get approved for more categories on Amazon

How To Get Approved for More Categories on Amazon

When you browse through a bookstore, chances are you have an idea the genre of book you are searching for. If you are searching in the science fiction fantasy section, you might be checking out the latest Game of Thrones novel by George R. R. Martin. Looking to invest your money and learn about personal finance? You might want to check out David Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover in the Business — Personal Finance & Investing Section of the Barnes & Noble book store.

But how about kindle books? Well, similar to the browsing experience you’ll have at a Barnes & Noble bookstore, Amazon’s Kindle Store has thousands of categories in books to choose from, spanning across every variation of genre and subgenre.

For book browsers, a category is a place where they can go to to find the specific book they are searching for. For authors, we need to think strategically so that we can get our books in front of readers searching for the specific book to match their needs.

But, with dozens of categories and thousands of sub-categories to choose from, and so many books competing for attention on the Amazon platform, how can you choose the right category to make your book “pop” out when the reader is browsing through titles? How do we know if our books are on the right ‘digital shelves’ on Amazon?

In this post, we will look at the strategies authors use to place their books in the best categories and, how to get your book into ten categories on the Amazon platform.

Amazon eBook Categories: How to Choose?

The categories you place your book in makes all the difference between a successful book launch and….well, a complete flop. So, selecting the best categories for your next bestseller is a critical decision that you arrive at through selective research and, crunching the numbers on the category page. To get your book in front of thousands of readers hungry for your next literary masterpiece, you should invest the time to research the best categories for your book.

We can think of our categories as the big, broad term that describes your book, and should say something unique about the type of book you are offering. For example, if you had written a book on Habit Stacking, I would expect to find it in the Amazon categories as follows:

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Self-Help > Motivational, or;

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Business & Money > Business Life > Time Management

But the category for self-help is broken down further into hundreds of other sub-categories, and they trickle down even further into niche-specific categories that are not available in the KDP dashboard. More on this in a bit.

So, where do we begin? Your journey into discovering the best categories for your book begins with the category paths, or, the Amazon browse categories.

BISAC Subject Codes

It’s good to know that when KDP is figuring out which category would best fit your type of book, they use a cataloging system called BISAC Subject Codes. When selecting the best browse categories in your KDP, Amazon translates your category choices into the best possible browse categories to help readers find the books most relevant to their search.

When setting up your Amazon categories, it’s important to remember to cross-categorize your book into two separate category paths for broader exposure. This provides more avenues for browsers to find your book. This means a better ranking when more readers download your book, and adds to your monthly royalties. We’ll expand on this more soon.

But first…

Category Considerations: What You Need to Know

When working out the best categories to target, there are four specific areas we need to consider.

  • Competition: How competitive is your category? Is Anthony Robbins or Stephen King ranking #1? If you put your book in this category, can you beat them?
  • Traffic: is this category very active? Do the books in this category have a decent sales volume?
  • Earning Potential: Are the top ranking books making any money?
  • Niche Placement: Is this category the best one for your book’s genre and content?

We can research this information in a matter of minutes with some basic strategies and advanced tools. I’ll get into such valuable tools as KDP Rocket and Kindlespy in a moment. But first, let’s get our hands dirty and start doing some digging to discover the best categories for our book.

Let’s take a closer look…

Category Competition

You can check out the competition by scanning the bestselling books on the first page. A category may have thousands of books with hundreds of pages stacked with titles, such as the self help section or business and Investing.

how to get approved for more categories on amazon

But we aren’t concerned with looking at thousands of books. We are only interested in the first page of any category, and more specifically, the #1 book on that category page. Why?

That is what our readers are going to be looking for. If you are looking for a book on how to become a minimalist, you can go to the Amazon bar and type in minimalism. You’ll land on the first page that features the top ranking books such as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less.

When we look into any category, we want to know the top ranking books. Our goal is to be able to compete on the first page and, where possible, rank in at least the top 5 in that category.

Category Traffic

It may be possible to rank in the number one spot in a certain category, but what is the point if that category has low sales volume and weak traffic? We want at least two categories that are low-average in competition and are popular with browsers.

Category Earning Potential

Would you like to bring in several hundred dollars a month from your book? How about several thousand? The earning potential of your selective categories is something to consider carefully. For example, according to the ABSR [Amazon Best Seller Rank], the #1 best selling book in the category path nonfiction > Business and Investing is The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.

And, according to KDP Rocket, the book is currently earning $12,496 a day at this ranking and price. This is good to know. Even if you could rank at #19 in the same category, such as Turn Your Computer Into a Money Machine in 2017 by Avery Breyer, you’d still be earning $5000 a month. There is nothing wrong with that.

Now that we know what to look for when choosing categories, let’s do a step-by-step on setting this up. Then, I’ll show you how to easily get your book into ten categories.

Amazon Category Rankings: A Brief Note

As we will see, placing your book in a category with low competition but has potential is key. But what would be considered a competitive rank? Well, I’ll make it simple. In any category, if the book is ranking under #1000, chances are it is a highly competitive category. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t place your book here, but just know that, if you do, be sure to have a strong launch pushing your book and a lot of verified, positive reviews. I would aim for the sweet spot with the highest ranking book around 3-7,000. You can also calculate how many books you would need to sell in order to outrank the highest ranking book in that category. Just use the Amazon Sales Rank Calculator to determine the amount of books needed to sell to compete.

