BookRix News

Support Self Publishing by Sharing BookRix’s Amazon Shop Page!



Not many authors put their blood, sweat and tears into a writing a book so it can sit on a virtual shelf within their computer. That would be silly. Instead, self published authors tend to have similar goals: To have their work seen, read, and (hopefully) recommended to others. At BookRix, we’re continually coming up with alternate ways authors can promote their work, gain readers and fans, and market themselves to reach their full potential. Not only that, but we’re passionate about it!

This month, BookRix joined forces with Amazon. The result? Our very own shop page featuring our BookRix members work! We’re thrilled about this endeavor and are working hard to promote it so Amazon shoppers can discover new and exciting reads from our talented members.

Whether your eBook is listed on our Amazon shop list, or you’re just a diehard indie reading enthusiast like us, we need your help! BookRix continually strives to get our authors noticed. But our members would greatly benefit from added resources. We worked hard to get that shop page for our authors, and now we’d like to make it known within the reading community. Almost all of us use social media in some form or another, so let’s work together and spread some indie book love! Not sure what you can do? Share the link below on Facebook with your friends! Send a Tweet to your followers (feel free to tag us, @BookRixUS and say hi!). Share what our shop has to offer with your Google+ circles or make a recommendation to one of your groups on Goodreads. If you’re savvy behind a webcam, drop a line in one of your YouTube videos! No matter how you share our shop link, just know that each effort you’ve made has had a positive impact on our members.

Click here for the link to our shop. It’s filled with fantasy, romance, thriller, mystery, young adult and sci fi books. Something for everyone to enjoy. Share the link and share the love!

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We Love Indie Publishing!

How to Get Reviews on Your Self Published eBook



What makes a self published book popular? How can an indie author create a buzz surrounding their work – or better yet, make it go viral? Sometimes it can be the right combination of self promotion and a bit of luck. But at BookRix, we don’t encourage our members to wait around for luck to strike. Self publishing is best when you have a plan in place. We’ve touched on various marketing opportunities, both before and after you self publish your book on previous blogs (How to Write Effective Book Descriptions: A Guide for Self-Published Authors, How To Have Successful eBook Sales as a Self-Published Author & Be Active On BookRix), but today we have something else that can help further your success.

An essential part of marketing your indie book is getting people to read it. Having your book read is fantastic, but in this scenario, let’s try to target the type of reader who is inclined to write a review. Book reviews serve as a form of promotion in themselves. When someone stumbles across a book with positive reviews, it often influences their decision to read or purchase it, thus increasing sales. Indie author Madeline Sheehan says her eBook sales grew drastically when her books were reviewed by online bloggers: “Cocaine & Cupcakes Book Blog and Totally Booked had gotten a hold of Undeniable [her third novel]. They loved it, they promoted it, and they contacted me for an interview, which led to Maryse’s Book Blog picking it up for review, which also loved it. All three of those blogs have huge, dedicated followings and after they reviewed Undeniable, I watched in awe as my sales skyrocketed.”

Take it from someone who has been there and done it themselves. In Madeline’s case, these book blogs found her book. But a lot of book bloggers take submissions! This week we came across The Book Blogger Directory, a wonderful site that categorizes bloggers by the book genre they enjoy reading and reviewing. Take a look at some of the blogs listed within the genre you write. Most of these bloggers have a Submissions link where you can see their requirements for book reviews. Don’t be discouraged if some of the blogs are no longer active or if the blogger cannot accept submissions because they’ve been inundated with books. Just move onto the next blog and see what you can do to submit your book.

If you don’t feel your work is ready to be reviewed by bloggers, use our BookRix community for feedback and suggestions. Remember, our community is filled with over 500,000 indie reading and writing enthusiasts who love to help.

We Love Indie Publishing!

Marketing Your eBook Prior to Publishing: Why It’s Important



It might sound strange at first, but trust us. It’s a proactive step for an indie author and you’ll thank yourself for it doing down the line. If you’re a writer, chances are you’re working on a book (or several) as you read this blog. And if that’s the case, great! But in the same way you carve out time to write another chapter in your masterpiece, make sure you’re also making the time to set yourself up for success when you’re ready to publish. It’s better to be prepared. Even more so when it comes to eBook publishing and gaining eBook sales.

Know your topic. Know your audience.

