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Book Title 101: How To Choose A Title That Will Sell

book title

How do authors choose the titles for their books? Despite all of the information available online to help authors, book title advice is very limited. In fact there is a lot of bad advice, which include:

  • Don’t spend too much time on it
  • Trust your gut
  • The title isn’t very important

If you have read any of this information when looking for book title help, erase it from your brain. You should take time to find the right title and your book’s title is very important. With millions of books available in your genre alone, people will make decisions based on your cover design, your description and your title.

So, let’s discuss how to choose a title that will help you sell more books. Afterall all authors want their hard work to be appreciated. Don’t let a misleading title kill your opportunity to sell.

How To Choose A Book Title That Will Sell

book title 

1. Give Yourself Options

The biggest mistake authors make when deciding on a title is not having enough options to choose from. The easy way to avoid this mistake is to routinely take time to brainstorm title ideas. Writing your book will take time, so set a goal to brainstorm a certain amount of titles each week.

Once you have a large list of titles you will be able to narrow them down. By breaking up your brainstorming process into small chunks over several week, or months, you will be able to grow your list with fresh ideas.

2. Google Your Book Titles

The next step will be to Google your titles. While you can’t trademark a specific title, it is better to have an original title if possible. A simple Google search will help you identify titles on your list that are already being used.

Another benefit of using Google is that you can start to discover what a successful title may look like. Keep an eye on the details of the type of titles that are popular in your genre, such as if they use a subtitle.

3. Consider A Subtitle

Have you considered including a subtitle for your book? It is proven that subtitles can greatly increase book sales. The main reason subtitles are so effective is they can clarify what readers can expect if the decide to purchase your book.

A great example of a subtitle being used is the book The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy. By including a subtitle the author was able to clarify exactly what the book is about. If the title had simply been The Millionaire Next Door, many people could have mistaken it as something completely different, such as a murder mystery.

When you look through your master list if title ideas, see if there are two options that could be combined through the use of a subtitle. Clarity is important when it comes to your title. Since most authors do not have a massive marketing budget to educate potential readers about their book, it is crucial your title makes it clear what readers can expect.

4. Make Sure Your Book Title Matches Your Story

Since you should start brainstorming titles long before you are done writing your book, it is important to make sure the title you choose still matches your story once it is complete. A lot can change from when you start writing until you finish your final edit. A title you fell in love with may not be relevant any more.

5. Don’t Spoil Your Book’s Plot

It may seem like common sense not to spoil the plot of your book with the title, but it is worth mentioning. Try to avoid foreshadowing any critical portions of your book on the cover. Can you imagine if J.K. Rowling named her last book: Harry Potter and the Death of Voldemort?

Your title should make people interested to read your book, not spoil what will happen in your book.

6. Test Your Top Book Titles With Family and Friends

book title

Once you have narrowed your title options down to a manageable list you will want to ask for outside opinions. While hiring a professional to help may be a good idea, asking family and friends is also an effective strategy.

Make sure to ask them to not only rank your titles, but also explain why they like or dislike certain titles on your list. Normal people will be buying your book, so the opinions of your family and friends are likely to represent what your actual target audience will feel.

The cover of your book is also very important, so you may want to consider including the potential covers with the title. You can find cover designers that will create quick covers for this. You can always improve or change your cover prior to actually publishing your book.

7. Choose Your Final Book Title

The final step is to choose your title. After following the six steps above this should be much easier. You will have spent months brainstorming title ideas, checking their originality, researching what has worked for other authors and testing them with family and friends.

Now it is time to choose the actual title for your next book and begin polishing the remainder of the book exterior (cover design, book description and endorsements). A title won’t necessarily make or break a book, but following these steps will help to increase the chances that your book will get the attention and sales it deserves.

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The Indie Author Business Plan: A Step-By-Step Outline

business plan

Successful indie authors have one thing in common: they realize that they are not only writers, they are also business owners, marketers, salespeople and much more.

The reality is that authors can no longer be solely writers. If you aren’t willing to wear the other hats mentioned above, you will struggle to find success. Sure, you could try to hire people to help, but that gets expensive quickly. For the sake of this post let’s assume that you are like most indie authors and money is tight. Hiring a full-team to run your author business is out of the question.

Why Do You Need A Business Plan?

Without a plan most authors get lost. Business does not come natural to us. When you create a business plan it is like having a map. If you do find yourself lost you can always refer back to it to get back on track.

Business plans help you avoid procrastination, focus on what really matters, avoid spending too much money and most importantly, sell more books.

Below we will discuss an 8-step indie author business plan. This business plan will be much like the business plan used by the largest businesses in the world. Don’t worry, I will make sure to explain each step and how to apply it to your specific situation as an author.

The Indie Author Business Plan

business plan

1. Finalize Your Book Topic (Product)

Every business starts with a product idea. As an author your product will be your book. If you already have books available for purchase, you will want to create separate business plans for each book (unless they are part of a series).

It is important to not move past this step until you know what you will be writing about. Once you do have a topic idea, you will be ready to move on to step 2.

2. Write Down Goals and Deadlines

With your book topic in mind, it is time to set specific goals and deadlines. Goals might include: writing every day, hitting a specific word count or even selling 1,000 copies. Goals are good, but they are rarely achieved without deadlines.

Creating realistic deadlines are crucial. You will not write your entire book in a month. Having this type of deadline will stress you out and isn’t helpful. Your deadlines should include: when you will complete your first draft, when you will begin marketing your book, when your book will be complete and when you will achieve your sales goal.