Setting Up Your Categories in the KDP Bookshelf

It’s relatively easy to setup your categories in your bookshelf. Remember: Amazon allows you to choose from just two browse categories in the KDP Bookshelf.

Let’s walk through the steps.

  1. Sign into your KDP Bookshelf.
  2. Click on your Book Title.
  3. Scrolling over the Promote and Advertise button, and click on Edit eBook details
  4. Scroll down until you find the Categories section. Click Set Categories. These are the main browser categories. Choose two accurate, specific categories.

For example:

“Nonfiction > Self-help > Emotions”

“Nonfiction > Business & Economics > Business Communication > Business Writing”

  1. Cross-promote your book. You want your book to show up in as many relevant, popular categories as possible. How do we know if a category is popular?

As I mentioned already, you can use a great piece of software such as Kindlespy. Wesley Atkins’ tool will walk you through the process for finding the best eBook categories, as well as how each category performs when it comes to profitability, popularity and competition.

The other tool that really gets down to the nitty-gritty in terms of stats and numbers, and provides you with not only the Amazon search rankings but Google as well, is KDP Rocket by Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur.

But wait a minute. Not all of the category paths are listed in the KDP Bookshelf. As a matter of fact, Amazon has thousands of sub-categories that you can break into and have your book rank in special categories not found in the usual channels.

So, that brings us to…

Opening Up the Secret Batch of Amazon Categories

To discover these hidden categories, you simply add in specific keywords to your keyword list. You can also add the name of the category itself and this tells Amazon that book belongs in that specific category.

How do we do that? There are several ways you can find these categories.

  1. Search for the titles that are similar to yours. You can find the browse categories assigned to those books by scrolling down to the book detail pages to the section “Look for Similar Items by Category.”
  2. You can also search for relevant browse categories on the left of the category paths page under the Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks header. When you find the categories that are most relevant to your title, as we discussed earlier, check out the top three books and take note of the rankings. If it is a category you can compete in, contact Amazon to have your book placed in that sub-category. If you have already selected your two main browser paths in the dashboard, we can add up to eight more categories, so keep a list of the category paths specific to your book.
  3. Breaking into the sub-categories. You want your book to rank in a more specific category? You can add Search Keywords relevant only to that category. For example, go into the Business & Money subcategory, locate the specific category you want on the left, and the targeted keywords are featured on the right. Plug the keywords [or the category path] into your keyword selection box in your KDP Dashboard, and it should tell Amazon to place your book there. If it doesn’t show up after a few days, contact customer support and they should get back to you within 24 hours.

Gaining Approval for Additional Categories

What if I told you that you could have up to 10 categories in your category selection?

Yes, that’s right, ten! Instead of being limited to the two browser categories that we’ve already discussed, you can have your book show up in eight additional categories of your choosing. But where do we find these categories?

It’s simple. Follow these steps.

Step 1: Using the same steps above for category placement, start with checking your competitor’s books and the category paths that books similar to yours are placed in. Again, you want to aim for low-average competition so, check the rankings of the first couple of books. Once you have found a category path that looks good, just copy and paste your category strings into an email.

Step 2: Then, directly contact Amazon’s super-awesome support team with your category choices. With 24-72 hours, your book will appear, not only in the initial browser categories you selected in your KDP Bookshelf but, across eight more categories. These categories will appear in the “Look for similar items by category” at the bottom of the book page.

Step 3: To make any changes to any of the categories after Amazon sets them up for you, you will have to contact support directly to have any categories removed or switched up with another.

Yes, it really is that easy.

Amazon Magic Working For You

Your book starts ranking as soon as a browser becomes a buyer and downloads your book. When your book starts ranking, guess what happens? Amazon takes notice. Somebody says, “whoa!” this book is on fire. That is when they step in to help you out by promoting the book for you.

If you check out the Amazon page for Tim Ferris’s Tools of Titans, scroll down and you’ll see a section titled “Customers who bought this item also bought”. It is here that your book might appear depending on category ranking, browser traffic, and history of paid sales. If you’re running Amazon KDP Select Ads Campaign, you’re book could also be displayed in the “Sponsored products related to this item” section.

Getting Your Orange Banner

If your book is ranking #1 in one or several categories, it is a high probability you’ll get the #1 orange banner indicating you’re now a #1 bestseller. This also depends on whether your book meets a threshold of a minimum number of paid sales historically and recently.

Although the Amazon Bestsellers Rank shows how items are selling in relation to one another in each Amazon marketplace, the ranking is further divided into Free and Paid lists within each Kindle Store.

If you can place your book in the top ten on the first page of the category listings, you gain more visibility by browsers who generally won’t click beyond that first page. Most book browsers will check out the top ranking books [1-20] and then move on

Wrapping It Up

So there you have it. A set of strategies to help you set up your book in the right categories that get you ranked faster with maximum exposure in the search engines in Amazon.

Be strategic in your book launch and dedicate at least a few hours to researching the best kindle categories for your next bestseller. And remember, as soon as your book is live, contact Amazon with your list of eight additional categories for reaching your readers on a broader scale. 

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?

How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?

