Friday, June 6, 2014

Indonesia to Promote over a Hundred Literary Translations for 2015 Frankfort Book Fair

Indonesia is slated to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2015; but they will do more than attend as they are the guest of honor. Officials from Indonesia are preparing to show the rest of the world their wide range of literature and culture. The Indonesian Deputy Education and Culture Minister, Weindu Nuryanti, is looking forward to the Frankfurt Book Fair and hopes to be able to promote Indonesia at the event. She is hopeful that through their participation they will be able to move forward with creating their own translation center in Indonesia.

Promoting Indonesian Literature
Weindu Nuryanti is looking forward to promoting Indonesian literature as well as the country's authors. She feels that the Frankfurt Book Fair creates the “perfect international stage.” Nuryanti said that their officials are planning on displaying 2,000 books at the Indonesian booth with 150 of those titles being translated into either German or English. The Indonesian translation team is working to get all 150 of the title translated by next year. The government has already assigned $1 million US dollars to fund the project.

Literary Works on Display
The managing editor at Gramedia, Wandi S. Brata has already said that his company will be displaying 100 titles of Indonesian literature. In the past, the publisher has focused on buying rights of international titles; but this year they will be trying to sell the rights of some of their local titles to the international market. They are focusing primarily on Germany at this time. They have already translated 61 of their titles and have about 40 more to complete.

Indonesian Author Achieves International Success
Laksmi Pamuntjak is an example of an Indonesian author who has already achieved international success. Her novel, Amba was translated into English and bears the title The Question of Red. The novel’s German rights have already been sold to Ullstein Verlag. Laksmi hopes that the German distribution will help open up even more doors to the international market. She is looking to Indonesia’s participation in the Frankfort Book Fair to help “curate the nation’s literature” so that the Indonesia’s cultural voice will be represented. She has great pride in what the Indonesian authors have already achieved.

Friday, May 30, 2014

What’s Behind the Recent Growth of Self-Publishing in Brazil?

Over the last five years or so self-publishing has grown to be a very stable part of the book market on a global scale. International and local businesses have offered a variety of services for self publishing authors who are willing to distribute their books in a digital format. Kobo and Amazon are two such examples. This same type of growth in self-publishing has been happening in many different regions around the world, most recently in Brazil. Ricardo Almeida is the founder and CEO of the most popular self-publishing platform in Brazil, the Clube de Autores. They have been having remarkable growth and in 2014 they won the British Council YCE award.

Inception of Clube de Autores
In 2009, Clube de Autores was started by three writers who were having a difficult time publishing their books. They basically had only two choices: find a publishing company to sponsor the book – which was very rare; or pay the outlandish publishing fees outright. The three writers didn’t think that a market as huge as it is and one that is saturated with content should be so difficult to get started in. So they began working on their own self-publishing model that would be sensible for all writers. Their basic model was designed such that an author could publish their works online for free and once a sale was made the book could be downloaded or printed. The plan took off and worked perfectly so that now, five years after its inception, Clube de Autores publishes about 10% of all of the Brazilian market.

Challenges Clube de Autores has Faced
One of the biggest challenges the partners faced was printing the books on-demand. It was difficult to negotiate prices with a print shop to print books in these tiny batches. But the organizers would not give up on their vision because it was one of the factors they knew was necessary for the success of their self-publishing platform. They also faced all of the regular challenges for a business in Brazil, such as high taxes, postal company strikes, and government red tape. But their mindset was that these were just common barriers that they had to get around.

Growth of the Self-Publishing Platform in Brazil
One of the most surprising things for the three founders was how fast the platform began to grow. They knew it was going to be successful because of the high need of self-publishing authors, but it grew up overnight, much to their surprise. They learned to work well with their authors and eventually grew into a complete marketplace including reviews, book covers and a variety of needed professional services. They even received international recognition by being awarded the YCE award for their work.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Top 5 Best Reads for Translators

It’s very likely that if you are a translator, you enjoy reading. The reasons for reading are varied and it can be fun as well as rewarding. But it is a good idea to read as part of our professional development. What should a translator read in terms of professional development? Are there any specific books that would be beneficial? There are literally thousands of relevant books, but here we’re listing five of the top books that are great to get you started.

Translation as a Profession
This book by Roger Chriss is a good resource for translators from novices to veterans. It is full of useful information and his style is concise and succinct. You’ll enjoy this read and learn a lot about translating in the process.

The Entrepreneurial Linguist
Judy and Dagmar Jenner did an excellent job covering how to develop a successful translation business. For the most part, the book shares a variety of ideas and tips on how to become a freelance translator, but presents it all from the perspective of building a business. The Entrepreneurial Linguist is a wonderful tool in the hands of translators who are serious about taking their translation business to the next level.

How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator
If you are just getting started in freelance translation services, then How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator is for you. Author, Corinne McKay discusses a myriad of topics, including how to start and grow the business, how to set up your home office, how to determine your rates and tons of other useful bits of information. It is also a very good source for a variety of related resources and tips.

The Translator’s Handbook
The first edition of this handbook was printed in 1996, but it is now it has reached its 7th revised edition. Even though the title makes it sound like the book contains specific information on how to translate, it is not the primary topic. Morry Sofer took the time to create an overview of translating, useful resources and professional development opportunities.

Mox’s Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation
This book by Alejandro Moreno-Ramos is a fun read. He created a fictitious cartoon character named Mox. The character is well educated, works way too hard and is typically misunderstood by friends and family. You’ll enjoy this fun look at the types of situations only translators are able to relate to.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Barbara Freethy’s Transition to the World of Self-Publishing and Translations

Just a couple of years ago romance author Barbara Freethy began self-publishing ebooks using her books that were out-of-print. By the early part of 2012 she had sold over 1.5 million copies. To grow sales, Freethy began self-publishing translated versions of the books. Needless to say, she’s been quite successful and a had a fun run along the way.

