Tag: book launch

Checklist: How do you know if your book is ready to publish?

on July 18, 2016 in Publishing Advice with 1 comment by

Uncertain if you book is ready to be released into the wild? You want to publish your best book possible. It can be challenging to know if your manuscript has any weak areas, or if it’s been properly edited.

If doesn’t matter whether you intend to self-publish, or send your manuscript off to agents and publishers. Taking the time to work through these stages drastically improves your manuscript and your ability to realize your publishing goals.

While not every book goes through each of these steps (or needs to), each action adds value and refines the final book you will offer up to readers. While it’s easy to make big changes in the development stage, these changes become more and more emotionally difficult later on. Here’s a quick manuscript editing checklist to help guide you.

Stage one: Development 

  1. Outline plot points.
  2. Workshop with peers.
  3. Revise, cut and expand on authorly authority.
  4. Share with “beta” or “review” readers.
  5. Revise and rewrite based on input.

Stage two: Editing

  1. Self-edit for basic grammar and spelling errors.
  2. Read aloud to catch clarity issues.
  3. Developmental edit (pro) – Chapter-level. Focuses on story development, character, pacing, etc.
  4. Copyedit (pro) – Sentence and paragraph level. Focuses on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other mechanics of style.
  5. Consistency in tone and style. Clarity.
  6. Manuscript review (pro) – Review of entire manuscript with notes provided. May focus on content, improvements and marketability.

Stage three: Final Review

  1. Run spell check and read through out loud once more. (Not, not kidding about spell check!)
  2. Double check table of contents, chapter titles and section headings.
  3. Final proofread (pro) – Focus on grammar, spelling and basic formatting.

Get the manuscript editing checklist (PDF) > >

How to get people to notice your books (4 Steps)

on April 4, 2016 in Publishing Advice with no comments by

noticeyourbooksDo you wish you knew how to get people to notice your books?

In a very crowded market, it may feel impossible to get your books the attention they deserve. Many authors complain that they spend incredible amounts of time on marketing, but don’t see many sales result. Worse, they don’t even have time to write!

It doesn’t need to be that difficult to find your audience and give your books the readers they deserve. Here are four steps to getting your book noticed.

1. Publish your book with a professional, compelling cover design and description. It doesn’t matter how many eyeballs you get on your book if the cover turns them off.

2. Create a compelling offer. No, “buy my book” is not a compelling offer. Imagine readers are discovering you for the very first time. What can you do to make it easier for them to take a risk with a new author? Limited time low pricing can work, but doesn’t help support your career. Can you offer a free sample? A bundle with other products? Companion material that is free for you to produce and distribute — such as guides, education, videos or audio?

3. Expand your reach. With a beautiful book and a compelling offer in place, NOW you are ready to start spreading the word about your book. Start sharing with your personal network, grow your following on social media, share your free content on sites such as LinkedIn and Medium, email your list, schedule readings and talks, offer guest posts and reach out to influencers.

Caution! If you don’t have an attractive book and a compelling offer to send all the attention to, your efforts will not have the impact you desire. Your time will be wasted.

4. Advertise. Yes, sometimes you get out what you put in. I’ve seen the best results with two particular ad channels. I love the precision and control offered with Facebook ads. I’m blown away by the reach and result achieved with BookBub ads.

While these 4 steps will help you with an individual book push, you’ll fare even better if you grow your personal audience. Perhaps you’ve heard of Kevin Kelly’s theory that an artist really only needs 1,000 true fans to support a career?

What if instead of a constant hustle, you spent your time gaining your 1,000 fans? With a solid fan base, each work has a strong launching pad that will amplify all of your efforts.

Want help with this?

>> Learn the A-Z’s of building your author platform and winning your true fans.

Insider tip: My blog friends can use the code BLOG100 for a $100 credit towards full course enrollment.

The give and take of social media marketing (Plus my golden rule of self-promotion.)

on March 16, 2016 in Publishing Advice with 2 comments by

giveandtakeofsocialmediaWant to avoid irritating the crap out of your Twitter followers, but still need to make sure the time you spend on the platform results in traffic and sales? Here’s my golden rule for self-promotion on Twitter:

Don’t exceed a 3:1 ratio of “gives” versus promotion.

What does this mean? This means for every single time I talk about myself, or my books, or classes, I talk about something completely unrelated to me at least three times.

Give. Give. Give. Take.

This 3:1 ratio is a bit high on the promotion side. I only talk about myself this much when I have something I am pushing hard. When I don’t have anything new, that ratio drops down to more like 10:1, or even 20:1.

Guy Kawasaki, who was my mentor and advisor during my Writer.ly years, told me his ratio might even be much higher on the “give” side. He manages aggregate news sites and tweets a huge volume of content. For mere mortals, the 10:1 or 3:1 goal is more achievable.

How does this play out? Let’s say I am promoting a new free class. Even though the class is technically a “give” as a free resource, it’s a “take” as I’m talking about myself and asking people to give me their emails when they sign up.

