When Reader Targeting Goes Wrong

Taking a non-scammy tangent from Saturday"s post, I’d like to talk about what happens when you target the wrong readers, because being too scattergun with promo can really hurt your book. I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last few months. Currently, I’m in the process of both updating Let’s Get Digital for a third edition and writing a book on the topic which is tentatively called The Reader’s Journey: From Strangers to Superfans – as well as working on a third, secret project for writers that is all about using a certain kind of targeting in a very specific way to build audience and drive sales. And I’ve been putting all these theories into practice too, working with a Read More…

Who’s Pointing At You? Amazon

The Also Boughts on your page are an important indication of what readers are buying along with your books. But those particular Also Boughts are only part of the story. What’s really important is which books are pointing back at you. Let’s use my long-suffering book Liberty Boy as an example again. As I explained yesterday’s post – Please Don’t Buy My Book – Liberty Boy was dragged down into the ranking depths after having no Also Boughts for months thanks to an Amazon snafu. I eventually fixed that problem in a fairly crude way by running a 99c Countdown and throwing whatever ads I could get at it. The promo itself did okay and sold a few hundred copies for me. Read More…

Please Don’t Buy My Book

I’m just back from The Smarter Artist Summit in Austin, Texas. I won’t try and capture the magic of the event – Kobo Mark does an excellent job – but I would like to talk about the big takeaway: the dangers of Also Bought pollution. Also Boughts are probably the most important aspect of the entire Amazon recommendation ecostructure. And also the least understood. They are much more than a little strip under your book’s description – they power a huge chunk of the recommendations that Amazon serves to readers. The Also Boughts are what tells Amazon that the readers of my non-fiction also like reading Susan Kaye Quinn, Sean Platt and Johnny Truant. Amazon uses this data to decide Read More…

Please Don't Buy My Book

I’m just back from The Smarter Artist Summit in Austin, Texas. I won’t try and capture the magic of the event – Kobo Mark does an excellent job – but I would like to talk about the big takeaway: the dangers of Also Bought pollution. Also Boughts are probably the most important aspect of the entire Amazon recommendation ecostructure. And also the least understood. They are much more than a little strip under your book’s description – they power a huge chunk of the recommendations that Amazon serves to readers. The Also Boughts are what tells Amazon that the readers of my non-fiction also like reading Susan Kaye Quinn, Sean Platt and Johnny Truant. Amazon uses this data to decide Read More…

This Free Tool Could Slightly Change Your Life Resources

You know I"m not one for hyperbole, but this free tool could slightly change your life. I also have news on a sale, a freebie giveaway, then something bearing a passing resemblance to a competition, as well as an interview, a guest post, and a gratuitous picture of a panda. Although is a picture of a panda ever really gratuitous? That question unanswered, and many more… If you ever wanted to try my fiction, it has never been easier to do and you can pick up all three historical novels I’ve written for less than a dollar. I’m running a Kindle Countdown Deal on my last release Liberty Boy, meaning you can grab that one for 99c from Amazon US, and Read More…

Pay What You Want For Ten Great Historical Novels Writing

Hello! Sorry for the long silence. I’ve been taking my own advice for once and focusing on writing. But don’t worry, I’ll be back blogging very soon – once I’ve finish moving them commas around. If you"re looking for something to read in the meantime, I highly recommend this historical fiction deal from Story Bundle. Although I should note I’m somewhat biased given that I have a book in it. This is a little different to your standard box set. Story Bundle is a site which allows you to decide how much you want to pay. Fun! Here’s how it works: Gaze longingly upon said books (details below). Pick a dollar amount OF YOUR CHOICE and receive novels from Libbie Hawker, M. Read More…

Fighting With Both Hands Publishing Writing

This blog has been quieter than usual lately and I thought I should let you know what I’ve been doing. I’m going to prattle on for quite a while; you might want to get comfortable (or head off to Tumblr). So… It’s good to do a bit of soul searching now and then, to look at what you have achieved, where your career is headed, and to decide if you are on the right track. My goals and dreams have changed a lot since I started self-publishing in 2011. I haven’t been a big success, but I’ve been able to tick off little career milestones along the way. Some months my sales are wonderful, some months they are terrible – Read More…

This Might Be A Terrible Idea Publishing Resources

I’m launching the 2nd edition of Let’s Get Digital next week and today I’m going to try and answer all your questions. Most have surrounded something I’ve hinted at over the last few months. I’m doing something pretty cool and different with this launch. Or maybe crazy is a better word. In short: I’m giving it away free to all purchasers of the old edition. More on that below… When is the 2nd edition out? It’s officially launching next Wednesday, September 17, and I’ll be posting again then. As always, subscribers to my New Release Mailing List will get an exclusive for a day or two before that, so if you are desperately impatient to get your mitts on Digital Read More…

