Over the past year we have seen a positive growth in bookstores opening (up 23%), increased paper book sales (up 20%) and decrease in eBook sales (19%). At the same time, we see many companies moving towards creating new digital ways for readers to get their information, wither it is books, news or social media. But what does any of this have to do with you?
While companies are increasing the way people get to their information, no matter if it is digital or physical, that gives you an opportunity to promote and sell your book(s). However, no matter how many opportunities you have, if you do not take advantage of them, you will not see an increase in sales.
For a first time author, they have to work 2-3 times harder than someone who has 3 or more books. The new author has to build a following, which means getting out there in every possible way to let people know you exist. In 2015 the estimate for published books was 1.2 million. For 2016, the estimate is 1.4 million books published. That means you are small drop of water in the ocean. The author must combine molecules together so that they can rise above the sea of confusion and become a torrential storm.
Thus, when you are paying for a service or goods, would you not use it? Do you go to a doctor to learn what’s wrong or how to live better only to ignore them? Do you go to a grocery store and buy food only to walk to a trash can and throw it away? Of course not! So why would you pay for a service and not take advantage of it?
It does not matter if you are a self-published author, a small press author or even with a big 3 publishing firm. You still have to let the world know that you and your book(s) exist!
TxAuthors is designed to help you with that process. To be clear, we are here to HELP YOU not to do it for you! We have a lot of information on our web site about social media, new programs, new partnerships, everything that can help you get the word out about your book. But that means squat if you don’t take advantage of it!
I work hard to find the latest trends, the newest way to promote an author or book, and even to take old ways and make them fresh and new. But, if you don’t take advantage of this, you are wasting your time and money.
Those who DO take advantage of the programs are seeing success and increased sales. They are finding the joy in writing because the success motivates them to write more. They find that by their third and fourth book, they don’t have to work as hard to make sales. The snowball effect is taking hold and they are growing, becoming stronger and better at their endeavors. They are becoming a storm that readers welcome with open arms, as if a draught has lingered for years.
Success comes from stepping out of your comfort zone and taking chances. The old saying, it takes money to make money is true. I get that authors in general, cannot afford to do a lot. That’s why we offer payment plans. I have spent over $6,000 of my own money to help Texas Authors succeed. That’s how much I want YOU to succeed!
Our Pop Up bookstore has helped spread the word about Texas Authors by giving them an opportunity to have their book(s) be in cities that they cannot get to. We have given members the opportunity to be seen by hundreds if not thousands of people through the year. This is just one of the many programs we create to help you. But it is just part of the package.
All of my time and effort means squat if you don’t take advantage of the programs, events and advertising opportunities that we offer you. Too many authors expect us to sell their books for them and are disappointed when we don’t meet their illusions. That’s not what we are here for. We are here to HELP YOU market and sell your books! Take advantage of our hard work so you can succeed, we dare you!
Here is a recap of what is available to you:
American Booksellers Association – we report our book sales to the ABA which is the Indy Booksellers. This helps get them to know you exist, but only when book sales are done through us. No other book seller you are listed with does this at a rate that actually makes more money for you.
Celebration of Authors Event – A weekend of marketing seminars designed for Authors. Learn a variety of tools that will help you succeed. There is no other organization that offers these type of seminars designed for Authors. Cost is currently at $90 and will increase to $150 for the seminars and dinner.
Lone Star Book Festival – October 1 & 2, 2016 - With a $50 deposit, you can start getting 10 months’ worth of advertising. Then after paying off the extremely low booth fee ($300 for members, and less if you split the booth), you can have access to thousands of potential readers that will see our advertising and that will attend the event.
Texas Short Story Contest & the Annual Book Contest – opportunities to show the world your writing skills that help increase readership and knowledge of you and your books. Through the sale of the Shor Story book, we have increased our market share through the advertising and promotion of the book.