I know that to meet my signup goals, I need to tweet about the class about three times a day. I will use Hootsuite to schedule my tweets for prime times (early in the morning, one in the afternoon, one late in the evening). I make sure to change the tweets so that they don’t all say the same thing.

Once my promo tweets are scheduled, I fill up the space between with at least 3 high-interest “gives”.

What counts as a give? A give can be an article, a quote, a writing prompt, a recommendation, a joke, or links to other people’s events or books. As long as the gives are appropriate and interesting to my audience, no one seems to mind the tweets about my class. Most of my followers will miss them all, even though I spread them throughout the day.

The take is just as important as the give if you are on Twitter for business or audience purposes. If all you post are “gives”, then your efforts will not feed your email list or sales. If you have nothing in particular you are promoting, you can at least schedule out occasional tweets for people to come back and look at your most popular blog posts, or to sign up for your wonderful email newsletter.

It’s more of an art than a science. I break my own rules occasionally and do not always follow my own advice. Luckily, Twitter has a short term memory. It’s easy for my followers forgive my occasional over-excitement for my own projects thanks to the all the other wonderful content I curate for their benefit and enjoyment.

Do you need help using Twitter more effectively?

Sign up for my 3-Day course “How to Get More Followers on Twitter.” It’s free and delivered via email, so you can complete it on your own schedule.

>> Sign up here. <<

This is day three of my week of social savvy posts. Check back tomorrow to learn more about how to use Twitter to achieve your promotion goals.

How to use Twitter without embarrassing yourself.

on March 15, 2016 in Publishing Advice, Writer's Life with no comments by

HowtoUseTwitterPromoting your books does not need to be a painful exercise in narcissistic flailing and squandered efforts. Approached with the correct mindset, it might not only be very effective, but also fun! If you would like to know how to use Twitter without embarrassing yourself or wasting time, here is what you must keep top of mind. It’s the biggie…

Twitter is the place for first discovery, not the final sale.

If you have ever worked in sales or marketing, you may have heard of the sales funnel. As you can see in the illustration below, social media sites (such as Twitter) are at the very tippy top of the funnel. This is where you get your first introductions. Potential readers may see your clever tweet and discover for the first time that you even exist.

social media sales funnel for authors

 

This first discovery moment is not the time to ask for a book sale. Sure, if you ask 100 people, you might get one or two sales. Is that what you’re after, one or two sales? Is it worth annoying the 98 or 99 other people that didn’t take you up on your quick offer?

Use Twitter to entertain or inform your potential fans. Give them interesting content to earn their attention. Invite them to click through to your blogs, or freebies or collaborations.

Here’s an example of how I invite my Twitter followers to come visit my website:

Since my audience is full of writers, I offer the fun game as a way to interact (play!) and drive traffic back to my blog. It’s subtle and appreciated by those that participate. You’ll notice there is no sales push. I’m not selling anything with these games. I use the games as a way to move beyond introduction and discovery and give my audience a chance to get to know me.

More directly, you can offer information or freebies on Twitter. Here’s an example of just that:

This tweet really helps move potential fans through the funnel. Not only do we go past introduction to entice people back to the website, but we offer them something of high value for free. While they may watch the video right away, if they want the guide they need to provide their email address. Once we receive their email address, we have permission to continue building our relationship and provide them more offers leading to a single sale, or even a life of fandom. (So we hope!)

If you would like to know how to use Twitter without embarrassing yourself, just keep thinking of the network as a very first introduction to your potential readers. Give, give, give…. give resources, information or entertainment. Be yourself and don’t worry about “pushing” anything. Provide opportunities to invite your followers back to your website or to your events. Keep thinking about what you can offer to move your potential readers through the funnel and closer to fandom.

Do you need help using Twitter more effectively?

Sign up for my 3-Day course “How to Get More Followers on Twitter.” It’s free and delivered via email, so you can complete it on your own schedule.

>> Sign up here. <<

This is day two of my week of social savvy posts. Check back tomorrow to learn more about how to use Twitter to achieve your promotion goals.

Claim your name: First steps for authors on social media

on March 7, 2016 in Publishing Advice, Writer's Life with 5 comments by

claimYOURnameAuthors on social media often struggle in the beginning.

Aside from the fact that self-promotion seems daunting and distasteful, you must also contend with a vast number of social networks to choose from, each with their own best practices, unspoken rules and effectiveness. How can you possibly be expected to know where to start?

Good news! You don’t need to figure out everything right away. You have plenty of time to try out different platforms. You may explore each one-by-one if you wish, trying them on for audience, ease of use and enjoyment. This is my best piece of advice for authors on social media.

Do this right now:

Claim your name on all the major social media platforms.

What does this mean? This means creating an account on all the major social networks, as well as any niche networks you think might be a good match for your work and your readers. This does not mean that you need to start using all these accounts right now. This simply means that if you do decide to try them out in the future, you will not suffer the annoyance of discovering your name is already taken.

