Book Mockup Generators: 5 FREE Tools

If you’re already in, or getting your start in, the book publishing game, you know you need solid book marketing to succeed, and that includes book mockups.

Maybe that’s scary for you, maybe it’s exciting, but one thing is for sure: it’s necessary.

Marketing can be a huge, scary hill to climb. In a constantly changing market with shifting focus, thousands of niches, and readers with low attention spans, it might seem impossible to get readers.

But let’s start small.

Here’s what you’ll learn about book mockups and generators:

  1. What is a book mockup?
  2. Different types of book mockups
  3. What are book mockups used for
  4. Adazing Book Mockup Generator
  5. Media Modifier book mockups
  6. DIY Book Design mockups
  7. Smart Mockups
  8. Book Brush mockup generator
  9. DIY Book Mockups

What is a book mockup?

A very basic tool in book marketing that all writers need is the book mockup. A book mockup turns your cover into a 3D rendering or a full advertisement.

A 3D rendering catches eyes and lets your readers picture themselves holding your book far more effectively than a standard 2D cover image would.

I could show you this plain depiction of my book cover next to a 3D book mockup rendering so you can see the difference:

Which one helps you imagine my book in your house? Which one makes you want it?

“Wow, Hannah,” you say, “that looks great! I wish I could do that with my covers, but…I don’t know how.”

What if I told you creating eye-catching marketing imagery is actually incredibly easy? That mockup of Little Birds took me literally less than four seconds to make. 

Types of Book Mockups

If you’re not a super wiz in Photoshop, there are easier and faster alternatives called book mockup generators that we’ll cover in more detail below.

Book mockup generators help you create essential marketing imagery to promote your books.

Most of these give you several options for types of book mockups, including paperback, ebook, and even audiobook.

Audiobook Cover Mockups:

Here’s an example I made with a mockup generator for my audiobook:

3D renders bring your book to life. I added headphones to emphasize that it’s available in audiobook. You can add elements to your mockups that help your reader imagine a situation in which they’re likelier to enjoy your book–get creative!

Is it a romance? Generate a mockup with someone holding your book next to a fire with a glass of wine. Is it a horror? Make the backdrop a spooky abandoned building.

You don’t need photography skills, a fancy camera, a hand model, or editing prowess to create book mockups. All you need is your cover and a book mockup generator!

Banner Book Cover Mockups:

Banners are useful for almost every social media cover image, as well as any in-text advertisements for your website’s blog posts.

The banner above also only took me four seconds to make. It’s attractive, attention-grabbing, and did I mention it only took four seconds to make?

Even if you don’t want to make a full scene image like that, simply turning your cover into a 3D mockup will up your marketing game tenfold.

Full 3D Book Cover Mockup:

As mentioned above, you can use a plain flat image of your cover, but a 3D rendering makes it feel more real, and is far more eye-catching.

Turn this:

Into THIS:

Isn’t a 3D render just a tastier experience? Let your reader see your book for what it is–a book!

The great thing about these 3D mockups is that you can also place them within other marketing images, which allows you to pick and choose which types of mockups to promote on specific platforms.

This leads us into the next point of what book mockups are used for…

What are book mockups used for?

Book mockups can (and should) be used in most of your promotional materials, branding, and platform elements.

If you have an author platform of any kind, your book mockups should be easily available to see when someone clicks on your profile.

A fun marketing statistic I often reference is that a consumer has to be exposed to a message, on average, seven times before they’ll act on it.

With that in mind, you could say you need to put your book cover in front of your readers at least seven times to make a sale. If you’re not showing them your book, how will they know it’s there?

Get those mockups generated and in front of your readers!

Having consistent elements, like book mockups, that you use on most or all of your materials can help to establish your brand. Let’s look at places you will likely put those elements.

Social media posts:

No matter the social media you use, algorithms favor images. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat posts are all heavily based on visuals.

Incorporate mockups to give your audience a tangible experience of your books.

For example, this is an image I used on Instagram to promote my book tour stream. Including a 3D render of the book on all of my promotional materials helps to instill the book and brand in my audience’s mind.

Anytime I mention my book, a sale, or an event, I make sure to include a 3D mockup of the cover.

Advertisements:

This is an ad I made when I released my audiobook, so obviously I wanted to include a cover mockup on it. Imagine a book advertisement that didn’t include a cover.

There’s nothing to catch the reader’s eye, so they’ll scroll right past it. Any advertisements you create should absolutely include the book cover.

Author websites:

There’s no point in having an author website if you don’t spotlight your books on it. You might use your mockups on a front page banner, a gallery, or a project page.

This is an example of the Starlight page on my website. Some elements you might include on a book or project page are reviews, buy buttons, descriptions, excerpts, and a 3D mockup!

Banners, endscreens, platform material:

I use 3D renders of my book covers on all of my social media platforms. Like we mentioned earlier, a consistent brand and repetition are important elements in book marketing.

Here’s an example of my Twitch background, and you’ll see an endscreen I use in my YouTube videos later on. This is a small, subtle use of a 3D render that I don’t even call particular attention to–it’s just in eyesight during every Twitch stream I host.

Remember: seven exposures = one sale.

Merchandise:

Double-dip into your book income by expanding your product offering. Get yourself a 3D render to slap on T-shirts, mugs, and other swag for a bonus income stream.

Having products out there with your name and books on them is also great for marketing and building your brand.

Now that we see the various ways book mockups can help with marketing, let’s look at some options for generators to create those book mockups.

Five Free Book Mockup Generators

All of the following mockup generators allow you to create imagery for free, but premium versions will most often give you access to things like extra features, more downloads, or watermark removal.

Some book mockup services will mass produce hundreds of images at once, while some only let you produce one piece at a time.

Some services are completely free, while some will cost a premium to access their full suite offering–if you decide to invest in marketing software, it’s likely worth your money. Like any business research, just do a little research to make sure it’s a good move and will show a return on your investment.

#1 – Adazing

Adazing is a free, quick, and easy service to produce book mockups. The drawbacks I see with Adazing are that you can only produce one at a time, and that they aren’t the most realistic-looking renders out there.

Here’s an example I made with Adazing for Gloria Russell’s collection The Graveyard Three:

As you can see, the framing is a little unnatural–it looks like a 3D render instead of a physical book.

Adazing also offers other services like title generation, banner ads, and media kit templates.

#2 – Media Modifier

Along with mockups, Media Modifier lets you design logos, apparel, and products. Media Modifier allows more precise customization with their mockup generator, like the ability to edit backgrounds and drop shadows.

They do require sign-up to remove the watermark on downloads, but here’s an example of a mockup I made with Media Modifier, again using Gloria’s collections:

While Media Modifier does offer more customization than Adazing, I still don’t find they look particularly realistic.

#3 – DIY Book Design

This is another quick, easy, and free service–it has the same issue as some of the other mockup generators where you can only produce one at a time.

Here’s a mockup I made of Rilie Kaye’s ebook with DIY Book Design:

I find this render to be higher quality and a good deal more realistic than Adazing or Media Modifier.

#4 – Smart Mockups

This one provides a very limited selection of free options, but you can access many more formats and customizations with a premium account. Smart Mockups provided the most realistic-looking mockups of all of the generators I’ve tried.

Here’s an example I made of my own book with the free features on Smart Mockups:


#5 – Book Brush

Book Brush is a service I use regularly for creating covers, mockups, videos, and more. They’re constantly expanding their service offerings and templates, so I like to check up to see what’s new.

I love that you can make a bulk amount of hundreds of mockups at once with their Instant Mockup tool. Here’s a brief rundown of how to use Book Brush’s tools and platform.

And these are a few mockups I made instantly with Book Brush’s mockup tool:


Book Brush has a ton of tools available with their free version, and I’m always happy with the quality, so I definitely recommend checking them out!

These are only five of the book mockup generators I found with free options, but there are LOTS more if you dig around. My favorites of the ones listed are Book Brush (for the Instant Mockup tool) and Smart Markups (for the amazing quality).

But maybe you’re not interested in an easy breezy mockup experience. Maybe you’re the kind of pal who wants to roll up your sleeves and get in there with 100% customization.

Let’s talk about how you can do it yourself.

DIY Options for Book Mockups

You can skip the immediate results and manually make your book mockups with a program like Photoshop (or a free alternative, like Canva).

For example, this is my YouTube endscreen I made with Photoshop:

I used the Starlight mockup from Book Brush, but I inserted the Little Birds cover directly into my PSD file. This allowed me to customize the dimensions to fit the YouTube endscreen elements on top (like putting my subscribe button in the coffee cup).

You can also make great marketing imagery with free services like Canva, PicMonkey, or Gimp.

For example, this is an Instagram post I made using a 3D mockup from Book Brush in Canva:

But here I’ve done the same thing without the 3D mockup, and it still looks pretty nice:

You can make marketing imagery with 2D book cover images, but it just lacks the spice of a 3D render.

I’ll manually make my marketing imagery for specific items, like livestream promotional pieces, but I love using mockup generators for base imagery (like those adorable coffee table pieces from Book Brush) and 3D cover renders.

Whether you go manual or use a book generator, a book mockup is one of the most important marketing tools a writer has for selling copies. Take advantage of the tools I listed above and get started on creating your own book mockups for social media, advertisements, websites, merch, and branding!

Do you have a favorite tool or method for building book mockups? Let us know in a comment or tweet us @Self_Pub_School!

social media for authors

Social Media for Writers & Authors: Full Tutorial Guides

Nowadays, if you want to be successful with your book, you have to know how to use social media for writers.

Marketing is one thing all authors will need to know how to do, no matter if you want to self-publish a book or traditionally publish. That’s right! Even traditional publishers are now looking to your SOCIAL PLATFORM as a decision-maker for buying your book or not.

And no matter your goals as an author, whether you want to write fiction full-time or want to use your book to grow your business, social media is important.

We’ll not only cover which social platforms are most important for authors right now, but also where to find your audience, and what content actually performs the best on each app.

Here’s how to do social media for writers:

  1. Do writers need social media?
  2. The difference with social media marketing
  3. What’s the best social media for writers?
  4. Twitter for authors
  5. Instagram for writers
  6. Facebook for writers
  7. BONUS: Youtube for authors
  8. Author platform growth on social media
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Do writers need social media?

Do you want to sell books? Do you want to make a career out of selling books?

Then yes, writers need social media. It’s for book marketing, and one of the most powerful types of marketing in this day and age.

This isn’t to say that you can’t sell books without social media. There are certainly people who do so, but unless you really know how to use ads or you get a lucky break and hit some charts in the rankings, (or are a student of our Sell More Books program where we teach those methods), your best bet for long-term success in writing is by building your author platform.

So while you don’t need social media, it increases your chances of long-term success exponentially.

The difference with social media marketing (especially for authors)

Social media is so different from “traditional” marketing methods. It’s not an email, it’s not a flyer in the mail or a commercial on TV, and it’s certainly not a radio ad.

What makes social media marketing different from other forms of marketing is that it’s personal.

It’s a person doing the marketing, very rarely a full brand speaking from behind a logo (though this does happen). With social media for writers, it’s certainly personal.

And this means that traditional methods of marketing a book are a bit different.

In fact, we’d say social media marketing is less about actually promoting your book and more about promoting your thoughts, ideas, and interests while keeping your book easily available.

This concept is a little confusing at first, but we’ll get into what this looks like with each social platform. But the main idea behind this principle is this:

If someone likes you and enjoys what you put out into the world, they’ll likely enjoy your books because of how much we place ourselves into them.

Yes, we even do this when writing a fiction novel. Our themes and messages come from within us, and when someone gets to know who you really are and likes that, they’ll probably like what you write about.

What’s the best social media for writers?

By and far, Twitter is extremely useful for anyone trying to have success as an author, especially as a self-published fiction author.

Does this mean it’s the best platform for you and your specific book? Not always.

While we recommend every writer be on Twitter, there may be other social platforms better suited for your audience. Meaning, certain people of varying ages and interests use different social platforms.

You’ll have to understand where your audience is if you want to operate on the best social media platform for you.

Thankfully, we cover those details below by going over the demographic of each platform (info by HootSuite) in detail so you can decide which will house your target audience, along with how you can connect with them.

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Twitter for authors

As stated above, we believe all writers should be on Twitter. There is an extremely large fiction reading and writing community on Twitter, but it’s also really useful for nonfiction.

The struggle with a platform the size of Twitter (and really all of the ones we’ll cover below), is that they’re too big. It’s hard to find where your audience is. But that’s why we’ll also cover some useful hashtags to pay attention to.

HOW TO USE TWITTER FOR AUTHORS:

Each social platform is different. Depending on the people and its interface, different content will perform well.

For Twitter, it’s all about relateability. The posts that do the best are the one that speak to people directly, in a way they can relate to really well. It’s not really about you on Twitter, it’s about others.

So when you take to Twitter, remember that while it’s a social platform where you can divulge your own information, making all of your posts solely about you isn’t the right game here. We can save that for Instagram in a minute.

Demographic: 34% female, 66% male — 44% ages 18-24, 26% ages 30-49

Posting frequency: several times a day, 7+

Type of content that performs best: short relateable questions and statemetns

Hashtags to note: #amwriting, #writingcommunity, #WIP, #writerlife

Other hashtags for genre-specific depend on what you write and the niche (particularly for nonfiction, the examples above leave heavy for fiction users).

Examples:

Want to see a few author profiles on Twitter who are doing it really well? Here are some examples of social media for writers you can follow and emulate:

social media for writers example

The reason this bio is really successful is because this author’s book is available, but it’s not spammy or pushing people to buy. Another reason, is because her main bio is short, sweet, to the point, and also showcases her personality.

social media for authors twitter example

When it comes to sharing posts on social media, especially when “promoting” your book, it works best when the words come from others. We tend to not believe authors who say their book is great, because of COURSE they think that!

Retweeting praise for your book is one of the best ways to share proof and get others interested.

Instagram for writers

Instagram is one of those social media platforms you really have to mess with to get right. Meaning, some people can find great success with one strategy, and that same strategy won’t work for you—even if you do everything the same!

Part of this is because of the story feature, and that you have to actually put yourself out there on Instagram. While it does have a somewhat negative reputation for being “fake,” people do congregate here for connection and to follow people’s lives closely.

HOW TO USE INSTAGRAM FOR AUTHORS:

As mentioned, Instagram has more to do with daily life/lifestyle than it does only branded content. That, and memes. Yes! The meme culture has shifted somewhat away from Facebook and is everpresent on Instagram’s platform.

So what works here then? Relatable memes, intimate stories where you show up with energy, and “pretty” images on your main feed.

Remember that you’ll have to find out what works for YOU here. Does your audience wants to see more of you? Of what you’re reading? Of your book-writing process?

Demographic: 52% female, 48% male — 67% ages 18-29

Posting frequency: at least once per day on your main feed, several times on your story

Type of content that performs best: Stories! Getting on your story and showing you, your real face, your real life. On your main feed, aestheticlaly appealing images of your book, you, and your life will do best.

Hashtags to note: #amwriting, #writerlife, #writersofIG, #writersofinstagram, #bookrelease

Example:

social media for authors instagram example

Facebook for writers

Facebook’s seemingly everchanging interface has increasingly frustrated people. In truth, Facebook is dying as a means of self-promotion unless you pay for ads on their platform.

That being said, there are strategies that still work for Facebook for authors.

HOW TO USE FACEBOOK FOR AUTHORS:

Determine if you want to use a personal profile (not recommended), a page, or a group.

The main differences here are that a profile allows friends, a page allows for likes (and your stuff shows up on their feed like a profile’s would), and a group allows for a specific place for members to post and collaborate.

For writers, we usually recommend a page. But, if you are looking to build a brand, or maybe even an exclusive “club” for your readers, a group will get far better engagement than anything else. Facebook has continued to deprioritized page’s content, while boosting group posts.

It all depends on what your goals are as an author, and if your audience is even hanging out on Facebook.

Demographic: 79% ages 18-29

*Note on this: while this number reflects those who have Facebook, personal insights tell us the most active group of users is above 40-years-old.*

Posting frequency: 3 times per day max

Type of content that performs best: Images, videos

Hashtags to note: While Facebook has hashtag capabilities, they’re not really used to nearly the same extent as Twitter and Instagram

BONUS: Youtube for authors

Youtube isn’t for everyone. We’ll go ahead and say that right now. Not everyone has the presence for it, and not everyone will even like this style of platform building.

However, if it is something you’ve considered and need a push to start, it can be very lucrative as a secondary form of income, as long as a massive means of marketing your book—especially if you start “making it big” and gaining a lot of subscribers.

Our Youtube channel has over 40,000 subscribers and has grown immensely over the last year. We’ve seen this success first-hand, but we’re not the only ones.

There are several self-published authors who have used Youtube to quit their full-time jobs and pursue writing and creating videos.

HOW TO USE YOUTUBE FOR AUTHORS:

The first thing to think about here is what type of content you can post about, and what audience that will bring in. Many writers post videos with advice for writing books and publishing.

Others take the route of being on “Booktube,” where they read and post book reviews for other readers.

Each has their own pros and cons, but the bottom line with Youtube is that you have to be authentic, be something different (which can even simply come out in your own personality), and be consistent. One of the biggest common factors of success on Youtube is that people didn’t give up—they kept doing it through even a couple years of very slow growth.

If you are someone who’s not writing fiction and you’re looking to create awareness for a nonficion or a book to grow your business, the topics you talk about should be related to your book.

Demographic: 81% ages 15-25

Posting frequency: two times per week, 1 time per week at a minimum if you want sustained growth and engagement

Type of content that performs best: videos, helpful tips, how-tos, relevant updates, reviews, etc.

Author platform growth on social media

By far the best tip we can give you is to be consistent. With social media, it really is all about showing up regularly with content your audience wants to see, whatever that may be.

And secondly, don’t be afriad to iterate and try new things. If memes aren’t working for you, try being more real and personal. If your Twitter one-liners just aren’t working, try asking more questions and creating polls.

The people who gravitate to your social platform will respond differently to content that might “work” elsewhere. Find what works for you, be generous in how you give content, and make your book easily available. If people like you, they’ll search for how to consume more of your goodies—you don’t really have to push to promote your book on social media.

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How to Use Bookbub Ads Profitably

BookBub Ads are quickly becoming the best form of paid-advertising for books. 

The reason why the platform is getting a lot of good press and an increasingly high number of indies is using them as a tool in their book-marketing arsenal is quite easy to understand. 


For starters, BookBub Ads are better than both AMS and Facebook Ads. A lot better. 

Their dashboard and backend are more reliable and easier to understand. Their behavior is actually quite simple to predict. Scaling them does not require a Nobel-prize in algorithm technology. 

It’s no wonder that indie superstars like David Gaughran have termed them ‘the best form of paid advertising for books’.

But if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you know all that already. The reason we are here today is to troubleshoot your campaigns. Fix what is wrong with them and make them as profitable and as royalty-generating as they can possibly be.

Wait: didn’t you say BookBub ads are the best?

I did indeed. But nothing’s perfect. Campaigns can flop. Mistakes can be made. What makes this platform so refreshingly good is that in it, issues can actually be fixed. For once, each problem has a dependable solution (hear, hear, AMS!). Each less-than-optimal scenario has specific procedures that can yield specific results. And if you ask me, this makes troubleshooting quite fun, too!

Ready? Let’s go through the 4 most common obstacles you can encounter when advertising on BookBub, coupled with effective solutions you can employ right away!

1. Can’t Find Authors To Target

BookBub Ads have two types of targeting. You “point” your campaigns to either specific authors or specific genres. Unless you are writing in an extremely small niche, I always recommend you use author-targeting. But do so wisely! The narrower the author’s audience, the better. Which of course, can also be a problem: what if you can’t find medium-to-small authors to target?

1- Get Creative


There are numerous “places” where you can find names of competitors you can use for your campaigns. Don’t limit yourself to the usual suspects such as Also-Boughts on Amazon or the bestsellers’ lists. Always be on the lookout for author-targets on a day-to-day basis. You can use BookBub’s Featured Deal email, for example. Subscribe to your genre’s newsletter and keep a list of the authors that are promoted on it every day. You’ll be amazed at how many ideas this can spark. 

2- Go Wide – in advertising terms

If you’re running Amazon Ads and Facebook Ads together with BookBub campaigns, you probably already have a pretty big list of targets to use in your ads. Why not try them on BookBub, too? Worst case scenario, the ad will not perform well and you can pause/terminate it. Always remember, though, that AMS, Facebook and BookBub are three entirely different ‘worlds’. What is working well for one of them, might not even register on BookBub. But the mantra, as always, is: test, test, test!

3- Browse the BookBub Website

BookBub has recently been investing a lot of money on their website. The UI has been improved, and new features are constantly being added to make the experience fun and informative for readers. Give it a test-run and you’ll see how many interesting targeting ideas you get. Start by typing the name of one of your competitors in the search-bar top right. Then click on their name and find the ‘tag-cloud’ of genres the author writes in. Click on one and you’ll be taken to BookBub’s recommendations for that very genre: target-authors galore! 

2. CTR is too low

A good CTR is essential in BookBub Ads campaigns. It means people are clicking on your ad and hopefully going on to buy your book (or download your freebie). In general terms (but you should always be testing), I generally consider anything above 1,5% to be a good CTR, though your mileage might obviously vary on this.

If you are not happy with your current CTR, there are a few ways in which you can improve it. Let’s take a look at them one by one:

1- Narrow your targeting even more.

Narrowing the audience you are targeting is quite easily done on the BookBub Ads platform. The key here is to look for target-authors with a fairly small following. Unless you have a specific strategy in mind, never go for ‘household names’ such as J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. Targeting authors with such a large fan base is going to kill your CTR. Go narrower or, in some cases, use both author and genre targeting in the same campaign, so as to be even more laser-focused. 

2-  Make your graphics even more enticing. 

CTR stands for Click Through Rate. In simple terms, it’s a percentage that indicates how many people click on your ad. When the percentage is low, not enough people are clicking on your ad. What might be the reason for that? Well, in most cases, this is due to the fact that your creative didn’t catch their attention. Making your graphics more enticing for readers can make or break your CTR. Make sure you test different variations of colors, copy and images until you find a good compromise that resonates with your readers. Tools like Canva or BookBrush can be incredibly useful for this, or you can hire a professional designer to get even better results.

3. Not enough Impressions  

Having ‘low impressions’ usually means BookBub is not showing your ad enough times. Basically, you are not winning the real-time auction and thus your ad graphic is not being served to readers. There are two pretty straightforward solutions to this problem: 

1- Increase your bid

Self-explanatory, but sometimes it’s the last thing authors think about. This works with both CPM and CPC bidding. How much should you bid, I hear your asking? Unfortunately, it depends. Bidding strategies can vary enormously based on the book you are advertising, the competition in your genre, and so on. Make sure you have a solid plan when it comes to budgeting and subsequently bid accordingly. Once again, the mantra here is “test, test, test”. 

2- Change your targeting

Whether you are targeting by author or by genre, you might have gotten your audiences all wrong here. No biggie, this is easily fixed. Try ‘thinking out of the box’ or targeting authors with a smaller following. This should make it easier for the BookBub algorithm to decide to display your ad to a super-relevant audience, thus resulting in more impressions. 

4. Campaign is too expensive 

Before you begin advertising, you should always think about your goal for running paid traffic campaigns. Are you after ‘pure’ ROI? Or do you aim at giving your work more visibility, and are prepared to lose a little money in favor of greater exposure? 

If your advertising goal is pure ROI and the campaigns are losing you money, BookAds Doctor to the rescue! Here are a couple of suggestions on how you can turn things around in your favor:

1- Bid lower!

Sometimes, you don’t need to bid so high. A lower bid might still win your impressions and result in cheaper campaigns overall. Of course, this is another area where testing is absolutely necessary, but going overboard each and every time might not be needed. Aim at winning the real-time auctions with the lowest possible bids!

2- Analyze Your Targeting.

By now, you will have surely understood how important targeting is with BookBub ads. If you have not absolutely nailed your target authors and/or categories, your campaigns will cost you more. It’s just how this platform is set-up and there is no escaping this!

3- Try CPC instead of CPM

I usually do not recommend using CPC bidding. Time and time again, I have seen the CPM option to be much more effective when it comes to both costs and CTR. However, some authors have reported CPC to be more cost-effective than CPM in specific genres: after all, you only pay for readers who click on your ad. Worth a try, but if this doesn’t work after a couple of experiments, switch back to CPM! 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short troubleshooting guide. Hopefully, it has helped you find what is wrong with your campaign and it has helped you set things straight. Let me know in the comments: I look forward to hearing from you!

Top 23 Book Cover Designers – You Can Judge a Book by Its Cover!

You’ve done the most difficult part… you’ve written a book! Now, you’re getting your book published and all you need to choose is a designer to create your unique book cover.

Well, you thought writing was the difficult step, but here you are. Not a clue about where to start or who best suits your style.

I really do believe that choosing your book cover designer is one of the most important steps of writing a book and I can’t imagine having to start from scratch. If you don’t have any designers in your mind or you just haven’t found the one, we’re here to help!

Your cover has to speak volumes because it’s the first thing your readers will see. And yes, I am quite familiar with the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” but today we’re throwing that out of the window, and we will be judging every single book by its cover! Trust me when I say your future readers are also judging your cover. Maybe not everyone, hopefully not even the majority, but plenty. I’m also guilty of buying books only because I fell in love with their covers. I knew nothing about the book or the author, I just found it really, really pretty. (don’t judge me!)

So, are you looking for the best cover designer?

Do you want to find someone who completely suits your style and personality?

Are you in a hurry?

If you’ve answered yes to these, then let’s get started!

Here are the crème de la crème, the best book cover designers of today!

BuzBooks

Wow! Would you look at these!? These are definitely my favourite out of their portfolio and they have a vast portfolio! I love how contrasting these are too, side by side, and how simple they seem to be. The book title and author are more prominent in these covers but the artistry in them makes me really want to grab a copy and devour them! Find BuzBooks here. https://buzbooks.com/portfolio/

Na Kim

I’ll say this with the best intentions ever, this cover still gives me the creeps! I’m pretty sure this was what Na was going for and I can tell you, it worked! At least, on me. Ever since I saw this book for the first time, I can’t forget it. It ties with the book title so well that it feels just like the hands laced together. It is pure genius! Find more of her work here. https://www.instagram.com/na_son/?hl=en

LBarros

You know I just had to include a children’s book cover, don’t you? I mean, it’s a must! And I had to find the best one, the one that I would have loved to read myself when I was little, the one I wish I had to show my kids one day. Because children are the best judges of book covers, aren’t they? They see it with their eyes first, then if the story’s good, they’ll love it even more. This one did it for me! Contact the designer here. https://en.99designs.fr/profiles/2726185

Coralie Bickford-Smith

Coralie is best known for her clothbound covers and because I’m a huge fan, I had to share them with you. I’m sure you’ve seen these, I’m sure you love them too. But in the slightest chance you haven’t, here you go. Enjoy. Order them already. Coralie is probably that artist that will shape the world of reading and take it into a different galaxy. Find her here. https://www.instagram.com/coraliebickfordsmith/?hl=en

Jenna Stempel-Lobell

I’m sure you’ve heard about Jenna before! She’s an absolute queen in the covers design world! You might specifically know her because of Angie Thomas’s The Hate You Give, but don’t be fooled – she’s amazing at everything she does! Just look at these two examples… I still can’t believe how these covers exist! Please hurry up and find Jenna here. https://jennastempel-lobell.com/

Tanamachi Studio

I really love the beautiful, intricate designs of this studio. They’re so complex yet they work so fluidly that it’s impossible not to catch one’s eye. And what a beautiful new cover for Pippi Longstocking! Don’t you just feel like buying it just to keep it in your collection?? Talk about judging books by their cover! Amazing job! Find Tanamachi Studio here. http://www.tanamachistudio.com/archive

Jake Nicolella

I can’t quite put my finger on what it was that drew me to this cover but I just feel so connected to it. How simple an image can be and how powerful and with such a strong message it has. The frames just fading away with a pale background, so neutral but with a thoughtful process. That is why Jake needs to be part of this list. Find more about him and his life here. https://www.instagram.com/nicolellalalala/?hl=en

Helen Crawford-White

I mean, how could anyone not love Helen’s work?? These book covers give me life! Such a breath of fresh air and so, so well-thought! I love how the colors meet, the sharp lines, the effect both covers have on the eye… just exquisite. Everything looks perfect to me and what’s more is that she has a ton more beautiful covers and you can find them all here! https://www.instagram.com/studiohelenbooks/?hl=en

Isabel Urbina Peña

If you’re looking for cool fonts and lettering, Isabel is your woman! She does the illustrations and lettering on her covers herself and I’m sure we can all agree she does a tremendous job. I especially love how simple these look, but still have something quite unique about them that it makes me want to pay attention. What do you think? Find Isabel on Instagram here. https://www.instagram.com/bellera/

Rodrigo Corral

Rodrigo is another big name in the design world; he doesn’t only design book covers but you probably know him for his iconic cover of The Fault in Our Stars. If that one didn’t convince you, however, you can find a couple more here and these are just stunning. There’s a connection between the art and the novel and that you can’t just pretend, you have to feel it and transform it into a piece of art. Find Rodrigo here. https://www.instagram.com/rodrigocorral_/?hl=en 

Alison Forner

Alison works at Simon & Schuster and her beautiful creations can be found in plenty of different books. To this smart (and colorful) cover she said she’s “indulging [her] science ephemera obsession.” – we can tell! Amazing job! Find more about her and her art here. https://www.instagram.com/aforner1/

Book Covers Art

If you’re looking for a more thriller/sci-fi/fantasy kind of cover, this company might just be the right one for you. They have a variety of covers, all following the dark, mysterious vibes and they give you options to choose what’s best for you and your book. Their portfolio is very complete, give them a look here. https://www.bookcoversart.com/

Venanzio

I fell in love with these covers right away. There is something simple about books and life that intrigues most people and that is why I think Venanzio’s work will please many of you out there. Sometimes the best things are simple and basic but not vulgar and I believe this is what this work shows. Contact Venanzio here. https://en.99designs.fr/profiles/249130

Janet Hansen

It is hard to describe Janet’s work because I truly believe that there are no words to describe this amount of artistry and creativity. She transports the reader to the book’s universe even before turning the first page. She makes simplicity look detailed and layered. Find more of her stunning work here. 

Holly Ovenden

When I found Holly’s covers and work, I knew she needed to be part of this top list. There is no doubt about how talented she is, but what surprises me the most is how diversified she truly is. These covers below speak for themselves! I know anyone would be so honoured to work with Holly. Get in touch with her here. https://www.instagram.com/hollydrawsinink/?hl=en

Andrei Bat

I really like Andrei’s work for the mysterious/fantasy feel too. He’s doing so well with his work and I love what he did with The Marked series. Check out his work here. https://en.99designs.fr/profiles/bandrei

Kate Forrester

These covers are amazing! So, so beautiful and pretty to display in your bookshelf. These books are those I could never put them next to others, I would feel the need to display their cover in a nice glass showcase. Wouldn’t you agree? Kate does an amazing job, find her here. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bvg_1MdluQR/

John Gall

I love how John is so realistic in these covers. They look so real and 3D – I wanted to include these specifically because I haven’t seen anything like this. If this vibe is yours, I definitely consider John Gall one of the best at this. It just looks incredible!

Sarah Kaufman

I’m a little biased here, Red Queen is definitely one of my favorite series of all time, but I have to say, the first thing I knew about this series was the cover of the first book. I didn’t know anything about the story and to be honest, I didn’t want to. The cover made me buy it and then, I fell in love with the story. All four covers are beautifully designed, and you can feel the crowns in each one. This series proves Sarah’s talent and she deserves to do many more.

 Will Staehle

Will has done Circe’s cover and so many others. He’s different and fresh and his covers are getting better and better. He is one of the best and his work reflects it. Contact him here. https://www.instagram.com/unusualco/?hl=en

Subsist Studios

Subsist Studios are making great covers with books that matter. They’re spicing things up with bold colors, intriguing designs and 90s-styled fonts. What else do you need in a book cover? I’m loving their covers! Contact them here to know more. https://en.99designs.fr/profiles/subsiststudios

Stefan Sagmeister

How much more creative does one get? Apparently, Stefan has a whole category above everyone else, just for himself. I mean, how do you even describe this cover? Am I dreaming? Did I just wake up in book covers 2.0? Definitely someone to keep in mind when looking for a designer!

Kimberly Glyder

Kimberly, to me, does the type of art I would love to include in one of my books. It feels intimate and feminine with a perfect balance of colors. I also think she does a great job with her fonts and they complement the design perfectly. Find more of Kate’s art here. https://www.instagram.com/kglyder/?hl=en

We hope you liked these! It was a complete task choosing these exact 23 designers because there are so many other brilliant ones out there! If you’re in the need of one, I highly recommend going with who feels right to you. Don’t narrow it down to genre because as you could see from this list, some of these brilliant designers do so much more than just one specific genre.

In the end, the choice is yours and it better be a great one! 

Remember, we definitely judge a book by its cover! (even if we try really hard not to!)

Who’s your favorite book cover designer? Have you fallen in love with a book cover and hated the book? Who’s your favorite from our list? Let us know everything down below in the comments section! We can’t wait to hear from you!

Twitter for Authors: How to Master The Most Underutilized Platform

Whether you’re self-publishing or traditionally publishing, writers are responsible for building their own author platform to market their writing. One of the most accessible, cheapest, and easiest ways to build an author platform is through social media. And one of the most popular social media platforms for authors to use is Twitter.

Should you be on Twitter? (Yes.) How should you use Twitter? How do you get followers, what should you post, and how often? We’re going to answer all of those questions and more for you today.

Why Should Authors Tweet?

Twitter is where a lot of conversations happen, between authors, agents, readers, and publishers. If you’re a writer, especially an indie writer, Twitter is one of the spaces you should get comfortable in. Here are five great reasons why:

  1. It’s a free way to start building your author platform! Later on, you might want to invest in different promotional methods for your platform and your books, but Twitter is free to use, super easy to start and maintain, and is a great place to begin.
  2. To connect with other writers. Twitter is great for meeting other writers in your genre and around the same place in their writing journey as you! You can also meet writers who are further along in their careers to learn from.
  3. To connect with readers. Readers love to connect with their favorite authors and new writers through Twitter–you can add to your reader base, interact with your audience, and learn more about what your demographic is interested in reading.
  4. To connect with potential publishers. If you’re traditionally publishing, Twitter is a way to meet agents and publishers. Agents often scout through social media, and it’s just an easy way to make contacts. You can reach out to them with specific hashtags, which we’ll talk about later. Even if you aren’t traditionally publishing, following publishers is a way to keep up with what everyone else is doing, and to know what the market is looking for.
  5. To learn about the industry. Following writers, agents, readers, and publishing companies will give you insights into best practices, your market, trends, and demand for different types of writing.
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What Should Authors Tweet?

So you’re on board that you should have a Twitter–now what do you put on it? Here are some examples of different content you can use to promote yourself and your books while naturally engaging in conversations with your audience.

  1. Promotional posts. Share things like release dates, WIP updates, discounts, and blog posts to keep your followers informed about what you’re up to. You want to space out your promotional or “business” posts with at least three other posts between them. Keep reading this list for ideas of what your other posts can be.
  2. Personal content. If your Twitter is all business and self-promotion, you won’t get too many followers. What can you offer outside of that? Humor, advice, interaction? Maybe you’re a parent and you post content for parents, or pet pictures for other animal lovers. Find your niche and make sure you’re posting interesting content other than self-promotion.
  3. Excerpts. Many authors post excerpts from their current WIP to garner interest in it before publication. Here’s an example from my Twitter!
  1. Writing games. You can make up your own games or play ones that have already been made as a way to interact with readers and writers. In this tweet, Owen’s introducing a month-long game for writers to build their world.
  1. Questions. Asking your audience questions is a great way to boost interaction. You can use questions, polls, and other interactive posts to get engagement from your audience. Here’s Bella, our Content Creation Specialist, using this method. She gives an update on her writing process, mentions her WIP, and asks a question for her followers to answer all in one tweet.
  1. Aesthetic boards. Most writers love making aesthetic boards. It gives you a feel for what your characters look like, pulls in your book’s imagery, and can make an attractive post to go with prose excerpts or just on its own. It’s another way to promote discussion and build some hype for your upcoming book. This writer made an aesthetic board specific to one of their characters:

Notice how all of these examples make good use of hashtags? Keep reading to learn which ones you should use!

How Do Authors Get Twitter followers?

So we know we need a Twitter, and we know what kind of content to post–now how do we get followers? Here are four tips to help you get started, and to help keep your Twitter active and engaging.

  1. Make sure you post good content! Anyone can buy followers or use the follow-for-follow method, but if you’re consistently posting good content, you will attract followers who are active and will engage with your posts (and eventually buy your books). An active audience is a profitable audience. Using cheap methods to gain followers will give you inactive accounts and bots. The numbers might be satisfying for the short-term, but it won’t do you any good in the long run.
  2. Interact with people! Like, retweet, and comment on other writers’ tweets. But don’t just spam for attention. Look for content you genuinely enjoy, and interact with it. Tip: Asking questions is a great way to foster conversation.
  3. Don’t forget to link your twitter handle on your website, in your newsletter, in your blog posts, and on other social media platforms to drive traffic to it. You can even link it in your email signature!
  4. Tweet consistently. Engagement posts, promotional posts, and sharing other people’s content should be enough for you to keep a consistent stream of content to attract new followers. If you ever get stuck, come back to the list we made about types of content for authors to tweet!

I promised we’d talk about hashtags, so let’s talk about hashtags!

Best Twitter Hashtags For Authors

Hashtags are how tweets are categorized. If someone is interested in a certain topic, they can browse tweets that have used that hashtag–so use appropriate and relevant hashtags to get new followers!

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Tag your tweets with one or two of these, and you’ll see a jump in interaction. Social media experts recommend no more than three hashtags, because any more than that discourages people from retweeting.