State Fair of Texas – The first year that the GoTexan pavilion had a dedicated section of books by Texas Authors. We plan on increasing that our presence next year. While sales are slow, the advertising was huge! Thousands of people went through that store and had the opportunity to view those books and learn about them for purchase later. $50 per title cost meant less than a penny per person on advertising.
DEAR Texas – We are working with book stores around the state to get authors into them, this includes Barnes & Noble and Indies, along with getting you into schools and libraries. With our book fund campaign, we are able to purchase Texas Authors books and distribute them into people’s hands who will become your fans. This is a free program to authors.
Texas Authors Institute – You can write the history of your own book to live on forever. For TxAuthor members, their books are available for sale through this organization. No other author has that privilege. This is a free program to authors.
American Library Association and the Texas Library Association. – Two organizations that can be of great value when finding new readers. We work closely with them to help get you and your book into libraries.
Partnerships – We are building partnerships with organizations around the state to make us stronger and more viable for when we do go outside the state to promote Texas Authors.
TxAuthors is constantly looking for ways to market and sell you and your book(s) for the best possible price we can.
I fully understand that you can’t afford to do much, but if you’re not selling books, you will never afford to do anything. Being involved in programs is critical to your success, even when it seems that nothing came from it. But you are missing the point. Advertising is the key to marketing and if you don’t advertise your book, no one will ever know it exists.
There are more bestseller lists than ever and the ramifications for publishing remain unclear
By John Maher, with reporting by Rachel Deahl and Claire Kirch | Nov 03, 2017
Bestseller lists have long been powerful marketing tools for the industry. In short, they sell books. But they have proliferated, with more lists that group books according to different metrics, and industry insiders are wondering whether they wield as much power as they used to. When nearly any title can be called a bestseller, does becoming a bestseller still matter?
Though insiders we spoke with agreed unanimously that the term “bestseller” still means something to readers, they disagreed on how lists affect the market and what actually defines a bestseller.
Historically, bestseller lists were broken down along two major lines: format and category. The largest groupings were nonfiction and fiction. Those groups were then broken down by the three major print formats: hardcover, trade paperback, and mass market paperback. The introduction of the fourth format—e-books—disrupted the way bestseller lists are compiled, as it did many other parts of the industry. Because e-books are predominantly sold online and not in stores, their sales can’t be tracked in the same way that print sales are: by collecting data from physical retailers.
Further complicating the bestseller list landscape was Amazon’s introduction of multiple bestseller lists. The e-tailer, which tracks sales of its titles in real time, publishes a wealth of lists, broken down by format and also by multiple subcategories. There are “overall” print and Kindle bestsellers on the site, but also numerous subcategories like “Crafts, Hobbies & Home,” “Humor & Entertainment,” and “Law.”
The sources of the data on which the lists are based also complicate their interpretation. The New York Times famously pulls data for its lists from a select and secret sample of retailers, and Amazon, while reporting its print sales, does not, for the most part, disclose sales of e-books. The lists that are arguably the most transparent, like PW’s, rely on NPD BookScan’s point-of-sale data, which tracks 80%–85% of print sales in the country but doesn’t include data on e-book sales. Other news outlets, such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, run their own lists, and organizations like the American Booksellers Association produces multiple lists, including an overall list of bestsellers in ABA bookstores and regional lists.
The sheer number of lists and Amazon’s decision not to widely share its e-book sales figures (despite the fact that BookScan has for years asked the company to take part in its sales aggregation program) means that there is not a true national bestseller list that can definitively identify what the top-selling books are across all formats in a particular week. As a result, there’s some confusion about what the designation “bestseller” really means. “Even when it comes to ‘national bestseller,’ it seems that we don’t have a consensus [about the meaning of the term],” said one agent, who asked to remain anonymous. “Not that long ago, it meant a lot if you said a book was a bestseller. Why? Because a select number of books earned that accolade, and we all understood and agreed what it meant.” Now, he said, he worries that the multiplicity of lists has “watered down” the designation.