The Road to Self-Publishing
When Freethy started self-publishing it was a marketing decision. She decided to sell her titles that were out-of-print as inexpensive ebooks as a way to draw attention to the newer titles she was having published through traditional publishers, such as Simon & Schuster. As she made the transition to indie publishing, she created new book covers and ran social media campaigns using Facebook and Twitter to drive traffic to her books' listings on sites like Amazon.

Her strategy worked. Her book The Sweet Thing had previously been published by Avon back in 1999, and when it was brought back to the market as a self-published book sales thrived. In 2010 The Sweet Thing ranked #35 on the New York Times Combined (print and ebook) Best Seller List and ranked #22 on the New York Times eBook Only Best Seller List.

Freethy self-published books include 18 titles so far: 17 are back-lists and A Secret Wish is an original book. Although she made her titles available through a variety of e-bookstores, most of her sales came from Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

Trying Out Translations
After having such marked success at self-publishing, Freethy began creating foreign language editions. She started with just three titles: Don’t Say a Word was translated into German, Daniel’s Gift was translated into Spanish and Just The Way You Are was translated into French. All of these were made available on Amazon, Apple, and Barnes & Noble. She hired translators and proof readers for each of the translations.

Today indie authors can have their translations done at Babelcube for no cost (just share the royalties) by a team - lead translator and editor and proof reader. Babelcube distributes the books through language specific retailers from a list of 300+, from Amazon to country specific retailers. 

Freethy’s Persistence Paid Off
Fast forward to the middle of 2013 and her self-published sales reached 3 million books. Now that’s exciting! She only began self-publishing in 2011 with a single book, Summer Secret, and its sales began to increase until it was listed as #1 on Barnes & Noble’s list and the next month it reached #1 on Amazon as well. Shortly after that Summer Secret was #1 on the New York Times eBook List. Within a short time, her other self-published titles began showing up on best seller lists.

Self-publishing was a learning experience for Feethy. And, initially sales were slow. Through research, such as online videos about book cover design, she studied many topics on self-publishing books. She also made her books available through a variety of retailers. And, even when sales were initially slow, she continued to add books to her self-published list.

What Freethy Likes About Self-publishing
While Freethy has stated that she seems to work harder now than ever before, she enjoys the rewards of self-publishing far greater. She loves running her own business, having control over what she writes and how frequently she can choose to publish. She always wrote faster than what publishers could produce and now she does not have to space out a series or hold back on the number of books she produces in a year. She is enjoying her new life as an indie author.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Presentation: Taking Your Book Sales to New Heights

Once your book is ready for sale, the next phase of the book's life begins. Authors, publishers, and translators all have the job of driving book sales.

To help you with promoting your book, we developed a presentation with numerous book marketing ideas.

Check out Guide for Authors: Taking Your Book Sales to New Heights. We were fortunate to have the presentation featured on SlideShare's homepage, after being chosen from thousands of presentations updated that day.

We hope you find it helpful!

 Guide for Authors: Taking Your Book Sales to New Heights

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

LinkedIn for Authors

There are a myriad of social media platforms and each of them provide benefits for authors. The particular social sites that an author chooses will depend on their personal taste, marketing strategies, and how they desire to connect with their audience. LinkedIn is one social platform that can be an effective and beneficial tool in the hand of an author.

Why LinkedIn Is Different
LinkedIn is one of the more popular social media sites available today. However, it has a very different flavor than most of the other popular social sites. LinkedIn is designed for social networking in the business community. It’s the largest social media platform that is geared toward the professional. Its design is such that professionals are able to connect with others in the same industry, for example. You may be asking how an indie author can use LinkedIn for marketing their books. There are actually several ways to use LinkedIn successfully.

LinkedIn Profiles
One way to use LinkedIn effectively is through the use of your profile. It is important that you update your status on a regular basis. If you are an indie author, for example, by including information relevant to the self publishing industry, you’ll demonstrate that you are actively involved and knowledgeable. Always use a current photo of yourself and make sure that it is a clear headshot. Be sure to fill out all of the fields including some of the newer ones like courses, publications or projects. Use relevant keywords to update the jobs field. By using relevant keywords in descriptions and titles you increase the likelihood of your profile showing up in search engine results. Make sure to keep your interests updated as well. Update your Amazon reading list, slideshows, and of course your blog. Your headline and summary are where profile visitors will get their first impression so make sure that they are creative and catchy.

Updating Your Status
Use timely and relevant information to update your status on a regular basis. You might include a sneak peak of your coming projects, speak of industry trends, discuss fast breaking news or even ask a question. By asking questions, you are likely to increase participation of others. If you want others to participate and be engaged, limit the length of your status to 50 characters. Typically, with an update it is good to include a web link, such as to your blog, a video or a website. Stay engaged with those who respond to your updates. Always be a part of the conversation by reacting to other’s comments or asking questions.

Using Groups On LinkedIn
One of LinkedIn’s finer qualities is in their groups. It’s important to select a number of relevant groups to join. You want to join only the number that you can reasonably be active in and don’t join just for the sake of joining. LinkedIn groups offer a great resource for making connections with likeminded individuals and creating enduring relationships. By being active in LinkedIn groups you can develop a good rapport with many other authors and readers. The key to success on LinkedIn, just like any other social site, is to stay actively involved.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Indie Authors Can Build a Readership

One of the concerns many indie authors face is how to build a decent sized readership. There can be many benefits associated with numerous readers. You have put years of experience, research and creativity into your book, you want it to be read and enjoyed by many. Many experts suggest growing a community of readers who are interested in your works and follow them faithfully. This is much longer lasting than simply having a fan base, although that is likely where a community of readers will begin to develop. Here are some suggestions on how to increase your readership.

Start While You Are Still Writing
You can start building a readership before you even finish the book. There are many people you can begin telling about your writing, including your friends, family and peers. It’s quite alright to share details about what you are creating. Be comfortable asking those close to you, those who understand you, for support. But, also remember to give your peers--including other indie authors--support in their efforts too. Once you have completed your book or project, those whom you've involved in the process will be eager to make a purchase.

