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.

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Marketing Indie Authors: Find readers for your eBook



As an Indie author, you are in charge of everything: Self-publishing your eBook, creating your eBook, and of course, marketing your eBook. One of the more fun methods of marketing is to send your book on tour. Book blog tours are becoming increasingly popular, with great guest posts, interviews, cover reveals, book news, and giveaways for the new readers and fans. With our $5,000 Indie Author Writing Contest, marketing has never been more important!

BookRix would like to thank you all so much for participating in our third book blog tour, featuring The Long Way by BookRix author Aaron Redfern. We’re pleased to announce the three winners for the big Between the Lines Blog Tour Giveaway:

Congratulations, Glendalys Hernandez! You are the FIRST PRIZE WINNER! You have won a $100 Amazon gift card, a BookRix Sampler Pack (several great eBooks published by BookRix members), an eBook copy of The Long Way, and also some great swag!

But it now!
Congratulations to Pauline Jim Creeden! You are the SECOND PRIZE WINNER! You have won a $50 Amazon gift card and two free eBooks!

Congratulations to Mary Preston! You are the THIRD PRIZE WINNER! You have won a $25 Amazon gift card and a free eBook!

Winners check your inbox for an email notification from the author!

The sequel to Aaron’s book – The Forgotten Way – is now available in the eBook stores. Check out the blurb:

Two years after the events of The Long Way, Spiff still bears his scars both outside and in. Haunted by his memories, he is compelled to leave the peaceful existence he has known and set out on the second great journey of his life, accompanied by his friend, the Merai girl Miriel. Together they strike out, knowing only that they travel south–to the end of the world if they must.

Stories never really end. The Forgotten Way is about what happens after the world is saved and everyone else has gone home.


Aaron Redfern’s The Long Way will be offered as a free eBook for a limited time, starting next week in the eBook stores!


Another way to market your book is to find blogs and websites that feature eBooks by Indie Authors. Like BookRix, there are many sites devoted to helping unknown authors make their way in the all-encompassing world of publishing. Me, My Shelf & I is a great example of an Indie friendly site, offering a variety of features such as reviews, graphic design services, and our personal favorite – My Indie Monday – featuring a new book and author each week.

BookRix and Me, My Shelf & I have decided to become friends, and this past Monday our very own Aaron Redfern was featured and next week, our very own AnnaRose Vittoria will get her moment to shine. Check out the site and support Independent Authors.

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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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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!

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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.

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The Long Way: Book Review & Blog Tour Giveaway!




Book for Review:
The Long Way
by Aaron Redfern

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure

Blurb: In a move that defies all logic and likelihood, a young boy named Spiff is called upon to carry out the most important quest that has ever been undertaken. His mission drags him headlong across the face of the world, through a veritable pantheon of hardships and threats that are at once chilling and baffling. Along the way he meets dragons and madmen, and learns that the lovable and the monstrous are two sides of the same coin.

Conceived as a darkly whimsical loose retelling of the Tolkien saga, The Long Way poses the question that high fantasy rarely cares to ask: Why?

Book Review by Kevin: A BookRix Team Member:
A friend threw this book at me with Harry Potter and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Series as references, and the blurb mentions the Tolkien saga so I had an idea of the terrain; magic, magical critters; trolls, gremlins, wizards, elves, human types. For those of you who haven’t read this book yet, AR’s [Aaron Redern] got it going on! It’s a wild adventure with both familiar and really unusual characters. Some pretty cool stuff. It’s quite a trip.

There are lots of levels. Straight up excellent story-telling of a journey of search and discovery. It’s rich and gooey with abandon and insight. It reads like an homage to the tradition (of crazy fun) of which AR is obviously a big fan. In this generous offering of crazy fun he upholds those references and introduces some very unique twists and characters. This book rocks big!

In the beginning, our hero’s father, Scoff, lives and works on the farm he will one day inherit. Then one day, he receives a beautiful, seemingly innocent, gold and emerald ring in exchange for some handyman tasks he performed for a wizard. The ring, he then bestows upon his beloved Clara before asking for her hand in marriage. After more than a decade of married life, the wizard demands they return the ring to him without any kind of explanation or offer of compensation. Considering how a demand from a wizard isn’t a request, they send the ring back in the hands of their young off-spring, Spiff.