“Every publisher must make a decision on when to refer to a book as a bestseller,” said Bill Wolfsthal, executive v-p of sales and marketing at Skyhorse Publishing. “Was it a bestseller on Amazon for a day? Is it a bestseller if it makes a bestseller list for independent bookstores? In those decisions, good judgement and common sense rules the day. No publisher wants to mislead a reader, but we are all fighting to get attention for our books.” Whether the bestseller tag even really drums up attention is also a point of debate. “As long as it has an XYZ in front of it—as in New York Times bestseller, USA Today bestseller, or Wall Street Journal bestseller, I do think it carries weight with the reader,” agent Kristen Nelson said. “If it just says ‘bestselling author,’ I do think readers tend to perceive the moniker with some skepticism.”
Ironically for booksellers, titles dubbed bestsellers aren’t necessarily popular with customers. Vivien Jennings, who owns Rainy Day Books in Fairway, Kans., said that bestseller lists “draw attention” to books, but that attention doesn’t necessarily translate into sales. Anmiryan Budner, a bookseller at Main Point Books in Wayne, Pa., said the real sales boosters are good reviews; coverage in high-profile media such as NPR, 60 Minutes, and morning TV shows; and word-of-mouth.
The Times list, for its part, has been the subject of some controversy in the industry. Historically it has been seen as the list with the most caché. But the secrecy of the formula the paper uses to compile its list has long created frustrations in the industry, with complaints over the years that it does not offer an accurate picture of what’s actually selling. About half of those we spoke to referred to the Times’ list as the “premier” list, the “gold standard,” and the “crown jewel.” Others said it was not the kingmaker it once was.
“I would say that the Times in general, like any media outlet in digital, print, and broadcast, does not have the same impact in terms of driving book sales that it once did,” said Knopf’s Paul Bogaards. Nonetheless, he said, publishers still rely heavily on the name: “Clearly, publishers still believe in visibly branding their books with ‘New York Times’ or ‘national bestseller.’ Have a look at the covers of some titles in the marketplace right now. [Many] are festooned with the bestseller copy.”
Carol Fitzgerald, president of the Book Report Network, admitted that she still believes “everybody wants the Times list more than anything else.” Despite this, she prefers “lists that are actually based in sales; no algorithms, just sales.” She added: “That’s really what a bestseller is, isn’t it? How it’s sold.”
While the proliferation of bestseller lists is a worry for some, reducing the number does not seem to be the preferred response. Many of the sources we contacted said they are upset that the Times cut a number of category bestseller lists. “Eliminating a bestseller list in a strong and previously established category—as happened for YA and graphic novels, for example—feels like a step in the wrong direction,” agent Laura Rennert said. A fellow agent, Barbara Poelle, said: “I feel like there isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t lament, curse, howl over the loss of the mass market and YA e-book lists in the New York Times.”
To Karen Auerbach of Kensington, the Times’ decision to cut those lists was more than a slight: she sees it as a serious business error. “I think the Times removing their lists has created an opportunity for the other bestseller lists to fill that vacuum,” she said. “It creates a challenging environment without those [category] lists, which were important to the community. Without [those lists at] the New York Times, it makes the USA Today and PW lists more important. Because now there is a gap that PW and USA Today are filling.” A version of this article appeared in the 11/06/2017 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: Does Anybody Know What a Bestseller Is?
• January 25, 2016
• by Chloe of Written Word Media
The past few weeks have seen some great articles published on what to expect in the publishing world in 2016. If you haven’t had a chance to read Mark Coker’s, founder of Smashwords, or Jane Friedman of Publisher’s Weekly’s forecasts and predications for the coming year, fear not. We have read all of the articles written by industry professionals and top indie authors so you don’t have to. Below we have compiled a list of the trends that will impact indie authors the most, with specific takeaways on how you can best navigate them.
