The Sun Singer's Travels

Malcolm R. Campbell's World

Archive for the category “Book Promotion”

How Do I Know Which Book Promo Sites Are Legit?

“If you go to our site http://www.indiesunlimited.com/ and click on the tab “Book Promo Sites” – while we do not endorse any particular site, those sites have been vetted and used by at least some of our staff. We would not list them on the site if they took advantage of authors. We cannot state that any of them perform a certain way, so you may or may not have success, but they are not known to scam authors.”

via From the Mail Room: How Do I Know Which Book Promo Sites Are Legit? – Indies Unlimited

Many of us rely heavily on book review sites since major sites such as Book List, Kerkus. Publishers Weekly, and other mainstream sites won’t touch a small press or self-published book (with the exception of pay-for-review programs), so finding those that will make a difference is an important project.

They can help spread the word, but for most of us, few miracles will occur. Making them part of a larger program of platform building seems to give us our best shot.

Malcolm

Author of Conjure Woman’s Cat.

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Aw, those poor authors of ‘overlooked books’

Yes, I know, some publishers won’t turn your manuscript into a book if they don’t think it’s going to sell 50,000 copies or more. Gosh, 40,000 copies must be a real downer causing middle management shake-ups, angry calls to agents who promised everything, and getting the book tagged as one of the most overlooked books of the year.

While headlines such as this one on Kirkus (The 9 Most Overlooked Summer YA Novels You Should Read) give a publication a cheap and easy feature story to write, they’re an insult to mid-list and small press authors whose books really have been overlooked. Readers, especially on-line readers, probably love these lists because (a) they (the lists) don’t require much of an attention span, and (b) might include a gem that the readers didn’t notice earlier in the year.

  • The first book on Kirkus’ young adult list is Solo, by by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess. It looks good, by the way. However, since it’s displayed on Kirkus’ list with a Kirkus starred review, the book wasn’t overlooked.  The second book on the list, Saints and Misfits, also had a starred review from Kirkus as did every other book on the list. “Overlooked” is a category for books that Kirkus won’t review.
  • Solo’s current rank on Amazon is #1 in teens fiction. I’ll stipulate that its publisher would probably like to see a better overall ranking than 2,949. However, “overlooked” better describes small press books that hardly ever get into the top slots of Amazon’s genre rankings which (due to recent changes) are biased in favor of major publishers and higher priced books.
  • Solo was also reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, School Library Journal, BookPage, and others. Sure, more would be better. But “overlooked” really refers to books none of these outlets consider at all.
  • So as not to unfairly single out Solo, I should mention that in addition to actual reviews, the authors of the books on this list were also interviewed.  For example, the American Booksellers Association (ABA) featured a Q&A with the author of Saints and Misfits (S. K. Ali). I like the ABA’s “Indies First” program that supports independent bookstores. Unfortunately, the ABA doesn’t lend this kind of support to indie authors even when their books are distributed by outlets where the bookstores get their titles. Truly “overlooked” is being off the ABA’s radar altogether.
  • Many less-well-known book review sites claim that they support indie authors and (thankfully) a lot of them make good on this claim. However, these outlets–even when they have a regional books flavor–want readers, too, so they often fill many of their review slots with mainstream bestselling books that certainly don’t need any help. “Overlooked” is being passed over by a small review site by monthly features about books by top-100 authors.

Overlooked? I think not.

As the year goes on, we’ll see more and more lists of BEST BOOKS even though there will be more stuff published by December 31: these lists really do overlook books because everyone and their brother tries to be first out of the gate with proclamations about the best of the best of the best. And, we’ll see more lists of OVERLOOKED books, too. Suffice it to say that if a book is noticed by the organization creating the list, it hasn’t been overlooked even if higher sales for it had been expected.

Malcolm

 

How to pitch a blog guest post

So you’ve read through all the advice about how to guest post, you’ve got a lot to write about, and you’ve even researched a little bit of search engine know-how. You’ve learned that you can help the site out by putting relevant keywords in the title of your post and in the subheadings.

You pick your most brilliant idea, and you send it out to the site editor of your favourite blog (only do this one at a time!). But no one is replying to your emails.

via How to PITCH a Guest Post to a Blog ‹ Indies Unlimited ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

I like Ben Steele’s approach to this problem. If you want to write a guest post on somebody’s blog, you need to do some homework–just as you do when you pitch a book to a prospective agent or publisher or a story idea to an editor.

Magazine editors say “read the magazine before you submit an idea.” This keeps you from sending a romance short to National Geographic or an epic fantasy set on another world to National Parks and Preservation Magazine. Reading the blog is a good place to start.

–Malcolm

Getting ready for a successful book fair

The warm-weather months are upon us, and this often means book festivals, book fairs, conferences, and other events. So, this seemed like as good a time as any to offer some tips on what authors need when selling their books at events. While events vary, the basic needs tend to be pretty similar.

via Tips to Help Authors Make their Festival/Events a Success ‹ Indies Unlimited ‹ Reader — WordPress.com

If you haven’t attended a book fair as an author with books to sign and sell, R. J. Crayton at Indies Unlimited has compiled a list of everything you need to take with you.

