Tag Archives: book marketing

09 Jul

Synopsis: A Google Example

A couple years ago, Google produced a promotional video, Parisian Love, which advertised its search capabilities in a very simple way. There are merely twelve phrases entered into a Google Search box. And yet–it tells a story and tugs at the heart strings. It evokes emotion. How good is this copy? The video has received over 7 million views!

The sound here is minimal, but effective. But it’s really the words that shine.

When I think about blurbs for books, this stands as a stellar example of what you can do with very tight text. If you could craft your synopsis–or blurb, flap copy, elevator pitch, tweet, or whatever promotional copy you’re working on–to get this strong an emotional tug, you’ll have a winner.

Here’s the Copy

Parisian Love

Study abroad Paris France
Cafes near the louve
Translate tu es tres mignon (You’re very cute)
Impress a French girl
Chocolate shops paris france
What are truffles
Who is truffaut
Long distance relationship advice
Jobs in paris
AA120
Churches in Paris
How to assemble a crib
Search on.

Watch the Video


If you can’t see this video, click here.

Try writing up some promotional copy for your story in just twelve phrases.
Does it evoke emotion?
Does it show a narrative arc?
Can you use this to craft a better marketing message?

02 Jun

Book Reviews on Your Author Website: A Surprisingly Simple Widget


Why do most online sites include reviews of products? It’s called social proof. If someone else likes a product, you’re more likely to be interested. For clothing, I like to see if the sizing is correct, or if I should buy up or down a size. For household appliances, I read to find out what washing machines are noisy or how they hold up to heavy loads. Book reviews act in the same way. Add a couple reviews to your book and sales climb. How much? That’s the million dollar question! We don’t know exactly how the two correlate, but we know that they do.

Adding reviews of your book to your website is simple. Earlier, I did a series on setting up your author website which covered the basics of setting up your site. This is an extra, but potentially important extra.

Goodreads Widget

Configure the GoodReads Review widget as you like, the copy/paste the code into your site. Click to see this full size.

Configure the GoodReads Review widget as you like, the copy/paste the code into your site.


Goodreads makes it simple to add a Review Widget to your site. Here’s how.

  • Log into your Goodreads author account.
  • From the Home Page, right sidebar, click on Visit Your Author Dashboard.
  • Make sure your account is updated and you have claimed all your books. If this is your first time to set up an Author Dashboard, be sure to read the Author Tutorial linked in the sidebar.
  • Click on Author Widgets in the sidebar.
  • Scroll down to the Reviews Widget and click on Configure & Add Widget.
  • Use the ISBN number to find the right review and configure as you want.
  • Copy the code provided and drop into your website where you wish.

When you paste code into a WordPress site, make sure you have selected a TEXT editing area, not the VISUAL editing. Note: For the code to work in WordPress, you must paste it into a TEXT editing area, not a VISUAL editing area. You’ll find this tab at the top right of the editing area.


Example of GoodReads Widget in Action

Saucy and Bubba. A Contemporary Hansel and Gretel Story.

Saucy and Bubba. A Contemporary Hansel and Gretel Story.


  • Below is what the GoodReads Review Widget looks like for my novel, Saucy and Bubba.
  • Or, see how it is used in a separate tab on the Mims House eBookstore for Wisdom, the Midway Albatross.

Kobo Reviews

On a related development, Kobo eBooks (Here’s a post I did about Kobo and why you should pay attention to it.) has recently announced that they will no longer use GoodReads reviews on their site. This makes sense because Amazon bought out GoodReads a couple years ago. Using reviews from a competitor is bad business. Instead, Kobo will be developing its own set of reviews on its site. For a short time, authors can take control of that and ask fans to add reviews on Kobo. So, here’s my request. If you have read and enjoyed one of my books, I’d appreciate a review on Kobo. If you just rate the books (give it some stars!) that helps, too.

To ask for reviews on your own Kobo books, just change the name at the end of the URL, using a plus sign between first/last names. You’ll see which of your books are offered on Kobo.

21 May

Thank You, AuthorCentral

One of the online tools I use weekly is AuthorCentral.com, which is an Amazon site with a backend for authors. It gives authors access to the listings about your book, statistics about sales, reviews of all your books on a single page and access to Amazon for correcting mistakes.