These are the social media networks I suggest for all authors. Do you already have your name claimed on these sites?

There are many other social media or community sites that may also be a good match for you. Check out:

There are a billion more. Ask your readers where they spend their time online and what sites they like. That’s where you need to be.

When you create your username, you will be very lucky if you can get your first name, or even your full name. Already taken? Don’t worry, there are many ways you can craft a well-branded, professional username that will likely work across platforms. Let’s say your name is Stephen King, you could try these public user names:

  1. Stephen
  2. StephenKing
  3. AuthorStephenKing
  4. StephenKing
  5. StephenWrites
  6. SKingAuthor
  7. theStephenKing
  8. RealStephen
  9. StephenSpeaks
  10. MeetStephen

If possible, you want to find a user name that you can use on as many social media platforms as possible. This will make it easier for people to find you.

Tip: DO NOT create profiles in the name of your book. You’re an author for life, right? You are going to write many books, yes? It will be a big pain to have to start over again every time you publish something new.

Are you 8 for 8 for claiming your name on the primary social media accounts I listed? Do you know more social sites for authors and artists that I may add to the secondary list? Let me know in the comments below.

Do you need help using Twitter more effectively?

Sign up for my 3-Day course “How to Get More Followers on Twitter.” It’s free and delivered via email, so you can complete it on your own schedule.

>> Sign up here. <<

Book Launch Checklist

on June 10, 2014 in Diary with 8 comments by

book_launch_checklistAuthors and publishers must keep track of a great many details when launching a new book. Here is a checklist to help guide you through the process, from the book inception all the way through the first month of publication.

TIP: This checklist goes along with my recorded webinar: How to plan a book launch

TIP: You can download a printable, pdf version of this checklist here.


 

Book launch checklist

From the moment you first have your book idea, start the first section of tasks.

Build your author platform

  • Create an author website
  • Start a blog
  • Build your social media
  • Start an opt-in email list

Build connections

  • Join writing groups
  • Attend writing conferences
  • Join professional organizations

Research

  • Competitive research in genre
  • Look for agents, editors
  • Identify contests / awards
  • Notice what other authors are doing.

 

Four months before launch:

  • Create a marketing plan. Include:
  • Target market
  • Media channels
  • Platform building
  • Special offers / promos
  • Events
  • Metrics and goals

Three months before launch:

  • Invite beta readers
  • Order a Kirkus review
  • Become active on Goodreads
  • Plan party / launch event
  • Blogger outreach
  • Submit to contests
  • Set up book signings
  • Set up blog tour
  • Set up a Google alert for your name and your book title

Two months before launch:

  • Cover design input
  • Ask for influencer endorsements
  • Brainstorm media possibilities
  • Polish BCC (back cover copy) and book pitch
  • Post a teaser on your website
  • Make sure you website has up to date info

One month before launch:

  • Write press release
  • Reach out to media contacts
  • Join Google+ groups
  • Join Facebook groups
  • Announcements
  • Post a teaser on Wattpad
  • Double post blogs on Goodreads
  • Guest post on other blogs
  • Create a media kit

One Week before launch:

  • Send reminder to Beta Readers
  • Social Karma – Comment and share
  • Upload media kit
  • Create draft of announcement email
  • Post beta reader reviews to website
  • Create Amazon Associate account

Day of launch (I recommend Tuesday):

  • Holy posting, Batman!
  • Update Website
  • Post on all social accounts
  • Post in all groups
  • Post on Pinterest
  • Post on K Boards
  • Message Beta Readers
  • Message friends and family with pre-written posts
  • Send announcement email to list
  • Update Author Central
  • Update Goodreads
  • Update Shelfari
  • Week of launch:
  • Book launch event
  • Reminder to Beta
  • Social postings

Month of launch

  • Post a steady flow of content and promos (3 to 1)
  • Blog tour
  • Interviews
  • Guest posts on blogs
  • Send a reminder email with event and launch info
  • ASK friends and family for reviews
  • Promos
  • Goodreads Giveaway
  • Bookbub
  • Free KDP days
  • Rafflecopter / Instafreebie

And keep on going!

 

This checklist goes along with my recorded webinar: How to plan a book launch

You can download a printable, pdf version of this checklist here.

VIDEO: How to Plan a Book Launch

on June 9, 2014 in Publishing Advice with 4 comments by

RECORDED WEBINAR: How to plan a book launch

Do you have a new book coming out? Congratulations! Now is the time to start planning your book launch.

In this recorded, one-hour webinar, I discuss key components of a successful book launch including; prepping your author platform, branding, social media, live events, free and paid advertising, beta readers and lining up reviews.

After completing this webinar, you’ll be able to create your own well-documented plan of action for using PR, social media and other marketing techniques to support your book launch.

TIP: Don’t forget to download the book launch countdown checklist.