One of the most popular hashtags for author twitter is #AmWriting. This is for any tweet about, duh, writing. You can use #AmWriting for WIP updates, writer observations, excerpts, and anything related to your work in progress. There are also a ton of sub-hashtags in this one, like hashtags specific to your genre:

  • #AmWritingFantasy
  • #AmWritingRomance
  • #AmWritingMystery
  • #AmWritingFiction
  • #AmWritingPoetry
  • #AmWritingCoverLetters

Other branches of this hashtag are for different stages in the writing process, like:

  • #AmEditing
  • #AmOutlining
  • #AmQuerying
  • #AmRevising

When you’re first starting out in a new social media space, it’s great to find people who are doing the exact same thing you are. Use hashtags to connect with other writers! Here are some popular examples:

  • #WritersLife
  • #WritingCommunity
  • #WritersCommunity
  • #ReadingCommunity
  • #Writers
  • #Authors
  • #IndieAuthors
  • #PoetryCommunity

There are hashtags for producing story and non-story writing content. Use these to tag your discussions about writing advice, future plans, to do lists, word count goals, and things related to writing:

  • #WritingTips
  • #WriteGoal
  • #WriteMotivation
  • #WritingPrompt
  • #WIPAesthetic
  • #WIP
  • #WorkInProgress

There are even hashtags for different days of the week! If you’re struggling for content to tweet, check out trending hashtags, or day-specific ones like these:

  • #MondayMotivation
  • #TuesdayThoughts
  • #TeaserTues
  • #WriterWednesday
  • #WedWIPAesthetic
  • #FollowFriday
  • #FridayReads

And honestly, there’s nothing stopping you from making up your own!

Here are some hashtags you can use for the writing industry:

  • #AskAgent (use this tag to get answers to your questions from writing agents)
  • #AskAuthor (use this tag to get answers to your writing questions from, duh, authors
  • #AskEditor (you get it)
  • #PitchWars (the hashtag for the mentoring program where published authors/editors help a writer with the manuscript and the query process)
  • #PitMad (a pitch party on Twitter where writers pitch their manuscripts for agents and editors)
  • #MSWL (Manuscript Wish List, which agents use to describe what sort of things they’re in the market for)
  • #SelfPub
  • #SelfPublishing

Aside from tagging your tweets with these hashtags, browse them to find new people to follow and interact with!

Twitter Tips

Now here are some general tips to help you get the most out of your Twitter account.

  1. Spend time on your profile photo, cover image, and bio! Compose a cohesive and attractive brand through those elements. This will help to build a consistent brand, help people find you (especially if it’s consistent across all of your social media platforms), and make you a more recognizable and respectable presence.
  2. Interact with other writers to make connections and build your platform. Especially early on, new writers are all looking to make friends with other writers, so they’re a great way to start building a network.
  3. Watch what you say! Even if you delete a tweet, it never goes away. People are quick to screenshot, and there are lots of programs to retrieve deleted content. Make sure you think through anything you post online, make sure you’re being respectful, and make sure you’re saying things that you stand by.
  4. The mute button is great! Use it! The block button is better! Use it more! It’s easy to get sucked into arguments or to get upset by other people. There’s nothing wrong with cutting out meaningless negativity, or even just people who particularly annoy you. I went a long time without muting or blocking anyone, and as soon as I started doing it, I enjoyed Twitter a lot more. Twitter is a tool, so use it in a way that is beneficial to you.
  5. Experiment with different kinds of content to see what you like, and to see what your audience is interested in. When you’re figuring out your brand and platforms, it’s good to use that time early on to try out different things and see what works best!
  6. Attach images! Tweets with images perform way better. Check out Canva for some easy-to-create templates.

That’s the why, where, what, and how of Twitter for authors! Have fun, be courteous, and use it as a learning experience.

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Benefits of Using A Pen Name

Pen names (or non de plumes in French) are pseudonyms adopted by writers with a long, interesting, and sometimes funny history.  

Similar to a musical artist (whether single/duo/or group) who might employ a pseudonym for purely stylistic purposes – to be catchy, to encapsulate their brand/image, to better represent their alter persona – writers often employ pseudonyms for easy recollection, ease of pronunciation, and, in some cases, for their name to better match the genre in which they are seeking publication (a darker, more mysterious sounding name, for instance, for mystery/thriller-themed books).  

But given that authors write in various historical time periods each with their own set of political, social, and economic mores, the reasons a writer might choose to write under a pen name are often very different.

In reading this article, you will learn about some of these reasons.  

Additionally, you will learn about the various benefits of using a pen name.  

Lastly, you will also better appreciate the virtually limitless creative energy flowing in each and every writer and how pen names, far from being used for a single purpose, can be used to experiment across various genres and potentially unlock hidden writing talent.  

Let’s get right into it.  

I love the language an article published on the website electricliterature.com used when explaining the various reasons authors have used (or continue to use) pen names.  Noting that some have used them for “political reasons, others for personal concerns, and some simply for the joy of mischief… pseudonyms are a powerful tool for writers, allowing their pens to say what perhaps their mouths couldn’t”

Here are just a few writers whose pens were used to do the talking.

Notable Writers Throughout History Who Used Pen Names

  • Daniel Defoe, the English writer, journalist, and spy, widely considered to be one of England’s earliest novelists and most controversial writers of his time, having produced more than 400 works ranging from books, pamphlets, songs, essays, and journalistic works spanning many subjects, used 198 different pseudonyms
  • Theodor Geisel, the beloved children’s author who wrote under the pen name Dr. Seuss, whose pseudonym resulted from being caught drinking as a Dartmouth undergrad (for which he was forced to resign as Editor-in-Chief of a campus humor magazine) holds the record for the most books written pseudonymously (57).
  • Stanley Martin Lieber, widely recognized as Stan Lee, who would eventually achieve worldwide literary acclaim as a comic book writer, producing such classics as The Amazing Spider-Man, planned to save his real name for more “serious” literary work such as novels
  • Eric Blair, who wrote worldwide classic novels such as 1984 and Animal Farm and whose literary masterpieces denouncing the evils of totalitarian government has instituted a “language of dystopia” – such words as “Orwellian” and “Big Brother” –  wrote under the pen name George Orwell so his family wouldn’t be embarrassed by his time in poverty – an experience he recounts in his classic work, Down and Out in London and Paris.  

For more interesting, fascinating, and sometimes hilarious tidbits of literary history regarding pen names, check out this very artful, historical infographic timeline provided by electricliterature.com.  

Common Reasons Why Authors Use (Or Have Used) Pen Names

Anonymity / Privacy

Some of the greatest works of literary fiction that would go to achieve much acclaim were, in many instances, scathing indictments on the current political power, economic order, social value system, etc.  Writers, then and now, needing protection from the government, enemies of one sort or another, chose to write under a pen name for their personal protection.  

In some cases, though, it’s simply a matter of privacy.  Social media being all the rage, if you wish to retain some privacy regarding your thoughts on touchy subjects – and believe you have what it takes to publish a book on such things – using a pen name is definitely recommended.  Hiring managers no doubt check social media profiles, workplace friends have access to your every thought it seems like, so it’s definitely preferable to make a clear boundary between your public and private life.  

George Orwell mentioned previously, was motivated by both concerns:  he feared what his family might think as he lived destitute in many of Europe’s leading cities and he certainly knew that his writings were taking on the elites of his time.  

Conceal Gender, Marketing, and Reckless Abandon

From England’s Victorian Age up to the present postmodern world of liberal publication, women have penned works under male names for a variety of reasons.  In more historic times, given the male-dominated nature of authorship and publication, aspiring female authors, to be taken seriously and have their works published at all, wrote under a male name.


Combine this social and political climate with literary works criticizing these very norms and it makes sense why  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (‘Currer Bell’), Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (‘Ellis Bell’), and Middlemarch by Mary Anne Evans (‘George Elliot’) – three of the most celebrated English literary classics – were written under male names.  

More recently, Joanne Rowling, popular author of the Harry Potter Series, one of the best-selling book series of all time, penned her works under the more gender-ambiguous ‘J.K. Rowling.’  In 2013, when she published The Cuckoo’s Calling, she adopted the even more straightforward male name of ‘Robert Galbraith.’ 

In the case of Rowling, because the intended audience of her Harry Potter series were young boys who presumably would not want to read fantasy books written by a woman, publishers decided that she use the more gender-neutral J.K.   

Sometimes a flat out rejection of traditional standards of decency and modesty explains female to male name changes.  Speaking about Amantine Lucile Dupin, the famous French novelist and memoirist, Carmela Ciuraru, author of Nom de Plume: A (Secret) History of Pseudonyms writes: 

“bored by her aristocratic milieu, a cigar-smoking, cross-dressing baroness rejected the rules of propriety by having sexual liaisons with men and women alike, publishing novels and plays under the name George Sand.”

The rationale behind the name change for a more gender-neutral or male-sounding name sounds antiquated but it nonetheless remains true in some parts of the literary publishing world.  Ciuraru, for instance, during a CNN interview, speaking about Rowling’s decision to write under a male name, stated that “Sadly, in certain genres, it still helps to be a man – particularly in crime or science fiction.”  

In the late ’60s, as one example, James Tiptree Jr, a very popular science fiction writer who seemed to have come from nowhere, was actually Alice Sheldon, a former CIA officer, and experimental psychologist.  

CHANGE GENRES / FAN EXPECTATIONS

Say your favorite writer of legal suspense decides to write a coming-of-age novel, just how motivated would you be to read it?  Would you be suspicious, maybe even questioning the quality of the book?  

Aside from answering to their critics, many notable authors have big fanbases who, like it or not, have to be catered to.  While book titans James Patterson and John Grisham have been able to “get away” with writing outside of “their genre” the same may not apply to a lesser-known and beginning writer.  

Here’s what even established authors likely consider: 

  • Feeling disingenuous they may wonder, “how can I write a book of poetry if I only am known for romance novels?” 
  •  Fearing backlash they may think about fans or even first-time readers coming down hard on them and judging their work extra hard.  
  • As public figures, bad PR might keep them up at night: say the writer writes mainly fictional Sci-fi books and one day decides to pen a non-fictional work on the latest culture war topic.  

These scenarios–internal debates about whether or not to shift genres (and the potential consequences of doing so)–are virtually endless.  

This is where pen names come in.  

The biggest names do it–or have done it.    

  • Nora Roberts becomes ‘J.D.  Robb’ when writing erotic thrillers.  
  • Samuel Langhorne Clemens, when writing across different genres, was known to the world as ‘Mark Twain.’  
  • The King of Horror himself, Stephen King, has penned various novels outside of horror under ‘Robert Galbraith.’

For the Weary Reader…When Pen Names Can be Beneficial 

A quick note on King and others like him.  Writers who have an especially large output – such as King and other authors who publish in different genres – are wise to use a different name if they are simply publishing a ton of material – more than a loyal fan base might be able to keep up with.   

So, for instance, in one calendar year, once you have established a regular publishing pattern, one or two books a year, and you still think you can churn out a third, but, say, in a different genre, a name change might work here in terms of sales, marketing, and keeping a loyal fan base.  

Again, the particulars of this will look different for every writer but as an example, consider the following: you establish a great reputation, both in print and on social media, as an expert on the topic of, to use a modern trendy example, the ketogenic diet.  

You’ve written a book or two already, have a great Youtube channel, perhaps even a podcast.  You are firing on all cylinders.  Say, now, you would like to shift gears, and pen something on leadership.  

Here are some things to think about: 

  • Should you go full steam ahead and risk everything by delving into a brand new subject? 
  • What if it flops?  Perhaps the market is flooded with such books already.  
  • Maybe your fan base thinks you are “faking it to make it” by hiring a ghostwriter – your latest attempt to exploit your following by offering something they probably don’t even need. 
  • Worse, they begin to question your previous books and think it was a marketing ploy–using others to manufacture your claim to fame.  

Using a pen name is a strategic marketing decision arrived at after considering your track record, future goals, personal passion, and subject expertise.  

Below follow some reasons why ought to consider using one.  

Pen Names Are a Great Way to Test the “Writing Waters” and Experiment with Your Craft

Personal journals/diaries detailing your deepest darkest secrets were once the domain of only one person–you, the individual.  But, today, in an internet-crazed world where people are looking for more answers to more and more of life’s complex problems, you very well may have the answers people are looking for. 

Pen names allow you to publish material that you otherwise would not publish–material that could form the basis for a loyal following, people so loyal who could be salivating for your next biggest project–a book-length work that, who knows, goes on to span a fictional series, a memoir based on personal life experiences, a novel that you later sell the movies for, etc.  Most great fiction finds its basis on non-fictional real life accounts, after all.  

Think of it in terms of a question: why do new cookbooks or rock groups come out each year?  

Personally, I think it comes down to the market always allowing for new and unique voices that offer a fresh perspective on a given subject.  What you think is only good enough may very well be great for somebody else.  You may be that special person people connect with.  There’s only one way to test this out: get your material out there.

A Medium article published by the writer S.K. Anthony further elaborates on these above points.  Expounding on her point of what pen names do for a writer’s branding, Anthony makes the excellent point that “there’s no better reason to have a pen name than having flunked under a different name and needing to start over” – a phenomenon she says happens more than people even realize.  

Think of the virtually limitless creative opportunities that you, the aspiring writer, are afforded.  No other creative profession – no profession at all, for that matter – allows for such wondrous potential.  

The lawyer who loses too many cases develops a bad rap;  the athlete who blows the big game one too many times finds it hard to rebound; the musician who plays a horrible note hardly recovers his or her musical prowess; the restauranter who gets too many bad reviews on Yelp, and on and on…

Not so with writing…

If you fail to resonate with readers after publishing your deepest personal memoir but feel you can give it a shot at short story writing—who can stop you? 

Who will know you – the real you – failed?  

If the funny punchlines that you thought could form a humor book fall flat and get bad reviews on Amazon but think you can write the lastest Sci-Fi book, what law exists to prevent you?  

How do you make such drastic genre changes you still be might wondering?  

CHANGE YOUR “NAME!”

Perhaps you need reminding from a daring historical figure who stopped at nothing to accomplish greatness – Thomas Edisons’ timeless quote: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

The only difference is his failings were made public; yours will remain private.  Talk about a win-win!!

The beauty of writing is that you can control the extent of your privacy; nobody sees you in the privacy of your home formulating your craft, nobody even has to know the person behind the name…too shy to engage with your audience live?  Do it through a personal fan page where you interact digitally until you announce your “coming out” moment.  

Not to go too far with my point here, though.  I guess I’m just pointing out some additional benefits to being a writer who dares to experiment and who, perhaps too shy and introverted, wishes to remain anonymous.  

BRANDING:  When pen names may work; when they may not be necessary 

Here are some pointers to keep in mind regarding pen names.  I provide some examples – some hypothetical, some real-world–on when pen names are appropriate and ways you might be able to further brand yourself:  

  • It seems that very famous writers, like celebrities, can “get away” with certain things based on how successful and loved they are; nobody questions when a celebrity of any field decides to write a book (that is standard practice), but when a writer decides to enter a new genre – write a screenplay, launch a videogame, invent an app – they can only do so if they have truly proven themselves
  • To give an example of the previous point, the creator of the Rich Dad Poor Dad series, Robert Kiyosaki, has been able to successfully brand his international hit, the Rich Dad Poor Dad book, into many successful follow up books, a board game, popular website, speaking engagements, popular seminars, etc.  Keep in mind, his second book (you may not score big on your first)–which to this day remains a huge hit–allowed not only his writing career but his broader entrepreneurial brand to really take off.  
  • NOTE: There was no need for him to use a pen name because his books and larger brand centered around personal finance, investing, business, self-help, etc.  If he ever wanted to brand himself outside of this world, it might make sense to use a pen name.  
  • Genre-hopping requiring a pen name, to be clear, need not even happen for you, the aspiring writer.  If you truly find your niche and can keep building it up through follow up books, seminars, a game, a movie, consulting, etc…why rock the boat, right?  Consider the biggest brands like Star Wars and Harry Potter and the immense scalability they both wield across the globe.  From the first HP book to movie adaptations, LEGO sets, action figures, various toys, video games, etc.  THINK BIG.  
  • No matter where you are in your personal/professional life you likely already have a powerful story to share–and you need not even have to use a pen name, no matter how deep and personal.  I love the story of Matthew Crawford, the “philosopher-mechanic,” whose New York York Times Bestselling Book, Shop Class as Soul Craft, became an instant bestseller.  Here was a Ph.D. in political science working as the Director of a think tank who made the occupational change to a motorcycle mechanic who wrote a book – a very powerful thought-provoking one – to tremendous acclaim.  Imagine what his next move might be – speaker, consultant, follow up book on a similar topic.  No need for a pen name.  Judging by the reception of his first book, people likely want a second.  
  • Long complicated, difficult-to-pronounce name, too ‘soft’ of a name for a ‘strong’ subject you are tackling—these are situations where a pen name may work.  Again, many musical artists do it.  When they want to sound fun, upbeat, and energetic, they pick a name accordingly.  Think of the countless rock bands that pick names connoting danger, death, and what have you.  The literary equivalent for a writer would be picking a mysterious-sounding name for a suspense-themed book.  Many artists –including writers– “Americanize” their name, if, for instance, the name is too long/difficult to pronounce.  However, the opposite works too. To get in touch with their roots (and their potential readership) writers will use their foreign names to great effect.  Two such examples of works dealing with strong ethnic themes that have garnered much literary acclaim are Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah.  

You literally have unlimited freedom when it comes to choosing a pen name. Whether or not you choose one comes down to a consideration of factors that this article hopefully helped to frame for you. Self-Publishing School can certainly help with this important decision and more. What are you waiting for?  

become speaker at event

How to Become a Speaker at Events: By a Speaker of 40+ Events (Templates)

When it comes to your career, your business, and even your author goals, learning how to become a speaker at events might be on your mind.

After all, thousands of people go to events to hear from authorities on topics they’re interested in learning more about. In order to place yourself as that authority, speaking at these events is important.

Over the past couple years, I’ve spoken at over 40 events on the topic of writing and publishing a book successfully.

This had brought in over 7-figures for my business, not to mention all the people who are now aware of me, what I do, and Self-Publishing School as a whole.

We recently launched a new product here called PR & Speaking for Authors on this very topic, with even more information. But in this post, I’m going to unveil our own process for becoming a speaker at events.

Here’s how to become a speaker at events:

  1. Finding events to speak at through networking
  2. Finding events to speak at cold research
  3. Reaching out to networked events
  4. Cold event outreach – with templates
  5. Follow Up
  6. Your first call with event coordinators
  7. Call recap email
  8. Confirming the event!

How to Get Paid to Speak at Events

This might be a hard pill to swallow but the truth is that if you want to get paid to speak at events, you have to have experience, a message worth the price tag, and authority.

Usually, people pay to speak at events when they first start. Sometimes you pay to “sponsor” the event, which you then get to speak at.

Until you become someone who has a platform and can bring more people to the event. In most cases, being able to show extreme authority in your field can also benefit getting paid to speak at events.

And for authority, we always recommend at a minimum, publishing a book. Being a published author is like having an immediate “authority” stamp on your forehead.

Here are other ways you can get paid to speak at events:

  • Publish that book 😉
  • Grow your platform
  • Build a resumé of high-quality events you’ve spoken at
  • Network with people who can vouche for you

How to Become a Speaker at Events: Our Foolproof Methods

I’m basically handing you our playbook for booking stages and becoming a speaker at events. Most of this was formulated by my Head of Business Development, Pedro Mattos.

He’s been largely responsible for this process and booking speaking events that have generated over $1.5 Million in sales for our business.

You’ll see a couple different types of steps for becoming a speaker at stages. These are separated by “networked” steps as well as “cold”.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar, networked steps involve getting speaking gigs from people you’ve met and connected you to the right people whereas cold research and outreach are the opposite, where you find the information and reach out without having any prior connection to the event or coordinator.

Both are really important, though networking will usually get you the most bang for your buck down the road. When you’re starting out, cold outreach will be your most lucrative, since you likely don’t know many people in the event business…yet 🙂

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#1 – Finding events to speak at through networking

Say you’re in a position where you’ve been able to connect with people who are in the event business. By that, I mean they either work at events, throw them, or speak at them regularly.

These people can also be a past or current client, colleague, or strategic partner or someone’s event you’ve already spoken at.

Here are some people you can get in touch with in the “event business”:

  • Think customers
  • donors
  • subscribers
  • raving fans
  • mastermind groups
  • past stages
  • social networks
  • board members
  • associations you’re a part of
  • professional clubs
  • online groups or forums
  • bloggers
  • podcasters
  • authors
  • experts you know

We recommend listing some names you can think of and putting those all in one place where you can track the progress of this before actually reaching out.

Organization is KEY for becoming a speaker at events. You’d be surprised how many opportunities can fall by the wayside without organized outreach and follow up, which we’ll cover.

For Self-Publishing School, we use Asana’s “Board” structure, as you can see below:

This way, it’s super organized. You know exactly who is in what stage so you know which steps you need to take next to become a speaker at their event.

You can also create something similar in a spreadsheet if you don’t want to use other software. Either way, make your list, label each step, and keep track!

#2 – Finding events via cold research

This is where the majority of you will likely fall if you’re just getting into the speaking world. You’ll do “cold” work when you don’t have any prior connections to people who work at the event, the event itself, or speakers.

Most of this requires good, old-fashioned online research, and we have a few tips for that.

Here are the top places to look:

  • National Organization Document (See Gold Mining Folder of the Google Drive)
  • Google:  Determine our Search Criteria 
    • Topic 
    • Types and Names of Stages 
    • Niches & Industries 
    • Geography 
    • Example: |Chiropractic| conferences| in San Diego|
  • Market Place Lists   
  • Social media
    • You can use some of these hashtags to find posts: conference, event, keynotes, speakers, motivationalspeaker, meetingplanners, associationevents, eventplanner, organization
  • Associations: you can find some here
  • Online conference directories:
    • Allconferences.com
    • Eventsinamerica.com 
    • Lanyrd.com 
    • Conferensum.com
    • Conferize.com
  • Google alerts: set up a Google alert for certain keywords that pipe right into your email inbox

This will take some work. It’s not an instant result. That said, it’s worth it and you’ll likely make some connections within your niche that allows for other opportunities as well.

Keep track of these events and contact information in a spreadsheet or task organization software like Asana.

#3 – Outreach for networked events

You should have two lists at this point, one for people you know/of and another for cold outreaches. Once you’ve got that research down, start with the people know you, since these are usually the best chances of becoming a speaker at events.

When getting in touch with these people, there are certain methods that work better than others.

Reach out via channels in this particular order until you get a response: 

  1. Text (ideally voice memo) 
  2. In-person meeting 
  3. Facebook messenger 
  4. Email 
  5. LinkedIn
  6. Direct mail via a hand-written letter 

Here’s an example of a message Pedro sent out about an event.

We like to follow a specific formula for outreaches that we’ve figured out gets the most responses.

Here are a few things to remember for this:

  • Mention how you know them 
  • Don’t ask for a referral, instead ask where they are going (and give a reason for your ask)!
  • BONUS: End by asking for their address and sending a gift 

#4 – Cold outreach to speak at events

Your cold outreach will be a little different than messaging those you already know. While a little more of an uphill battle, there are a few ways you can put yourself ahead of others.

Knowing event planners main problems can help you craft your outreach to get attention.

Here are their 3 main problems:

  • They need to fill their event (aka sell tickets) 
  • They need to provide amazing content that solves a problem for their audience
  • They need to cover their overhead / make revenue from the event through means other than ticket sales (sponsorship revenue, back-end sales revenue, etc)

With that stuff in mind, you need to at least mention and cover one of those needs in your first outreach, specifically how you can solve that problem.

Remember that with an initial outreach, you are not selling the event planner on having you on their stage. You’re selling them on getting on the phone with you for a 15-minute call. 

Here are all of the components I would cover in the initial email: 

  1.  Direct subject line that talks about the opportunity of you and them working together. Ex: Partnership Opportunity  
  2. In the first line two lines, explain who you are and why they should care (hit on one of the 3 pain points above)
  3. In the next line, explain why you believe that would be a good fit for their stage, and what your ideal scenario would look like. 
  4. End with a CTA to book a short 15-minute call or an opened ended question asking if they have completely filled their speaking slots (this really works)
  5. Add a PS. with a link to something that proves your credibility (if you have a book, this should always be linked in your signature to begin with)

#5 Following up with initial outreaches

Follow-ups are arguably even more important than anything else. If you don’t bake this into your system, you’ll lose out on a lot of opportunity.

Our philosophy is “the money is in the follow up”. 

If you are not getting a response, it’s probably one of three reasons: 

  • Your message is not relevant for them right now 
  • You are not talking to the right person 
  • You are not using the right medium (Facebook vs. email vs. text)

With that said, it is important to address all three of those points in your follow up – which means: 

  • Reach out to different people in the organization and ask to be directed to the correct person
  • Change your ask, subject line, etc
  • Try multiple mediums until someone replies (but don’t annoy them, spread out your contacts over some time to give them a chance to look at your messages)

#6 – Navigating your first call with event coordinators

We’ll cover two things in this point: how to schedule your first call and how to execute it to book the event.

How to Schedule Your First Call

If and when someone replies to your initial outreach positively, you’ll want to get on an actual phone (or video chat) call with them as soon as you can to close the deal while you’re fresh in their mind.

Your initial outreach should have included something about hopping on a quick call to chat details (since that was the purpose of it). Now when they respond, try to make that call happen in the next 48 hours to increase your chances of booking the event.

From here, you’ll include a link to a calendar where they can book, or you’ll confirm the time and send out a detailed calendar invite.

You’ll see an example of a Google invite below:

What to do While on Your First Call

The goal of this call is to familiarize yourself with the meeting planners and get a better understanding of their goals, challenges, and really anything you could help solve.

The second purpose is to get some logistics around stages and offer a solution that includes you speaking at or “sponsoring” their event.

Here’s an “outline” of what you should be shooting for during this conversion:

Step 1 – Introduction and rapport

  • Ask where they’re from
  • Introduce everyone on the call and provide:
    • Context for who you are and what you’re doing
    • How what you do relates to them and their event

Step 2 – Give context and figure out their goals

  • “It’s so great to connect, and I really appreciate you taking the time to hop on this call. I know we don’t have a ton of time scheduled and I want to be respectful of yours, so to give you some context…”[give context around the call, sample below]
    • Provide them with some more details about your mission, passion, and overall purpose, as well as why you want to grow our event connections and speaking resumé
  • End this bit with: “So with that said, I’d love it if you could give a quick overview of the top projects / goals you’re working towards over the next few months, and we can see if there’s a way we can help.”

Step 3 – Let them know what you’re working on and why you’re building partnerships

  • Give an overview of a few projects we have in the works that lend themselves to partnership opportunities
  • Your goals
  • Start off with a content sponsorship pitch “I think one easy win to start this relationship off is to start with a sponsorship. I’m sure you’re always looking for new sponsors, we’d love to see what would make sense”
    • Go with an assumptive / “this-is-a-no-brainer-and-the-obvious-next-step” tone and you’ll pretty much get a 100% conversion on this
  • Then ask them what it would look like to have you do a 45-60 minute presentation on your speech topic
  • Finally, if it’s a fit and they have a decent-sized list (10k+ for bigger platforms, smaller if you’re just starting out), pitch an affiliate webinar:
    • “Last thing that I think could be really cool for your audience and this relationship, is I’d love to do a live training around [your niche topic/speech]. We’ll set it all up, your audience gets access to some great content, and the best part to you is you get $x for any person you send to the training who becomes a student. Is that something we could get on the calendar in the next couple of months?”

The idea with these steps is to move through the conversation seamlessly and in a way that makes sense to them.

As with any professional call, don’t interrupt or ignore questions, etc. You want to have a cordial conversation that’s upbeat, fun, and makes them want to be around you, which will help with their decision to include you in their speaker lineup.

#7 – First call recap email

Yes, even your call needs a recap email. This helps to clear up any confusion and have a physical reference for both of you for what needs to happen next.

Ideally, this recap email should be sent to ALL relevant parties less than 3 hours after the call takes place.

It should recap EVERYTHING that was discussed, and specifically note dates, percentages (for discounts), specific next steps, and the names of people responsible for those steps.

If additional intros need to be made (content teams, for example), include everyone on the recap email, and indicate that the introductions will be made in a separate thread.

Be hyper-specific here. It might feel unnecessary or OCD. It almost certainly won’t come across that way.

Here’s an example of a solid recap email:

#8 – Confirming the event!

Now, don’t just go taking any event you can. It’s tempting but remember, you’re also vetting the event owners, their mission, and ensuring it aligns with what you’re doing.

BUT, if the event checks all of your boxes and meets all the requirements you set up for yourself, here’s what you’ll do next:

  1. Email the meeting planner confirming that you will be attending the stage
  2. Send an email to connecting anyone within your business (if there’s more than you) to the event planner
  3. Add the event to your personal calendar so you don’t forget 
  4. Move this event over in your planning / tracking software or spreadsheet
  5. Transfer all known information, contracts, etc into the task you have in order to have all the info in a single place. 

That’s how you become a speaker at events! It seems complicated, but this process isn’t as simple as sending one email.

We’ve nailed down this process and our Head of Business Development swears by it. Let us know how it works for you!

best self publishing courses

The Best Self Publishing Courses: Top 5 Publishing Courses

The time has never been better to write and publish a book. If you are thinking of writing a book but you are stressing out over all the steps to write, publish and launch to market, you should seriously consider enrolling in one of the best self-publishing courses available today.

Why take an online publishing course?

There is a lot to know beyond writing a book. Not to say the writing part is easy, but you will have greater confidence in writing and publishing your book with connections to a support network walking you through the steps.

Now we will take an inside tour of each best self-publishing course, the benefits of each course, and the best online publishing program for you.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

Here is a list of the best self-publishing courses we will cover:

  1. Self-Publishing vs Traditional
  2. How to Choose the Best Online Course for you
  3. Criteria to Choose the Best Self-publishing Course
  4. Self Publishing School with Chandler Bolt
  5. Authority Pub with Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport
  6. Self Publishing 101 with Mark Dawson
  7. Your First 10,000 Readers with Nick Stephenson
  8. Tribe Writers with Jeff Goins

Although all the best online courses here come highly recommended, the course content and purpose of each course varies depending on:

  • What you need as an author. Are you writing your first book? Scaling up your author platform to 6 figures a year?
  • Your budget. How much cash are you willing to invest in your self-publishing business?
  • Your expectations. What are you expecting by taking an online publishing program? A strong return on ROI? Can the course deliver on its promise?

If you’re a business owner looking to make a solid ROI and see how a book can help grow you business, just fill out the ROI calculator below.

Book Launch ROI Business Calculator

Just input your core offer product or service average order value to see just how much you can scale your business in the next 6 months, 1 year, and 3 years by writing and self-publishing a high quality book with Self-Publishing School!

But, before we dive into the best self-publishing courses on the market today, let me ask you this:

Depending how you responded to the above, this should give you an idea what course to enroll in.

Every day, thousands of books are self-published through various publishing companies: Amazon KDP, Barnes and Noble Press, or Apple iBooks to name a few.

Thousands of authors—just like you—have a dream to see their books in print, on a bookshelf, or for sale online in the Amazon store, the largest ebook retailer in the world.

To get your book to the publishing stage takes a lot of work. If you are not familiar with everything needed to self publish a book, you could end up spending more money than planned or, unknowingly fall into the hands of a deceiving vanity press publisher that waits for new authors desperate to publish.

Don’t let haste or desperation lead you to a bad decision. Check out the best courses here and any questions, contact support through the course so you can be confident you’re making the right decision.

Why Self-Publish Instead of Traditional Publishing?

Here are 7 reasons to consider self-publishing your book instead of traditional publishing:

  1. Writing a book makes you an authority in your area of expertise.
  2. Self-publishing a book, or series of books, creates an additional income stream that could lead to you making a living from writing in 6 months to a year. Publishing your book through one of the big 5 trade publishers could take years.
  3. Self-publishing lets you build your own business at your pace with the freedom to make key business decisions.
  4. Potentially you can earn more because it is easier to scale up when you have control over marketing and book launch pacing.
  5. Tax breaks by forming your own business and working from home.
  6. Publish more, publish faster. This means the potential to earn more in a shorter amount of time and scale up your email list at a faster rate: The key point here is, it’s faster all around.
  7. 0 rejection letters. That’s right, you can never be rejected as a self-published author. 

Some of the big titles available today started out as self-published books before being picked up by a major publishing house.

Recognize any of these self-published books?

  • Fifty Shades of Grey—E.L.James
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit—Beatrix Potter
  • The Martian—Andy Weir
  • The Shack by William P. Young
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • Swann’s Song by Marcel Proust
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • Switched by Amanda Hocking
  • Still Alice by Lisa Genova
  • The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield
  • Hacker series by Meredith Wilder

So yes, self-publishing can be a great path to launch your writing career. You can work from home, set up a writer’s temporary workstation at your local Starbucks, or hunker down in a library hammering away at perennial bestseller after bestseller.

How Do I Choose the Best Online Course?

As a self-published author of 12+ books, I know firsthand what it is like to navigate through all the steps involved in writing a book. And writing the book can be the easy part!

Now, you might be thinking to just do it yourself without any help from a self-publishing course. I did this too, and I made a lot of mistakes that could have been avoided had I invested in a course with a built-in blueprint.

This is why I have put together a solid list of the best self-publishing courses on the market today. Only the best made this list because I know what it is like to waste money on courses that went nowhere.

I have personally been inside each of these courses so I can share with you first hand the pros and cons of each.

Why take a self-publishing course?

Good question. Take into account the marketing, networking, and getting the book ready for print. The steps are many and it is a big investment of your time and effort.

Do I need a course to write a book? Can’t I do this myself?

Yes, you can. But…

Publishing can be difficult with lots of moving parts. You start to feel like a juggler with too many balls in the air! And if you’re already spending the time to get it done, why not do it right.

That’s what we do here, and you can check out our bestselling Become a Bestseller program right here.

The good point of joining a course is, you are not alone. And, without support, a launch team to help launch your book, it is easy to make a lot mistakes could otherwise be avoided.

So, this is why we bring you this list of professional experts, each with years of book writing experience and marketing confidence, sharing with you the best strategies for writing, launching and selling more books. And yes, despite the flood of material out there these days, you can make money from self-publishing…if you do it right and learn from the best.

Making the Cut: The 7-Point Criteria for Choosing the Best Self Publishing Course

  1. The instructors for each course are multi-bestselling authors with the sales and platform to show it. They are trusted by the industry with solid reputations for being honest and driving their business with integrity.
  2. The course content is current and up to date. In an industry that is constantly changing, publishing courses can become outdated within a year. The courses here are updated regularly with additions and updates every few months. 
  3. Based on industry reviews and student satisfaction, the courses are praised and recommended by authors who have been through the programs.
  4. The strategies and business practices of the owners do not break any rules pertaining to Amazon’s rules and are morally sound.
  5. I have personally taken these courses and recommend each one.
  6. The material, content and overall course is professionally packaged and high quality.
  7. Support: When you run into trouble, you want to know that you can talk to someone and get everything sorted quickly and efficiently. No-fuss. 

Take note: Several courses are open for a limited time only at certain times of the year. The enrollment period is usually every three months, but this varies. 

Self Publishing School with Chandler Bolt

self-publishing-school

Self-published entrepreneur and bestselling author Chandler Bolt quit college back in 2014 and set out to write a book called The Productive Person. The book was hugely successful and Chandler soon set up an online course to help authors self publish their books…in just 90 days! 

Yes, the professionals at Self Publishing School are making big claims: You can go from blank page to published book in as little as 90 days. To date, close to 5000 authors have been through the course since it started in late 2014.

The online publishing course has been featured by INC 5000 as one of the 5000 fastest-growing private companies in America.

With this comprehensive go-at-your-own-pace blueprint, the school has created an easy-to-follow system to take you from first time author to course creator with three pillar courses available.

Breakdown of Course Content

When self-publishing school first started out they had a basic course for writing and publishing a book. There are now four premium courses to choose from on the platform, including a full fiction course piloted by successful self-published fiction author RE Vance.

Become a Bestseller—Blank Page to Published Author and Everything Inbetween: From blank page to published author, write your book in 90 days with this course. There are 3 modules to walk you through the program with over 4 hours of video, bonus content and an outsourcer rolodex to assist with hiring professionals for all phases of the book production along with over $1,000 in exclusive Self-Publishing School student discounts and specials.

  • Mindmap / Outlining
  • Target Audience Deep-Dive
  • Writing
  • Book Production Instructions/Guides
  • Marketing and Publishing
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book
A Peek Inside the Self-Publishing School Become a Bestseller Program
best-self-publishing-programs
Modules 3-5 out of 12 of Self-Publishing School’s Become a Bestseller Program

Fundamentals of Fiction & Story: For all the fiction writers looking to learn everything you need to in order to write a high-quality fiction book that actually sells! Fiction is a different game than non-fiction, and Self-Publishing School knows that, employing a bestselling fiction coach to work through plot, the craft of writing, and selling.

  • Writing, editing, and mindset
  • Launching your book
  • The business of writing
  • Children’s book module
  • Memoir module
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book

Sell More Books: For authors that have already published a book and are focusing on book marketing and promotion to achieve sales results. Most often, these are business builders using their book to grow their business or those looking to make being an author their full-time job.

best-self-publishing-course-marketing
  • Launch Strategies
  • Email Marketing Strategies
  • Foundation Strategies
  • Author Brand Strategies
  • Advanced Marketing Strategies
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book

Course Building for Authors: Building a course from your book? This premium course is made specially for those authors ready to take their platform to the next level.

  • Plan & Develop Your Course
  • Create and Upload Your Course
  • Market and Sell Your Course
  • Expert Interviews with Industry Experts
  • Milestones to Track Your Progress
  • 1-on-1 Tailored Coaching for YOUR Book

Each course comes with its own customized, professional workbook. The best part of these courses is that you will be assigned a personal coach after being accepted into the program.

Course Details

Cost to Enroll: Speak to an SPS representative to discuss best course options and pricing, as each program price varies.

Availability: If you meet the course requirements you can start right away

Target Author: Writing your first book, advanced or pro authors, business owners or future business owners. SPS has courses to cover any level.

Enrollment Availability: If you qualify for access to the course, you will speak to a self-publishing representative who will set you up with the best course to meet your publishing goals.

Sound like something you want to do? Click here to schedule your FREE 1-hour Breakthrough Sessions with a Publishing Success Strategist.