I cannot tell you what goals or deadlines to set, but I can tell you that this step can make and break your success. Take time to creating motivating goals and procrastination killing deadlines.

3. Create A Competitive Analysis

business plan

Do you know who the top selling indie authors are in your genre? How did they become so successful? What channels do they use to market and sell their books? Who is their target audience?

These are all questions you need to be able to answer when creating your competitive analysis. The point of this step is to understand who your competition is, while also learning from their successes and/or failures.

There are millions of authors in the world, so you will have to narrow down your competition significantly if you want to be able to analyze them. Look for the 10-15 authors that you share the most in common with (same genre, similar topic, shared target audience, etc).

Now study what has helped them succeed and take notes. You will want to use this information to help shape your strategy moving forward.

4. Create A Marketing Plan

The competitive analysis is a major component of your marketing plan. If you plan on selling a large quantity of books, you will need to master the basics of marketing. In my experience marketing is where most authors fail.

It is important to start thinking about your marketing plan as early as possible. In fact, one could argue that you should consider a marketing plan even before you begin writing your book.

Doing so will ensure there is an audience for the book you are writing. Many authors are surprised to realize that once they finish a book there isn’t actually a large enough audience interested in what they wrote about. Talk about a bummer. Let’s avoid this by creating a marketing plan early on.

So what should you include in your marketing plan? Here are a few components it must include:

  • Target customer: age, gender, location, interests, etc.
  • Marketing channels: social media, blog, in person events, etc.
  • Pricing strategy: how much will you sell your paperback, hardcover and eBook for?
  • Special offers: will you offer discounts or give away the first few chapters for free?

Your marketing plan can include several other component, but it must answer the following question: how will you make sure your target customer knows about your book and is able to purchase it?

5. List Required Outside Help

Hiring professionals to help with different parts of the book creation process is critical for success. Whether it is an editor, cover designer or reviewer, you will need to spend some money on professional help if you plan to offer a high quality book.

The easiest way to decide what to spend money on is to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses. Once you have this list you will want to hire professionals to help in your weakness areas. Quality professional help does not have to be expensive.

At a minimum you will want to hire an editor. Don’t try to write and edit your own book; this rarely ends well.

6. Identify Financing Needs

indie author business plan

Many of the steps above cost money. Marketing your book will cost money. Hiring professional help will cost money. Simply allocating time towards writing your book costs money since you will not be earning money during those long hours.

The point of this step is to identify how much money you will need. Business owners have to nail this part of the business plan since running out of cash is the number one reason businesses fail. You are now a business owner so you must think like one.

You should be excited about this step because it will save you money. When you plan ahead of time you are less likely to overspend. Be honest about your budget and then allocate your spending accordingly.

7. Create A Strategic Sales Plan

The final step before we put together the formal business plan is to create a strategic sales plan. This plan will answer the following question: how will I sell my book to interested customers.

As an author this is an important question since there are so many options. Will you sell your book on Amazon? Will it be available as a paperback and a hardcover? What about an eBook? Maybe you want to offer it only as an eBook. Will you sell your book directly from your website?

The great thing about being a modern author is the plethora of sales options. Technology has made it easier than even for indie authors to sell their books. The only problem with options is you can’t choose them all.

Your competitive analysis and marketing plan should help you decide how to effectively sell your book. Worry less about your personal opinion and more about how your target audience buys and consumes books. Make it as easy as possible for people to find out about your book and buy it.

8. Create A Formal Business Plan

At last we are ready to write the formal business plan. Up until this point you have been compiling each section step-by-step and probably have a jumbled mess of notes.

It is now time to simplify what you have come up with into a short, concise business plan. Keeping your formal business plan shorter than 8 pages should be the goal. Any longer and you will be less likely to refer to it on a regular basis.

Congratulations! You have successfully created a business plan that any indie author would be proud of. Now it is time to write your book and follow your business plan as closely as possible. Doing so will ensure you work effectively and reach your goals.

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7 Reasons Why Self-Publishing Is The Right Choice For Authors

why self-publishing

The self-publishing vs traditional publishing debate is something all authors have at some point in their career. After all, both options have benefits.

At EditionGuard, we support primarily self-published authors and have had the opportunity over the years to learn why authors decide to pursue the self-publishing route.

In this post we will discuss 7 reasons why self-publishing may be the right choice for you. Keep in mind that you are not forced to choose only self-publishing or traditional publishing forever. Here are 7 reasons why we think you should give self-publishing a shot.

1. Full Control Over Your Story

One of the biggest advantages to self-publishing is complete control. When you pursue the traditional publishing route, you are signing over the rights to your book. This means that you will have far less control over the storyline.

If you like to have creative control over your book, self-publishing is the right choice. You will get to choose your own editor and decide what edits to actually make. When a publisher’s editor makes changes, you are often stuck with them.

When you self-publish you will also get to control your book cover design and pricing. As an author, you should know how important these two elements are to your chances of success.

2. Work On Your Own Timeline

why self-publishing

Self-published authors often release multiple books per year. This is possible thanks to the ability to control your own timeline.

If you choose to go the traditional publishing route, you need to have serious patience. By the time you find an agent, secure a publisher and go through the entire process of getting your book published, the grey hairs may have already set it.

