The Best Ways to Sell Books Online And Elsewhere

January 17, 2015 in Articles, Book Marketing

I came across an article the other day titled ‘The Top Seven Ways to Advertise Your Book’ and credit where credit is due, it wasn’t a bad list at all for anyone looking for the best ways to sell books online. In a nutshell the information came under the following categories, seven of them, which I would think is what you would expect given the title.

  1. using an email signature line to promote your books every time you send an email
  2. book tour sites, where you take your books on a virtual tour
  3. promotional sites that exist entirely to promote books and are known for that
  4. generic specific promotional sites i.e. sites that promote very specific genres. Presumably genres that are in high demand in their own right
  5. through your own blog and website. There are free ones available as well as ones which you have to pay for, so it can be a cheap option in terms of cash, if not time!
  6. by creating social media profiles and engaging with people interested in your writings
  7. using a newsletter and generating an email  list of people that subscribe to the newsletter
best ways to sell books online

Image courtesy of photoXpress.com

Obviously the article goes into these different suggestions with a bit more detail and suggestions, so if the list is in anyway appealing it might be worth having a look at what the suggestions are, bearing in mind some of it is self promoting of sites set up for the purpose of generating advertising revenue, but we do live in a commercial world. Personally I don’t have a problem with that and you never know, you may generate more money than you spend. Only one way to find out unfortunately.

I did think it was quite a good article for anyone thinking about self publishing a book to market over the Internet and there are articles on this site that have taken a similar stance:

So we have talked about the best ways to sell books online, but what about the old ways of working, book publishers, newspaper & magazine articles, straight forward advertising in journals, magazines and the papers. It does beg the question… do these methods still have a place in the modern world?

If you consider that the trick to selling books is visibility i.e. getting the cover in front of as many potential customers as possible, then there are at least two aspects to consider:

  1. produce the book in as many formats as possible, ebooks, hardcopy and audio for example
  2. utilising as many media channels as you can

It is the second of the two that brings us back to how you sell books offline and for this I am going to refer to another article I found discussing advertising via magazines and newspapers. The article asks the question Is newspaper and magazine advertising still a viable option? The conclusion seems to be that it certainly is and it goes on to provide the following 10 tips for advertising in hard copy:

  1. make the headline the advert for the advert. I really like that and to be honest it applies to all types of publishing and advertising, the headline simply has to grab the attention of the reader
  2. where your advert is placed in the publication. You may think this simply refers to it perhaps having to be on the front or back page, but not always the case apparently. Sometimes it pays to be in with the crowd or in this case the section that talks about books, authors and reviews
  3. getting the copy(text) right, again a universal requirement I would say, wherever copy is being being published
  4. key feature, i.e. what your book offers and the reason the customer should buy it
  5. using positive customer reviews, someone else’s recommendation is always better than your own. Especially if it is a happy customer
  6. including a picture, perfect for books and emphasises the need for a professionally designed cover that demonstrates a quality product
  7. use a call to action, tell them what to do and often they will
  8. solve their problem e.g. do you need entertainment on holiday, what about a book that is easy to read and  can be put down and picked up when you have a hour or two to kill
  9. promote your offline presence through your online presence and visa-versa
  10. test and test again, you may not be able to that in real time as there are costs associated with advertising, but you can ask friends, family and colleagues what they think of your advert and use their feedback to help you get it right

So once again another very good article with some great advice and, as before, you can of course get more detail in the article itself by going through the link above.

So what of publishers? A good publisher will be employing all of the techniques discussed here to get their authors that all important visibility, so what is good for the goose tends to be good for the gander.

Of course another way to use newspapers and magazines is to get an article published for free. There are likely to be many editors actively searching for copy for their publications, so with the correct format and written in a way that a professional journalist would write, there is a possibility that publicity can be gained for free or perhaps might even pay. The subject of another post possibly.