Whether you’re writing about vampires, science fiction or romance it’s a good idea to thoroughly understand your topic and chosen book genre. Think about the stories you love – why do you love them? What makes them unique or different? How can you make your book stand out from the crowd? Once you’ve thought about that, you need to consider who your audience is. Who is it you’re trying to appeal to and where do they go online? Are they involved in social media? Do. Your. Research. This is a very crucial step

What’s your persona?

Recently I’ve been learning a lot about personas. Their role in work environments, in the entertainment industry, even in family dynamics – there are countless personas. And as an author, your persona will become very important. It is essential for you to determine who you and build from it. Don’t just be “Katie King who loves to write psychological thrillers” because that boring and won’t get you noticed. Instead, dig a little deeper and express yourself like this: “Katie King who loves phychological thrillers, kicks tail at Dungeons & Dragons and has a passion for photography”.  Make yourself stand out and get personal. This is also important if you decide to use a pen name. If you’re writing under an alias, you can be whoever you want to be. Just make sure YOU know who you are and stick to it.

If you build it, it will come.

Sorry for the Field of Dreams reference, but this phrase hits the nail on the head. One of the major benefits behind marketing your book before it’s published is to have an audience of people anticipating its arrival. It’s important to think ahead and have a strategy in place. The step before this involved knowing your audience. Once you know who they are, plot out how you’re going to draw them in. Videos? Podcasts? A blog? Take the time to really think this out. Be creative and think strategically.

Put your finger on the pulse of social media.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, Tumblr – social media channels are endless. I don’t recommend juggling all of them, but it’s imperative to a.) Understand what each one does, and b.) Identify which channel your target audience uses most. After all, why spend your time on YouTube if the people you’re trying to reach predominantly use Twitter? Once you’ve identified the channels you intend to use, create an “author” profile for each one and personalize it using the persona you’ve chosen. For additional marketing tips and how to further utilize social media, check out our complete marketing guide here.

Be proud of your eBook self-publishing goals.  You’re taking full control of your work and carving out a name for yourself in the publishing world. It’s an exciting time! Just remember, if you ever have questions or need advice, our community is full of experienced, self published authors who enjoy offering their assistance wherever they can. Come check it out!

Self Publishing Success Story: Madeline Sheehan (Guest Blogger)



Indie author, Madeline Sheehan, at a book signing

Indie author, Madeline Sheehan, at the Boston Author Event

If you’re an indie publishing enthusiast like BookRix, then you undoubtedly enjoy hearing a self publishing success story. Learning about a fellow writer’s journey can be encouraging, provide insight and evoke inspiration for those with similar goals. Madeline Sheehan has published several eBooks and has 5 star reviews from over 1100 readers on Amazon. How did she do it?  I reached out to Madeline and asked if she’d be willing to share her eBook self publishing story in our blog. We’re thrilled she said yes!

Self-Publishing, Blah, Blah, Blah…

By Madeline Sheehan

When I say “blah,” I mean it in the very best way. Because self-publishing, in a nutshell, is a three-ring circus.

But let me start at the very beginning, before I was introduced to the big, bad, kill-or-be-killed, survival-of-the-fittest world of independent authors. Back when I was just a lowly Public Relations Coordinator/Editor at a nonprofit organization with a writing hobby that I indulged in during my downtime, dreaming the dream of most writers to someday see their book on a bookstore shelf.

I’d been writing nearly my entire life but hadn’t completed a full-length novel until 2010 (The Soul Mate, a dystopian paranormal romance centered around modern-day gypsies), spending my evenings working tirelessly on the story line and character development. When I was finished, I didn’t have a clue what to do with it, but I did know right away I wasn’t going to be submitting it to any traditional publishing houses only to get my cherished manuscript tossed into their slush pile. So I opted instead to send it to a few family members for their opinions and amazingly enough, both my father and little sister, who are both avid readers, loved the book.

So then I thought, now what? You see, I didn’t know anything about self-publishing other than I loved Amanda Hocking’s Trylle trilogy and My Blood Approves series. I literally knew nothing about Amazon, Smashwords, or CreateSpace’s self-publishing platforms until one day my husband came home from work with a tip from a friend of his who’d self-published a book of poetry on Smashwords. Of course I looked into it, created a profile, and submitted my manuscript, and within a few weeks my e-book was available through Barnes and Noble, Apple, Sony, Kobo, etc.

And…nothing.