Being able to publish books faster as a self-published author isn’t the only benefit. What if you have a full-time job and can’t write for hours every day? As a self-published author this is ok too! The bottom line is you will have complete control over how fast you write, how often you write and when you publish your book. For many authors this is too good to pass up.

3. Greater Profit Margin

There are several reasons why self-publishing can lead to more profit for an author. For example, self-publishers are business owners. When you form your business you will be able to write off several expenses, such as: a portion of your home cost, writing and marketing expenses and costs for transportation and travel. These tax havens can result in some serious savings.

The second reason self-publishing can lead to more profit is because you will be able to control your expenses. Self-publishing does not have to be expensive. If you are smart about what you spend money on, chances are you can keep your expenses much lower than you may think. Lower expenses mean you will break even quickly.

4. Marketing Is Your Responsibility Regardless

Authors often make the mistake of thinking that securing a traditional publisher means they will have an army of marketers promoting their book. While a publishing house may help with PR, you will ultimately be responsible for marketing your book.

Since you will have to market your book either way, this should not be a deterrent from going the self-publishing route.

5. Bookstore Sales Aren’t As Important

In the past, one of the main advantages to traditional publishing was the ability to get your book stocked in bookstores. Today, less than 1% of all books are found in bookstores.

As a self-published author, you have many different ways to sell your book to your customers. You can use distributors like Amazon, offer digital copies and even sell your book directly from your website with services like EditionGuard.

The multitude of affordable distribution options now available to self-published authors is one of the reasons self-publishing has gained so much popularity in the last five to ten years.

6. It Can Lead To Traditional Publishing Opportunities

If you have your mind set on pursuing the traditional publishing route, that is ok. You may still want to consider self-publishing for the time being as it can lead to traditional publishing opportunities.

When you first query an agent and begin trying to pursue the traditional publishing route, it can be very difficult. You will need to have a proven marketing plan and be able to show a publisher why they should take a chance on you.

Much like a job interview, experience really helps. By self-publishing a book or two prior to pursuing traditional publishing, you will have a resume to help improve your chances of landing a publishing deal.

7. The Time Is Right

why self-publishing

The final reason why authors should consider self-publishing is that there has never been a better time to be a self-published author. It is easier and cheaper than ever to distribute books on your own, professional author services are more accessible and affordable than ever and you will be joining a revolution of authors that like yourself have chosen to pursue self-publishing.

The time is now. Don’t wait another day to get started. If you truly want to be an author, start writing. Self-publishing your first book won’t be nearly as hard as you think. You can do it!

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Hey Authors, Social Media Doesn’t Work

book marketing

Social media doesn’t work for authors. At least not how most authors are using it.

Hearing that social media doesn’t work might be shocking to you, considering how popular social media is right now. Every author dreams of sending out a tweet and selling 10 books as a result.

Unfortunately, when is the last time you saw someone post “buy my book!” and you actually went and bought it? Never? Me either.

I think we can both agree that there a real opportunities to sell books online, even on social media, but most authors don’t possess the marketing skills or understanding to leverage social media for book marketing success.

So, how can you increase your book sales using social media? In this post we will discuss it.

How To Sell More Books Using Social Media

It is important for authors to have the right mindset about social media. Traditionally, authors look at social media as a place to connect with other authors and potential readers and to sell books.

Authors that find success on social media realize that social media should be used to improve all other areas of book marketing.

That means social media should help you define your target audience. Social media should help you grow your email list. Social media should help you find guest posting or speaking opportunities. And yes, social media should help you sell more books.

Mark Dawson’s Proven Social Media Strategy

book marketing

So, what does a successful social media strategy look like? Let’s take a look at a strategy used by best-selling indie author Mark Dawson. His strategy uses Facebook Ads, but can easily be adapted to use the advertising platform on your social network of choice.

Dawson’s strategy has two main objectives:

  1. Grow his email list
  2. Drive direct book sales

Here is a quick summary of how it works:

  1. Set up a Facebook Ad that is highly targeted
  2. Offer something of value in exchange for an email (eBook, webinar, etc.)
  3. Use growing email list to support other marketing activities and sell more books
  4. Repeat the process and use your email list to refine your Facebook Ad targeting

For a more in-depth look at how Dawson has used his strategy to grow his email list to 20,000+ and now makes $500,000 per year, check out this interview.

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17 Great Websites For Indie Authors: The Self-Publishing Advice Authors Need

indie author websites

Being an indie author is hard. Self-publishing a book requires much more than just writing skills. You must know how to price your book, how to market your book, which services you should invest in and much more.

The good news is that many indie authors have found success and have mastered these skills.

The even better news is that these indie authors are willing to share what they have learned with you! That means you can learn and find success in a fraction of the time.

In this post we will discuss 17 great websites for indie authors. If you want to successfully launch a self published book, improve your writing skill set or simply find motivation to get started, these website are a great place to start.

Note: These indie author websites are in no specific order.

1. Jane Friedman

indie author websites

Jane Friedman is a veteran of the book industry and has a proven track record. Her blog attracts over ten thousand views per month, most of which are from authors.
Her blog is targeted at both traditionally published authors and self-published authors. In fact, Jane does a wonderful job remaining neutral about which publishing route is best. Instead she focuses on teaching best practices and strategies that will benefit all authors.

2. The Creative Penn

self-publishing blog

Indie authors know who Joanna Penn is. If for some reason you do not, she found success as an indie author herself and now runs one of the best indie author websites in the world.

With over 70,000 Twitter followers and several New York Times and USA Today best-selling books, Penn has a proven track record that speaks for itself.