Typical page from AuthorCentral. I've just "claimed" my Aliens, Inc. Series which will be out in August, 2014.

Typical page from AuthorCentral. I’ve just “claimed” by Aliens, Inc. Series which will be out in August, 2014.

Book Listings. When you log onto AuthorCentral, the first thing to do is claim your books. Click on the Books tab at the top, and then ADD BOOKS. Once the process is completed, you’ll have access to the book listing, book details and book extras. These shouldn’t be changed willy-nilly, as your publisher has likely spent time in honing the description. But you do have access to change anything that is wrong, to add good news about awards and such, and to tweak as needed. Indeed, there is a space for “FROM THE AUTHOR” which gives you the perfect place to add information. The Book Extras are primarily intended for Shelfari, which isn’t one of the most popular sites; often, I don’t bother to do anything here. But it’s available if you like.

Profile. The profile tab offers simple access to your Amazon Author page, something you want to update a couple times a year, or as new information is available. Included are you bio, bibliography, photos, videos, blog feeds and the ability to list events.

Sales Info. This includes sales data over time and by geographic region, as reported by BookScan. That is important: this only includes sales data from BOOKSCAN. Still, this is important and helpful. Say you visited California and wanted to know the effect of that visit on sales. You could check the sales data the next week. The information is also broken down book by book.

Author Rank. Just like Amazon gives your books a sales rank, it also gives YOU a sales rank. For a certain time period, how did your sales stack up against other authors in your category? I tend to ignore this one.

Customer Reviews. On the other hand, I check my customer reviews about once a week. It’s convenient to have all reviews from all your books in one central location. Otherwise, I’d have to visit each book listing on Amazon to see new reviews. It’s a bit slow (24-48 hours) pulling in a review. When a friend emails to say s/he has posted a review, I can check the book page and see it immediately; however, it doesn’t show up on AuthorCentral for a day or two.

Overall, these tools allow writers to keep a pulse on their book sales. It’s been a valuable addition to my set of online marketing and promotional tools. Thanks, AuthorCentral.

29 Mar

Author Website Content: Keep the Blog and Website Going

This month-long series of blog posts will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. The Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.

Keep Your Author Website Fresh

WWW under construction building website
You’re done it. Your author website is launched. Now what?
The care and feeding of a website is necessary and part of your career now. Please, don’t abandon the website and let it wither on the vine–not after this month of hard work. Set aside regular days to write something for the blog and get it scheduled. When you have new books, update!

Also, you must plan ways to connect with your readers. Remember that these are things readers want from you.

AUTHOR WEBSITE CHECKLIST
Where on your website did you include these things? List the page(s)

Exclusive unpublished writing: ______________________
Author Schedules: ________________________________
Author’s Literary Tastes:___________________________
Insider Information: _______________________________
Freebies: ________________________________________
Regular Contact: __________________________________
Contests, puzzles, teacher’s guides, book club discussion guides, puzzles, coloring pages, etc.__________________________________

Resources

I won’t leave you without some resources! You can always look at my Author Website Resource page for ideas–and please send me ideas on what to include there!

For problems or questions about WordPress, refer to the WordPress Codex.

WRITING A BLOG – GOING DEEPER

31dbbb2After your website it up and going, you may still want some hints and advice on building a strong blog. Darren Rouse, owner of Problogger.net has this great tutorial that will keep you going for the second month. He is one of the original people talking about how to make money online with blogging and he’s still one of the best. This book is a simple, easy-to-do collection of tasks that will make your website even stronger. After two months of concentrated effort on your site, you’re well on your way to success!
Darren Rouse’s 31 Days to a Better Blog

EMAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS AND MARKETING

Every website needs a way to collect names of fans. After you finish your first month or two, you should look into getting this set up. Own your audience!

Mailchimp is my preference because it’s easy to set up and it’s free until you get 2000 subscribers. After that, the prices go up on $5 increments as your list expands, so it’s easy to live with.

28 Mar

Author Website Tech: Launch

This month-long series of blog posts will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. The Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.

Launch Your Author Website

WWW under construction building website

First and most important, make your website available to search engines.
under Setting/Reading: For Search Engine Visibility, UNCHECK the box for “Discourage search engines from indexing this site.”