“Remember to think of the cost of self-publishing as an investment, not a cost. [A book is] an asset that earns you money long-term.” – Joanna Penn

If you’re thinking of publishing your first book, you might have some concerns about how much it really costs to get it published. So…how much does it cost to publish a book?

Since the explosion of digital books on Amazon and various other platforms like kobo, ibooks, and smashwords, wanna-be authors and pro authors alike can write, publish and promote their books for less than $1000. On the other hand, you can spend as much as $20,000 on self-publishing and book marketing costs if you have that kind of budget.

Let’s breakdown the costs of the self-publishing process, and we’ll share some secrets to bring those costs down if you’re budget-conscious.

The Rise of Self Publishing

If you’re an author dreaming of making your books available to millions of readers, you can make it happen. You only have to invest your time, some money, and a little bit of sanity.

The sky’s really the limit. Self-publishing on Amazon has made it possible so that we can all fly with our books.

There are many factors that can affect the cost of publishing your book. What it really boils down to is this: How much are you willing to spend, and how well do you want your book to sell?

The reason I ask these questions is—if you go cheap on everything—you could end up putting out a low quality book that gets panned by bad reviews, and then it won’t sell.

On Amazon, quality sells. And yes, quality costs money. But there are ways you can creatively cut costs and still put out a quality book. Let’s take a look.

Crunching the Numbers: How Much Will it Cost to Self-Publish My Book?

To start, let’s look at a sample budget. Now, these aren’t the high-end numbers for self-publishing. You can spend as much money as you want—this is a list of budget-conscious pricing for getting your book done within a reasonable budget:

  • Cover: $5-$100.
  • Editing: $200-$400 [depending on word count, and whether it’s a line edit or a developmental edit. This pricing is for a 25,000- to 30,000-word manuscript.]
  • Formatting [ebook]: $20-$60
  • Formatting [Print]: $35-$60
  • Promo Sites [Book Launch]: $40-$500
  • Audio Book [optional]: $300-$900
  • Author Tools: Courses, blog, domain names

I’ll go into each of these in more detail, with links you can check out for yourself and find what works within your budget. Take some time to shop around see where to get the best value for the best price.

Learn how to minimize the cost of publishing books!

FREE Video Training: How To Go From Blank Page To Published Author in 90 Days

Click here to learn more now!

How Much Does a Book Cover Design Cost?

The famous saying is “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but we do it anyway. The design of your book can often determine whether or not people will actually pay for it and read it. Your cover will make or break your book right off the bat. If there’s any one cost you don’t want to go cheap on, this would be it. While it’s true you can outsource to someone on Fiverr and get a decent cover for less than $20, it pays to do your research and find a good designer that’s going to deliver a cover that sells your book.

Check out this video Chandler Bolt recorded on how to use Fiverr.com to outsource your book cover design.

I would recommend setting aside a budget of at least $100. This isn’t to say that spending tons of money will get you an awesome cover, but going cheap on it may hurt your sales in the long run.

How Much Does a Book Editor Cost?

A book should always be edited…by a real editor. Don’t try to cut corners here, this is a very important step in your book writing journey.  Even if you’re a professional writer or editor yourself with thirty years of experience under your belt, you need to outsource it to someone else, and that means another professional editor.

Trust me: a book that contains typos will get bad reviews and sales will drop flat. Love your book. Spend the cash on editing. You can find quality editors at Upwork. (Or you can find the editors we recommend in our Preferred Outsourcer Rolodex if you’re a member of the Self-Publishing School community.)

You can get a very short book (15,000 words) edited for about $150-$250. This is for line editing. Ghost writing, developmental, or structural editing will run you much more than that, upwards of $2,000 or more depending on the length of your book (up to 100,000+ words) and the depth of edits you require.

When it comes to your book production costs, there can be no end to the costs you can rack up if you have the cash to invest.

How Much Does Book Formatting Cost?

When it’s time to format your book, if you’re publishing on Amazon, you might want to get it formatted both for print and for Kindle. You can outsource the formatting of both your ebook and print book for around $60-$200. Fiverr has some great formatters at reasonable prices.

I’d also recommend asking fellow authors if they have any great recommendations for book formatters. Once you find a book formatter you really like, add them to your own rolodex for future reference.

How Much Does it Cost to Promote Your Book?

When it comes to spending cash on promo sites, you could empty your bank easily. It doesn’t have to come to this. Set a budget for yourself and go with the best of the best. I have recommendations below you can check out.

Budgets vary but I’ll spend $32 on the low end for Buckbooks and go as high as $1,000 if you add on a bundle of promo sites to launch your book.

Again, this is a major money suck if you’re not careful; you can throw thousands into it and get mediocre results. Choose your promo sites with caution and do your research.

For the best results on several paid launches I have used:

Bookzio [$19-29]

Robin Reads [$35]

Buckbooks [$32]

BKnights [$5-40]

ereader girl [$20]

Awesome Gang [$10]

Booksbutterfly [varied prices]

When it comes to paid promotions, you can spend as much as you want, but to get the best value for your dollar, do your research on the top sites that can generate a good return. Check out this detailed list of paid [and free] promo sites.

How Much Does it Cost to Record an Audio Book?