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6 Reasons to Enroll with Self Publishing School

  • The one-on-one personal coaching that comes with each course. You will get the best results by working with a professional student success coach.
  • One hour clarity call with your coach to drill down into your book idea.
  • Up to 4 weekly live online mastermind group trainings & Q&A, one with Chandler Bolt himself
  • Customized workbook comes with each course
  • Mastermind Facebook Community of 2500+ active participants.
  • 4 premium courses to meet your publishing goals

Self Publishing School has a long track record of successful students that have written, launched and turned their dreams of being published into a reality. The course is fast-paced and doesn’t waste time on details.

Authority Pub Academy With Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport

publishing courses

Steve Scott [also known as S.J. Scott] is one of the biggest names when it comes to self-publishing. He has been marketing online for a long time and when the eBook craze started back in 2011, Steve was one of the first authors that as in there doing it.

Steve Scott has published over 70 books and has been branded as the “Heavyweight of Self Publishing.” He runs the blog Develop Good Habits. Together with his writing partner Barrie Davenport [Live Bold and Bloom], Steve and Barrie created Authority Pub Academy.

With the combined talents of two bestselling authors, Authority Pub is everything you would expect it to be: A self publishing course that is focused on teaching authors to write and publish, not just a book, but focuses on building out an author platform.

self-publishing-courses

In today’s overwhelming jungle of books, with thousands being published daily, Steve Scott recognised the importance of turning your book platform into a brand and a book business.

This is the strength and focus of this course, and there is loads of videos, downloads and information taught from two authors that have been engaged in the self-publishing business from the beginning.

Breakdown of Course Content

Authority Pub Academy is made up of 6 modules:

  • Module 1: Setting the Author Mindset and Building a Writing Habit
  • Module 2: Niche Focus and Researching a Perennial Bestseller
  • Module 3: Outlining, Writing a First Draft and Editing
  • Module 4: Pre-Publishing and Setting Up Your Book in KDP
  • Module 5: Lead Magnets, Reviews and launch Strategies
  • Module 6: Advanced marketing and Scaling Up Your Author Library

Authority Pub is a plethora of knowledge and both Steve and Barrie have learned everything through years of trial and error. Authority pub is a “one-stop resource to help writers streamline the whole process.”

Course Details

Cost to Enroll: $597 or 2 payments of $348

Availability: Anytime

Target Author: If you are just writing your first book, or already published and looking to scale up your author platform with more content and strategies that increase long term growth, Authority Pub is for you.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Authority Pub Academy:

  • Advanced supplementary materials includes WordPress blog setup mastery, Canva tutorial, email walkthrough using Aweber and Evernote tips for productive writing
  • Course content professionally delivered via high definition videos supported by quality downloads
  • Solid case studies and examples of writers who have made it work
  • Effective advanced marketing strategies to scale up your books
  • The course removes any guesswork and provides students with a clear roadmap
  • 30 day “try it, test it, apply it” money-back guarantee

Self Publishing 101 with Mark Dawson

publishing courses

I became interested in Mark Dawson’s platform as a big fan of his John Milton action series books and Isabella Rose thrillers. If you’re looking for a great read this weekend, I’d highly recommend these books.

As a traditionally published author who used to write for a big firm, Mark Dawson started self-publishing his action and thrillers and, to date, has sold over a million copies. Mark has published 25+ books, has three series in the works, and is constantly launching bestseller after bestseller. His monthly earnings in 2015, according to an interview in Forbes.com, Mark Dawson was being paid $450,000 a year for his works.

So, who better to learn the craft of self-publishing than an established author with both a library of successful bestsellers and the income to show it. This brings us to Self Publishing 101, Mark Dawson’s course for authors.

If you are new at self-publishing or have been publishing for a while, this course has something for everyone. You will learn the basics as well as advanced marketing strategies to scale up your author platform.

With Self Publishing 101, you’ll write, launch and market a quality book that sells. Although Mark Dawson is mainly a fiction author, the course can be customized for nonfiction writers. The same marketing strategies apply to both.

Breakdown of Course Content

Inside Self Publishing 101, the course is broken up into 8 modules that includes:

  • Build Your Platform
  • Pre-Publication
  • Amazon Exclusive or Go Wide
  • Go Wide
  • Generating Traffic
  • Advanced Teams & Launching
  • Getting Reviews

As additional bonuses, there is also a tech module that walks through how to build a website, lead magnets, email service providers, and formatting your book. 

The best part of this course is the system Mark teaches for email list building through an author website. Building an email list is critical to the success of any author, and Mark and his team have these bases covered.

Course Details

  • Cost to Enroll: $497 or 12 monthly payments of $49.00. Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Availability: Closed after enrollment begins. Cycle is every 3-4 months.
  • Target Author: Beginner, intermediate and advanced authors looking to build a rock-solid fan base through email list building and advertising.

6 Reasons to Enroll with Self Publishing 101

  • Deep dive into the Amazon algorithm
  • Focuses on subscriber communication and building an email list
  • Bonus tech library with an introduction to using advanced apps and tools
  • Active Facebook group with high response time
  • Additional “Writing Copy for Facebook Ads” module
  • Reasonably priced course for the value it delivers 

Your First 10k Readers with Nick Stephenson

self publishing options

If you are looking for a comprehensive, in-depth, no-holds-barred course on marketing tactics, Nick Stephenson’s Your First 10,000 Readers is that course.

Created by a bestselling fiction author, Your First 10k Readers is a different beast from the other best courses listed here for one defining reason: It isn’t about writing your first book.

The course assumes you already have a book, or a library of books, and now you want to take what you’ve got and line it all up in order to grow your list to a 10k readership…and beyond. 

Your First 10k Readers is really better suited for the more seasoned author. It gets into the nitty-gritty of the Amazon algorithm, merchandising, keywords and niche marketing, email marketing, landing pages, giveaways, and what Nick calls “You’re secret sauce.”

So yeah, there’s a lot going on here.

Let’s take a look inside.

Breakdown of the Course Content

The course consists of 6 modules that you can work on at your own pace. The modules are:

  • Module 1: Rule the Retainers.

This includes Amazon Algorithms, Merchandising, Broad Reach VS KDP Select, and Pricing.

  • Module 2: Generate Endless Traffic.

This includes Keywords & Niches, Using Free Books, Smart Promotions, and The Author Dream Team

  • Module 3: Convert Traffic Into Fans

This includes Traffic Funnels, Optimize Your Website, Giveaways, and Events Marketing

  • Module 4: Build Engagement and Sell—Without Being “Salesy”

This module includes Why Readers Don’t Buy, Priming the sale, Scarcity, the Secret Sauce, Social Media Mastery, Getting Reviews, and Auto-Responders

  • Module 5: Launch Strategies

This module includes Launch Teams, Building Buzz, and Launch Day

  • Module 6: Facebook Advertising

This module includes Intro to Power Editor, How to Track Results With Pixels, and Ninja Tricks.

writing and publishing courses

In addition to the 6 core modules, there is also a wide range of bonus content that includes rock star author interviews, email swipe files, and tools of the trade bonus section.

Course Details

  • Cost to Enroll: $597 or 12 monthly payments of $59.00. Comes with a 30-day money back guarantee.
  • Availability: Enrollment anytime.
  • Target Author: Intermediate and advanced authors needing advanced tactics to scale up author platform and build your publishing business into an empire

6 Reasons to Enroll with Your First 10k Readers

  • Membership includes author interviews with big industry authors Mark Dawson, Joanna Penn, Simon Whistler, Bryan Cohen, and Nick Loper
  • A powerhouse of book marketing tactics for both fiction and nonfiction authors
  • Video content is high quality, fast-paced and engaging
  • Comes with a highly-engaged private Facebook group
  • Includes a BONUS course “The 60-Day Author” for writers who haven’t published yet
  • Includes a members cheat sheet that breaks the course down into a comprehensive blueprint

Tribe Writers with Jeff Goins

publishing courses

Jeff Goins is the best-selling author of five books including The Art of Work and Real Artists Don’t Starve. He is the owner of Goinswriter.com where he shares his thoughts on writing, life and creativity.

With a successful blog and five bestselling books, it isn’t any surprise that Jeff has a writing course to market to his raving fans of authors: Tribe Writers

Jeff’s course is packed with material. With the formula presented in Tribe Writers, you as the author can create your own path to creativity. There are twelve steps of a tribe writer that allows you to tailor fit the best plan while keeping your unique voice.

Tribe Writers is broken up into four individual modules:

  • Module 1: Honing Your Voice
  • Module 2: Establishing a Platform
  • Module 3: Expanding Your Reach
  • Module 4: Getting Published

In addition to the four modules, you also get:

  • Exclusive interviews with over a dozen authors, bloggers, and publishing experts
  • Access to the Tribe Writers community of 6000+ members
  • Live conference calls to ask questions and get help
  • Downloadable PDF workbook that summarizes every lesson
  • Admission to a private Facebook group only for students

The modules take about 2 weeks to get through but you can move at your pace.

This course comes with five additional bonuses to support you including You Are a Writer eBook + Audiobook and The Perfect Book Launch.

Where Jeff’s Tribe Writers is different from the other courses is, a strong emphasis on honing your ideas and creativity as a writer to create a unique brand. There is a strong foundation for support and networking with hundreds of other authors.

Best 6 Reasons to Enroll with Tribe Writers

  • Loaded with tools to help get you started
  • Community of writers to help you when you get stuck
  • Lots of valuable content and expert interviews included
  • Designed to show you how to find your voice and audience
  • Monthly conference calls to keep you on track
  • “12 steps of a Tribe Writer” that clearly outlines the expectations of the course.

Ready to Write and Publish Your Bestseller?

All of these courses are excellent in their own way. Depending on your budget and writing goals, you might choose one over the other.

Now that we have taken an in- depth look at the best self publishing courses for you to write your bestseller, you have a solid idea of what to expect from each course. The question is: Are you ready to write your book?

The best writing course you decide depends largely on your goals as a writer.

Are you writing one book only and need a step by step process to guide you through to published author? Self Publishing School could be a match. Keep in mind they do have additional courses for marketing and business including Sell More Books and Course Building for Authors.

Do you want to build a solid library of books and focus on your author platform? Authority Pub Academy could be your best match. Let Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport guide you towards your success of being a multiple bestselling author.

Do you want to learn the essence of email list building, creating an author website and setting up landing pages that convert readers into subscribers? Self Publishing 101 could be the best choice to make.

Need more advanced marketing tools from one of the best in the business? Your First 10k Readers is the path you might consider, and…

Interested in a course that focuses on honing your creative writing talent while showing you how to connect with your unique voice? Tribe Writers with Jeff could be the best option.

Or, you might decide you need two courses and combine together for maximum impact. Self Publishing School can show you how to go from blank page to published author in 90 days. But Nick Stephenson’s course can teach you the more advanced analytics and how to really build out an online book business.

So now, make a choice. You have been sitting on this long enough. Your book won’t write itself and if you have written it already, take it to the next level.

Your move.

Life is short.

Take action now.

It’s your time to write that next perennial bestseller!

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

book marketing

How to Market a Book: 2020 Book Marketing Strategies to SELL

Just because you wrote a new book doesn’t mean that your book is guaranteed to sell.

Harsh? Maybe. But it’s true. And here at Self-Publishing School, you first have to learn the truth before taking action.

Even if your book is the next Great American Novel, it won’t be a success if it doesn’t get into the collective conscious of the public. 

This is why you need good book marketing tactics to back it up.

We actually teach a ton of pre-launch and post book launch marketing plans in our programs here at Self-Publishing School. You can check those products out right here.

Here are the book marketing strategies we cover:

  1. Book marketing for authors during Covid-19
  2. Social media marketing strategies
  3. Use a launch team for book marketing
  4. Pricing your book effectively
  5. Build a website to market your book
  6. Grow your email list
  7. Influencer outreach for book promotion
  8. Apply for BookBub
  9. Land interviews on podcasts
  10. Reach book clubs
  11. Write another book

Book Marketing for Authors During the Covid-19 Pandemic

We wanted to add this section at the top in light of everything happening with the Coronavirus sweeping the world.

With so many shut-downs and quarantines, Amazon has decided to cut down production considerably—and this includes paperback books.

For self-published authors, this is a huge problem. After all, some of you make a living from your book. So we wanted to offer you a few pieces of advice that we’re also sharing with our paying students at this time.

Here are some tips for book marketing during the Covid-19 Pandemic:

  • Switch to an ebook-first marketing plan (switch marketing images to ebooks, talk about the ebooks, make ebooks top-of-mind so more buy those versus physical copies)
  • Promote that your paperbacks are on other websites (Barnes and Noble, etc.) instead of sending them right to Amazon
  • Have any collaborators or those who sell your book via an affiliate link with Amazon switch to a different distributor or an ebook link for the time being
  • Reduce your ebook price or run a special to get the word out
  • Connect the current events to your story or message (it’s a GREAT time for dystopian authors and those with work-from-home material)
  • Offer a free PDF for anyone who buys a paperback (so they can start reading right away, waiting until their physical copy arrives)
  • Run a special that donates a % of the profits toward families in need during this time
  • Make sure that while still promoting, you’re aware of others’ struggles and hardships during this time. Be sensitive with your messaging.

This is a crazy situation for all of us and all we can hope to do is tweak our lives to fit the current times, and this includes self-published authors impacted by Amazon’s change.

Book Marketing for Self-Published Authors

Marketing takes planning, organization, and consistent action; it’s hard work. But the good news is that marketing is also about fostering connections and relationships, which can be rewarding to you and your fan base.

And since you’re the one who knows your book from cover to cover, your backstory, your reasons for writing it, and who your ideal reader is, it’s your duty to put a plan in place to best connect with your intended audience and share your story.

We know, we know…you’ve put a ton of effort into writing, editing, and getting your book ready for publication that the thought of adding another layer of “work” is not the most appealing idea.

But realize that if you launch your book without a marketing plan, FAR fewer people will read it.

It will hamper the success of the book you’re working on now, as well as others you plan on publishing in the future. So if you dream of becoming a New York Times bestselling author, or if you want your book to help you reach other lifestyle goals, a book marketing strategy is your essential key to success.

Book Profit Calculator for a Marketing Plan

If you want to know why you have to market your book, the profits will explain it.

If you want to make a living writing your books, it’s important to understand exactly what that means.

In order to earn a living writing your books, understanding how many books you need to sell and what you’ll bring home for each is vital.

Check out this book profit calculator in order to know how much you need to market in order to become a full-time self-published author.

STEP 1

Enter Your Information Below To Calculate Your Potential Book Sales

STEP 2

Want to receive personalized tips on how to sell more books right in your inbox?

CONGRATULATIONS!
Here's What You'd Earn:

Your profit per book:

In 3 months, you'll make:

In 6 months, you'll make:

In 1 year, you'll make:

How to Market a Book on Social Media

Having a quick overview of exactly what you can do and how much time and effort each will take can help you better plan for your book marketing plan.

Here are our recommended book marketing strategies and what you need for each.

Book Marketing PlatformWhat to do
Twitter- use appropriate hashtags
- post relatable tweets to increase shares
- engage by liking and replying to others
- search common hashtags to find your audience
Instagram- use appropriate hashtags
- post photos related to the content of your book
- engage by liking and replying to others
- ask questions in photos to increase engagement
- search common hashtags to find your audience
Facebook- create a page for yourself or your book
- post video content
- go Live to answer questions or discuss your book
- post blog posts supporting your topic/ideas/book
Pinterest- create pins linking back to your website
- repin content related to your genre
- create appropriate boards for your content
- optimize pins with keywords
- join group boards
- connect with others who pin similar ideas
LinkedIn- great for business-related topics
- share insights/stats
- share blog posts supporting your ideas/topics
- connect with leaders in your industry
Personal Website- create a website
- maintain a blog with posts about your main topic
- use this to create an email list
- keep this updated regularly

Free Book Marketing Plan

Having seen and been involved in so many book launches ourselves, we know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to book marketing.

We’ll walk you through a play-by-play of exactly what you need to do so that your readers can find your book and buy it.

We’ve broken this guide down into three main sections for learning book marketing:

  1. Pre-Launch: Building Your Book Marketing Launch Team
  2. Pricing Your Book for Maximum Sales
  3. Post-Launch: 8 Strategies for Selling More Books

Let’s get started!

Pre-Launch: Build Your Book Marketing Launch Team

The first step of preparing for your book launch, and the marketing behind it, is to build your launch team or street team, as it’s also commonly referred to.

What is a launch team?

The ideal launch team, also known as a “street team,” is a dedicated, hand-selected group eager to make your launch successful. If you use your team’s talent and communicate well, there’s nothing your launch team can’t accomplish!

This video does a great job of detailing what a launch team is and exactly what they do:

 

#1 – Launch Team Size

The first step is to determine the projected size of your book marketing launch team based on the size of your audience.

Your audience is anyone interested in you, your book, and your product.

They could be five of your lifelong friends, members of your community, big organizations you’re connected to, social media followers, email subscribers, anyone who might be interested in what you’re sharing.

If you have a smaller following, we suggest you aim for a launch team of 10-50. Those with hundreds in their network can aim for 100-250 team members.

How to Find a Launch Team

If you don’t have much of a following right now, start by looking at your personal inner circle— your family, your close friends—then branch out to their connections, families, and colleagues.

You can reach out to peers from college, your volunteer work, or even your first job. You may even consider parents at your child’s school, fellow dog owners, or members of your yoga class.

Even though you may not know these people well, they are a part of your network, and you may be pleasantly surprised to discover that they’re inspired by your book and would be eager to share it.

Once you’ve completed this exercise, you should have an initial list of potential launch team members!

#2 – Recruit Quality People for Your Launch Team

Now that you’ve determined your potential recruitment pool, the second step is to initiate contact and gauge their interest level.

The most important lesson to consider about your book marketing launch team is that QUALITY trumps QUANTITY.

One top-quality, dedicated team member trumps a handful of mediocre ones.

To begin recruitment for your launch team, create a simple questionnaire process that describes your book, your expectations of the team, and questions asking:

  • Why are you interested in supporting my book?
  • What part of my book speaks to you?
  • What specialized skills can you contribute?
  • What’s your available time commitment?
  • Who are influential people you can reach out to?
  • Why would these influential people be interested?

To sweeten the recruitment deal, feel free to offer a free signed copy of your book or an inclusion in the “acknowledgments” section. You can easily do this through email, or through online forms like Typeform.

#3 – Record a Welcome Video

Take the time to record a warm welcome video for your new supporters! In your video, first, congratulate your team for being selected and express gratitude for their help.

Then, detail your expectations, your unique mission for writing your book, and why you want to share it with as many people as you can!

This welcome video will help you create a more personal connection with your book launch team, and show them a bit more about why you’re creating it and what message you’re trying to convey.

Be sure to send it to everyone who completes your questionnaire!

market a book

#4 – Establish a Communication Style

Here’s the secret to a successful book marketing launch team: Effective communication.

Communicate with your team regularly to keep them focused on weekly tasks, progress, and innovative ideas by doing the following:

  • Strive to send one email per week preceding launch then increase it to three or more during launch week.
  • Use a Facebook group to engage, share ideas, and post feedback. Set the tone by posting “Dos and Don’ts” to keep conversations focused and positive.
  • Boost morale and build rapport by sharing inspiring quotes, gifts, and goofy photos to keep energy high and build vital connections.

No matter which mode of communication you’re using, remember people like to be treated well.

Always make sure your team knows how grateful you are to them and their dedication!

#5 – Book Marketing Launch Team Assignments

You can’t just build up a catalog of supporters and not use them, though. You have to give them small assignments to help you with launching and the book marketing process in general.

It might feel weird telling people to help you, but don’t worry about it!

They’re here because they want to support your project, and as long as you’re gracious and ask nicely, they’ll be happy to support your work.

Facebook Groups will be the most effective way to dole out weekly team assignments.

Here are some book marketing initiatives you can assign your team to do:

  • Share snippets of content from your book across social media
  • Submit reviews on Amazon
  • Add their reviews to Goodreads
  • Share a book review on their YouTube channel
  • Record a testimonial for your book
  • Buy extra copies to give to their friends
  • Give you more marketing ideas!

#6 – Utilize Talents

Your team members will have a different variety of skills and talents, and it’s your job to effectively manage your team by assigning work based on their strengths.

To identify your team’s talents, write a post during the introductory week and say the following:

“If you have any special talents or connections you’d like to lend towards my book launch, please comment on this post and let me know. I’m looking for ways to help spread my book’s message to a wider audience.”

#7 – Have Fun and Say “Thank You!”

Your launch team will commit weeks of their time, energy, and talent, so make sure you thank each and every person for their contribution!

Ensure that each person on your team feels valued and appreciated for their efforts.

And most importantly, let them know how to get your book for free (or at least at a deep discount)!

Which brings us to…

How to Price Your Book

One of the most important factors in how successful your book launch is will be how you price it.

To find out how to price your book for success, we recommend reading Book Launch.

But for the sake of this article, here are some of Self-Publishing School’s biggest secrets that will get your book to soar up the Amazon’s charts:

  • If you have a sizable audience, we recommend launching your book for $0.99, and then increasing the price to $2.99 or higher after about a week.
  • For first-time authors, we recommend Amazon’s Free Book Promotions for your book launch.

Although you won’t get paid by putting your book out for free, realize that it will be featured on another author’s page which instantaneously increases your exposure and recognition.

Once the free promotion has ended, switch your book’s price to $0.99 for the following week, then slowly increase the price by $1 per week until sales stagnate.

Post-Launch: 8 Book Marketing Strategies for Selling More Books

All marketing—no matter which market or industry—is fundamentally about people and making connections.

Part of pitching your book will be figuring out how your book relates to your readers and how they will benefit from it.

Now that your book is out in the wild, you want to get as many people to it as possible. Here are the eight best strategies for doing just that.

#1 – Build Your Book 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 book marketing with your own website, 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

    And you can also set up a Google Alert so you can be notified about where your name and your book show up online.

    If someone gives you good feedback or a stellar review, reach out and thank them and ask them to link back to your book’s website.

    Action Step:

    If your book doesn’t already have a website, get one started! To set up your website and personal blog on a paid server, you can try Bluehost or Godaddy and use WordPress for building your site.

    #2 – 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 your book marketing your current project and all future ones as well, building your list should be a 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.

    #3 – Reach Out to Influencers

    When it comes to book promoting, nothing can have a bigger impact on your book than influencers through book endorsements.

    Even Gary Vaynerchuk, one of the most influential and knowledgable people in the marketing game, thinks so.

    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.

    A lot of the time, they’ll want a free copy to read and review. You can also offer to support their future endeavors as a way of giving back.

    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 blog or website 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.

    And if you want to make sure you sound professional during the interview, you can check out some of the best podcast microphones to use.

    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.

    #4 – Leverage Two Social Media Platforms

    Social media is a powerful way to promote your book to potential readers. 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 on these two sites.

    For example, you can have a YouTube channel and post weekly videos covering a wide range of topics centering around your book. After a few months, you could build up a library of content that will bring in the right audience, engage with new subscribers, and even create a course out of your videos.

    Here’s an example of Youtube content from a writer currently working on her first fiction novel. She created a Youtube channel to engage fellow writers, who are also readers:

    book marketing youtube example

    By creating a Youtube channel and giving advice about writing, she’s appealing to writers while also advertising that she is also a writer and has a book in progress.

    Switching gears to Facebook, you can promote your book or blog using Facebook ads that drive new readers to your Facebook page or your book’s website.

    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 280 characters. Twitter has proven to be a powerful platform for authors when it comes time to promote and market a book.

    And if your book is more business-focused, you may find that LinkedIn works best for you, since it allows you to connect with new readers on a more professional platform.

    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.

    Using Specific Hashtags to Grow on Social Media

    In the writing community, there are a number of very popular hashtags authors and writers use to connect with each other.

    Why make connections with other authors? Because almost every other is also a reader!

    Here are some of the top hashtags you can use on each platform:

    Twitter

    • #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
    • #writerslife
    • #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
    • #writerprobs, #writerproblems

    Instagram

    • #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
    • #writerslife
    • #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
    • #writerprobs, #writerproblems
    • #writersofig, #writersofinstagram, #writersofinsta

    Facebook

    • #amwriting (as in, “I am writing”)
    • #writerslife
    • #fantasywriter, #scifiwriter, #contemporarywriter, etc.
    • #writerprobs, #writerproblems

    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.

    #5 – 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 marketing.

    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.

    Action Step:

    Go here for Bookbub submission requirements. You can also check out the pricing here and submit your book here.

    #6 – Interviews and Podcasts

    A local radio or podcast interview can introduce you to new readers. While this may sound intimidating, you can pull this off like a pro with a little preparation.

    Look to local colleges, podcast hosts, or local radio stations for interview opportunities

    (Pro Tip: Hosts love to interview up-and-coming authors, so you may be surprised at the many offers that come your way when you reach out).

    Reach out, let them know a little bit about your book and why it might be interesting to their audience, and include a free sample of it so they can see if you’d be a good fit.

    If you have a press release describing what your book is about, feel free to include that as well to give them more context.

    Then be sure that when you go on, you present a great story about your book and get their listeners excited to read it!

    Action Step:

    What are three podcasts or radio shows you could go on to talk about your book? Find their contact info and reach out with a pitch about having you on.

    #7 – Book Clubs

    Local book clubs are another goldmine of new readers; you already know they like books! Find and connect with these groups.

    You can offer to attend a meet-and-greet and hand out copies of your free signed book. You can also get your book listed in Facebook Groups and other groups dedicated to readers.

    There are also paid lists, such as Buck Books, that can reach tens to hundreds of thousands of readers. Book Launch also teaches what lists are out there, and which ones are the best to use.

    Action Step:

    Are there any book clubs you could join? Look on Facebook for groups that would be a good fit for your book.

    #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.

    marketing a book
speaking engagements

Speaking Engagements: How to Find & Book Speaking Gigs

Once you’ve done the hard work of writing and publishing your book, it’s time to consider getting some speaking engagements so you can spread the word about your book’s message…

…and make even more cash from it.

As an author, it’s highly possible you’ve convinced yourself that speaking in front of an audience simply isn’t for you—after all, you’re a writer, not a speaker…right?

That’s not exactly true.

While the walls of publishing are coming down, and there’s never been a better time to become a published author.

…but this means there’s an awful lot of competition out there.

We’re here to cover this information all about speaking engagements:

  1. What are speaking engagements?
  2. How do I book paid speaking engagements?
  3. How do I get speaking engagements
  4. How to get speaking engagements at churches
  5. Start local to land speaking engagements
  6. Speak to your niche
  7. Find a natural connection
  8. Build excitement around your speaking engagement
  9. Hone your skills
  10. Attend a workshop
  11. Speak at an industry event
  12. Aim low (at first)
  13. Practice often!
  14. Say YES

The authors who are willing to put themselves out there—whether in the form of speaking gigs, media, or other in-person appearances—have the best chance of standing out from the crowd and grabbing the attention of book buyers.

What area speaking engagements?

Speaking engagements are when you speak in front of a group of people on a specific topic you’re knowledgable about in order to inform or inspire.

Most people think of TEDx Talks when they hear the term “speaking engagement.”

However, not all speaking gigs have to be at the Ted Talk level in order to be considered a speaking engagement. Any scheduled speech you give (even unpaid) in front of a group of people is considered a speaking gig.

Not everyone can get paid to be a speaker upfront. If you want to be a paid speaker, you have to first hone the craft of speaking and then gain experience in the field.

Some may get lucky enough to be booked as a paid speaker upfront but usually, it can take time, experience, and a resume of speaking engagements in order to take home money for it.

An easy way to expedite the process of becoming a paid speaker is to increase your authority by writing a book.

Becoming a bestseller by self-publishing a book (something we here at Self-Publishing School teach) is even better. It’s a surefire sign that you know what you’re talking about and have credibility behind you.

Check out our Become a Bestseller program where we can teach you how to self-publish successfully in as little as 90 days.

How do I get speaking engagements?

Before you can reach the days of paying someone else to book your speaking gigs, you have to put in the work for yourself first.

This means doing research and performing a lot of outreach in order to connect with those responsible for booking speakers at different events.

Keep in mind that you may have to start small (and we’ll touch on this below) before you can expect to book yourself at larger, paid speaking engagements.

How to get speaking engagements at churches?

One major way to not only make an impact but reach new levels with your faith is to book speaking engagements at churches.

While not everyone will need this bit, it’s super important for those of you seeking to share your story and message. And like some other methods listed here, one powerful way to reach more churches is to write a book about your faith and message.

This allows you to present the church with some concrete information about you as a person of faith and the specific message you’d like to share. Not only that, but it can also be a great way to sell more books.

Here are a few ideas to help you land speaking engagements at churches:

  1. Be present in that church community
  2. Share your message and ideas with others
  3. Develop a strong speaking ability
  4. Live your faith and message outwardly
  5. Allow someone else to nominate you (due to #2)
  6. Attend local church activities

Ultimately, you’ll have to pitch your idea and message in order to land this speaking gig. However, the steps above can help others see you as a source of information, inspiration, and faith.

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How to Land Your First Speaking Engagements as an Author

We’re not saying it can’t be nerve-wracking to stand up in front of a crowd. That’s why we recommend starting small, saying “yes” to multiple opportunities, and getting lots of practice.

This isn’t a one-and-done proposition if you truly want speaking to become an effective piece of your “professional author” repertoire.

So, how exactly should you land that first speaking engagement?

Read on for our ten tips, and you’ll soon be writing your notecards for your debut talk.

#1 – Start Local

Conferences are a natural place for speakers of all levels to take the stage. However, don’t feel as though you have to limit yourself to formal settings to find speaking engagements.

Any group where your desired audience gathers can provide a chance for you to speak.

You could speak to students, to religious organizations, women’s groups, at your library, local business associations…the list is endless! Look around your own community and make a mental list of all the places where you might ask to speak. 

#2 – Speak to Your Niche

If your book is geared toward a specific niche, explore related groups. For example, if your book is a memoir about overcoming an obstacle—such as domestic violence or cancer or another illness—you could speak to a support group.

If your book is about productivity, then seek out entrepreneur groups or the chamber of commerce.

If you’re a nurse, and you’ve written a book about health care, then hospitals are a natural place for you to speak. If your story relates to a specific sport, then hit up the closest sport teams.

No audience or venue is too small or informal for your first “official” speech.

#3 – Find a Natural Connection

While we do recommend starting small and local, look even closer: make sure the group you choose will actually be well-served by hearing your message.

Look, there’s nothing worse than standing in front of a crowd that’s bored, or worse—hostile—because you’re wasting their time.

There’s an easy way to warm up any crowd, and that’s to have something in common with them. You want your first speaking engagement to be closely related to your book and your book’s message.

If your book is all about the stressful life of a lawyer, then you’re not going to want to speak to a group of airline pilots.

For your first speaking gig, your goal is to find an audience that will benefit from your book’s message. Ideally, you want to find an audience you naturally connect with, because that connection will make you more relaxed and authentic, which will result in a better speech.

#4 – Build Excitement

If you’re not quite ready to beat the bushes in order to grab your first speaking engagement immediately, then consider building up some excitement first.

We authors share a common goal: to get our target readers excited about our book’s message!

How do you do that? The good news is the Internet makes building a virtual audience fairly easy these days with consistent effort. You can establish a following of readers through your website, through online forums, via social media, and by writing blog posts, both your own and by writing guest posts for others.

Use all of these types of content to build your audience with the goals of increasing book sales and finding your first speaking gig.

#5 – Hone Your Skills

Think of informal ways to practice your speaking abilities with the goal of scoring a “real” gig.

You can produce videos on your book’s subject, join podcasts, and seek out online interviews to share your voice with the world, gain exposure, and get comfortable with your talking points.

By showcasing your speaking talents, you open the door to an invitation to speak in a more structured setting—that even pays more.

Plus, you get great practice speaking about your book’s message before you have to stand on a stage in person.

#6 – Attend a Writer’s Workshop

A great way to get the inside scoop is to meet other authors and pick their brains about their speaking process.

How did they find speaking engagements? What are their best speaking tips? What fees do they charge?

Meeting other writers gives you a broader network to use as resources on all topics that impact authors—not just the nitty-gritty of drafting books.

#7 – Speak at an Industry Event

These fact-based speaking engagements are perfect for non-fiction authors. Whether your industry is blogging, healthcare, law, plumbing, or real estate, it’s likely you can find a conference about it.

The exact nature of the industry doesn’t have to mirror the topic of your book.

Instead, you can focus your talk on skills that can help people in that industry.

For example, if your book is about productivity, you can create a talk that’s focused on how your audience can adapt the productivity lessons found in your book to suit their particular industry.

#8 – Aim Low (at First)

The first of your speaking engagements probably won’t be a Ted Talk, and that’s okay!

The first time, in fact, you may have to volunteer your time to speak at a pretty tiny event.

But as the saying goes, you have to walk before you can run. Just keep taking steps toward bigger and better events. With each new speaking gig, your resume will grow—along with your confidence! 

#9 – Practice Makes Perfect

Write a speech today, and read it to yourself daily—before you even have speaking engagements lined up. You want to be able to handle a speaking engagement that’s the very next day if someone called you out of the blue.

Once you’ve taken the time to put together your speech about your book, you’ll notice ways to refine it and improve on it day after day when you practice like you’re speaking in public.

What way when the times comes, you’ll be ready to shine.

#10 – Say YES!

When you’re offered your first speaking engagements—take it!

Even if it gives you butterflies or if it’s not the “perfect” fit for your brand, you need to be open to invitations when you’re just starting out. You’ll gain valuable experience, polish your skills, and get your book’s message out there to the public.

All good things!

Get started now on finding your first speaking gig. No matter the size of your audience, you’ll gain exposure for your message, while achieving the unparalleled life experience of speaking about your passion.

book blurb book synopsis

Synopsis & Book Blurb: The Differences & How to do Them Right

Millions of books have been published, and that means making your book stand out among the crowd without a solid book marketing and publishing plan can be more challenging now than ever before.

But when it comes to book marketing, putting in the work to produce a powerful book synopsis or book blurb is the best way to sell more books and make more fans.

These are the two essential pieces you will need to market your novel. You’re likely to need multiple versions of each, so let’s touch on exactly how to do them well.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

Here’s what we’ll cover about book blurbs and synopsis:

  1. Difference between book blurb and synopsis
  2. Book blurb and book synopsis examples
  3. What is a synopsis?
  4. How to write a synopsis
  5. What is a blurb?
  6. How to write a blurb
  7. Book blurb formula
  8. Examples of good blurbs

What’s the difference between a book blurb and a synopsis?

A blurb serves you on the consumer marketing front, giving a glimpse into your story with just enough information to entice, holding back enough to avoid spoilers. It’s a teaser of your book, not a summary.

A synopsis will be part of your press kit and applications for things like reviews, interviews, literary agents, editors, and publishers. A synopsis summarizing the twists, turns, and conclusion of your story.

It’s essentially a condensed version of your book.

Book Blurb and Book Synopsis Examples

This is often easier seen than taught. Below are a couple of screenshots of the Amazon page for both a fiction and nonfiction book.

fiction book blurb example
Fiction Book Blurb Example
nonfiction-book-blurb-example

As you can see, the content readers use to decide whether or not they want to purchase the book is actually a blurb.

Oftentimes, synopsis (where there are spoilers and deeper detail) is usually used more to sell the book to a traditional publisher than for selling your book to readers (or for a homework assignment from school!).

What is a book synopsis?

A synopsis is a one to four page summary of your novel. The synopsis should explain the plot, main character arc, and conclusion of the book.

This piece is for “selling” your book to the industry, meaning the traditional publishing industry typically though it’s just as important for self-published authors.

How to write a book synopsis

A common method of writing a synopsis is in a three-paragraph format.

First paragraph: introduction of character, setting, and conflict/inciting incident.

Second paragraph: major plot points, conflicts, and characters that are required for the conclusion to make sense.

Third paragraph: how the conflict is resolved, how the character changes from the start of the book.

Tips for writing a novel synopsis:

  1. Use active voice instead of passive voice. This makes the synopsis more interesting and engaging.
  2. Use third person point of view. This is standard.
  3. Consider your synopsis as a representation of your writing skills. Don’t just summarize the book–summarize it in a way that portrays your writing style.
  4. Write clear and concise copy. If your synopsis is too long or rambly, you’ll lose the reader’s interest and they might assume your novel is also too long and rambly.
  5. Don’t try to cover too many things or include too many details. Your main plot points and character arc are all you need in a synopsis. Don’t try to include every beat and character in the book.
  6. Don’t try to write an intriguing or mysterious hook–simply give the information required. Don’t hold something back to be mysterious. That’s something for your book blurb, which we’ll tackle below.
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What is a blurb?

Often referred to as a “book description,” a blurb is a short piece, around 150 words, to promote your novel. You find blurbs on the back cover of paperbacks, the inside back cover of a hardback, and on book description pages in online stores.

Think of this as the elevator pitch of your book.

Unlike a synopsis, a blurb does not outline every major plot point of your story, and it doesn’t give spoilers.

Blurbs are extremely important to market your book. They’re for “selling” the book to the consumer.

How to write a book blurb

Let’s go over the structure, formula, and some tips for writing a good book blurb.

Here’s the structure of a book blurb:

  1. Snappy opener. You usually have to catch the reader’s interest within the first sentence for them to continue reading the blurb.
  2. Character introduction. All you need is your main character! Don’t worry about introducing every named character in your book. Don’t include more than two characters.
  3. Presentation of stakes. What’s at risk in your story? What questions can you present that will make people want to read your book to find the answer?
  4. Keywords. Especially if you’re selling online, keywords do a lot to help potential readers find your book. Make sure you’re using accurate and effective keywords for your book and genre.
  5. A hook–why should readers buy this book? What’s the cliffhanger?

Book Blurb Formula

Most fiction blurbs you’ll see follow this kind of format:

  1. Situation–introduce your character. Who are they, where are they, what are they up to?
  2. Problem–what pressing issue does your character have to face? This is often the inciting incident.
  3. Obstacles–what’s stopping them from solving the problem?
  4. Stakes–what does the character have to lose? The last bit should also set the mood for your book.