I sold a grand total of six books in six months. Don’t get me wrong; I was thrilled. Someone other than a family member had read my work. Had actually paid the $0.99 I was asking for it and READ it.

It was then that I decided to self-publish on Amazon as well, which, lo and behold, provided me with a lot more sales. A total of thirty in another six-month time frame.

Energized, I continued writing. While I was writing the sequel, My Soul To Take, I set up a Facebook author page to begin promoting my books to, well, my friends and family members. I had a total of a hundred likes, all of which were from people I’d known most of my life and weren’t interested in reading any of my books.

Halfway through writing My Soul To Take, I hit a mental brick wall. In the midst of trying to work through it, I pulled up a fresh Word document and began writing my third book, Undeniable. It was as far removed from the paranormal romance genre I’d been writing in as one could get. Undeniable is a motorcycle club dark romance set in a criminal underground world. It doesn’t hold back, it’s taboo, it’s gritty and ugly, it’s raw, and I make no apologies for it. I poured my heart and soul into that book; I used both real and fictional experiences, real and fictional character traits, and about a month after publishing My Soul To Take, I published Undeniable.

Fast-forward three weeks and the Internet BLEW UP. Cocaine & Cupcakes Book Blog and Totally Booked had gotten a hold of Undeniable. They loved it, they promoted it, and they contacted me for an interview, which led to Maryse’s Book Blog picking it up for review, which also loved it. All three of those blogs have huge, dedicated followings and after they reviewed Undeniable, I watched in awe as my sales skyrocketed.

I was suddenly #17 on Amazon’s Kindle Best Seller list. My Facebook page went from 100 likes to 1,000, 2,000, then to 3,000. Agents were contacting me, readers were contacting me, bloggers wanted character interviews, book-signing coordinators were inviting me to sign alongside well-known authors such as Karina Halle, Raine Miller, Katie Ashley, Tina Reber, and Colleen Hoover.

And everyone wanted to know when the second book in the series was coming out.

Sounds like a dream come true, right?

Eh. It was and it wasn’t.

Don’t get me wrong; I was thrilled. This had been a childhood dream of mine, and for all intents and purposes, it was coming true. But like most things, self-publishing is not all roses and sunshine, and subsequently my dream come true came with a whole lot of baggage filled mostly with garbage.

Because I knew little about self-publishing, my books were not professionally edited, their covers were self-designed and, I’ll freely admit, poorly done. All of which led to my being attacked in reviews. The venom of some reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads was a shock to my system—some of which were personal attacks having nothing to do with my books—and couldn’t have happened at a worse time for me. I was being pulled in all different directions, felt like I was drowning in a sea of the unknown, and wasn’t emotionally equipped to handle everything that was being thrown at me all at once.



What I’m going to say next is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT advice for new authors considering self-publishing. You need a strong backbone. You must have thick skin. You don’t have a traditional publisher backing you, most times you don’t have an agent, you don’t have even half the tools available to you that publisher-backed authors do. This is all on you and if you aren’t strong enough to take the bad with the good—and there will be a lot of bad—you should reconsider the self-publishing route.

Needless to say, I persevered. With the help of a professional editor who took it upon herself to contact me, Jovana Shirley of Unforeseen Editing and I took Undeniable off the electronic shelf and re-edited it. Author Angel’s, another godsend, also contacted me and soon I had new-and-improved covers as well. Eventually, after assembling a small support team of incredible women, all three of my books received makeovers that I couldn’t have been happier with.

But that wasn’t the last of my battles; bad reviews were far from the worst aspect of being an independent author. You also have to contend with book pirating, dishonest bloggers, people looking to make a buck at your expense, and the worst, in my opinion, is the “competition.” By competition I mean jealous authors, mean-girl cliques, snooty authors, authors who want to hitch a free ride on others’ successes, who want to take the easy route. The list is endless and, quite frankly, it’s sad.

You will be let down, stabbed in the back, betrayed, lied to and lied about, because again, you are doing this on your own. You are making your own mistakes without a traditional publisher behind you to build you up, then pick you up when you fall down. You’ll have to weed through the bullshit all on your own—finding the “real” editors, honest bloggers, and people you can trust. The latter being the most crucial because in the world of self-publishing it’s dog-eat-dog, and if you don’t have a good support system, you could very well crumple under the stress.

I was lucky to find an amazing group of female authors, bloggers, and editors whom I cherish. They give me courage and strength, they hold me up when I fall down, and they have become some of my very best friends, despite that fact that some of us live halfway around the world from each other and have yet to meet.

