At the end of your eBook, place a link(s) that directs readers to where they can buy additional books of yours. This is one of the best tips I’ve read recently online (apologies for not remembering where I read it), and it makes complete sense. Readers are most apt to buy a book of yours if they’ve just read one and loved it. I can remember lots of times when I closed a book, leaned back and thought, Wow, that was good, and went to the bookstore to check out more things from that author (Dan Brown comes to mind). The best way to capitalize on that high in the eBook world is to have a link at the end of your eBook that brings readers to a book retailing website — Amazon, for example, if it’s a Kindle book. This way, they can buy another one of your books immediately — sort of like an impulse buy at the supermarket checkout, the well-I’m-here-anyway-so-I-may-as-well-buy-it kind of thinking. Chances are if readers really like your book, they will find their way to Amazon or Barnes & Noble on their own, but there’s nothing wrong with pointing them in the right direction.
Create a Goodreads giveaway. In addition to my weekly writing tips, I’ve decided to toss some marketing tips into the mix as well, since I have been living and breathing promotion for my debut novel, Baby Grand, these past five months — I’d like to think I learned SOMETHING along the way. :) Since today begins my month-long giveaway on Goodreads, I thought I’d get the ball rolling there:
As readers of this blog know, I participated for three months in Amazon’s KDP Select program, but did not like the idea of giving away my book en masse as part of those free promotion days, so I didn’t use them. Key word(s): en masse. I have nothing against doing small-scale giveaways — in fact, I think they’re a great way to spread the word about your book. My Goodreads giveaway has only been underway for about 16 hours, and already more than one hundred people have entered. What’s more, the number of people who added Baby Grand to their “to read” shelf doubled in that same time period. Not bad for the first day!
How will this translate into sales? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure. Not only are the most successful giveaways a result of reaching as many people as possible, the most successful books are as well.
My goal for the sponsorship was to introduce Baby Grand to readers who have never heard of the book or of me or my blog — to connect with complete strangers who might enjoy a good thriller. And, hey, if I could make a little money too, even better.
Kindle Nation Daily is a popular promotional choice for Kindle authors (when I purchased the sponsorship back in June there were only two dates left for August). KND offers all kinds of sponsorships, including daily and weekly options, as well as packages, that run from about $30 and up, and their newsletters and websites connect with tens of thousands of readers.
The sponsorship I purchased, eBook of the Day, is priced at $159.99. A bit steep. So right off the bat, I knew there was a good chance that I might not recoup my investment since I had planned on selling Baby Grand at the promotional price of $1.99 that day, which meant that I’d need to sell about 270 books (since Amazon offers 35 percent royalties for books priced under $2.99) to break even.
Yesterday was the last day of my three-month exclusivity agreement with Amazon’s KDP Select (Baby Grand made its debut as part of the program on May 23). For those who don’t know about the program, when you sign on to KDP Select, you agree to sell your eBook only in the Kindle format (you can continue selling your paperbacks anywhere you wish). In exchange for this agreement, you are given some marketing assistance, including several free promotional days, where you can basically give your book away, and also your book is included in the Kindle Lending Library — every time an Amazon Prime member (and there are oodles of them) “borrows” your book, Amazon pays you a royalty.
When I agreed to participate in the program, I looked at it as a limited release of my novel, much like an independent film might be first shown in New York and Los Angeles before going wide, and as a way to cultivate a following in the Kindle community while taking advantage of additional promotional help from Amazon.
Overall, I was satisfied with the results of KDP Select, particularly with a mass email intended for thriller lovers that included my book. Yippee!
But, in the end, I decided to leave the program after my first go-round. Here’s why:
Hey, gang! I normally don’t write two blog posts in one day — in fact, this is a first! — but I just wanted to let my readers know that today Baby Grand is Kindle Nation Daily’s eBook of the Day and that, in celebration of this lovely event, my debut novel will be offered on Amazon at the promotional price of $1.99. That’s one whole dollar off the eBook’s regular retail price (hey, you can buy two marble notebooks at Target with the money saved!). Enjoy the rest of your weekend and summer! And thanks, as always, for reading Making ‘Baby Grand.’ I hope you find the information helpful and interesting.