One of the best things about her website is the diversity of content. Oh and how much content there is! You will find blog posts, podcasts, interviews and much more. Take a second and bookmark The Creative Penn website before you continue reading.

3. DIY Author

DIY Author states that their website: “educates and empowers writers — from the curious to the committed — with tools and resources to successfully develop, publish, and market their work with confidence.”

Sounds like a dream come true, right?

4. The Savvy Book Marketer

Book marketing is the number one problem we have seen when it comes to self-publishing. Indie authors are capable of writing amazing books, but their marketing efforts often fall short.

The Savvy Book Marketer, run by marketing expert Dana Lynn Smith is the perfect resource to help indie authors become better marketers. We can almost guarantee that you will sell more books if you follow Smith’s advice.

5. EditionGuard Blog

indie author websites

The purpose of the EditionGuard blog is simple: help self-published authors find success, regardless how they define success for themselves. You will find blog posts covering a multitude of subjects, including: book marketing, writing tips, how to find the right professional services and much more.

6. Wise Ink Blog

Launched in 2011 by co-founders Amy Quale and Dara Beevas, Wise Ink Blog is dedicated to helping authors. With 2-4 new posts every week covering several different topics, Wise Ink Blog is definitely worth subscribing to.

Quale and Beevas bring a fun perspective to the book publishing process and are very up to date with the nuances of publishing and marketing a book.

7. Goins Writer

Jeff Goin’s started his blog in 2010 and has spent the last six years covering topics related to the writing process, being more creative and how to make a living as an author.

If you are just getting started and are wondering how to turn your passion into a profession, Goin’s blog is for you. You will find motivation and tips to help you find the success you desire.

8. Now Novel

Co-founders Bridget and Brendan McNulty focus exclusively on helping fiction writing indie authors find success. Based out of South Africa, Now Novel is supported by a dedicated and knowledgeable team.

Though Now Novel covers a plethora of topics, their actionable writing advice is invaluable. Learn how to improve your writing by making your characters more believable and much more.

9. Indies Unlimited

self-publishing blog

Run by K.S. Brooks, Indies Unlimited is a must visit website for all Indie Authors. One piece of advice that Brooks has for all Indie Authors is:

Don’t publish until you have a polished product. Hire professionals to provide editing. Authors are now capable of doing their own cover design and formatting, and IU provides a lot of the resources to assist them with those. But, if authors don’t want to tackle those on their own, there are now plenty of companies out there which offer those services. That’s a big advantage indie authors have now that wasn’t there five years ago.”

We must also mention Indies Unlimited’s Thrifty Thursday deal, which allows authors to list their books for free or $0.99. If you are looking for some exposure for your books, definitely give this a try.

10. Author Marketing Experts

Run by Founder and CEO, Penny Sansevieri, Author Marketing Experts sets out to solve a very common problem that indie authors face: how can you successfully market your book without a large budget or a big team.

One of the best things about this website is how current their advice is. Book marketing tactics are constantly changing and you can trust that Author Marketing Experts will make sure you know the most recent tactics you can take advantage of to find success.

11. BookWorks

indie author websites

BookWorks is so much more than just a blog, it is a community as well. Made up of aspiring authors, first time authors and 20 year veterans, the BookWorks community and blog is guaranteed to have helpful advice for any level of author.

Some of the contributors to their blog include:

  • Betty Kelly Sargent
  • Penny C. Sansevieri
  • Joel Friedlander

BookWorks offers several levels of membership, including a free option. We highly recommend that you find the membership level that fits your needs best. You won’t regret it!

12. Anne R. Allen

Anne Allen and Ruth Harris, the creators of this website, make it very clear that their purpose is to help authors avoid pitfalls and make money. They know the unfortunate truth that a lot of people in this industry are making money from authors instead of for authors.

Their about page proudly states: “We have made the mistakes so you do not have to.” I don’t know about you, but I like the sound of that.

13. Social Media Just For Writers

A major component of book marketing is social media. Building an audience long before your book is launched is crucial for success. The hard part for most indie authors is figuring out which social networks to use and how to build a targeted audience that will be willing to buy and recommend your books.

Frances Caballo created a website dedicated to helping authors understand social media so they can leverage it for success. All authors know the importance of social media. Start improving your skills with Caballo’s free blog.

14. Build Book Buzz

indie author websites

Build Book Buzz’s tagline says it all:

Do-it yourself book marketing tips, tools and tactics

Run by Sandra Beckwith, a national award-winning former publicist, this website teaches authors how to publicize, promote, and market your books. If you want to get your books the attention they deserve, you have found the right website.

15. The Passive Voice

Passive Voice creator David P. Vandagriff has a background in law and tech. Don’t let this fool you, his website is a must read for all authors.

The Passive Voice might be the most active blog on this list. You can expect 30 or more posts every week. If you love reading as much as we do, The Passive Voice will give you all the reading you can handle.

16. Helping Writers Become Authors

Don’t you wish you could have a mentor that is an award winning international author? K.M. Weiland happens to have that background and considers herself a mentor for authors.

She uses her blog to mentor authors. Being an indie author can feel very lonely at times. Weiland will make sure you feel like you have someone in your corner rooting you on everyday.

17. Writer Unboxed
indie author websites

Last, but certainly not least, is Writer Unboxed. This blog is packed with posts from a ton of contributors. One of the main advantages of Writer Unboxed is the different perspectives each contributor is able to bring.