Here are some more tips for writing a book blurb:

  1. Read a ton of blurbs, especially blurbs from successful books in your book genre.
  2. Work on a great first sentence. Like I said earlier, if you can’t catch interest with the opener, your reader likely won’t finish reading the blurb.
  3. Use audience-catered language. This includes keywords, but also the way your blurb can relate to your audience. Age demographic is a great thing to consider when you’re crafting language for your particular target audience.
  4. Offer setting. With description, word choice, and tone, let the reader know when and where the story is set.
  5. Keep it concise. 200 words max!
  6. Get others to read and critique your blurb. Feedback on any piece of writing is important, especially something that can make or break book sales like a blurb. Get several sets of eyes on it, and listen to the notes people give you.
  7. Write a few different versions and experiment. You might surprise yourself with how creative you can make it.
  8. Don’t give spoilers! That’s synopsis content.
  9. Avoid comparing your work to a famous author’s work or a famous piece of literature. If you welcome a comparison, people will take you up on it…potentially in the reviews, and you don’t want that.

Good Book Blurb Examples

Let’s look at a few examples of blurbs from popular novels.

The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins:

EVERY DAY THE SAME

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

The first paragraph introduces the situation. The character, her current state, the premise, and the setting.

The second paragraph gives us the problem (she sees something shocking), the obstacles (she only gets a glimpse, she might be unreliable), and the stakes (has she harmed something?).

Some genre keywords we get are: police, investigation, shocking

And what mood are we left with from this blurb? Intrigue, mystery, and the promise of a possibly unreliable narrator make this an exciting blurb.

Sometimes a quote from the novel works as a blurb itself. Let’s look at this example.

Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight:

About three things I was absolutely positive.

First, Edward was a vampire.

Second, there was a part of him—and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be—that thirsted for my blood.

Third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

The situation is that our character lives in a world where vampires exist, and they’re in close proximity to one. The problem is that the vampire wants to eat them. The obstacle and stakes (ha ha) is a wrap-up in the fact that they’re in love with the vampire that wants to eat them.

Some genre keywords we get are: vampire, blood, and love.

The mood this blurb gives us is, “Oooh, dangerous. But like, in a sexy way?”

Landline by Rainbow Rowell:

IF YOU GOT A SECOND CHANCE AT LOVE, WOULD YOU MAKE THE SAME CALL?

As far as time machines go, a magic telephone is pretty useless. TV writer Georgie McCool can’t actually visit the past — all she can do is call it, and hope it picks up. And hope he picks up.

Because once Georgie realizes she has a magic phone that calls into the past, all she wants to do is make things right with her husband, Neal.

Maybe she can fix the things in their past that seem unfixable in the present. Maybe this stupid phone is giving her a chance to start over … Does Georgie want to start over?

From Rainbow Rowell, the New York Times bestselling author of Eleanor & Park and Fangirl, comes this heart-wrenching – and hilarious – take on fate, time, television and true love.

Landline asks if two people are ever truly on the same path, or whether love just means finding someone who will keep meeting you halfway, no matter where you end up.

The situation is that a magic telephone exists and Georgie McCool wants to use it to make things right with her husband.

The problem is that she is separated from her husband. The obstacle is Georgie doesn’t know if she actually wants to fix the problem.

The stakes are Georgie and her husband not getting back together, with the last line suggesting that’s an overarching implication about love in general.

Genre keywords in this blurb are: magic, start over, love, hope.

The mood of this blurb is romantic and hopeful.

The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci:

Tobias Kaya doesn’t care about The Savior. He doesn’t care that She’s the ruler of the realm or that She purified the land, and he certainly doesn’t care that She’s of age to be married. But when competing for Her hand proves to be his last chance to save his family, he’s forced to make The Savior his priority.

Now Tobias is thrown into the Sovereign’s Tournament with nineteen other men, and each of them is fighting – and killing – for the chance to rule at The Savior’s side. Instantly, his world is plagued with violence, treachery, and manipulation, revealing the hidden ugliness of his proud realm. And when his circumstances seem especially dire, he stumbles into an unexpected romance, one that opens him up to unimaginable dangers and darkness.

Situation: Tobias is to compete for The Savior’s hand in marriage, and he absolutely doesn’t care.

Problem: Tobias has to fight for his life in a tournament.

Obstacles: Everyone’s trying to kill, manipulate, and betray him.

Stakes: Tobias’ survival.

Keywords: realm, competing, tournament, violence, romance.

Mood: This blurb leaves us with a sense of urgency and danger.

If you plan to sell a book, you’ll become intimately familiar with the process of writing a compelling synopsis and blurb. They’re essential elements in a book marketing plan, and they are cornerstone elements of presenting your book to multiple levels of the book publishing industry.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

ghostwriter

Ghostwriting: What is a Ghostwriter & Should You Hire One?

You know there are several writing and publishing options available nowadays.

And for most of you busy folk, ghostwriting may seem like the way to go. After all, if someone else writes the book then you don’t have to spend the time doing it…but here’s the thing…

Ghostwriting isn’t usually the best idea and we’ll cover exactly why in this post.

Which publishing option is the best for YOU & your unique author goals?  Get a full, deep-dive self-publishing vs traditional publishing analysis! Make  an informed decision and set yourself up for success with your book.   Get Your Analysis Here!  <https://self-publishingschool.com/lm-self-vs-traditional-publishing-analysis>

Here’s what we’ll cover about ghostwriters and ghostwriting:

  1. What is ghostwriting
  2. What do ghostwriters write
  3. Why using a ghostwriter is a bad idea
  4. How to hire a ghostwriter
  5. How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter
  6. Pros of using a ghostwriter
  7. Cons of using a ghostwriter
  8. Is a ghostwriter worth it

What is a ghostwriter?

Ghostwriting is writing material for someone else who becomes the named author. In other words, you write the content for someone else, but it’s published under their own name.

Often, there’s a contract specifying that the author will not have any legal right to the work after it’s published to guarantee the ghost writer’s anonymity. 

What do ghostwriters write? 

Ghost writers are hired for a huge array of projects in all different sorts of mediums and genres.

You may have heard of ghostwriters taking on books, political speeches, or seen job postings for technical manuals, academic essays, fictional novels, or even captions on a brand’s social media posts. 

Ghostwriters often use freelancing sites like Upwork or Fiverr to find work. Sometimes, ghostwriters are contracted by a company to write fiction for a set period of time.

A ghostwriter might be hired to write political speeches for one particular person. Or, a ghostwriter might be hired for a single small assignment, like writing one technical manual or specific post on a website, as well as larger projects like writing a book

The bottom line is that ghostwriting is writing someone does for you, and you get full credit as the author and people don’t even need to know a ghostwriter wrote it.

Why using a ghostwriter is NOT a good idea for a book

We’ll get into some pros and cons of ghostwriters a little bit later but I wanted to cover just why using a ghostwriter to write a book is a poor idea.

When it comes to memoirs or other nonfiction books (and even fiction!), using a ghostwriter can seem like a great idea.

But in reality, it usually causes far more problems than anything else.

For one, they’re very expensive. Good ones are, at least. Which means you’ll dump a bunch of money into a book that’s not really yours. They can write on the information you give them and that’s yours, but you’ll know deep down you didn’t do it. And the emotional impact of that alone is worth doing it yourself.

Another reason ghostwriters aren’t the best idea for a book is the fact that they won’t get it right. They don’t know the details of what you want to write about and that means they’ll get a lot of it wrong.

Only you can tell the story inside of you. Ghostwriters can’t bring your level of passion and knowledge into the pages no matter how much information you share with them.

Plus, you think it might save you time when the reality is that you’ll have to spend even more time giving them information, reading over their work, providing feedback and changes, only to be left with something that still isn’t what you fully want. Because what you want is in your own mind.

Our recommendation is always to write it yourself. And that’s why we developed a system to write and publish a book in only 90 days.

You can learn more about that entire process right here.

If you’re on the fence about a ghostwriter, listening to this podcast episode with Leif Babin, co-author of Extreme Ownership, about his process in publishing and why he refused to use a ghostwriter.

How to Hire a Ghostwriter

Now, if you still decide a ghostwriter is what you want (despite the above information), we’ve got some information that can make the process easier.

Because ghostwriters are often hired for one project or a small set of projects, the most important thing to look for is experience. Potential clients will be looking for your ability to deliver work in whatever they’re looking for. When you use a freelance site like Upwork, this often means having lots of experience and positive reviews on the site itself. 

As you do more jobs on the website, more clients will rate your performance, and your on-site portfolio will grow. The more experience you have, the more desirable you are to potential clients, and the better and more high-paying jobs you’ll be able to get. Often, these websites will offer a place for you to submit your resume and some writing samples, so that employers can get a sense for your job range. 

Once you’ve got an account, the best way to get jobs is to apply for lots of different gigs! As with finding any other job, the key is to cast a wide net. The wider your skillset and the more experience you have, the wider a net you can cast. 

Now that we’ve discussed what ghostwriting is, what ghostwriters do, and how ghostwriters get work, we’re ready to talk about some pros and cons. 

How much does it cost to hire a ghostwriter?

While prices vary, you can expect to pay a quality ghostwriter anywhere from $25 – $100+ an hour. Meaning a project the size of a book at a 250-page average can span upwards of $20,000 – $100,000 in some cases, depending on how many words are in your book and the scope of related services provided.

For example, if you were to use a ghostwriter from a service like ScribeWriting, you will pay $36,000 – $100,000+ for their ghostwriting packages (disclaimer: they include more than just ghostwriting services within each package which is why their prices are higher than what’s mentioned above, but you get the idea).

ScribeWriting Service Costs

You can also see these prices from a company specializing in ghostwriting services called Kevin Anderson & Associates in the image below.

Kevin Anderson & Associates Service Costs

A high-quality ghost-written book is very expensive and often not worth the price when you can be taught how to write it yourself, and quickly.

You can learn more about how we do that for thousands of bestselling authors right here.

Since the writer can’t actually take credit for their work, they charge a lot more than they would if their name was on the piece of content, whatever that may be.

What are the pros of using a ghostwriter? 

You can find both pros and cons in everything, including using a ghostwriter. Here’s a breakdown of what you can gain and what you’ll lose if you go this route to finish your book.

#1 – You don’t have to spend the time to write it

Someone else takes care of that. So you don’t have to sit at a computer or notepad and write. But you still will have to take a ton of time to give the writer adequate notes, review their writing, make your own suggestions and feedback, then wait for changes.

So while you don’t have to spend the time actually writing, don’t mistake that for it saving you time (which I’ll cover below).

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#2 – The writing quality might be higher

Note the “might” in this. Reason being is that even if you wrote it, it would go through a professional editor and the quality would increase significantly already.

However, many ghostwriters are “natural” writers; it comes easier to them. So if you’re worried about the quality, a ghostwriter can ensure a higher level of writing competence.

But keep in mind that a book isn’t good solely because of the writing.

#3 – Non-native speakers can benefit from native writers

Depending on the language you want to write your book in, a ghostwriter can be a great option. This is particularly true for non-native speakers looking to write a book in English.

You can hire a ghostwriter to take your writing that might be wrought with grammatical errors due to the language barrier and have them rewrite it to make sense.

#4 – Those unable to type or write can complete something written

There are a number of disabilities that can bar someone from writing a book, or writing at all. Hiring a ghostwriter can help you accomplish a huge goal or dream if you’re not able to physically perform the work necessary to write.

Now that we’ve covered the pros, let’s consider the downsides to hiring a ghostwriter to write your book. 

Cons of Hiring a Ghostwriter

If you’re considering hiring a ghostwriter, you may want to consider some of these major cons first.

#1 – It won’t be your work

This is an especially bad con when it comes to writing a book. One of the biggest joys authors have when finishing a book is that they did it themselves.

It’s a major feat, one that a very small percentage of the population will ever accomplish and by hiring a ghostwriter, you’re taking that away from yourself. You’re robbing yourself of the experience of accomplishing something as major as writing a book!

#2 – It’s quite expensive for good work

Now, you can find ghostwriters online who are willing to work for cheap. But when it comes to writing…you get what you pay for.

If you’re looking to publish a book that you’ve paid a ghostwriter to write, you want it to be of the highest quality. Your name’s on it, after all.

But that also means you’ll have to pay a healthy sum for a book.

I listed some prices for services above, but just a reminder that a quality ghostwriter can go from $20,000 – $100,000 for your average book.

#3 – It takes a ton of time

Contrary to why most people go with a ghostwriter (to save time), it can actually take much longer. There’s a ton of communication involved in order for them to write the book even semi-close to what you’re imagining.

And that’s not to mention all the reviewing, feedback, and process of revisions.

Instead of waiting months and months to get your book completed by a ghostwriter, we can teach you how to write, market, and publish your book in as little as 90 days—proven!

#4 – Communication has to be SUPER clear

One of the hardest parts about having someone else write for you is that you need to be really, really clear in your communication…or you suffer wasting even more time.

Imagine this: you send a thorough document listing what you’d like them to write about, cover, and include only to get the writing back full of misinterpretations of what you really mean.

You then have to spend the time explaining, they have to write it again…and just so you know, they’ll charge you for this time all the while.

Some ghostwriters do work over the phone and conduct interviews, which makes less room for error while they write for you. Overall, though, communication is a big issue when it comes to using a ghostwriter.

#5 – You still have to pay for other services

If you’re self-publishing, there are other costs involved in this process. Everything from the cover design to editing still needs to be paid for in addition to the cost of the ghostwriter.

Now, some ghostwriting services have packages, which include this.

But if you choose to go with a freelance ghostwriter because they’re cheaper, you still have to pay for the cover, editing, and any other incurred expenses.

Unless you’re someone who has a significant amount of money to spend, it’s not easy to pay for a ghostwriter plus other expenses.

#6 – You can’t say “I wrote a book”

Let’s be real: sometimes the best part of writing a book is saying that you wrote a book. It directly relates back to the first con on this list.

And even though you might be able to tell people you’re an author because your name’s on the book…you can’t really tell them you wrote it. It’s still your content and your stories but you didn’t do the work of putting it together.

#7 – Nobody else will care about this as much as you

You can’t expect someone else, even someone who is being paid, to care about this book or project as much as you do.

There’s a level of passion in writing that you can’t fake. When you’re the one writing, the piece means more and comes across as far more authentic. This also means that nobody will put forth the care and effort you will to complete the writing project.

So… is hiring a ghostwriter worth it? 

That depends! If you’re looking to spend a really big chunk of change and are okay with the cons listed above, it’s probably for you!

But if you want to take pride in writing something like a book yourself, with your own stories and voice and style, writing it yourself is the way to go.

Let us teach you how by clicking right here to learn more about how we help thousands of students write and publish their book—from blank page to bestselling author—in as little as 90 days.

Which publishing option is the best for YOU & your unique author goals?  Get a full, deep-dive self-publishing vs traditional publishing analysis! Make  an informed decision and set yourself up for success with your book.   Get Your Analysis Here!  <https://self-publishingschool.com/lm-self-vs-traditional-publishing-analysis>

use facebook for authors

Facebook for Authors: Using Facebook to its Full Potential as an Author

With over a billion active users, Facebook is a social media platform that you don’t want to miss out on.

You may think “okay, so I have an account. I’ll post about my book on my personal page, and my friends and family who are interested will engage with my posts.” You may think that it ends there.

While that’s one way to get the word out on Facebook, there are many other things that you can take advantage of.

This is your guide to using Facebook as an author.

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How to use Facebook for authors:

  1. Create a Facebook Fan Page
  2. Creating Facebook ads
  3. Navigating Facebook groups

#1 – Create a Facebook fan page

Before you do anything, you need to create a fan page for yourself. I know that this might seem redundant if you’re already active on your personal page. However, it’s not at all.

A Facebook page will allow new readers to follow you and interact with your content.

If you post about your work regularly on your personal page, people might get annoyed. However, it’s expected from a fan page. 

This is where you can really begin to cultivate an audience.

Creating a Facebook fan page is completely free and takes maybe 5-10 minutes to set up. Make sure you choose captivating images, and write a compelling and informative page description (as an author, this part should be a piece of cake).

Then invite everyone on your friend’s list to like and/or follow it! Depending on the size of your friends list, you could have as many as 100-200 new followers right off the bat!

Facebook fan page features:

A Facebook fan page comes with some of the coolest features. Make sure you know how each one works so that you can use it to grow your audience, connect with your readers and ultimately sell more copies of your book!

The content scheduler

One of the best things about a Facebook fan page is that you can schedule posts for weeks in advance. Life gets busy, so you will definitely want to take advantage of that! I find it’s best to choose one day each week to schedule out all your Facebook content for the entire week. If you’re consistent, your page will never go without content! 

Of course you’ll also want to be flexible in case something comes up that you want to post in the moment. Luckily Facebook allows you to reschedule any scheduled content.

Knowing and using your user insight

A fan page also lets you look at your audience insights to see how well different posts perform. From here, you can get a better idea of what time of day is best to post and what type of content your audience reacts to the most. This space also shows you follower demographic information. This will allow you to target your content to what your audience likes the best and thus connect with your readers in a better way!

Your pinned post

On a Facebook fan page, you’re allowed to pin one post to the top of your page. You can change this post as much as you want, so don’t worry about pinning the perfect thing! This is a great place to post a brief description of yourself and your book with a link where to buy it. Think of it like a “start here” post where new fans can get a general idea what you’re all about. 

Your pinned post is also a great place to promote discounts and giveaways. When you have a giveaway, you want to drive as many people to enter it as you can. Pinning a post about your giveaway will ensure that it’s the first thing people see when they come to your page!

Going live

You also have the ability to create live videos on your Facebook fan page. You have so many different possibilities with the Facebook live feature. You can create a live video on a whim while in your car or at home, or you can schedule a live and promote it beforehand.

Some people do a weekly Facebook live series about a particular topic. The great thing about this is that you can spend all week promoting it. If promoted right, each week it will gain a little bit more traction. You can also use the live feature to promote exciting new developments.

The best thing about a Facebook live video is that people can interact with you in the moment. They can post questions and comments, and you can respond. Your audience will love that sort of in-the-moment interaction! Also after your live video is over, it can remain on your page as a regular video. Then anyone who couldn’t watch the live video can watch the replay. 

Facebook stories

Just like Instagram, a Facebook page allows you to post stories. You can simply sync your fan page to your Instagram page if you have one, and all your Instagram stories will automatically get posted to your story on Facebook. However if you want to utilize this feature a bit more, you can add additional videos and photos to your fan page stories. Just like the rest of your page, this is another space where you can connect with your audience.

But what should I post?

Thinking of content to post everyday can be a challenge. Of course you don’t want to post “go buy my book!” every single day. If you do, readers will likely unfollow your page.

Instead, here are some types of posts you could post on your fan page

  • Short quotes or excerpts from your book with captivating images
  • Fun facts about the author. Readers love getting to know you!
  • Introduce characters from your book! 
  • Share memes related to writing, your book or your genre. As long as others can relate to them, you’ll get engagement.
  • Share posts from fellow authors with similar work. Collaboration over competition is the key! Who knows … they might share your posts in return!
  • Ask your audience questions! You can make the questions specific to your book or books, or more broad about what your readers look for in a book.
  • Create short video content. It can be as simple as a minute or two at home.

Remember that people connect more with something visual. Therefore you always want to post a photo or video with your post. Luckily websites like pexels and pixabay have free stock photos you can download. You can also create high quality graphics for free on canva.  

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#2 – Creating targeted Facebook ads

After you’ve gotten your Facebook page up and running, it’s time to explore Facebook ads. While you do have to pay for these, they can be as cheap as $5 for several days. A targeted ad campaign has the potential to bring in some profits and get your book in front of people you’ve never met!

How to target your ads

Facebook lets you get super specific in regards to who sees your ads. You can select an audience according to age, gender and geographic location. You can also choose similar fan pages and say that you want your ad to be targeted towards people who like these pages. For example, if you wrote a book about learning French, you could target your ads towards people who like big fan pages about learning French. This allows you to target your ad towards people who are already interested in your book or genre. 

Promote your posts

Facebook also allows you to promote your normal posts in order to reach a larger audience. This is great if a post of yours gets a good response from your audience. You can promote any post. However ones that you know already are performing well and drive people to buy your work. 

Just like other ads, you can choose who will see this post. You can target it to go to as specific of an audience as you want. 

What kinds of ads should I create?

There are so many types of Facebook ads you could create. An ad is formatted more or less like a post, so you have the freedom to create whatever content you would like! The ads you ultimately create depend on the content of your book. If your book can help others, you want to target your ads towards people seeking your help. 

In general, you want it to be something that stops your future reader from scrolling. You want it to grab their attention and pull them in.

Figuring out your budget

You can spend as little or as much as you would like on Facebook ads. The great thing with Facebook is that you decide what your spending limit is. 

#3 – Facebook groups

As an author, you do not want to miss out on the wonderful world of facebook groups. These are a great way to meet new people, network with other authors and share your content for free. 

To get started, all you have to do is search for “authors” or your genre in the Facebook search bar and then click on groups. This should bring you lots of different groups to browse. Once you’re in a few, be sure to read the rules of each group. Some are more relaxed and you can make a post about whatever whenever.

Others are a bit more strict but might have one day a week where you can promote your own work. 

There are many benefits to being a part of Facebook groups. In addition to promoting your work, some have threads where you can leave a link to your Facebook fan page and everyone likes each other’s pages.

These sorts of threads are a great way to boost your social media pages. Others might be a great place to ask for feedback and get support 

I would suggest finding maybe 5-10 active groups. Use these to get to know and network with other authors. If permitted, use them to promote your work or build your social media following.

You can create a Facebook group

Creating your own Facebook group is another option. You could create one for fans of your book or one for authors. The great thing about doing this is that you can run the group how you want. You get to decide what sorts of posts are allowed and what isn’t. It also will allow you to connect with other authors a lot more easily. 

The world of Facebook is full of possibilities

There are so many ways that you can use Facebook to promote your work. The first step is logging on!

Have you used Facebook to promote your work? Which method do you think would be the most effective?

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publisher rocket kindlepreneur

Publisher Rocket Review: Is It Worth the Investment?

If you are an author and you want to sell lots of books on Amazon (I know, who doesn’t right), you need to get a few things right with your book: Keywords, categories, the competition, and what about that book data everyone keeps talking about? How do I figure that out?

Well fortunately, Dave Chesson and his team have developed a state-of-the-art software Publisher Rocket that is doing the work for you.

Publisher Rocket is a super-valuable tool to own so you can boost your book earnings, save time on data research, and leverage your author career.

Publisher Rocket is designed to help self-publishers build a solid, profitable book business based on real data collected from Amazon.

If you haven’t tried it yet, this post is going to give you an overview of what we think of the Publisher Rocket [known previously as KDP Rocket].

In this review of Publisher Rocket 2.0, we’re going to cover:

  1. Publisher Rocket Review: is It Worth the Investment?
  2. Looking Back Before KDP Rocket
  3. Publisher Rocket and Amazon Terminology
  4. KDP Rocket 1.0 to Publisher Rocket 2.0
  5. 5 ways Publisher Rocket Excels Above the Rest
  6. Publisher Rocket 2.0 Features: What Does the Publishing Software Do?
  7. Sneak Peek: New Upgrades Coming Soon for Publisher Rocket
  8. Is Publisher Rocket Worth It?
  9. The Ongoing Changes in Self-Publishing

Looking Back Before KDP Rocket

In the Beginning…

Before Dave Chesson and his team created an advanced self-publishing software called KDP Rocket, authors had a lot of work to do to find keywords for books, identify the competition and the best categories to position a book.

But, as far as measuring analytics or drilling down into the hard nitty-gritty of what passed as a “good keyword”, unless you could afford the time to do the research, and you were comfortable with the tech involved, grabbing those 7 master keywords for your book was like shooting in the dark and hoping to hit the target.

In most cases, unless you really know what you are doing, authors were missing the mark altogether.

And finding the best categories?

I remember spending up to 2-3 hours trolling through Amazon, comparing book rankings, searching for those magic eBook categories that held the low hanging fruit we strive to snatch so our books can survive in the big ocean of countless books. 

I won’t lie to you…it was exhausting. And if Amazon changed something [and they often do] they wouldn’t announce it until much later. Authors would then find out ambiguously, when sales dropped suddenly, and have to go through the whole process again of checking keywords, switching out categories…and on it went.

But back in July of 2016, that all changed.

Dave Chesson—founder of Kindlepreneur.com—launched a software called KDP Rocket that would change the way authors search for keywords. With the introduction of this software, authors could use analytics in a way that was presented so that they didn’t have to have a degree in digital engineering just to understand what data they were looking at. With easy to follow tutorials and a system that worked, KDP Rocket was an “island in the middle of a big ocean.”

And this, as many now know, was just the beginning…

publisher rocket

Later, Dave and his team added more features to the program that included category research and setting up AMS ads. Authors were no longer “guessing” on the best keywords and just shooting dice to the wind hoping to land a good play for their books.

The game had changed, and Publisher Rocket is setting the stage for the future of the self-publishing arena.

Being a self-published Indie author is an amazing journey. But most writers get hung up on the marketing side of the book business. And rightly so. Amazon has a complex algorithm that is continuously evolving.

The publishing field is not the same as it was three years ago, or even last year. This is where the Rocket comes in. Imagine a system that gives you the hard data Amazon won’t share with you. You can go there right now and find the best categories for your book within a matter of minutes without even having to troll through endless pages of books.

Publisher Rocket has now given authors a massive advantage when it comes to:

  • Book placement
  • Sales
  • Rankings
  • Competition
  • AMS ads
  • Competing in International markets
  • Staying current with market changes to Amazon’s algorithm 

In other words, we now have a fighting chance to navigate through all the data, analytics, and helps authors thrive and not just survive in the self-publishing arena. 

Now, let’s dive Into the core features of Publisher Rocket. Then, I’m going to give you a brief glimpse into what new features Rocket has planned for future upgrades. And believe me, if you think it’s good now…just wait.

But first…

Publisher Rocket and Amazon Terminology

Before we dive into this post, let’s go over the common terminology used with both Publisher Rocket and Amazon. This will help you to better understand the features of the software. 

KDP: KIndle Direct Publishing. This refers to Amazon’s online publishing tool. KDP allows authors to publish their books for free in both eBook and book format.

ABSR: Amazon Bestseller Ranking. This is the ranking of the books as they are ranked according to Amazon. So for example, ABSR #1 is the top selling book in that category.

Age: in the competition analyzer refers to the age of the book, or how long it has been in publication.

ASIN Number: This stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number

KWT: Targeted Keyword in the book’s title. This tells you if the keyword being searched is in the title.

KWST: Targeted keyword in the book’s subtitle. This tells you if the keyword appears in the subtitle.

DY Sales: estimated daily sales for the book based on the ABSR.

MO Sales: Monthly estimated sales for the book based on projection of sales based on ABSR

AMS Ads: Amazon Marketing Services. This is Amazon’s paid marketing ads platform. Setting up ads for your book has big potential for bringing in organic traffic.

KDP Rocket 1.0 to Publisher Rocket 2.0

A few words on the progression of KDP Rocket to Publisher. When you buy Publisher Rocket, there is a guarantee that you won’t have to pay for upgrades every time Rocket makes an improvement.

And, over the past three years, a lot of progress has been made. According to Dave Chesson, from his very own Publisher Rocket Review, here is a timeline that shows all the upgrades made to date.

publisher rocket 2.0

August 2019: Search bar is added to the main category page so users just type in the keyword and it pulls up the categories to best fit your search.

Very slick. Now users can just type in a keyword and this eliminates clicking into the categories first and then doing a search within that category.

At the end of this post, I will cover the new features and updates coming soon with with Amazon and Publisher Rocket.

So, let’s continue…

5 Ways Publisher Rocket Excels Above the Rest

#1. All Future Upgrades…Free?

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I just bought this new software 2 weeks ago and they already want more money for the new version!”

Yes, it sucks when you have to keep forking over cash for something you already paid for. But Publisher Rocket is where users pay once. Only once.

That’s right. So if you bought KDP Rocket 3 years ago when it launched at $69, you haven’t paid anything extra for the number of upgrades made since then. It’s a one time fee.

And how often does Publisher Rocket upgrade? There is a new version at least every two months, if not sooner.

Dave Chesson and his team are in the publishing field everyday, monitoring current changes in the marketplace, and integrating these changes into the Publisher Rocket software for an overall amazing user experience.

#2. Up-To-Date Current Statistics While You Write

As a writer, it is important you stay fixed on what you do best…writing a book. Let someone else do the market research and keep you updated on shifts in market data, analytics and updates as they happen in real time.

Publisher Rocket is constantly monitoring the market and providing updates on current statistics. PR keeps you informed so you don’t have to be out there testing unknown waters. I feel like someone has got my back and they are 100% reliable, and this protects my author business.

#3.  Reliable and Fast Tech Support

Running into some tech issues with Rocket, or you have a question about something? Send the team at publisher Rocket a message at Publisher Rocket Support.

The response time is generally super-quick. In a few instances they responded back within 3 hours. This is crucial if you are in the middle of a book launch, or preparing for one, and you need help right away.

Nothing worse than sending in a ticket you have to wait days for a reply. Not the case here. As a matter of fact, you can check out the Publisher Rocket user testimonials that were not requested but discovered organically by Dave and his team.

publisher rocket support

#4. The Price is…$97.00?

How much does Publisher Rocket cost? Yes, it is $97.00. This is a one-time only fee and never pay again. Gotta love it.

#5. User Friendly Software that Anyone Can Use

I work with hundreds of authors a week. One of the biggest hurdles is dealing with tech issues around keywords, categories, or the basics of understanding algorithm data. But to use the Publisher Rocket, the software is laid out so that, even if tech is not your thing, it doesn’t need to be.

With easy-to-follow tutorials and everything explained on the page, the tech side of marketing is made so much easier. You don’t have to know everything about keyword research to find the best keywords for your book.

The Rocket does the work for you based on what you ask it to look for. It spits out the data, and you decide to use that in your book. 

Publisher Rocket 2.0 Features: What Does the Publishing Software Do?

If you have been using KDP Rocket for some time, you have a good idea what the software can do. If this is your first introduction to what is available, let’s break it down so we know exactly what we have.

Publisher Rocket can be broken down into 4 features that focus on:

  • Keywords
  • Categories
  • Competition
  • AMS Ads

Let’s take a look at each of these:

publisher rocket features

As an author that has been using the Rocket from its early release back in July 2016, I can honestly say that it is the best software out there for several reasons.

Why?

First of all, Amazon doesn’t share the data that the Rocket does. Have you ever tried searching for categories for your book using just Amazon? If so, you better block off a holiday to get it done. The categories that are listed in the KDP Bookshelf provide no direction as to book rankings or competition. In fact, most of the actual categories are not even there.

When it comes to breaking down all the metadata and figuring out the best keywords, best categories, and how the competition is comparing, this is where Publisher Rocket steps in to provide authors with an experience that nothing else compares to.

Publisher Rocket can do for you what Amazon, and most other software, won’t [or can’t].

So, what are the current features of Publisher Rocket 2.0 that makes it stand tall above anything else?

Over 16,000 Book and eBook Categories Listed

Imagine if all you had to do was type in a keyword in the search bar and Publisher Rocket throws out your results for your potential categories in just seconds. That is exactly what it does as you can see here:

publisher rocket category search

To make it even better, you can select Book, eBook or both and Publisher Rocket will put up the categories from both book platforms.

Includes Book Data, Not Just Kindle

publisher rocket feature

When KDP came out it was focused on Kindle data only. But hard copies (aka paperbacks) still sell and are just as relevant. So now Rockets’ search includes data for books and is presented to Rocket users in an easy-to-interpret layout.

Competition Analyzer: How is the competition performing?

This is one of our favorite features of the Rocket software. You can check out the daily and monthly sales of books in the market in relation to your own books.

Check out who your competition is and based on data, look for the areas you could improve your own books’ performance.

publisher rocket competition analyzer

The competition analyzer provides users with all relevant data that gives an inside look at who your competition is, how well they are doing, and how your book compares to their performance.

The competition analyzer provides up-to-date information for each book based on:

  • Age of the book
  • ABSR of each book
  • If the keyword appears in the book title and/or subtitle.
  • Daily and monthly sales of the book based on data from the current ABSR.
  • Sales page link. You can click on ‘check it out’ and be taken to the book’s sales page.

Having this information is critical because, if your book is underperforming in sales or rankings, you can compare to the competition and make changes to your book that influences metadata. Now you are armed with the statistics to beat the competition.

For a complete walk through for how to use this feature, Publisher Rocket has an easy-to-follow tutorial: Competition Analyzer Feature of Publisher Rocket

Can Publisher Rocket help you to become a bestseller?

publisher rocket result

Keyword Search Feature

Publisher Rocket helps authors identify the most profitable keywords for your book. How does it do this? First, you type in a keyword into the keyword search bar, and then hit ‘Go Get Em Rocket.’

Rocket analyzes the top 5 books that use that keyword based on the following criteria:

  1. Book popularity
  2. Fame and strength of the authors
  3. Age of the books
  4. # of reviews and review grades
  5. Whether or not the keyword is in the title/subtitle
  6. Enrolled in Kindle Unlimited or not

This is a key feature of the Rocket software.

It tells authors:

  • how many people are typing in that keyword/phrase
  • Competition score of that keyword from 1-100.
  • How much money the top 5 books are earning on average
  • # of competitors using that keyword

Without this data, you wouldn’t be able to figure out how many people are using this keyword, or if it is being searched for at all. The keyword feature eliminates the guesswork are provides accurate data.

For a complete walk through for how to use this feature, Publisher Rocket has an easy-to-follow tutorial: Keyword Search Feature of Publisher Rocket

Can Publisher Rocket help me find keywords?

publisher rocket keywords

Amazon Book Ads Made Easy

Several years ago, when AMS ads were introduced to authors, I can remember spending hours upon hours just doing keyword research, copying and pasting. But now…

Publisher Rocket has the most amazing feature available that eliminates all of that. If you are familiar with Amazon Ads, then you know your book needs hundreds of keywords to be effective.

In addition, the authors have to stay on top of their ads and monitor them carefully. Setting up a successful ad campaign takes work, time and yes, money. The ads can get expensive if you just set it up and let it go. 

This feature is by far my favorites and, to add, even without all of the other features talked about here, if this was the only one available it would be worth the price of Rocket alone. Yes, it is very cool.

The feature comes with a filter as well. You can eliminate any keywords that are not relevant to your book simply by filtering these out. Before this, authors had to manually take out keywords. 

publisher rocket ads

But if you are interested in setting up AMS ads, I would highly recommend learning as much about ads as you can. Fortunately Dave Chesson has a free course on AMS ads right here. Check it out so you have the overview of what it takes to set these up.

For a complete walk through for how to use this feature, Publisher Rocket has an easy-to-follow tutorial: AMS Keyword Feature of Publisher Rocket

Can Publisher Rocket help me with Amazon book ads?

publisher rocket ams ads

Is Publisher Rocket Worth It?

You’ll have to decide. Let’s break it down this way. You already know everything Publisher Rocket can help you with, so we will just assume you decided to already use it if you aren’t already.

  1. Publisher Rocket pays for itself: There are three ways that you users will earn back the initial investment spent on PR. 
  • The cost of Rocket is $97.00. If the Rocket saves you 5 hours of your time, you just earned back your money. How much is your time worth per hour?
  • When you sell about 47 books priced at $2.99 (at 70% royalty) because you could find profitable keywords and better categories, the software just paid for itself.
  • If Rocket helps you to filter out a bad book idea because nobody is searching for it, and gets you to change your marketing efforts based on proven data, it definitely just paid for itself. This will save you thousands of dollars and hundreds of working hours you would have spent on a book that won’t sell.

Sneak Peek: New Upgrades Coming Soon for Publisher Rocket

As this post is being written , there are several amazing new features coming soon, according to Dave Chesson. These upgrades will, of course be free and, if you think the software is good now, wait till you see what is coming next.

Audible Information Analyzed.

Yes, we know Publisher Rocket can pull data for eBooks and books now. But how about a feature that includes audiobooks? This is coming soon. 

Just Launched: New “Search-All” Feature for categories. Added to the Publisher Rocket search categories is a search bar on the main category page. Now you type in the keyword and Rocket pulls up relevant categories. 

Opening up categories to international markets.

Yes, you heard it right. Amazon will be opening up AMS to the UK. And what this means is, Publisher Rocket will be there to provide category data to give authors in the US (and everywhere else where applicable) to join the UK market. This is huge in terms of growing your author business and expanding into global markets. 

New Amazon Category System launching. Soon, Rocket will launch a new feature that updates with the latest in ABSR (Amazon Best Seller Rankings) three times a day. But that’s not all. Publisher Rocket has plans to bring in a bunch of new data for categories that will help authors to really find the best categories to rank in. This will include volatility, average ABSRs for the month, and the sales popularity of these categories. Why hang around a category that isn’t bringing in traffic?

Remember, all upgrades are free and installed automatically on your Publisher Rocket software.

publisher rocket upgrades

Is Publisher Rocket Worth It?

You be the judge. We’ve shown you what the Rocket software can do. Here is a breakdown of the best advantages to using Rocket, and why it matters to the success of your books as an author.

Sell More Books: We know that Publisher Rocket will help you to sell more books. Actually, you can sell a lot more books and start earning more than your day job once you use the tool. Countless authors claim they started earning 3x more with Rocket.

Keep Your Sanity: If Rocket prevents you from losing your mind, because you just spent ten hours on Amazon trying to figure out categories and relevant keywords, you made your money back and get to keep your sanity. So yeah, it’s worth it. Win-win.

Free upgrades for a lifetime: Don’t you just hate it when you buy software and then 6 months later you have to pay more money for their upgrade. And then again six months after that. Over a lifetime, you could end up spending thousands of bucks on a piece of software you initially paid $150 for.

Of course, they don’t tell you this when you sign up. But Publisher Rocket, while it upgrades frequently, doesn’t ask you for additional funds…ever. You pay once, you keep upgrading, and there is nothing more to do. Gotta love it.

Continuous Market Research. That’s right, as we mentioned, while you are sleeping and dreaming of writing that next novel, somebody else is out there on the cutting edge gathering data and figuring out better systems to help you scale up your author business. The Rocket software will soon update three times a day, staying current with complex data shifts and doing the work for you while you focus on your book business.

Gives authors a competitive edge. You can access the most up-to-date data on categories, keywords and AMS ads. You can also figure out the best kind of books to write before you write them so you don’t publish something nobody wants to buy. This is a big win for an author who has the goal to write for a living and wants to make real money in self-publishing. And, you can analyze the competition as we have seen, to stay ahead of the game and get your books out in front of readers first.

publisher rocket worth it

The Ongoing Changes in Self-Publishing

The self publishing industry is in a state of constant change, growth and expansion. Nothing stays the same from one month to the next, or for that matter, day to day the data is in constant flux.