Whereas some authors consider an overwhelming amount of good reviews and what big-name author they are hobnobbing with as indicators of their success, I do not. True reviews are important; they bump up sales. But friends—trustworthy friends—are even more important in this business.

Madeline Sheehan (left) at the Columbus Author Event

Madeline Sheehan (left) at the Columbus Author Event

I’m now a full-time independent author, and despite the stress of having to run a small business on my own, I’ve turned down two offers from traditional publishing houses. Why? Because self-publishing isn’t all bad. It does have it perks, the main one being freedom. Freedom to write as much or as little as you please. No deadlines. More one-on-one time with your readers. You get to make your own decisions, price your own books at reasonable and affordable prices, and distribute your paperbacks to the masses as you please.

Whereas my dream was once to be part of a big-name publishing house, it no longer is. Once you wade through all the garbage in this industry, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Despite the fact that my books have yet to appear on a Barnes & Noble bookshelf, I’ve found that my dream has indeed come true—I am a successful author. I’ve just published my fourth book, UnBeautifully, and it hit #13 on Amazon’s best seller list, #1 on Smashwords, #32 on Barnes and Noble, and #56 on USA Today! And you know why? Because I have a great team backing me and, more importantly, I’m doing things my way.

I honestly couldn’t be happier. I love writing, I love my characters, and I love sitting down at my desk every day and immersing myself in my fictional worlds. But most of all, I love how many people out there love my work, love joining me in my make-believe worlds, and have joined me and stuck around for this incredible journey of mine.

So, is self-publishing worth it? For me, yes. All in all, self-publishing has changed my life. For the better. And I wouldn’t change a damn thing.

And there you have it. Thank you so much Madeline for sharing your eBook Publishing story with our readers. We wish you the very best with Unbeautifully and look forward to seeing more of your work!

Whether you’re looking to publish eBooks, sell eBooks or simply improve your understanding of eBook publishing – we want to help. Like Madeline explained, independently publishing can be exciting but also discouraging at times. Please remember that our BookRix community is full of helpful writers and readers who share your passion. If you have questions, need feedback or advice, consult with our members or reach out to us directly. We want to help! And if you’re looking for effective promotional ideas, please look into the BookRix Marketing Guide. It was created to help prepare you for success.

We love indie publishing!

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Genevieve

Self Publish with Professional Book Covers to Increase Sales



We’ve always been encouraged to never judge a book by its cover. But there’s a reason that phrase is figurative because from a literal standpoint, it’s practically impossible. Consumers are drawn to high quality, professional book covers. And sales numbers don’t lie: Authors who took the time to create polished and well formatted covers (or hired someone to do it for them) sell more books.

Some people feel professional book covers are a perk of being published through a traditional publishing house. Sure, it might come out looking nice, but did you know that authors publishing through big name publishers have little to no say in their cover design? Not only does the publisher have the right to edit the book as they see fit, but they can also do as they please with the cover. Seems unfair, doesn’t it? Remember, you chose eBook self publishing for a reason. When you do this, you have full creative control over your work. That includes everything from the table of contents to the book description to the cover art – the first thing your reader sees. So do your research! If you’re savvy with Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, dive in and get creative. If you don’t know anything about either program, all is not lost. Third party companies exist for this very reason – graphic designers are everywhere. But before you go exploring online check out the Art Writers group on BookRix and talk to the members. Many of them volunteer their time and expertise to help increase their skill. The best part is that you – the author – can tell them what you have in mind. If art isn’t your thing and you don’t have any ideas for a cover, you can discuss the genre, plot or subplot and see what creative ideas they can come up with. The Art Writers group is full of incredibly gifted members who strive to get your work complete so you’re ready to publish we’re proud to have their work on our site.

If you’re looking for examples of stand out covers, here are my three current favorites on BookRix. These images are eye catching, clear and free from visible pixels. Great job, guys!



Remember, if you want to sell ebooks, the cover is what draws the reader in. The book description is what entices them to read your book – and that should always be your primary goal after creating great work: To sell your eBook! For tips on how to write effective book descriptions, check out our blog here with tips from successful author Richard Ridley! With an eBook, self publishing can be easy. But it’s important not to cut any corners! With a proper cover and a great book description, your eBook is going to fly off the (virtual) shelves.

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.

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