Some of the other blogs on this list are highly focused. Writer Unboxed covers writing in general, with tips and advice from very successful contributors.

 

If you are looking for more helpful self-publishing tips, resources and tools, be sure to subscribe to our blog newsletter today!

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Self-Publishing A Book: 16 Things Authors Need To Know

self-publishing

A lot has changed in the past 20 years in terms of publishing a book. The barriers to entry have disappeared, digital publishing is on the rise and more authors are turning to self-publishing. If you are a self-published author or are think about going the self-publishing route, there are a few things you should know.

In this post we will discuss 16 things authors need to know about self-publishing. If you keep these 16 things in mind you will be well on your way to a successful career as a self-published author.

1. It Is Easier Than Ever

Thanks to the rise of affordable publishing technology, self-publishing is now easier than ever. Self-publishing a print book is easy. Self-publishing an eBook is even easier.

I won’t dive into the exact logistics of how to do each, but know that you can do it and it won’t cost you a fortune.

2. Find and Build Your Audience Before You Launch

When you self-publish a book you quickly realize how hard it is to find people interested in buying it. One of the biggest mistakes self-published authors make is waiting to find an audience of interested readers until after their book is published.

If you want to be successful, it is crucial that you build your audience long before your book is complete. You can do this through a blog, social media channels, in person events and much more. 

When it does come launch day, you want to already have people lining up to buy your book.

3. eBooks Are Your Best Bet

The entire world is going digital and publishing is no exception. Less than 1% of books make it into a bookstore and the numbers are even lower for self-published books. With this in mind all self-publisher should be thinking digital first.

The costs associated with selling an eBook are much less than selling a print copy book. It is also easier to market and sell an eBook since people can buy it and start reading it immediately. Think digital first and print second. In many cases offering only an eBook to begin with is the best option.

4. There Are Riches in Niches

Self-published books that have a well-defined topic tend to do very well. Don’t try to write a book that will appeal to the masses. Unless you are James Patterson or Stephen King, it will be very hard to write a book that is loved by all.

Instead focus on writing about niche topics that you can dominate. Religious books are one of the examples of self-published books that do very well. We spoke about finding an audience long before you launch your book. Building this audience should help to shape your book topic.

5. Finding The Right Book Price Is Hard

Is there a perfect price for a book? The simple answer is no.

When you self-publish a book, figuring out how much to charge for it can be very difficult. It isn’t an exact science. Change your price regularly until you find a price the resonates well with your audience.

Related Post: Self-Published Authors: How To Find The Perfect Price For Your Book

6. The Competition Is Fierce

self-publishing

Earlier we discussed how self-publishing was easier than ever. This is true. Unfortunately, that also means competition is at an all time high. Since the barrier to entry is lower than ever, you will have to compete with 100,000s of other books that are released within a month of your.

If you want to be successful as a self-published author you must find a way to rise above the competition.

7. Make Your Book Evergreen

An evergreen book refers to books that are not time sensitive. The Lord of the Rings for example will still be popular fifty years from now thanks to the fact it is not time sensitive.

The main reason you will want to make your book evergreen is so you can sell it forever. You are going to put a lot of hard work into writing and publishing your book. Do not kill your chances of success by writing a book that will be irrelevant 18 months from now.

8. The Odds Are Against You

The average indie book sells under 200 print copies. This might come as a shock to new self-published authors considering the fact most people have more Facebook friends than that. Do not expect all of your friends to buy your book. Do not expect it to be easy to sell your book.

You can overcome the odds if you accept just how challenging it will be. You will have to learn how to market your book almost as well as you wrote it. More on that in a little bit.

9. Hiring Professional Help Is A Must

Just because you can do it yourself doesn’t mean you should. You may be able to proofread and edit your book, but you should hire a professional to help. You may be able to design a book cover, but you must hire someone to help.

Self-publishing is hard enough with a little help from professionals. It is nearly impossible on your own. Doing it on your own may save you money in the short run, but it will cost you money in the long run.

Related Post: Professional Services for Indie Authors: Are They Worth It?

10. Your Ability To Negotiate Is Crucial

Ok, so we have established that you need professional help. Now let’s establish that professional help doesn’t have to cost a fortune. I will say it again: professional help does not have to cost a fortune.

Make sure to do your research and try to become a master negotiator. A well-funded author may be able to spend $25,000 on professional help. You need to make a budget and then negotiate to make sure you get the help you need with that budget.

11. You Must Have Clear Goals To Succeed

How long will you take to write your book? How many books do you hope to sell? In what time period will you sell these books?

Before you start writing your book, you need to set clear goals. Self-publishing is hard because you do not have people holding you to exact deadlines, helping with promotion and much more.

Without goals you are much more likely to fail. With goals you will be driven to succeed. Success as an independent author is different for everyone. Your goals must define what success means to you.

12. Selling Direct Is A Great Idea

self-publishing

When you sell through Amazon and other online marketplaces, you are forced to give up a large percentage of your profit. This percentage can be anywhere between 30%-70%. For self-published authors this can simply be too much.
Even if you still want to sell on Amazon, we highly recommend selling directly from your website. With a tool like EditionGuard you securely sell eBooks for as low as $24 per month. With no additional fees per purchase, you can start earning the money you deserve.

13. Actually Selling Your Book Is Hard

Writing a book is hard. Selling a book can be even harder. New authors tend to underestimate just how hard it is to get random people to open their wallet and pay for a book. With so many options, why would they pick your book? 