So I’m doing what I do every morning, checking out various social media sites for news and trends, and I come across the new song “Don’t Look Back” from Bryan Adams, one of my all-time favorite recording artists (his was my very first concert when I was a teenager):
And I think to myself, Hey, this is perfect for BABY GRAND. “Don’t look back” is a recurring theme in my debut thriller. And the song’s opening line, “Look into the eyes of a child,” made me think of little Charlotte Grand, who is at the center of the story.
So I ask Bryan Adams — via Twitter, of course — if I may declare “Don’t Look Back” the unofficial theme song of Baby Grand and he says yes.
How cool is that?
So there you go. New theme song. Next on the list is to get Robert De Niro to agree to play Gino Cataldi. Hmmm…
One of the most important — and challenging — aspects of publishing a book today, whether you self-publish or traditionally publish, is marketing. Getting the word out. I just came across a sobering article that says that half of all self-published authors earn less than $500 a year. Holy cow!
That’s why when my novel was published last week on Amazon, I revved up the marketing machine immediately and reached out to bloggers to see if they might need some help writing posts this summer (as a blogger, I know how difficult it can be to come up with new material regularly) and would like a guest blogger or an eager interviewee. The response has been wonderful.
Today is the first stop on what I’m calling the Baby Grand-palooza Blog Tour. Thank you to Belinda Frisch, who was kind enough to interview me. You can check out the interview here and here. Of course, while I’m looking to promote my debut novel, I also want to be able to provide useful insight into the writing, editing and publishing process. Hopefully, I succeeded. :)
Bad writing is better than no writing. The first time I said this was in grad school (my professor said it sounded like something that belonged on a T-shirt), and I’ve said it on this blog here and there, but all weekend long I’ve been thinking about how true this is. Now that Baby Grand is available for Kindle on Amazon, I’ve been getting so many wonderful comments from friends, family and colleagues. “You’re a wonderful writer,” said one. “Great read on a holiday weekend. Loved it,” said another. And I think about how this book looked in the beginning, the days I stared at my computer screen and thought, This is awful. Or the days that a scene was just a collection of random thoughts jotted on a page.
Writing is like sculpting or whittling: You start with a block of clay or wood and then slowly (and I mean slowly!), you transform it into something interesting and, if you keep going, perhaps something amazing. And lots of times you can see the end result as you go, but sometimes you can’t. Sometimes all you see is a collection of random thoughts jotted on a page.
But always remember that there can be no good writing — or great writing — without those random thoughts, without the bad writing coming first. Baby Grand would never have been if I had stopped at the bad writing, if I had given up.
Bad writing — as terrible as you think it is — can be edited and made better. No writing is just no writing.
It’s finally here! My debut novel, Baby Grand, is available on Amazon Kindle for the promotional price of $1.99.
It will be available on the Nook and other devices and as a print-on-demand paperback later this year.
Right now, I am completely overwhelmed and exhausted and excited and cannot think of anything clever or interesting to say. Just know that this book is what it is because of your support over these past two years — through all the writing, procrastinating, editing, more procrastinating, promoting and more.
Thank you. Truly.
I agree with today’s featured debut author, John Walker, who says writing a book is “a bit like riding a wild Mustang bareback.” Quite the adventure, indeed.
Name of book: Shadow Dancing (the first in the Charles and Amanda series)
Book genre: Romance, Invention and Crime
Date published: October 2011
Publisher: Amazon Kindle
What is your day job? Invention, engineering and, of course, writing
What is your book about? In Shadow Dancing, Italian Mafiosi unearth a priceless bronze statue, some 3,000 years old, in the Saharan sands. Smuggled back into Italy, it is sold to a wealthy industrialist. Our heroes get it back.
Why did you want to write this book? To say something positive about our brilliant inventors and engineers, drawing on some of my own experiences and some that might have been. And to explore in some depth the love between people.
What would you say is the most challenging part of writing a book? As they say, when you have written it, you are no more than a third of the way through.
Did you conduct any kind of research in order to write this book (visit certain locales, etc.)? I hardly needed to, since I know England, Italy, Greece and Egypt.
What motivates you to write? Wanting to make a difference.
Did you experience writer’s block? Never, although I spend a lot of time planning the next stage before going to sleep and upon waking up. It never works out as planned, of course.