Create A Mailing List
Email marketing is a great strategy for self-published authors. It gives you a way to connect personally with your audience. An audience that is tightly connected with you will likely follow you on a regular basis. Create a mailing list and make sure to put a link and call to action on your website so that it is very easy for others to join.

Give Something To Your Readership
It’s very good to make that connection with your audience, but make it personal. Make sure that you are giving them something that is beneficial. For example, if you are sending out regular, informative emails you must do more than just make a sales pitch. You’ll lose readership if that’s all you do. Give them something “extra” for following you. One idea is to offer them exclusive content or something that is not common knowledge. If it’s applicable to your situation, providing mentorship might be welcome, or support the creative ventures of your audience. Each indie author is different and there will be very creative and unique ways to give back to your readership. Don’t be afraid to contribute to them in the way that makes the most sense to you.

Numbers Are Not Everything
Even though you want more people following you, when it comes to building a readership it’s really not as much about gaining a large audience as it is connecting with them. The interaction or engagement with your audience is where the real benefit is. By establishing a real connection with them, it is likely to be an ongoing, long-term relationship. That’s where the power is, because when you are connected with a follower, they will be sure to spread your news. It’s better to have a couple hundred people on your mailing list who are going to tweet about your latest book to their friends than it is to have a couple thousand friends on Facebook who passively read your status updates. Always remember to engage with your readership, not just count them.

Be Yourself
It is very important to be yourself when engaging with your readership. As an author, you do not need to create a persona. Readers are intuitive and will see past the fa├žade. It’s much better to be yourself so that you will be the same every time you interact with them. They are looking for genuineness and openness. Think of them as a community, not just people who buy your book. Honest interaction with your readership is what will keep them connected to you.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Creating a Sell Sheet for Indie Authors

A sell sheet is an important detail for the self-publishing author. In essence, it contains all of the details pertaining to the book. It will include items such as the price, ISBN/ASIN, a synopsis, reviews, blurbs and an author bio. It may also contain details such as how many pages are contained in the book and where it can be purchased. Some indie authors like to include a photo to add a more personal touch. Basically, a sell sheet is a document that is similar to a brochure that has all the information about the book in one location. 

What is a Sell Sheet Used for?
A sell sheet is simply a tool to help promote your book. It can be useful for presenting your book In some cases, a sell sheet is used in accordance with a media kit. It’s more than a press release, which simply focuses on the news pertaining to the book. A sell sheet is similar to an announcement, but it explains the book and its details from a marketing perspective.

Publishing Details
You will put the title of the book at the top of the sell sheet and in the upper left hand corner you’ll want to place a thumbnail of the book cover. This is more than just an aesthetic feature; it also gives the reader a visual reference for your book. On the right side of the sell sheet you’ll want to list the publishing details about the book including these items:
  • Title (it’s okay to state it again!)
  • Author
  • Category or subject of the book
  • ISBN
  • Format including e-versions and print
  • Date of publication
  • Number of pages in the book
  • Price
  • Book dimensions
  • Where the book can be purchased
  • Languages the book is available in

A sell sheet will also contain a synopsis of the book. It is advisable to write two or three different descriptions about your book, ranging from short to fairly long, so that you have a suitable version for different situations.

Author Bio
Always include an author bio on the sell sheet. This offers your audience another way to connect with you. Because an author bio is written in third person it is sometimes more difficult for the author to complete than the book itself. It does not have to be lengthy; just tell the reader what you want them to know about you and your interests.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Audio and Video Marketing for Indie Authors

There are a variety of ways to promote your book online using video or audio media. These forms of communication offer another platform for you to introduce yourself and your books to your readership. Sites like YouTube or Blog Talk Radio offer some options for free. Self-published authors typically find that they are adequate for getting the message out about their books.

Why Explore Video and Audio Promotions?
When you think of online searches, your mind immediately goes to textual content. However, Google’s search algorithm looks at a variety of content types including audio and video content. Actually, video content consistently ranks higher than other forms of content in the search engine result pages. Video, in particular, has a much greater chance of going viral through social media than regular text. Some research has also indicated that users are much more likely to interact with content that bears an image or video. Part of this is due to the fact that users are more mobile and are interacting online using iPads, Smartphones and other mobile devices. By combining video and audio outlets with a campaign, you are more likely to get social media exposure, which drives sales.

What Platforms are Available?
There are several different platforms that indie authors can use for book promotions. Some of the more popular options include:
  • Animoto
  • YouTube
  • Vimeo
  • Authors Show
  • Blog Talk Radio
  • All Talk Radio
  • iTunes Podcast
Animoto allows users to create and post 30-second videos, which can provide the perfect trailer for an upcoming or just released book title. YouTube is a very popular video site and you can create your own author channel to showcase your works and connect with your audience. Vimeo is similar to YouTube in that it allows users to upload videos that they have created. Authors Show offers a platform that has both audio and video programs that are designed for authors to market their books. Blog Talk Radio and All Talk Radio are programs that work as an old-fashioned radio program, except they use the internet. These vidoe and audio platforms can be a great marketing source for indie authors.

Ideas for Marketing Content
Audio and video platforms are a great tool for connecting with your readership. It is worth noting that these promotions do not have to be hour long programs, they only have to be two or three minutes in duration to be effective. While it depends upon the actual content, most of the time a video should be under three minutes. Good video and audio messages will share pertinent information with your audience and contain a definite call to action.

Guidelines for Video and Audio Broadcasts
A video or audio broadcast can serve a broad purpose. You might want to give the background on the book you just released; or perhaps you want to be interviewed by a fan. Share a speech you've made, or an award you've received. The ideas for using this medium are infinite. Basically, take this opportunity to connect with your audience and talk to them. Here are a few guidelines that can be helpful when creating video or audio broadcasts:
  • Keep the message short and to the point (less than 3 minutes in most cases)
  • Make the message entertaining for your audience
  • Offer the audience something
  • Allow the viewer or listener a behind-the-scenes view of your book or work
  • Tell your own story

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How Indie Authors Can Obtain Book Reviews

We know that reviews have the potential to sell books; but can you count on family or friends to provide the best reviews of your books? While your friends and family most likely mean well, it’s better to obtain reviews from a less personal and unbiased audience. As an author, your readers are a great resource for providing honest reviews about your books, but there are many review sites that can provide valuable reviews or lists of reviewers. Some of the book review sites charge fees for reviews while some of them are free. It’s important to select a reputable sites that will give the reviews some weight and validity. 