Related Post: Why No One Will Read Your Next Book

14. You Will Have To Learn Marketing Basics

Here is a simple fact: well written books don’t always sell. Well marketed book usually do.

When you self-publish a book you will be in charge of marketing it to the world. If you are not familiar with the basics of marketing, including: content marketing and social media marketing, you should find a few trusted blogs to begin learning from.

You do not need to be a marketing expert, but it is crucial that you understand how to attract a targeted audience that will be interested in your book. You may be able to rely on your closest family and friends to buy a copy of your book. Outside of that small circle you will have to do some serious convincing.

Related Post: 20 Ways Authors Can Market Their Books

15. Don’t Skimp On Your Book Cover

It is true that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. It is also true that people do. Especially if you are selling your book digitally. 

Let’s keep this simple: hire a professional to design multiple book covers for you. You should have specific book cover designs for both your physical and digital copies.

16. You Can Absolutely Find Success

Self-publishing is really hard, but you can absolutely succeed. When you do, it is the best feeling in the world. Whether you have already published many books or are thinking about publishing your first, know that you can do it. Know that it will be worth it. And know that there are plenty of people, including us at EditionGuard, that can’t wait to see you succeed.

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Self-Published Authors: How To Find The Perfect Price For Your Book

book price

You can improve your book cover, spend more on book marketing or even do a complete rewrite, but usually the easiest way to boost your book sales is to play around with your pricing.

Most authors have experienced the horror that is writing a book that doesn’t sell. At a minimum it is discouraging. At it’s worst is can be downright costly.

Before you make any radical changes or give up on your writing career, make sure you experiment with the price of your book. Doing so requires very little effort. When you find the right price it can make all the difference.

In this post we will discuss how to find the perfect price for your book.

How to Price Your Book for Sales and Marketing Success

Think about when you go to the bookstore to look for a new book. You look through the shelves to find books that catch your attention. You look at the cover, read the description, and yes, check out the price. That final component, the price, can completely dictate if you buy the book or not.

As authors we can’t always charge as much for our books as we want. This can be a very tough realization for new authors especially.

book price

It is very important for you to think about your book’s price as a component of your sales and marketing strategy. The wrong price will decrease your book sales considerably. Below are a few things to consider when pricing your books to sell.

What Do Similar Books Sell For?

The first place to start when considering a price change for your book is to look at the price of similar books. It is important to consider the price of books within your genre, as well as books written by authors of similar popularity.

Afterall, James Patterson and Stephen King can typically charge more than an independent author. You do not have to be the lowest priced book in comparison to similar titles, but do a quick check to make sure your price isn’t sticking out like a sore thumb.

Make Your eBook More Affordable

Discounting a physical book can be costly. There are built-in costs that have to be considered.

Discounting an eBook is much easier to do. The costs related to creating and selling an eBook are much lower. In fact, many authors make money selling eBooks for a fraction of the price of their paperback or hardcover books.

Your eBooks are a great place to start if you want to experiment with your prices. You can change the price of your eBooks instantaneously and tracking the results is extremely easy. 

A major eBook pricing mistake we see regularly is authors selling their eBook for the same price as their physical books. This strategy simply doesn’t make sense for a couple of reasons:

  1. An eBook doesn’t cost you the same amount as a physical book
  2. Not having a more affordable option decreases the size of your potential audience

A general rule of thumb is that your eBook should be at least 35% cheaper than your print copy books. The sweet spot for eBook pricing is $2.99-$6.99.

Make Your Book Free

book price

Have you considered making one of your books free? Doing so might make you a lot of money. 

It is proven that making one of your books free can boost the sales of your other books by 400%. This strategy is especially powerful if you have written a multi-book series. By giving away the first book of the series for free, you can get new readers hooked. Once they finish your first book they will happily pay for your other books.

When authors give away a book for free, it acts as marketing. What better way to show new readers why they should buy your books than to give them a book they will love for free. This strategy can definitely scare a lot of authors, but it is proven to have amazing results.

Experiment With Price Rotation

Price rotation refers to changing how much you charge for your book regularly. This rotation allows you to gauge which price works best, as well as cater to different audiences. 

So, how often should you change the price of your book?

We have talked to authors that change the price of their eBooks multiple times per week. This may be too often. Our recommendation is that you change the price of your book everything 3-5 weeks. Doing so will allow you to measure the effect it has on sales.

Discount Your Book For a Temporary Promotion

Walk around your local mall and you will see stores advertising their current sales. Most stores always have a sale going on, but they entice you by always creating a sense of urgency. You feel like if you wait you might miss out on a great deal.

When it comes to selling books, authors can learn a lot from these stores. Discounting your book for a temporary promotion can boost your book sales immensely. There are several ways to promote your book, such as Bookbub, that will give you exposure to large audiences of readers. Most of these services require you to greatly discount your book. 

Do not fear this temporary discount. Not only do these promotions help you sell more books initially, but  it will help you sell more books down the road once you move your price back up.

Bonus: Increase Your Books Price

Have you ever decided not to buy something because it was too cheap? Imagine if a heart surgeon said he could do your procedure for $19.99. I don’t know about you, but I would have some serious questions.

Authors typically experiment with discounting their book price, but many forget to experiment with increasing the price. While it is true that lowering book prices leads to more sales in most situations, there are times where a book’s low price is actually a deterrent.