1. Indie authors will continue to take up a growing percentage of the market
Mark Coker from Smashwords discussed the growth of indie authored books, which are estimated to compose up to 20% of the book market. Indie books are continuing to take share from traditional publishers due to their consumer friendly pricing – indie titles retail at an average price of $2.99 to $3.99 while traditionally published books retail between $7.99 and $14.99. Readers are factoring price more and more into their purchasing decision and opting for high-quality, lower-priced (usually indie) titles over the more expensive titles put out by traditional publishers. The ability of indie authors to offer their books free, either for a limited time or as an intro to a series, is another advantage indies have over traditional publishers. Free is a very powerful discovery tool and one that readers are using more and more. Traditional publishers rarely offer their books for free, so all new titles and authors that are discovered through free promotions will be indies. All this combines for a growing market share for indies.
What this means for you: Continue to put out quality content at consumer friendly prices. Continue to leverage free promotions to spur discovery and lure readers away from pricey, traditionally published titles. Increasingly your competition won’t be traditionally published authors, but other indies.
2. Amazon cracks down on quality of content
As of February 3rd all eBooks offered for Amazon Kindle that have been reported to include typos, formatting issues, or other mistakes that lead to a poor reader experience will be removed from Amazon until the mistakes in question have been fixed. Readers attempting to purchase a title that has been reported to contain errors will be confronted with a message stating “Item Under Review”, and you will not be able to purchase the title.
What this means for you: Finding a great editor and formatter for your eBook just became even more important. There are a variety of repercussions here, including the failure of a marketing plan if your book is taken down in the middle of a paid promotion. Here are our 5 tips to make sure you comply with Amazon’s new guidelines.
3. Mobile internet usage continues to grow
Joanna Penn and Jane Friedman chatted about the global shift in internet usage to mobile devices, weighing in on the importance of websites and content that can be read easily on a mobile device. Between 2010 and 2014 smartphone internet usage was up 392%, and that percentage is only going to continue to rise.
What this means for you: Make sure your author website is mobile friendly. If your website is not mobile friendly it will be hard to navigate for up to 60% of your visitors.
4. Amazon borrows grow at the expense of sales
More readers are accessing books for “free” through the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL) and Kindle Unlimited (KU) than ever before. Fortune reports that Amazon Prime is now in 38% of American Households. Prime membership grew by 40 million members in December alone to reach an estimated 80 million people. One of the benefits of Prime membership is access to the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library that allows Amazon Prime members who read through a Kindle to choose one book from the library every month to read free. Similarly, Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service open to both Prime and non-Prime members. When you enroll in KDP Select, your books are automatically included in both Kindle Unlimited and The Owner’s Lending Library. What this means is that as more readers join Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited more and more books are being “borrowed” by readers instead of being bought. If you are not enrolled in KDP Select your book sales may suffer too as Amazon tends to give merchandising priority to books enrolled in KDP Select.
What this means for you: If your book is enrolled in KDP Select, you may see borrows going up at the expense of book sales. We are hearing from KDP Select authors that running a Bargain Booksy promotion has resulted in sales AND an increasing number of borrows, lending credence to this trend. If you are not enrolled in KDP Select, you will need to do all the legwork in promoting your book to readers, since Amazon won’t surface your books for you. You will have to leverage your reader community, social media and deal sites to push your book up the Amazon charts so readers on Amazon have the ability to discover your books.
5. Free works as a marketing technique- especially for series
A Smashwords survey found that series, consisting of at least three books, in which the first book is perma-free sold more copies overall. This year we interviewed Mark LeFebvre from Kobo Writer’s Life and he shared that 45%-55% of readers who download a book while it was free and read it, go on to purchase more titles by that author. These readers go on to become some of your biggest fans and paying customers.
What this means for you: If you are publishing a series or multiple series, make the first book in the series permanently free.
6. Email marketing is proving to be the most efficient way to drive sales
Traditional publishers and indie authors alike plan to invest time and money on reaching readers directly through email marketing in 2016. This is the most effective way to drive sales of your new titles, since you can control the message and know that you are hitting an audience that cares about your work. There are two email marketing tactics that publishing professionals will deploy in 2016: newsletters and book promotion services. You can only send a newsletter if you have a mailing list, which is why both indies and traditional publishers are investing in building their lists. In addition to growing personal lists, publishers and indies will continue to utilize ebook promotion services that have large lists to drive book sales and revenue growth. BookBub is the largest player in the book promotion space followed by companies like ours (Bargain Booksy, Freebooksy) who are continuing to invest in and grow their lists.
