what is KDP select?

What Is Kdp Select? Everything You Need to Know in 2021

As a self-publishing author, you’re met with several decisions to make, with everything from a publishing platform to distribution and marketing. Often you have to weigh the pros and cons since what works for another author may not be suitable for you.

A perfect example of that is KDP Select, an Amazon platform and Kindle book program that lets you reach more readers. The program is free to use for any authors or publishers who want to enroll their Kindle books. What’s the catch, you may wonder? Well, the restriction is that you can only sell your eBook exclusively on Amazon for 90 days. 

In this article, we’ll guide you through the ins and outs of what KDP Select is so you can determine whether it’s the right choice for you.

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This KDP Select guide covers:

  1. What is KDP Select?
  2. The pros of KDP Select
  3. The drawbacks of KDP Select
  4. How much you can expect to make with KDP Select
  5. Some final notes

What is KDP Select?

Before jumping into the details, let’s cover the basics; What is KDP Select, exactly? We’ll also cover the differences between KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and KDP Select.

KDP Select is a free program, open to all authors willing to give Amazon exclusive rights to their book for 90 days. By enrolling in the program, you get access to promotional tools and the opportunity to earn higher royalties. 

After the 90 days, authors can choose to leave the program or auto-renew for the same amount of time. Keep in mind that while digital copies must be sold exclusively on Amazon, print copies can still be sold elsewhere. You can also distribute a 10% sample of the book outside of Amazon. 

The pros of KDP Select 

infographic showing the benefits of KDP select

Without a doubt, you have a lot to gain from enrolling in KDP Select. The number one advantage is that your eBook automatically becomes available to Kindle Unlimited users, where a baffling 100 million users have the option of borrowing your book. 

Kindle Unlimited is an Amazon service where users sign up for a monthly subscription and access an unlimited number of eBooks from the KU library. Essentially, it’s the eBook equivalent of Amazon’s Prime Video platform. Being available there immediately expands your reach, putting your book in front of many potential readers each month. 

Plus, if your eBook generates more traction through KU, its chances of ranking higher on Amazon increases. KU gives customers the possibility to test-read books before purchasing. They also send out emails with book recommendations based on reading history, making it very easy for their readers to find new books. All in all, this makes it a top-rated platform, and it’s hard for books to rank well on Amazon without being listed on KU. 

Besides Kindle Unlimited, which is the main benefit, there are some other incentives for enrolling in KDP Select. 

  • Kindle Countdown Deal. This means that for one week every 90 days, you have the option of discounting your book on a ‘countdown deal’ to attract more readers. Even if this pushes your eBook price below $2.99, you can still keep earning a 70% royalty. Typically, you would only get a 35% royalty if your book drops below that price.
  • Free Book Promotion.  You can offer your book to readers for free for up to five days in every 90-day period. (Note that this can’t be done in the same 90 days as a Kindle Countdown Deal). Both these deals will boost your book’s visibility and draw more readers.

What are the disadvantages of KDP Select?

There are some negatives with using KDP Select, the obvious one being that you have to sign exclusively with Amazon. That means that you can’t sell your eBook anywhere else, not even on your author website. It’s a big commitment and should really be taken into consideration. One of the main reasons that authors decide to go wide is so they can distribute and sell their eBook to as many e-retailers and library distributors as possible. 

While Amazon is prevalent in the US and UK, there are other regions you may want to target. In some countries, Amazon isn’t as dominant. For example, Apple Books make up around 30% of the sales in Australia. And in Canada, Kobo controls over 25% of the eBook market. So you could be missing out on a lot of potential readers by not going wide. 

Widening your reach across multiple platforms and marketing channels can mean laying the groundwork for long-term success. On the contrary, limiting yourself to Amazon may be a good short-term investment but not necessarily the best for long-term prospects. Since Amazon uses algorithms, your book’s ranking can change quickly. 

Non-Amazon stores rely more on human curation, meaning it can take more time to reach the spotlight. But once you get to that position, you’re more likely to keep it.  

Note that if you have an existing reader base, they may not own a Kindle or use Amazon platforms which means they won’t get access to your latest offering. Also, some ‘best seller’ lists require your eBook to be available on at least one more platform other than Amazon. So your choice depends on where your readers are and how important it is for you to be established outside of Amazon.  

Kindle Direct Publishing on a laptop

How much does KDP Select pay?

So if you do decide to go with KDP Select, what are the monetary benefits? With Kindle Unlimited Royalties, you make money on a per-page basis. That means the more pages of your book are read each month, the more money you can make. To make sure this is fair across the board, the page count is based on your word count rather than only looking at the total pages. 

Amazon uses something called the KENPC system (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count) to work this out. For example, a 50,000 word book will typically be calculated to around 250 pages. You’ll receive a per-page royalty for up to 3,000 pages per title, per reader. That is to say, each time a user reads your book, a maximum of 3,000 pages will be counted. 

At the end of each month, a KDP Select Global Fund is announced. This fund determines how much each title on KU has earned. In January 2019 the fund was $24.7 billion. The exact per-page amount you’ll receive depends on the earnings for that specific month and the number of books enrolled. 

Generally, you can expect to earn around $0.004 to $0.005 per page (40 to 50 cents per 100 pages read). Whether that’s from a hundred people reading one page or one person reading a hundred pages is irrelevant. 

You can also earn increased royalties in a few select countries, such as Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico. In these countries, you can earn 70% on sales through KU where you’d otherwise only earn 35%. 

Is KDP Select a good idea?

As you can see, there are a few cons to using KDP Select even though it certainly comes with enticing perks. Here are a few reminders and pointers to keep in mind before you decide. 

  • Even though you’re limited to selling your eBook only through Amazon, no other format is restricted. That means you’re still welcome to sell it in audiobook, paperback, or hardback wherever you like. 
  • For promotional purposes, you are allowed to offer up to 10% of your eBook as a digital sample or send reviewers a copy. 
  • You’re only signing for a 90-day period. If you find that it’s working well, you can sign for another 90 days. But if not, there are no obligations to keep going. 
  • To avoid frustration and confusion for your readers, it’s best to settle on a platform as quickly as possible. If you come and go from KDP Select, this means your eBook will only be available to readers on other platforms intermittently. This can cause problems and lead to less sales for you. 
  • If you’re only planning to sell on Amazon anyway, KDP Select is a great option with many benefits. If not, consider your options carefully. Look at bestsellers in your genre. If they’re prevalent on Kindle Unlimited then that’s where you’ll want to publish your eBook. Otherwise, you might find KDP Select to be limiting. 

We hope this post has been helpful in guiding you through the pros and cons of KDP Select, and that you feel more confident in making the right decision for you. 

Looking for a book that gives you everything you need to know to successfully write and publish your book? It’s here…

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Self-Publishing Programs – 9 Teaching & Tech Resources

So, you’ve reached the stage in your journey as an independent author where it’s time to seek out the best self publishing program for your needs.

Investing in knowledge and technology to bring you success is a smart move, but it’s easy to make the wrong choice.

Ask around the writing community and you’ll be sure to come across plenty of disgruntled authors who shelled out cash for a program that wasn’t the best fit. There’s nothing more annoying than getting your hopes up about a particular tool, only to find out it wasn’t what you expected.

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So how can you avoid making the wrong choice?

No matter if you’re looking for a writing course to boost your self-publishing knowledge, or a software program to give you better capabilities, we’ve got you covered.

Read on to discover our curated list of the best educational and software programs out there for self-publishers.

This guide to self-publishing programs covers:

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Self-Publishing Programs

#1 – Self-Publishing School

Trying to navigate the maze of self-publishing on your own is no easy task.

There are so many different skills to master and things to learn. From the initial process of coming up with a book idea, all the way through to marketing your work in a way that sets you up for a successful career, there are plenty of hurdles to fall at.

You could spend an eternity trying to figure it all out, but there’s no need to do that.

Our partners at Self Publishing School have distilled years of wisdom into several concise programs that set you up for success.

A lot of people seem to have the misconception that Self Publishing School is a single course, but that’s not the case. This is not like other self publishing programs, as the name suggest, it’s delivered like an actual school. They can help you no matter how far along you are as an author. From teaching first-time writers to come up with a roadmap to publish their first bestseller. Or helping existing authors set themselves up for a full-time career. Self Publishing School has a program for every situation. See our full review for more details.

They also have an incredible range of free resources, so take the time to check those out if you aren’t sure about investing in a full program at this stage.

#2 – Authority Pub Academy

Authority Pub Academy is taught by Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport in tandem. This is a refreshing change from a lot of the other programs out there, as it allows you to enjoy two different personalities and teaching styles.  

This teaching program is a good option for new authors who are looking for a mix of tangible and intangible advice on what it takes to make the leap and become an author.

Some of the content covers aspects such as the mindset authors need to adopt to succeed, as well as more practical tips such as the process of writing a book. It also delves deep into how to set up an account on KDP.

If you’ve already published a book, you might find a lot of the material in this course to be a bit beneath your existing level of knowledge. That’s not to say it has nothing to offer seasoned authors, but it is better suited to those just starting. 

Like many of the programs featured here, Authority Pub Academy covers book launches and marketing in some depth, showing the importance of these topics. 

Authority Pub Academy might not cover anything groundbreaking, but there’s no denying the credibility of Steve Soctt and Barrie Davenport as teachers. If you’re a fan of their personalities, consider exploring this program in more detail. 

You can learn more here

#3 – Self-Publishing 101

Mark Dawson is one of the most successful authors to ever self-publish. If you’re looking for an inspirational success story, look no further than Dawson.

