Industry News

Valuable Twitter Tips for Indie Authors






With social media dominating the internet, many rush to create accounts on popular networking sites to stake their claim on that coveted screen name or handle.  Seems easy enough, right? You fill out the basic info section, upload your most flattering photo and choose a fun background image. You’re on fire! Now it’s time to start marketing, right? Not so fast.

Yes, setting up a Twitter account is easy. That’s what Twitter creator Jack Dorsey had in mind: Simplicity. But there’s more to building out your profile than spamming your feed with 140 character “buy my book” promos. Here are some simple steps to follow to ensure your social media experience is a positive one.

Handle it – Your Twtter “handle” is basically your screenname. Kind of like an email address, but only accessible on Twitter…. and it’s public. If you want to keep your personal profile separate from your author profile, we recommend adding “author” to your name. For example: Author_JaneKim, or DougScholl_Author.

You’re unique. So be YOU! – We’ve all heard that saying “don’t try to be something you’re not”. Well, in Twitterverse, that saying is unequivocally true. Be open, be honest, and be real. When you’re trying to build a fan base, its important for them to identify with who you are as a person, not just the characters in your book. Self published author Amanda Hocking (@amanda_hocking) is a shining example of a writer who showcases her personality.

Avoid an empty content nest – When determining whether or not to follow you, many people will review the last 3-5 tweets you’ve made to see what you’re all about. So before you start building out your follow list, make sure you have content on your profile to entice potential followers. You don’t have to have a lot. But space out a handful of posts (not made within the same minute) so users will associate you with an active profile and not a ghost/spam account.

Build a followingWe don’t recommend following anyone and everyone. Quality over quantity is essential when creating a list of followers. As a self published author, you should probably add people associated with the publishing industry. Fellow indie authors, popular authors, literary journalists and bloggers, etc.

Be engaging & participate – Read through your twitter feed and see what interests you. Join conversations by replying to tweets and ReTweet posts you particularly agree with or enjoy. These are simple ways to interact and get noticed.

#Hashtags are your friend – And they make finding content a whole lot easier. They can be used to tag your own tweets and they can be entered into the search field to locate tweets containing that hashtag.

Don’t be spammy! – We understand you want to sell copies of your book. We want that for you, too! But solely tweeting eBook links and “buy [insert title here]!” content isn’t how you go about it. Get creative! Talk about the plot (no spoilers!), how you developed the characters and came up with their names, the idea behind your cover design or who created it for you (make sure to @mention them so they receive credit), what you plan to write about next, some of your favorite quotes from your work, your ‘dream cast’ (who would play which character if made into a movie), etc. The possibilities for content are endless.

If you have questions about Twitter or marketing, leave a comment below and ask us! We’re happy to help!

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We love indie publishing!

Create a Perfect eBook Using Our Simple Document Uploader




Upload and Formatting

With the BookRix self publishing platform, we have made the creation and selling of eBooks effortless. If you’ve been looking for a simple way to create the best eBook and distribute it to as many online shops as possible, then you’ve come to the right place.

Our BookRix support team recommends that our authors utilize the document upload option, as it properly prepares your eBook. Most authors maintain a backup copy of their work in a program like Microsoft Word or Open Office. Doing so provides ease of storage as well as a sense of safety. If your manuscript is already formatted within the Word doc, then you can easily upload it as is. The advantages of doing this are:

-              Fewer clicks to get your eBook published

-              Automatic creation of table of contents

-              Ability to edit uploaded document

-              Avoid annoying formatting errors that can arise from “copy & paste“ functionality

How do I make my document ideal for uploading?

The chapter title of your document should begin with the heading styles in Word or Open office. When you use the “Heading” feature in the tool bar (NOT to be confused with “Header”) to format each chapter title, the chapters will automatically be created in the editor when you upload the file. The chapters will create a table of contents and are clickable, taking you directly to the selected chapters. It’s that easy.

What else is taken from formatting?

If your document includes images or photos, these will be included in the eBook and will appear centered below the text or on a new page. The formatting “bold”, “italic” and “underline” will also be accepted as well as the text alignment “centered” or “flush right”. In addition, paragraphs and line breaks are detected and incorporated as well.

