How To Make Killer Promo Graphics In Canva Marketing Resources

One area where the bar has been raised over the last few years is that of branding. The savviest authors know that branding doesn’t just make you look more professional – although that is important too – but also something which acts as a bat-signal to your specific target audience. This book is for YOU.

I said in Strangers to Superfans — releasing in just six days on 25 April! — “If pacing is the secret sauce inside most bestsellers, branding is the equivalent outside of the book.”

As part of my research, I spoke to one author who is expert at it: Kit Rocha. She shared her view that, “branding is an extension of worldbuilding. My covers and my graphics and all of it combine to present an image that enhances what I want to say about my series.” Read More…

9 Ways to Improve AMS – Amazon Ads For Authors Amazon Resources

More product searches start on Amazon than anywhere else, even Google. It"s the world’s biggest bookstore and by far the largest ebook retailer. But Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is still very much a work-in-progress, particularly the slightly pared-back version authors get to advertise books. Self-publishers tend to focus on making books visible on Amazon. Aside from being a market leader, and having famed frictionless purchasing, there is another key reason why such a focus often gets the best return. Unlike other popular sites, anyone visiting Amazon is generally there for one reason: to buy stuff. You aren’t interrupting them while they share dank memes with friends, or search how fast a raven can fly during winter. AMS is often referred 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…

Starting From Zero Marketing Writing

Success can seem unattainable to those starting out. It’s easy to forget that even the biggest sellers started from zero. Amanda Hocking didn’t arrive on the scene as a fully formed sales machine. She didn’t have a platform which she had been diligently building up for years, nor did she come from trade publishing. She was unable to convince an agent to take her on and decided to self-publish instead, and then sold a million e-books in nine months! Detractors tried to paint Hocking as an anomaly — and she was, in the sense that anyone who is phenomenally successful at anything is an anomaly. But that missed the point: she was able to sell as much as the biggest names in 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…

Amazon Makes Life Easier For Authors of Historical & Literary Fiction Publishing

There are lots of reasons why self-publishing success stories tend to concentrate around writers of “genre” fiction, but it’s a mistake to assume that success is impossible if you write literary fiction or historical fiction (which tends to get lumped in with literary fiction, even though it’s just another genre… like literary fiction!). The first is demographics: romance and erotica readers were the first to switch to digital, followed by mystery and thriller fans, leading to the success stories of Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, and John Locke. I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people Read More…

Amazon Makes Life Easier For Authors of Historical & Literary Fiction Publishing

There are lots of reasons why self-publishing success stories tend to concentrate around writers of “genre” fiction, but it’s a mistake to assume that success is impossible if you write literary fiction or historical fiction (which tends to get lumped in with literary fiction, even though it’s just another genre… like literary fiction!). The first is demographics: romance and erotica readers were the first to switch to digital, followed by mystery and thriller fans, leading to the success stories of Amanda Hocking, Joe Konrath, and John Locke. I remember SF/F authors complaining (back in 2011) that their readers hadn’t switched to e-books yet, casting jealous eyes at the outsized romance audience. But as readers did move across, we saw people 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…

Popularity, Visibility & KDP Select Marketing

For most writers, anonymity is the biggest hurdle they face. The open nature of digital distribution can be a double-edged sword; there are 1.1 million titles in the Kindle Store after all. While the virtual shelves are endless, and while readers have demonstrated an increased appetite for reading (and hoarding) once they switch to e-books, the spotlight is limited. There can only ever be 100 books in the Top 100. The major sites (like Ereader News Today or Pixel of Ink) will only feature a limited amount of books per day. There is only one Kindle Daily Deal. Visibility is a continual challenge, and, when we look at that problem a little closer, it’s not radically different to the challenges Read More…

Popularity, Visibility & KDP Select Marketing

For most writers, anonymity is the biggest hurdle they face. The open nature of digital distribution can be a double-edged sword; there are 1.1 million titles in the Kindle Store after all. While the virtual shelves are endless, and while readers have demonstrated an increased appetite for reading (and hoarding) once they switch to e-books, the spotlight is limited. There can only ever be 100 books in the Top 100. The major sites (like Ereader News Today or Pixel of Ink) will only feature a limited amount of books per day. There is only one Kindle Daily Deal. Visibility is a continual challenge, and, when we look at that problem a little closer, it’s not radically different to the challenges Read More…

The Bonfire of the Straw Men Publishing Writing

In the third of a series of increasingly misguided essays for The Guardian – Why social media isn’t the magic bullet for self-epublished authors – Ewan Morrison builds a bonfire of self-publishing straw men. Morrison is convinced that “epublishing is another tech bubble, and that it will burst within the next 18 months.” The reason given: epublishing is inextricably tied to the structures of social media marketing and the myth that social media functions as a way of selling products. It doesn’t, and we’re just starting to get the true stats on that. When social media marketing collapses it will destroy the platform that the dream of a self-epublishing industry was based upon. Where do I start? Perhaps I should first point Read More…

St. Patrick's Day Blowout: Results

If you were on Twitter over the weekend, you probably heard something about the St. Patrick’s Day Blowout Sale that I ran here on the blog. A few of you asked how it was all put together, and plenty are keen to hear the results, so I thought I’d run through it all for you today. As you will see below, it was very successful. So successful in fact, that it might spawn a few imitators. For those thinking along those lines, a caution: I would imagine there would be diminishing returns on any promo like this, and I might suggest adding your own twist to get anything like the same results. On top of that, it’s a hell of Read More…

St. Patrick’s Day Blowout: Results

If you were on Twitter over the weekend, you probably heard something about the St. Patrick’s Day Blowout Sale that I ran here on the blog. A few of you asked how it was all put together, and plenty are keen to hear the results, so I thought I’d run through it all for you today. As you will see below, it was very successful. So successful in fact, that it might spawn a few imitators. For those thinking along those lines, a caution: I would imagine there would be diminishing returns on any promo like this, and I might suggest adding your own twist to get anything like the same results. On top of that, it’s a hell of Read More…

Word-of-Mouth In Action

Word-of-mouth is the only thing that ever really sells books. While a glowing review in the New York Times will undoubtedly shift some copies, if the limited amount of people that actually read the reviews (and then purchase the book), don’t then spread the word, the sales bump will be temporary. The 21st century world-weary reader is a hard person to reach. Our environment has become so saturated with advertisements that we tend to tune them out. Broadcasters need to resort to tricks like raising the volume levels of the ads to force us to pay attention. We ignore ads because we don’t trust them. Exaggerated claims of the merits of one brand over another have been with us for Read More…