Spiff, the type who is often lost in whimsy, is in his own world until, in a flash, what was securely in his hand is snatched away. Now, empty-handed, he has no recourse but to pursue the thief fearing punishment from his father for the failed delivery, and the possibility of being turned into something small and slimy by an angry wizard. Fortunately he runs right into the wizard just as he is about to become something’s lunch and is saved. For the most part.

The explanation from the wizard about the importance of recapturing the ring falls upon ears without references or desire to understand. Spiff somehow only acknowledges his own silent fears and concerns for his own safety while almost hearing about things he could care less about: “He wondered why he was being told all of this and whether he would still be turned in to a worm. He didn’t want to live in a jar.” Well, he is a little young to be bothered by such things, right?

Before being scooted off to the unknown to retrieve the ring, the wizard arms him with tools to keep him alive to complete the task, including the assistance and company of an amazing critter, aptly named Euclid, who is kinda handy to have around and real, real funny.

The travel is all on foot and the sudden climates and terrain changes turn a long walk into punishment. One really gets that “real time” feeling when the passing of time is punctuated by occurrences one can’t immediately explain or understand; the behavior of people and beings one needs time to observe before deciding if they’re friend or foe. It reminded me of Carlos Casteneda and how Don Juan was constantly whispering in his ear. Even Euclid didn’t have all the answers all the time.

From the hilarious suggestions of the healers, the Merai; all comfort and refuge. Sanctuary. Euclid notes, “There’s nothing wrong with them, (but)…A place like this can’t exist… Life is change and imperfection, but nothing ever happens here….this place is a bubble” to the Nornmen, who live to fight, and the poetic wisdom of the last wooly Mammoth. There are such beautifully unique layers from each. Rich. Aye.

Euclid’s “reminders” to Spiff, who isn’t up for any of it, especially after getting to know the Merai, to allow himself to see the situation for what it is, “…you have to take it [the ring] there. There is no other way. Those are the rules. There’s no cheating… Can’t you just accept what you have to do?…don’t you realize what’s at stake?”, like Don Juan’s prodding of Carlos (Carlitos) to do something similar. The path.

All Spiff wants is to return that dang ring (somewhere, anywhere) and just go back to the comfort and safety of his home, his parents, and his life as his companion asked, “Why do I have to keep pushing you every step of the way?” There’s a few times when fatigue takes him off and in dreams he’s shown the historical significance, the unavoidable, dire importance of it all and his pivotal role in it, in Technicolor®. He could care less about any of it of course, so he tends to forget about it right away or just ignore it.

This is excellent reading, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I can’t wait to read the follow up!

*FYI – The Long Way is part one of a two book series – Check out The Forgotten Way to find out what happens to Spiff after the world is saved.

AND now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for – THE GIVEAWAY!
At the end of the tour, BookRix will be giving away three great prizes to three lucky winners:
1st prize: A $100 Amazon gift card, a BookRix Sampler Pack (several great eBooks published by BookRix members), a copy of the newly released The Long Way, and also some great swag (t-shirts, bookmarks)!
2nd Prize: A $50 Amazon gift card and two free eBooks!
3rd Prize: A $25 Amazon gift card and a free eBook!

You know you want those prizes, so sign-up for the giveaway for your chance to win!
To follow the tour, please visit The Long Way Tour Schedule Page.

BUY LINKS: Amazon  Kobo  iTunes  BookRix  Goodreads

Aaron Redfern: Bio

Aaron Redfern

Aaron Redfern

Aaron Redfern has been reading and writing fantasy since a time when he could count his age on his fingers. He went to Williams College and studied English, a language in which he was already proficient, and although he learned almost nothing from the English professors, dead poets and novelists taught him a great deal. While at college, he fell thoroughly in love with New England. He has decided never to leave and currently resides near Northampton, Massachusetts.

Aaron has written three novels, including The Long Way and its sequel, The Forgotten Way. His short-fiction titles include Stories About the Rain and Crawl.
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