Why is “copy and paste” not the ideal method to create an eBook?

Although this functionality is still available, our support team advises against it. Creating one chapter at a time often causes formatting errors that are annoying and unnecessary. Many of these errors are manually created and time consuming to fix. Do yourself a favor – try the file upload option. You’ll be pleased you did.

How to Write Effective Book Descriptions: A Guide for Self-Published Authors



The book cover is often the first thing a reader notices. But the book description is the author’s hook. The goal for every self-published author is to peak the reader’s interest so they are enticed to purchase your book. This might sound easy, but time and time again writers will include too much information, not include enough detail, or just fail at making an appealing book blurb.

Fiction author, Richard Ridley, has been writing books for more than 20 years, and is no stranger to marketing his work. Over the years, Richard has mastered the art of writing effective book descriptions, which have lead to stronger book sales. Check out his successful tips below and learn how to effectively write your next book description!

1. Don’t include subplots. When it comes to the book description, the only thing that matters is the main plot or main theme. That’s all you need to focus on when you sit down to write your book description. Including anything else will send you off into an endless loop of “then this happened” moments that will dilute your book description. What is the primary action that drives your book?

2. Keep it under 150 words. This, no doubt, will elicit some moans and groans by a lot of authors. Summarizing a book that consists of tens of thousands of words to just 150 is impossible, right? No. In fact, I am of the belief that you should be able to summarize your book in a single short sentence. Remember, you don’t have to concern yourself with the character development and sub-plots, so those tens of thousands of words it takes to adequately draw a reader into a book aren’t necessary when it comes to your book description. In the simplest terms, what is your book about and what will make readers interested?

3. Write in third person, present tense. Even though your book is most likely told in past tense, your book description is not. You are describing this book as if you’re sitting face to face with the reader, and they’ve asked you what the book is about. You wouldn’t speak to them in the past tense. In addition, the book description is told from third person point-of-view even if you’ve written your book from first person point-of-view.

4. Use emotional power words. You are trying to evoke emotions with your book description, the same emotions that your book evokes. To convey these feelings, you need emotional powers words like tormented, charismatic, passion, obsession, terrifying, etc. There are too many to mention here, but a quick search for “Power Words” on the internet will produces hundreds of words to choose from. Just be careful not to overdo it. Use power words sparingly and strategically. If I had to put a number it, I’d say in a 125 word description, you’d use 6-10 emotional power words.

5. You are not the author. You are not writing your book description as the author. You are writing it as the publisher. Making an impact on the reader is your principal concern. What will move the reader to want to know more about your book? What will motivate the reader to add your book to his or her cart? Write the book description with your head, not your heart. Remember, the book description is marketing material – not literature.

Another thing Richard suggests, and we at BookRix have suggested this as well, is to find your favorite author and books and read through all of their book descriptions. Chances are, they’re getting it right. If you write in a genre outside of what you typically read, then search for those specifically. Read as many as you can, take notes, and identify the formats used.

Richard provided an example of a good book description that he feels was written correctly. The following excerpt is from The Outlander, a Gil Adamson novel:

In 1903 Mary Boulton flees alone across the West, one heart-pounding step ahead of the law. At nineteen, she has just become a widow-and her husband’s killer. As bloodhounds track her frantic race toward the mountains, she is tormented by mad visions and by the knowledge that her two ruthless brothers-in-law are in pursuit, determined to avenge their younger brother’s death. Responding to little more than the primitive instinct for survival at any cost, she retreats ever deeper into the wilderness-and into the wilds of her own mind.

According to Richard:

From the description, I know the book is a psychological thriller featuring a young woman on the run from some very nasty people. I get a hint that her husband may have deserved his fate, but I’m also led to believe that Mary Boulton may be mentally unstable. The description is roughly 90 words. It’s told in third-person, present tense, and I count seven emotional power words (”heart-pounding,” “frantic,” “tormented,” “mad,” “ruthless,” “primitive,” and “wilds”). I only know the main plot: she killed her husband, and now she’s a fugitive running for her life. I picked up the book because of its cover, but I opened the book because of this description. I now own it.