What this means for you: Look up the best promotion sites for your genre and come up with a promotional plan. Stack and stagger promotions to keep those sales rolling in. You should also start growing your own email list. Mailchimp is free until your reach 2000 subscribers, so they are a great place to start managing a list.
7. Physical book sales are on the rise
Physical books sales were up in 2015, proving that readers still like the feel of a book in their hands. Many of these books are purchased on Amazon, making offering your book available through print on demand services such as CreateSpace prudent. Additionally, one segment of the reader market that remains difficult for indie authors is placement in brick and mortar stores. We recommend designing and formatting your books for eBook and print, then contacting your local book stores to see if they would like to host an author event and stock your books.
What this means for you: Design your books for ebook and print and list them through CreateSpace in order to reach additional readers who don’t read ebooks. Order copies of your book and bring them around to local book stores; Indie Bookstores are sometimes willing to work with Indie Authors as well.
8. The International eBook market continues to grow
The international audience for eBooks is growing. The United States and Canada beat the rest of the world into the eBook trend with almost 30% of readers consuming eBooks. The United Kingdom has long been third on the list of eReading nations, but France, Germany, Italy, and Russia are seeing growth in the percentage of readers who enjoy eBooks.
What this means for you: One way to increase sales this year is to expand your distribution to include countries other than the United States and Canada. Most platforms (Kindle Direct Publishing, iTunes, Kobo) make it easy for you to distribute your book worldwide with a few clicks of your mouse. It’s time to make sure your books are available around the world.
9. Readers Cry: “More coloring books and bad boys!”:
Hey, it’s a fact of life that everybody likes to feel good, and what better ways are there to feel good than to sit down with a nice relaxation coloring book or particularly enticing erotic novel? Adult coloring books and erotic romances continue to be popular.
What this means for you: If you’re writing erotic romance, you’re going to see another good year as your genre continues to be very popular. If you’re already publishing coloring books you’re well-positioned to continue cashing in on this trend. If you’re thinking of entering the adult coloring book market, beware, as it is quickly becoming saturated with new players.
10. The world is starting to understand Indie Authorship as a choice
For years readers and the press assumed that the indie author was only publishing their works themselves because they couldn’t land a deal with a publishing house. They didn’t seem to understand that many authors were making the choice to stay indie, choosing to laud those who managed to “make it” into a traditional publishing deal. As the publishing industry continues to be watched by the masses, the truth behind the numbers is coming out and readers are starting to understand that being an indie author is often the most lucrative choice. Now we just need to convince the press to pay indie authors their due. Publisher’s Weekly believes that it will take a major news outlet like the New York Times Book Review consistently reviewing indie titles for a full industry shift to occur. Will 2016 be that year?
What this means for you: Keep writing and reach out to local press in your community to review your book.
The following article may not completely apply to you as an author, however, there are many attributes in the article you should read to get a better sense of our future readers. This, as a marketing concept, will prove valuable.
Originally printed Publisher Perspective by Porter Anderson on December 13, 2017
As 2017 draws to a close, Canadian reading and writing platform Wattpad has produced a series of readership trends based on its users behavior. These trends offer publishers some insights into the interests of Wattpad’s 60 million monthly users.
In terms of tech, for example, Wattpad Studios’ partnership chief Ashleigh Gardner says the second-screen phenomenon—in which television viewers simultaneously use mobile or other devices to share and interact with the content their are watching on TV—is becoming more influential.
“Even in binge-watching,” Gardner says, “people are going through content so fast. We see people wanting more” of a show they’re sharing. That’s the point at which fan-fiction writing kicks in and the writers and their readers on Wattpad basically keep the party going, extending and embellishing storylines, generating new action for characters and plot points. The second screen of choice, then, becomes the Wattpad app on which the viewers are searching out new work that appears almost as fast as they can search for it.
