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A few words of questionable wisdom from author Al W Moe - you can leave questions on each blog or go to my profile for direct email.

 	 		 		


Sunday, December 1, 2013

Failing for Success


If you don't quite get the logic of the title Failing for Success you are either extremely successful and never fail, or you are failing to learn. You should embrace your errors, own up them, and learn from them. Nobody does everything right, at least not the first time, so go ahead and fail, just make sure you do it in the name of future success!
Now the truth of the matter is that failing is learning, and learning leads to improvement if you let it. As you begin marketing your book, keep notes about what works, what approach gets you good contacts, what websites can help, which can't, and who can do you a favor (like a review). Don't feel bad about things that don't work, you'll know better the next time. And, make plans for your success.
Anyone can say "Gee, I want to sell 100 books this month," because that's probably an achievable goal, but it's just a desire, a wish, until you tie it to an action. Unfortunately that means you have to actually do something to achieve the goal you set, so make your wish and then set your goal.
A Wish: sell 100 copies of your new book in one month.
A Goal: contact two bookstores in your area and one media outlet (newspaper, magazine, TV, radio) every single day until you have sold 100 copies.
Does that goal seem managable? Sure, it's work, but you can do it. It's just four phone calls, 10 minutes of your day, for a month, maybe less. Of course once you reach your goal you'll want to set an even better goal!
Kindle Dreams
If you are selling only Ebooks, preferably on Kindle where you can take advantage of the KDP benefits, set a different kind of goal.
Same Wish: sell 100 copies of your Ebook in one month.
New Goal: contact two book review blogs everyday begging for a review of your book, find one cheap (free is always good) advertising program beyond book review blogs each day until you have sold 100 copies.
Now that you've got the idea, go give it a try. Make a wish, set a goal, and keep going until you get there. You can do it!
 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Well Kindle Me Happy

After a year of marketing research based on three different authors (and their nine different books), their marketing plans, their previously hard-earned money spent (mostly from non-writing jobs), and their overall goals and aspirations, I have come to one very simple truth: Kindle.

While most of you already know that Kindle is King for many authors, the overall power of selling on Amazon in digital format compared to actual softbound (Think: Create Space) format is profound. And it doesn't seem to matter what the book genre was. That's what is a bit confusing and strange. But there's a reason: self-published authors aren't any better at getting their books into bookstores today than they were 20 years ago!

Still not surprised? I guess I shouldn't be either, but at this point I really can't see the good side of spending the bulk of your marketing and advertising budget on softbound or hardbound book sales, regardless of who prints 'em. Using Create Space from Amazon is easy and costs virtually nothing, and it doesn't get any easier, since once you finish getting your book formatted it can go live in a few days.

However, you'll probably find that no matter how much you press your marketing towards the softbound books that Create Space will ship to your customers, your Kindle orders will outshine your softbound books. Of course this assumes you'll put a reasonable price on both of your products. A softbound book that sells for $14.95 may get outsold by your Kindle edition at $4.95 by five to one. If you knock the Kindle price down to $2.95, you might see your sales of Kindle at 10-1 for softbound sales.

What's it all mean? It means that as a self-published, short-bankrolled author, your best bet is to put 90% of your marketing efforts into selling your Kindle product. Ignore this advice at your own risk!

As an aside, once your Create Space layout is approved, spend the $69 and let them format your Kindle book. Yes, you can do it yourself, but you'll spend a lot of hours getting it just right, and you're a writer, not a designer. I've done it both ways, and I'd rather spend my time writing, than saving the $69.

Don't be afraid to ask for reviews of your book! You might want to look at Good Kindle Reads, they'll get you started.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Local Launch for Your Book Marketing

If you like movies you might have read that Walt Disney Pictures spent several hundred million dollars making The Lone Ranger. You also might have heard they spent $100 million marketing it. The film hasn't had $100 million in ticket sales yet.

I've seen several different styles of advertisements for the movie, some making the movie look more serious than the others, some pushing the idea that it might be a comedy, and the film has been pushed on TV talk shows, in advertisements, in magazines, billboards, and certainly on the Internet. So were did the marketing do wrong? Maybe it didn't.

There is every chance that if only $20 million had been spent on marketing the movie would only have grossed $40 million in sales instead of the $80 million it has achieved. What's the point? You have to have marketing to get the word out about any product, but there are three things that are true in book marketing:

  1. You have to balance your marketing between different media to get good coverage and attract readers from a wide spectrum of the population.
  2. You have to spend cautiously so you can actually bank some money from the sales you get after your initial push to tell the world about your latest work.
  3. No amount of marketing will sell a bad book.
Local Marketing

Unless you actually have a $100 million budget for marketing your latest book, consider starting with a local campaign. This will involve more of your time than your money, but the results can be quite extraordinary. And, books (and movies) sell because of word-of-mouth. If nobody knows about your book, how is anybody going to find it and buy it?

