a Top 10 list of mistakes authors should avoid at all costs, I’d focus on the following topics, because these omissions can really set you and your book back:

1. Not Understanding the Publishing Industry: Writing a book does not guarantee you readers. Before you publish, do some research – who are your competitors? What do they publish? How is your genre faring in the industry right now? Knowing your market is vital to finding and connecting with readers, receiving book reviews, and getting book sales.

2. Not Realizing Book Covers are Key: Readers and book buyers spend only seconds looking at book covers, and many of them now view thumbnail-size images online. Investing in a professionally designed cover by someone who understands book design and the publishing industry is a smart move. If you can’t capture people’s attention with a strong cover, you’ve likely lost a prospective reader and buyer. You’ve put a lot of work into writing your book; apply the same philosophy to your book cover.

3. Not Knowing That Editing is Your Best Marketing Tool: There are at least 300,000 books published each year, according to Bowker. With all that competition, you want your book to be the best you can make it. A poorly edited book will not gain you readers, reviewers, or fans. If your book is your resume, what kind of message are you sending if your book is full of errors? This is the most common complaint about self-published books: lack of quality control, aka, editing.

4. Not Getting Good Advice: Sure, your mom and your friends support what you do wholeheartedly – but what do they know about publishing and promoting a book? There are so many reputable, free resources available to authors for every phase of their publishing journey – from blogs to social media groups to online forums and more. Take advantage of these resources, ask questions, learn from others, and share your insights.

5. Not Working Your Market: One great thing about social media is it really does let you find people who read books in your genre. And you can cultivate these readers in a number of ways beyond buying, reading, and reviewing your book. Why not seek beta readers from your market before you publish? Many authors have successfully built a stable of pre-publication beta readers who offer their insights. Beta readers are not editors – while they may find a grammatical error or typo, what they really do is help an author understand if the story works, if it’s authentic.

6. Forgetting That It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint: If you’re going to publish a book, you have to be in it for the long haul. Those “overnight” success stories are never true. By the time you’ve heard of the author they’ve already put in years working on their writing, getting published, and building a following. Approach your marketing with the long-term in mind.

7. Not Knowing That Timing Matters: This is where a writing, publishing, and marketing plan comes in handy. If you want reviews, you need to build that into your publication schedule because if you seek major review sites or publications, they’ll want a copy of your book at least two to three months before it’s published. If you want a distributor for your book, it’s going to take some time for them to get your book placed. Work out these dates in a flexible plan (to cover for anything that will go awry, this does happen) for publishing your book.

8. Overlooking the Importance of Your Website: Your website is your 24/7 sales hub, and unless you know how to convert web visitors into buyers, you should find a professional to design your site. DIY websites rarely sell books, nor do they help an author’s ranking in Google search. These things matter, and that’s why having your friend’s teenage son design your site is probably not a good idea – unless he knows all about web conversion and SEO.

9. Not Building Relationships: Are you getting book reviews, interviews, or other coverage? If so, be sure to thank them for taking the time to review your book or interview you. These not-so-little things do matter in the long haul. These are people you can approach for your second, third, and subsequent books – and your requests will be successful if you’ve taken the time to build relationships. I can’t believe how rarely authors take the time to say thank you, when that little step can go a long way toward developing a following.

10. Not Trusting Your Team: If you’re hiring people to help you publish and/or market your book, trust their advice. You chose them for a reason (I hope), so take advantage of their expertise. Look for someone with a good track record in the industry who understands the market. Then let them do what you’ve hired them to do – otherwise, what’s the point?

Publishing and promoting a book is a huge challenge, and authors often feel overwhelmed by a myriad of choices. But focusing on a few key areas can be the difference between a book that finds traction versus one that gets lost in the crowd. In the end, it’s worth the time to invest in your book, your team, and your promotion.

Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

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Social Media Myths (Infographic)

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