As the name suggests, Self-Publishing 101 is intended to teach the fundamentals for authors who might be adept at writing a book but unsure of how to take things further. 

Dawson’s course covers the basic elements of establishing your author platform, some guidance on whether to commit to Amazon on an exclusive basis or go wide, how to put together the right team to help launch your book, and how to attract the right reviews to boost your book in Amazon’s eyes and sell more copies. 

If you want to learn from a true self-publishing rockstar, Self-Publishing 101 taught by Mark Dawson could be a good choice for you. Explore it further in our full review. It’s easily one of the most personal self publishing programs.

However, if you’ve been around the indie author scene for some time, you might already have a good understanding of most of Mark’s ideas.

#4 – Your First 10K Readers

Your First 10K Readers by Nick Stephenson stands out from several of the other teaching programs featured here due to its focus on a more advanced approach to publishing. 

You won’t find basic tips on writing a book here. This course instead offers advanced tips on how to succeed as an author if you have already mastered the fundamentals. 

If you choose Your First 10K Readers as your program of choice, expect to learn the truth about how Amazon’s algorithm operates, how to not only build but monetize your author platform, advanced approaches to book launches, and how to advertise a book on Facebook.

While it’s great to see a course aimed at intermediate and advanced publishers, not all of the material here will be useful for everyone reading this. For example, a lot of authors feel that advertising a book on Facebook isn’t as useful as advertising it on a more buyer-focused platform such as Amazon or Bookbub.  

If you feel you have a solid grasp of the basics of self-publishing and would like a structured course to take things to the next level, consider looking at Your First 10K Readers in more detail. Just be sure to look at the contents carefully to double-check it covers the material you will find useful and take action on. 

#5 – Tribe Writers 

Jeff Goins is one of the most likable people in self-publishing. 

His blog is a fantastic resource for self-publishers who see themselves as artists looking to make a decent living from doing what they love.

So what does Jeff’s Tribe Writers course cover?

The first focus of the course is helping authors to find and hone their unique voices. The course then delves into more practical aspects such as platform building, how to reach more readers, and how to eventually get published.

While there’s some useful material here, there’s not nearly as much as found in other courses. You can learn a lot more in-depth information elsewhere. 

That’s not to say that Tribe Writers is bad. Far from it. If you are a fan of Jeff Goins and want to get an understanding of his approach to platform building, this might be the right self-publishing program for you. You should compare the contents and pricing with the other programs in this guide before making your final decision. 

Software

What is the best self-publishing software?

Well, before we take a look at five great software programs for self-publishers, let’s stop and consider how to choose the best one for your needs.

To help you weigh up different options, keep these factors in mind:

  1. Features. What features do you need from a self-publishing software program? It’s useful to write these down so you don’t overlook anything when evaluating different options.
  2. Compatibility. Is any software you’re considering compatible with the hardware you use? For example, if you want to work on Mac and iPad, you need to check compatibility with macOS and iOS.
  3. Cost. How much does the program you’re interested in cost? Is it a one-off payment or do you need to subscribe? How does this cost compare with other options?
  4. Learning curve. How difficult will it be to learn to use a particular program? Are you willing to invest the time or is it better to use a simpler option?
  5. Integrations. Is your intended program capable of integrating with other software? Do you foresee any issues using it in conjunction with your existing tools?

With those five guiding criteria in mind, let’s take a look at five of the best self-publishing software programs. 

Writing Software

#1 – Publisher Rocket

If you’re like most self-published authors, writing your book isn’t the difficult part. You’ve probably been a lover of the written word for most of your life, so putting words down on the page is a pleasure for you.

The frustration often begins when the time comes to market your book. Knowing the right categories and keywords is an entire science on its own, and figuring out manually can be seriously time-consuming.

Thankfully, a better way exists!

Self-publishing stalwart Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur fame created the Publisher Rocket program to make his personal book marketing process more efficient and effective. It’s a powerhouse software solution for authors that takes the mystery and guesswork out of book marketing.

If you want to save wasted time and energy, you owe it to yourself to give Publisher Rocket a closer look. New features are being added all the time, such as the data you need to market your book internationally.

You can learn more about Publisher Rocket in our in-depth review here.

#2 – Scrivener

Have you tried to write an entire book using a program like Google Docs, and found it didn’t have all the features you would hope for?

If so, you’re in the same boat as a lot of other writers. As versatile and useful as Google Docs is, it wasn’t designed with book creators in mind.

Enter Scrivener!

Scrivener is one of the most fully-featured writing programs out there. It’s jam-packed with the features authors need to research, write, and export their books.

Scrivener has something of a reputation for being difficult to learn. While it does have a learning curve, it’s a lot easier to understand in its current iteration than was the case with older versions.

If you’re willing to put in some time to get to grips with Scrivener, we’re confident you’ll find it a rewarding experience. It happens to come with a full free trial so you can decide if it’s right for you before investing a single cent.

See how Scrivener compares to other options in this book writing software guide

#3 – Grammarly

If a self-editing tool isn’t part of your stack of author programs, you’re seriously missing out.

One of the main criticisms of self-publishing is that it lacks the rigor and care that an editor from a traditional publishing house would bring to the table.

To be truthful, editing is one area where some indie authors feel they can cut costs. But what if you could cut down on the amount you need to invest in a human editor by using a state of the art program in the first instance?

That’s where Grammarly comes into play. Let’s be crystal clear about one thing – Grammarly is no substitute for a talented human editor. However, it is an amazing way to self-edit your work initially, catching your most glaring errors and allowing your real editor to make deeper improvements, rather than spotting your spelling and grammar mishaps.

If you use a tool like Grammarly consistently, you’ll learn more about yourself as a writer and where your weaknesses lie. This is invaluable feedback that not only gives you polished writing but also invaluable insight.  

Delve deeper into what Grammarly is capable of with our full review here

#4 – Hootsuite

When used properly, social media is a fantastic way for self-published authors to connect directly with their readers and form meaningful connections. But it’s very much a double-edged sword for a lot of writers. There are so many different social media platforms that they can end up being a time drain that doesn’t produce meaningful results.

To avoid social media becoming a burden rather than a blessing, you need to be proactive and disciplined about the way you use it.

One of the best ways to regain control over your social media as a self-publisher is to use a program like Hootsuite to efficiently manage multiple platforms from a single app environment.

Hootsuite allows you to advance schedule content for your social media platforms. Rather than having to manually post, you can line up all your content for a period of time. This allows you to take advantage of the efficiency that comes with task batching.

If you find yourself constantly checking multiple social networks to like and reply to comments, please stop!

You can save massive amounts of time by using Hootsuite to make social media work for you, rather than the other way round.

self-publishing company

Conclusion

Although picking is entirely a function of your needs, we hope that our thorough look into self publishing programs as well as writing software offered you value when considering your next step. We encourage you to let us know in the comments below what course or software you choose and any results or observations you find helpful for the community to consider.

Additionally, if you have any other suggestions for the best programs out there, feel free to leave a comment!

How to Sell Your Novel

Writing a book is hard work. The crying, frustration, and stress of getting all those words down on paper (and it is fun!) but let’s be honest: Writing is work. Knowing how to sell your novel is even more work.

But what about selling your book once it’s published?

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Marketing Your Novel

This is—for every author—when the real work begins. You created this great book, and now, you have to sell it and try to recoup your money from the initial book production investment. Now, I said it was a lot of work, but it’s the part of the process where you really learn how to promote and sell your book. That can be both scary and exciting.

To sell your novel like a pro, there are several things you MUST get right before you even think about publishing. As an author, you want to set yourself up for success in every area possible. Ask yourself:

Do you have a  great cover?

Is your book professionally edited?

Did you research your market genre to write to market?

Is your book description optimized with high ranking keywords?

Are you in at least 8 categories to rank well on Amazon?

Do you have a lead magnet set up to build an email list?

In this article, we are going to dive deep into the best ways to sell your novel. Although we can’t promise you will sell books by the truckload, we are confident that by following these steps and implementing the process for getting noticed, you will create an impact with your message and possibly change many lives along the way.

Book Selling Strategies

If you’ve already published your book, you can start implementing these book-selling strategies now.

If you haven’t yet published, you can start working these ideas into your book launch plan. Every action you take towards having a successful launch will funnel your book’s success. 

Do you know what you need to have a successful book launch? 

Download your FREE Book Launch Checklist here!

Here are The Four Pillar Strategies to Sell Your Novel

  1. Run Ads with Amazon Advertising
  2. Book Your First 5 Podcasts
  3. Create a Box Set Bundle & Series
  4. Run Regular Book Promotions (Book Promo Sites)

Before you think about selling your great novel, we need to dial back to the basics. The reason most authors fail to sell their books after publishing, is because they fail to set up the book for success before publishing.

You need to have the critical elements lined up first. Briefly, let’s take a look at what these best 5 elements are:

5 Critical Elements for Selling Your Book (Before You Sell Your Book)

Optimize Your Book Description

Your book description will be a sales page that lists the best features of the book, and why readers should buy your book over another in the same genre. The description should have a mixture of various font styles and structure to create a clean, attractive description of your book.

We recommend using the free Amazon Book Description Generator Tool at Kindlepreneur.com. Your book description should include highly-optimized keywords selected from Dave Chesson’s Publisher Rocket software.

Here is an example of a fully-loaded book description:

A Magnificent Book Cover

Your book cover has to be smashingly convincing. Unless you’re a famous author, and can guarantee to move millions of copies per year no matter the cover, you need to impress people with your cover design whenever you can. But even best-selling authors need great covers. Your cover doesn’t have to win an award for creativity, but you do have to win the sale.