You will waste LOTS of time and effort if search engines can’t see your site! Don’t do a launch without doing this step first.

Plan an author website launch with as much care as a book launch–it’s launching your career. Use all your social media contacts to send people to look around. Hold a virtual party, with book giveaways for prizes. Or quietly announce the site to a few friends and ask them to tell friends. It’s up to you. Are you a big party planner or a quiet, introverted writer who just wants to get it right? Plan the website launch your way.

As you get feedback, tweak. Websites are works in progress, always.
And finally, enjoy. A well-functioning website should bring in readers–who come back. Because you planned for them to come back.

Congratulations!
Tomorrow,is one last tip on how to keep your site going.

(And be sure to invite me to the party!)


Launch your author website carefully--it is launching your career.

Launch your author website carefully–it is launching your career.


27 Mar

Author Website Content: Beta Readers

This month-long series of blog posts will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. The Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.

Calling All Grammar Witches: Beta Readers for Your Site

WWW under construction building website

You’re just days away from launching your new and improved Author Website. Now’s the time to proofread, test links and make sure everything is working! Recruit friends (and enemies?) to click around and make sure the site works.

  • Links. Click on every single link to make sure it works.
  • Grammar and Spelling. Grammar Witches, i love you. I’ll do everything you tell me to do.
  • Photos. Add photos to every page, because it makes it more appealing.
  • Tweak posts. OK, you’re a writer. You will be tweaking every single post. Just don’t stress out over this; write the best you can and let it go.

Fix everything that is reported to you. Make sure everything is in order for launch.

26 Mar

Author Website Content: Blog Posts 11-15

This month-long series of blog posts will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. The Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.

Mine Your Interests for Blog Posts

WWW under construction building website

Running out of ideas? Here are 5 other suggestions on how to do riffs on your topics.

  • Write a list of 10 titles for blog posts. Ex. 10 Things to Include on Your Author Website.
  • Turn that around and write the negative of the post, as a warning. Ex. 10 Things to Leave Off Your Author Website.
  • Turn in around again with humor or sarcasm. Ex. Top 10 Worst Author Websites.
  • Look at the list and find something timely to write about each. Ex. How Google’s Hummingbird SEO Update will Affect Your Author Website.
  • Take a topic from your list and predict the future. Ex. Why Pattison’s Website Topped 2 Million Hits in 2014.
  • Look at the list and take a historical slant. Ex. Then and Now: Darcy’s Author Website. This image shows my website on November 7, 2001. WOW! Even then, I liked red and black to brand a site.
  • Snapshot of my website from November 7, 2001.

    Snapshot of my website from November 7, 2001.


    Your goal for today is to write 5 most posts, for a total of 15. Get them scheduled. You don’t have to schedule one for every single day. Spread them out! Maybe 2 or 3 a week. You can fill in with spontaneous posts, of course, but this should get your site up and going for a month or two. Write!

    24 Mar

    Author Website Tech: Checklist #2

    This month-long series of blog posts will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. The Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.

    WWW under construction building website

    Way back in the first week, of the month, I suggested that you go and look at the websites of other authors in your genre. Now that you’re almost done with your site, go back and look around again and this time, see what else you need to tweak. Which author websites you admire the most? Which do you–as a fan–visit the most often? What do you GO BACK for? That’s the real question–what will keep a fan coming back to your site? How do the websites stack up against the Codex checklist?

    Start looking for author websites here:

    Author Website Checklist: Fiction Notes blog. 28 Days to a Fantastic Author Website.

    Last time: Author Website Planning Checklist

    Where on your website did you include these things? List all the appropriate page(s). Can you add something now?

    Exclusive unpublished writing: ______________________
    Author Schedules: ________________________________
    Author’s Literary Tastes:___________________________
    Insider Information: _______________________________
    Freebies: ________________________________________
    Regular Contact: __________________________________
    Contests, puzzles, teacher’s guides, book club discussion guides, puzzles, playlists, coloring pages, etc.__________________________________

    In other words–don’t launch before you are ready! Take the time to get it right before you let the world know that your website is live!