Value Of Book Reviews
There is not really a way to put a definitive value on book reviews; however, it's suffice to say that they are extremely valuable and a great way to help generate sales. Nothing can replace a well written review that speaks highly of your creation. If you are uncertain about how important seemingly simple book reviews can be, ask John Locke. He self-published books using Amazon and wasn’t moving enough books by his estimation. He was using the standard social media platforms, with a focus on blogging and twitter, but not seeing a sharp increase in sales. He decided to purchase 300 reviews in order to increase the appearance of his fan club and it worked. His sales literally skyrocketed. Readers pay attention to what other readers are saying about books, reviews are a great tool for selling more books.

Where To Find Reviewers
The trouble many indie authors have is finding people who are willing to post reviews about their books. But, there are ways to make the process of building reviews easier. There are plenty of sites through which indie authors can find reputable reviewers for their books. Some sites are free to join and others charge a nominal fee.

Here are a few of the top sites to find reviewers for your indie book:
  • Blue Ink Review
  • Choice Review Online
  • Forward Reviews
  • Kirkus
  • Midwest Book Review
  • Reader’s Favorite
  • Self-Publishing Review
You may also find it beneficial to check out Amazon’s Top Reviewers. Simply locate the reviewers who have a history of reviewing books in your genre and contact them. Be certain to let them ask for a copy of your book before sending it to them. Another notable site is Book Review Broker, which offers a unique method for obtaining book reviews.

Finding Lists of Reviewers Online
There are several sites that offer lists of reputable book reviewers. On these sites, indie authors will find numerous reviewers who have a reputation for honest reviews of books. Each site is slightly different in the way they approach sharing the list of reviewers with self-published authors.

Here is a list of sites that provide reviewer lists, along with a brief description.
  • 101 Best Blogs for Book Reviews – This list includes blogs that feature book reviews of books from many genres.
  • Book Blogger Directory – This site includes a very detailed list of book blogs, all of which are dedicated to discussing books.
  • Book Blogs – Book Blogs is about online communities on which members' interactions are all about books: reading, writing, blogging or publicizing.
  • The Indie Reviewer List – For those looking for a list of individuals who review indie books for free. This list includes readers who actively post reviews and are not affiliated with any publishers.
  • Step-by-Step Self Publishing Reviewer List – Developed specifically for the self-published author, this site provides lists of independent reviewers.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Wrote a Book, Now What?

Finishing a manuscript is not really the end; it’s more of a beginning. There are many different tasks, such as editing, that cannot be done until the pages are filled with words. In reality, once an author gets the content done this is when the work begins. There are several things that have to happen before the book is completely finished and ready for publishing. What happens after you finish the first draft?

Rewriting and Rewriting!
To the author, once the book is finished the work is all lined out. It’s a long way from actually being finished and the actual finished product may look quite different than the first draft. The book in this first form is likely to never be seen by anyone other than the author. But until all the words are spread across the pages, there can be no editing and rearranging. Once it is all put together, you can start the editing process. Once the first draft is completed, you should lay it down and take a break for at least a day or two. This gives you a chance to come back to it with fresh eyes later. Then you will want to do a read-through while making all sorts of notes to yourself. The margins may be full of scenes that need to be rewritten or characters that need more clarity. Then go back and complete all the pieces that need to be rewritten.

Editorial Reviews
If it at all fits in your budget, you should consider obtaining an editorial review, or a structural edit. Just like there are indie authors, there are also indie editors who can evaluate and edit your book for you. This can be especially useful as an experienced editor can spot discrepancies or errors. After the editorial review you’ll want to consider the suggested revisions.

The Value of Beta Readers
Beta readers can be an invaluable asset to the indie author. Make sure that you are happy with your finished book before you hand it over to beta readers. This can be done in a few different ways. You may find a local book club or a reading group who will be willing to read your book and offer unbiased feedback. You may also want to choose five or so individuals who are willing to read your book and offer feedback. Either way it can be a great way to obtain a reader’s viewpoint of your work before finalizing copy. Just remember that you don’t want to start making a lot of changes based on the feedback of just one person. However, if you hear the same thing from more than one person you probably have something that needs to be addressed.

Revisions and Proof Reading
Once you have received feedback from beta readers you’ll want to make any necessary revisions. Then you will want to read through the text very carefully. You may wish to also use a proof reader. At this final stage, keep a keen eye out for any grammatical errors or mistakes like misspellings. 

After everything has been gone over with a fine-toothed comb, you’re ready to publish your book. As an indie author, you can publish directly with retailers or use a service that allows you to easily distribute to many retail channels through one publishing process. Draft2Digital, for example, offers a customer friendly service that will distribute your book through sales channels such as CreateSpace, Kobo, and Apple iBooks. 
photo credit: Mike Rohde via photopin cc

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How to Set a Price for Your Indie Book

A book is a wonderful, creative piece that actually took a lot longer than just the time to type it all up. Ideas may be conceived in a moment, but developing plots and characters can take a lot of time. When an author finishes a book, it is a culmination of their imagination, life experience, and their expertise all coming together as one. Pricing a book is part art, part science. Self published authors perhaps struggle with setting a book price more than just about any part of the publishing process. But there are some ways to help making setting a price for a book a reasonable feat.

Too High or Too Low?
There is a bit of psychology that goes into pricing books. Having a price that is too low can work against you and have a negative impact on its quality. Pricing a book too high can deter readers from purchasing it as well. People tend to feel that they will “get what they pay for” so you want to choose a good in between price that lets potential buyers feel like the book is worth the investment. Smashwords did a survey and found that on average books that were priced at $3.99 sold better on average than those priced at $2.99.