Creating an audio book can run you anywhere from $300 to $6,000 additional cost depending on the length of your book and who you hire to do it. Again, you’ll need to create a budget for this one to keep costs under control.

If you have a novel with multiple characters and want different people to read different roles, it can cost towards the high end of the budget (especially if you’re using high-end talent.)

If you have a good voice or acting experience and you want to give it a shot, you can purchase the basic equipment and record the audio book version yourself. Check out this blog post for setting up your recording studio and doing it yourself.

Additional Author Tools and Expenses

Author tools are a necessary part of your portfolio, and there are tools for every part of the publishing process. How many of these you decide to invest in is up to you.

Here are some of the basic tools of professional authors. This will add a price tag to your book, but many of these are just a one-time payment and then that’s it. Other tools will bill you monthly.

Book Publishing Courses

If you’re new to the game of self-publishing, take a course like Self-Publishing School or join our Mastermind community for everything you need to get started.

You could also look into taking multiple courses on Udemy. But again, you can spend a fortune on various courses. I would recommend sticking with one course until you complete it and then, after getting your first big win, look at branching out to learn other skills.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Website?

Building an author platform is a serious consideration if you’re looking to expand your business, write blogs, and promote your work. Whether you’re looking to build your entire website as an author, or a landing page with a call-to-action to get users to opt-in, it’s a very important step for building your business. It’s also important to capture leads to build your mailing list. A lead capture form on your website serves the purpose of finding quality leads as well as help you determine your primary audience.

Here are some things you’ll need to look into in order to get started with building a website:

Hosting

You can sign up for hosting with servers such as bluehost or hostgator. The cost would be around $150 per year; very reasonable for website hosting. You will get a discount when you sign up for the first year, but pay full price when you renew.

Domain Name

You can purchase a domain name to secure your brand and start driving traffic to your site. Check out Name.com. The cost will run you around $10-$15 a year.

Email Subscription Services

If you want to collect email addresses, you’ll need to sign up with an email subscription service to manage your emails. There are several choices:

Mailchimp: this is free up to the first 2000 subscribers. If you opt in to use their autoresponder service or other upgrades, you’ll have to pay around $10 a month depending on the number of subscribers.

AWeber: regarded by most as the premium site for email subscriptions. Cost per month: $19 up to 500 subscribers.

Convertkit.com: a new kid on the block, Convertkit has tons of value. Price is based on subscribers, but starts at $29 a month for your first 1,000 subscribers.

How to Increase Book Sales

We all want to make CASH with our writing. It may not be the only reason we write, but self-publishing your own book is still an investment. And like any investment, it’s nice to get a return rather than taking a loss.

Here is a list of strategies you can implement to increase your book sales and get more eyeballs on your work.

  1. Run a contest through Goodreads.
  2. Reach out to podcasters and influencers in your niche and set up an interview. This has proven to be a big game changer for authors like Hal Elrod and Tim Ferriss.
  3. After your book has been at regular price for a while, wait three months and then drop it to .99 again. Set up some paid ads every other day for one week. Try using the KDP countdown strategy.
  4. Blog about the topics in your book. Set up a blog and get more traffic and interest in your work by writing about what you love. Traffic that lands on your page can be directed to your Amazon Author Page and that means…more book sales!
  5. Write another book. Building a catalogue of books is a great formula for generating higher monthly income.
  6. Apply for a spot on Bookbub. Bookbub is the big gorilla when it comes to book promoting. It’s expensive ($300 and up), but it’s a solid investment and you will make your money back on the promo costs. You can check out Bookbub here and sign up for an author account to get started.

3 Ways to Save Money on Your Book Costs

Self-publishing can be expensive if you let it. There is always something else to spend more money on and the more you spend, the less chance you have of making your money back. Here are a few hot tips to help you save on your book costs, both now and in the future.

Hot Tip #1: Save Money on Book Formatting [if you dare!]

Write your eBook with Scrivener. Not only is Scrivener the #1 author tool for writing and organizing your manuscript but, if used effectively, it can save you money in formatting costs. If you’d like to learn more about how it works, check out this Scrivener webinar hosted by Joseph Michael with Chandler Bolt.

Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer.com also offers a bundle of Book Design Templates for both fiction and nonfiction. These templates are at a cost but will save you money in the long run from outsourcing. I have personally been using these to do the formatting for my books. It can be time consuming at first but once you get the hang of it, you’ll save money on formatting costs.

Hot Tip #2: Build a List of Email Subscribers

Although this topic deserves its own blog or (book), I’ll mention it here because if you build up an email list now, it can save you thousands of dollars in promotional costs down the road.

When you launch your next book, you’ll have hundreds or thousands of fans waiting for your next release. Not only that, but these are the fans who will leave reviews if they join your launch team and purchase your book the first week it comes out.

This shoots your rankings up, and this drives sales even further. Sound good?

You can start to build your email list by including a link to a lead magnet in your eBook. A lead magnet is an offer of a free, valuable piece of content that readers will get if they go to your website and subscribe to your email list.

Hot Tip #3: Write a Great Book!

This might seem like an obvious tip, but paying attention to the quality of your book throughout the writing process is going to save you money. The better your book, the less you’ll have to spend on editing.

You will also gain a solid reputation for someone who writes really well. This means loyal fans will spread the word about your book and your blog, your email list grows, and any future books you release will practically promote themselves. Well, almost.

