And Old Book, a New Bestseller

It’s often said that it can’t be done… but anything is possible if you have a brutal seller’s mindset. Bear in mind that every book is a product. Whether it’s a new releases, an old book, a 50-page story, an 800-page epic, fiction, or nonfiction… they all have something in common when it comes to Amazon. As far as Amazon’s search engines are concerned, all of these books are just other products and their ID is – from their point of view – just a unique ASIN. Neither age, nor gender, nor history matters. All that matters is how well a certain ASIN is likely to sell.

So many authors have published their works expecting their books on Amazon to somehow sell themselves, and even possibly appear on Amazon’s top chart – oh, to have such confidence must be a wonderful thing! With some books having substantial marketing budget behind themselves, and some others represented by marketing professionals, many self-published books are unfortunately destined to disappear in the backgrounds, and simply fail. The quality of the book always matter, but nobody could deny that quality alone doesn’t sell books. Professional sales strategy and big advertising budgets make an enormous difference on digital sales channels… but a self-published author can’t compete against companies that have been selling books for decades; after all, their ability and know-how in making a book perfectly sellable is the second biggest asset they have. The first is – obviously – their money. Money buys audiences: it’s a simple law of big numbers, and one we can’t get away from.

Undoubtedly you may have read some success stories in the past. Yes, I know, some self-published authors really did it – and it’s highly impressive that they did. However, the other side of the coin – the sad truth of the matter – is that thousands of other authors have failed to achieve a positive profit margin, while the lucky few managed to make it big with seemingly little effort on their part. One could imagine that Amazon is not only the biggest bookseller in the world, but also the biggest graveyard for books and authors’ aspirations! A few million books (and that’s not an overstatement, amazingly) are just staying there, resting in limbo, without a single visit for weeks or even months – totally forgotten, marked as a failure, left to fade away. So many potential bestsellers have failed due to the fact that publishing is not a simple task, despite the fact it may look like one when you consider how slick the publishing procedure is on platforms such as Kindle. With just a few clicks, your book has been published! Wow… And then what?

However, your book actually might stand a chance, so long as you adopted a seller’s mindset and acquire some crucial marketing skills – something that I consider a vital element of digital sales success. Let’s drop the technical jargon and dive right into the middle of things. There are several steps to be performed before you engage in publishing on Amazon.

The sales strategy is built on data, not on our own subjective perception of what could turn out well. This is something you’ll have to bear in mind during this entire process. It’s not romantic, it isn’t glamorous… but it’s reality.

In fact, it doesn’t just come down to data. I actually see three crucial elements for any sales strategy:

Data
Technology
Inbound sales

If you are putting your book out there against millions of other books, you’d better have a decent data-based strategy. When writing a book, authors are fine when it comes to making investments in proofreading and editing. Editing is a must-have for any author, I wouldn’t disagree with that for a second. However, how many authors immediately jump at the chance of getting a marketing/sales professional involved? Precious few, actually, despite these people and their skills also being a must-have. You need data, and you need professionals that have access to the right data.

What kind of data do we use? Obviously, our main focus is on our competitors. Our data should show how successfully books in our specific genre are doing. What’s their overall Sales Rank? How many reviews do they have? What keywords do they use when creating their persuasive sales copy? This has nothing to do with writing, I know, and it isn’t necessarily the ‘fun’ part of producing a book for sale. However, this is something that HAS TO BE DONE BEFORE PUBLISHING. If not, you are just another fish in the sea… and one which is being quickly circled by sharks!

A smart seller is also someone who is technologically savvy. They must be familiar with all those fancy marketing tools and techniques, and stay updated on the latest developments in this field. To become familiar with them, an author must, therefore, acquire some specific knowledge. How do you set up a blog? What’s SEO? How do you use social media to sell more books? What’s the deal with Twitter? Are promotional sites any good? Why does a book need a good video?