“They’re coming to Wattpad,” Gardner says, “to stay within the worlds of Riverdale [the CBS-Warner Bros. show based on Archie Comics] or Stranger Things [the Duffer Brothers’ show on Netflix]. Every show we see on TV, we find fan fiction about on Wattpad.”
It’s Riverdale that’s had the biggest response this year in Wattpad’s tracking of the action on the platform. Content based on that series peaked in terms of reading minutes by users in October, when the system recorded 7.9 million minutes on Riverdale-related material. Some 54,000 story uploads related to the show were counted throughout the year. Also in October, Stranger Things drew almost as many users, recording its own high of 7 million reading minutes in material related to that series.
But it would be a mistake to think that all is entertainment and TV gossip among the more-than 60 million readers and writers at Wattpad.
“It’s been great to see how our users are responding to social movements,” Gardner says, referring to a particularly strong uptake on the #NoMoreBullying movement. One example of this is a paranormal tale called #FatGirlMagic by the writer known as @ClaireKann and responding to the #BodyPositivity theme. Gardner’s team has seen as many as 8 million reading minutes per month going into material based in such widely hashtagged topics and interests.
A related such focus, for example, could be seen in #FreeTheLGBT, a push to increase the number of prominent LGBTQ characters in fiction, and this was a big one, with an average 13 million reading minutes monthly. As many as 2,500 new story uploads were made with the tag following the pride activities of June.
The writer known on the site as @Vapid_Ink scored big in 2017 with Vigilante rising to massive popularity in the action category: the story pulled more than 2 million reads. The #MeToo movement in sexual harassment awareness has been a major trend on Wattpad this year, but it’s so far been harder to track because the hashtag is applied less precisely than some others are. #MeToo can refer to many things, in other words, and not always to issues related to sexual harrassment.
Diversity interests in wider terms drove 4.8 million reading minutes a month to a “person of color” tag (#PoC) . The system tracked an 84-percent growth level during the year for genre stories with diverse characters, too. If publishers have needed any evidence to support a readership’s interest in more diverse character sets, look no farther than Toronto where they could see more than 30 million reading minutes monthly going into tags including #DiverseLit, #Diversity, and #LGBTQ+.
In 2018, Try Werewolf K-Pop Killer Clowns
Here are several more trends that Wattpad’s staffers are reporting tracking this year. Gardner confirms that some 70 percent of the platform’s active user base is female and remember that roughly 90 percent accesses the content on mobile devices.
• K-Pop has been especially popular among Spanish-language users of the platform, which supports some 50 languages. In January of this year, Latin American users shared 12,000 K-Pop story uploads and by July, that trend had increased to 21,000 story uploads. • English-language readers seem to love Korean music, too, hitting more than 50 million monthly minutes of K-Pop reading time for the first time in 2017.
• Zombies are an abiding passion for the mostly-millennial crowd of readers and writers at Wattpads, with the writer @CrystalScherer pulling in more than 600,000 reads since January for her The Virus Within.
• Werewolves, however, seem to be another unholy grail of popularity among horror and sci-fi fans on the platform. Some 196 million minutes each month went to werewolf stories–that’s more than 136,000 days of time–and that’s over a measly (by comparison) 13 million monthly minutes going to zombies.
• The preponderance of women’s readership on the platform can lead some to think that the whole picture there is romance, but in 2017, but in fact, romance-and-something combinations in terms of genre interests have gained grace this year among Wattpadders. Romance and action seems to have been a favored combo, with romance readers gravitating toward mafia stories and bad-boy bikers. As do we all, surely.
• As long as we’re in the neighborhood, material relating to the boy band Why Don’t We was attracting almost 20 million reading minutes (13,888 days) per month by August. This one is an especially global attraction according to the sites’ officials, who say they expect WDW fandom to reach even more feverish heights on the big platform in 2018.