Here are a few examples:

Best advice is to do your research. Check the authors and books in your genre, see what is selling, and then customize your cover design to feed your market. When you write to market, you are also presenting your book with a professional design.

Professional Editing

Please don’t forget to edit your book. Or better yet, hire a professional to edit your novel. Nothing will kill a book sale faster than a poorly edited manuscript. 

A book that has been poorly edited is going to receive negative reviews.  By poor writing quality we’re not talking about the occasional grammar error (which can easily be corrected,) but a book filled with bad grammar, misspelling and a sloppy appearance.

You can hire a great editor. Your editing will be the biggest expense for the book but, you don’t want to cut corners with this. The cost is worth the price for your book’s success.

Optimized Keywords for KDP

Finding the best keywords will get your book ranking in the top search results, which means it’ll turn up in front of your customers as they search for the relevant keywords. High rankings means more visibility which leads to greater book sales. This makes it easier to promote your book when you already have the best keywords locked into your description and KDP.

As mentioned, your best tool for this is Dave Chesson’s Publisher Rocket for sorting out great keywords. Keywords that rank in the Amazon algorithm will drive the right traffic to your book. This accumulates into book sales. 

Publish Your Book Across Ten Categories.

When you publish your novel, did you know that you can promote your book in ten categories, and not only the two categories offered in KDP? At a first glance, you will notice that the selection seems rather limited and is missing plenty of categories that you’ve seen other books rank for. Unfortunately, Amazon has done this intentionally so that they can place new books into their own kindle categories.

There’s thousands of sub-categories you can rank for, and you can even include an additional eight sub-categories not found in the usual channels.

Using Publisher Rocket, determine 8 more categories to place your book in. Be sure to make a list of the category strings and then, when your book is live, email Amazon directly through the KDP contact form and request your book to be placed in the additional categories.

Take a look:

Click on the top tab and then send them an email with your list that should look something like this:

You can do this for both the eBook and paperback version. Then wait 24-72 hours for Amazon to update this.

Here is a walkthrough of the top 4 book selling strategies to sell your current novel—and all future books

Our Best 4 Top-Level Strategies for Selling Your Novel

Learn to Run Ads with Amazon Advertising

If you want to sell books (and we all do!) setting up and running AMS ads (also known now as Amazon Advertising) is a must. You should be using this platform, even if you hire someone to set up the ads for you. You can use the AMS feature built into the Publisher Rocket software to discover thousands of keywords for your ads.

The best way to set up AMS is to dive right in and get to it. You can sign up for AMS by following these steps:

  1. In KDP, next to your book and under Promote Your Book, click on this.
  2. Scroll down to Run an Ad Campaign and go into Amazon.com Store. Yes, you can run ads in many more countries, but keep it simple for now. Only set up ads in the US store to start with. Click on Create an Ad Campaign.

3. You will be met with a choice of three types of ads. Only do the first option, Sponsored Products.

To further demonstrate, we will set up an automated ad. This ad is easy to do in under 5 minutes as it requires almost no research.

There are several types of ads you can create that are keyword specific ads, suggested keyword ads, and category/product ads.

4. After entering the ad section, fill in the required information. Keep your budget to $5.00 to start.

Next, select automatic targeting.

Then, choose dynamic bids—down only. You can choose up and down but be aware, you could end up with high click costs.

Now, choose your ad format. You can enter a customized blurb (recommended) or a standard blurb, in which case, Amazon pulls your blurb from your book description.

Next, choose your book. Note: You should set up one ad per book format, so one for eBook and another for paperback.

Select your bid price. Amazon defaults this to 0.75. But if you want to bid less, you decide what your pricing is. Recommended 0.15 cents to 0.40 cents for a first generation ad.

Now, plug in your custom text and hit Publish Campaign!

Amazon ads are a great way to start selling your books. For a FREE course on how to set these up and organize your campaigns, we recommend you check out Dave Chesson’s FREE AMS training here:

Book Your First 5 Podcasts

When Hal Elrod launched his international champion The Miracle Morning, he says he did over 250 podcasts in one year. That’s a lot! You don’t have to do that many, but this goes without saying, podcasts can drive book sales in a huge way. 

Podcasts can be broken down into three areas as seen here:

how to sell your novel

Reachout: These are cold call direct reach outs to podcasters through a contact page or website. Depending on your own platform, this will determine if you get an interview or not. For audiences with large subscriber numbers, you may have to wait until you can build up your own platform.

Research: You can do a quick Google search to find podcasts in your genre. Or, the best strategy is to go directly to iTunes and discover the loads of categories there with direct links to podcasts. This is the fastest way to put together your list of nifty fifty (the best 50 podcasts for your platform). Start with direct reach outs, and then, as you get these interviews you can use…

Referrals. During your podcast interview, you should have a few minutes before and after to talk with the host. This is an opportunity to ask for a direct referral to another podcast. It is a thriving community and somebody knows somebody that can help you get featured onto another podcast. Referrals are far easier to get connected than direct reach outs. 

To begin putting your list together, here is what you should do:

  1. Put your list together by visiting the iTunes store.
  2. Plug in Apple Podcasts and search for your genre.
  3. Reach out to podcasters via cold calling by visiting their site
  4. After you get a podcast booked, ask for referrals for getting featured on more sites.

Now, go line them up! Get featured on as many podcasts as you can. This is a great way to drive traffic to your book pages and site.

Create a Box Set Bundle & Series

A book series keeps readers returning for more of your content. It shows your fanbase that you’re a serious author that continues to deliver value-packed content with each book release. Plus, if you have a series, readers are anxiously waiting for your next release. The box set product is a great way to balance your writing between the next set of books.

For a series author, publishing a box set bundle of your books is a strategic way to boost sales. Box set bundles have been around for a long time, and if you visit a bookstore, you will likely discover boxsets in the traditional fashion for popular series such as Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

This method of releasing box sets has been a strong marketing strategy for book publishers and the music industry giants. Who doesn’t want to pick up a compilation album featuring all the #1 singles from their favorite artist? The book industry is no different.

For authors in the self-publishing space, writing a series and creating box sets are an effective strategy for increasing book sales consistently and cross-promoting other books.

How do you set up a box set bundle? What are the specific steps to launch for success?

What are the advantages to publishing your series in a boxset and series format, even after the single editions are published?

The Benefits of Creating A Series Page for Your Titles:

1. All books in the series are linked together: Having multiple books allows you to discount one title to 0.99 for a limited time, or offer it for free to drive higher converting traffic to your backlist and the series funnel.

2. Build a Higher Converting Traffic Funnel: You can drive traffic to your book series page instead of individual books. Linking to your series page will result in higher conversion rates than linking to your individual book product page.

3. Provides advanced options for 1-click purchases: A series page lets readers view all books in the series on a single page. You can see the titles in the series already purchased. Amazon allows you 1-click shopping to grab the rest of the titles you don’t have yet.

4. Reduce “Click” Distractions: Series pages are free of ads and other distractions keeping customer attention on your books only. When you direct potential readers to your single book options, they still have recommended books from Amazon in your genre that could result in losing a sale if the customer opts for another book that is more appealing to them. Keep the user experience on your store front whenever possible.

5. Customized Series Description: You can now create a description—similar to a book description—for your series page only. Generally, Amazon will pull the description by default from the first title features in the series. This could lead to a poor user experience if they land on your series page and want to know more about what the series of books is about.

Setting up Your Box Set (and Series)

A couple of restrictions to observe:

  1. Kindle (eBook) series only is available. For now, the series page exists for Kindle only, and not paperback. You can create a paperback with the series books, but not a series page.
  2. Limited stores available for the series page. As of now, series pages are available: Amazon.com. Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, and Amazon.co.jp. Amazon is increasingly expanding these options and will improve in the future.

Here is a screenshot walkthrough for setting up a series page:

  1. Choose the language.
  1. Enter your series title.
  2. You can select the reading order. These books can appear randomly or in the order they are published.
  1. Amazon will add the series image of the first three books (if you have 2 books only, it will be the two book covers side by side.
  2. Write a description for your series page. This description should reflect the series as a whole instead of focusing on one specific book. 

Your series page should be live within 24-72 hours, but generally, takes only a few hours to appear. Now you have a book series!

Driving Promotions

Once you have a few books in your series, you can drive traffic to the series page instead of individual books. This works better for conversions and the more books you have—your backlist—the better are the chances that you’ll sell a ton of books from just one click.

When running BookBub Ads, you can now include a link to your series page:

For Amazon Ads, you can now run ads for your series page through sponsored brands:

Create a Box Set

It is surprisingly easy to create a box set for your trilogy.

Here is how you do it:

1. Hire a cover designer to make a box-set cover. Get a 3D and a flat version, since iBooks only accepts the flat version and Kobo recommends the flat version for better sales, so it’s better to have both options.

2. Merge all books into one file. When you build your boxset, you will need to take all the books that are to be included in the set and combine these together into one file. Depending on the size of the box set, this could be three books (Life-Changing Habits Series) or ten books (Universe in Flames Series). 

3. Set Up Your Kindle Box set in Amazon KDP. You set up a box set the same way you create an individual book.

KDP Box Set Publishing:

  1. Log into your KDP Bookshelf
  2. Enter the box set title, subtitle, series title, series number (Boxset/Volume 1, 2, or 3)
  3. Enter your author name. Note Reminder: In order for this to be a series, all books must belong to the same author.
  4. Write a book description. Enter it in the book description box.
  5. Research keywords (7) and enter in the Keyword boxes.
  6. Categories: Choose 2 categories. Use Publisher Rocket to determine additional categories.
  7. ISBN: You can purchase ISBNs at Bowker.com for US based authors.
  8. Upload your formatted manuscript. Check for KDPs recommended formats that include MOBI, Word, or ePub.
  9. Upload your box set cover in jpg format. This could be a 3D version of the cover with a side shot of all books in the series.
  10. Set your price. Recommended $0.99 for launch. KU reads are critical for box set launch success.
  11. Hit PUBLISH!