What Are Your Goals?
After you have worked to get your book ready for publishing and you need to set a price, you should already be relatively sure of what you want the book to do. Usually, an author has one of two goals: more sales or more readers. In most instances, authors are likely to say that these two goals carry equal weight and they are not mutually exclusive. You may take either approach successfully and the other is likely to follow. For authors who are not yet well established, a lower price might be what is needed to draw in a readership. Authors who already have a solid fan base often can charge a higher price for their work.

Making Comparisons
One place to start comparing prices is in your own genre. Romance novels tend to do well in the range between 99 cents and $2.99. But nonfiction or literary fiction usually tends to run a little higher in price. In most cases, authors may choose to start pricing at $10 or below. From there, test out a few different prices and maybe run your own promotions to find out what sells best. Take some time to research your specific genre to see what is selling at what price. This can give you an idea for a price range for your latest book.

The Babelcube team wishes you pricing success!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Why Every Indie Author Needs A Blog

As an indie author you most likely understand the importance of maintaining a website, but do you need a blog as well? It is certainly well worth consideration. Let’s face it, blogging the right way is a time consuming process. Who has the extra time to sink into keeping up with multiple posts on a blog each week? Wouldn't it be more productive to spend the amount of time that must be invested in blogging on your latest project? Many authors consider blogging as a distraction, a waste of time, and totally unproductive. These reasons are certainly worth thinking about. However, if you do a blog right, then there are benefits that will make the work worth the hassle. Here are just a few of the benefits that a self-published author is likely to experience from a well maintained blog.

Blogging Helps You Connect With Your Existing Audience
By blogging on a regular basis you offer another opportunity for readers to connect with you. They most likely connect with the characters in your book or enjoy your writing already and blogging allows for another way to connect on a more personal basis. A blog allows you to become a “real” person to your readership. Those who have already experienced your books are likely to want to connect with you and learn more about what makes you tick. Blogs offer a safe environment for sharing with your audience and you can always choose how much or how little you want to share with your readers.

Blogging Attracts New Readers
The internet has created a platform that makes it a lot easier to connect with a variety of people. Blogs are a useful tool for establishing new connections and are commonly used in conjunction with social media accounts, like Twitter and Facebook, to broaden exposure. For authors who are planning on self-publishing globally, such as translating their works via a service like Babelcube, to reach an international audience, a blog can be a very good strategy.

Blogging Often Increases Sales
A blog that is updated on a regular basis can be used to increase traffic on your main website and book listings. In your blog posts, include links to your site and places your books can be purchased to help interested readers find your materials. Blogs allow indie authors the opportunity to share with their audience when they are publishing a new book, or starting to work on a new project. It can also be cross-linked with various other sites which might include videos, webinars, or audio recordings. Blogs can help extend your reach as an author and promote additional sales to your existing readership.

Blogging Provides A Platform To Showcase Your Expertise
When you maintain a blog on a regular basis you will establish your personal brand. And as you continue writing in your own niche, you will continue to build connections with your readership and your ideal audience. This puts you in the perfect position to promote all of your books, conferences, videos and your primary website.

Happy blogging!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Basic Decisions About PR that Every Indie Author Will Have to Make

There are numerous decisions that every single author has to face no matter what their genre or publishing preference may be. The Indie author has their own unique set of decisions to make and questions that they must answer themselves. There is not always someone around who can shoulder the burden of the most basic of these decisions. Introducing your book to the marketplace is perhaps one of the biggest challenges you will ever face no matter what your level of author experience. From start to finish, it can be a lot of hard work – well worth it in the end – but hard work nonetheless. In some author’s opinions, pursuing marketing options is more difficult than actually writing the book! There are literally hundreds of ways to promote your book and we can narrow these down to some of the most basic essentials.

How and Where the Indie Author should Spend Time and Money
It is very important to know exactly where to spend your time, money and efforts when it comes to getting your book out there. In order to accomplish this feat here are the basic areas you will want to address:
  • Defining goals
  • Identifying your audience
  • Setting up a timeline
  • Considering other PR questions

Defining Goals
Just like every arena, clear cut goals are essential to success. You will want to ask yourself a couple of questions like why you published your book to start with, what you are hoping to achieve and who you want to reach with this information. Without a definitive goal, how will you know when you have reached success? Realistically develop your personal goals as an indie author if for no other reason than knowing when you have achieved them.

Identifying Your Audience
Authors need to be aware of what their intended audience looks like. Not only does it help when developing a manuscript, it also helps with marketing efforts. It is important to place your finished book in a position to be found by those who have an interest in the content. In order to reach your audience you need to know who they are and where they hangout – both online and off.

Setting Up a Timeline
It’s not a good strategy to run a perpetual promotion. The self-published author will need to decide when, where and how long a promotion will last. They may also want to use the staggering approach so that promotions build on each other. Major holidays, anniversaries, and major events are all great occasions to use for a promotional campaign. Promotions can each be unique entities and do not have to be the same for every book. It’s really up to the author’s preferences and choice.

Considering Other PR Questions
There are tons of other questions that the self-published author may have to face. How much time do you want to devote to marketing efforts? Will that take away from writing your next book? How do you want to handle reader reviews? Is it okay or ethical to use paid reviews? How important do you think media coverage is? What do you want to call yourself: indie author, self-published author or no title at all? Will this be your only book, your last book, the first book in a series, or just your next book? Do you want to reach out to an international audience and consider translating your works into other languages using a company like Babelcube?

There are tons of questions that no one can answer but the author and these only represent a few of them. But if you can answer these general questions, you’ll be a long way toward developing a solid marketing campaign.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Building Professional Relationships with Other Authors

There can be an immediate sense of camaraderie among authors. They face the same challenges day after day and therefore they understand each other. But let’s face it – most writers live tucked away in their studios or offices working on their next masterpiece. How are they ever supposed to meet up? Fortunately, there are several social platforms and author sites that offer a place for indie authors to meet and learn from one another.