Selling books at a festival begins with being seen and ends with your signing a lot of books. There’s a bit of art to this, and that means setting up your booth or table to attract attention and make transactions with readers friendly and easy to accomplish.

–Malcolm

Book Marketing tips for trad published authors

“Over the course of my ongoing tour, a lot of people have asked me what it’s like working with a major publisher and how much book marketing is expected of a traditionally published author. The answer is, it’s great, but it’s also a lot of work. In fact, based on my conversations with self-published authors, I can tell you that the book marketing effort required by a traditionally published author is about 99% the same as what’s expected of a self-published writer.”

Source: Book Marketing tips for trad published authors via Mark Noce

Mark Noce’s comments may surprise some self-published and small-press-published authors who assume larger publishers do more of the promotion work. As you’ll see, that’s not possible, due to the volume of new books coming out every month.

But Mark offers some nice tips here, well worth reading.

–Malcolm

Does the book you’re promoting have a sell sheet?

“Book sell sheets are an essential and integral part of a book’s marketing and publicity plans. For this reason, it is important for you to understand what goes into a great sell sheet. So, to help you get a firm handle on the basics, here is a list of terminology that you will need to know when preparing your sell sheet for your book’s marketing plan.”

Source: Sell Sheet Terminology For Book Marketers

Joseph C. Kunz posted this blog about the importance of sell sheets last fall. I didn’t mention it here at the time because I was working on other things. However, now that I’m actively seeking reviewers for my latest novel, I’ve been updating the sell sheet.

Sell sheets are not a new technique, though I seldom see them written about. Kunz has a good overview. If you want more information, simply type “author’s sell sheet” into your search engine and you’ll get a lot of advice and examples.

I see the sell sheet as indispensable, even if you just paste it into an e-mail and never make printed copies, for giving prospective reviewers, article writers and others a quick capsule look at your book and it’s “vital statistics.”

–Malcolm

You want your book to sell, right?

“Whether you design your own book exterior and interior or are working with a professional, here are a few precepts that will guide you towards a better product, and thus more sales.

“Lesson Number One: Think of the Reader’s Experience”

Source: Design Your Book to Sell – Indies Unlimited

Gordon Long brings us a quick list of steps we must take to convert “my manuscript” into “the reader’s book.”

Yes, it’s been mine for a while, my words, my muse, my drafts and revisions, but once it gets on the shelf and/or on Amazon’s website. it’s no longer just “mine.” It’s a story told for the reader, a writing prompt for his or her imagination.

But first, s/he has to pick it up. With the advice in this Indies Unlimited post, you can make sure that happens.

–Malcolm

Hometown Reads, a new place for authors

“Thanks for visiting Hometown Reads! We’re launching our site for Toledo authors and readers first, with plans to quickly expand to other Midwest cities, and then across the country. As of March 2016, we’re in beta, with plans to add more features, resources, and opportunities as we grow. ”

Source: Hometown Reads

I have mixed feelings about sites and programs for indie authors. On one hand, I wonder if appearing on such sites simply alerts readers to the fact that we’re not mainstream authors so that they dismiss us without a second look. But I also like the idea of getting the word out and hope that one day the mainstream media and its reviewers will take us seriously. (Once again, this year’s “best of” and “most overlooked” book lists included no ultra-small presses and authors.)

So how do we get on the radar? Traditionally, one starts in his or her home town and works to become known there first. I hope this new site will help that happen.

–Malcolm

 

What a deal – three free Kindle books

The Kindle editions of three of my novels are free on selected days:

  • The Sun Singer (December 9, 10, and 11) – Contemporary fantasy about a young men who has been hiding his psychic gift. When he finds himself in an alternative universe of warring factions, he must resurrect that gift in order to survive.
  • Willing Spirits (December 12) – Paranormal short story about a high school student who procrastinates on her book report project and looks to an unusual source to keep her from flunking her English course.
  • Waking Plain (December 13) – Fairy tale about a prince who is cast into a deep sleep that can only be broken by a kiss, the problem being he’s so plain no prospective marriage partner wants to wake him up.

These books are always free for Amazon customers with Kindle Unlimited accounts.

2016freedecember

 

Amazon’s New Pre-Order Policies Give Authors More Flexibility

“Amazon recently made some changes to their pre-order process that give authors more flexibility. Back in 2014, in what was considered a great leap forward foward self-published authors, Amazon provided the ability to offer books for pre-order.”

Source: Amazon’s New Pre-Order Policies Give Authors More Flexibility – Indies Unlimited

Now, author R. J. Crayton tells us that changes in the system will make the service even easier to use. I like having the ability to due pre-orders as my publication dates draw near.

–Malcolm

 

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