When you do your initial audit of the prices of similar books and realize your book is priced significantly lower than all the other books, it may be time to consider a price increase. 

It is possible that potential readers are passing up on your book because it looks too cheap. If you are a well-known author this is rarely a problem, but self-published authors need to communicate with readers that their work is legitimate and should be taken seriously.

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eBook Sales Tips Every Author Should Know

ebook sales tips

Thanks to greater compatibility with devices and more distribution options, selling eBooks has become much easier in the last few years. Despite this, your eBook sales can hit a ceiling at some point. For some this could be the 50 eBooks sold mark. For others it could be 2,500 eBooks sold.

Regardless of where your eBook sales numbers fall, there are several strategies you can implement to break through the ceiling and start selling more eBooks. Before you give up and blame the quality of your book, consider the following eBook sales tips.

1. Test Different Book Covers

One of the easiest ways to increase your eBook sales is to test different book covers. When you are working on book cover ideas for your eBook, make sure you have multiple options to choose from. If your eBook isn’t selling as well as you would like it to, then try using one of the other covers you have.

Humans are visual beings, meaning your book cover will make the first impression on a potential reader. If your eBook is buried amongst hundreds of other eBooks, your book cover might be the only thing that sets your book apart from the others. When is the last time you changed your book cover? If the answer is never, a simple change may help you start selling more.

2. Test Different Prices

Deciding on the right price for your eBook is hard. In fact, it may be impossible. This is due to the fact that there is no perfect price for an eBook. With this in mind you should consider testing different prices to see what effect it has on your overall sales.

Most authors react to lack of sales by lowering their book price. This makes sense because a lower price will make it easier for potential readers to buy your book. However, pricing your book can also have a negative effect.

When you are testing different prices, make sure you test a higher price as well. Many times potential readers perceive an eBook that costs $11.99 as more valuable or professional than an eBook priced at $2.99. Price has a direct correlation to your sales. Make sure you test different prices to find one that works best for you and your audience.

3. Tweak Your Book Description

When is the last time you picked up a book that had a mediocre description and still decided to buy it? Chances are very rarely, if ever. With so many books to choose from, potential readers will look for a book that seems more interesting if your book description is lacking.

Given all the work you put into writing the book itself, make sure you put some serious thought into your book description. Use professional help just like you would for the book. Much like your cover designs, you should settle on several different options so that you have other options if one description isn’t selling well.

4. Length Matters

How many pages is too many pages? How many pages is too few pages? The answer to each of these questions varies from reader to reader, but finding what resonates best with your audience is crucial.

Imagine writing a book intended for young kids that is 1,200 pages long. Chances are a large majority of your target audience will avoid buying your book simply because of the length. On the flip side, writing a book that is only 60 pages could have an equally negative effect.

I wish I could give you an exact number of pages that will result in optimal sales, but there are far too many factors based on the topic, intended audience, etc. What I can recommend is looking at the top selling eBooks in your genre to see how long they are on average.

With this information you can then evaluate the length of your current books. Though you may struggle to change the page length of books that are already available for sale, moving forward you can keep in mind how long your eBook should be.

5. Add Social Proof

All eBooks should include social proof. Not sure what social proof is? It’s the quotes you see on a book from other authors or a line saying the author has written a best seller.

Simply put, social proof shows potential readers that other people love your eBook. It is human nature to be skeptical when it comes to spending money on something we aren’t familiar with. Think about the last time you purchased something online. Chances are you read a few reviews before you hit the buy button.

Social proof, much like online reviews, give potential buyers the added confidence needed to buy your eBook.

6. Have A Focused Topic

This tip has to do with all of the eBooks you write. When you take a look at all of the eBooks you have written, do they revolve around a specific topic? If the answer is no, it may be affecting your ability to sell.

Now this isn’t always the case, but typically it is much easier to sell when you produce books that are written about a specific topic. There are two reasons for this, repeat buyers and a better understanding of your target audience.

Repeat buyers are the holy grail of any business. Think about an author like James Patterson. Every time he writes a new book, thousands of people that have read his past books rush to the store to buy his new novel. This requires little or any effort on his end. People simply know what to expect from Patterson and line up to read more. If he all the sudden wrote a book about nutrition, it would not be quite as easy for him to sell as many books.

The other benefit of focusing on a specific topic/genre, is that over time you will gain a deep understanding of your target audience. This makes your marketing efforts more effective and will save you money.

7. Narrow Your Target Audience

The first five eBook sales tips we discussed had to do with changes you can make to your book itself. Now we will talk about changes you can make to your eBook sales strategy. The first being narrowing your target audience.

Marketing your eBook properly plays a major role in the total number of books you sell. Initially your eBook may sell without marketing thanks to friends, family and recommendations. However, you will reach a point where without marketing your eBook sales will hault.

A major mistake even trained marketers make is not narrowing down their target audience. You may think that everyone on the planet will love your eBook, and maybe them would, but marketing to the whole world is expensive and inefficient. Focus your marketing efforts on as narrow of an audience as possible.

Instead of marketing to all women, market your eBook to moms that have two or more children, are between ages 30-45 and have purchased books in your genre before. Bottom line: the narrower the better.

8. Survey Your Audience

ebook sales tip

Imagine knowing exactly what your audience wants to read, all you would have to do is write it and sales would be immediate. If only there was a way to know what they are looking for.