A Protagonist Tells His Story

January 2, 2015 in Books, Fiction, Science Fiction

Sci Fi Story Openers

This is an article written by Michael L Thal, author of the book ‘The Abduction of Joshua Bloom’. As an example of sci fi story openers, I hope you will agree that it is well written and entices you to try and find out more about Joshua Bloom and his experiences when he is abducted by aliens.

The Abduction of Joshua Bloom

Sci Fi Story Openers

I’m Joshua Bloom. The last three years of my life were spent on the Oceana starship Explorer. Oceanians look just like us, but the girls control everything. The ship’s captain is a great example. Lela was on my case from day one. She forced me to keep a daily regimen of demanding exercise and a healthy diet. I thought my track coach was tough. Lela expected me to exercise three hours a day, arrive to work on time, and get to bed early. And the rations were meager. My favorite dream was of a steak, French fries, and coke. I must concede, however, she did save my life. When I was jogging through Central Park, an escaped lion from the nearby zoo attacked me. If not for Lela’s transporter, I would have been breakfast.

On board ship was a dreamy girl. Her name was Anita. She was pretty pushy, but gorgeous. She was around my age, 16, with orange hair and dark skin. She didn’t have a voice, but spoke to me in my head. Anita was a telepath. The first time I saw her was in a dream back on Earth:

I jogged along a bike path with the sun to my back. Cottages kissed the hot sand. A long pebbly beach reached the ocean’s lapping waters. A girl streaked past me, turned and smiled. She seemed to be about my age, sixteen. Details of her face were obscured by shadows and dreamy murkiness.

“Can you catch up?” the dream girl asked.

Want to know the weird part? She didn’t speak. Her words were injected into my brain. Then dream girl darted down the path and through a dark tunnel.

I followed. The tunnel narrowed into a slit, waking me with claustrophobic shakes.

The dream recurred every few nights until that fateful day when I had enough of my twin brother, Moshe.

On one adventure with Anita aboard Explorer we transported down to a Sirus-4, a water world. There we discovered intelligent life in the form of undersea dolphins. If it wasn’t for the fast thinking of one of the creatures, we would have perished.

Anita said I had the potential of becoming an excellent diplomat. Perhaps one day I’ll negotiate a peace with the Palash. She doesn’t think that’s possible, for they are an alien race of conquerors only interested in obtaining a rare element used in space travel. Once they find what they want, they leave only destruction in their wake.

During my travels to distant worlds and the Oceana home world I met interesting intelligent life forms. I don’t want to give away too much here, but humanoids aren’t the only creatures with brains.

The one person I missed the most was my twin brother, Moshe. When we finally get back to Earth, Anita said he’d have aged thirty years. Oceanian scientists say it has something to do with the space/time conundrum.

If someone tells you that The Abduction of Joshua Bloom is a sci-fi novel, don’t believe it. Michael Thal wrote my bio. It’s 100% true.

The Abduction of Joshua Bloom on Amazon USA

Author’s website and blog: www.michaelthal.com

Other novels by Michael Thal:

Goodbye Tchaikovsky is the story of a teen violinist prodigy who wakes up deaf.

Goodbye Tchaikovsky

The Legend of Koolura tells the story of a sixth grade Armenian girl and how she obtained the cool powers.  She has the ability to dematerialize at will and reappear where she chooses. She can move objects with her mind and she can even defy gravity! But will these powers be of any use in stopping a stalker intent on her destruction?

The Legend of Koolura

Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback- Koolura has the ability to teleport, levitate, heal, and even fly. But at Camp Saddleback, she wakes up drained and powerless. Who or what has stolen her psychic powers?

Koolura and the Mystery at Camp Saddleback (Koolura Series Book 2)

Author Bio: Michael L. Thal, an accomplished freelancer, is the author of The Koolura Series, Goodbye Tchaikovsky, and The Abduction of Joshua Bloom. He has written and published over eighty articles for magazines and newspapers including Highlights for Children, The Los Angeles Times, and San Diego Family Magazine. You can learn more about him at www.michaelthal.com or e-mail him at michaelthal@sbcglobal.net.

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