Amazon algorithms change, metadata for books shift, and how readers search for and discover their favorite books has become very streamlined.

For these reasons, as authors, we need to be on the cutting edge of this growth or else…we start losing books sales, customers, and get lost in the bloody waters.

Publisher Rocket provides a huge advantage to authors because Dave Chesson and his team are on top of this 24/7. In fact, PR is now working to update data three times a day. This data is relevant to book categories, as well as expanding international markets.

While we are busy writing and creating content to publish to market, someone else is doing the heavy lifting in terms of ongoing market research and providing you as an author with the most current, up-to-date data so you can stay on top of your game.

Sell more books, build greater authority, and keep on living the dream as an author.

publisher rocket testimonial

If you have an experience or any strategies that worked best for you using Publisher Rocket, drop your story in the comments section below.

author platform

How to Build an Author Platform: 8 Important Steps for Beginners


Once upon a time, you can become a successful author as long as you have good writing skills and can get a publishing contract.

But today, it takes a lot more than that.

You need to have an author platform, if you want to sell a lot of your books and become successful, either through self-publishing a book or even through traditional publishing.

And in case you haven’t heard, traditional publishers won’t give you a contract these days, unless they’re convinced you have a solid author platform.

But do you know the good news?

You can build your author platform one step at a time, and we’ll teach you how.

Because it’s a long-term process that doesn’t end, you can move at your own pace, using only those tools and strategies you feel comfortable with.

So, whether you’re a first-time author or an aspiring author or maybe you’ve even published once or twice without any platform, it’s not too late to start.

Here are 8 actionable steps to build your author platform:

  1. Know your target readers
  2. Identify and define your brand
  3. Create a website
  4. Start blogging consistently
  5. Build an email list
  6. Write guest posts
  7. Connect offline
  8. Use social media wisely

What is an Author Platform?

Let’s face it, different people define an author platform in many different ways but according to Jane Friedman, an author platform can be defined as the ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach.

An author platform can be described as everything you’re doing online and offline, to create awareness about who you are and what you do, so you can boost your brand visibility and make it easier and faster for your target audience and even the general public, to discover and connect with your brand and books.

[Pssst! If you want to check out some of our Students’ books, check out the SPS Library!]

what is an author platform

Benefits of Having an Author Platform

Without an author platform, most likely, only your family, friends and associates will know about your books and everything you do as an author.

But with an author platform, you can:

  • Help your target readers and the general public to discover your books easily
  • Attract new readers on a regular basis so you can connect with them
  • Engage existing readers, retain them and ultimately convert them to raving fans that buy from you
  • Boost your credibility as an author and earn the trust of your target readers because once they do, they’ll be more likely to buy your books
  • Build meaningful relationships with influencers and other relevant groups of people who can help promote your brand further
  • Sell more books on a regular and consistent basis

At the end of the day, your author platform makes it possible for you to build relationships with a diverse group of people online and offline so you and your books can get noticed quickly. 

author platform basics

How to Build An Author Platform With 8 Steps

Now that you know what an author platform is and why you need one, let’s look at the steps you can take to build your own:

#1 –  Know your target readers

To build an author platform that will help you succeed, it’s important for you to know everything about your target audience and be able to answer the following questions:

  • Who are they?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What’s their age, sex, marital status, and location?
  • What are their hobbies, interests, and motivation?
  •  What challenges and problems do they struggle with?
  • What makes them happy and unhappy?
  •  Where do they spend their time online and offline?

When you know who your target audience is, it helps you learn where to focus your time and energy and on who.

author platform target audience

And here are some tips to help you identify your target readers:

  • Use Google to search for blogs, forums, and communities where your audience may be active e.g. blogs within your niche, websites of authors with similar books, etc.
  • Look for books similar to yours and take note of the kind of people reading them because they might be your target readers also
  • Use key details about your book to identify the specific type of people that usually buy such books, e.g. book format, book genre, price, number of pages, etc.
  • Do research on social media for groups interested in books similar to yours

When you know your target readers, you can apply that knowledge to everything you’re doing and build an author platform that draws and engages the right audience successfully.

#2 – Identify and define your brand

Your brand helps people to recognize you and form an opinion about you and your books, through your personality, your values, your voice, your promise to your readers and even the feelings you stir up in them, every time they read your books or come across your website and social media profiles.

Your brand is what makes you unique so you can stand out among others.

To identify and define your brand, consider the following:

build author platform
  • Decide if you’re going to use your real name or a pen name. Whatever you decide, use it consistently
  • Use only one professional headshot everywhere so you can be easily recognized
  • Come up with a one-sentence tagline that communicates the uniqueness of what you’re offering
  • Choose words and phrases that best describe your brand and use them in all your communication
  • Identify colors and fonts that fit with your brand and limit yourself to them
  •  Use all the above points consistently on your website, social accounts and also in your emails, email signature, author bios and so on

When you take the time to identify and define your brand, you can influence people’s impressions and opinions about you to your advantage and create a solid foundation for your author platform.

⟶ Related Read: How to Build Your Author Brand

#3 – Create a website

One of the best tools you need to build your author platform is a website.

And it should be a website with a modern and attractive look plus a functional design so that everyone that visits the website can have a great user experience at all times.

Here are a few ways your website can help build your author platform:

  • Your website is one place where you can showcase your brand as much as you want, using your brand colors, tagline, headshot and so on
  • A website makes you appear more professional and credible and boosts your chances of gaining the trust of your target audience
  • Because your website is your business headquarters, you can remain open for business 24 hours a day seven days a week
  • With a website, you and your books can be found easily by your target audience and the general public
  • On your website, your target readers can learn about your books at their convenience, irrespective of their time zone or location, all over the world
  • You have 100% control over your website so it cannot be taken away from you without notice, unlike your social media accounts
  • You can use your author website to sell your books directly to anyone who is ready to buy

To be able to enjoy all these benefits from your website, it’s important to make sure that your website is mobile-friendly, contains content that’s easy to read and scan, loads quickly, is easy to navigate, and is also accessible from any browser.

Bottomline, avoid website mistakes that can drive people away from your website.

author platform website

#4 – Start blogging consistently

Blogging is a way for you to share pieces of your writing with the public, in the form of blog posts and articles published on your blog.

Even though it’s not compulsory to have a blog on your website, it can help build your author platform in the following ways:

  • Blogging consistently compels you to write on a regular basis which helps to improve your writing
  • When you publish content regularly on your blog, you’ll attract more people to your site
  • As long as you produce quality and valuable content, blogging can position you as an authority and expert on your subject, which increases your credibility
  • Blogging makes it possible for you to have a two-way conversation with your readers because they can respond by commenting. This can help you build a community or a tribe of loyal fans (that can leave you those 5-star reviews!)
  • Blogging can help you connect and build strong relationships with other bloggers, influencers, authors, the media and so on

To build your platform through blogging, it’s important to write for your audience and always provide value.

Also, don’t forget to observe blogging best practices like adding images and graphics, optimizing your posts, writing magnetic headlines, and publishing consistently, maybe once or twice a week or every two weeks or monthly and so on.

#5 – Build an email list

Your email list is a list of people who gave you permission to send emails to them regularly when they signed up on your website and gave you their email address. 

One key advantage of having an email list is that no one can take it away from you.

Here’s how to build your email list:

  • Choose an email service provider like  Convertkit, Aweber, Mailchimp, etc.
  • Create a sign-up form on your website
  • Make available a thank you gift, also known as a lead magnet or reader magnet, for people that sign up
  • Decide how often you’re going to send emails to your list and be consistent about it. This could be weekly, biweekly, monthly and so on
  • Ensure you always send personalized emails that provide value
  • Avoid buying a list or putting people on your list manually
  • Remember to provide a way for people to unsubscribe easily from your emails
author platform email list

With an email list, you now have people that are interested in your brand and can be reached directly through emails, one on one.

You can use this unique opportunity to share relevant information about you or your new releases, when you’re ready for a launch team, to sell your books or provide information about your book launch or events, or to even sell directly to them, from time to time.

Check out this interview video with Chandler Bolt and Nick Stephenson that goes over how to build your audience as an author:

Just in case you’re not aware, email marketing is known to be one of the most effective marketing strategies with a whopping 3800% return on investment.

Remember, it’s okay to start with nobody on your list because that’s where most people start from but with time, persistence and best practices, you can grow your email list which helps to build your writer platform

#6 – Write guest posts

A guest post is a blog post or an article that you write and publish on another person’s site.

This can help you:

  • Introduce your brand to a new group of people
  • Direct more traffic to your website
  • Attract new people to your email list
  • Boost the SEO of your website so it can show up in search engine results
  • Develop relationships with other bloggers, authors, influencers and so on

For you to successfully build your platform through your guest posting effort, don’t forget to:

  • Research and confirm that the blog you’re interested in accept guest posts, allows an author bio with links back to your site and have an audience that matches the type of audience you want to attract
  • Read their guidelines and follow them
  • Pitch an original post title that has not been written before on their site or anywhere else
  • Respond to comments once your post is published

#7 – Connect offline

While it’s true that a lot of your author platform building activities will be done online, there are some steps you can also take offline, to connect with your target audience and build your author platform.

Here are some ways to connect offline:

  • Inform family, friends, neighbors, and other groups in your community about what you do
  • Create business cards that has your website information, using your brand color, font, logo, etc and share them everywhere you go
  • Join author groups and associations in your local community and beyond
  • Attend writers conferences and events
  • Accept speaking engagements
  • Support your local libraries and bookstores and participate in some of their activities
  • Become a guest on a podcast or on radio or television

⟶ Related Read: How to Market Your Book Effectively in 2019

#8 – Use social media wisely

Having a presence and being active on social media can put your brand in front of a large number of people that you may not have the opportunity to connect with anywhere else, which goes a long way to increase your brand visibility and build your author platform.

Examples of such social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and many others.

Here are some simple tips for using social media as an author:

  • Identify all the social media platforms where your target readers can be found
  • Choose one or two that you like and are comfortable with and learn everything about them
  • Come up with a strategy on how you will use each social media platform to achieve your goal
  • Decide in advance how much time you can afford to spend on social media daily and keep to it
  • Create a profile and start posting, using the strategy you came up with

Even though social media can be used effectively to build your author platform, almost everyone agrees that it can take up a lot of your time if you’re not careful, so remember to take preventive steps to avoid that. 

⟶ Related Read: How to Use Instagram for Authors

Actionable Steps to Build Your Author Platform

Now that you know all the steps you can take to build your author platform, come up with your own plan of action by identifying the step you want to start with and those you can even do at the same time.

Remember, building an author platform takes time and cannot be done overnight so the earlier you start, the better.

author platform
stage to scale

Stage to Scale: Don’t Buy Pete Vargas Method Until You Read This

Don’t buy Pete Vargas’ Stage to Scale Method until you read this review. You’ll kick yourself later if you do.

Aside from supporting Pete Vargas as an affiliate, our team at Self Publishing School has applied the lessons from Stage to Scale to generate over $1,000,000 in revenue from speaking in 2018, while our founder Chandler Bolt spoke on 24 different stages around the globe.

I’m breaking down a full review of Pete Vargas’ Stage to Scale Method, along with what you get, the real drawbacks, and even exclusive bonus content (you won’t get elsewhere).

Here’s what you’ll learn about the Stage to Scale Method:

  1. The Pros of the Stage to Scale Method
  2. The Cons of the Stage to Scale Method
  3. What you’ll learn
  4. Our Real, Raw Stage to Scale Method Results
  5. Exclusive Bonus – Book Outline Challenge
  6. Exclusive Bonus – Stage Whisperer Blueprint
  7. Exclusive Bonus – Our $0 – $1 Million in Stage Revenue Breakdown
  8. Exclusive Bonus – Free Ticket to Author Advantage Live 2020
  9. Exclusive Bonus – Full $110,000 (in a weekend!) Presentation Example

Full Disclaimer: We are affiliates of the Pete Vargas course. That does not affect any of the breakdowns below.

What that does mean, however, that if you buy through our link, we’ll earn a commission on your purchase. It also means that you will earn access to over $7,000 of exclusive bonuses.

What is the Stage to Scale?

Stage to scale is a proven method developed by Pete Vargas for both entrepreneurs and business owners to learn how to scale their businesses through speaking and attending stages—developed for both experienced speakers and newbies.

Often referred to as “The Stage Whisperer,” Vargas has booked over 25,000 stages in the past 15 years, helping businesses of all kinds flourish in this more-competitive-than-ever environment.

Basically, if you’re looking for a way to quickly grow your business, Stage to Scale helps you make it happen with a specialized process.

Stage to Scale Method Pros & Perks

There are obvious pros to the Stage to Scale method. Self-Publishing School alone was able to generate $1,000,000 in sales using this very method.

Here’s a breakdown of the best parts.

#1 – Relevant for both the beginner and advanced speakers

From the start, Pete does an awesome job of letting you know that this course if for both the beginner speaker that has never stepped on a stage, to the most advanced speaker looking to increase their results. 

The way that Pete ensures this is through teaching based on principles and frameworks such as the heart, head, hand, and heart speaking framework, that you can use to create a powerful signature talk.

This is so powerful that here at Self Publishing School, we’ve had both our Founder Chandler Bolt as well as our speaking team design their own signature talks based on this framework.

#2 – Pat Quinn is phenomenal

Although Pete Vargas does an amazing job throughout the majority of the course, I’d have to say that he is no match for the unbelievable teacher that is Pat Quinn.

Pat brings to the table the background of a cognitive scientist expert, as well as a professional magician. And what that means for you is a combination of both entertaining and scientifically proven way to learn, retain and apply the information that you learn throughout this course.

Ever have a hard time retaining what you’ve learned in a course? I guarantee that will not be an issue with Pat Quinn’s teaching.

#3 – This is not a speaking course

This is a grow your business through speaking course.

Although the speaking content in the course is great, this course was not meant to help you become a better speaker.

The Stage to Scale course was designed to help you use stages and speaking as a key channel to find qualified leads, spread your message and attain clients.

Pete goes into extreme detail about to structure your talk so that it actually converts. He also goes deep into how to create a backend offer that will allow you to drive huge revenue numbers for just one-hour on the right stage.

If you are looking for just a way to sound better during your presentations, this course is not for you.

But if you are really looking to use stages and speaking as a true driver of growth in your business, then you should definitely consider the Stage to Scale method.

#4 – The Unstoppable Stage Campaign

Most people don’t know how to book stages in the first place. They think they need to hire an agent, create a speaking reel, join national speaking organizations, and hope that one day an email with a request to speak will come into their inbox.

The reality is that none of that is necessary. If you were to ask our team why were we able to get on 24 stages and generate over $1,000,000 from those stages in 2018, the main reason would be the Unstoppable Stage Campaign.

In this training, Pete breaks down everything from Gold-Mining, Finding Your Dream Stage, Cold-Outreach Approaches, and Closing the Deal.

This alone is worth the price of the course.

#5 – The templates and scripts are unreal

I’ve found that in courses that teach through principles and frameworks, a lot of times you can still feel stuck once it’s time to execute.

One of the best practices that Pete Vargas uses in his Stage to Scale course is he actually gives you word-for-word templates and scripts that you can use to:

  • Reach out to meeting planners 
  • Execute a win-win call where you position yourself as the solution to the meeting planners problem (hint: that’s how you actually win stages) 
  • Get referrals from your ‘champions’ to win stages within your network (this is the easiest way to get booked) 
  • Create a ‘Why Me Video” to showcase how you are the right person to solve a specific problem to any event planner’s audience

We’ve personally used these scripts to book over 40 stages over the last 18 months for our founder Chandler Bolt and our team, so I know they work like magic. 

Stage to Scale Method Cons & Areas of Improvement

Alright, so I’ve shared a lot of the awesome resources and learning you’ll be getting once you go through the Stage to Scale course.

What about the not-so-good stuff?

Well, as much as this course over-delivers in multiple areas, there may be things that are you may not like.

#1 – Lack of Mindset Training

Now, if you are looking to learn the exact how-to’s on booking stages, executing amazing talks, and growing your business, there is very little missing in this course.

However, the reality is that you will need to have a great mindset to deal with the out-of-comfort-zone moments that you will face while implementing this course.

This isn’t a course that you can get results from by just sitting back and letting a program do all the work. You’ll have to send cold emails, negotiate with meeting planners, and speak in front of large audiences.

All of this is taught in the course, but you’ll still have to overcome your limiting beliefs in order to actually do it and get a return on your investment.

A small section on how to get over those limiting beliefs could have been a good addition to the already amazing content in the course. 

#2 – No examples of High Converting Talks

Although there is more than enough content in the Signature Talk section for you craft your own talk, some people might prefer to actually see what a high-converting talk following Pete’s methodology actually looks like!

What are the nuances that the great speakers have, how do they carry themselves on stage, etc?

We all know that body language makes up 80% or more of all communication. The great news is, however, that we’ve recorded multiple of Chandler Bolt’s talks that generated as much as $110,000 from one event.

In fact, you get you to watch that talk here as a part of one of our bonuses when you enroll in Stage to Scale with us!

And if you have ever wanted to land a TEDx talk, check how Chandler used Pete’s Story Braid Framework to deliver an incredible message about how book creates leveraged impact.

What You’ll Learn With Pete Vargas’ Stage to Scale Method

The course is broken into 7 modules and additional bonus content such as how to land a TEDx Talk.

Module 1: The Foundation 

Using stages to grow your business is not an easy task.

That’s why before you start crafting your talk, booking your dream stage, and impacting millions, you need to have the right foundations set.

The foundations you will learn include:

  • Why Stages Matter
  • How to find your BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) 
  • The Stage to Scale Success Method 
  • And more…

This is a powerful module. Make sure to go deep on your BHAG exercises, and listen closely as Pete takes you through the Stage to Scale Success Method, and your chance of success will sky-rocket.

Module 2: Crafting Your Signature Talk

Have you ever wondered about the formula that the best speakers in the world use to craft their talks?

Not only that but wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to start from scratch every time you gave a new presentation (no matter if the talk time was 60 minutes or 5 minutes)?

In this module, Pete and Pat will walk you through how to: 

  • Use the Story Braid Framework to create a high-converting talk 
  • When to share your call to action with an audience (so that you don’t sound salesy)
  • How to expand and contract your content to fit any talk time 
  • How to open and close your talk so that your audience feels connected to you

Module 3: Deliver and Maximize Your Talk 

What separates the good from the best?

Details. 

This one is good.

A lot of courses talk about the intricacies of a subject, but only a few actually deliver. In this section, Pete and Pat hold nothing back. Everything from pacing to ‘embedding’, to reducing risk and increasing urgency is covered so that you can quickly go from average to world-class (seriously).

I do warn you that implementing all of this at once, maybe a bit overwhelming.

So take your take and try to add one piece of advice at a time to your signature talk.

Module 4: Create Your Scaling Offer

Zig Ziglar once said, “I’ve never changed anyone’s life from the stage, but if they buy my cassettes, I then have a chance at changing their life.

Zig was right.

The stage is the key that opens the door to being able to go deeper with someone and truly creating transformation in their lives with your products or services.

This module is all about understanding the different ways that you can scale past the stage with your audience, and how to turn those ideas into reality.

Pete breaks down in amazing depth the pros and cons of those methods which include courses, coaching programs, in-person intensives, and others.

This is a very powerful exercise for you as a business owner whether or not you choose to use stages as a way to find your dream clients.

Module 5: Collect and Convert

There is a delicate art to converting from the stage. What most people don’t know, however, is how to convert after the stage and maximize your revenue long after your 60 minutes are up.

You’ll want to dive into this training to learn:

  • 3 types of opt-ins and the exact format of what converts the highest from stage
  • The Art of collecting leads – maximize your opt-in rate (this will even help you off stage)
  • The Step-by-step playbook of what to do pre-game, game time, and post-game to maximize sales (our complete checklist)

Full disclaimer – this is where your most or your money will be made (so pay close attention).

Module 6: The Business Model of Speaking

When most people think ‘stages’ they think of you speaking in front of a full room of spectators, giving a well-prepared talk for either 45 or 60 minutes at a time. 

Also, when they hear that our founder Chandler Bolt spoke 24 times in 2018 alone, they usually are worried that they will also have to spend time on the road and away from their family…

The reason why Stage to Scale is so powerful is because Pete Vargas completely re-writes what most people believe of stages to be.

In this module, he will help you discover the 5 types of revenue-generating stages that you can take advantage of.

He will also breakdown the 8 online and 8 off-line stages and will help you identify which ones are ideal for you (hint: if you don’t want to travel, take advantage of the online stages, they work just as well, and sometimes even better than off-line stages).

Module 7: Winning Stages

Pete Vargas says that he wants to impact 100,000,000 people through 1,000,000 stages. That mission is what drives him and his team, and he wants you to help him reach that number.

In this section, Pete finally reveals why they call him the Stage Whisperer.

He walks you through his Unstoppable Stage campaign, responsible for helping him personally book over 25,000 stages out of his offices.

Pete also helps you understand the decision-makers who hold the key to your dream stages so that you can solve their needs and close the deal every single time.  

This is my personal favorite and I have probably watched this training at least 15 times. It is that powerful and you will want to reference it often. 

Our Results Using the Stage to Scale Method

As I mentioned before, Pete’s Stage to Scale course works. 

Let’s dig deeper into what it actually meant to go from 0 to $1,000,000 in revenue from stages in one year.

Firstly, there were trials and tribulations involved, as with any growth project for a company.

Were their stages that we should not have gone to? Of course.

Was traveling a bit excessive at times? You bet. 

Did Chandler have a team that helped him execute so that we could hit the million number?

Yes, he did, and we know not everyone has access to that. But was it worth it? 100%.

My advice as you go through this course, especially if you are a speaker who wants to make stages a great part of your business, is to have a team member go through it with you.

You will want help executing the outreaches, the research, and the logistics of the event (again, if you are planning on doing this in a big way).

The great thing is, part of our bonuses include how to find, hire and manage your own Stage Whisperer so that you can focus on showing up to the gig and nailing your talk.

Exclusive Self-Publishing School Bonuses!

When you buy Stage to Scale through us, you’ll get these exclusive bonuses not found anywhere else.

With over $7000 in bonuses, it’s a deal you can’t miss out on!

Bonus #1: The 24-Hour Book Outline Challenge – $299 Value for FREE

In an interview with Pete Vargas, Hal Elrod mentioned that the #1 key to demanding speaking fees as high as $35,000 is to have a best-selling book on your topic.

Why? Because having a best-selling book signifies to everyone around you that you are the authority in your space. Because, well… you wrote the book on the topic!

If you are interested in writing, publishing and launching your book so that you can demand higher speaking fees, check out our 24-Hr Book Outline Challenge as a bonus for signing up for Pete’s Stage to Scale course. 

Bonus #2: The Stage Whisperer Blueprint – $999 Value for FREE

Has the thought of doing your own research, reaching out to event planners, and negotiating deals sound like the last thing that you want to do? You know that your value is truly in being the one on stage, and not the one setting up the stages?

Chandler Bolt thought the same thing.

That’s why we created an exclusive training called The Stage Whisperer Blueprint, designed to help you find, hire, train and manage a rockstar stages manager, who will book on only the best stages so that you can focus on doing what you do best. Sharing your message.

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Honestly didn’t think Chandler would agree to this.

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This is absolutely can’t miss stuff.

Bonus #4 – Free General Admission ticket to Author Advantage Life – $697 Value for FREE

Author Advantage Live is the #1 conference for authors who want to learn how to sell 10,000 copies of more of their book and make a true impact.

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I don’t know about you… but I personally love to see the best in action (as opposed to just learning the techniques).

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author brand

Author Branding: How to Build & Maintain Your Unique Brand

Author branding can get tricky…

But what if you knew of a way to be a successful author before you opened that blank Word document?

What if you knew you could share the story inside you with an audience excited to hear your every word?

There’s a way to up your levels of success before ever writing the first word or your book. Actually, for some people, it’s even easier to up their chances of success than it is to write the book.

Let me explain…

When people hear I’ve written a book they often respond with, “I’ve always wanted to write a book!”

The next phrase is usually something along the lines of, “I’m terrible at writing.”

And in the back of their minds, the other hesitancy might be, “Who would even read it?”

It’s a scary thing to sit down and stare at a blank screen.

It’s intimidating to write that first sentence.

“What if I never make it to the last sentence?”

“What if nobody cares if I do end up finishing?”

Perhaps the biggest question of all: “What if no one reads it?”

These are real questions. Questions I’m here to answer.

It all comes down to branding.

A few decades ago books sold based on the quality of the writing. While that’s still true today, often books are sold based on the platform of the person writing the book. That’s where branding comes in.

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Here’s what you’ll learn about author branding:

  1. Passive author branding
  2. Active author branding
  3. Developing your brand voice
  4. Choosing your author brand themes
  5. Discovering your why
  6. Developing author brand colors
  7. Discovering your audience
  8. Focusing on the author behind the brand

Author Branding Basics

When it comes to being an author, your best bet for success is attracting the right readers.

Contrary to popular belief, you should never aim to attract all types of readers, because your content isn’t going to speak to all of them the same way.

As an author, establishing a brand is one of the best ways you can put yourself out there and show people what you’re about in a simple glance.

Here’s how to do that.

[Pssst! Want to see some of our students’ published books? Check out the SPS Library here!]

#1 – Passive Author Branding

Everybody has a brand…

Not everybody realizes they have a brand.

If you’re in college maybe your brand is sweatpants and too much coffee, late-night Instagram stories, and weekend adventures.

If you’re in the world of business, maybe your brand is pristine suits, important meetings, and networking with the right people.

Either way, this is your passive brand. It’s the self you portray to the world without really thinking about it.

Of course, you considered what to wear this morning. You saw the still kinda clean shirt on your dorm room floor and decided to wear that to the exam.

Or you chose the darker suit to wear to your business meeting because you didn’t want to stand out too much. You probably made sure it matched your pants (always a good thing!).

But you probably didn’t think about it much more than that. And that’s ok!

Regardless of what you put on this morning, let’s talk about how personal branding can be the difference between writing a book and writing a book people read.

#2 – Active Author Branding

Active brand is the part of you that you intentionally choose to let the world see.

There are ways to do portray yourself that will greatly impact the influence you have. Influence brings followers.

Followers turn into fans.

And fans…?

Fans turn into avid readers…who leave you 5-star reviews that allow more readers to find you.

The following tips will help you develop intentional author branding.

#3 – Developing Your Author Voice

Your author voice is important. After all, it’s what the world hears from you. Yes,

you can alter this if you want to, but we recommend leaning into your natural voice so the you you’re showing the world is authentic and real.

Countless factors determine your voice:

  • Your job
  • Stage of life
  • Personal goals
  • Who you hang out with
  • Your past experiences

All of these and more play into your personal voice.

What’s “voice?”

It’s how you talk, in person and online. It’s how you communicate to the people around you. The type of punctuation you choose. Even the emojis that consistently stay in the time box in your messages.

All of this factors into your voice.

But using voice to intentionally create your active brand goes a long way in establishing yourself.

If you don’t know what your specific voice is, go through some of the recent texts you sent your friends. Next time you grab coffee with someone, take note of how you naturally communicate with them. That’s your voice.

The next step is to implement that voice across all platforms. The social media outlets you use. The blog you run. The conversations you have.

People want to hear what you have to say, but more importantly, how you say it. They want to know you, not just the knowledge you bring.

#4 – Discovering Themes in Branding

Next up are themes.

These themes seem to run through your life and your writing.

When identifying the themes of your life here are some questions to ask:

  • What opportunities do you jump at the chance to volunteer for?
  • What type of movies do you regularly choose to see?
  • What books do you read?
  • What type of people do you choose to hang out with?
  • What stories do you love re-telling from your past?

These are the themes you’re passionate about. These are the themes that should dominate and infiltrate your writing.

Why?

Because readers can tell when you’re passionate about what you’re writing and when you’re not. Passionate writing engages readers.

Engaged readers read books, cover to cover.

That’s a win!

#5 – Discovering Your Personal Why

We’ve established you want to be a writer, it’s why you’re here learning about author branding.

We’ve talked some about how you want to communicate what you want to communicate. But why do you want to write?

The answer to this question is one of the biggest factors when it comes to defining your personal brand.

Simon Sinek has a great video on this called Start With Why. I’d highly recommend you take a few minutes and give it a watch.  

If you don’t know why you want to write, it will be hard to continue when the writing gets tough.

While writing books is a privilege and a truly creative process, getting all the words on the page can feel daunting. Editing can get overwhelming. 

Ask yourself why you want to write a book. Then ask yourself “why” again. Do this until you get to the core of why you truly want to write a book.

It will pay off when you’re stuck in the middle and you need to remind yourself why you started in the first place.

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#6 – Your Author Branding Colors

Why you want to write a book greatly influences how you portray yourself online and in person.

Let’s say you were a college drop-out and started your own graphic design business. You grew it from the ground up with nothing but your creativity and an old desktop computer.

You market to large businesses and while you’re still growing, you’re pretty successful already.

Now you’re several years into the hustle and want to write a book about your life and this incredible journey.

Using neon colors on all your social media platforms probably wouldn’t be your best idea. Showing up to meetings in a plaid suit wouldn’t be the best option either.

Big businesses usually take a more formal persona. And as you’ve probably guessed, neon isn’t usually associated with formality.

Instead, using neutral colors with a pop of red or yellow could be a good starting point for you.

Clean formatting is huge when it comes to marketing, and if you’re a graphic designer, you’re going to want to be ahead of the curve on this.

Dark colors would portray a completely different theme than pastels.

White space comes across much differently than black.

Decide what you want to communicate, then choose colors that help you communicate this theme through your author brand.

#7 – Finding Your Audience

At first glance, you might think an audience is the result of personal branding, not part of it.

While audience does come with good author branding—and that’s definitely part of the why behind personal branding—it’s important to know your intended audience.

If you don’t know who you want to reach, it’s hard to know how to brand yourself.

Scroll through the social networks you think your audience would use most, then take note of:

  • The voice your audience uses online
  • The themes they gravitate to
  • The colors they most use

Having a personal understanding of your audience will go a long way as your work to build your personal brand.

People post photos, captions, and colors they gravitate to, so make it a point to know your audience’s likes and dislikes.

This will not only help you brand yourself, but help you successfully reach your audience!

#8 – The Person Behind The Author Brand

Author branding takes time and effort.

It’s easy to know you like a certain movie or that particular color shirt, but it’s harder to know why. It takes purposeful time to discover what you naturally gravitate to.

It takes effort to use those personal preferences to market to your intended audience.

But it’s so worth it. People connect with the person behind the product.

Defining who you are and what you’re passionate about will reap dividends when it comes time to write the first sentence of your book.

Not only will you know why you’re writing, you’ll know who your audience is and your audience will know YOU.

It’s one thing to write a book.

It’s another to write a book to people who already know the person behind the words.

Author branding is just that – personal.

It takes book marketing from selling a product (book) to sharing a passion with friends.

It allows you to give your followers what they actually want, because you know who they are.

It takes the fear out of writing, because when you have a personal brand you know the people who will want to read your book.

Now you can write that first sentence in confidence, knowing your fans are just as excited to read your book as you are to write it! 

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instagram for authors

Instagram for Authors: Building a Platform & SELLING Your Books

Instagram for authors has been one of the best ways to build an audience and sell your books on social media as an author

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re an author and need a little help boosting your Instagram account and overall book marketing efforts.

Worry no more! You’ve come to the right place.

In this post, we’ll be discussing ways to help you, as an author, navigate through Instagram and grow a large following.

Here’s how to use Instagram for Authors:

  1. Create relevant content
  2. Post on Instagram regularly
  3. Post consistent types of content
  4. Create strong aesthetics
  5. Use high-quality photos on Instagram
  6. Engage with your audience
  7. Share about your life
  8. Host giveaways
  9. Repost relevant content
  10. Use effective hashtags
  11. Just be genuinely yourself
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Instagram for Authors: The Breakdown

This social media app is all about the photos; choose a good nickname or use your name and a profile photo and you’re good to go!

It’s that easy to set up an account and it’ll take you only a couple of minutes.

On Instagram, it’s all about the followers!

Yes. And no!

You might have a larger following, but if your followers are not engaging with your content, you might as well have half of those followers.

Usually, only 10-20% of followers will interact, but you want to make that interaction a good one.

How to Effectively Use Instagram for Authors

Instagram is a huge medium. There are millions and millions of users and that makes it really beneficial for not only connecting, but also for selling.

And in the case for authors, it’s useful for selling more books.

Here are our top tips for using Instagram the right way.

#1 – Create relevant content

Don’t panic already, ok? This doesn’t mean you’ll have to take photos of yourself or strip down for a good number of likes.

What I mean with creating relevant content is make your Instagram account about something you truly love.

Yes, you’re an author, but what kind of author? Will you share with your followers about your struggles of being an author?

Will you share your process your writing? Will you snap pretty pics of other books you’re reading and loving? Of your pet? Maybe your garden?

The point is, you’ll love it and your following will feel it and love you more for it.

#2 – Post regularly

Many often forget about this one, but you betta believe it when I tell you, this is probably the most important one!

By posting regularly, you’re showing up more often in other feeds and that will increase your chances of getting likes and comments on your photos, and even visits to your profile.

There are many arguments about when you should post and how many times per day, but there are also some great apps that evaluate what works best for your audience.

I always advice posting a photo once a day and not more because you don’t want to overdo it.

In general, the best times for posting are between 4pm and 7pm, which is when people are going back home from work.

However, you should also do what you feel is natural for you and your account.

Less is more but once a day is a must!

#3 – Post consistent content types

Now, when posting, you’ll have to think about what you want to post. This is your part of your job after all, so you should plan it just as you plan your writing.

The best rule to follow is post the same content. This might sound boring to you, but the most successful accounts started this way.

The same type of content, over and over again, and then they opened up to other things. But, in the beginning, it’s important that people will recognize your account as a whole and will want to follow you because you’re consistent and have a structure.

For visual ideas on how to do this, I recommend checking out this Instagrammer, who I love! Marlene uses the same type of content, similar backgrounds, several nuances of the same color, but every picture is unique and makes me wanna go back to her profile!

“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency.” – Dwayne Johnson

#4 – Create strong aesthetics

If you’ve noticed from the above screenshot of Thanks a Latte Blog’s account, you’ll find it extremely soothing and inviting. The reason why is her aesthetics.

When creating content and posting it, she’s clearly thinking it through.

In the first phase, you’ll have to do the same!

This might bother some of you, but no one can deny how beautiful an account like this looks. It appeals to the eye as a whole, but each photo is also carefully laid out.

For similar outcomes, look for a color palette and stick to it.

Using one main color and different nuances works out great and it won’t be a lot of work for you to figure out what goes well with what.

Another thing you can try to use is repetitive miscellaneous: either décor pieces you have around the house or flowers in the background, what’s important is that there is a nice wave between all your photos.

If you feel inspired looking at your feed, your followers will too!



#5 – Use high quality photos

You don’t need a professional camera for this! Don’t start making excuses.

Nowadays, our smartphones have good cameras that will just do if used in the best way possible. You’re starting out, you don’t need to spend all that money on something you probably won’t even know how to use!

The best advice for high-quality photos is natural lighting.

Honestly, it’s that simple. Natural light helps your photos look more alive and colorful and it’ll take you a whole less time to edit them—if you edit them at all!

If you’re on the lookout for a good photo editor (that is free!), I recommend using Lightroom or Snapseed.

They’re both really simple to use and many creators on the internet have developed presets that you can buy and use on your photos. If you really don’t know what to do with a photo editor, just buy a preset or two and you’ll be fine!

Just remember! Natural lighting!

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#6 – Engage frequently on Instagram

Imagine this: you’re scrolling down on your feed, see a photo you love, you like it and decide to comment.

instagram marketing for authors

A simple comment but it’s there. You see another photo, like it, comment and so on. The first Instagrammer actually answers your comment on their photo.

Who do you think you’ll be more inclined to interact again with?

This is a no-brainer and it’s true for every and anyone out there. You’ll feel like you have a connection with this person, even if you’ve never met them in real life.

Answering every single comment, you get might be a difficult task to accomplish, especially if you have a larger following, but it’s Instagram 101.

Not to mention, all your lovely readers will feel SO special because their favorite author answered them!

One of the authors I’ve noticed does this extremely well is Ella Maise. She just knows how to connect with her followers in what feels a very natural way.

Make someone’s day: reply to them! 

#7 – Share about your life

Now that we’ve discussed replying to your followers’ comments, I would like to tell you how important it is to use Insta Stories.

Again, you might be an introvert or a very private person, and that’s ok! But you can always share a few snaps that didn’t make it into your profile or a few short videos of your daily life.

You don’t even have to share your face, just record them when you’re taking a nice walk or doing something out and about.

I do recommend speaking though, because I feel that there is a special relationship that is developed when followers hear your voice and what you sound like. (It’ll be weird at the beginning, but you’ll get used to it pretty quickly, I promise!)

“Happiness is only real when shared”


#8 – Host giveaways on Instagram

Not to quote Oprah or anything, but she was onto something! Hosting giveaways is one of the best ways to get out there and get some free promotion.

You’re an author with your author Instagram now, so it makes sense that your prizes are books.

I’d recommend starting with other author’s books because you can include them in the giveaway. For example, to win, one has to follow you, the author and comment on both profiles something related to you or the book. It doesn’t get much better than this!

To host something like this, it might take you a little longer to plan than just posting a photo, but the rewards might also be much higher.

Giving will translate into receiving…

#9 – Repost relevant content

Definitely repost photos and stories on your Insta Stories! I LOVE it whenever I get a notification that someone has re-posted a photo of mine and added a little thank you note or just simply tagged me over on their stories. It makes it personal and I always feel more likely to interact with that person again.

When reposting, I suggest going for anyone and everyone.

However, remember that popular Bookstagrams might help you get to larger audiences, so their support might be very well needed.

I’m not saying you should butter them up, but it is in your interest to interact with them. They also might be reviewing your books and publicity is always great!

As with everything, just don’t overdo it and your readers are your main base so don’t forget to share their stories too!

You’ll make their day!


#10 – Use the right #Hashtags

You want to connect with a specific audience.