We are in a great era of self-publishing. Anyone can turn their dream into a reality within just a few months, a bit of cash, and a great idea!

Are you ready to make a difference?

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

 

Book Writing Software

Book Writing Software: Which Is Best?

When it comes to choosing the best book writing software, authors have several choices. You may be asking yourself: Do I stick with Microsoft Word? Is Scrivener the best investment with its robust features and user-friendly tools? How about Google Docs for so I can easily share and co-edit my book with an editor?

We could try and tell you which one to pick, but everyone has different tastes and needs. Let’s take a look and compare the three writing “giants” to make the choice of book writing software clearer.

Which is the Best Book Writing Software for YOU?

The purpose of this post isn’t to sell you on any particular book writing software. We’ll share with you the Good, the Bad and the Average so you can weigh the options for yourself. Who knows—you may even want to switch to a different writing software that works better than anything you’ve tried before.

There are nine things to consider when deciding which program to use to write your book (some of these might be more or less important to you):

  1. Ease and style preference of formatting
  2. Template choices
  3. Pricing
  4. Simplicity (if that’s important to you)
  5. Bells & whistles and tons of features (if that’s important to you)
  6. A distraction-free feature for writing [we are writers, after all]
  7. A user friendly Platform with the right powerful tools for you
  8. Easy access to the files no matter where you are
  9. Collaboration with team members

Why Microsoft Word Works

Before Scrivener came along, and other various platforms, we had Microsoft Word—and today it’s still the most widely used software enjoyed by millions of users in homes and offices worldwide. Personally I started out writing with Word years ago as did many people, so it has been my personal choice when there were not that many choices available.

If you have a Mac computer, then Word might cause you a lot of frustration with crashes and formatting. However, PC users tend to enjoy Word a lot more.

If you’re a Word user and you’ve got your own system in place for writing books, then perhaps you need to look no further. Word is trusty and reliable. You’re relatively distraction-free while you’re working in it. (Compare that to working on Google Docs in your browser, where you only an errant mouse-click away from the entire internet!)

You can create your own free book writing template using Word. And if you start writing your book in Word and don’t begin with the correct formatting, it’s pretty easy to clean up your formatting to make it “book ready” with a few simple steps.

Word is great for waking up in the morning and meeting your word-count goals by keeping your head down and getting those words pounded out onto the page. No fuss, no muss. It’s as simple as it gets.

But for many authors, those times have changed with the emergence of programs such as Scrivener and Google Docs that have shaped the way we create online and offline content and how we organize our ideas.

There are many types of authors out there and each of them has a preference as to what software works best for them. If you have been using Word for years, you’re probably attached to it. Transitioning from MS Word to Scrivener has proven challenging for some writers, in part because of the learning curve to master a new program. The Scrivener Manual itself is around 550 pages. There are also plenty of Scrivener YouTube tutorials you can learn from as well.

When’s the last time you had to call Microsoft for technical help with Word? (I never have.) If you need to know how to do something in Word, you can Google it. Scrivener, on the other hand, actually has support emails and bug reporting and a customer forum…because it’s really that complicated!

Why Some Authors Love Scrivener

That said…Scrivener was created with writers as the primary customer. And a lot of writers swear by it (once they get over that very steep learning curve.)

For those authors who have put in the work to understand how the program works, it’s the favored choice for ease of writing, formatting, and organizing your content for publishing. If you invest the time up front to learn Scrivener, then you will get that time back—and then some—once you see what the program can do.

Blogger and author Jeff Goins swears by Scrivener after giving up Word. He says: “I wasted years of my life doing all my writing on Microsoft Word. But that’s all over now. I have finally seen the light.”

Entrepreneur Michael Hyatt says about Scrivener: “I now begin every piece of content—no matter what it is—with this tool. It has simplified my life and enabled me to focus on the most important aspect of my job—creating new content. I am more productive than ever.”

Scrivener has a ton of benefits for authors that we could fill up dozens of pages discussing. I’ll keep it simple and give you the top benefits here:

  • For fiction authors, Scrivener helps with plotting
  • Easily export your data to other digital platforms such as Kobo, ibooks, etc… [this is one of the best features]
  • Provides outlining functionality that keeps your content organized
  • Powerful composition mode with distraction free writing environment
  • Easily move sections around with drag and drop
  • A collection of robust templates
  • Supports MultiMarkdown for bullets and numbers

Scrivener was designed for writers because you can lay out scenes, move content around and outline stories or manuscripts. In Scrivener, you don’t have to become distracted by formatting; you can stay focused on the writing as it separates the content from the presentation.

Scrivener works best as a tool for plotting out storylines. It’s also a handy book formatter. Scrivener has hundreds of features beneficial for writers and enables them to focus on the writing process without getting sidetracked.

The one huge downside is that the steep learning curve in getting to know this program isn’t going to happen overnight. But the investment in learning this tool could save you time in the long run if you plan on putting out lots of books.

Google Docs for Writing Books

We’ve looked at the appealing simplicity of Word and the power of Scrivener, but another writing software loved by many is Google Docs. These are all great writing tools; what it comes down to in most cases is the process you use for writing.