So many questions, we know. You’d better learn the answers to them for yourself if you are in any way serious about self-publishing, though, as the answers to these questions will result in you seeing a huge difference in your ranking and sales figures. The alternative, of course, involves you hiring a marketing professional, just like you hired your editor. Publishing is not a process of getting your book on Amazon’s shelf. It’s A BUSINESS, and one which requires a business-like approach.

Another point: what about inbound sales? Can you really focus on your buyer’s needs and goals? How do you sell the way prospects buy? Again, more questions than any serious Amazon seller need to consider, if they want their product to get anywhere!

Yes I know, I’m being a little aggressive here… but a seller would understand, trust me. Sales are not something that just happens like a bolt from the blue. It’s something you need to make happen by using data, technology and inbound sales methods, with a professional guide leading you.

So, back to our original question. Can old book become new bestsellers? Well yes, they can, without a doubt. Just imagine, for a moment, that your book had a set-up that utilizes all available data and technology in establishing a unique customer experience. Imagine your book standing out, even without a strong advertising budget, lead by data-driven sales strategy… it’s not impossible, not by any stretch.

I have a real thing for old books. After all, some books simply failed to connect to readers, but many books never had the chance to connect. I always say: it’s never a lost game, so long as you believe in your book. If you want to bring your book back into the game, then have some faith, for there’s no doubt that it really can be done!

How? By following these steps:

Buy a license for professional tools, such as KDRocket, to research your competition, ideas, keywords, and categories.
Join a learning/coaching program on Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Blogging and other marketing channels that have proven to be successful in book sales
(I may have one for you – SEO Crash Course For Publishers)
Learn about your customer base; read reviews, join groups, engage.
Build your own audience, do some self-promotion. Start with a few followers, and never allow yourself to become discouraged.

There’s also a secret sauce you can add to your efforts: consistency. Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Don’t give up on your books. Give them the love, care, attention and professionalism they need, and help them bring their message to the readers who are out there, already searching for what you have to share!

Why You Should Have Book Tag

So, I’ve seen this book tag going around booktube lately and I thought it would be fun to try it out, being it my first book tag and all.

I’m basically going to say my opinion about a bunch of questions that have the phrase ‘totally should have” in them. Sounds like fun, right?

Let’s do it (!).

*A book that totally should have gotten a sequel*

I’m going with Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover on this one.

I just didn’t want this book to end. And when it did, I just wanted more. This book was AMAZING. I loved every single word of it, and all I want is more Sydney and Ridge! They are so perfect *sighing dreamily*.

I would have LOVED to get another book with those characters!

All this talk about Maybe Someday makes me want to re-read it for the 6th time.

If you haven’t read this book yet – what have you been doing with your life? READ IT.

*A book series that totally should have had a spin off*

I thought of quite a few options. I mean, who doesn’t want their favourite series to have a spin-off? But it also needs to be fitting. Not every series, as much as you want it to, can have a spin-off.

In any case, I’m going with Harry Potter on this one. It would have been so good to have a spin-off series in the Harry Potter world. Can you imagine a spin-off of all the children of the characters from Harry Potter? Or maybe even a spin-off of Harry’s father, his mother and their friends… how they got to know each other and all of their adventures in their years at Hogwarts.

Oh yes, I totally would’ve wanted to read this.

*An author that totally should have written more books*

Suzanne Collins, Kristine Cashore and J.K Rowling.

All these authors wrote some very good books. The reason I can’t call them favourite authors of mine is because they’ve completely stopped writing more books.

An author grows with each book, gains experience and skills. I believe those authors could have been amazing if they just kept writing more.

Other than having a writer’s block, I honestly don’t get why an author would stop writing. It’s a very sad thing. These authors (and more, like: Stephenie Meyer) totally should have written more books.

*A character that totally should have ended up with somebody else*

99{8dd028319d5a78c19fd290a42d8d63344c8cbe92849eb99d3e77de8649989124} of the time I ship the ship that will happen. It’s too hard for me to read a book if my ship is destroyed. It’s not to say I haven’t come across books where my ship was doomed.