What kind of audience do you have in mind?

Are they a niche audience?

Do you want to promote to everyone from the Bookstagram community?

What is your main target?

It’s important to know this beforehand because the use of hashtags is incredibly necessary to start things off on Instagram.

You’ll reach more people by using them and by choosing the right ones, you’ll reach to the audience you want/need for your account.

These are some of my favorites to use when targeting the Bookstagram community:

  • #bookstagrams
  • #bookish
  • #bookworm
  • #amreading
  • #bookaholic
  • #readersofinstagram
  • #booklover
  • #currentread
  • #bookaddict
  • #booksofinstagram
  • #bookishfeatures

Hashtags are the new author bio.

#11 – Last but not least…Just be yourself!

These guidelines won’t work if you don’t feel like this is something natural in your life. Yes, it’ll take some time to get used to it, but in the end, if it makes you feel stressed or you start overthinking it, just ditch these!

Your Instagram account needs to be a reflection of your life as an author, of the things you love to do and everything you’re willing to share with the people who love and support you the most: your readers!

Whatever, however, and whenever you want to give them something, share with them, give them sneak peeks of future books or just talk about your day, they’ll be there for you!

Instagram is supposed to be fun, a lot of fun! If you spend too much time tying to snap the perfect photo, you won’t have any time left for your book! Just jump on the rollercoaster (hopefully now, after having read these tips, with a better security belt) and see where it takes you.

Most importantly, enjoy the ride!

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5 Simple Steps to Snag Book Endorsements from a Marketing MBA

Growing you book sales isn’t easy. In fact, you’re probably doing it incorrectly already.

This post will show you how to market your book for growth.

But if you want to know all the ins-and-outs of self-publishing a book, including how to write, market, and publish your book within 90 days…we highly recommend watching your free training first.

Here’s how to get book endorsements:

  1. Find the right influencers
  2. Deliver value first
  3. Prepare to ask
  4. Ask for the book endorsement!
  5. Follow up

How to get book endorsements

Endorsements are a very powerful form of social proof and trust-builder for potential readers of your book.

Endorsements alone might not make your book a bestseller, but they’ll give you an advantage over other books that don’t have them.

I was able to leverage my endorsement by a top influencer to promote my book on social platforms, on my website, and even on webinars and speaking engagements.

Where do endorsements go in a book?

You could place endorsements or “blurbs” on the back cover of your book, the praise sheet, or even the front cover, as you can see from my endorsement example below.

book blurb location on page

But, how do you get top influencers to support your book? Here are five simple steps to get endorsements for your book.

#1 – Find the right influencers for your book endorsement

The most powerful endorsements are those given by people who are well-known in your field.

To select the right influencers, find out who your ideal readers admire. Post the question on targeted social media groups or ask them directly.

Also, ask yourself what top influencers you follow and respect. Add their names to the list.

Focus on quality over quantity, but if you don’t have enough names, search for bestselling books similar to yours and check out who endorsed them.

It’s important that the influencers have a style and values similar to yours. That way, your ideal reader will be likely to be attracted to them and be familiar with their work.

How do you figure out the style and values of potential endorsers? Start by visiting the “About Me” page on their website and pay attention to their branding and message.

Then, visit their pages on social and focus on the style of their posts and the content they share. You’ll get a good idea of whether the person’s values and style might be a good match for you or not.

#2 – Deliver value first

Because it’s much easier to get a yes from someone who has already received value from you, it’s important that you start planning your request for endorsements in advance.

For blurbs by top influencers, you might need to start the outreach process several months ahead of the publication of your book.

Regardless of where you are in your journey, there’s always a way for you to bring value to the influencers and start a relationship with them.

Something as simple as sending them a handwritten note about how much their message means to you, posting a video review of their book on Amazon, or recommending them on LinkedIn will help you stand out.

Here are other examples of powerful ways to stand out:

  • becoming an active member on the influencers’ social media groups
  • attending one of their conferences
  • joining one of their paid programs

You should do this because you truly enjoy their message and not just because you’re seeking endorsements. Your true intentions will come through in your communications and behaviors.

Avoid going straight to the ask without having taken the time to deliver value first.

#3 – Prepare to ask for a book blurb

Before you reach out to potential endorsers, do everything you can to make it as easy as possible for them to say yes.

Prepare well in advance so you can find the best opportunities to ask for the endorsement, and give yourself enough time to get through gatekeepers.

book endorsements example

For example, if the influencer will be speaking at an event in your town, you could grab a ticket and introduce yourself.

However, local events aren’t your only choice. One of my friends was interested in building a relationship with an influencer who would be speaking three thousand miles away. But that didn’t stop her.

By following the influencer on Instagram, she learned that this person loved brownies and would be attending the event with her husband.

My friend ordered a dozen brownies to be delivered to the event with a customized note that read, “Best wishes during your presentation. Hope you and your husband enjoy these treats!”

That was the start of their friendship.

How long is a book blurb?

As part of your preparation, write a sample endorsement for each influencer. Blurbs usually hover around 50 words (never more than 100). If you know their work well, you will be able to create blurbs that closely match their writing voice.

#4 – Ask for the endorsement

It might feel nerve-wracking to ask, but never wrong. If you’re hesitant, it might be too soon in the relationship, especially when it comes to top influencers.

If you ask too soon, they will either ignore you or reject your proposal.

Rushing might mean that you’ll have to start the process all over again and find someone else to endorse your book.

Never send a mass request to a group of influencers. You’ll waste your time, and hurt your chances of ever building a relationship with them. Customization is key.

Send the influencers a copy of your book along with a well-crafted message asking for the endorsement.

Ideally, you’ll send them a physical copy. It doesn’t have to be the final version, and it doesn’t have to be perfect. It can be a printed PDF.

That said, you must ensure that whatever you send to the influencer is professionally packaged.

If sending a physical version of your book is not possible, you can send them the PDF or ebook, but you’ll have to ask in a way that stands out. You could achieve this by customizing your message in a unique way, creating a video specifically designed for them, or preceding your email with a handwritten note.

Think outside the box! A video card or a note written on a balloon would be clever ways to stand out, too.

Be succinct. Remember that time is a high-price commodity for influencers (for everyone!) so you don’t want to make it a chore to understand what you’re asking.

Start by expressing why you feel they’re the right person to endorse the book and why you respect them so much. Be sure to mention that you’re eager to make your readers aware of their work.

Next, specify the length of the blurb you’re seeking as well as by when you need it done.  

When should I ask for a book blurb?

Don’t make your deadline too far in the future so that it’s put in the back burner, but don’t make it so soon that the influencer will immediately say no. I personally chose 3-4 weeks to collect the blurbs.

Be prepared to negotiate an extended due date, and allow for extra time in your planning.

When you share the blurb that you wrote, explain that you’re just trying to make things easy for them.

Express how much you appreciate their time and attention, and close with the promise to follow up in a week or two.

#5 – Follow Up for Book Endorsements

If you don’t hear back from the influencers, it’s easy to assume they’re not interested in writing the endorsement and be tempted to give up. However, it’s important to realize that they might have not received your message yet. 

Emails go to spam folders. Gatekeepers delete emails and toss out mail. You never know!

When you follow up, try a different way to reach the person. If you used email first, follow up with a handwritten note or a message on social media.

If you find out the name of the influencers’ gatekeepers, reach out to them directly. Build a relationship with them as well, and you will have a great chance of success.

My rule of thumb is to follow up three times. If you don’t hear from them, it might be time to move on.

As you can see, with a well-written manuscript, proper planning, and a great dose of authenticity, it’s possible for you to get endorsements from top influencers in your field.

The most important step is to take action.

It’s easy to be sidelined by fear of rejection, but if you think about it, the worst thing that can happen is that they’ll say no. If you’re confident in the quality of your book, you have nothing to fear.

Take the first step today to gain powerful social proof and make your book a success!

get on new york times bestseller list

How to Get on the New York Times Bestseller List

Do you want to learn how to get on the New York Times Bestseller list?

If so…you may have the common aspiration to become a bestselling author. The prestige, the title, and the credibility are all super tempting…

But there’s more to landing on the NYT Bestseller list than just writing and publishing a book and hoping it gets there.

In fact, there are some huge misconceptions around the “New York Times Bestselling Author” status to begin with, but we’ll get to that later.

These dreams of yours are amazing. Lofty, but right on point. The amount of impact you can have by being a bestselling author is awe-worthy.

For example, our student Anita Oommen not only wrote and published a bestseller, but the impact was immediate on those closest to her: her children, who went on to write and publish their own books.

You can learn more about Anita’s story here.

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about the writing,  marketing, and publishing process in ourVIP Self-Publishing Program. Learn more  by clicking here!

Here’s how to get on the New York Times Bestseller list:

  1. Understand what the NYT Bestseller list is looking for
  2. Obtain fast and diverse sales
  3. Establish a large author platform
  4. Have a pre-order list before your launch
  5. Get paid for speaking in bulk book purchases

If you want to skip right down to these steps, click right here.

Otherwise, stick around so that you can gain a further understanding of what it actually means and what it truly takes to get on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Because it could impact your path to get there…

Why do authors want to get on the New York Times Bestseller list?

Getting published in the New York Times Bestseller list is traditionally regarded as the gold standard in the publishing world.  While many notable bestseller lists exist in the publishing world —The Wall Street Journal bestseller list for business-themed books, for instance—the New York Times Bestseller list, published weekly since 1931, is the oldest and most prestigious list.  

To that extent, getting your work published on the list is a major deal–but there are “rules” that bars many ridiculously great authors from ever reaching this status.

Getting published on the Times’ list not only raises your profile as an established author but can offer many more opportunities.

Here are some benefits of becoming an NYT Bestselling author:

  • Land future writing contracts with established printing houses
  • Broader industry recognition
  • Establish you as a major thought leader and expert
  • Provide increased sales particularly if you are a lesser-known writer
  • Lend a good deal of bragging rights.  

Best Seller Lists are Evolving

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about the New York Times Bestseller list is that it is an evolving list.  

It always has been and, as historical and more recent trends seem to suggest, probably always will be. To be fair, it is not only the Times.  

Only as recent as 1995 did the Los Angeles Times begin to count paperbacks again on its bestseller list.  

Further back in time, in 1961, the Chicago Tribune more infamously denied certain high-selling books that it considered to be “sewer written by dirty fingered authors for dirty-minded readers” from appearing on its Bestseller list.  

Various genres and classic works of literature have historically not appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list.  The recent explosion of E-books (The Times began counting them in 2010), self-published books, and audiobooks have also contributed to a more evolving list.

How do best seller lists work?

The New York Times Bestseller list is made up of various lists divided by different categories such as fiction and non-fiction, hardcover, paperback, Ebooks, audiobooks, and various book genres.

For you, the aspiring writer whose goal it is to be published in the their Bestseller list, probably the most important thing to know is what is worth writing if you are to get your work published on the list.  

Again, The New York Times does not consider various categories for their bestseller list. A helpful article published on their site about their various guidelines and scoring method clarifies the matter.  

Here is what those guidelines state:

“Among the categories not actively tracked at this time are: perennial sellers, required classroom reading, textbooks, reference and test preparation guides, e-books available exclusively from a single vendor, journals, workbooks, calorie counters, shopping guides, periodicals and crossword puzzles.”

Cookbooks, contrary to popular belief, are included, as are religion, spirituality, and faith books.    

The NYT Bestseller “List” is Not a True Measure of Bestselling Status

It may seem contradictory and still remains controversial to say but it is nonetheless true: The New York Times Bestseller list does not represent a true best-seller list–that is, when accounting for actual total sales.  

Just what constitutes “Bestseller” status has been the decades-long battle – legal, political, commercial, and otherwise between—the Times, various authors, and book publishers.  

Like any traditional gatekeeper, the Times has its set of rules, standards, and procedures. As such, they hold the “keys” as to “who” gets in…and who is left out (even if they’re deserving).

It is best to think of New York Times Bestseller status as something that is subjective in nature. A book that becomes a New York Times Bestseller doesn’t necessarily have to sell millions of copies, or hundreds of thousands, for that matter. While book sales do meet the subjective criteria that the Times uses, it is a specific kind of “book sale” that counts toward New York Times Bestseller status.  

Moreover, given the explosion of online sales and the diminishing number of traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores (and, consequently, bookstore sales) the sales methodology behind how books are counted has influenced which books appear or do not appear on the list.  

As explained in a recent article about how to become a best-selling author and how to appear on a bestseller list, it’s stated that the New York Times in particular, when tallying books for bestseller status, considers:

  1. Books that sold in a very specific time period: The Times does not track cumulative sales.  Hence, why the Bible, the best-selling book of all time, will not appear on the list.  Books like Don Quixote and The Tale of Two Cities, worldwide beloved classics that have sold millions over the years, also will not appear.  Dan Brown’s Davinci Code, however, will appear, as it did for several years between 2003 and 2006.   
  2. Books sold at very specific places: certain book sales are “weighted” more favorably depending on where they originate. Bulk sales, under certain conditions, are counted toward bestseller status; ebooks published by a sole vendor are not, etc.

Again, the Times explains this in more detail on their site.     

What Writers Need to Know About the New York Times Bestseller List

Even though it retains its prestigious reputation, The New York Times Bestseller list has been the subject of much controversy. Charges of “curated elitism,” an overreliance on books published by the major New York publishing houses, questionable methodologies, bribery, editorial and political bias have prompted lawsuits and intense debates among authors, book publishers, and industry executives.

A 1983 lawsuit by William Beatty, an American writer best known for his novel The Exorcist and 1973 movie by the same name, is a case in point.  

While his book Legion sold many copies during its initial publication—enough to earn a comfortable spot for a while on the Times’ Bestseller list—his book appeared on the list only for one week.

Sensing bias and claiming that by it not remaining on the Times’s list his sales were being hurt, Beatty took his case to Court.  In Court, the Times defended itself on grounds that “The list did not purport to be an objective compilation of information but instead was an editorial product.”  The Court sided with the Times, dismissing a $3 million lawsuit.  

Think of it like this: The New York Times is the newspaper equivalent to a prestigious university and fashionable high-end clothing brand.  When it comes to getting on their bestseller list, just as it is for gaining admission to, say, an Ivy League School, few get in.

For those that do, they did their due diligence, worked incredibly hard, made great contacts, followed the rules, met the editorial standards, among other things.

How to Get on the New York Times Bestseller List

If you really have your hearts set on becoming a New York Times bestselling author, here are some of the things you’ll have to do in order to make it happen.

#1 – Know What the NYT List wants

A Stanford Business School analysis done years ago concluded by saying that the “majority of book buyers seem to use the Times‘ list as a signal of what’s worth reading.”

Knowing what the Times regards as a bestseller is important because it provides a helpful window into this segment of the bestselling publishing world (which has evolved past just the Times in recent years).  

It helps to know what is currently passing for a New York Times Bestseller.

Simply start with the category in which you would like to be published: fiction, non-fiction. Beyond that, genre: history, political, fantasy, science-fiction. It helps too to know who the Big Players are.

The Times is known to favor the Big New York publishing houses. Who are these? What are their submission guidelines? Who are some agents known for working with them?

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#2 – Obtain fast and diverse sales

In the age of digital self-publication and promotion, the traditional publishing route is virtually a thing of the past.  

Not so for a New York Times Bestseller. Unlike selling on digital mediums where you can become a Bestseller by selling your book on, say, Amazon, to whomever, wherever, becoming a New York Times Bestseller follows a different system.

To achieve bestseller status on the Times not only do you have to sell at least 5,000 – 10,000 copies in one week,  but these sales have to be diverse sales.

That is, you cannot sell 10,000 books to a pre-existing list of followers through a personal website or thousands from only one marketplace like Barnes and Noble.

Rather, these sales must flow from retailers across the country and in different geographical locations—everything from Big-Box chains like Barnes and Noble and Walmart, small independent book stores, E-commerce giant Amazon, university bookstores, etc.

It is worth noting that the public does not have access to who the aforementioned retail outlets are.  To prevent possible abuse from those looking to rig the system.

But the thing that is discrediting the NYT Bestseller List further and further is the fact that you can sell many more books than what is required, but would still not make it on the list.

Therefore, Amazon sales only (where 64% of books are purchased!) will not count on their own.

#3 – Build a Strong Author Platform

For first-time and lesser-known authors it is especially critical to have a pre-existing audience before attempting New York Times bestseller status.

This is how you can start to build your author platform and audience:

get on the NYT bestseller list
  • Be active on social media: it goes without saying, people—potential followers, collaborators, industry leaders, publishers, agents, and readers—exist in the digital space.  Find them, connect with them, and collaborate, if possible.
  • Be already building credibility / expertise on your particular niche / topic / passion: write a weekly blog, as an example.  This is perfect practice to hone your writing skills, develop your voice and writing styles, conduct research for your eventual book. The goal is to establish trust and credibility.
  • Collaborate with others in your particular area for more knowledge and broader exposure: if you want to get in with the Big Wigs you got to know your stuff. Once you have built up some credibility you can leverage this and reach out to important figures in your field. It is a win-win-win for you, the person you are reaching out to and the audience that is set to gain important information from the two of you.
  • Engage with your audience: Assess your audience’s “book pulse:” how hungry are they for your words of wisdom, unique insight, creative mind? What questions are you asking them? What have they had to say about your previous blog posts, vlogs, tweets, etc? Are they genuinely impressed, suggesting you write a book perhaps?

Maybe they are giving you more fuel for your book—telling you about things you had previously not known before, mentioning other books that further your expertise?  Engagement is key. What, if any, do you have with your audience?

#4 – Have a Pre-Order List Before Your Book Launch

You should have such a list for any book you seek to publish. For a potential New York Times Bestseller it is especially important from a sales perspective.

Rob Eager, a notable book marketing consultant, explains that, in the case of a New York Times Bestseller, all pre-orders sold before a book launch are counted during the first week of official sales.

So, for instance, 5,000 sold during pre-release and another 5,000 during the first official week equals 10,000 total books sold—a critical number to reach during the first week for New York Times Bestseller status.

Having a pre-order list works hand-in-hand with a pre-existing audience.  If you already have the audience it is, of course, easier to have a ready pre-order list.  If you are successful enough to have both of these before launch you are in good shape.

#5 – Exchange speaking fee for a bulk book purchases

While it may not be the best course for everyone, speaking engagements are incredible opportunities to double-down on your writing endeavors and entrepreneurial goals more broadly.

They are not only great confidence-boosters but serve as great book marketing opportunities.

Exchanging speaking fees for a bulk book purchase is especially important during the pre-order phase because it allows you not only reach a broader audience (and hopefully make more sales) but allows you to meet the Times’ requirement that book purchases be in different geographic areas.  

New York Times Bestseller Status vs. Writing as Means to an End

Given the age of digital entrepreneurship where self-publishing a book continues to gain significant traction, effectively taking down the traditional barriers of entry—publishing industry contacts, top-notch agents, and costly marketing plans—it is really up to you to figure out your writing goals.

Traditional publishing with the aim of appearing on an internationally-recognized Bestseller list like the Times versus self-publishing with the aim of achieving personal / business goals (and potential Bestseller status just not in the Times) is a tradeoff you’ll have to consider.    

Remember publishing a book is not an end in and of itself.  With its ability to boost your name, reputation, and authority, not to mention, depending on your industry, land you more consulting clients and speaking gigs, writing a book can open up some pretty amazing doors. A successful published book is a marketing tool like no other.

Whatever path you choose, keep in mind that achieving Bestseller status in places other than the New York Times Bestseller List has been proven to land equally promising and lucrative opportunities.  

And we are just in the beginning phases of this amazing trend. Self-Publishing School is here to help.

Good luck.

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amazon book reviews

How to Get Book Reviews on Amazon: Our Method for Free Book Reviews

Book reviews are what make or break you as an author and since Amazon is the leader in book retailers, getting reviews on Amazon is even more important.

As scary as it can be to leave your own fate in the hands of others, it’s true – especially if you publish through Amazon.

As a self-published author, having a portfolio of authentic positive Amazon reviews, right from the beginning, can skyrocket your book launch and make your book stand out in your market.

And yet–it is one of the hardest things to get.

For any Amazon product, positive or negative product reviews can be the difference between success and failure.

Here’s how to get amazon book reviews:

  1. How long does it take for reviews to appear on Amazon?
  2. Learn Amazon book review guidelines
  3. Build a launch team for book reviews
  4. Contact Amazon top reviewers
  5. Apply to book review sites
  6. Include a reminder in your book
  7. Relaunch your book
  8. Deal with negative reviews
  9. Go through the Amazon book review checklist

There’s nothing more painful after going through the blood, sweat, and tears of writing, publishing, and launching your book, to get very few to no sales because of your lack of reviews.

But where do we start to get Amazon reviews?

Who do we ask?

How do we get reviews that our audience will respect?

How many people should we have on our launch team to guarantee a certain number of reviews for setting up promotional sites?

How many reviews is enough?

We will look at the ways to get legitimate Amazon reviews for your book so that you can reap the benefits of turning your book into a thriving long-term business.

How long does it take for reviews to get posted on Amazon?

You can expect reviews to be posted within 72 hours after being submitted. Because there is a system in place to avoid faulty reviews, it may take Amazon more than this allotted time for the review to get posted.

While it can be worrying, especially for authors launching a book, your review will get there eventually—and we cover tips for ensuring they get approved in this post, too!

How to Get Amazon Reviews and the Review Process

When you publish a book, there are essentially 6 things that score at making your book a bestseller.

They are:

  1. A great book cover design.
  2. An irresistible book title.
  3. An amazing book description.
  4. Stealthy keywords.
  5. Targeted book categories.

And… Book Reviews.

When Amazon ranks your book, the ranking is based on the volume of downloads your book gets and, the amount of reviews stacked on the book’s review page.

Amazon’s system is designed to take notice of books that are getting steady traction when reviews get posted.

This is why it is critical that when you launch your book you set everything up to get as many reviews as possible to get momentum going, increase organic traffic, and drive your rankings in the search engines. This means a higher percentage of people writing reviews for your book, not just at launch, but for months (and years) down the road.

The bottom line is, reviews carry big weight in the form of social proof that can drive your book to a bestseller and continue to bring in healthy passive income every month.

Why do book reviews matter?

Because of Amazon’s algorithm, maintaining a steady income of new book reviews is vital for your book to rise in the rankings. Meaning that if you want your book to continue to sell, you need to obtain real and fresh book reviews.

This is a breakdown of why book reviews matter:

  1. The more reviews you get, the more visibility your book gets. This means more sales and potential organic reviews.
  2. You create a stronger relationship with your readers
  3. A boatload of reviews adds credibility to your book and brand.

Book reviews for your book on Amazon are one of the defining factors that determine if a potential reader will click the BUY NOW button or not. In fact, if your book has less than 10 reviews, there is a strong chance that your book will get passed over.

People want validation before purchasing, and the best way to make that decision is on the front of the product page: reviews.

Amazon Reviewer Guidelines

You can find everything you need to know about posting reviews on Amazon right here under the Community Guidelines.

Amazon has tightened the ropes on reviews and as an author, you have to be aware of the tactics that are prohibited.

Here is what not to do when it comes to getting book reviews on Amazon:

  1. Pay someone to leave a review. This not only goes against Amazon’s terms, but it could get your book removed from the shelf and your account banned.
  2. Offer a free ‘gift’ in exchange for a review. No gifts allowed. This is still considered payment for a review.
  3. Join Facebook groups offering book review swaps. These sites are bad news. Amazon prohibits review swapping and is considered gaming the system. The Amazon algorithm can easily trace reviews back to these sources.
  4. Offer an Amazon gift card after a review has been published. It works like this: “You download the book and leave a review, and I will send you a gift card.” Again, this is against policy and is considered paying for a review.
  5. Leave a review for an author, then contact that person requesting they leave a review in return. This would be a form blackmail or trapping the other author into guilt. But this doesn’t work and if you receive any such email, inform the other author that you don’t work that way. I did this once and they just removed their review.

Most of these fall under the label of “incentivized reviews“, as there is a form of compensation in exchange for a review by Amazon sellers. Amazon has made it their mission to crack down on these on their platform.

What’s the Difference Between Verified and Unverified Book Reviews?

According to Amazon, an “Amazon Verified Purchase” review means they’ve verified that the person writing the review purchased the product at Amazon and didn’t receive the product at a deep discount

Product reviews that are not marked “Amazon Verified Purchase” are valuable as well, but we either can’t confirm that the product was purchased at Amazon or the customer did not pay a price available to most Amazon shoppers.

Verified reviews are favorable and are social proof that the reader did in fact buy the book and has potentially read through it before posting a review. A verified review shows up as a yellow banner that says “Verified Purchase,” as seen in the example below:

amazon book reviews

For unverified reviews, in most cases, the reviewer received an advance copy of the book and was possibly on a launch team to support the book’s release.

While this is still a legit practice for garnering reviews for your book, if the majority of reviews are non-verified, this could affect your potential customer’s decision to buy or not.

How long does it take for reviews to go live on Amazon?

Typically, it takes up to 72 hours for a book review to be posted on Amazon.

Some may take much shorter and other times it can take longer. If there’s a book review that should be live but has not been posted, you can contact Amazon for information on it.

How to Get More Amazon Book Reviews

There are many ways to get reviews but searching for reviewers to review your book is a time-consuming process. You could waste precious time chasing bad leads and end up with nothing for your effort.

So where do you get reviews without spending hordes of time?

No matter how you do it, remember that it isn’t just about quantity but quality as well. While we can’t control what reviewers will say about our work, we can stay focused on writing great content that adds value in order to increase our chances of getting positive reviews.

To get Amazon reviews for your next book launch, or to add reviews to an existing book, consider taking action on these following strategies:

#1 – Build a launch team

There are many ways to hunt down reviewers for your book. As we have seen, you can contact the top reviewers, target free book review sites, or reach out to book bloggers.

These methods, while they may get you a handful of reviews, is time intensive and a lot of work.

I have found, after running over two dozen book launches, that the most effective way to get reviews fast on launch is through setting up a launch team.

Your launch team is a group of people who have agreed to read your book in advance and follow up with a review immediately after the book is live.

When it comes to building a launch team, it is about building relationships over the long term. This is why, in order to run an effective launch team, you should focus on the relationship with your early-bird reviewers.

Here is a step-by-step process for organizing your team:

How to Set Up a Launch Team

1. Start building your relationships early. Launch teams don’t just happen. They take work, months of outreaching, and asking the right people if they want to help launch your book when the time is right. You can generate interest by posting snippets of the book on Social media, sharing chapters of your work with your list, and promoting your cover to people.

Share your content and advertise your brand. Communicate with people in person and through online channels about your writing. Keep in mind the purpose for this is to make genuine relationships with people and not to just add them to your launch. And most importantly, to make friends with people who read in your niche, so that your book gets recommended alongside the other books they’re reading.

2. Create your list of potential reviewers. As you build these relationships with your fanbase, start making a list of people who express interest in joining your launch. If you have multiple books and have been through the publishing process already, take note of the readers who have left reviews already.

Contact them closer to the launch of your next book to get them on board. Set up an excel spreadsheet and keep track of the names of people who sign up.

Action Step:

Contact people directly and invite them to the launch team. Keep track of early-bird reviewers in excel.

3. Set up an email template through your email server. Add everyone to the list. If you aren’t using an email server yet you can check out Mailchimp, Convert Kit or Mailerlite. Make it as easy as possible so you aren’t wasting time searching for contact information.

Send out a welcome email with a link to your book in PDF or/and Mobi form. You can create a folder in Dropbox and just include the link to a shared folder. Make it easy for them to access the material.

Action Step:

Import your list of emails onto an email server list.

4. Send out the Welcome email. Ideally you want to send out your book at least two weeks before launch. This gives people enough time to read it through. In the welcome email I include details for the launch date and any other expectations. At this stage the book isn’t live yet so you will send another email on that day with the link.

For the book delivery, you can upload a PDF version as well as a Mobi version of the book. To create a MOBI, PDF or EPUB file you can check out the Calibre ebook management software.

Here’s the difference between EPUB vs MOBI vs PDF so you can choose which to use.

After you have all the files ready, you can create a shared folder in Dropbox and share the link with your team.

If any top reviewers agreed to leave a review, you absolutely want to message them to follow up.

Action Step:

Create a welcome email template. Send out your welcome message to the team. Include a link to your book content.

5. Send out your ‘Take Action’ email on launch day. Your book is live and it is time for people to step up. Contact the team on launch day as soon as the book is live. After publishing a book it should take 12-24 hours for Amazon to get it posted. In the email, include a link to your book. More specifically, a link to the review page so that team members can go straight to the page with one click.

6. Day 3: Reminder email. I wait 3 days and send out a reminder email. In this email I thank everyone who has left a review and thank people in advance who are still working on the book and haven’t posted yet.

7. Final Call: This is the last email I will send out. Similar to the previous email, reminding people the book is live and is ready for a review whenever you are. You can remind your team that book is at a special discounted price if you are launching it at 0.99 or it’s free.

8. Contact Your List: If you have a list, this is gold for getting paid downloads and possible reviews. You should contact your list on the first day the book is live and let people know that the book has just launched. Then, several days later, email them again asking if they had a chance to get into the material. You could add something of value here just to show subscribers how much you value their support. This is the email where I include a ‘leave a review’ invite.

These are the steps I use to communicate with my launch team. Generally speaking, if you want 100 reviews for your book, you should aim for at least 200 people.

That is a lot of emails but, what I have experienced is that, on average, you are batting a 50% success rate. What happens to those other 50% who don’t review?

Here’s why some people won’t review your book:

  1. They didn’t like the book.
  2. They forgot to review altogether.
  3. They didn’t read the book.
  4. They couldn’t be bothered to review.

If you can get 20+ reviews on launch after one week you are looking very good. This is enough to get momentum moving and the Amazon algorithm will see that your book is doing well.

#2 – Contact Amazon Top Reviewers

There is a list of top 1000 reviewers on Amazon. These people review everything via the Amazon vine program, although certain reviewers target books specifically. If you can get an Amazon Top Reviewer to look at your book, this is well worth it.

Check out the Amazon Top Customer Reviewers list. This is a time-consuming process but, if you can get 2-3 reviewers to agree to a book review, you’re all set.

get amazon book reviews

Here’s how to get more reviews on Amazon with top reviewers:

  1. Go into the reviewer’s profile and check the books they have reviewed. To be specific, you want to check for books in your genre. If you wrote a book on weight loss and the reviewer has written most of their reviews for romance novels, it’s a good indication of what they favor. Target the reviewers interested in your topic.
  2. Check for contact information. Due to the large volume of spam and requests for reviews, most top reviewers have removed their personal email. If they have a website set up, you can send a direct email to request a review.
  3. Wait for a reply. Most reviewers, from my own experience, did not reply. I would recommend targeting 20 reviewers and wait one week. You can then resend the request again.

This is a time-consuming process but, if you get a top reviewer to agree to a review, keep that person’s contact information in an excel file. Then, when you launch your next book, you can reach out to them again and again.

#3 – Book Review Sites

There are a number of sites out there that will find reviewers for your book. This is not the same as buying reviews for your book which, I’ll restate again, goes against Amazon’s review policy and should be avoided.

In fact, Amazon has taken action against over 1000 sites on Fiverr that were selling incentivized reviews and fake review services. Yes, avoid.

Review services, however, can speed up the process and find reviewers for your book. One of my favorites is BookRazor. It is a paid site but they promote a system of honest reviewers for your book by providing a contact list of potential readers.

There are many other sites you can check out as well, and many of them are free while some are paid:

#4 – Include a reminder in your book

Here is a tactic that works well. Did you know that you can include insert a request in your book for readers to leave a review? It’s a great way to invite people to review your book.

I have a page at the back of my books that looks like this:

What Did You Think of [Your Book Title Here]?

First of all, thank you for purchasing this book [Your Book Title Here]. I know you could have picked any number of books to read, but you picked this book and for that I am extremely grateful.

I hope that it added at value and quality to your everyday life. If so, it would be really nice if you could share this book with your friends and family by posting to Facebook and Twitter.

If you enjoyed this book and found some benefit in reading this, I’d like to hear from you and hope that you could take some time to post a review on Amazon. Your feedback and support will help this author to greatly improve his writing craft for future projects and make this book even better.

You can follow this link to [Book link here] now.

I want you, the reader, to know that your review is very important and so, if you’d like to leave a review, all you have to do is click here and away you go. I wish you all the best in your future success!

When you do this, you want to have a link directing customers right back to the review page on Amazon. Make it so easy for them that it requires as little effort as possible.

Many authors will include a cute ‘cat photo’ or even pictures of their kids begging asking for a review. This strategy can work well if you sell a large volume of books during the initial launch phase.

But remember it takes readers time to go through your book and so, if you don’t see the reviews appear in the first week, you might get them trickling in weeks or even months later.

#5 – Relaunch Your Book

You can relaunch your book if book sales drop and the reviews stop coming in. When you relaunch your book, you can put together a new launch team, and even add a new chapter to the book to generate a renewed interest in your book.

I have tried this strategy several times in the past year and, by relaunching the book, adding new value to the content, I put together another small launch team of 30-40 people. This brought in another 20+ reviews for a book that was suffering from lack of sales and poor rankings.

It happens, so we have to stay on top of keeping the book active.

How to Deal with Negative Reviews

Getting positive reviews on your book is a great feeling. In a perfect world, we all want to have just the good stuff when it comes to our review platform. But alas, there will always be that dissatisfied reader that was expecting something much different than what your book was offering.

Readers will leave a negative review for various reasons, and in most cases, there is nothing we can do.

But first of all, receiving a negative review isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can lend to a book’s credibility. Look at it from a reader’s perspective. If a book has 100 positive 5-star reviews, although the reviews may be legitimate, we know that not every book is perfect.

Having a load of good reviews and nothing that is under three stars could create doubt for the browser, just as having a book with only a handful of reviews turns browsers the other way.

While negative reviews aren’t all bad, there are steps we can take to reduce the amount.

So how can we prevent our book from getting a lot of negative reviews and turning away potential book sales?

Here are four areas to pay attention to:

  1. Book quality: the single biggest reason a book will get panned by negative reviews is poor quality. This is credited to sloppy editing. A book that is not up to the quality expected by readers will get hit with a high amount of bad reviews. Then, it could get pulled off the shelf by Amazon until the author upgrades to better quality. Make sure your book is up the high standards people expect. Always respect your readers. The book business is like any other business, make good products, and your customers will love you.
  2. Inaccurate description of the book: make sure that your book description, title and cover all point towards the theme of the book. If your book is titled, “How to become rich in 21 days” and, after reading through the book the reader isn’t rich, well, they bought the book because of the promise you made. So, if reading a book delivers a negative outcome for your audience, someone is going to shout about it in a review.
  3. Your book is a sales pitch for your other products. If there is one thing that readers don’t like, it is being hit up with offers and the push to check out other services or products in the book. This could come across as spammy and devalues the content that the readers paid for. While your goal may be to use the book to attract customers for your online business, you want to avoid any sales pitches in the book.

How to Write and Submit a Review

Writing a review for a book you like is a great way to drive potential readers to the title. If you read a great book recently and you want to tell people about it, you can take a few minutes to write up a positive review.

Writing a review is easy. Just go to the book’s front page and, under the heading Customer Reviews, you will see a button for write a customer review. Click on that and you will be taken to a page set up for ‘Your Reviews’ where you can write reviews for your purchases.

What you do is:

  1. Select the rating of the book from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the best score.
  2. Write your book description in the box provided. Keep in mind that if you leave this page before submitting your review, you’ll have to start over again. I would recommend writing the review first in Word or Evernote and then copy and paste.
  3. Create a headline for the review.
  4. Hit submit. Your review will go live within a couple of hours, although it could take up to 24 hours.

One point to note here is that, with Amazon’s policy for posting reviews, you have to have an account that has made a purchase of at least $50 using a valid credit or debit card.

Checklist for Getting Amazon Book Reviews

If you follow these steps, you’ll be able to get more book reviews and in turn, sell more books.

  1. Set up a launch team for your book. Send your team a PDF/MOBI/EPUB file and follow up with email right up until launch. Follow up with several reminders after the launch.
  2. Include a ‘Review Request’ page at the back of your book. Insert the link taking customers directly to the review page. Make it so easy they don’t have to search around for the book on Amazon.
  3. Contact Amazon Top Reviewers. Send a personalized email to each, targeting the people who review books similar to your genre. Wait at least two weeks before following up.
  4. Contact people in your business. This doesn’t include friends and family. Contact professionals in your field who would be willing to read the book with the possibility of leaving an honest review.
  5. Hire a site that specializes in finding honest reviewers for your book. I recommend BookRazor.
  6. Relaunch your book. Add more content, a new book cover, or make it appealing for people to join your relaunch of an existing book. You can relaunch a book as many times as you want.

There are a lot of strategies out there to get reviews for your books, most are legit, and some are not. As an author, make sure you are aware of what Amazon considers to be authentic reviews when it comes to gathering reviews for your next book, and steer clear of anything it considers to be “incentivized reviews”.

If a site promises to get you positive reviews in return for cash, stay away. It isn’t worth it, trust me. Keep hunting and adding reviews to your book.

Book reviews are the secret sauce to adding value and credibility to your work, boosting sales and making your book stick on the bestseller lists. Don’t skimp out on them.

Author Interviews: How to Land Appearances on Podcasts for Book Promotion

Author interviews via podcast appearances are one of the best ways to build authority and reach targeted audiences of ideal readers, as well as promote your book.

Best of all, once you’ve appeared on a podcast, you’ll be able to use your interview as proof of your expertise and experience when you pitch to other podcasts.

This is especially beneficial if you self-published a book since you don’t have the support of a big publishing house—you’re doing all the book marketing on your own!

And this is a powerful way to spread the word about all the good your book can do.

Here’s how to land author interviews:

  1. Do your research
  2. Rate and review the podcast
  3. Feature the podcast hosts
  4. Tailor your pitch
  5. Offer ideas related to your book
  6. Leverage common connections you have
  7. Send samples of previous author interviews
  8. Create a one-sheet
  9. Deliver value first

Why do you need author interviews?

Author interviews are beneficial for authors to spread the word about themselves as an author as well as their new and previous books.

Think about author interviews the same as celebrity interviews when they have movies or TV shows premiering.

