Tag Archive: Author


I’m not going to mention any names here. The purpose of this post isn’t to ball out anyone specific or be mean. But yes, obviously I have someone in particular in mind when I write about the subject matter of today.

Typically indie authors aren’t media or marketing gurus. It’s just not in our nature. But to be a successful indie author, we have to learn some marketing techniques and do our best to be our own PR guy. It’s not always fun but it’s what we must do for our books to be a success.

But there comes a time when maybe we cross that line from being a marketing genus to being a little creepy and if you do that, it could cost you some fans.

If you are lucky and write a great book that people love and more over fall in love with the characters of the book, you want to build on that and maybe you will do even better and hit big with a successful trilogy featuring those beloved characters.

That’s great! That’s beyond great … that’s freaking fantastic! That’s what we all strive for. But when you are done with those books and some time has passed, is it really a good idea to continue on with those characters or just let them die out as you work on your next series of books?

Let me be more specific … I once read a great triology that featured a male character that everyone loved and swooned over. Some people were like omg he’s my favorite book boyfriend. Okay so the author started pushing promotion of this character, I assume to further her sales of the trilogy.

Then I noticed she started having items made up featuring quotes from the book. Okay not bad. Then having items made about that character in general. Then all of the sudden it went a little further and the character suddenly had a facebook page all his own. Next thing I know I read happy birthday (character’s name).  Suddenly this fake character from a book was celebrating his birthday in real life?

This got me looking at the author’s own facebook page and I counted more than 32 different little items she had made up – various products with the guys name on it or about his character in the book. 32? Really?

The books have been out for a long time now and the author in question hasn’t released a single NEW book in well more than  a year. This whole time all she’s talked about was this fake male character from her last book. And for Christmas she wrote a short story about him.

It was all just so creepy and really made me wonder about the mental stability of the author and quite honestly I even stopped following her on Facebook and Goodreads over it. She didn’t seem to get that the time for this character had long since passed. Marketing is wonderful but there comes a time when you need to move on and write a new book already.

So the point I’m trying to make is, there comes a time when you can cross the line from smart marketing to mentally unstable. It’s just creepy the way she posts as him and wishes him happy thanksgiving and merry Christmas like he’s real. It’s not like the books came out last month or even 6 months ago.

So before you decide to develop some sort of marketing campaign you should really stop and ask yourself … is this brilliant or am I just being way to attached to fictional people?

Because if you do it wrong then those marketing efforts could end up costing you fans instead of getting you new ones.

How to be a successful author

So you want to be a successful author? That’s great. But the only way you can really do this is to … WRITE! I know that sounds to simple, but it’s true. The more work you have out there, the more likely you are to be noticed and gain new fans.

Write a series of short stories and offer them for free. How many stories do you need? Well there is no set number but there is no reason not to release several stories this year. When you finish each story and they are with the editor getting your final spelling / grammar checks you can be on your social networking sites promoting the story that will be released soon.

Being a successful author is about building your brand. To build your brand than you need to get out there and be seen.

In every book do you provide a way for your fans to find you? Do you include links to your Facebook page, your Twitter and Google+ account? Do you tweet often and post updates on your Facebook and Google+ account at least 2 or 3 times a week?  If you build up a big following, every time you release a new book, you can send out an update and get instant sales!

Someone once said that to be a successful author it’s like 10% writing,  90% marketing. This isn’t exactly all that off. I mean think about it … if you are the best writer in the world, how will anybody know if you don’t properly market your book?

That being said, today’s indie author question is, should I use Google Ad Words to promote my book?

Google will allow you to pay them money for every click they send you. So in theory that sounds like a great way to get people to find out about your book, right?

Well in theory, yes it does. But as I said before you should never spend more money than you could possibly make on your book to try and promote it.

As of right this very moment, Google is charging $1.68 (on average) to send a single person to your book sales page. If your book is only selling for say $.99 then how much did that one person just COST you – not _make_ you, but COST you?

And that $1.68 you spent to get that single person to view your book sales page, doesn’t mean they will actually buy your book, it just means they will look at the page. It may take on average about 400 people to view  a page to make a sale. That means at the current going rate of $1.68 a click you’ll have to spend about $672 to make a single sale. I don’t know about you but I could think of a lot of better ways to spend $672.

Of course these numbers are just estimates. Sometimes you can find a keyword that is as low as $1 a click instead of $1.68. Sometimes out of 400 people you’ll get 3 sales instead of just 1. Sometimes those people who don’t have experience in PPC (pay per click) advertising don’t write a good ad word summary and their sales are even worse than 1:400.

So to answer your question, do I think you should use PPC advertising to promote your book? No, I don’t. It’s just not a cost effective method for marketing your book. It’s great for other things, just not for this specific thing.

I got a great question sent in to me this week and it was basically asking me if it was worth their time to submit their book to all those hundreds (probably more like thousands) of book review blogs. Does it really help sales?

The answer is yes, they actually do help in sales.

Although there is no scientific formula and not every book review blog is going to be as good as the next. But assuming you have a decent enough book, with proper editing, and a well done cover, then you can roughly guesstimate about 10 sales per blog you get your book listed on.

Some obviously will be better and you’ll find your sales surge up 50 or by 100, but that’s a rare occurrence. Most of the blogs don’t get that much traffic so you’ll have to spend a lot of time making your submissions but in the end you’ll find it worth it.

When to comes to marketing your book you need to look at the numbers. You should never spend more than you could make. So let’s review the math …. A review on a book blog cost you $0 and in turn makes you about 10 sales. So you tell me, isn’t it worth at least 10 sales (maybe as many as 50 to 100) to submit your book for free?

Price point is a hot topic with indie authors. When I published my first book I took a look at 5 other books in my genre that I liked and then priced my book around the same. That turned out to be a mistake, at least in terms of pricing my e-book.  Turns out those who use traditional publishing channels charge more for their ebooks because they have to, because when you use a traditional publisher there are more hands in the pie so they need to charge more to pay off those expenses.

Since they have a lot of extra marketing behind their products they tend to move more books than the average indie author so I guess it’s easier for them to sell books that are a tad more pricey but for the rest of us, we have to compete with a huge and highly competitive market so we can’t afford to lose so many customers for overpricing our books.

So how much should you charge for your e-book?

  • If your fiction book has less than 50,000 words then that’s easy, $.99.
  • If your fiction book has more than 50,000 words but less than 150,000, which is the average book, then you fall into the $1.99 to $4.99 category.

If you have a really great book cover then you can probably get away with charge $3.99 to $4.99. If you paid to have someone edit your book and clean up the grammar than you can also probably get away with the higher price range of $3.99 – $4.99.

If your cover is only so-so but you do have proper editing then maybe try $2.99.

If you don’t have a great book cover, and you didn’t get a professional edit, especially in terms of cleaning up your spelling and grammar and you still insist on publishing your book, then stick with the $1.99 range. I however really really really strongly suggest you go over to odesk.com and hire an editor. For a 60,000 to 100,000 word book you can get someone to edit it for $100 or less.