*If you haven’t read the first 3 books of The Naturals series by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, skip to the next question. I’m going to say exactly who should have ended up with someone else and who did she actually end up with, so… consider yourselves warned*

Cassie should have totally ended up with someone else entirely.

Instead… she ended up with Dean.

*sigh*

Not my ship at all. I was on an entirely different ship called Cassie & Michael.

Cassie and Michael had chemistry and they kept bumping into each other. From the beginning, you just knew there was something special between them.

With Dean? I felt none of that. They hardly talked, hardly had any real conversation or any kind of chemistry and yet somehow they ended up together.

I honestly don’t understand how or why.

Granted, there is at least one more book in the series so it’s not finished quite yet, but… the chances she’ll change her mind for some reason look slim to none right now.

*Another sigh*

But who knows, maybe I’ll get the surprise of my life in the next book and my ship will sail again.

*A book that totally should have ended differently*

Carry on by Rainbow Rowell.

As I wrote in my review of Carry on: This. Is. Not. An. Ending.

The first 90{8dd028319d5a78c19fd290a42d8d63344c8cbe92849eb99d3e77de8649989124} of the book? Pure amaziness.

The last 10{8dd028319d5a78c19fd290a42d8d63344c8cbe92849eb99d3e77de8649989124} of the book? All hell breaks loose. Fast. Me? *blinking slowly*, putting the book aside, wondering what in the world just happened.

Seriously? Is this how it ends?

Yeah… no.

*A book that totally should have had a TV show*

Definitely The Lunar Chronicles!

I got this idea the lunar chronicles would make a fantastic TV show while reading the third book. Something about this wold, those characters, all the complexity and awesomeness of it… I could just imagine it as a TV show. And that says a lot considering I’m not in the habit of wanting to turn books I love into movies\TV shows. But with the lunar chronicles… I felt like, in the right hands, it could be such an amazing show.

Can you imagine the possibilities? Just thinking about it makes me all giddy inside.

There is always a risk to adapting a book to the big screen (Just look at the TV show shadowhunters. nope, sorry, I can’t deal with this show. I love the mortal instruments too much), but if done right, wouldn’t it be just amazing?

*A book that totally should have been a movie*

I’m not too keen on book-to-movie adaptations. TV shows? They are usually much more capable of capturing the essence of the book (in those rare occasions) + they are longer and can actually adapt the *whole* book\series and not just parts of it (though they usually don’t do it).

I find that I enjoy the movies of books I didn’t like. Books I love, though… their movies either make me want to kill someone (probably the one who made the movie) or go into denial mode and pretend this movie doesn’t exist. Usually I start with option one and ends up with option two.

So… what book should I nominate for a movie adaptation? I actually have two in mind: Wings by Aprilynn Pike and Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins. They can turn to be great movies. They both have a very interesting fantasy element that has lots of potential (which I felt hasn’t fully grown in the books).

*A book that totally should have had one POV*

Usually, I don’t have a problem with multiple POVs. If it’s more than 2 POVs than it might get annoying, but I don’t come across many books with more than 2 POVs. The only one that comes to mind is the Heroes Of Olympus series, and while it’s true I didn’t particularly like hearing from a few characters POVs, it didn’t bother me that much.

The Rose & The dagger (by Renee Ahdieh) though… honestly? I did not see the point of condemning us to Irsa POV and a few other random POVs. It was annoying, boring and all I thought while reading those POVs was: “when will we get back to Shazi?” and: “What’s going on with Shazi right now?” and: “Please let this chapter be over so we can go back to the real story.”

Sorry, but you can’t just randomly shove POVs at the readers. Multiple POVs are great when there is a point to them. When there is no apparent point to them? Yeah, not so much.