Your plan is to be on the phone and in your car every day for the next month. Can't commit? Don't expect to sell many copies. Follow this list of ten things to do and you'll get a great start on selling your book. I'm going to assume your book is available somewhere on the internet, Nook, Amazon, your own website (all, if possible), but even a book that comes out in softbound and is sold only locally can start well, but with no other sales outlets it will wither on the vine and die. You have to have a way for people out of your local area to buy your book!

  1. Call every radio station in town and tell them you are a local author with a new book and you want to bring in some copies for the DJ's and as giveaway's for the station's listeners. The promotions department or a sales associate may arrange for you to do an interview, probably over the phone, and you are on your way!
  2. Call every newspaper or print media outlet in town and tell them you just finished your book, you are a local author, you'd like to bring a copy to the entertainment or book reviewer. You might do this in person, but it's tough to catch these people actually at their desk!
  3. Go to every bookstore in a 100-mile radius and introduce yourself, maybe even buy a book, and bring a copy of your new book for the store owner or manager. And, ask about doing a book signing. The store may be willing to accommodate you, and it might even pitch-in to pay for part of a snappy ad in print that you use to announce your book signing. Nice posters that can go in the store's windows will help. When you do the signing, bring a friend who will stand by the table and talk with you, holding a copy of your book as though they just had it autographed - this greatly increases the chances that other people will stop by. People are a bit intimidated by meeting an author and don't want to be the center of attention when they stop to look.
  4. Talk with everyone you know at work or in your social circle. These people are your first link to book sales in other areas and in different groups. You may want to give away a dozen or more copies of your book to these people, and if you are lucky, you may be able to set-up a short talk about your book with a church group, gardening club, women's club - whomever you can connect with through your first circle of friends. This is a great chance to sell lots of books directly to buyers.
  5. If you have gotten some mentions on radio stations, in local print media (oh, maybe even TV news shows), you've gotten a great start on marketing your book locally. And, while you may have spent the bulk of your marketing dollars, you hit a wide spectrum of the population. Now, your book has to go to the next step on its own merits. If it is a good read, your friends, neighbors, and buyers from local book stores will spread the news about your book and new sales will come from outside your local area. Good for you!
You can accomplish all of these steps in just a month, and you can sell a good number of books, many at full retail price directly to buyers. That makes a big difference. I remember selling two cases (96 books) to a plumbing supply company because the owner's wife liked the story and she wanted to give the books away to their best customers. And, she insisted on paying full retail. Selling $1500 worth of books to a single buyer is a nice rush!  You can have similar success.

By the end of the month you want to make sure your book is easily found online, so new customers referred to your work can buy copies. For new authors it's tough to turn around and spend 50% or more of your earned income to start marketing in a new area (the internet), but that's the next step! Balance what you are earning and what you are spending. Although a book launch may lose money, you've got to start earning a profit after six or eight weeks, so start banking some of your income.

Your internet launch will probably include a free giveaway, especially if you go with Kindle and KDP. Don't worry, it's a good thing.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Vegas and the Mob - Internal Marketing

Sometimes you've got to throw caution to the wind and plug your own work. No matter how much marketing you have done for your latest book, your own words may be the difference between a successful campaign and a dud.

Throwing caution and modesty to the wind, I give you my latest work: Vegas and the Mob.



The truth about Las Vegas, unlike the watered-down versions you might have heard elsewhere. Sin City was the Mob’s greatest venture and most spectacular success, and through forty years of frenzy, the FBI watched, listened on phone tapes, and did virtually nothing. Thank goodness for that, because Vegas wouldn’t be what it is today without the Mob!

Two of the nation’s most powerful crime family heads went to prison in the 1930’s, Al Capone, and Lucky Luciano. Frank Nitti took over the Chicago Outfit while, Frank Costello ran things for the Luciano Family. Both men were influenced by their bosses from prison, and both sent enough gangsters onto the streets to influence loan sharking, extortion, union control, and drug sales. 

Bugsy Siegel worked for both groups, handling a string of murders and opening up gaming on the west coast, and that included Las Vegas, an oasis of sin in the middle of the desert – and it was legal. Most of it. The FBI watched as the Mob took control of casino after casino, killed off the competition, and stole enough money to bribe their way to respectability back home.

New York’s “Lucky Luciano” was getting a taste of the profits in the 1930’s, Detroit, Kansas City, and Chicago weren’t far behind. By the 1940’s, nearly every crime family in the United States had a stake in a Las Vegas casino. Some did better than others. Vegas casino owners watched-over their profits while competing crime families eyed the others success like jealous lovers. Murder often followed.

You can get a copy of Vegas and the Mob on Kindle for just $4.95 If you prefer a book you can hold in your hand, this new 188 page book is just $12.95 at Amazon! Enjoy

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Virtual Book Tour - Get Bang for Your Buck!