Google Docs and Google Drive are best used for team-sharing your content, files, and docs. It doesn’t require any installation and can be accessed anywhere via your browser (or an app on your phone). One of the best features is: everything is saved on the server frequently, so you never have to fret about losing a version or draft of your work. (Anyone who has ever lost a draft of a book understands how valuable this feature is!)

Plus you can access your work when you move from one location or another—no carrying a laptop or thumb drive around with you. When you share a book draft with others, like test readers or your editor, they can comment directly on the draft using the built-in comment functionality.

Remember to backup your work when using a server-based platform, though. A simple click of a button could delete your work if you aren’t careful and when things are hosted online, they aren’t automatically saved to your hard drive.

Alternative Writing Software + Pricing

If you are not sold on Word, Scrivener or Google Docs, there are other software programs and apps that authors and bloggers are using to get their work done.

One of these is Evernote, which functions much better as a productivity tool than a word processor, with only limited functionality when it comes to writing a book. Some of its functions are: uploading pics, docs and voice recorder. I have written many blogs and sections of books using the Evernote platform.

Pages is a great alternative to Word if you use a Mac computer. It has a variety of beautiful templates to choose from, has a simple design and syncs with all devices from within iCloud. I personally love the ease of Pages and it works great for creating ebooks or manuscripts with a variety of tools you can get creative with.

FastPencil is a nice little platform with lots of tools. You can also use it for distributing your ebook. It is free to start writing with, but they offer paid services.

FocusWriter is another software for writers that is intended to eliminate distractions to help you get your book written quicker. It is a lightweight basic text writer that was designed to to be completely free of the distractions. In its fullscreen mode, there are no toolbars or additional windows, just a background and your text so that you can concentrate solely on writing your draft.

Now that you have these awesome tools at your disposal, what is your favorite writing tool? What best suits your needs as an author? Can you speed up the writing process with any particular tool?

Pricing: How Much Does Book Writing Software Cost?

Take some time to check out each of these tools if you aren’t already using them. Stay focused on crafting your next book and stick with the book writing software that gives you the best results in terms of saving you money, time and frustration.

Keep writing. Keep it simple. Best of all, enjoy the creative process! 

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

 

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in June of 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.

Write a book faster

How to Write a Book Faster

“The faster I write, the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.” – Raymond Chandler

I’ll share a secret with you. I’m not a natural typist. In fact, I can’t type very well at all. I use two fingers to pound out my stories and create content in the form of blogs and books. My writing speed is slow, about 30 wpm. But writing is important to me, as I’m sure it is for you—so, there are a few things I do to boost my writing speed so I can get more done in the same amount of time. Here are five tips on how to write a book faster:

Write Every Day

I know, I know, this is the obvious choice. But seriously, not only will you become a master writer if you pound out words every day, your writing speed will also naturally improve. The more you practice now, the less you have to practice later. And as you get better at your craft, you’ll be creating better quality content in less time. You could blog every day or work on a chapter for your next novel.

Action Plan:

  1. Make writing a daily habit.
  2. Set your word count goal for each day.
  3. Track how many words you are writing per hour/day.

Schedule Brief Typing Practice Sessions

For ten minutes a day I practice typing. This is a separate activity from actually writing content. I’ll use a free typing software program that tests writing speed and provides feedback on how efficient I am as a typist. This is a great way to master the skill of getting your word count up. Check out FASTFINGERS or Keyhero.com.

Use Proper Sitting Posture

The position of your body has a lot to do with typing speed and efficiency. If you slouch in your chair you’ll cramp up and find it hard to concentrate. Here is how you should position yourself:

  • Make sure that you are sitting up straight—don’t lean or hunch over towards the desk.
  • Position your elbows at right angles to the keyboard—avoid bending your arms upwards or downwards.
  • Properly position your fingers on the keyboard.

Buy a Standing Desk

It’s scientifically proven that the standing desk has major benefits for our health. But that’s not all! It also boosts productivity and, you guessed it, makes us more efficient at typing. Primarily, we feel great if we are standing—higher energy levels and better blood flow.

Create a Book Outline

The secret is out: outlines really do work! Being able to crank out three thousand words an hour won’t matter much if your content lacks direction. And a solid outline gives you that direction.

We all know that writing a book is a lot of work. But we can cut out a ton of obstacles with a well-written outline that builds passion and purpose into your writing routine. Here’s how an outline can double or even triple your writing speed:

1. Outlines Eliminate Writer’s Block

Writers experience writer’s block for several reasons—one of which is either not having an outline or having a poorly written outline. If your outline is well-organized and fleshed out with all the ideas, chapters and sections flowing in logical sequence, chances are writer’s block won’t be an issue.

When you have to stop to think about what comes next, you’re no longer in writing mode. Instead we fall into confusion, frustration and then default to research mode. “I know I can get through this if I just look up…” You start doing everything else but writing. The next time you hit a wall, check the flow of your outline. Revise what you need to and keep moving forward. Be sure to do as much research as you can before the initial writing begins.

2. Outlines Provide an Organized Framework for Your Book’s Structure

Your outline is the roadmap for your book. Without it, your writing time is slow and grueling, like running up a mountain with a ball and chain. Sounds tough, right? A well-organized outline boosts productivity throughout the writing phase. You’ll write much faster when the chapters flow from one to the next and ideas are combined and clustered. When your outline flows with a well-organized structure you don’t have to stop to think about what to write next. Your fingers can keep moving in flow with the plan you created.