*A book that totally should have had a cover change*

Richelle Mead has that habit of having ah… really strange book covers for her books. It happened with the vampire academy, with the bloodlines series, and the latest victim was the glittering court book cover. I mean, with the vampire academy and bloodlines I could at least understand there were humans on the covers that were supposed to be Rose and Sydney, but… well, ah… is the person on the glittering court cover even human? It looks *so weird*.

*A book that totally should have not had a cover change*

Hmm… I have to say, I don’t know. It’s usually the other way around: I can’t think of a book I’ve read that got a cover change for the worse. Maybe… Carry On? The previous cover was prettier, in my opinion.

*A book that totally should have stopped at book one*

Divergent.

Oh, believe me, I was a big fan of Divergent once upon a time. I loved books 1 and 2 very much. And then came along book 3 and… well. Let’s just say I would rather it ended with book 1.

“Writing is… being able to take something whole and fiercely alive that exists inside you in some unknowable combination of thought, feeling, physicality, and spirit, and to then store it like a genie is tense, tiny black symbols on a calm white page. If the wrong reader comes across the words, they will remain just words. But for the right readers, your vision blooms off the page and is absorbed into their minds like smoke, where it will re-form, while and alive, fully adapted to its new environment.”

The 4 Reasons Why Everyone Will Want To Read Your New Book

There are four reasons why people will want to read the new book you are writing, and if you include them all, you will have a best-seller.

The 1st Reason Why People Will Read Your New Book

First and foremost, people like to be entertained. And while it may seem like by deliberately setting out to entertain people with your writing that you are dumbing it down or selling out, you really aren’t. People read books or watch television because it is an escape, and an escape has to be entertaining on some level or people will avoid it. Even if it is good for them.

And if you want someone to actively seek out your book, you will have to make it entertaining so they will look forward to reading it as much as they like watching videos on YouTube.

The 2nd Reason Why People Will Read Your New Book

People need to be inspired. And the highest thing your book can achieve is to inspire someone to do better. An inspiring book is something that a person will never forget reading, even if it only helps them change one aspect of their life.

And besides writing about your own success story, the story of others’ triumphs is also something to explore as you write your best-selling book. Telling your reader how you (as well as many others) achieved certain goals can be so motivating, that once your reader finishes your book, they will be able to do it too. This kind of writing also lends itself to a best-selling and inspirational title.

The 3rd Reason Why People Will Read Your New Book

Readers have to walk away from a book feeling like they have learned something new. People love to tell others about what they are reading, and especially what they are learning from a new book. So you have to imagine someone telling other people how excited they are about what they are learning from your book, no matter how small a fact it is.

There isn’t one person alive who doesn’t like to brag about the knowledge and education they have and where it comes from, and their latest resource for new information should be your book. Even if you are writing a novel, the reader can learn something new about a rare disease, investigative procedures, a place they have never visited, or new vocabulary words.

The 4th Reason Why People Will Read Your New Book

Let’s face it. People read a book because someone else tells them they have to read it. In fact, many people are told that if they want to be included in a certain social group, be considered smart, or graduate from a school – they have to read certain books. This mandate can come from a teacher, a professor, an employer, a family member, a book club, a best friend, a best-seller list, a neighbor, a minister, a website, an organization, and the list goes on.

This is an often overlooked reason as to why people read books, but it will certainly help your book sales if you check out what kind of books are being recommended by these social leaders & institutions and also why. Because in spite of what the media tells us (that people would much rather watch a video instead of read a book), we live in a time where more people are required to read than ever. And there are more people on the planet now who have the ability to read than in the whole history of the world.

Not to mention, it is now easy to translate books into every foreign language you can possibly imagine. And the fact that enough people from so many countries are interested in new ideas, and make so many books written in English international best-sellers so quickly, indicates that the entire world is much savvier than it used to be.

So take advantage of the new, literate world we live in and make your book entertaining, inspirational, educational, and also recommendable, and you will have a best-seller on your hands.