Now you can run Amazon ads to your box set and BookBub ads.

Publish Your Book in Various Formats

Here is an example of a great lineup in the Amazon store:

If you have your book set up with every variation possible, you can exponentially expand your book sales. Instead of having one income stream with a kindle book, you have two with a paperback. Instead of just two with kindle and paperback, you have three if you add an audiobook. And you can now add a Hardcover book published through Ingram Spark or Amazon.

The more variations you have of your book, the broader your scope and this feeds into the Amazon algorithm. When you run ads to do your books, this works even better! People can land on your Amazon page and take full advantage of your other versions of the book they want. 

There are many other ways to get your book out there. To break it down, you can publish a:

  • Kindle Book: This is the first version of your book used as the initial launch out of the gate.
  • Paperback. With a different format in PDF form, you can sell paperbacks to customers in over 12 different countries through Amazon.
  • Audiobook: Record this yourself or hire a professional to record your book. Audiobooks are on the rise as huge sellers for driving book sales. Don’T miss out on this!
  • Hardcover: THis is optional but another version of your book that is easy to set up. And now, Amazon is rolling out hardcover books (currently in Beta) but is another option for authors to expand their reach. Note: You will need a different formatted size for your hardcover book size.
  • Social Media Snippets: Another alternative is to record five minute snippets of your book and post to social media. This doesn’t bring indirect income p

Advantages to Publishing in various formats:

  • Earn more royalties per book
  • Build your email list exponentially
  • Become an expert in your field by reaching a wider audience
  • Feed into Amazon’s algorithm that fuels traffic towards your products

When you launch your book, consider all the options available as a self-publishing author. Plan ahead and make the most of your launch! Expand on your potential for maximizing book sales. 

Run Regular Book Promotions (Book Promo Sites)

I run regular promotions with my books—at least once every three months—and a great way to leverage this is to use the best of the Book Promo Sites for bringing in sales. These are the book promo sites you should use to rocket to a #1 bestseller by gaining book sales.

How to use Book Promo Sites:

You can use these Best Book Promo Ads two ways:

Launch a new book: Stack up your promo week with book promo ads.

Promoting an existing book: You can promote current books every 3-6 months using the book promo sites. Drop the price of your book to 0.99 for 5-7 days and set up the ads. Use this in conjunction with your email list (or influencer lists) and you should have a successful launch/promo week.

How to schedule book promotions

There isn’t any one-size-fits-all formula for scheduling book promo sites. You can set up one promo per day over the course of 10-12 days, or stack 2-3 promos per day over five days.

When I launch a book, I usually set up a group of paid promo sites to boost the rankings and get the book onto the front page [and the #1 spot] of that category.

Book Promo List Consolidated

Here is a list of the best performing promo sites I target for both a new book launch, and running regular promotions on existing books.

The price will vary depending on the category and audience (wide or niche) of your book.

Most of these sites charge a standard one time fee to promote your book for one day at 99 cents, or when running  a free promo if your book is in KDP. For best results, and to maximize on your book rankings, I recommend using the sites for their paid ads (at 0.99cents).

Buckbooks

Price: $29. You need 10 reviews before they’ll schedule you. Note: You can promote a 2nd book on the same day for only 25% of the price. Great deal. But you can only promote each book once every 6 months. You can apply here: https://buckbooks.net/

Robin Reads

Robin Reads is an innovative and supportive service for both publishers and authors looking to expand their audiences. They offer several premium promotion plans with genre-based pricing.

https://robinreads.com

Note: Tough to book in advance. RRs calendar is booked out 3-6 weeks in advance. Pricing: $85.00 / Reviews: 10 Reviews Needed.

BookSends

If you can match this up with Robin Reads or Bucks on the same day it’s a great little boost. https://booksends.com/ Needs 5 reviews.

Booksend partners up with BookRunes and will give the option to sign up with Bookrunes at the same time. 

Pricing:$40.

BKnights [Fiverr]

You can’t go wrong for $5. I would also take the extra gig for $5 and get in on their daily newsletter. You won’t get a ton of downloads but on average 12-25 depending on the book. No Reviews needed.

eReader News

Great gig but can be hard to get approved. Takes several days for a response. $50.00. http://ereadernewstoday.com/ 0 reviews needed but they do check if you have reviews. May sway their decision to promote your book or not depending on review count.

Check here for promotional requirements.

Pricing: $50.00

Booksbutterfly

You are basically paying for downloads, one of the few [if only] sites that does that. They have various packages for everything. I recommend the Silver Eagle [$90] that gets you 50+ downloads KU borrows. [https://www.booksbutterfly.com/bookpromo…/paidbookpromotion/

Note: Books butterfly has a lot of packages so be sure to choose the right one. 

My Book Cave

My Book Cave offers authors the possibility to promote their book to an audience of 75,000+ readers. According to their notes they prefer to select titles with over 10 reviews, but will consider books with at least 5 great write-ups. In addition to promoting links to retailers, authors have the option to offer \reader magnet\” titles to attract new subscribers.”

https://mybookcave.com

For Fiction and Nonfiction

Reviews: 10 Reviews Recommended.

Pricing: $19—$31 (depends on genre)

Choosy Bookworm

Choosy Bookworm provides subscribers with a daily selection of free and discount eBooks. So long as your books are $3.99 or less, you can submit it for free consideration. For a guaranteed placement, you’ll be looking at one of their paid options starting at $25.

Fiction and Nonfiction Books

Price: $36 for the Premium Package

Reviews: 0 reviews needed

The Fussy Librarian

[http://www.thefussylibrarian.com/]. Great promo but very hard to book in advance. Booked out 2-3 weeks ahead. Need 10 reviews to get accepted.

Bargain Booksy

Great promo, no reviews needed and you can sign up right away and get approved. $30 for nonfiction. Lots of categories and good results. https://www.bargainbooksy.com/sell-more-books/

Pricing: From $20, depends on genre. Works for Fiction and Nonfiction

Awesome Gang

Awesome Gang is a place for Kindle book authors to share their books and get them in the hands of readers. You can submit your book for free and also decide to have it featured in their special books listing for $10/book (this includes a featuring in their homepage for 2 days, as well as a special mention in their newsletter and social media). Paid promotion: $10

Book Runes

[http://bookrunes.com/]. Global reach with over 40k mailing list, $25—$35. Good results. Trustworthy Site.

Reviews: No reviews needed / For Fiction and Nonfiction

There are both paid and free book promotion sites to tap into.These sites, depending on their conditions, will help you get more exposure by putting your book in front of thousands of visitors on their website.

Conclusion

As you can see, it takes a lot of effort to sell your novel. But with the right pieces in place and a commitment to marketing and promoting your work, anything is possible. The secret to book sales and selling a truckload of books varies from author to author.

You have to try several strategies and often, do several things together to make it work. I would recommend trying one strategy first, get the results, and then diving into something else. Give it a chance to work, and if it doesn’t, you can always try again later on. 

How do you sell your book? What has worked for you in order to get more book sales? Share your story here!

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Terrible Writing Advice – 23 Myths and Mistakes to Avoid

Any author is bound to read a lot of terrible writing advice.

The kind of advice that makes you feel inferior.

The kind that makes you feel you’ll never be ‘good enough’ to get your work out there.

But don’t feel disheartened!

Instead of giving up and letting your writing dreams die, here are 23 better perspectives.

1 – Write whenever you can fit it in

If you’re like many writers, you were probably guilty of this mistake, at least when you first started writing. 

Most writing careers start out more like hobbies. You feel very passionate about writing, but see it as less important than other things in your life. If you can fit it in, great. But it often isn’t a priority. 

This approach is fine for people looking to write on a casual basis. But if you’re reading this, that probably isn’t you.

You should instead make a writing routine that works for you. Block out a dedicated time for focused writing work. If something unavoidable crops up, reschedule it. 

2 – Don’t share your work until it is perfect

It’s natural to feel a little insecure or uncertain about your writing. 

After all, our craft is deeply personal. The thought of others reading and judging your work might make you strive for perfection before putting anything out into the world. 

As understandable as this idea is, it’s also deeply mistaken. Your work will never be perfect. But it can be improved! 

However, that improvement only occurs when you come out of your comfort zone and get feedback. Bite the bullet and get your work out there. It will benefit you immensely. 

3 – Make your first writing project a novel

Becoming a novelist is probably the ultimate goal for most creative writers.

But while this might be your ultimate aim, it isn’t necessarily the best place to start.

You might find it better to start by working on your craft skills and building up to bigger projects. Methodically learn and practice different elements of writing until you feel confident enough to take things further.

After you feel comfortable enough with your craft, consider writing articles, short stories, and novellas. These are great ways of training for a full novel. 

4 – Multitask while working

There’s nothing worse for deeply creative work than being distracted. 

Trying to make progress on your word count while your attention is being dragged in every other direction is a nightmare.

A lot of writers suggest fully turning off your phone while you write, but that of course isn’t possible for everyone. If you need to be available for an emergency, consider only allowing certain notifications through. 

You don’t need to write in total silence or isolation though unless that’s what you prefer. Writing in a cafe might boost your creativity. Just stay on task, wherever you happen to be!

5 – Copy the routines of your favorite writers

It’s interesting to learn about the habits, routines, and lifestyles of your favorite writers. But that doesn’t mean you need to copy them verbatim.