Building a Killer Email List

There is a lot of upheaval in publishing today and I think that’s likely to increase rather than decrease. The best insurance policy any writer can have against the future is a targeted mailing list. I’ve written before about how the author with the biggest mailing list wins, and I’ve invited Nick Stephenson along today because he’s got some great ideas on how to boost your list. The cool thing about his approach is that it’s something anyone can do. And, as you will see, it really, really works. Here’s Nick with more: Building a Killer Email List As an author, I try to read as much as possible. I tend to get excited over 8 or 9 different authors across a few Read More…

NoiseTrade: Build Audience While Boosting Your Mailing List Resources

What if I told you there was a cool new way to share your work with the world that could help you build audience, boost your mailing list, and make money at the same time? Welcome to NoiseTrade. The idea is simple. Authors can upload ebooks (and audiobooks) and NoiseTrade’s community of readers can download them for free – for as long as the author wants. There is a tip-jar, and you can suggest a figure, but it’s not compulsory. So it’s pay what you want, but with a killer twist. In exchange for the download, the reader provides their email address to the author (in full knowledge they will be contacted in future). In other words, it’s a smart Read More…

Thinking Inside The Box: Building Audience With Bundles

After my marketing post last month, I promised a follow up on box sets. In fact, I’ve gone one better and invited Phoenix Sullivan to do a guest post on the topic. Today is perfect timing actually because we have just launched SINS OF THE PAST: 5 Historical Novels of Mystery, War and Adventure – just 99c at Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo: For those that don’t know Phoenix, she’s a self-published author who also runs her own publishing company – Steel Magnolia Press – together with romance author Jennifer Blake. In the last 18 months, Phoenix has also been experimenting with box sets and, as you will see below, the results have been astounding. I’ve known Phoenix for a while and no-one knows Read More…

If You Don't Enjoy Marketing, You're Doing It Wrong

I can already feel the heat from approaching pitchforks! But if you hear me out, I think I can convert at least some of you to the idea that if you don’t enjoy marketing, you’re doing it wrong. Let me explain. Sometimes marketing can seem like a Sisyphean task. There’s always something you could do to promote your work, and there’s never enough hours in the day. Many writers are already hard-pressed with demands from the rest of their lives and have to battle hard to carve out writing time. The pressure to promote squeezes that precious writing time even further. On top of that, many marketing tasks just seem unpleasant. Writers can often be introverts who don’t like pressing Read More…

If You Don’t Enjoy Marketing, You’re Doing It Wrong

I can already feel the heat from approaching pitchforks! But if you hear me out, I think I can convert at least some of you to the idea that if you don’t enjoy marketing, you’re doing it wrong. Let me explain. Sometimes marketing can seem like a Sisyphean task. There’s always something you could do to promote your work, and there’s never enough hours in the day. Many writers are already hard-pressed with demands from the rest of their lives and have to battle hard to carve out writing time. The pressure to promote squeezes that precious writing time even further. On top of that, many marketing tasks just seem unpleasant. Writers can often be introverts who don’t like pressing Read More…

Publishing Is Easy

There are three primary tasks a writer must undertake to get her work into the hands of readers: writing, publishing, and marketing. Out of those three, I respectfully submit, publishing is by far the easiest. Writing Writing a book is hard, and writing a good book is even harder – at least from the perspective of the inexperienced writer. Most people who think about writing a book never start one. Most people who start one never finish it. And most people who finish a book never polish it to the point where it’s ready for prime-time and/or never get it out the door for one reason or another. To write a good book, you have to put in the time Read More…

Ted Oswald Signs With Amazon Publishing, Haiti NGOs To Benefit Publishing Writing

Okay, this might be my favorite ever blog post. Remember that guy who wrote that book set in Haiti, the one I was raving about, the one where he was giving all the profits to charity? Well, I have him back with some big news. Here’s Ted Oswald: * * * I’m a first-time author. I’m a self-taught writer. I crafted the best book I could, tried to follow the best self-publishing advice I could find. And last week, I concluded a book deal with Thomas & Mercer, Amazon Publishing’s mystery and thriller imprint. How? I suspect divine intervention. I of course don’t have a five-point road map to offer to getting a deal, but I can at least share Read More…