Surveys are the way to learn this information. Tools like SurveyMonkey make it easy for you to create and track online surveys. If you have an email list, blog community or social media following, send out a survey to better understand your readers. Ask them questions such as:

  • Which of your books did they like best?
  • What is the ideal length for a book?
  • What drew them to your books to begin with?
  • What should you write next?

9. Focus On The Buyers

This next tip is only relevant after you have written a few eBooks, but it is very important to discuss. Once you have written a few eBooks you will begin to see repeat buyers. We just discussed how important and profitable repeat buyers are, therefore it is a great strategy to keep these people happy.

If possible, communicate with your loyal readers. Nurturing these relationships can lead to far more sales than you could ever imagine. These individuals have spent their time and money to read your eBooks. This is not by accident. Encourage them to refer your books to their friends, as well as to continue buying your future eBooks that you plan to write.

Think about this simple statistic: businesses are 6x more likely to sell another product to existing customers than to a new customer. Another way to think about this is that you will have to spend twice as much money and/or time to sell your eBook to new customers than to your existing readers.

10. Spend Money To Make Money

The final eBook sales tip on this list is often times hard for authors to understand- you have to be willing to spend money to make money. If you are a self-published author this can be an extremely scary thought. Before you start spending money, make sure you follow some of the tips we discussed earlier, such as narrowing your target audience and surveying your current readers.

Once you are ready, you can consider some of the following paid opportunities:

  • Social media advertisements
  • Networking events
  • Book conferences
  • eBook promotional websites

As a writer it is easy to forget how much work is required to actually sell our work. Writing may seem like the hard part, but writing is what we do. If you are struggling to sell your eBooks, try some of the eBook sales tips discussed in this post.

If you found this post helpful, please share it with some of your author friends that may need help breaking through their sales ceiling.

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What to Expect When You Self-Publish

why write an ebookThe anticipation of a newly released eBook may be unlike anything else you’ve experienced. But do you know what to expect when you self-publish? As an indie author, everything you have been working so diligently toward accomplishing culminates with the self-publishing of your work. You’ve labored over words and phrases, trudged through who-knows-how-many revisions, and worked with your editor to achieve what you hope is perfection. So now what? As you venture into the next part of your journey as an indie author, you want to have a realistic idea of what to expect when you do self-publish.

Your Expectations Won’t Be Met

Despite the fact that you’ve probably developed a mantra to keep your expectations under control, once you self-publish your work, you’ll discover an unanticipated sensation of high hopes. These hopes could range from expectations regarding eBook sales to how quickly you’ll gain adulation. There will be disappointments, such as realizing that your extended family hasn’t purchased, let alone read, your masterpiece. But there will also be unexpected developments to appreciate as you enter the self-publishing world.

You’ll Second-Guess

The moment your eBook is available to the public, you’ll fret over every detail, edit, and format. You’ll wonder if you should have kept this or should have changed that, but at this point in the game, there is no use in wondering about what could have been. Your eBook is published, and you should trust that it is just as fantastic as you had dreamed. If it doesn’t quite meet expectations, chalk it up as a learning experience, and you’ll know better for your next edition or next eBook.

You’ll Feel Idle

After several months of working around the clock to bring your eBook to fruition, you may feel that you have too much time on your hands. Luckily, there is still plenty to do, other than checking and re-checking your sales and reading reviews as they appear. Keep your focus, and your sanity, with a to-do list. You should continue to market your eBook with applied marketing strategies.

It’s never too early to start planning your next project. You can expect to feel a little lost at this stage, but you can also expect a strong sense of accomplishment to fuel your next step.

Self-publishing can be unpredictable, and the best way to manage your expectations is to expect the unexpected, because there is no way to tell you exactly what to expect when you self-publish. There will be moments that make you cringe, as well as moments that will make you proud. Regardless, the experience of self-publishing is one that makes being an indie author worthwhile.

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Is Your Content Worthy of an eBook?

computer-768608_640How do you know if your content is worthy of an eBook? Perhaps all you have written right now is a blog post, but could your topic possibly be expanded into something more? What does it take to publish an eBook?

Content Length

There are no specific rules about eBook length, but there are guides for specific genres. Because counting pages is ill-advised, since people read eBooks on different devices, it’s better to use word count to determine length.

  • The average nonfiction book is 50,000 to 75,000 words in length, although biographies can be as long as 200,000 words.
  • How-to and self-help books are typically 40,000 to 50,000 words.
  • The average fiction novel runs approximately 100,000 words.
  • Other fiction genres – YA, sci-fi, and fantasy – range anywhere from 80,000 to 120,000 words.

Even though every genre  will have an average word count, the fact is, your eBook could be 12,000 words long and still be relevant. In fact, eBooks that are offered as free downloads for lead generation can be 2,000 to 3,000 words and still serve their purpose.

Content Quality

The length of your content is not nearly as important as the quality. You can’t just add words to hit a certain number unless those words are necessary for telling your story. We advise indie authors to write a quality story without worrying about length. Meaningless content or fluff will not result in a successful self-publishing experience. Focus on the quality of your writing, the full development of your characters, and the depth of the research to create your content.

Expandable Content

A good sign that your content is worthy of an eBook is its ability to be expandable. That is, whether you’re writing a blog post or have the beginnings of an eBook, there should be room to expand and add detail to make the work even better. You may even find that your content is worthy of a whole series of eBooks that branch from one idea to the next.

The best way to discover if your content is worthy of an eBook is to begin writing. As you write, you will see how – or if – a story will form and take hold that you can build on.

 

 

 

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