What works for someone else might not work for you. Instead, use famous writing routines as ideas to test. But don’t stick with them if you find you aren’t getting the results you hoped for. 

The best way forward is to try different things until you settle on your bespoke writing routine. Even then, don’t be afraid to mix things up as needed. 

6 – Use your normal writing app 

Unlike a lot of creative pursuits, writing has the advantage of not requiring expensive equipment to get started. Great authors need nothing more than a pen and paper to practice their craft.

But, just because you can write with almost anything, it doesn’t mean you should.

Plenty of specialist writing tools and apps exist with special features that go above and beyond regular word processors. Take the time to explore your writing software options and settle on the one that’s the best fit for your needs and budget. 

7 – Your writing exists in isolation

Sometimes, there’s a kind of romantic notion that writers are capable of working on nothing but inspiration and coffee. 

The reality of the situation is that everything about your physical and mental state impacts your work. Being rested, calm, and hydrated all play a part in being able to write well. 

If you’re finding it difficult to write, check in with yourself. Do you need a mental break? A glass of water? A walk outside?

Over time, you’ll learn the external factors that affect your work the most and learn how to get in your zone of peak performance. 

8 – Writing is an innate talent 

Too many people see writing ability as something you either do or don’t have. 

While certain people may be more inclined towards writing than others, absolutely everyone is capable of improving, no matter their starting skill level. 

Don’t use this myth as an excuse to avoid working. Instead, accept that writing is a learnable skill like any other. Make a plan to improve your weak points rather than blaming things on a lack of innate ability. 

9 – Write with other forms of media in mind

Some writers write with a focus on what their words might eventually become.

If your dream is to have your work adapted, this might be a sensible approach. But even then it’s often the wrong way to go. Most great books are adapted because they are amazing stories. Not because they were written with the screen in mind.

When you write, you should only ever orient your words towards your intended reader. Make your book perfect for them. If it’s good enough, other forms of media might well take notice. 

10 – Spend every available minute writing 

Let’s face it. If you love writing, it’s an enjoyable way to pass the time. There’s nothing quite like getting into a flow state and making serious progress on a project. 

But if you write too often, you run the risk of several problems. You might burn out and lose your love of the craft. You will almost certainly find that your quality suffers after some time. 

Instead, it’s best to balance writing with other activities. Make time for reading and anything that stimulates your mind and replenishes your creativity. 

11 – Don’t write for anyone other than yourself 

There’s an elitist point of view out there that suggests writing with a market in mind is somehow sleazy or wrong. 

This couldn’t be further from the truth. There is no harm at all in identifying a group of readers you want to serve and writing with them in mind. 

The only time this advice is kind of true is when there’s a total mismatch between your interests and your writing. If you have no interest or enthusiasm for your subject, your work is bound to suffer. 

12 – Write from the perspective of any character you can imagine

This is a controversial tip related to fiction writing. It’s important to understand both sides of the debate here.

On the one hand, a lot of people have the view that pure creative freedom overrides everything else. Writers should have total liberty to step into the shoes of anyone they can imagine.

On the other hand, it can be problematic when writers try to showcase cultures, ethnicities, or sexualities other than their own. There are ways of doing it, but it should be treated with immense sensitivity. 

This isn’t to say that some types of characters are fully off limits to you. Instead, think carefully about your characters and how to portray them in the most sensitive way possible. 

13 – You need a formal writing education before beginning 

A large portion of the writing world is still based around snobbery and elitism. 

While it’s true that some people will only take your work seriously if you have a certain type of formal writing education, you really shouldn’t worry about these people at all. 

Learning how to write well is incredibly important. It’s something you should never stop pursuing. But that doesn’t have to happen in a formal context. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. 

14 – Don’t take any days off

Have you come across the ‘hustle culture’? 

It’s popular on social media and implies that any time not pursuing your goals is wasted time.

That’s pretty much nonsense. Even in a conventional work setting, it’s been shown that working fewer days doesn’t lead to a drop in productivity. 

If you want to write each day, by all means, do it. But don’t be afraid to take time off whenever you feel you should. It’s more likely to refresh and inspire your writing than harm it. Just don’t take time off to the extent that your overall writing goals suffer. 

15 – Avoid writing genre fiction

This piece of terrible advice, like a lot of others on the list, comes from nothing but snobbery. 

Some fiction authors think only literary writing is worthy of praise. Genre fiction is somehow unworthy of being considered good writing.

This is so untrue. Some of the most enjoyable books out there fall into the category of genre fiction. 

If you want to write this type of fiction, go ahead. Have fun and don’t worry about what the critics say.

16 – Use whichever tone you prefer 

One of the fastest ways for good writing to be badly received is by taking the wrong tone. 

It’s important to match your tone to what your readers expect. While you should always write in your authentic voice, you should be capable of expressing this in different tones. 

The fastest way to get a feel for the right tone is to read examples of the best work in that genre. Identify as many commonalities as possible. Can you authentically hit that tone in your own voice? Unless you can, it’s probably not the best type of writing for you to pursue. 

17 – Only write if you feel genuine passion

Is it good to have an overall passion for writing? Absolutely. Are you going to feel passionate every time you write? Absolutely not!

If you limit yourself to writing when you feel moments of peak passion, you probably won’t get a lot done. 

Sometimes, writing will feel like a grind. That’s OK. Nothing feels good all of the time.

When you make your peace with the fact that you won’t always feel passionate about your writing, you are more likely to be able to write no matter how you feel at the time. 

18 – Write without worrying about marketing 

While you shouldn’t let your writing be dictated by marketing, you also shouldn’t treat it as an afterthought. 

Thinking about the readers you will market to, and how you will delight them, can inspire and inform your writing. 

For example, visual marketing elements like your book cover might inspire the content of your words. You might choose chapter titles with marketing in mind. 

Marketing should never be the main driving force behind your book. But it also shouldn’t be ignored. Strike a balance to achieve the best results for your work. 

19 – Spend all your time talking about being a writer on social media

OK, this is a little bit sarcastic. 

But if you’ve spent a lot of time around the writing world you’ll know it’s not entirely untrue.

Sadly, it seems like a lot of writers love the identity of being a writer more than the actual process of writing. 

There’s no harm in smartly using social media to form connections and promote your work. But only if the majority of your effort and energy is spent on actually writing!

20 – Avoid referencing pop culture 

Some writers get given the advice that they should never reference anything contemporary in their work. 

This stems from not wanting a book to seem dated to future audiences. But is it always true?

It depends entirely on the objective of your book. If you’re writing fiction and you want your story to seem timeless, this tip makes sense. But if you want it to have a definite sense of time, references from that period help.

With nonfiction, similar advice applies. If you want to write a book about productivity that will be relevant for decades, talking about today’s technology probably isn’t a great approach. But if you want to speak to the readers of today, rather than the future, focusing on contemporary references doesn’t hurt at all.  

21 – There’s only one way to write

You should always be wary of people who claim to know the one true path towards anything. That includes writing.

Writers come in all shapes and sizes. We have different personalities. What is a good fit for someone else might not be a good fit for you.

For example, it might be true that a lot of incredible writers worked first thing in the morning. But plenty also worked at night!

While there isn’t one best way for everyone, there probably is a best way for you. Find your perfect writing location, routine, and tool. Don’t worry about what other people say. 

22 – Never give up on a writing project

Have you ever come across the myth that giving up on a writing project is somehow failing?

In truth, it’s sometimes the right option to quit and give up on a project entirely. If you’re not making progress, or it doesn’t serve your goals anymore, you shouldn’t complete it just for the sake of doing so. 

That’s not to say you should stop as soon as it gets difficult. But if a particular project no longer serves your overall aims, don’t be afraid to divert your energy elsewhere. 

23 – Don’t ever use adverbs or diverse dialogue tags 

This is one of the most commonly repeated pieces of fiction writing advice out there. 

While the core idea is true, it shouldn’t be taken so extremely. 

Too many adverbs or dialogue tags other than said are distracting and annoying. But used sparingly they can enhance your work. Just be conscious about their purpose and keep them to a minimum. 

How To Write An Author Bio – Ideas from Bestsellers

Your author bio is the perfect chance to let readers know more about you, your background, and why you’ve written your books.

But how do you make sure your bio engages people rather than repelling them?

What are the technical aspects of an author bio you need to know?

And what are some shining examples you can use to inform your own bio?

We’ve gathered together some examples to help you sell more books and turn your readers into fans. 

  1. What is an author bio?
  2. Where is an author bio used?
  3. What are the benefits of an author bio?
  4. How do you write an author bio?
  5. Author bio examples – Hal Elrod
  6. Author bio examples – Ramy Vance
  7. Author bio examples – Tony Robbins 
  8. Action steps for your author bio

What is an author bio?

An author bio is a short piece of writing, usually between 150 and 300 words, that lets readers know more about the author whose book they are thinking of reading. 

A good author bio establishes not only who an author is, and a little bit about their life, but also why they have written the book and some of their professional achievements. 

Where is an author bio used?

There are lots of places where an author bio can be featured. 

Some of the most common include:

  • Books. It’s rare to find a book without some kind of author bio in. This helps both readers browsing in a bookstore to know if your book is right for them, as well as people who have read the book to learn more about you.
  • Retailers. A lot of online book retailers allow you to upload a bio. Amazon Author Central is a great example, but it’s common to a lot of other bookstores as well. 
  • Social media. You might feature your full bio on social media, or have extracts, for example in a Twitter bio. You can also use parts of your bio as visual content, for example on Pinterest or Instagram. 
  • Author websites. For established authors, a full website is a must-have. Any good author website should have a bio section where interested people can find out more. 
  • Blogging biographies. If you want to post on other authors’ blogs as a guest writer, a shortened version of your bio should feature at the end of your posts and contain links to your author platform. 