A virtual book tour can help get the good word out about your latest novel and it can be cheap, quick, and effective. But it’s rare to have all those qualities. Most virtual book tours are centered on book blogs that have little to no readership, little interaction with the blogger, and will require plenty of extra work from you. Don’t expect to pay the fee and be done working!
Sure, you wrote the book, but the tour bloggers probably won’t. Ideally, every blogger would read your book, do a quality review of it for their readers, and some of those readers would click the links, check out your site, and buy a copy. That doesn’t always happen. Make sure you ask the who, what, where, when, and why questions.
Who’s Doing My Tour?
So, who’s going to do your tour, and where are the tour stops? You really need to know which sites are going to be hosting your book. Do they have any readership? Are they going to actually review your book? Are they going to post a question and answer session? Do their blogs ever get picked-up by other blogs or newspapers?
What’s Getting Discussed on Each Tour Stop?
Find out whether you are getting a simple blog notice that your book is available, or something meatier that a reader might find really interesting. If you are providing guest blogs, ask how you need to tailor them to fit the blogs. No sense doing a piece on romance novels when the blog features nonfiction.
When’s the Tour Starting and Ending?
Obviously you need to do your own advertising to coincide with the tour dates. To take advantage of a virtual tour you should schedule some additional advertising by using Twitter exposure, doing a book giveaway, and making sure your book is available when the tour is in full swing. A small tour of six to ten sites isn’t nearly as strong as a month-long tour with 25 blogs which will only cost a little more. Weigh your options carefully.
Where Are the Readers Coming From?
And where are they going? You need blogs that attract readers, but they need to fit your genre’. In addition, you need to make sure that every reader has a chance to follow a link to your own website or sales center. For most authors that center will be Amazon, but if that’s the case, make sure your book description is awesome, because that’s what the reader sees next and you need to make the sale!
Why Am I Paying For This?
Could you manage to get a dozen book blogs to cover your book without using a tour service? If so, why are you paying for the service? Find out what else is included in the tour package. Extras that will help make it successful include a personalized tour page, a reviewer’s page, a banner for links to your pages, press release (even if they are group releases), book trailer (even if a group trailer), and social network advertising.
If you are getting most of the above items, you are getting a high quality service. Expect to pay at least a couple hundred dollars – and expect at least 15 to 25 blogs to be carrying a story about your book.
How To Get the Most Impact
Make sure you do daily tweets about each new day’s blog listing with a link, and so some advertising on  Author’s Den, Good Reads, Google Ads, or somewhere, and have notices on your own website about your tour with links to each book-blog site. Also, a press release should be included by you to some type of web-related service so you get more publicity.
If possible, have a trailer made for your book. You can make your own with power point and place it on You Tube, or you can pay $50 to $150 to have a 30-second spot made. It helps!

Where are you Selling?

Just wondering where you might be selling your books!  Are your books at Barnes & Noble? How about Apple, Sony, Kobo? If you use Smashwords to publish an ebook you'll get those and more. There's no fee, but you'll have to fight a bit with their automated processor to fit your book to so many platforms. The results are good if you advertise a bit - take a look at one of my books at Smashwords.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Gift from John Grisham

Recently I really got stuck on a writing project. I thought, I paced, I waved my arms at the blank canvas of my computer screen, I bit my nails. Nothing. Just me and the darkness. I was stuck, stranded in limbo. After a day in the dark I was afraid to go forward. There might be a cliff, a wombat, or even worse an editor out there for all I knew. I mean come on, it was really dark and I was scared and hungry sitting there cradling my meager story ideas in my lap.

Eventually I gathered enough courage to slink away to the kitchen for a tuna sandwich, leaving the story to fend for itself, because I'm a heartless bastard. And that's the way the story would have ended, except for John Grisham.

Strange as it seems, the man of 100 million book sales clicked on friends on my Goodreads account. I know because the website sent me an email, I looked to confirm this happenstance, and there was a great quote from him:

"Don't compromise yourself - you're all you have."John Grisham

Now not even in my fevered mind did I think he was sitting at home in front of a roaring fire reading  Nevada's Golden Age of Gambling, but still, I was happy, and suddenly inspired. And, I wanted to pass that along to another author. So, I chose a not-yet-proven but fun-to-read writer and bought a dozen of their eBooks on Kindle and passed them on as gifts, to friends via email. Really, you could do a lot worse for a present these days than a book that can be read anywhere.

If you buy those gifts on Amazon, your friends can read from any Kindle reader, the device itself, or a web app on a computer or even a Smart phone. And, it's win-win. Your friends get a good book, and the author gets the thrill of seeing some extra book sales and makes some royalty bucks before Christmas. You can pass on a little inspiration and kindness. And, if you happen to see Mr. Grisham, tell him thanks for me.

Those thanks are heartfelt, because his little mouse click, that tiny act of kindness, inspired me to get that last story, a chapter of my novel, actually, back into play, and now it's nestled between chapters 11 and 13, safe and sound and no longer alone. A random act of kindness can go a long way!