• And as we’ve mentioned in earlier coverage, cannibals seem to have taken on special meaning for many Wattpad regulars. They and killer clowns were two surprise quick gainers on the site, rising in the stats to 9,000 story uploads in September and October.
‘They Want To Participate’
If any over-arching message is inherent in all the data coming in from Canada at the end of this year, it’s engagement.
Gardner was at the FutureBook conference in London on the first of December, shortlisted for this year’s Disruptor of the Year FutureBook Award sponsored by the Frankfurter Buchmesse. She heard Eliza Filby’s closing keynote, as covered by Publishing Perspectives, on the rising influence of Generation Z and listened carefully, of course, as that group’s readers now are moving into range of Wattpad’s offerings—the minimum age for participation on the site is 13.
“While we’re extremely popular with millennials,” Gardner says, “we’re seeing more and more of the younger group on the platform, too. The 13-to-16 group is a flourishing community online, and that ties into a lot of what Eliza was talking about.
“They’re not just consumers,” she says, “they want to participate, they want to write their own stories. We see readers who want to write their own stories. They want to be heard. They want to consume the art their friends are creating. They don’t want celebrities to be out of reach, they want to be able to reach out to them,” as readers at Wattpad interact with their authors.
And there’s one more thing that publishers might do well to mull along with the wine over the holidays: speed to market. One of the most striking elements of success at Wattpad is how quickly new content arrives for readers on the platform in reaction to real-world events. Much as we see in the second-screen dynamic, the readers and writers of Wattpad are working far, far faster than much of trade publishing is used to working.
“They’re not just consumers. They want to participate, they want to write their own stories. They want to be heard. They want to consume the art their friends are creating.”Ashleigh Gardner
Gardner recalls #AlexFromTarget, the cashier whose photo went viral. “Its fascinating to see how quickly people will start to write stories about news stories or memes” for the platform. “A girl had secretly taken a photo of her checkout guy at Target, and he became a teen-heartthrob. The amount of fan fiction we saw about #AlexFromTarget immediately spiked in the next 24 hours, and you still see stories written about him today,” more than two years later. “Some were so inspired by that moment that they wrote the meta-fiction about him, and what it must have been like for him to have people so in love with him. “When it comes to reactions, the creativity and the speed happens as soon as the inspiration hits.” And this presents a challenge to traditional publishing.
“That lag to market,” as Gardner puts it, has also meant that the startup of some partnerships with publishers have taken awhile to put into action. But more of these deals will be introduced in 2018, she says.
“I’d like to see the industry get to a point where the trends” tracked in real-time on Wattpad “are being listened to. No one in the industry has as much of a direct reader connection as we do.” The potential, she says, is “to be able to show them, ‘This is what people want,'” to capture new market energy on the way up.
These set-and-forget marketing tricks help make books more discoverable
By Mark Coker | Originally published in Publishers Weekly on Nov 17, 2017
Marketing is critically important to a book’s success, yet time spent on marketing means less time for writing. Here, I share 10 set-and-forget tips to put an e-book’s most important marketing on autopilot. These tricks work 24 hours a day to make an author’s books more discoverable to readers.
1. Add These Three Sections to Your Back Matter
These sections drive sales and build an author’s social media following:
- About the Author: A short two- or three-sentence bio to humanize the author.
- Connect with the Author: Listing social media hyperlinks will make it easier for new fans to start following authors and subscribe to their mailing lists.
- Other Books by This Author: The reader just discovered a new favorite author, so help them find their next read!
2. Add a Discussion Guide
It’s great to sell one book to one reader, but if the reader’s a member of a reading group, that could mean even bigger sales. If they see a reading group discussion guide at the end of the book, they’re more likely to recommend the book as for the group’s next read.
3. Add Sample Chapters from Other Books
The reader just finished the book, they loved it, and now they’re ready to read more. Let them jump into other e-books by offering generous samples of other titles.