3. Outlines Give You A Bird’s Eye View

When you can see your book in its entirety on the page, you feel compelled to write as much as possible. Think of it as a race. You’ll perform much better knowing the exact distance you have to run—especially as you near the finish line and you have the end in sight. Your outline needs to not only flow but, similar to a race, you should know where you’re starting and where you’ll end up.

Now that you know how important it is to have an awesome outline, spend some time today to go back and revise yours. Look at the areas that could be better researched. Review the chapters with ideas that require deeper development. Make your outline the best it can be and revise it as you go, ensuring those words keep hitting the paper.

Challenge yourself

We encourage you to challenge your writing speed and try to get a little faster each time. Follow the five tips above and see how many words/pages you can crank out in an hour. Time yourself using the Pomodoro Technique. You’ll be amazed at the difference. You never know, you might start pounding out full-length novels on just the weekends!

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!

How to Market a Book

How to Market a Book Step by Step

The big day has finally come. You’ve worked hard on your book for months, and maybe even years. Now it’s finally ready for the world to see. You hit publish and follow through with everything you know about how to market a book step by step. With any luck, hard work and a lot of support gets your book to bestseller status.

Then a few weeks goes by. Rankings drop considerably. Despite your best efforts, your book plummets down the lists like a stone.

How to Market a Book to Sell Copies

We’ve all been there—that point as a writer when we realize we have to do the other stuff—stuff that keeps us away from writing and creating. In fact, writing and crafting a book is only about half of the process. If you don’t spend 40-50% of your ongoing efforts on marketing, you reach a limited number of people. Your message will get lost in the massive swirl of information available out there.

You want to sell more books right? Marketing a book isn’t always a “natural” step for most authors. We are writers and creatives, not marketers and salespeople. But if you can combine writing and marketing, you’ll not only be able to write, but also to sell books. And marketing yourself is where it’s at.

8 Ways to Market Your Book Like a Pro

Fortunately, you don’t have to be a marketing guru or have a degree in digital marketing and social media mastery to get the word out about your brand. By following some basic steps, you’ll be marketing your books in no time.

1. Identify Your Audience

This is critical when it comes to marketing your book. If you don’t know who your audience is, you’ll end up marketing to anyone. In other words, you’ll be shouting out about your book in a noisy room and nobody will hear you. Write for a specific audience. To market your book effectively you have to know:

Who they are: Who is your ideal customer? What kind of information are they looking for? How do these people spend their time? Create a basic profile of what your reader looks like.

Where they are: Your audience is hanging out somewhere. Whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or LinkedIn, they are communicating about the topic and niche your book is about. Find those people and you will be able to market your book.

What problems are they facing: It is really important to nail this one. Come up with 20-30 problems your target market is trying to solve. By providing a solution to these problems, you’ll zero in on the readers who are waiting for your bestseller to change their lives. Remember: somebody out there wants what you are offering; they just don’t know it yet!

Action Step: Create a reader’s avatar. This is a profile of what your average reader is like. Include things like gender, occupation, and problems and they are facing. Figure out what solutions you could deliver to help them. Then market specifically to those people.

2. Build Your Author Website

Can you imagine if you came home one day and your house was…missing? Well, that is what an author’s life can be like without a website to post fresh content. You’ll always be missing a home where you can park your books. Many authors think they don’t need a website because they can promote their books through social media or the author platform on Amazon.

Sorry, not exactly.

There is a huge difference. Having an author website is the difference between renting or buying a piece of property. When you rent, you are living in someone else’s space. It doesn’t belong to you and they can cancel your lease at any time.

Maintaining your own website on a hosted server with your domain name is the same as having that piece of real estate. You can customize your site your way, publish your own content, and you are always in complete control of how it looks and what gets published. When it comes to marketing your book, the sky’s the limit. You can:

  • Publish your book’s landing page on your site.
  • Post blogs about your upcoming book
  • Create a countdown timer for the book’s release date.
  • Set up an affiliate link to your Amazon page so you get commissions on book sales
  • Include sample chapters from your book
  • Link to video clips about the book on your website
  • Communicate directly with your email subscribers about new releases or your current blog post

To set up your website and personal blog on a paid server, you can try Bluehost or Godaddy. For a domain name, check out name.com

3. Build Your Email List

There is a saying going around that says: “the money is in the list.” Why? It’s simple. A list of followers who are in love with your writing will be the first to line up when you have a new product to sell. These people are essentially your customers.

Your email list is yours. It doesn’t belong to Amazon or social media. You control what you want to say, how you say it, and when. Imagine if every time you had a new book ready to launch, hundreds or thousands of people were waiting for it so they could get it first.

If you are serious about promoting and marketing your current and all future books, building your list should be top priority. Nothing else comes close. Although building a list takes time, in the long run it is the easiest way to market. These are the true fans that will get the word out and be the first to leave verified reviews after buying your new release at the special price of 0.99. But that is just the beginning.

You can continue to build your list by including a reader magnet at the front and back of your book. Get people hooked on your brand and then keep them there by writing your next book, and then, including them in your next launch. As your book reaches more people, and you get more signups, your marketing capacity grows…exponentially.