Here’s how author interviews can benefit you:

  • You will reach a new audience
  • Your audience will be more receptive
  • You market yourself as an author
  • You market your newest book launch
  • You can market any previous books you have
  • You will gain a larger social platform
  • You will sell more books

Overall, author interviews can only help you in your quest to become a full-time author by offering you book marketing opportunities.

Check out this example of how beneficial an author interview of our very own Student Success Coach, Lise Cartwright, can be below. It’s available both on our Youtube channel and Podcast.

With over 8700 views on Youtube and many listens on the podcast, this interview certainly helped maintain her passive income through books.

How to Get Author Interviews on Podcasts

Below, you’ll discover 9 simple strategies to stand out in the eyes of podcasters and land author interviews on their shows.

#1 – Do your research

First of all, listen to the show before reaching out to podcast hosts. Podcasters are often approached by an author who sends generic emails proclaiming “I love your show,” and then ask to become a guest to promote their book.

Other times, they’re approached with specific pitch letters, but the fit isn’t right.

The reason for the mismatch usually is that the author who is pitching hasn’t listened to the show.

If it feels like a chore to listen to the podcast, that’s a sign that you might be better off reaching out to a different podcast host.

After all, you want to find podcasts that are in your niche, which usually happens to be those you listen to anyways.

Here are a few things to ask yourself when you want to reach out to a podcast for an interview:

  • Do you listen to them on your own?
  • Do you resonate with their core message/theme?
  • Are you involved in their community on a regular basis?
  • Would you be proud to be a featured guest on their podcast?
  • Are you a fan of past featured guests?

Answering these positively will help you determine which podcasts to reach out to. Without doing the proper research, you could wind up upsetting the hosts and burning those bridges.

#2 – Rate and review the show

Once you’ve listened to a show, subscribe to it on iTunes. Then, rate and review, too.

Ratings, reviews, and subscriptions help the podcast’s ranking. Most importantly, reviews are a powerful form of social proof that will encourage new people to listen.

Mention the review when you submit your pitch.

For example, you could write, “Listening to John Doe’s description of his struggle to grow his business in spite of his terminal disease was truly inspiring. Now, when things get tough, that message keeps me going. That’s why it was such a pleasure to write a 5-star review of your show on iTunes.”

author interviews podcasts

Your message will bring awareness to what you’ve done to support the show, greatly increasing your chances of landing a guest spot.

#3 – Feature the podcast hosts

If you currently have a podcast or YouTube channel, invite the host to be featured as a guest.

By being on your show, the podcasters will learn about your background, and most importantly, about your book. In many cases, they’ll be compelled to invite you as a guest.

Even if the podcast hosts don’t ask you to be on their show, they’re still much more likely to say yes when you ask them.

Also, I send a copy of my book to my podcast guests, who in many cases write a review of the book on Amazon and then offer to have me on their show.

If you don’t have a podcast, then feature them on your social media or website.

You could also write a blog post about the main lessons learned from the show, and tag the host on social media when the article is published. Be cautious when applying this strategy, however.

A subpar article, a half-hearted effort to capture what’s valuable about the show, or overblown praise will probably backfire.

#4 – Tailor your pitch to the host’s story and the mission of the show

When I first pitched my ideas to Dave Lukas, host of the Misfit Entrepreneur Podcast, I mentioned how much I loved that he’d created the show as a legacy for his daughter.

When he learned that I related to and understood his mission, it was easy for him to agree to have me on his show.

You can do the same. Find out why they do what they do, and if it resonates with you, then center your pitch around that.

Here are a few tips for tailoring your pitch to land your author interview:

  • Mention something you learned from their show
  • Make a connection from yourself to the show’s mission and theme
  • Connect your book’s message with their show’s

Doing this will help you reach podcast hosts much more effectively and show them you’re a great fit for their show.

#5 – Offer three unique ideas related to your book

Before I submit a pitch, I research the episodes in the past two to three months to see if anyone has explored the topics I have in mind.

If my topics are fresh, I submit them. If not, I reposition my expertise with a different angle.

My book is about influencer marketing. If I notice that only three weeks prior, another guest talked about influencer marketing as part of a business’s marketing mix, I pitch a different aspect of the topic, such as “how to build a list of subscribers with influencer marketing,” or “how to initiate connections with social media influencers to launch your book.”

Resist the temptation to speak about a topic that deviates from your book. If you do that, your interview will probably not bring in new book sales.

I encourage you to take a moment right now and write down three to five topic ideas based on the core message in your book, which you can modify depending on the targeted show.

#6 – Leverage common connections you have with the host

Who do you think has a better chance to get a last-minute appointment with a busy hair stylist: a complete stranger or the friend of a current customer?

The same idea applies to landing guest appearances on a podcast. Common connections matter.

Often, when I appear on a podcast, the host will offer to introduce me to other podcast hosts who might want to have me as a guest.

This is one of the easiest ways to secure future guest appearances.

You might not even need a formal introduction. When you pitch, just mention that you know one or more of their previous guests.

The idea is to find common ground.

#7 – Send samples of previous interviews

In every podcast pitch I submit, I include links to three of my most relevant and significant podcast appearances.

Those podcast interviews are relevant because they’re ideal for the audience of the new podcast I’m targeting, and they’re significant because they have reached large audiences.

If you haven’t had podcast appearances yet, I encourage you to create audio or video clips with valuable content relevant to your audience that you publish on your site, and use those links as samples for the host.

Even though samples of actual podcast interviews are much more powerful, the mere fact that you have a sample of your work will help you stand out among the competition.

#8 – Create a one-sheet

To save yourself time and effort, and to show your professionalism, I suggest you create a “one-sheet.”

A one-sheet is a document that’s a summary of who you are and what you offer as a guest.

You could send the link to your one-sheet with your pitch, or use the information within the one-sheet to complete your guest request form or email pitch.

Regardless of the situation, having this document readily available will save you time and effort.

The main elements of a one-sheet are:    

  1. Bio
  2. Headshot
  3. Potential interview topics
  4. Talking points
  5. Relevant links
  6. Affiliate links
  7. Contact information

Here’s an example of my own, personal one-sheet and what all the below information looks like compiled into, well, one sheet.

author interview one sheet example

Now let’s delve into what each of these sections needs.

Bio

Create different versions of your bio (50-, 100-, 150-, and 200-word bios) so you’re ready when the podcast host asks you for a specific length. If you’re submitting the entire one-sheet, include the 100-word version of your bio in it.

The bio should mention your book (even if you haven’t published it yet), and other credentials as proof of your expertise, along with at least one personal tidbit about yourself.

Headshot

It’s standard for all podcast guests to submit their profile picture before they’re interviewed. Invest in a professional photographer.

No selfies, please!

Potential interview topics

List no more than seven topics related to your book you could explore as a guest.

You can check back to step number 5 if you need to generate some.

Talking points

Some hosts will ask you to provide talking points for the topic you’ll explore. Others favor a free-form style, and will lead the interview as an informal conversation.

In either case, you should be prepared to provide talking points within 48 hours of being approved as a guest, though you can double check with the podcast host for specifics about this.

Relevant links

Include links to your main website, your book, your free offer for the listeners, and your primary social media pages.

Depending on the host, you might also be asked to provide an affiliate link to a free download or low-ticket offer. In most cases, providing affiliate links isn’t required, but having the ability to create such a link on demand will help you stand out.

If you’re submitting the one-sheet, then just write “Affiliate link for free download available.”

Contact information

Include your email address and phone number.

Having your one-sheet ready will allow you to simply copy and paste the information when you complete guest request forms or pitch via email.

#9 – Always aim to deliver value first

Above all, remember that your primary goal is to deliver value to your audience, and book sales will be a natural result of that value. If instead you approach the podcasters with the only intention to sell more books, they might simply ignore you.

When you submit your pitch, always start what ifs a personalized explanation of why you are a fan of the show and how you can inspire and educate its audience.

Then, mention your book as an additional asset listeners may benefit from.

Value First!

Good luck landing your author interview!

After you land your first podcast appearance, it’ll be much easier for you to land the next. When you least expect it, the word about your book will have spread and you will make a much greater impact with your message.

What matters most is that you take action and start reaching out to podcast hosts. You—and your book—deserve to be known!

amazon marketing services

Amazon Marketing Services: 20 Creative & Unique Ways to Use AMS Ads

AMS Ads are dead,” said the not-so-savvy self-published author.

Don’t believe this lie. AMS Ads, or Amazon Marketing Services ads, are stronger than ever, and – whether we like it or not – they are here to stay.

As a matter of fact, Amazon just rolled out a brand-new, improved UI for AMS; they have added new features, and are constantly creating training material to help authors better understand the platform.

Would they do that if AMS were on the way out? Not likely.

Sure, not every book is a good fit for Amazon ads: that’s why many Amazon published authors grow bitter and blame the platform for not being able to sell a book that would not be marketable anyways.

Don’t be discouraged. Now is the time to jump onto the AMS wagon if you want to actually get paid to write.

Those who don’t read the Self-Publishing School Blog and believe that Amazon advertising is dying will gradually move away from it, making the space less crowded and much more profitable for all of us.

Here are our tips for using Amazon marketing services effectively:

  1. Target famous authors with Amazon marketing services
  2. Target Amazon published books
  3. Target books featured on BookBub
  4. Target books that are recent movies
  5. Target paperback books
  6. Target audiobooks with Amazon Marketing Services
  7. Think about Amazon ads for your book series
  8. Grow your email list
  9. Advertise your backlist
  10. Use The Greatest Hits method
  11. The Amazon Ad puzzle
  12. The Ad stacker
  13. Pre-populate with pre-orders
  14. Use AMS for reviews
  15. Use Amazon’s Bid+ system
  16. Use negative keywords
  17. Target your own book

Stay put, don’t give up. When others zig, just zag 🙂

What is Amazon Marketing Services?

Amazon marketing services (AMS), now called Advertising Console is a collection of effective tools to help vendors drive traffic to their products and sell more.

For authors, this means AMS is a hub for increasing low book sales and maintaining a steady income with their books.

Amazon Marketing Services for Authors Made Easy

I get it, click bids have gotten more expensive, finding profitable keywords is more difficult and winning is harder than ever. But this is only a byproduct of the space getting more crowded.

However, let me assure you: those CPC prices are nowhere near what our friends in the physical product markets are paying.

Strange as it may seem, AMS is still a happy place for authors.

The key is to get more creative, thinking out of the box. Find new ways of using AMS, test and tweak, and you’ll be way ahead of the (still relatively small) competition.

How?

Here are 20 ways in which you can use Amazon Marketing Services Ads for your book marketing ventures. Each tactic is coupled with a brief explanation of how to implement it in a practical way.

Enjoy the list and remember: now is the time for Amazon advertising!

#1 – Target a famous author in your genre

You’ll do this in order to try to get into his or her also-boughts. You know, the little section in this screenshot that shows you what other people who bought an item have also bought 

amazon marketing services

It’s no secret that ‘also-boughts’ are the main source Amazon uses when they recommend new books to readers. And if your book is in one of your competitor’s ‘also-boughts’, then there’s a good chance it will get shown, recommended and ‘pushed’ to the exact audience you’re after.

Happy days.

Try bidding heavily on one of your competitors as a target so that your book shows up everywhere on their book’s page and ‘steals the show’ in your reader’s eyes.

#2 – Target books published by Amazon

Amazon has various imprints through which it publishes books, the most famous being Thomas & Mercer.

Targeting authors and books by these subsidiary companies is a great idea. Amazon (and their algorithm) love when people buy their stuff, which they continuously promote left and right.

Try to get your book next to one of Amazon’s own babies, and you’ll be a happy writer indeed.   

#3 – Target books that are featured on BookBub

Once a book is featured in BookBub’s daily email (aka their ‘Featured Deals’), it’s likely to get thousands of downloads and a load of traffic on all the retailers.

Which of course means more eyeballs on the said book.

By keeping an eye on the books that appear daily on BookBub’s email blast and targeting them with your Amazon ads, you’ll be the first to place your book next to the day’s hottest title, thus piggybacking on its visibility and – hopefully – sales.

amazon marketing services ads

#4 – Target books that have recently been turned into movies

A hot new release (just as explained in point 3) is always going to garner bigger attention, at least for a few days.

Keep an eye on new movie releases in your genre, especially big blockbuster films that have been inspired by bestselling books. Again, the trick here is to target those hot new titles so that your book shows next to them, thus collecting some love from all those hungry readers.

#5 – Use Product Display Ads to target paperbacks

Amazon’s Product Display ads give you a unique chance to specifically target paperback versions of your competitor’s titles (unlike Sponsored Product ads). The first benefit of doing this is that you’ll undoubtedly broaden the reach of your ads.

AMS for authors

But most important perk is that you’ll also likely increase the sales of your own paperback copies.

As it were, ‘physical book lovers’ have a preference for physical books, which are more expensive and thus will likely result in higher royalties for you to pocket!

#6 – Use Product Display Amazon Ads to target audiobooks

See point 5 above, but this time use PD ads to target audiobooks!

Don’t have an audiobook version of your title? You’re definitely missing out on one of the hottest and fastest-growing trends in the indie publishing industry.

You can find a step-by-step guide on creating an audiobook right here.

#7 – Lose money on the first book in your series

Your first in series is likely to be free on Amazon (or at least it should be). But don’t fret, pure ROI seekers!

Sure, by going a bit ‘heavier’ on Amazon ads pointing to that book, you’ll likely lose money. But you’ll make it back when readers go on to purchase book 2, 3, 4, etc. in your series. Make sure you have a good idea of how to calculate your audience’s ‘read-through rates’, and adjust your CPC bid and daily budget accordingly.

#8 – Lose money (again) to grow your email list

Be sure to display an opt-in form in the free book you’re running ads on (pro tip: also place it in the first pages of the book, so that readers don’t have to ‘wait’ until they’ve read the whole thing before parting with their email address).

This will inevitably result in more signups to your email list. Again, this isn’t stellar for pure ROI, and you might be losing money now, but in the long term, this will be super-beneficial.

#9 – Advertise Your Backlist

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (aka, don’t point all your ads and spend all your budget on one book).

Running Amazon ads for other titles in your backlist is always beneficial in keeping the books ‘sticky’ in the rankings, often also providing a load of read-throughs to the other titles in the same series (see point 7).  

#10 – The Greatest Hits method

Start your ads by bidding low-ish on keywords and competing authors/book-titles.

Once you have a good idea of what is actually performing well, take those successful phrases and compile them in a ‘Greatest Hits’ ad, with higher CPC bids and daily budget.

#11 – The Amazon Ad Puzzle

Try using your own book as a target keyword, but this time to advertise your higher-priced titles or box sets.

The ‘Sponsored’ results on the latter’s book page will likely populate with all your other titles, just like the pieces of a puzzle.

If a reader lands on your one book and sees your other stuff in the Amazon ads, they might buy a higher-priced title in your collection (and go on to become an aficionado fan of yours)!

#12 – The Ad Stacker

Don’t limit yourself to Amazon Marketing Services ads. Ad ‘stacking’ is often the best way to get a gazillion eyeballs on a new release (especially if you’re aiming at hitting bestsellers’ lists when running a hard launch).

Try your hands at BookBub ads, Facebook Ads, and others. You don’t need to spend thousands on them: a small budget will be more than enough to Discover where your readers are hanging out, so that you can place your books right under their eyes.

#13 – Pre-populate with pre-orders!

Start running AMS ads well in advance, even when your book is still in the pre-order phase. If you get your targeting right, this will help add your book to the ‘also-boughts’ of other books in your genre, thus igniting the sacred ‘recommendation loop’ from Amazon.

You can do this one week to a few months in advance. The bigger your author platform is, the longer you can get away with putting your book up for pre-order before the actual publication date.

amazon marketing services for authors

Plus, people will be exposed to your book, will pre-order it, and when the book is live, the instant truckload of downloads will shoot it into the stratosphere!  

#14 – Use AMS for reviews

Spend a bit more on AMS during a free promo you have scheduled.

This might sound counterintuitive when it comes to pure ROI, but you’ll be amazed at the number of downloads you’ll get. Be sure to add a ‘call for reviews’ to the end of your book.

Some readers won’t, but many will actually leave an honest (and verified) review.

#15 – Bid+

With their recent ‘upgrade’ of the Amazon Marketing Services platform, Amazon has given authors the chance to use their ‘Bid+’ system (an old acquaintance of those using Vendor’s Accounts).

This new feature basically lets Amazon know you’re willing to spend up to 50% more on CPC for the terms that are performing well. It’s really simple to use, as you can see in the example below so don’t be afraid to use this!

ams ads

Think about it: if Amazon has given us this new tool, why not take advantage of it?

You definitely won’t go broke (the daily budget still being the highest cap on spend): rather, you’ll likely outbid all of your competitors on your most prized keywords and phrases!  

#16 – Use negative keywords

As you surely know by now, hyper-relevant laser-focused targeting is the name of the game with AMS, but sometimes, this is much easier said than done.

Have an epic fantasy novel that appeals to teens, but that YA readers would absolutely hate? Don’t risk getting one-star reviews by unsatisfied vampire-hungry audiences.

Another new feature that Amazon has just implemented into their new AMS platform is the ‘negative keywords’ field.

Use it wisely to list all of the keywords you absolutely DO NOT want to associate your ads to through Amazon Marketing Services.

The sniper approach has never been easier.

#17 – Target your own book

Why on earth would you want to spend money targeting your own book? After all, it already shows up ‘organically’ in the search results for your key terms, no?

Well, not exactly.

Amazon is putting a lot of emphasis on advertising (another reason why you should use AMS ads), so it sometimes favors paid results over organic – something other platforms (e.g. Facebook) have been doing for a while now.

Crazy, right? Try punching one of your keywords in the search box and see if your book appears. It doesn’t?

Then you might want to give it a nice little push with a couple super-targeted ads.

Bonus: 3 more advanced Amazon Marketing Services tactics

If you’re really ready to make some money, you can try to tackle some of these more advanced Amazon Marketing Services methods to increase your book sales.

These might be tricky for you at first, but with enough practice, they’ll prove to be more than effective.

#18 – Use a Vendor’s Account (part 1)

An Amazon Vendor’s Express account will let you advertise your ebooks, but also audiobooks or paperbacks.

Use this incredibly powerful tool to advertise your physical or audio copies on relevant pages by your target authors.

As seen above (point 5), this will often result in sales of your own audios and paperbacks, yielding a lot more royalties!

#19 – Use a Vendor’s Account (part 2)

A Vendor’s Express account through Amazon Marketing Services will also let you advertise titles that you didn’t publish yourself.

Why would you want to do that, you say? For multi-author box sets you’re a part of, for example! This will bring more eyeballs to your stuff and… don’t forget to include an email-optin in your portion of the text!

#20 – Use a Vendor’s Account (part 3)

As seen above, why not use a Vendor’s Account to also promote a traditionally-published book you wrote before going indie? Your publisher will likely not be using AMS, so show them who the savvy author is and get some sales rolling!

Hope you enjoyed some of these tactics for Amazon Marketing Services ads. As I mentioned in the introduction to this post, don’t listen to those who want to attract you to the ‘next best thing’.

Think out of the box, test, test, and test again. And you will succeed!

This is a guest post by Brian Berni, a Self-Publishing School alumnus, now bestselling author under multiple pen-names. He blogs for writers and self-publishers at AuthorsTech and is the co-founder of BookAds, an agency that helps authors advertise their books through AMS and BookBub Ads.

Follow Him Here:  Facebook  Twitter  Pinterest

low book sales

Low Book Sales: 11 Methods to Give Your Book a Boost & Sell More

You wrote a book for a few reasons…

To fulfill a need in your life and also likely to make some passive income.

Both of which are great reasons to write a book but what if only one outcome is coming to fruition and in fact, you’re not making much—if anything—off the hard work you put into your book?

It can be really frustrating but we can help. After all, that’s part of what we do here at Self-Publishing School.

low book sales

Low Book Sales

Many self-published authors who are doing this on their own may see an encouraging spike in sales early on in their publishing journey.

After their launch, however, they check their stats, only to be let down by the low book sales they see. What happened to this vision of an author who actually made a living from their books?

While it’s challenging, making a full-time income from your books is possible. You just have to have the right system in place.

Our very own coach here at Self-Publishing School, Lise Cartwright, has been able to grow her passive income to over $4,000 per month in sales.

And we want to teach you how to do the same.

Nobody likes low book sales. If you did, you’d never publish a book in the first place but instead, just hoard your books for yourself to read.

But it’s not always just about the money, either. More book sales means that more people are reading your book and changing their lives as a result.

Since sharing your book’s deep purpose is linked to book sales, it’s only reasonable to want to learn how to sell more books.

Plus, we all like to be paid fairly for the work we put into our books, right?

NOTE: We cover everything in this blog post and much more about how to build a platform and maintain consistent book sales in our Sell More Books Program. Learn more about it here

How to Sell More Books

So you did it. You went through the arduous process of self-publishing and now you’re left with more questions than when you started.

Since your focus was on actually publishing your book, you may have overlooked the very important step of making sure it actually sells.

Here at Self-Publishing School, we know what it takes to self-publish and maintain your book sales.

Just take a look at this student’s results with our methods. Jed Jurchenko committed, and made it happen, so much so that he’s now one of our very own coaches, so he can teach new students how to implement these techniques in the same way he did.

increase book sales example

Here’s how you can get rid of your low book sales and actually sell more books.

#1 – Realize the marketing doesn’t stop once you hit “publish”

The best thing for you to do is realize that just because you’ve published, it doesn’t mean the work is done.

In order to maintain steady, continuous book sales, you have to set up a foundation in which you can grow from. This often means marketing regularly in order to keep your book in the limelight.

For example, the more you market your book, the more visitors you’ll get on your book’s page.

Why is this important?

Because the Amazon algorithm uses other user’s information to make sure your book pops up in the “Customers who bought this item also bought…” section, as seen in the example below.

book sales - "also bought" section example

The more people visit your book’s page, the more information Amazon gathers about those users, and this helps your book land in that spot, which increases sales.

#2 – Adjust your book description on Amazon

The description you put on Amazon is much like a short sales letter.

Why should someone buy your book? What’s in it for them? If they’re going to be paying you money, they often want to ensure they’re getting their money’s worth.

Is your Amazon book description written in a captivating way?

This is an example of a strong, powerful book description that helps pull in thousands of dollars in sales per month.

book sales - amazon description example

Here are a few HTLM tips to ensure your book description on Amazon is helping increase your book sales:

  • <br> Create line breaks
  • <em> Emphasize the enclosed text in italics
  • <font> Determines the appearance of the text within these brackets
  • <h1> to <h6> Determines the size of the text (<h1> is the largest)
  • <hr> This creates a horizontal line used to divide sections
  • <li> is used to create lists (it stands for list item)
  • <ol> creates a numbered list
  • <strong> created bolded text
  • <u> underlines enclosed text

If you need more help, we have an entire blog post all about this topic, you can read right here.

#3 – Get more reviews

Reviews are so important for book sales. Not only do they help readers discover if the book is a good fit for them, but Amazon relies on book reviews heavily in order to determine where to rank your book.

The way the algorithm works is to reward authors who are getting consistent, high rating reviews. Meaning, if your book got 50 4 or 5 star reviews during launch and nothing since, it might fall in the rankings compared to a book that has fewer reviews, but had received them on a consistent basis.

The reason for this is because Amazon wants to promote books that are consistently getting sales and are pleasing the people actually buying them.

So it’s your job to get out there and increase your reviews!

Here are a few ways you can work to get more reviews (and we have a whole blog post about this here if you want to head over and read that):

  • Add a section about reviewing the book within your book
  • Host giveaways with a review as one of the criteria to enter
  • Remind people to write a review if they reach out about your book

In order to increase your book sales, getting more reviews is essential. Don’t underestimate the power of a book review.

#4 – Create ads

If you’re willing to invest in your book, creating ads on Amazon and even BookBubs is a great way to increase your sales.

Make sure you’re not putting more in than what you’re making. In order to ensure you’re using the ads to the best of your abilities, check out this post about how to create unique Amazon ads to help your book stand out against the rest.

#5 – Host a relaunch

A great way to help your book gain momentum again is to host a relaunch. This could be just a fun event where you get another launch team together to promote your book, or you could also put out a hardcover copy and host a launch for it.

As of right now, Amazon does not allow printing of hardcover books, but you can use other sources like IngramSpark for your hardcover.

This will bring new attention to your book and when you have more than one version (paperback, hardback, and kindle), you’re seen as more of an authority, which can skyrocket your sales.

#6 – Reassess your keywords on Amazon

Authors need to start treating Amazon like a search engine, because that’s what it is. But in its case, you’re searching for products and not just information, like you do in Google.

Without hitting the right keywords, you can lose out on sales that should rightfully be yours, simply because your book isn’t’ showing up when someone looks for its contents.

Take this, for example.

If you search for the term “be happier” in the “books” category on Amazon, a number of results pop up.

book sales - amazon keyword example

We go into even more details of this in our VIP Self-Publishing course, which you can check out right here.

#7 – Assess your categories

The categories you place your book in can make or break your chances of becoming an Amazon bestselling author!

Do not make light of this.

When you put in your information on Amazon, you’re able to select which categories your book belongs in. These are what’s shown in the example image below.

book sales - amazon categories

We have a blog post covering this topic in much more detail than you can read right here, but we’ll give you the basics for getting approved for more categories:

  • Use Amazon Keyword Selection.
  • Place your categories in strategic places.
  • Contact Amazon.

These category placements are what will attract the right readers and help you become a bestseller – remember that!

#8 – Upgrade your author bio

You want to make sure that people searching Amazon for the types of books you write can find you easily. And sometimes, that means optimizing your Amazon Author bio so others can do so.

Take this example of Joanna Penn’s author bio.

As you can see, she has a few keywords right away in her biography, which can help those searching for authors who cover the same material she does.

book sales - author bio example

Not only that, but she also posts “author updates” to keep her bio fresh. This shows others that she’s active, which can motivate them to purchase from her, since they know she’s frequently available.

#9 – Get book endorsements

Book endorsements are one of the best ways you can place yourself as more of an authority in your field. When others see that your book has an endorsement by someone they deem as highly credible, it can prompt them to purchase from you.

The reason for this is because they already trust the person who is endorsing you.

Since they may not have heard of you before, they might feel less inclined to purchase from you.

But having a book endorsement from someone they trust will help calm their qualms so they purchase.

Take this example of a book endorsement by one of our students, Cloris Kylie, and her book Beyond Influencer Marketing.

low book sales - endorsements example

#10 – Land interviews

Interviews are a powerful way to get your name out and show people just how much you know about the topic you’ve discussed.

Whether this is an in-person interview, like one of our youngest students, Emma Sumner as she discusses her book, The Fairies of Waterfall Island: The Search for the Missing Crystal, or an interview on a podcast, you can only benefit from allowing others to ask you questions about your book.

Because you’re leveraging someone else’s audience, you can increase your book sales from those who may not have been able to find you or your book through other means.

#11 – Be consistent

Overall, the best thing you can do for you and your low book sales is to be consistent with your methods of marketing.

As scary as the term “marketing” can be, there are many ways you can up your exposure in order to increase your book sales.

Our most successful students are those who put in the work and remain consistent in their efforts to sell more books.

What’s to do Next

Are you ready to increase your low book sales and turn your passion into consistent passive income?

We’re ready for you!

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

How are your book sales? Do you have any methods not mentioned here that have resulted in a spike in sales for you?

kindle advertising

Kindle Advertising 101: Get Your Book in Front of Amazon Shoppers at Will!

Publishing your book on Amazon is only the first step.

The next part, and it’s the hardest, is getting that book in front of the right readers at the right time.

There are more ways to market your book than there are TV shows on Netflix, but there’s only one that can:

  • Give you results instantly
  • Is easier to use than most other platforms
  • Is targeted at where your audience are when they are in a shopping mindset

And that’s advertising on Amazon.

Thanks to Amazon’s own advertising platform, authors can now create ads that show their book to the right people either in the search results, or on the product listing of another book.

advertise kindle

Here’s what you’ll learn about kindle advertising:

  1. AMS vs Kindle Advertisements
  2. Types of AMS ads
  3. Step-by-step kindle advertisement creation
  4. Getting the most from AMS ads
  5. Improving AMS ads
  6. Kindle advertising summary

It might sound difficult, but once you’ve read this article, you’ll be able to setup your very own Kindle advertisements in less than 10 minutes.

The best part about this book-marketing tactic is that not only can it help you with your initial book launch, but it can also help to revive book sales of previously published books as well.

What are AMS Book or Kindle Advertisements?

First let’s define what they aren’t, because quite a few authors can get confused by the term “Kindle ads” which is used interchangeably by book marketers and consumer blogs.

When you purchase a new Kindle from Amazon, you have the option to purchase a standard Kindle e-reader or one with “Kindle special offers” for a lower price. For the special offers version, when your Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage or Kindle Touch is in sleep mode, your screensaver displays targeted and relevant ads. There’s also a persistent banner of ads at the bottom of your home screen on your device. On your Kindle Fire or Kindle Fire HD these ads come up on your lock screen and also in your notification bar. Consumer blogs sometimes refer to these as “Kindle ads”.

That’s not what I’m talking about here. In this article I’m talking about advertising across the whole of Amazon. Specifically, I’m talking about using Amazon Marketing Services. Also called AMS for short, it’s a platform where you can tell Amazon that you want your book to show up in certain search results, or on the sales page of another book on Amazon.com, and that you’re willing to pay them some money for every person who clicks on your ads.

Book marketers call these Kindle adverts, as we use AMS specifically to advertise our Kindle eBooks. Your advert appears everywhere your target buyer is on the Amazon platform. You can purchase ads that show up on your audience’s Kindle device if you so wish, but they have to meet Amazon’s policies.

Back to AMS, the amazing part is you only pay Amazon if someone clicks on your ad, and you’re in control of how much you pay. You can set your own price which is usually somewhere between .02 cents to .35 cents per click.

And that’s it. After setting it up with Amazon, AMS will start showing your book to their shoppers on your terms.

What Type of AMS Ads Can I Create?

AMS offers two types of ads. This allows you to choose where exactly your ad will be displayed to Amazon customers.

Sponsored Product Ads

If you want to show up in Amazon’s search results for a particular keyword, you should choose a sponsored product ad. If, for example, you choose the keyword ‘gardening book’, and someone searches for this phrase, they may see your ad alongside the other search results.

This type of ad is a great way of attracting the attention of people who your book would be suitable for, but who wouldn’t otherwise come across it.

Product Display Ads.

If you’d rather your ad shows up for a particular product, rather than in the search results for a keyword, you should choose a product display ad.

Amazon allows you to specify particular products, or particular types of products, that your ad will show up alongside. If you know you offer a superior version of a competing book, you can advertise in this way to persuade buyers to choose your title instead of, or along with, their original search.

Now that you know the way that AMS operates, and the basic types of ads you can choose, let’s take a look at how to get started by creating your first campaign.

Let’s Create an Kindle Advertisement.

The only basic requirement for advertising with AMS is to have a book published through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). The book doesn’t need to be part of the KDP Select program.

To get going, log into your KDP dashboard. Choose the book that you wish to create an ad for and click ‘advertise’.

The exact steps you need to follow differ depending on whether you choose a sponsored product ad or a product display ad, as you will now see.

(Pro Tip: though anecdotal, many authors have reported better results from Sponsored Product Ads, so that’s a good place to start).

How to Set Up A Sponsored Product Ad.

  1. Choose a name for your ad campaign. It can help with tracking and monitoring, particularly if you have multiple campaigns, to choose a unique and specific campaign title.
  1. Select your daily budget. This is the maximum amount you are willing to pay on any given day. Generally, it’s better to start small and scale up based on results.
  2. Choose whether you want your campaign to run for a fixed time or to carry on indefinitely.
  3. Select between ‘manual’ and ‘automatic’ targeting. It’s better to pick the manual option, as you can choose the exact way to advertise your work, rather than relying on Amazon’s automated choices.
  1. Choose the keywords you wish your ad to show up for. A lot of authors make the mistake of choosing a low number of keywords. To have the most success possible, the higher the number of relevant keywords, the better. You can pick from Amazon’s suggestions of keywords to target or enter your own.
  1. Select the default amount someone will pay when they click on your ad, known as ‘cost per click’, or CPC. This amount will apply to all keywords initially, but you can make adjustments later on.
  2. Pick an effective 150-character elevator pitch for your ad. You need to write something that is attractive and engaging in order to have the best possible chance of someone clicking on your ad.
  1. Select an existing credit card linked to your account. If you haven’t already done this, you need to add one at this stage.
  1. The final step is to click on ‘Launch Campaign’. Amazon will review your ad to ensure it complies with their requirements and get back to you in 1-3 days. As soon as Amazon approves, your campaign goes live!

How to Set Up A Product Display Ad

  1. After clicking the ‘advertise’ option on the book you wish to create a campaign for, select the ‘Product Display Ad’ option.
  1. Amazon offers two choices for Product Display Ads – ‘by product’ or ‘by interest’. ‘By product’ allows you to choose the exact products you want your ad to show up for, whereas choosing ‘by interest’ allows Amazon to select products for you on the basis of a theme or topic.
  1. Decide whether or not to allow Amazon to associate your ad with similar products to the ones you have specifically selected. This is a good way of associating your ad with products you haven’t specifically heard of, but that have been bought by customers in your target audience.
  1. Title your campaign.
  2. Select an overall budget as well as a CPC (cost per click) amount. Product Display Ads have an overall budget that gets spent over a longer period of time, so don’t be scared off by the larger numbers. That’s not what gets spent daily, just the pool that the ads are drawing from.
  1. Produce the copy for your ad. The 50-character limit for the headline and 150-character limit for the body necessitates succinct, impactful copy.
  2. Select ‘Submit Your Campaign for Review’. Amazon will get back to you within 1-3 days depending upon whether your campaign meets their guidelines.

How to Get the Most From AMS

You can skillfully use AMS to reap benefits beyond increased book sales alone (although they are, of course, awesome.) There are three advanced approaches to AMS that allow you to get a lot more bang for your buck.

Promote Other Versions of Your Work

Offering multiple formats of your book effectively allows you to get several adverts for the price of one. When someone clicks on your ad, they are taken to your book’s Amazon sales page. If you offer various formats, such as a paperback from CreateSpace or an audiobook for Audible, browsers will be exposed to those options and this leads to more sales.

Introduce Readers to A Series

If you’ve ever become hooked on a book series, such as Harry Potter, you know that reading the first book alone is never enough. Readers who love the story and characters in the initial installment can’t wait to get their hands on the next editions.

If you use AMS ads to draw a browser’s attention to the first book in a series, you stand a great chance of creating a fan who will willingly buy the other books in your series without further prompting.

Nathan Van Coops even goes as far to use AMS to promote the first book of his series In Times Like These, which is permafree. The amount of money he ends up making from the subsequent book sales, and other forms of book, outweighs the ad cost for the free book.

Get More Email Subscriptions

If your book offers a content upgrade like a free book, or checklist, then AMS can help to increase your email optins by increasing the number of people who get your book.

Pat Flynn, of Smart Passive Income, used his book ‘Will It Fly?’ to generate email optins. By offering a free course to go along with his book, Pat saw 33% optin rate. Although Pat has a large following, AMS has allowed him to increase his reach, create continuous sales, and grow his email list daily.

Market Other Products & Build Blog Traffic

You can use AMS to create funnels towards other products and services you offer apart from your books alone.

Some books encourage readers to visit the website or blog of their author. If you advertise a book which has this purpose, you can drive relevant customers to your external work that may never have otherwise found it.

Ryan Cleckner’s  ‘Long Range Shooting Handbook’ is a perfect example of this concept in action. By advertising it through AMS, he drives more people to his book, which in turn drives traffic to his post on how to get an FFL. This results in increased sales for his courses – all for the price of an AMS click.

How to Improve Your AMS Ad Skills


AMS book advertising can be a wonderful skill for authors to use in order to sell their previous, current and even future books.

And while I strongly believe that AMS is a great opportunity, the more you know, the better your ads can be. The better the ads, the more profit you’ll gain.

So, to help you improve your AMS book ad skills, here’s a completely free course on AMS that will not only show you what we discussed above, but will also go deeper into creating profitable long term ads, that will continuously bring you book sales.

Kindle Advertising Summary

Hopefully by now you understand the immense potential of AMS and why I love it so much.

kindle advertising

After all:

  • Only AMS lets you advertise to the most relevant and profitable people possible – interested Amazon customers.
  • Setting up a campaign is quick, easy and affordable.
  • You can show your ad in Amazon search results through Sponsored Product Ads.
  • Product Display Ads allow you to reach people interested in particular products.
  • AMS can generate income through more than just book sales. You can increase traffic to your external offerings and generate additional revenue as a result.

As with all advertising platforms, earlier adopters often have better results. If you delay getting started, you will have increased competition, your conversion rates will go down (as shoppers get used to adverts) and prices will go up. You’ll have a tougher time if you delay taking action.

If you want to delve deeper into the best strategies and tactics for Amazon advertising, check out my free Kindle advertising course. It contains hours of high-quality video, as well as notes and quizzes, to help you understand the full potential of AMS and put the best ideas and strategies to work for your books.

How to Sell More Books on Amazon

“To reach more readers and take your sales to the next level, you must proactively market your book”.

— Mark Coker

After months of effort and thousands of dollars, you finally finish writing your book. You upload it to the Kindle Direct Publishing platform, and you eagerly await the thousands of sales that you’ll get upon pressing “publish”.

Yet a week later you see that you’ve only made… a few sales.

Dejected, you realize this isn’t your ticket to passive income. Making money from your book isn’t as easy as they say, but it doesn’t have to be impossible if you set your book up for success right from the start.

That’s exactly what this post will show you how to do: sell more books on Amazon.

Here’s how to sell more books on Amazon:

  1. Invest in a great cover
  2. Craft a strong book title and subtitle
  3. Get book reviews to sell more books on Amazon
  4. Write a killer book description
  5. Utilize Amazon keywords effectively
  6. Get professional book editing
  7. Price your book to sell
  8. A full marketing plan
  9. Run book promos every 3 – 6 months
  10. Create a library of books
  11. 20 ways to promote your book

There are no hidden gimmicks or secret formulas to making money from your writing. You don’t have to be a marketing genius either: when I started out book publishing, I struggled for the first year to break the hundred dollars a month mark. Yet, with troubleshooting, testing, and learning from the people who were making five figures a month, I finally started to see results.