Keep in mind that your book description extends far beyond a side panel in online eBook stores. This description will be used for social media efforts, and for promotional material for your self-publishing efforts.  It’s something for your fans to latch onto. Keep it punchy, clean and concise.

Happy writing, everyone! Best of luck with your book descriptions!

How To Have Successful eBook Sales as a Self-Published Author



Cracking the Amazon Algorithms

Joanna Penn, author, internet entrepreneur and international speaker, recently broke down David Gaughran’s book, Let’s Get Visible: How to Get Noticed and Sell More Books. Her article explains that Gaughran’s book will make it easier for self-published authors to understand the basics of achieving successful eBook sales, or at least optimizing them. David Gaughran is an author/blogger known for his in-depth, critical and intelligent analysis of the publishing world.

Basically Joanna says that there are two main ways for people to find your eBooks:

1. Through your eBook

Most people buy the majority of their books from authors that they know nothing about. These sales have nothing to do with the author’s “platform”. Your “platform” is more about putting in consistent, focused effort over the course of a career, and making incremental improvements in extending your network. It’s about making waves that attract other people to you—not about begging others to pay attention. (To learn more about “platforms” read THIS article.)

2. Through you (the author)

This is all about your platform and how you reach people in the world. Joanna believes that #2 is important, having spent a lot of time and effort building her own platform and it changed her life. (Sounding familiar authors?)  She is a full-time author-entrepreneur because of her website. (Ahem – Authors: GET YOUR OWN BLOG/WEBSITE!) However, she says that she definitely sells more books to people who haven’t got a clue who she is and nor do they care.

Another important point is:

Readers shopping on Amazon buy more books!

Here is what Joanna says she learned from the book:

(1) Amazon algorithms are different for different charts and different territories

I’m not one of those people who likes to track data, but I have known for a long time how important the Amazon algorithms are for selling books. What I didn’t know was the difference between the Sales Rank, the Recommendation Engine, Bestseller Lists, Popularity lists, Top-Rated in Categories, Hot New Releases, Movers & Shakers and all the other ways you can target the lists and prime the sales pump.

(2) Staggering your launch is better for long-term sales than a big initial spike

A few years back there was a boom in ‘Amazon Bestseller’ promos where people would try to spike sales on one day, hit the charts and that would make everything a success. However, Amazon’s whole aim is to give people fantastic content and those kinds of programs were boosting books that didn’t necessarily deserve visibility. David talks about how the algorithm now pushes those books back down as fast as they rose, so when you launch, you want to have a slow start, with sales spaced out over time. He has a lot of specific ideas around the launch, definitely worth taking note of.

There’s also a great section on free pulsing and price pulsing which you should read if you’re still confused about ebook pricing! Plus a detailed method of evaluating paid advertising and doing group promotions.

Joanna also mentions that Gaughran’s book emphasizes that most of the strategies are only effective if you have more than 2 or 3 sale books (so get publishing!).  Joanna says that it’s really important to “remember that one of the best ways to sell more books is to write more books!”

To read the full article, visit Joanna’s website, The Creative Penn.

Ronald Reagan’s Daughter Self Publishes



Getting published by a traditional publishing house these days is tough. Ask any writer about their publishing experience and you’ll hear a variety stories with poor results. The process can induce nerves and anxiety, even for those who have a thick skin. But when you think about celebrities and the famous people of the world, it’s hard to imagine them on the receiving end of a rejection letter from a publishing house. After all, they’re popular. Don’t people want to read about them? That’s what we thought. But yesterday we learned about Patti Davis, Ronald and Nancy Reagan’s daughter, who struggled to find approval with her latest book. Although she sings her literary agents praises in interviews, she says she was unable to get a book deal for her latest book Til Human Voices Wake Us. This fictional piece focuses on a mother who falls in love with her sister-in-law while mourning the loss of her husband.

But this wasn’t Patti Davis’ first literary rodeo. She penned her first book Home Front back in 1986. Unfortunately, it was not well received. This was rumored to have been caused by her families’ political involvement. Since then she has written 8 more books. Her struggle with publishing Til Human Voices Wake Us was the motivating factor behind self publishing. “With each of my traditionally published books”, says Patti, “I felt like I was dropping off my child in a strange city, in the senseless murder district, with, ‘Hope you make it’”. Sadly, many authors are familiar with this feeling.