4. Do a Sample-Chapter Swap with Another Author
Many indie authors have friends who also write in their genres or categories. Offer to swap sample chapters. Each author places the other author’s sample chapter in the back matter of their books. Be selective. Only swap with quality writers who target the same readership.
5. Add Enhanced Navigation to E-books
E-books support a hyperlinked table of contents. If the author adds the enhanced back matter recommended above, they can advertise and link to those sections in the table of contents.
6. Make at Least One Book Free
Free e-books get about 30 times more downloads on average than books that cost money, which means that more readers are exposed to the enhanced back matter. Nothing hooks a reader like a free first book, especially for series. Authors who write standalone books should consider running free promotions of priced titles to help introduce first-time readers to their bodies of work.
7. Editing Turbocharges Word of Mouth
Good books aren’t good enough anymore. An author only gets one chance to wow a new reader with a five-star reading experience. It’s the five-star read that leads to the ultimate form of autopilot marketing: reader word-of-mouth. To maximize reader satisfaction, hire a professional editor, preferably one with experience editing other books that became bestsellers in the same genre or category. There are multiple types of editing:
developmental editing, copy editing, and proofing. Each is critically important, and none can be skipped. Developmental editing is the most expensive but will have the biggest impact on reader satisfaction.
8. Work with Beta Readers
Beta readers are test readers. They read the author’s book prior to publication and provide feedback to help guide the final revision. A properly managed beta round could provide feedback similar to that offered by a developmental editor. To learn how to run a beta reader round, check out my December 2016 column, “Making the Most of Beta Readers,” or listen to Episode 5 of the Smart Author Podcast.
9. Occupy Multiple Price Points
Readers harbor pricing bias. One reader’s bias will be different from another’s. Some readers will only try a new author if the book is free, while others will only try the author if the book is priced under $3.99. Other readers will avoid low-cost e-books altogether for fear that lower prices indicate poor quality. By occupying multiple price points, the author can accommodate a wider range of pricing biases so that more readers will give the work a chance. Once the author earns the reader’s trust with one book, price is less of a factor.
10. Always Release with a Preorder
Books released as preorders sell more copies because preorders enable more effective book marketing. Much of this benefit is on autopilot. Indie authors can get their books listed for preorder up to 12 months in advance of release. During this entire preorder period, these upcoming titles are merchandised alongside the author’s other books at retailers. It means more months of selling time.
Mark Coker is founder of Smashwords and the host of the new podcast Smart Author.
There is no doubt that the world has gone crazy with Social Media. It can be a great tool that supports people, businesses, and even authors, but it also has the power to hurt. A challenging aspect of Social Media is when authors tell the world about something doesn’t work for them and then determines that it will not work for others. This kind of dialogue can not only damage a fellow author but set a negative tone against the author who wrote it.
We run into this issue a great deal when we send out notices about a program or app that we’ve tried and does or doesn’t work for us. We do this only after testing it thoroughly. And as with anything, the results that we arrived at, may or may not work for someone else.
However, this is where reviews of products come in handy, and we encourage YOU the membership, to share your comments about a program, event, etc. and let other authors know what YOUR results are. Your honest review can help another author determine if that program, event, company, or app will work for them.
We also read and follow various journals and programs to stay on top of new trends to help guide the membership, so they can use Social Media to the best of their ability.
There is a move to become less engaged in Social Media with Facebook and Twitter being the ones hit the hardest, as they have been around the longest. Also, they are the ones that have the most users compared to the other 300 plus systems out there.
One of our goals as TxAuthors is to create a Social Media system designed specifically for authors and readers as a part of our overall program to be more creative, independent and supportive of authors in general. However, this is also a costly endeavor that may not happen soon enough.
Keep in mind that people are drawn to what they like, including what type of books they read. For this reason, what may work for one author may not work for another. So, just be careful when you are on Social Media and make a blanket comment about whether something is good or not as the ‘final and only’ go-to factor. Remember, you are unique, and your results are related to You and not someone else.