If you’re a writer wanting to make money from your book (and who doesn’t, right?) this post will help you navigate through the trenches of bookselling.

Is it easy? No, like anything worth having in life, there is a lot of work involved. We have to do things right and set our efforts up for long term sales. As a self-published author, you should know as much about marketing your book as you do about writing it. While writing will get your book published, promotion and marketing is what will get you sales and more readers.

To sell lots of books, whether via kindle, or print, you have to focus on two important parts: your book production, and your book launch strategy

Every decision you make about your book, right from the beginning, will be made with the intention of getting it into the hands of your audience and bringing new readers into your brand.

How much effort will you need to invest?

This depends largely on your goals as an author. If you are doing this part time and you just want to recoup your expenses for the cost of publishing your book, your marketing strategy will be much different than author who has a goal of earning a full time income.

In this post I will run you through the essentials of marketing, packaging and promoting your book in order to maximize book sales and earn your money as an author. After all, who doesn’t want to get paid well for what they love to do?

Regardless of what your book selling goals are, there are seven elements that must be met if your book is going to even stand a chance in the marketplace. Remember: you’re competing with millions of other books and that there are around 4500 new books published every day.

That’s a lot of books.

But not to worry. If you follow the criteria below, you will jump to the top of the heap where the top 5% of authors making money are hanging out.

Selling your book begins, not when your book is published, but from the very moment the idea pops up in your head, before you even put pen to paper.

The 7 Essential Elements of Your Book to Get More Sales

“Thirty seconds. As an author (or publisher) that’s about all the time you have when talking to someone to generate interest in your book.”

— Sarah Bolme

You may be thinking right now: “Wait, where are the promotion strategies? How can I sell thousands of books a month?” We will get to that. However, before you begin to think about selling a truckload of books, you must first engineer it from the ground up to prepare for future sales. You must make your book appealing enough to the reader to catch their interest.

When it comes to selling a book, you have a short window to convince someone that your book is the best investment they are about to make. You can do this right away by sticking with the 7 essentials we’re about to show you.

#1 – An Awesome Book Cover that Gets a Second Glance

Someone once said: “You can never tell a book by its cover.” That might have been true back in 1946 but in today’s world, readers DO judge by the cover and they will buy your book based on the front-end window dressing. The principle here is simple: If it looks good, it must be valuable. Most books get three seconds to sell a reader. If you want to sell more books, have a cover that grabs attention and gets your browser to take the next step.

For cover designers we can recommend a few sites here:

#2 – An Intriguing Book Title and Subtitle

Your cover is what grabs the reader’s attention, but your book title is what makes the sale. It will depend largely on the theme of your book but taking time to craft a title/subtitle will be a deciding factor for potential readers to buy… or not.

The title is the hook that draws readers in and the subtitle is your elevator pitch that tells them what they can expect to gain by reading this book. Will they lose weight? Become better at saving money? Run a full marathon in under six hours?

Brainstorm as many possible titles as you can for both the main title and subtitle. Although the title can make them guess what the book is about, the subtitle is what sells it. Good books that sell often have great subtitles that gives browsers a stronger idea of what is behind the cover.

Check out these great titles for inspiration:

Habit Stacking: 127 Small Changes to Improve Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness by S.J. Scott

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy

Relaunch Your Life: Break the Cycle of Self-Defeat, Destroy Negative Emotions and Reclaim Your Personal Power by Scott Allan

How to Be an Imperfectionist: The New Way to Self-Acceptance, Fearless Living, and Freedom from Perfectionism by Stephen Guise

Break Through Your BS: Uncover Your Brain’s Blind Spots and Unleash Your Inner Greatness by Derek Doepker

Book Launch: How to Write, Market & Publish Your First Bestseller in Three Months or Less AND Use it to Start and Grow a Six Figure Business by Chandler Bolt

#3 – Book Reviews & Book Launch Sales Volume

If a book browser is sold on your cover and the theme resonates with a subject they want to know more about, a quick scan of the book reviews will be the final selling point for most.

A book with less than ten reviews, or no reviews at all, may get passed over in favor of other books with a strong review ranking. Tattoo this inside your skull: Reviews sell more books. Getting reviews is an ongoing marketing strategy you should always be working on.

The Amazon algorithm is strongly linked to book sales and reviews. A book that sells well within the first two weeks combined with a set of high ranking reviews will get your book higher up the sales ranks of new releases during the launch.

This also sets you up for an effective long-term strategy. If you want to maximize the amount of sales you get over your book’s life span, then focus everything you have on the first 2-3 weeks. If you get lots of sales and reviews during this critical period, your book is set for long-term growth and will perform better than most competitors.

Reviews are a lot of work but they’re worth it. Aside from the cover, the reviews you get will make or break your sales. Focus your efforts on building a strong launch team of early reviewers who will receive a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review.

To stack up on reviews during your launch you can:

  • Provide a request to review page at the back of your ebook with a direct link to your book’s Amazon review page.
  • Invite people to join your launch team and provide early reviewers with a copy of your book to review 2 weeks before you publish.
  • Scroll through the list of Amazon’s Top Reviewers and request a review.

#4 – A Killer Book Description

Amazon allows authors to include a lengthy book description on the author page, don’t ignore this. While your book cover, title, and reviews are enough to make the sale, a solid looking book description adds that “heft” factor to the quality of your product.

Your book description will be a sales page that lists the benefits of the book. It should have a mixture of various font style and structure to create a clean, attractive description of your book. We recommend using the free Amazon Book Description Generator Tool at Kindlepreneur.com. This saves time in messing around with nasty HTML coding.

For some great examples for book descriptions check out these titles:

The Art of Everyday Assertiveness: Speak Up. Say No. Set Boundaries. Take Back Control by Patrick King

The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone: How to Live Fearlessly, Seize Opportunity, and Make Each Day Memorable by Peter Hollins

The Critical Mind: Make Better Decisions, Improve Your Judgment, and Think a Step Ahead of Others by Zoe McKey

#5 – Amazon Keywords

What use is a treasure hunt if there are no clues? If nobody can find your book, then what use was there in writing it? In order for people to buy your book, they’ll need to find it, and this is where keywords come in.

Researching and implementing the right keywords will play a big part in driving traffic towards your platform. Regardless whether you blog, have a website or you sell products online, setting up your keywords is a critical strategy. But where do we find these keywords? How do we know what keywords are the right ones?

Finding the right keywords will get your book ranking in the top search results, which means it’ll turn up in front of your customers as they search for the relevant keywords. High rankings means more visibility which leads to greater book sales.

There are three tools we recommend for researching relevant keywords for your book. They are:

Using the right software, you can get results for the number of times your keyword is searched. Google also shows you related searches and the competition that particular word has. What you are looking for is a word that has good search volume but not high competition.

Another tactic is to search for your book’s title and keywords by using Amazon’s search bar. Check the suggestions that drop down. Imagine what your readers are searching for when they are looking for your book.

You are allowed to include seven keywords, or short-tail phrases, in your book. Most people, when they search in Amazon, are more likely to type in a short tail phrase instead of a single keyword. You want to be specific with your search. Specificity narrows down the choices and makes your book more searchable.

For example, if you are looking for a book on losing weight, and you are over 50, type in losing weight after 50 and you will target the books related to your short tail phrase. Readers search this way. When you eventually become a successful author (touch wood,) then people can just search for your name, go to your Amazon author page, and buy your book. However, that comes later, once you’ve built your brand. Until then we’ll need to make your book easy to discover.


#6 – Professional Editing

A book that has been poorly edited is going to receive negative reviews. Period. While it is perfectly fine to have negative reviews on your book, you don’t want those reviews to be about the writing quality. It is an instant turn off for book buyers.

By poor writing quality we’re not talking about the occasional error (which can easily be corrected,) but a book filled with bad grammar, misspelling and a sloppy appearance. Would you buy a car with the doors falling off? Of course not, and a reader will not read a book that hasn’t been properly edited.

You can hire a great editor through Upwork or Freelancer. Ask other authors if they can recommend someone. Your editing will be the biggest expense for the book but trust me, you don’t want to cut corners with this.

#7 – Pricing Your Book

One question that I often get from authors is: “How much should I price my book at?” This is a tricky answer.

Yes, yes, I know you want to maximize your profit, but you’ll also not want to scare away potential readers because of an overpriced book. Also, remember that for any book priced $1.99 or 0.99 cents, the royalty is just 35%, while books priced between $2.99 – $9.99 net 70% royalty. The sweet spot for many books is $2.99 – $5.99.

sell more books on amazon

Price your book accordingly and by that, I mean, take into account the size and quality of your platform.

Established authors with a strong following can charge more, and books priced slightly higher than the norm may do well if they are packaged well (quality cover, large volume of reviews etc.)

You could start pricing your book at $2.99 and move it up $1.00 a week, testing the boundaries until you notice a significant decrease in sales.

You might sell less books at $4.99 but if your book has all the best elements mentioned in this section, and you market accordingly, the perceived value of your product will stand the test.

As for paperbacks, most indie authors are averaging a sales price between $9.99 and $12.99. Remember that you need to take into account the printing costs, but your royalties can do better per sale based on the higher price of the book at a 60% royalty rate.

These are the core essentials of any book. Even if you are not a good marketer, you can sell more books if you get these steps right.

Now, let’s take a look at some more advanced marketing strategies that includes book promotions and building an author brand.

The Permission Marketing Plan

“Permission marketing turns strangers into friends and friends into loyal customers. It’s not just about entertainment – it’s about education. Permission marketing is curriculum marketing.”

— Seth Godin

Now that we have looked at the basic elements you need to sell your book, it is time to get into the initial marketing. Generally speaking, most authors are not marketers. But you don’t have to be to sell.

Following the above steps will place your book in the top 10%, but it’s time to enter the pro leagues by using a solid marketing plan. This is where you can start making some real money.

Mind you, these strategies represent the infrastructure of a long-term book business. If you’re looking to make a quick buck they won’t help, but if you’re looking to lay the foundation for setting up passive income and drawing monthly income from your books over time, they’ll help.

First, understand this, to create sustainable income from your books, you can’t just tweet your way to sales, or send out weekly blog posts. To sell lots of books you need one thing: traffic. 

How to get traffic? By invitation. How to invite people to buy your book? By giving stuff away and providing so much value that they can’t possibly say no.

We do this by setting up an email list of raving fans.

With an email list, you can create a sustainable platform of fans that are eagerly anticipating your next book release. Picture this: in the buildup to launch day you have 1000 impatient readers yearning to grab your book. They’re counting down the minutes. You click “publish” and send out an email to your list. They instantly buy it, and your book skyrockets up the bestseller lists, leaving you in the top of your category, the Amazon top rankings and in search engines. How great would that be?

An email list of raving fans is worth its weight in digital gold, but building it takes time, patience, and a lot of work. You need to be strategic with your list and deliver valuable material that they need. Consistent engagement builds your list and becomes the foundation for your author brand.

Without an active email list, you’ll be relying heavily on luck and organic traffic. Although you can still do well without a list, you’ll work twice as hard to get your book into the top search engines.

If the money is in the list, you want to start building your list right now. You can do this by first offering an incentive inside your book. Do you have something of value to provide readers to entice them to sign up? If so, offer it now and begin list building.

But remember: People are giving you permission to email them. This is the beginning of a relationship with your readers. Value that relationship and you will have started the foundation for a business. Write for your readers and you will never have to worry about selling more books. Your readers will help you to market your book and they will always be your best customers.

You can start by signing up with an email subscriber service. There are several to choose from:

Mailchimp: This service is to free for up to 2000 subscribers. However, there is no support until you pay a monthly fee.

Mailerlite: a nice platform, very simple with easy-to-navigate features.

Get response: Also, simple to use and industry standard.

Convert Kit: Loads of features and everything you need. A cheaper alternative per subscriber compared to MailChimp and Aweber.

Once you have a comfortable list that you are engaging with regularly, it is time to focus your core efforts on providing value to that list. The subscriber gave you permission to email them, and now it is your responsibility to follow through by building that relationship.

Action Task: Sign up with one of the email subscriber services recommended. Spend a few hours and come up with ideas on two things:

  • How to provide so much value up front that your reader demographic will be eager to join your list?
  • What type of content can you regularly write to engage your list and build a relationship with them?

Look to newsletters you’ve signed up for inspiration.

Run Book Promos Every 3-6 months

You’ll find that, even the best books out there drop in rankings over an extended period of time. This is where we can keep things fresh by running promotional campaign for the book every 3-6 months.

Here is how you can do this.

Drop the price of your book to 0.99 for 5-7 days. You can adjust the price by going into the KDP dashboard. It takes Amazon anywhere from 6-24 hours to set this up.

Stack multiple book promotional services for each day for the week your book is set at the promotional price. Setting up book promos does cost money but it gets your book rankings moving up again and gives the book a fresh kick. You can set up promos with the following sites:

BKnights [Fiverr] You can’t go wrong for $5. I would also take the extra gig for $5 and get in on their daily newsletter. You won’t get a ton of downloads but on average 12-25 depending on the book.

Robin Reads. [Requires 10 reviews and a 4.9 rating] Takes a couple days to get approved [$55].

BookSends. Requires average 5 reviews at $40.

Bargain Booksy. I love this one, no reviews needed and you can sign up right away and get approved. $25 for nonfiction.

Awesome Gang. This one is great for the price, $10.

Many Books. Great little gig, average returns, $29.

Book Runes. Global reach with over 50k mailing list, $25.

eBooks Habit. Great little promo, I recommend the guaranteed placement for $10.

Booksbutterfly. Various promo packages with guaranteed paid and free downloads.

This is an opportunity to set up a small support group to read the book and leave a review during the promotion period. This boost in downloads and new reviews boosts the rankings of your book. If you have multiple books, it’s an opportunity for traffic coming into your platform to be introduced to your book library.

Create a Library of Books and Build Your Brand

It’s really hard to make money from just one book. Which is why I recommend writing and publishing a lineup of books that your fan base can’t wait to read. Writing multiple books is a long-term strategy that can build a profitable book business over the course of several years. Remember, you’re in it for the long-haul.

Can you imagine if you had ten books for sale and each one is set up for success to bring in an average of $1000 a month? You can do this with a strategic plan for your author business.

Publishing new content regularly builds your email list and pushes your Amazon Author Ranking up the charts. By putting out a new book every 3-4 months, you are creating new content that keeps your author platform sizzling with activity.

In addition, it is easier to promote several books at the same time. You can set up a book bundle and have your books available in multiple formats including audiobooks and paperback.

Action Task: Block out 30-minutes a day for the next 30 days. Come up with ideas for at least ten books you want to write. Do a mind map followed by an outline for each one. Then, set out to create a publishing schedule for each book.

Questions to ask yourself are:

  • How long is each book?
  • Am I targeting a general audience or a specific niche?
  • What is the estimated profit potential for this book?
  • How can I put out a new book every 3-4 months?
  • What is my featured lead magnet to start building subscribers email list?

Here are a few authors creating a library of books and doing very well with their platform of consistent releases:

Patrick King, Social Interaction Specialist

S.J. Scott, Develop Better Habits

Martin Meadows, Self-Discipline and Grit

Peter Hollins, Human Psychology

Zoe McKey, Communication and Personal Development

Oh, and let’s not forget Stephen King, who has published over 65 books with 350 million copies sold since Carrie was published in 1974.

Wrapping It Up

If you want to sell more books and earn money as a paid author, write and publish books that sell. Target a specific audience and write your content for that fan base. Build a brand around your work and market your writing accordingly.

Stick to the essential elements of book publishing and be sure to write a book that engages your readers interest, provides them with entertainment [fiction] or life lessons [nonfiction], and invest your time into creating a series of books that have impact and branding appeal.

This sounds simple, and it is, but it isn’t easy. Selling books and making money is a long-term strategy. There are hundreds of ways to promote your book and brand. But you don’t, and can’t, do everything. Focus on the strategies that will have the long term results you want.

Now, I’ll leave you with a list of additional marketing and promotional strategies you can consider to build your brand and promote your work.

20 Ways to Promote Your Work and Build an Author Brand

  1. Create a book trailer and post the video on YouTube or Vimeo.
  2. Set up an Author Page on Facebook and have readers sign up. You can take this a step further and create a private facebook group where you share some of your best content and insider information with your tribe.
  3. Create an author website. Use this to promote your books, blog about content in your books, and keep readers engaged through online discussions about your work and mission.
  4. Set up a professional author email. For example: [email protected]
  5. Get professional author pictures taken. Post these to your website, social media, and the paperback copy on the back.
  6. Approach foreign book publishers and try to get your book translated into other languages. Nowadays many authors are translating books into Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese and Spanish.
  7. Get video testimonials for your book. Post to YouTube and your website.
  8. Send your paperback to fans and ask them to take a photo holding up the book. Use this as a promotional tool by creating a landing page for your book. Additionally, you can create book pages for your books on your website [Note: We strongly recommend you have an author website].
  9. Run a book giveaway on Goodreads.
  10. Write a series of blog posts related to your books and overall branding theme.
  11. Guest post blog for well-known sites and drive backlinks to your website or Amazon author page.
  12. Get featured on as many podcasts as you can. This is a great way to drive traffic to your book pages and site.
  13. Set up a URL forward that sends people to your Amazon author page. When you promote your books, you can use this URL as your main website even if you don’t have an actual website yet.
  14. Continue to pile reviews onto your book. This should be an ongoing marketing strategy. Aim for a goal of adding two new reviews per week.
  15. Set up an AMS ad for your book. You can check out this free course right here: Book Advertising: Free AMS Advertisement Course for Authors
  16. Create free content (checklist, mini ebook, or audiobook) and give it away for free inside your book.
  17. Create a virtual bundle of your books when you get several titles published.
  18. Create a course based on your book. This has the potential to be a strong upsell. Take a look at Udemy and teachable for launching your course to these platforms.
  19. Create an email autoresponder series for subscribers.
  20. Create a SlideShare presentation using the best material from your book.

How to Promote Your Book: 7 Strategies You Need to Try

Do you have dreams of becoming a best-selling author, but feel like you don’t know how to promote your book? We get that it is not an easy task to form a promotion plan; in fact, it can be as much work as writing a book!

But as a writer, once you’ve finished writing your book, you must have a promotion plan. Without one, it will be hard to sell many copies because no one will know about your book!

Even if you have a publisher, you should still develop a promotion plan because you might find out that they barely help promote your book until you’ve already sold a certain number of copies.

Today, we’re going to show you how to get your book into the hands of more people using these strategies.

Here’s what we’ll cover for how to promote a book:

  1. TV interviews
  2. Radio/podcasts
  3. Local bookstores
  4. Press interviews (digital and printed)
  5. Guest Posting
  6. Social Media
  7. Advertising

Let’s get started!

#1 – Promoting Your Book Through TV Interviews

Scoring a TV spot is an absolute dream come true, think of all the free promotion! But as you can imagine, it is not easy to land a TV interview because many others are competing for the same thing.

Here’s our strategy to help you land an interview on TV.

Pitch Thoughtfully

To truly stand out from the masses, start by building relationships with hosts and producers of the shows you’re interested in. Fostering relationships first is an essential part of the pitch because it will help them better understand you and develop chemistry between you. This is a crucial element for a TV interview.

Keep it Short

Everyone’s busy in the media world! Producers aren’t going to wade through pages of pitches so you must make your pitch short and sweet. Try to hook them in the first ten sentences.

Know Their Audience

Make your book relevant to their fans, —don’t force them to connect the dots.

If the TV program leans towards entertainment, share a funny story to show that you will be fun to interview. It’s okay to be silly and comedic – let your sense of humor shine through.

If it’s a serious program, show that you’re there to discuss an important issue and that the conversation will be held in high regard. Be serious with your tone of voice, and also cite quotations and statistics to further expand the depth of the topic.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you should have a very convincing pitch that will get producers to book you on their next available time slot.

How to Shine During Your TV Interview

Hooray! You’ve landed a TV interview! Now it’s time for the real prep to begin.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Write down and practice your talking points ahead of time so that you don’t freeze when the cameras are on. Remember, your goal is to have a natural dialogue with the host and not sound robotic. Rehearse your talking points to reflect a natural back-and-forth conversation.

Do Your Research

Your goal is to understand your audience so you can connect with them. The show will have detailed demographic information available so it’s up to you to tailor your content with this knowledge.

To get to know your audience, here are a few starting points to consider:

  • What’s their age range?
  • What are their interests?
  • What’s popular or trending with them right now?

With this information, you can forge a natural connection that’s most suitable for the viewers.

Be Present

During the interview, expect to be full of nerves, but don’t let it lose your focus! Stop thinking about the next line, and remain present in the moment. Be a good listener and remember  that you’re having a conversation.

For example, if the host asks a question that’s unexpected, don’t panic! Instead, go with the flow and enjoy the conversation. Try to link the conversation back to your book with short anecdotes relating to the topic. This will keep audience members engaged and create more interest in your book.

If you take your time and pay attention to the host, the conversation will flow smoother and everyone will benefit. You’ll seem more confident and upbeat, rather than full of nerves.

#2 – Radio and Podcast Interviews

Radio shows and podcasts are a terrific way to share your voice to your potential readers. With over 90% of Americans listening to the radio as well as the exploding popularity of podcasts, it’s well worth the effort to appear on these platforms.

To get started, local radio and podcast shows are always looking for new content to share with their audience. They also love their community and will favor locals more so than anyone else. Mentioning that you’re a local will be an advantage to your pitch especially if you include the locations of your future book signings at local bookstores.

If you can’t find a local show, finding one with a very specific topic relevant to your book’s audience will be easier to get on initially then a huge, massively popular show. If you start small you’ll have an easier time getting booked, and then you can use that initial show to get booked on bigger shows in the future.

How to Shine on the Air

Here are some tips for giving a killer on-air performance once you’ve booked your first interviews.

Be Enthusiastic

Even though the audience can’t see you on the radio, they can hear and feel your energy.

Pique your listeners’ interest by doing the following:

  • Always smile so you speak in a happier tone
  • Make sure to sit up straight
  • Walk around when talking (if possible with your mic setup)
  • Aim to add 10% more energy to your conversation than normal

By acting energized and engaged, the listeners will feed off your vibrant energy and will further enjoy your guest appearance.

Make the Host’s Job Easy

Don’t be discouraged if your host hasn’t read your book. With busy schedules, it happens more often than you might think. 

Your job is to make your host look smart. Tell them about your book, don’t quiz them.

Make their jobs easy by educating them about your material. You’ll connect better with the audience by sharing your knowledge.

Prepare a List of Questions

It’s perfectly acceptable to provide your own list of questions for the host.

Here are some simple questions to offer:

  • What made you write this book?
  • How’d you come up with the book title?
  • What kind of person would love to get their hands on this book? (this is an EXCELLENT question, especially if you know their audience well)

Busy radio hosts and producers will appreciate the extra effort and may even work from your list of questions.

#3 – Local Bookstores

Avid book buyers love their local bookstores. And since they are your target audience, you should grow your fanbase by making an appearance!

Here’s how you can make an appearance at the local bookstore.

Schedule an Appearance

Book clubs love to meet new authors, and local bookstores are more than willing to feature guests that will get their readers to the store. 

how to promote your book

It’s a win-win combination and all it takes is for you to book an appearance.

Here’s how you can pitch to local bookstores:

  • Google several bookstores around your area
  • Find their contact email
  • Craft your pitch by including what your book is and why it will benefit the local bookstore

Pitch to as many local bookstores as you can handle.

Again, you can start as local as a library and work your way up.

This will surely attract bigger bookstores to book you as soon as possible.

Cater to your Audience

You’ve booked an appearance! Now you must plan your act and deliver what your readers want.

Here’s what book clubs want in a live appearance

  • An entertaining or thought provoking presentation of your book
  • Live reading or a few short stories
  • Live Q&As about you and your book
  • Book signings
  • Free books (or codes for free ebooks!)

Booking several live appearance will guarantee a boost to your fanbase, and will get fans to organically market your book by word of mouth! This is one of the most effective forms of book marketing (and it’s also free).

#4 – Print Interviews

Publications are alive and well. Many also have huge digital presences, so don’t look over this form of media when creating your promotion strategy.

Instead, find publications and blogs that your target audience reads frequently and reach out to them.

Here are some tips to land a guest post or print interview to promote your book:

  • Browse publication websites to see if they allow guest submissions or interview pitches.
  • Search for a contact page and find a way to send a cold pitch
  • Pitch to journalists through LinkedIn
  • Use HARO (Help A Reporter Out), where you can contribute to exclusive stories that reporters and journalists are in need of

Even if you’ve never had a print interview before, following these steps will get local publications and blogs excited to promote your new book.

How to Shine in a Print Interview

You scored a press interview! Now practice how to sound like a pro author with these steps (even if your voice is cracking from nerves)

Sell Yourself

Print interviews are a little more relaxed than TV or radio spots, but you still have a finite amount of time to get your message across. In this platform, it’s okay to be more direct and sell yourself. Hit on the best selling points of your book to get potential readers interested.

Plan Your Hooks

You need to have some print-friendly “sound bites” to intrigue your audience.

Here are some questions to think about when planning your hooks:

  • What makes your book special?
  • Who is this book perfect for?
  • Will be this be useful?

Get to the heart of why your audience needs your book before you do the interview. Then, make sure you talk about it.

Don’t Let Hard questions Throw You Off

Don’t let unanticipated or sticky questions throw you off. You can never be 100% prepared. All you can do is listen to the question and answer as positively as you can.

Remember, unlike an on-air or audio-recorded interview, you can take as much time as you need before you answer. Use it to your advantage.

#5 – Guest Posting to Promote Your Book

You don’t have to limit yourself to traditional print publications. Blogs are also a fantastic place for you to promote your book. 

If you find a blog you think is a good fit for your book, you need to figure out if they are willing to accept guest posts.  

A guest post is simply a blog contribution from someone outside of the usual author team. 

Some blogs will clearly state they accept guest submissions. Sometimes you will notice a ‘write for us’ or ‘guest posts’ page. 

Even if there is no obvious sign a blog accepts guest posts, it’s still worth reaching out and asking.

Avoid using a template pitch when you reach out. Take the time to craft a careful, custom expression of interest. Make it genuine and about the value you can bring to the blog.

Any guest post opportunity you get should be treated as a win/win. You need to make sure you write a post the blog’s readership will enjoy reading while also subtly promoting your new book.

#6 – Social Media

Social media needs no introduction, and you’re missing out on sales if it’s not included in your book promotion. Optimizing your social media platform can be challenging, but we’ve figured out the best methods to promoting your book using social media.

Here’s how you can incorporate it into your promotion strategy to maximize your book sales.

Create a Facebook Page

To get more recognition for your upcoming book, you must have a Facebook page. It’s a great way to show social proof, and it makes it easier for new potential fans to find your book.

Here’s what to include in your Facebook Page:

  • Include a great photo of yourself
  • Show a high quality image of your book cover
  • Add a short bio that describes you and your book
  • Show a book trailer that visually highlights the selling points of your book

We find Facebook to be one of the best platforms to reach your audience. But if you’re serious, we also recommend building a website with email capture for sending promotions and updates. That way fans from Facebook can be directed to your page, and see your latest updates.

Get Your Fans Involved

Social media is a great tool to promote your book, but it’s also a great way to interact with your fans. Fans are more than willing to post about books that they love, so don’t be afraid to ask them for assistance!

Here’s how to get them involved:

  • Ask them to submit book reviews through Amazon.
  • Ask them to share your book across all social media platforms
  • Ask them to spread the book in their universities or organizations

Dedicated fans want to see more of you, and love it when you interact through social media. If you also include rewards to sweeten the deal, you may potentially have yourself a full operating team that may get you on the front pages of any social platform!

#7 – Advertising Your Book

Book advertising is another tried and tested way to let the world know about your latest project.

Although this method requires a monetary investment, you have a good chance of recouping it through sales.

You can find places to advertise your book online and offline. Some of the best to consider are:

  • Amazon. You can directly promote your book on Amazon with Amazon Advertising. This has the advantage of getting it in front of relevant potential buyers. 
  • BookBub. BookBub is a powerful book promotion service that also offers paid advertising opportunities. 
  • Local press. If you still have local newspapers or magazines operating in your area you can pay to advertise your book in them.
  • Facebook. Facebook advertising is a book promotion method that has got indie authors such as Mark Dawson superb results.

If you ever want to become a bestselling author, you have to take ownership of your promotion efforts.

Use this advice to get your book into your audience’s hands, sell more books, and become a bestselling author in no time.

Find a Book Idea That Sells: 3 Things You Must Check Before You Write Your Book

If you’re about to write a book, and you want a book idea that sells, there are three things you absolutely must check before you spend a minute writing your book.

Researching these three things will help you write your book more confidently because you’ll have firm reason to believe readers will love and buy your book.

find book idea

Once you have your book idea, and before you begin writing, you need to check that there’s:

  1. People looking for your book idea
  2. People willing to pay for your book idea
  3. Competition you can beat

There are two ways to complete each of the following steps: an easy, low-cost way and a time-consuming, free way. I’ll explain both. No matter which method you choose, just choose one of them so you can embark on your book writing journey with confidence.

1. Are there people looking for your book idea?

Before you spend weeks, months, or years laboring to create your book, smart authors validate that there are people searching for your book idea on the internet first.

The free method is to type in www.KWFinder.com and use their free tool that currently allows you 3 searches per day, and type in your book idea. One piece of information this site gives you is the average times per month people type and search for your term. The higher the number, the more people actively are looking for the information you’re thinking of writing about.

This tool does not tell you how many people are searching for your idea on Amazon, however, which can make your results a little dicey. Sometimes people are just looking to learn free or quick information, and not actually looking to read an entire book.

When people search for a topic on Amazon, however, they are there to buy something. That’s why doing this research using a software that specifically gives you Amazon data is the best option.

Enter Publisher Rocket. When you search for a book idea using KDP Rocket, it gives you the estimated number of times people search for your idea on Google and on Amazon each month. And there’s no limit to how many ideas you can search per day.

Here’s the results for my fictitious book idea about ‘habits’:

Once you’ve verified people are searching for your book idea, the next step is to make sure they’re willing to pay for the information.

2. Are there people willing to pay for your book idea?

Unless you’re planning to give your book away for free, this step is crucial.

If you don’t have KDP Rocket, you’ll want to head over to Amazon.com and search in the Kindle Store for your writing idea. Look at the search results that appear on the first page. For each book, scroll down to find the Amazon Best Seller Rank. You’ll probably want to create a spreadsheet now if you haven’t already to keep track of the numbers.

Once you have the Best Seller Rank for each, you should put each number into the Amazon Best Seller Rank Calculator. The calculator will tell you how many books are selling each day. If you multiply this number by 30, you’ll get the estimated money per month that book makes.

If you do this for all 14 of the books that show up on the first page of your search, you can find the average your book idea makes per month. This will give you an idea if it’s profitable enough for you to pursue.  

If you’re looking for the fast and easy way, you’d already have this information right at your fingertips from doing step 1 (verifying people are looking for your book). By clicking ‘Analyze’ on KDP Rocket, you can immediately learn the average earnings per month.

Wow, ‘habits’ is a money-maker! Look at that second column!

So people are looking for your idea and they are willing to pay for your idea, but can you compete with the big dogs?

3. Can you beat the competition for your book idea?

Terms like ‘habits’ are popular and profitable, but the competition is intense. You may have noticed the column called “Competitive Score.” This gives you a score between 1-100 on how hard it would be to get your book to appear when people search for your term. A 1 is easy-peasy and 100 is near-impossible.

I’m guessing like me, you’re not a famous author, so you’ll want to find book ideas that have lower competition. Scores in the 20s or below are my usual target.

This doesn’t mean you can’t write a book about habits. This just means you might have to keep searching to refine your idea to be more specific so you can better compete.

When you search in the Kindle Store for your idea, you’ll want to take note of the number of results that appear.

This tells us there are 8,055 other books that rank for the term “habits” on Amazon.

Next, click on the top 3 results and write down their Amazon Best Seller Rank. Find the average of these 3 numbers to find the average Best Seller Rank of the top 3 books. You should aim to get your book to rank #1 since it gets the most clicks, and definitely be able to compete with the top 3.

Then, look at the book covers, book descriptions, and reviews. Give each book a score 1-100 based on your opinion of its professionalism, design, clarity, and happiness of reviewers. If it looks like a book you could easily beat, it’s a 1. If it’s perfect and virtually unbeatable, give it 100.

Having all these numbers in an excel spreadsheet will help you analyze the competition of your book idea.

If that seems like a lot of work, or you don’t know how to score the competition, you’ll love what KDP Rocket can do for you.

When you click on the ‘Analyze’ button to discover how much money the book idea makes, a Competitive Score was also automatically generated.

For ‘habits,’ the competition is 73…pretty tough.

Rocket will also give you a bunch of other recommended terms to consider, so by simply scrolling down, I found ‘healthy eating habits.’

Lower competition…but people aren’t paying for that idea.

How about ‘how to break bad habits’:

See how you can still write about what you’re interested in, but simply checking the popularity, profitability, and competition can help you refine your idea from an “I hope this works idea” to “Let’s write this book already idea!”

Book Idea Validated

Once your book idea passes these three checkpoints, then you’re on your way to confidently writing your book. Now you have reason to believe it won’t be a waste of your time and you can proceed with more assurance that you’re writing a book that will sell.

To learn more about how this product can help you profitably launch your book to success, check out Publisher Rocket here!

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

Spots are limited!

Click Here to Save Your Spot

List Building Tricks to Get 10,000 Subscribers Fast (Bryan Harris Interview)

We’ve all been there. One minute we’re sitting at our desk (or shower or in our car) when we’re struck by a genius idea that HAS to get out. We start to write and create without any thought to things like marketing or list building.

Bryan Harris, serial entrepreneur and founder of Videofruit.com, calls this “writing in a cave.” He says writers/entrepreneurs need to avoid the “cycle of guaranteed failure” by really thinking about what needs to be done leading up to your book. If your book is something that only your mom and grandma know about, then your book launch is in trouble.

Bryan stumbled upon his professional passion when he discovered the world of video editing and fell in love with the industry. Since then, he says that he’s been going crazy growing his new business.

Through his business trials and tribulations, Bryan has gained valuable insight on how to grow an audience and launch your first book. Bryan learned that a lot of strategies don’t work, but he’s developed some time-tested list building tricks that do work.

Bryan says you should “Think of your list as a group of people eagerly waiting to buy from you. If you build it and nurture it right, you will have lifelong fans.”

 


Debunking 3 Popular Myths

Bryan debunks three popular myths about growing your list and number of subscribers.

Myth 1:You have to have the perfect idea.

There’s the myth of waiting until everything is perfect to take action. The problem with this is that perfection is unattainable. If you wait for everything to be perfect to start a project, you’ll never start anything.

You don’t find customers for your product, instead find products for your customers. Get people and an audience first, then the rest will follow.

Myth 2: You have to be an expert in something before you can build your list and launch your book.

A second common myth is that you need to establish yourself as an expert before you launch your book. Don’t fall prey to this myth. We caution you about attempting to play the part of guru.

It’s far more effective to take a learn out loud approach. Take a topic and ask, “Are you curious about the topic? Can you share what you learn? Are you able to be humble, kind, and giving?” You can then share this information by phrasing it as, “Here are lessons you learned …” and your audience will respond.

Myth 3: You don’t have to have a lot of extra time.

Extra time is an imaginary construct. There will never be enough of it. Don’t lose the chance to achieve your dreams by waiting for the elusive moment when you have plenty of time.

Rather than waiting for an excess of time (which will never happen!), make an effort to do what you can, when you can. Commit to doing the right things in the right order, and little by little, you’ll make headway.

4 Tricks to Grow Your List (Plus a Bonus!)

Trick 1: Upside Down Homepage

An upside down homepage is the first step to getting your first 100 subscribers. Allocate at least five hours for this update.

What is the single obvious thing you want people to do when they come to your page? It’s not what you may think. It’s not the sidebar, not the social media buttons, not the menu — it’s the above-the-fold call to action!

Use this space to encourage people to subscribe, not to go to other pages. With this tactic, you can boost your subscriber rate from 1% (with a traditional homepage) to 13-15% (with an upside down homepage).

Trick 2: Pick Your List Goal

The single most important strategy to boost your list is to select your list goal. This will take you just two minutes to do, but it’s crucial. You have to focus on this to be successful!

Here’s what you do: Pick your number goal, then write this goal down on paper. Next, tape this on your wall to keep you accountable. Visual reminders help keep you on track.

Even if you’re a writer, ultimately you’re still an entrepreneur. Don’t forget what you are working toward! Don’t get distracted and you’ll later reap the rewards of your efforts.

Trick 3: Launch Team Strategy

Another key component to your success is your launch team strategy. You have 24 hours to implement this strategy.

Here’s how you tackle building a launch team. First, start with a group of people. You should make a list of five people you know. Then, personally invite these five people to join your list.

Next, you’ll then reach out to everyone you know. You want to make this process personal, so people will feel as though they are invited to something special. Personally invite each and every person who’s on your list.

Continue to write names and email addresses down on paper. Start simple and repeat until you run out of people to ask. Your goal is to get to 100 invitees.

Trick 4: Poster Boy Formula

The Poster Boy Formula should take just 30 minutes per week, but can yield huge results toward boosting your list.

Step one is to make a list of five products you purchase, blogs you read, or podcasts you follow. Write down one big win you’ve experienced from using their product. Let them know about your results and thank them. Also, share testimonials and link back to your shares.

The Poster Boy Formula can get you shout outs, inclusion on emails, social media sites, and guest posts. Ultimately, all of this goodwill can earn you subscribers.

Bonus Trick: Create a Smartbribe

A final trick to consider is to offer a “Smartbribe.” This tactic is simple to implement. Just install smartbribe.com as an enhancement to your current opt-in service. This easy to use feature asks people to share on social media in exchange for a bonus offer you create and “bribe” them with. This simple step can help grow your list even faster.

Bryan Harris offers his best list building tips and tactics to help you grow your list and earn subscribers. Before you know it, you’ll on your way to earning 10,000 subscribers FAST!

Join Chandler Bolt at his FREE Webinar Training as he reveals the exact tactics and strategies he used to write and publish 6 bestselling books in a row – and how he used them to build a 7-figure business in less than 2 years!

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