Value of Writer Relationships
There really is good reason for authors to develop professional relationships with other authors. According to a study on professional relationships conducted by the University of California, LA,* there are several reasons to foster relationships with like professionals and they include:
  • It’s refreshing, inspiring and rejuvenating.
  • They value the work you do.
  • They believe what you do to be interesting.
  • They can ask all of the right questions.
  • They totally understand you!
Where to get Started
There are tons of sites designed to cater to authors and help them build relationships with other like minded authors. Which ones you select will depend largely on your personal preferences. Most of them provide a platform through which self published authors can interact with both authors and readership. Here are a few top author sites or organizations that are great places to start.

Alliance of Independent AuthorsDesigned specifically for the self-publishing author. There are four levels of membership: associate, author, professional and partner. You will find a very diverse community of self-published authors.

Association of Independent Authors – Dedicated to “representing, advancing, promoting and supporting” indie authors on an international level.

AuthorLink – A well rounded site that offers indie authors a variety of services, including interaction with other authors, author interviews, and a host of free and premium services.

AuthorShout – A great site to connect with both authors and readers on an international level. Besides opportunities to interact with other authors, the site has many other benefits such as free book promotion, how-to-guides, and promotion packages.
* Source: The Academy of Management Journal © 2000 Academy of Management  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Facebook Fan Pages for Indie Authors

One of the most powerful online marketing tools today is Facebook. There are many ways that Facebook can be integrated into a social media marketing campaign and there are many strategies that can be used to take full advantage of the different resources the platform offers. One thing that the self published author should consider is having a fan page for each of their books. This will be most effective if you already have a page for yourself and have developed a solid following and ongoing interactions with your readers.

Benefits of having a Facebook fan page
By setting up a fan page that is specific to a book or series the indie author can keep their fans informed of the most recent developments concerning their favorite titles.  The primary benefits of having a fan page include:
  • Creates interest in your book(s)
  • Builds a solid fan base around your book
  • Posts about the book can attract new fans
  • Gives you a platform from which to interact with your readers
  • Increases organic traffic to your author website
Who will join your fan page?
Indie authors who have a fan page for each of their books have another means of engaging with their audience without being pushy, spammy or obnoxious. In many cases, it is likely that those who join a fan page for a particular book have already purchased it and the fan page offers a meaningful way to interact with your fan base.

Strategies for increasing a fan base
There are several different strategies that can be used to increase the number of followers an author has. When setting up a Facebook fan page you can create your own URL. You might choose to use the book’s title or main character. Once you have the URL, you can add the fan page to your author website and you can use widgets including Facebook’s “like” or “share” button to your website or blog content. This can increase your fan base substantially. Always include your URL in any correspondence such as in an email signature. Self publishing authors may also want to share exciting news or posts about the book across other social media platforms such as Twitter. These are just a few strategies for helping an author establish a solid fan base on a Facebook fan page.

photo credit: SalFalko via photopin cc

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Does an Indie Author Need a Press Release?

There are many valuable ways to let your audience and the rest of the world know the breaking news about a book and a press release is just one of them. Up front, let’s say that a press release is not for everyone and it’s not appropriate for every single occasion. For the indie author who really has something to share, it can be a useful tool. You’ll want to save the press release for noteworthy occurrences such as when you release your latest book or have something that is interesting or appealing to your audience. A press release just for the sake of sending one out is not going to be effective; so save it for truly monumental or outstanding happenings.

Why should the indie author issue a press release?
A press release is a method used for distributing news to an intended audience. For the indie or self publishing author, a press release can be a useful marketing strategy. The primary benefits of choosing to use press releases include:
  • Gaining publicity
  • Increasing site traffic
  • Improving website rankings in search engines
When should the indie author publish a press release?
A press release can be written whenever there is something eventful that occurs. The primary reason a self-published author might publish a press release is when they are releasing a new book. But there are other times when a press release is useful. Here are a few events that are newsworthy and deserve a press release:
  • Introducing a new book
  • Celebrating the anniversary of a release
  • Receiving an award
  • Releasing a book in a new region
  • Launching a website
  • Announcing upcoming titles or releases
What information should the press release include?
The first thing a press release needs is an interesting title that gets to the point. Just below the title is a subtitle, which offers the reader a fleshy summary of the reason for the press release. The first paragraph of a press release should describe the basics: who, what, where, when and how. The first paragraph should contain the bulk of the information intended for the reader so that if they stop there and do not read any further they will get the basics. The first paragraph is the “news” and the other paragraphs expand that news and offer support through statements, facts or quotes. The final portions of a well written press release will contain pertinent links, such as to your website or the page where the book can be purchased.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Promotion for Indie Authors – Posting Books

For the indie author, book promotion can be a huge task. One of the best resources to make the task somewhat easier or at least more manageable is to post your book on various sites online. Book posting sites are a great tool to use to get your books into the view of the reading community. There are a lot of different types of sites that allow indie authors to post their books, or excerpts from their books. Many of them charge a standard fee for this promotional service and some are totally free. It is important to note that posting books must be managed similarly to social media sites. It’s not possible or reasonable to use all of them. But in order to generate some new interest in your book(s) you might consider using this great online promotional resource. Here are a few of the sites that can help you get your books in front of an interested audience.

Book Daily
This site allows self-publishing authors to set up an account for free. By joining this online community the author can post the first chapter of any of their books for readers to review, a bio with a photo, link to your website or blog and even a video about the book.

Indie Author News
This site is useful for helping the indie author promote their books but they have tons of other features as well. They offer specific features like the Indie Book of the Day, Free Book of the Day, new book releases, and book features that are specifically designed to assist indie authors in promoting their books.

For a small fee, indie authors can post their books on Once the fee is paid an author can post as many books as they want on the site. The AskDavid crew will create a book promotion page, and link to your social media and web sites. Visitors to the site are allowed and encouraged to provide reviews of books and their quotes can be used on the author’s own website. For such a small fee, this site has a lot to offer the indie author in the way of book promotion.

