By Lyn Horner
A new Kindle author recently visited my home page http://texasdruids.com and asked me for tips on what to do next. I’m flattered by his request and more than happy to share what I’ve learned since publishing my first Kindle book. After blogging about the topic, I thought it might make a good follow-up to my earlier posts here on WITS. I hope some of you will find it helpful.
Tips For All eBook Authors:
- Presentation is important. Properly format your manuscript!
This is the most important tip for any aspiring ebook author. A professional, polished, easily read book is vital on all digital devices. Check and recheck, page by page, before uploading. Then check it again! I went through my book, Darlin’ Druid, at least a half dozen times before publishing it on Amazon, and I still caught a few small glitches when I downloaded it to my Kindle. I immediately corrected these problems and re-uploaded – without ever having to delete DD from my product page.
- Consider using smashwords for publishing with multiple outlets.
They offer strict formatting guidelines and will convert your book to suit several different e-publishing retailers, including Barnes & Noble. Amazon is the exception. Kindle authors need to format and upload their own books via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) or employ a service to do it for them. Amazon affiliate CreateSpace is one such service. They also offer print-on-demand service, making it possible to purchase Kindle books in paperback form.
- Self promotion is a must. E-publishing is no place for the meek and timid. It’s your book against thousands of others and no one is going to do it for you! Here are a few avenues you should explore.
Tips For Self Promotion, Specific for Amazon:
- Set up your author page on Amazon Author Central, including a brief biography and photo of yourself. I chose the same photo I use on all my own sites. This helps make me quickly recognizable. Should I decide to change the photo later, it’s very easy to do.
- Start a blog and link it to your author page. Amazon also lets you link to your Twitter page.
- Check out Amazon forums, but be careful.
Don’t promote your book on readers' forums. Readers feel they’re being pushed. Instead, seek forum threads inviting authors to promote their own books. Amazon recently created a forum titled “self promoting authors” – where I’m hosting a thread called “Books Unmolded: crossing genres, breaking cookie-cutters.” I hope you’ll come visit this forum.
- Some of these suggestions also apply to Barnes & Noble, but I’m less familiar with their site. Explore their options.
- Join Tag My Book On Amazon!
This site allows authors to post book blurbs and tag each other’s books on Amazon. To join, you must agree to tag the other members’ books. It takes time to plow through the site archives and tag all the books, but you don’t have to complete the task all at once. And it’s well worth the time.
- Tags make a book pop up sooner when customers search book categories on Amazon. For instance, if a customer types “western romance” in the search bar, Darlin’ Druid pops up on the first page in that category because it has 59 votes for that tag.
Note: To see how tagging is done, go to the product page for Darlin Druid. Scroll way down, and you'll see my book tags. Notice the little check box by each tag. If you click it, that adds another vote.
Tips For Self Promotion, General
- Book reviews are valuable selling tools.
A collection of good reviews on your product page attracts new customers. Inviting a few friends who have read your book to write customer reviews is fine, but don't overdo it. Unbiased reviews are more valuable.
- There are lots of book review sites on the internet. Try requesting a review from sites that fit your genre.
Some reviewers you might consider are:
Todd Fonseca -- Tag My Book On Amazon (for members)
Paranormal Romance Guild (several reviewers available)
Big Al’s Books and Pals (there’s a long queue for reviews)
Romantic Times Magazine – Contact this review magazine well before publishing
your book. (Up to 4 months in advance.)
- Online Interviews are yet another way to promote.
I had my first interview with Laurie at Lauries Interviews and Blog Spot. I suggest you read several of her interviews to get a feel for how online interviews are conducted.
- Catie Vargas at Forbidden Passion Interviews is another interviewer I’m familiar with. As the name suggests, her site is best for romance, erotica and paranormal authors. There are many other interview sites. Look for ones that suit your writing genre.
- Utilize social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to advertise your books.
- Set up a home page or blog site. Blog regularly and be sure to reply to readers’ comments. This is a fun way to gain followers. Don’t hit readers over the head with promotional posts. Instead, talk about humorous, entertaining or informational subjects. Then readers will be more apt to pay attention when you do post about your current book. They might even decide to buy it.
Final Tip of the Day: Be patient!
Self-publishing and promoting a digital book requires patience. Very few authors become famous overnight. It takes time and effort to build a following, but you can do it.
That’s all I can think of just now. I invite other authors to jump in and share their promo tips. The more the better!