Action Step: If you haven’t started on your list building, go to an email management system such as Mailchimp or AWeber and sign up for an account. Then get building and start to funnel your fans into your books today.

4. Reach Out to Influencers

When it comes to book promoting, nothing can have a bigger impact on your book than influencers. What is an influencer? Influencers can be podcasters, bloggers, or authors with strong email lists. It’s someone with an established platform that can get you noticed if they notice you.

An influencer is someone who has a lot of promotional weight and can spread the word about your book to thousands of people with just a brief mention to their email list, on their blog, or by sharing on social media, for example. Influencers have a long reach. What you can do is identify the influencers in your niche and reach out to them. Tell them who you are and ask if they can help to promote your latest book.

Influencers can have a major impact on your exposure as an author, so try to set up interviews in your hometown or reach out to someone online and offer to do an interview so you can deliver value to their target audience.

Guest post blogging on an influencer’s is another way to market your book. For example, if you wrote a book on recipes for Italian food, you could try connecting with people in the Italian cooking niche. They may have a blog, podcast, or a webinar on which you want to appear.

Action Step: Identify at least one influencer in your market and reach out to that person. Tell them who you are and what you do. Get on their podcast or get interviewed. Exposure to fans in your niche will have a big influence on book sales.

5. Leverage Two Social Media Platforms

Social media is a powerful way to promote your book. We can engage with thousands of people just by hitting a few buttons. But with social media sites, the big scare is the amount of time we can get sucked into trying to do everything. If you try to connect with everyone, you’ll match up with nobody.

When promoting and marketing your book, you can’t be everywhere doing all things at once. That is why we recommend you choose two social media sites to work with, and post your content regularly to these two sites.

For example, you can have a YouTube channel and post weekly videos. After a few months you could build up a library of content, engage with new subscribers and even create a course out of your videos.

With Facebook, you can promote your book or blog using Facebook ads. You could also post popular quotes or snippets of material from your upcoming book.

With Twitter you can post multiple times a day with brief quotes or messages under 140 characters. Twitter has proven to be a powerful platform for authors when it comes time to promote and market a book.

We recommend choosing two social media platforms and focusing on consistent engagement. This will keep your book’s appearance fresh and invite new people in to check out your work.

Action Step: Choose two social media platforms and commit to publishing content regularly. If you only want to focus on one, master it and then move to another that is perfectly fine! It is better to do one thing and get it right then do two things poorly.

6. Plan Your Marketing Ahead

The best time to start marketing your book was six months ago. If you haven’t done that, the next best time for marketing your book is right now.

Many authors make the mistake of getting their book out there, doing a promo with their launch team and then start to work on a plan for marketing. The best thing you can do is have your marketing tools defined and ready to roll into action when they are needed.

Your marketing plan can include such things as:

  • Having a series of blog posts scheduled to publish at regular intervals
  • Interviews set up with influencers to talk about your book, either on the day of launch or just after
  • A course based on the book set to launch at the same time as the book or soon after
  • Giveaways through Goodreads that attract buyers to download your book by the thousands
  • Daily blurbs posted on Facebook or Twitter. Remember: Engage where your fans are hanging out.
  • Schedule a Bookbub promo (see next step)

Marketing takes planning, and you have to be strategic about it. This means building buzz early and keeping that buzz going for months up to and even after the launch. Continued marketing requires deeper tactics such as course building and consistently promoting through social media or Facebook ads, but the rewards are well worth the effort.

7. Get on Bookbub

Bookbub is the cream of the crop when it comes to promoting and marketing your book. In fact, you should submit your book for promotion as either free or for 99 cents right after your book launch.

Bookbub has a massive following and can get your book delivered to thousands of readers. It really is the “Big One” when it comes to book promotion. The cost isn’t cheap and can run you anywhere from $200 to $2,000 for a promo, depending on the genre, category, and the price of your book.

But is it worth it?

Yes. Definitely.

For example, if you are running a promo for 99 cents in general nonfiction, you could potentially sell, on average, 2,000 copies of your book. Not only will you make a profit, but this could bring in hundreds of subscribers and leads to your email list. From there you can upsell readers on your other books or even a course if you have one.

But on a side note, most authors get rejected the first time from Bookbub. If you do, just keep trying. Go here for Bookbub submission requirements. You can also check out the pricing here and submit your book here.

8. Write Another Book

Publishing another book is great for brand building. In fact, it’s much harder to market just one book unless it is a ground-breaking phenomenal masterpiece. Your book may be great, but you can compound that greatness by writing more books, preferably in a series.

With every new book you put out there you increase the chances of your work getting recognized by influencers and people online who are hanging out in all the places you can target for promotion and sharing.

Launching your book is only the beginning. The real work begins after the initial “bang” is over and you have to dig in deep to promote, engage, and provide solutions to readers’ problems. Remember: Marketing is about delivering a product [your book] to the right people [your audience] who need desperately what you have to offer [your solution].

Create this product for your readers, ship it to them and communicate in a way they understand—and you’ll become a great marketing guru as well as an amazing author.

Like what you read and want to learn more? We’re holding a FREE online workshop where Chandler is revealing the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row… and use them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years. Click here to save your spot now!