BookRix was created to give writers a platform to publish and distribute their work while having a sense of control. Self publishing also eliminates the waiting game many encounter with traditional publishing houses. Getting your book out there shouldn’t be that hard. And when people, even famous people, are taking control of their book, it’s really encouraging.

“There is now a boundary line in my career separating being conventionally published and self published”, Patti says. “And I’m very much at peace on this side of that boundary line.”

Good for you, Patti. Your determination is commendable!

With the weekend approaching, that means more reading time. So let’s take a moment to focus on BookRix author Stanley McQueen and his witty tales of the people within the Muddy Fork community. He has penned a variety of enjoyable eBooks on our site. Today we recommend Mail Order Bride.

Blurb:

Willie North is a successful, hardworking pig farmer, known all around Muddy Fork as a kind man and a good neighbor. However, due to his weight and looks, Willie couldn’t attract a woman, no matter how hard he tried. He was the only single man in Muddy Fork, so in an act of desperation, he pays $1000 for a mail order bride. When word spreads, the whole of Muddy Fork is at the train station to greet her. Will she turn out just as he imagined, or will he end up with a broken heart? A Muddy Fork Short Story.

How to add your self-published eBook to Goodreads AND enable Kobo book reviews






















For those of you who don’t already know, Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Their mission is to help people find and share books they love. Basically, they are making reading more social and it’s working! If you’re an author who sells your books through Kobo, you’ll know just how important Goodreads is. At the moment, only people with Goodreads accounts can leave a book review at Kobo. You have to sign-in to your Goodreads account, search for the book, add it to one of your bookshelves (read, to read, currently reading), give it a star rating and then, if you want, leave a personal review about the book. This review will then automatically show up on the book’s Kobo page.

For indie authors, reviews can make or break the success of a book. Most readers find new books through word of mouth or recommendations from a friend. The great thing about Goodreads is that your friends can share their reviews and recommendations with you, or you can visit their profile to see what books they’re reading or read (and enjoyed) in the past. BookRix is similar, we add books to our favorites and add our reviews to the book info pages – then our friends can see what we think about other books on the site. Leaving a book review on BookRix is easy because all the free eBooks are already available on the site, and the self-published eBooks have accessible shop links. However, more often than not, indie books won’t be found in the Goodreads search. If a reader can’t find your book to leave a review, then other Kobo readers won’t know if anyone likes or dislikes your book. Without a review to read, they might not buy your book.

The simple thing to do is add your book to the Goodreads library. To add your book manually, here is what you do. You can visit the Goodreads Home Page, then click on the Find and add books to your shelves button which will take you to the search page. Then simply click on the Manually Add a Book button on the top right. Next, you just need to input your book info.

Here’s what you need:

1. Title and author name (*If your book is part of a series, you should add “Part One” or “Part Two” to the end of the title to alert the reader.)
2. ISBN (If you don’t know this, you can find it on the Imprint page of your BookRix book, you can also usually find it on Amazon – if not, contact our support and we’ll help you.)
3. Publisher (BookRix GmbH & Co. KG)
4. Date published (Again, if you’re not sure of the exact date, you can find it on Amazon, or on the imprint page of your BookRix book.)
5. Number of pages (If your book is a short story, just leave this part blank.)
6. Format (In this case, you would always select eBook.)
7. Edition (You only enter information here if you have published more than one edition.)
8. Description or Blurb (Just copy and paste it!)
9. Edition Language
10. Cover image (This is so important – it’s on the top right hand side and allows you to upload a jpeg from your computer. Don’t skip this step or your book won’t have a cover and we all know how important that is for potential readers.)

There is one more thing that you should know about Goodreads – it was just bought by Amazon. That’s one more major reason why your eBook should be in their library. Just because you’re an indie author, doesn’t mean you should be left behind!

*Don’t forget to sign up for the Goodreads Author Program – then you’ll be able to create a personalized profile page and promote your books.

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