How Book Design and Book Marketing Will Keep Your Book Alive

Too many authors spend all their time on writing, then scrimp on book design and book marketing. They hope that their publisher will handle all the details of book design and book marketing, so that they can just sit back and rake in the millions year after year.

Then, if these same authors decide to self-publish, they’ll quickly get lost in the morass of print on demand publishers and the time and money sink hole of self-publishing. In fact, most authors would rather die than think about book marketing, or spend money on book design.

Facing your book marketing competition

In 2005, around 172,000 books were published with an ISBN number, according to Bowker, which compiles publishing statistics. An ISBN number will get you into Books in Print, and allows your book to be distributed to bookstores and online sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. According to some sources, nearly one quarter of these books were printed by Print on Demand (POD) companies.

I’d estimate that number to be much higher, as many small publishers are having their books printed by Lightning Source, which also provides printing for many of the larger POD companies.

Additionally, Lulu Press, who publishes over 1500 books per week, says that only about 5% of their books get an ISBN number. That’s another 80,000 or so books circulating in the market each year, although most of Lulu’s books are only sold through Lulu Press on their web site.

The definition of “Best Seller” has changed

It only takes 300 book sales to get on Lulu’s all-time top 100 bestsellers list. 300 books! For some people, that can be attained simply by selling books to their extended family. While AuthorHouse, iUniverse, Xlibris, and other big players in the POD market might print more books with ISBN numbers, their sales records aren’t much better.

Some sources estimate that the average book sells no more than 150 copies, and other sources put that number at below fifty copies. In many cases, authors end up losing money on their books, which is why Lulu Press is so popular. At Lulu, you can upload your book interior and cover (you do all the design work), and have a book on your doorstep within days – all for the “cost of printing” (which is highly inflated, by the way).

The services and prices of POD companies vary widely, which is why we’re in the final stages of creating a comprehensive guide on self-publishing. It can be a confusing morass of information and data, with many unsubstantiated claims. The truth shall be revealed.

Will you be one of the winners, or part of the majority?

Will your book be dead before it hits the streets? If you have any intention of selling more than 50 books, then you’ll have to invest time – and money – into the production and marketing of your book. Here are the basic steps you’ll have to consider:

1. Write a great book that’s got an audience.

One of the biggest mistakes people make is to assume that people will read their book just because it’s “good.” People will read a book if it is either applicable to their lives (non-fiction), or if it really is a damned good book (fiction). Even then, you’ll have to market your book. “How to sell a book” or “How to market a book” are two of the top questions we get, and search engine analysis shows that these are frequent search terms. If you haven’t written your book with an audience in mind, then you’re down to three legs on your four-legged marketing stool.

2. Spend some money on book cover design and book editing.

The second leg of book marketing is the interior and exterior design of the book. People do judge a book by its cover, so if you’re not spending some money on getting an outstanding cover, you’re losing sales. Then, people will open the book and read the intro or first few pages. Is it well-written? Easy to read? Is the interior book design clean, consistent, and well-implemented. I’ve seen many POD books in which the margins were too small, the fonts poorly chosen, and the images fuzzy. Who’s going to buy a book like that?

There are many great book cover designers. Then for editing, contact Charity at Mighty Pen Editing for your editing needs. Don’t scrimp on the editing because you WILL make mistakes (trust me on this – there are probably a few in this article).

3. Choose a good quality publisher.

Lulu Press is great if you just want to print a few books for your friends, or create a low-cost galley to send to editors, agents, or distributors. You’ll often be asked to send a “galley” of your book, which is simply a printed copy of your book with a blank cover. Lulu Press is great for creating galleys at minimal cost.

As we’ll show you in our upcoming comprehensive guide to self-publishing, which POD company you choose depends on your intentions and desires. If you want to have your book professionally edited and the cover professionally designed by your publisher (instead of outsourcing to some unknown person), then companies like Cold Tree Press might be a good choice. Other companies offer a varied level of marketing packages. Personally, I’d rather stay away from having these publishers market my book, and instead go to a good book marketing expert or media specialist.