A version of your bio is useful anywhere and everywhere you can think of that potential readers might want to learn more about you.

What are the benefits of an author bio?

So if you’re going to take the time to write a good author bio, how can you expect to benefit? What makes it worth taking the time to craft the best bio possible?

Here are four powerful benefits of a good author bio. 

  1. Differentiation. It’s unlikely that your book is unique among all the books out there. Hopefully, it has a unique and fresh angle, but there are probably similar books on offer. However, there’s only one you! Your author bio makes your book stand out from others like it.
  1. Credibility. Your bio is a chance to show exactly why you are qualified to write that book in particular. Have you won awards? Do you have a certain educational or professional background that makes you suitable? Don’t brag, but calmly and clearly state your relevant achievements. 
  1. Connection. You can also use your author bio as a way to offer a bit of flavor about your life and who you are. If you’re humorous, show it! You can form a sense of connection with readers by authentically expressing your personality and who you are.
  1. Platform. An author bio is also the perfect place to promote your wider platform. You can include links to your author website, social media handles, Goodreads page, or anywhere else that people can deepen their connection to you.

 Of course, you only get these benefits if you write your bio the right way. A bad or boring author bio only risks alienating readers and dissuading them from checking out your book further. 

How do you write an author bio?

Now that you know exactly what an author bio is, and how it can help you succeed, let’s check out exactly how to create one.

To write an author bio, simply follow these five simple steps.

Step 1 – Read relevant bios 

It’s difficult to get a feel for the type of content found in an author bio unless you read some relevant examples in a careful, considered way. 

Take the time to read five or ten bios of authors you admire who write the same type of book as you. 

What do you notice? Is there a particular tone they all seem to take? Are the bios structured similarly? Which strike a chord with you the most, and why is that?

This step isn’t about plagiarising or copying. 

Instead, it’s about finding the type of author bio you like and find effective and then creating your own authentic version of that.  

Step 2 – Brainstorm your key points

Before you write a draft of your bio, make a list of the must-have information it will contain. 

This could include your most pertinent biographical details, lists of your awards and achievements, and a few little flavorful details to show your personality and create some rapport with your reader.

Step 3 – Draft your bio 

Now that you’ve got the list of key points to include, it’s time to shape them into a readable draft of your bio. 

But what kind of structure should you use?

As a guideline, you might find this template to be a good starting point:

  1. Start with a powerful and gripping introductory sentence
  2. State your background and how it is relevant to the book you are writing
  3. Show your credibility by mentioning awards and other professional achievements 
  4. Sprinkle in a little flavor and personality 
  5. End your bio on a funny note or include a link to a part of your author platform 

After you’ve finished drafting, read back over your bio. Make sure it fits with the word count guidelines and includes all the key points you hoped for. 

Step 4 – Create alternative versions 

Because author bios are fairly short, you have the luxury of being able to create several alternative versions and deciding on the best. 

You can also have slightly different bios for different purposes, such as some that are more professional and others that lean into humor to a greater extent. 

If you don’t see any value in this step, feel free to skip it. 

Step 5 – Get feedback and refine

Now that you have a series of alternative reader bios, or even just a solid draft of a single version, it’s time to get some feedback and make improvements. 

If you already have people in your network you feel would be suitable to get feedback from, by all means reach out and ask them. But don’t take the feedback of just anyone. You want to avoid people who will sugarcoat or aim to please you, as well as those who don’t read the type of book you are working on. 

Step 6 – Update your bio as needed

Your author bio isn’t something you should write and forget about. Instead, be sure to update it over time as you achieve new things. This isn’t to say that you should constantly tweak it. That would be annoying. But give it a refresh from time to time, both in terms of its content, and also to make sure it still conveys the tone you want to get across. 

Author bio examples

While it’s one thing to read some best practice tips on writing your author bio, it’s another entirely to see some effective examples from the real world. 

To get your author bio juices flowing, here are some examples from bestselling authors. 

Hal Elrod 

Hal Elrod is one of the best-known modern motivational and self-help authors. Let’s take a look at Hal’s author bio. 

“Hal Elrod is on a mission to Elevate the Consciousness of Humanity, One Person at a Time. 

As the author of one of the highest rated books on Amazon, “The Miracle Morning” (which has been translated into 37 languages, has over 3,000 five-star reviews and has impacted the lives of over 2,000,000 people in more than 70 countries)… he is doing exactly that.

What’s incredible is that Hal literally died at age 20. His car was hit head-on by a drunk driver at 70 miles per hour, his heart stopped beating for 6 minutes, he broke 11 bones and woke up after being in a coma for 6 days to be told by his doctors that he would probably never walk again.

Not only did Hal walk, he ran a 52-mile ultra-marathon and went on to became a hall of fame business achiever, international keynote speaker, author, and grateful husband & father-all before he turned 30.

Then, in November of 2016, Hal nearly died again – his kidneys, lungs, and heart were failing, and he was diagnosed with a rare, and very aggressive form of cancer and given a 30% chance of living.

After enduring the most difficult year of his life, Hal is now cancer-free and furthering his mission as the founder of The Miracle Morning book series, host of the “Achieve Your Goals” podcast, creator of the Best Year Ever [Blueprint] LIVE event, and Executive Producer of The Miracle Morning MOVIE – a documentary that reveals the morning rituals of some of the world’s most successful people.

Hal is grateful to be alive and living his mission alongside his wife and their two young children in Austin, TX.

To contact Hal about media appearances, speaking at your event, or if you just want to receive free training videos and resources, visit www.HalElrod.com.”

As you can see, Hal Elrod’s bio touches on a lot of the ideas we found in this article. 

Some of the things we most liked about it include:

  • First sentence. Hal Elrod’s bio has a first sentence that is concise and tells you everything you need to know about his personal mission. 
  • Emotionally engaging. By sharing details of Hal’s life, his bio takes you on an emotional journey. This makes you admire Hal and feel inspired to learn from him. 
  • Small personal touches. Aside from the deeper emotional aspects, the bio contains some of the more usual personal information, such as living in Austin with his wife and kids. 
  • Call to action. This bio ends with a clear call to action to visit Hal’s author website.

Ramy Vance

Ramy Vance is a self-publishing rockstar. Let’s take a look at his author bio. 

“Ramy Vance is the creator of the GoneGod World – a universe dedicated to myth, magic, mischief and mayhem. 

He lives in Edinburgh with his wife, demonic baby, monstrous 5-year old and imaginary dog.

Terrified, he pretty much stays in his office and writes.”

  • Funny. This is a genuinely hilarious bio. It not only uses jokes but the humor ties in with his writing by using words like demonic and monstrous. 
  • Punchy. Vance’s bio is one of the shortest on the list, clocking in at under 50 words. This is shorter than recommended, but it does a good job for a brief bio. 
  • Light personal touches. You learn a little bit about Ramy’s life here, but it doesn’t bore you or give too many details. 

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins is probably one of the best-known motivators and self-help gurus (although he doesn’t use that word) in the world. Let’s see what his author bio contains. 

“Tony Robbins is a bestselling author, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. 

For more than thirty-nine years, millions of people have enjoyed the warmth, humor, and transformational power of Mr. Robbins’s business and personal development events. 

He is the nation’s #1 life and business strategist. He’s called upon to consult and coach some of the world’s finest athletes, entertainers, Fortune 500 CEOs, and even presidents of nations. 

Robbins is the chairman of a holding company comprised of more than a dozen businesses with combined sales exceeding five billion dollars a year. 

His philanthropic efforts helped provide more than 100 million meals in the last year alone. He lives in Palm Beach, Florida.”

  • Credible. Tony Robbins’ bio drips with credibility. It makes big claims but backs them up with convincing justifications. 
  • Quantified. Tony’s use of numbers is great here. Mentioning “five billion dollars” and “100 million meals” is very effective. 
  • Tone. The tone of Robbins’ bio is professional and concise. It’s businesslike and straight to the point. 

Action steps for your author bio

Hopefully, you’ve taken a lot from this guide to crafting an effective author bio. 

If you’re ready to take action and start working on your own bio, follow these five simple steps:

  1. Identify 10 relevant bios to read and make notes on. 
  2. Combine and summarize your author bio notes, looking for commonalities. 
  3. Bullet point the essential info for your bio. 
  4. Draft a bio using the structure shown above.
  5. List 5 people in your network you will reach out to for feedback when you have a full bio ready.

After you’ve taken that initial action, you’ll have plenty of momentum to build upon to write the full thing.

An effective author bio really can help you sell more books, so why not get started right away?

How to Co-Author a Book – Steps for Success

Are you looking to become a co-author?

Working with another writer can help you achieve more together than you could apart.

But only if you work in the right way. 

Writing a book is hard enough as it is. But writing alongside another author adds a layer of complexity to the process.

It’s important to have a series of steps to follow to co-author a book successfully. 

Otherwise, it’s better to stick to a solo book, especially if it’s your first attempt. 

But if you can’t get the urgent out to collaborate out of your system?

Here’s a way that works.

  1. What is the difference between an author and co-author?
  2. How do you become a co-author?
  3. Step 1 – Get on the same page creatively
  4. Step 2 – Agree on a project plan
  5. Step 3 – Divide up responsibilities 
  6. Step 4 – Determine your budget 
  7. Step 5 – Choose your writing tools 
  8. Step 6 – Establish a communications cadence
  9. Step 7 – Consider future projects

What is the difference between an author and co-author?