    23 Mar

    Author Website Content: Blog Posts 6-10

    This month-long series of blog posts will explain author websites and offer tips and writing strategies for an effective author website. It alternates between a day of technical information and a day of writing content. By the end of the month, you should have a basic author website up and functioning. The Table of Contents lists the topics, but individual posts will not go live until the date listed. The Author Website Resource Page offers links to tools, services, software and more.

    Write 5 More Blog Posts

    WWW under construction building website

    Before your website goes live, I recommend that you have at least 10-15 posts written. So, on this writing day, I’ll suggest that you write five more posts and schedule them. Believe me, getting posts scheduled ahead will make the process easier. Blog posts can be 240-2000 words, however long it needs to be.

    For the first 5 posts we concentrated on giving readers what they want from the Codex group. Here are other ideas.

    1. Interview. A classic post is to interview another author about a forthcoming book, an award, a surprising thing in their career, or a forthcoming book. An easy way to do this is to send 5 questions for the person to answer. Did you get that? You only have to write 5 questions! Your friend writes the post for you. In return, they get to borrow your audience for a day. Make sure the post will be something that your audience will be interested in.
    2. Review. Likewise, a review of a friend’s book si ALWAYS welcome. Support your friends and their carrers by doing an honest review. Update your audience on your literary tastes by talking about what you’re reading now.
    3. Event report. Are you traveling, attending a conference, speaking at a school, or teaching a class? Give a report, complete with photos of the event. Your readers would like to know what was the most fascinating thing to YOU. Filter everything through your point of view. Doing a booksigning? Add photos to your blog post.
    4. Post a video. Is there a uTube video that speaks to something you are talking about on your blog? It’s easy to embed a YouTuve video in a post or page.

    Today, write five more blog posts and schedule them. Try to make one of them a pillar post.

    22 Mar

    Author Website Tech: Checklist #1


    Now is the time to do a check of your site to make sure you’ve covered everything!
    If you feel like you’re lacking in some area, then click on the link and re-read the appropriate post.
    Or go back to the Table of Contents to review material.

    General Good Practices for a Website

    1. In 3 seconds, can a reader figure out where they are and what they can do here?
    2. Is there a search box on every page so readers can find what they need?
    3. Is the site attractive, easy to read–a clean usable design?
    4. Do you use great titles on your posts so they will be found by search engines?
    5. Does every page have a Call to Action?
    6. Are your social media links easy to spot and use on every page?
    7. Have you clicked on every link to make sure they work?
    8. Did you include a way for people to contact you through a form or by email?
    9. Are you tracking statistics for your site?
    10. Did you include a privacy page? Are you COPPA Compliant?
    11. Author Website Checklist: Fiction Notes blog. 28 Days to a Fantastic Author Website.

      What readers want from the Codex study

      Remember that you have choices about which page will hold this info. Where did you put these things that readers want?

    12. Is your ABOUT page interesting and fun, yet informative?
    13. Did you include a downloadable bibliography and/or biography?
    14. Have you provided exclusive writing only published on your website?
    15. Is your Author schedule listed and UP TO DATE?
    16. Are you letting readers know something about your literary tastes?
    17. Have you provided any freebies or bling for your fans?
    18. Do you have a newsletter or someway for fans to connect and stay connected?
    19. Did you include any of these: contests, puzzles, and games, with prizes like autographed copies of books?
    20. Are you providing a way for readers to buy your books, either on your site or through a link to an online bookseller?
    21. If you have series, do you provide a list that explains the order for reading that series?
    22. Are your recent books on the Home page, or easy to find?
    23. PET PEEVES: Why Readers Hate an Author’s Website

      DearAuthor.com has a great post on the Top Ten Peeves From Booksellers and Readers about Author Websites. I’ve summarized the list, but you should read the whole article. Insightful.

    24. No printable list of your books.
    25. No ISBNs.
    26. Series not identified and books not put into a series list.
    27. No contact author on front page
    28. Having to hunt for most recent releases.
    29. No list of future releases.
    30. No list of awards.
    31. No links to order.
    32. Not friendly.
    33. Nothing to bring the reader back.

    How are you doing? Is your website stacking up? What’s the hardest/easiest thing you’ve done on your site this month? What would you add to this checklist?

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    Author Website Resources