Book Goodies
Book Goodies provides a platform onto which authors can submit their books. This is one of the sites which offers free book posting. The site organizers are attempting to give indie authors a chance to be seen by readers and obtain honest reviews about their books. They also encourage interaction between authors and readers.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How Indie Authors can use Blog Tours for Book Promotion

For those who have never heard of a blog tour before try Googling it. You’ll likely find lots of sites that list blog tours. The primary purpose for participating in a blog tour is to promote your book. Through the use of blogs and other online resources, an indie author can go “on tour” with their book without ever leaving the comforts of home. Don’t start out by thinking that it’s a simple task and there’s not much work to it.  A blog tour will take plenty of hard work, determination and discipline to be effective. But the end result of selling your books will be well worth it!

What is a Blog Tour?
A blog tour is not really a new concept for the online community or the indie author. Probably the easiest way to define a blog tour is to say that instead of an author going from store to store like they would on a traditional book tour, they go from blog to blog. A blog tour can take many different forms depending on the blog type. It may be designed as a simple book review, a question and answer session, an interview, or even a book giveaway. In most instances an author will set aside a predetermined amount of time such as a week or a month in which to  schedule a specific number of stops, or blogs to participate in.

What is the Purpose of a Blog Tour?
In most instances, a blog tour is scheduled to coincide with the release of a new book. Some authors choose to participate in a blog tour as long as 6 to 8 weeks prior to publishing their books. However, the primary purpose of a blog tour, no matter how it is designed, is to generate buzz about a self-published author’s book. For this reason, any time is really a good time.

Blog Tour Sites
If you Google “blog tour” you’ll see that there are literally pages of related results. It can be difficult for the indie author to know which ones are best to look into. Some authors prefer to try shorter blog tours to get a feel for how they work, others prefer to just be a guest blogger and write about their books. There are literally thousands of tour operators to choose from but here is a short list of a few to sample.

  • Xpresso Book Tours – This site has over 100 successful tours to show as examples and the site has an average of 30,000 page views every month. The blog tour site is not free but you get a lot for your dollar. While they offer several options, you can get a basic tour with 15 stops for $100. The audience is primarily young adult and romance readers so for self-published authors in this genre it’s well worth looking into.
  • Worldwind Tours – This is a very well established blog host and they carefully scrutinize interested blog posters to ensure the highest quality. The author must simply prepare their own guest posts, excerpts or interviews and the site’s staff takes care of the rest. Authors must meet their stringent criteria with features like a well designed cover, well written blurb. 
  • Orangeberry Book Tours – Orangeberry coordinates an online tour for the indie author, which consists of online appearances on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter or on a variety of blogs in order to promote their book. They are possibly one of the most versatile book tour operators as they offer a wide variety of packages, which include personalized choices such as: guest posting, author interviews, blog advertising, and promotions on twitter.
The team at Babelcube wish you and your books happy and successful blog touring.

Monday, March 10, 2014

How Many Books are eBooks?

Over the last few years,  there has been a dramatic growth in ebooks. This is being fueled by new technology and sales channels. There may be any number of good reasons for this shift for readers, writers, and publishers including the self-publishing author. One reason that electronic versions of books are gaining such popularity among indie authors is that there is no upfront cost for printing. We don’t even actually “write” on paper anymore since books are completed using digital media. But how do they really stack up against traditionally published or print books? Do they sell better? Are they more widely available? You may be pleasantly surprised.

Lack of Real Numbers
According to Hugh Howey in his 7k Report, there are no industry wide numbers that demonstrate the number of ebooks that are sold each year. One reason for this lack of reliable information is that ebook distributors do not have to reveal the specific sales data to consumers. So even though you've most likely heard that ebooks only make up about one-fourth of all book sales, the data is largely flawed at best. This 25% does not account for many different genres and does not include self-published titles. This leaves a huge hole in the data. Because there is no “bookscan” for ebooks, it is a struggle to find the numbers to create a reasonable estimate of the number of books that are ebooks.

What We Do Know
We do know that self published works are seriously under-reported when it comes to gathering the stats. We also know that Amazon has been a key player in the growth of the ebook market.  However, no one knows for sure what book market share actually belongs to Amazon. By opening up the ebook market through its Kindle platform and the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program, Amazon has created an open platform for self-publishing authors. These self-published authors have become mainstream.

Staggering Stats of Amazon Best-Sellers
Trade books are referenced in terms of New York Times bestsellers. These types of books do not include titles such as children’s books, cookbooks or academic books. If we consider only New York Times bestsellers we will see that electronic books already make up about half of the sales. In Howey’s 7k Report, he looked at just Amazon bestsellers to see how ebooks stacked up against print books and the numbers were astounding. Ebooks made up nearly 90% of Amazon’s top 2,500 Bestsellers. That’s measured against audio editions, hard and soft covers and mass market paperbacks as well. And when one takes a look at the top 100 of these 2,500 bestselling books 92% were ebooks, not traditional print books.

Projections for the Future of eBooks
A look into the future is promising for the indie author as the popularity of ebooks continues to soar. There’s high consumer demand as many readers prefer the convenience of electronic readers to traditional books and distribution is a simpler process for self publishing authors. Some predict that by the middle of this year ebooks will make up half of all the books being sold. This is not unreasonable given the recent data. If there ever was a time for the indie author to publish, it’s now!
Photo credit: antonioxalonso via photopin cc

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Social Media Marketing for Indie Authors

Social media is a powerful tool for authors. The world we live in is highly technological and most people have 24/7 access to a digital device of some type. As we grow increasingly mobile there are new smartphones and tablets taking over our lives and there are very few people left who do not have multiple social media accounts. It just makes sense for the indie author to figure out how to reach their audience on social sites. But as with any marketing media there are right ways and wrong ways to handle a social media campaign. It is very important that the author understand that while using social media for book sales is effective, it’s not the only reason to engage on social platforms. They are a powerful and effective way of establishing an online presence and building relationships with readership.