If this seems obvious, feel free to skip ahead! But there’s no harm in getting clear on the basics. 

The term author applies to anyone who writes a book. A co-author is someone who writes a book in conjunction with another author.

Sometimes, a distinction is made between co-writers and co-authors. Co-authors are sometimes seen as having equal planning responsibility with the main author. Co-writers on the other hand write alongside someone else, but might not have any other responsibilities on the project. 

How do you become a co-author?

Becoming a co-author is as simple as finding someone you want to write a book with!

Of course, that isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Not everyone will be enthusiastic about the idea of writing a book collaboratively, and some of the people who are might not be a great fit for you.

So what are some ways to find suitable writers to co-author with?

  • Online writing circles. If you’re a member of an online writing circle, you probably already have a good idea of which writers in the group you would work well with, and who would be interested in writing with you. Why not invite anyone in the circle who is interested to talk to you about co-authoring a book?
  • Offline writing groups. Writing groups that meet offline are also great places to find potential co-authors. Having face to face contact with someone is one of the best ways to know if they will be a good fit for the book you want to write.
  • Reaching out. Cold outreach can sometimes work. If there’s a writer you admire, why not contact them? It never hurts to ask, and the worst you will get is a no. Just make sure the two of you would be a good match for writing a book together. 
  • Look on forums. Forums dedicated to writing are good places to try and find collaborators for a book project. Some have dedicated sections for writers who want to work together. Just make sure to take the time to get to know the other writer before committing to a project together. 
  • Check social media. A lot of writers are active on social media, making it a great way to connect with potential co-authors outside your immediate circle. You might even be able to use hashtags to find writers seeking co-authors. 

Don’t rush into seeking another writer to co-author with. It’s a big commitment so being careful at the start can save a lot of frustration later on. 

So now that you have some places to seek out potential co-authors, how do you go about co-authoring a book?

Step 1 – Get on the same page creatively 

One of the keys to co-authoring a book successfully is to make sure you share expectations from the get go.

Just because you feel that someone is on the same page as you creatively, you can’t assume that this is the case. 

So what are some of the things you need to agree on with your coauthor before you get started?

  • Your aims. What do you both want to get out of writing this book? There mustn’t be a conflict here. For example, if one of you is primarily focused on making money, and the other is looking to price the book low to generate leads, you’re going to run into trouble. Make sure that you have the same aim for the book, or at least aims that aren’t in conflict, before you get started.
  • Your intended readers. You should have a shared vision for your intended readership. A book that aims to please everybody ends up pleasing nobody. What kind of reader do you want to reach? Which of their problems are you trying to solve? If you’re writing fiction, what type of fanbase do you want to reach? How will you meet their expectations and delight them?
  • Your tone. What tone will your book take? Do you need to make sure you write in a similar tone, or can it be a little different? For fiction co-authors, sometimes each writer writes from the perspective of a different main character. This can allow for slightly different tones between writers.
  • Your marketing approach. Marketing should never be treated as an afterthought. Discuss your intended approach to marketing before you even start writing. Do you share a similar vision? Are you in agreement on the type of marketing you want to carry out?
  • Your contingency plan. Things don’t always go to plan. It’s important to discuss contingencies before you start writing. If someone wants to drop out of the project, how will that work? Will the other co-author still be able to work on the same book? You can avoid potential conflict by reaching an agreement early on. 

After you’ve reached an understanding with your co-author on all of the above, it’s time to plan your book. 

Step 2 – Agree on a project plan

Although it’s a cliche, failing to plan is planning to fail. 

Writing a book is never easy, and when you are co-authoring, some other complexities come into play. 

It’s important to have a solid, stage by stage plan of how your book will be produced and when different aspects need to be completed by. This ensures that proper time is allocated to everything and nothing is overlooked. 

The exact project plan you settle on might end up looking a little different, but feel free to use the following example as a guideline. 

  1. Research. What kind of research will need to be conducted for your book? Which sources will you use, and how will your findings be stored? Will you divide up topics with your co-author, or will you both research the same things and share your findings?
  2. Outlining. After you’ve researched your book idea in detail, you probably have a good idea of the topics it should cover. Turn these into an outline by creating a list of chapter titles or main chapter ideas. 
  3. Drafting. How many drafts will your book need? Agree on both the number of drafts and the deadlines for them. Also, have a plan in place for what to do if one co-author needs longer to complete a draft than expected.
  4. Editing. Editing is one of the most important parts of making your book the best it can be. Agree on the types of editing you will invest in, either the editors you will hire or at least the places you will seek them, and the timescale for editing to be complete.  
  5. Pre-publication. After editing is complete, you should have a clear checklist of everything that needs to happen before publication. Things to consider include your book cover, formatting, uploading to book retailers, and having a system in place to track sales and revenue. 
  6. Launch. Launching your book the right way is one of the major reasons it will either sink or swim. Think about the number of reviews you need to get and where you will get them from, if you will use any email marketing, if book promotion sites could help you at the time of launch, and if you will invest in paid marketing. 
  7. Ongoing marketing. Too many authors overlook marketing beyond the launch period. This inevitably leads to a spike in sales at the start and then a big drop-off after. Think about how you and your co-author will market your book on an ongoing basis. Will you have ongoing paid ad campaigns? Will you use guest blogging? When would you decide that actively marketing this particular book is no longer worth it?

After you know what each stage of your project should look like, map it out. Consider using a project planning tool that syncs across devices so you and your co-author can work on the project together in real time. 

Step 3 – Divide up responsibilities 

Now that you know what your book project looks like on the whole, it’s time to get clear on exactly who will be responsible for what. 

It’s worth setting aside the time to have a dedicated, unrushed meeting with your coauthor to divide up tasks. 

It’s important to divide up both the writing of the book and also the other tasks needed to make it happen. 

When it comes to dividing up writing, you can take several approaches. If you’re writing nonfiction, you might decide to write alternate chapters. Or, one writer might be responsible for a chapter containing several sections, and the same for the other writer. Another approach is to both write each chapter but split it into sections.

For tasks outside of writing, successful division is down to both strengths and availabilities. Which coauthor has the best skillset for any given task? Who feels the most enthusiastic about carrying it out? Are there some tasks you will work on together, or will every task have a separate owner? 

This might not be the most exciting part of your book project, but you also can’t overlook it. Knowing exactly who will be doing what is crucial. 

Step 4 – Determine your budget 

Take the time to get clear with your co-author about the financial aspects of your book project before it begins. 

Every book will have a slightly different set of expenses, but some of the costs to plan for include:

  • Editing. Investing in editing is one of the best uses of your book budget. After you know the type of editing you will need, get a feel for how much it will cost. Spend whatever it takes to get the quality you are looking for. 
  • Book cover creation. Don’t skimp on your book cover! Having an attractive and genre-appropriate cover is vital. Check out book cover designers with similar books to yours in their portfolio. Compare costs and see who is available and interested. 
  • Paid marketing. Decide how much you want to spend on paid marketing. This could include CPC ads, paid book promotion services, and influencer marketing. 
  • Distribution. What is your plan for getting your book out there into the hands of readers? Do you intend to manually distribute it to different retailers, or will you use a paid distribution service? 
  • Alternative format creation. How much will it cost to offer your book in different formats? For example, you might want to look into audiobook costs or hardcover printing services. 

Having a clear budget is important as you can then calculate how many sales you will need to break even and eventually make your book profitable. 

Step 5 – Choose your writing tools

While it’s not essential to both use the same apps and software, it sure helps. 

It can be frustrating if one author is writing on Pages, for example, and another is using Google Docs. While there’s always a way to convert file types, it’s often a lot smoother to stick to one. 

To help version control, you should make sure you and your co-author know exactly which documents to work on at any given time. 

Make use of the Cloud to collaborate with your co-author. Using Google Drive can be a great way to seamlessly share files and notify each other when changes occur. 

Don’t spend too long on this step! There are lots of different options that can work well. Just get in alignment on which you will use from the start and make sure both authors are comfortable and confident in using them. 

Step 6 – Establish a communications cadence

A lot of writers like to go into a deep state of focus while working. A certain amount of solitude can be very conducive to the writing process. But this is only possible if you know exactly when and how you will communicate with your co-author.

This is one of the fastest ways to feel frustrated with the project. If one co-author feels the other is either over or under communicating it can be very annoying.

So what are some of the things to get clear on before the project is in full swing?

  • Frequency. Will you check in with each other daily or less often? Under what circumstances should you reach out to your co-author if something crops up? How soon do you expect each other to reply?
  • Medium. Will you use a chat app like Slack to talk, or will email suffice? Do you need to have a regular Zoom call? Would it be advantageous to meet up in person from time to time throughout the project?
  • Content. What type of communication do you expect to engage in? Will you have a formal structure for your meetings, or simply see what needs to be discussed at any given time?

Don’t be afraid to adjust this cadence as your project progresses. But having shared expectations in place from the start is essential.  

Step 7 – Consider Future Projects

Although it might feel like looking too far ahead, it’s never too early to start considering potential future projects!

If you plan on co-authoring a series, either fiction or nonfiction, this is a step you can’t overlook. But it’s worth thinking about even if you don’t intend to release a series at this stage.

What kind of results would make you consider this book a success? How will you assess its performance? What lessons do you want to take from the experience of writing it? 

Don’t let your ideas for the future distract you from your focus in the present, but keep them in the back of your mind. 

Are you ready to become a co-author?

Congratulations! You now have all the information you need to successfully co-author a book. 

It’s time to take action and make it happen. If you’ve made it this far, why not brainstorm a list of book topics you would love to co-author? Or how about taking the time to reach out to five potential collaborators? 