But, there are a few small publishers (like Cold Tree Press or Arbor Books) who have excellent book marketing packages, ranging from several hundred to several thousand dollars (you get what you pay for!).

4. Take a “no holds barred” approach to book marketing.

If your book is your life, or is a major part of your business marketing plan, then spend some money on publicity and book marketing. Too many people, especially business people, write a book, put a page up on their web site (and on Amazon), and hope that they’ll get some sales. Your book is like a 250 page business card, and it should be used accordingly.

If your book is your life story or a novel, you still need to spend some money on marketing, although your approach will be different. Definitely check out a media relations specialist or Book Marketing Specialist (Penny Sansevieri).

5. Use the Internet to market your book.

The old ways of marketing books, such as book tours, are dead and gone. Sure, you can still do them, but if you really want to sell books, you’ll have to go online – and not quietly.

Use techniques such as blogs (blogging), Podcasting, and Videocasting (something like online infomercials). Be sure to check out the advanced book marketing teleseminar series. You should also learn how to do a Virtual Book tour (a class Penny Sansevieri will be teaching through Write and Publish Your Book).

So, write a great book, find a good book cover designer and book editor, work with a quality publisher, market the heck out of your book, and use the Internet to market your book with podcasts, blogging (an author blog), videocasts, and virtual book tours.

Good luck. Good writing. Good selling.

Tips To Living Your Dreams

The other day I pulled the above book from my bookshelves in order to re-read it. I find whenever I re-read a book after a period of time, I discover something new within its pages. A little gem of an idea I had missed before. I can never throw interesting books out I just buy more book shelves. Neither would I get the same enjoyment reading from a mechanical device, I like the feel of the pages and the book in my hands.

It is an unusual book; on the pack of each page are quotes from influential people on all manner of things. Words of wisdom; you can either contemplate them as you turn the pages or ignore them and press on with the main message of the chapter, if you are eager to discover the road to your dreams.

It is a work book taking you through a series of activities to find your ultimate dream. First you discover your dream, then through the pages you are given techniques for achieving it whatever it might be.

All the distractions that could get in your way are pointed out and how to deal with them. How to deal with fear of the unknown and all the other negative problem areas you could encounter.

Be prepared for some soul-searching and thought-provoking activities as you learn to discover your dream and how you can achieve it. It is a work-book with exercises if you choose to complete them.

If you are serious in achieving your purpose in life and living your dream or finding out what has been delaying you up until now it is an interesting thought-provoking book, which can certainly lead you in the right direction.

Do you have an unfulfilled dream, or many? The book instructs you in discovering which is your main dream and how to tackle it first before moving on the others.

What is your dream? Maybe its like mine, you want to work at home using the internet. This enables me to work almost anywhere with an internet connection, as another of my dreams is to spend winters in a warmer climate. We are off to Spain in a matter of weeks.

Beginning an internet business takes time but a good mentor certainly helps speed up the process. Instead of wallowing in a sea of information you follow a tried and tested path. You also have a supply of excellent products to interest your customers and you get paid whilst you learn the techniques of affiliate marketing. Choose your mentor wisely, sample their products or look on YouTube for videos and a Google search for reviews.

It is possible that your mentor has a community of like-minded followers that you can communicate with as you learn the system. Having a good mentor has been a real help to me.

The book I am reviewing is: “Do It A Guide to Living Your Dreams” by John-Roger and Peter Mc Williams.

Other books you may like to read:

“Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers.

“Ask for the Moon” by Percy Ross

Living with Passion” by Peter L Hirsch

“Thank God it’s Monday” by Charles Cameron and Suzanne Elusor, a book to offer strategies for making life more tolerable whilst you make changes.

“Awaken The Giant Within” by Anthony Robbins.