Why Use Social Media?
Social media is growing at a rapid rate and so are the users. It’s really not just for teenagers, all ages are beginning to show impressive growth when it comes to hooking up online. As of late last year, nearly 75% of adults online were using social media sites. Facebook has over 1.4 billion users around the globe.  Twitter has 94 million members. LinkedIn is one of the fastest growing social sites with 2 new members joining the network every second. The sheer numbers and potential connectivity makes it worth implementing a social media marketing campaign.

Which Social Media Sites Are Best for Indie Authors?
There is no way to name every single social media site available; and it is really not necessary. Choosing which sites to actively engage with your readership is very important. It really comes down to personal preference and finding out where your audience is. The “Big 3” social sites are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Google+ is a newer site that is gaining traction in the market. These are social media giants and have the potential to reach millions of readers. But there are also author specific sites like Goodreads or NetGalley, which can be beneficial. There is no right combination or number of sites to select and it is up to the author to decide which platforms work best for their particular purposes and interests. However, it is also important to note that it is possible to sign up for too many social sites. A self-published author should sign up for only the number of social sites that they can realistically maintain on a regular basis. Social media is not about setting up an author’s page, writing a great bio or profile and then moving along. It’s about actively engaging and building relationships with readers. This means that the author has to be active in posting, tweeting or updating with relevant information.

Adding Value to Your Readers
Of course the ultimate goal for the self publishing author is to sell books. But in order to effectively accomplish this goal it is important to take the time to build relationships with your readership. It’s okay to tweet about a new release, new idea or a promotion that is running, but promoting yourself cannot be the totality of online social activities. Think about your social sites, including your author’s blog, as a way to add value to your readers. Create tweets, status updates, or blog posts about topics that are of interest to your readers. This does not mean that it is irrelevant to your book or books; but it should be geared to adding value to readers. This gives them reasons to return time and time again. Building lifelong readership is key to successful book sales for the long term.

Integrating Social Media
Self publishing authors need a solid strategy when it comes to using social media outlets. At the center of it all should be the author’s website, which contains all of their books and blog. When a new blog post is published it should automatically be announced across linked social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Google+ is also a good social media platform to consider using. It has its own benefits, such as helping establish authorship and your online reputation. It’s also a great tool for branding.

Be Personable
Facebook allows indie authors to set up an author’s page which can be very useful for promotions, branding and connecting with your audience. It is possible to overdo it with self promotional materials so remember to be personable with your followers. There’s nothing wrong with keeping a business page professional, but mix some personality in with it and don’t just become a machine spouting out updates about your materials. It’s okay to be funny, informative and relaxed while remaining professional. Offer a wide variety of content and let your audience get a glimpse of your true personality. When they connect with you in this way, they are going to be eager to read your self published works as well. Social media is about connecting and sharing; it’s a two-way street that offers the indie author a platform from which to interact with their audience.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Designing a Cover for Your Indie Book

For many authors, writing the book is the easy part and then there’s the rest. For the indie author there is marketing and many other associated tasks such as the book cover. The cover of a book is a very important element as it is the first impression a reader gets of your book and its contents. Studies have shown that nearly 75% of a reader’s decision to purchase a book is based solely on the book’s cover. The cover makes a powerful statement about your book and can effectively make that much needed connection with the reader. The human brain is capable of processing images a lot faster than words. When we see an image it evokes certain emotions and an immediate reaction. Upon viewing a book cover, the reader has a concept of what the book is about. For readers, the old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover” simply does not apply. The reader will make an immediate judgment about a book and create preconceptions about the book before they even pick it up or put it in their shopping cart.  Here are a few basic cover design tips for self-publishing authors.

Don't Judge Me By My Cover
Essential Features of a Book Cover Design
In order to design an effective cover for your book, you will want to start with some market research which focuses on your targeted readership. There are several considerations that need to be made and your choices should be geared toward what will be most effective with your primary audience. Here are the primary features that you’ll be considering:
  • The book’s title
  • The image used on the front cover
  • What colors will be used
  • Types of fonts that will be used
  • The blurb for the back cover
Even though each of these features has a distinct purpose, they all need to work together to create a unified object that is more than just aesthetic in appearance. Each year there are more than 200 thousand new titles published, now that makes for a very competitive market. You have only a few seconds to catch the eye of a potential reader so you want to design your cover to stand out in a positive way so that it rises above your competitors. No matter how great your content is, your cover is what will initially help a person choose if they want to venture into the chapters it contains or pass it by. It’s important to bring these features together to create a design that catches the eye and attention of your readers.

Purpose of Your Book‘s Cover
When choosing the features to include on your book cover there are some things to keep in mind. You will want a design that is characteristic of your genre but still stands out as unique from the rest. It should be compelling to readers and appeal to them in such a way that they want to take a closer look at what’s inside. Images, color and fonts should all be reflective of the type of content that is in the book. You want to design a book cover that convinces the reader to come on this literary journey with you.

Design Best Practices for Book Covers
While a book cover is essential for encapsulating the book’s content, it should still be simple. You will want to use a single image for your cover so that the reader is not overcome visually. Color is a very important element for a book cover and it alone can have a huge impact on influencing readers to purchase a book. Colors can evoke specific emotions and this is an important consideration to keep in mind when you are choosing your cover design. As a general rule, warmer colors can also seem to appear to be closer to the viewer which also makes them attract attention from a distance. Cooler colors like blue or green tend to evoke feelings like calmness, tranquility and relaxation. The title needs to be large, bold print and it is important that the indie author’s name be including on the front cover. A bold title is easier to read and makes the book easier to identify for readers. For authors who self-publish print books it is important to remember to put the title and your name on the spine of the book so that it is easily identified when it’s sitting on a shelf. Once the reader has been enticed by the front cover, they are likely to flip it over to glance at the back cover as well. The back cover of nonfiction books typically contains information about the importance of the topic contained in the book; and fiction books might have a short excerpt or brief synopsis. In some instances, the author’s bio is contained on the back cover.