There’s nothing more exciting than embarking on a new book project, and we wish you every success with yours!

how to print your book

How to Print Your Book: 10 Essential Tips to Know

Authors spend a huge amount of time and energy writing their books, but for many self-published authors the final hurdle—designing and printing your book—can be an afterthought…and a daunting one at that.

Most self-published authors opt for an e-book, allowing them to bridge the gap between aspiring author and self-published reality. However, with physical book sales still hugely outselling e-books, authors who print their books will enjoy a significant advantage over their digital competitors.  

There’s no need to feel nervous about turning your manuscript into a physical book. With a few top tips from print designer Grace Fussell, creative director of InDesignSkills.com, you can prepare your book for professional printing, and have store-ready copies of your book in no time. 

Let’s get printing!

This guide on how to print your book contains:

  1. Find your perfect POD match
  2. Use a local print specialist
  3. Consider using a designer 
  4. Choose a size that’s the right fit
  5. Typeset the inside pages before designing your cover
  6. Know your cover options
  7. Ask for paper samples
  8. Ask your printer for the (right!) spine width 
  9. Consider quantity and cost-per-unit
  10. Request a proof 
  11. A quick-start way to design professional books

Psst…InDesignSkills have just released the Self-Publish Starter Kit, aimed at helping self-publishers create their own pro-standard printed books. The bundle includes a range of Adobe InDesign book templates for both covers and inside pages, in a range of standard sizes and with seven stylish cover options.   

The Self-Publish Starter Kit also comes complete with instructions for exporting your book as a reflowable or fixed-layout EPUB (e-book), ready for uploading to retailers such as Apple Store, Kindle Store, Kobo and Google Play.

Save 20% on the kit with promo code SELFPUBLISH20. Simply enter your code at checkout.

Tip 1: Find your perfect POD (print on demand) match

Print on demand (POD) has revolutionised the book industry, with digital technology enabling printers to offer smaller batches of copies at a lower price point. This has been particularly beneficial for ambitious self-publishers, who are able to take advantage of better-value printing. 

The quality of POD books is generally excellent, and improving all the time—most books you see in stores will have been printed using digital printing rather than traditional lithographic printing. 

Today, you can find an increasing range of online companies offering POD services for authors. Lulu , Blurb and BookBaby offer user-friendly book-printing services, and provide InDesign templates for covers and inside pages.

Tip 2: Use a local print specialist

While online POD services are low-cost and easy to use, first-time authors can benefit from the reassurance and expertise of a one-on-one service. A local print specialist can offer you a more personalised printing experience, able to offer advice, paper samples (see Tip 7, below) and discuss your needs in person. 

There are plenty of local friendly printers out there who would love to talk about your project and share their recommendations. They will also be able to advise you on suitable paper stock as well as provide proof copies (which are usually free of charge) for you to assess alongside them. 

Printers can also provide technical assistance, helping you to get your artwork files press-ready. If you’re not sure about something, don’t be afraid to ask—more often than not your friendly neighborhood printer will be more than happy to share their experience, helping you achieve the best result for your book. 

Some printshops don’t offer book-printing services, so search on Google for local book printing or bookbinding specialists. 

Tip 3: Consider using a designer

Think about a big publishing house and the departments within it. Editors, marketers, designers and distributors all have their own specialist roles. Self-publishers can quickly find themselves bogged down in trying to balance all of these roles at once, and the quality of your print book can suffer as a result. 

Admitting you need a little expert help in some areas isn’t defeatist—it can help you to focus on the things that you’re better at doing and feel more confident with (e.g. writing and editing your book!).  

A graphic designer with experience in publishing design can help turn your ideas about cover design, typography and color palettes into reality, while also bringing a fresh eye and their own design experience to the table. 

Alternatively, if you have access to Adobe InDesign, you can achieve professional results using a pre-created template, without the steep designer fees. Try the Self-Publish Starter Kit from InDesignSkills for the discounted price of $39.99 with coupon code SELFPUBLISH20, and achieve a store-quality design for the cover and inside pages of your book quickly and easily.

Tip 4: Choose a size that’s the right fit

Printed books come in a vast variety of sizes, but there are still widely used ‘standard’ sizes that are chosen by publishers for several reasons. Firstly, books that are roughly the same size are easier to store, transport and stack on bookshelves in-store. Book genres and categories often have their own preferred sizes, which are recognised as appropriate by the target audience. 

For example, a small Pocket Book size (4.25 in by 6.87 in) is the right fit for airport fiction. It fits neatly in a back pocket and is cheap to print and buy. Hardcovers, which are more expensive to print, tend to be larger than paperbacks and are often displayed face-forward on store shelves. The large size is used so that readers can recognise the book as premium fiction, and hardcovers will often feature particularly eye-catching cover designs to maximise their display potential. 

When it comes to choosing the right size for your own book, it pays to do your research. Track down examples of other books which are similar to your own in terms of category (fiction or nonfiction) and genre (thriller, sport biography etc), and bring out the ruler! It’s likely your chosen book will match one of a limited number of standard sizes. Discover the full list of standard sizes here.    

If you’re using a POD or printer service they can also help you to find the perfect size, with many sites recommending commonly-used sizes, such as Digest or Trade, at the start of the process.

Tip 5: Typeset the inside pages before designing your cover

Designing the perfect cover for your book is one of the most exciting parts of the self-publishing journey, but while you may be brimming with creative ideas, it’s always best to start with the design of the inside pages first. Why? The number of pages inside your book will dictate the width of the spine, and you’re unlikely to know the final page count until the book has been typeset. 

While this doesn’t stop you from thinking about ideas for your cover, it’s useful to know whether you will be designing with a wide or narrow spine in mind, which can impact on the feel of a cover design. You will also need to know the precise spine width (see Tip 8 below) before you finalise your cover artwork. 

Another reason for typesetting the inside pages first? Typesetting pages can be surprisingly time-consuming (which is why a professional designer or typesetter is always useful to know). You’ll need the time to make decisions about fonts, the size of your type, margin widths, as well as chapters and sectioning. 

Once your inside pages are ready, you should also rope in an editor (or diligent pal) to read over the typeset pages, looking out for any errors in the spelling, chapter and page numbering or any missed instances of italic or bolded text. 

Tip 6: Know your cover options

Once you have your inside pages typeset and ready, you can start to think about pulling together a cover design for your book. You might have a strong idea in mind of a concept, or perhaps you’re grappling with a number of different ideas. In need of inspiration? The Book Cover Archive is a fantastic resource of beautiful book cover designs. 

If design isn’t your strong point, a graphic designer or specialist book cover designer can help you to think through your ideas, as well as bring a professional approach to the typography, image choice and palette of your cover. 

The format of your cover, i.e. whether it is softcover (paperback) or hardcover (hardback), will inform the overall look and feel of the design, so think carefully about the ideal cover look you’d like to achieve and assess whether a softcover or hardcover format will make a better fit.  

Paperbacks are cheaper to print and can be as equally stylish as pricier hardbacks, but the cover design will need to be punchier and bolder to attract the eye. The design of a paperback’s spine can be surprisingly important, as these are often stacked spine outwards on store shelves, so consider how you can maximise color, type or graphics on this small area.

While hardcovers are more expensive to print, traditionally putting them beyond the budgets of many self-publishers, more POD services are now offering these cover types at a lower price point per unit. Keep in mind that the expense can escalate further if you opt for a separate dust jacket, which wraps around the whole cover and includes flaps that tuck into the inside of the front and back cover. However, some self-published authors will weigh up that the visual impact of a luxurious hardcover is well worth the extra cost. 

Tip 7: Ask for paper samples

Print designers can get pretty nerdy about paper. While authors don’t need to become paper geeks overnight, it’s important to have at least some idea about the type of paper you’d like to use in your print book. 

The two key things to know are that paper stock is available in different weights (measured in GSM, grams per square metre) and can be coated or uncoated

The weight of the paper will affect the feel of the pages in your book (anything too thin will feel cheap and flimsy). Uncoated paper has a more natural finish, while coatings come in a variety of finishes, such as matte, semi-gloss, gloss or pearl. Coated, heavier papers are usually used for printing covers and dust jackets, and while gloss coatings can make colors appear crisper and more vivid, matte coatings can give covers a more contemporary feel. 

With so much choice of paper, it’s near impossible to make a decision without seeing and touching samples. Your print provider will be happy to provide paper samples on request…so don’t hesitate to ask. 

Tip 8: Ask your printer for the (right!) spine width

There are plenty of spine calculators available online which take the page count and approximate paper weight of your inside pages into account to generate a spine width. While these are useful for giving you a rough idea of the width of your book’s spine, they shouldn’t be used for your final calculation. 

Once you have your inside pages typeset, and have decided on the paper stock you’ll be using for the print run, ask your printer to provide you with the correct spine width. The printer always knows best. 

Now you can set up your cover artwork with the right spine width, safe in the knowledge that there won’t be any unexpected hiccups post-printing. 

Tip 9: Consider quantity and cost-per-unit

We’ve already touched on the fact that POD (print on demand) services are increasingly offering great value and quality for self-publishers, but even online POD sites will usually offer a cheaper cost-per-unit for larger print runs. For example, Lulu offers a lower cost-per-unit for bulk orders (which they quantify as 100 copies). IngramSpark and Blurb also offer discounts on higher-volume orders.

Printers generally prefer bulk orders because this means they can charge for more copies but still only set up one print run. So if you think you could consider printing a few more copies to make a bigger saving overall, it’s well worth asking your printer about their quantity tiers.   

Tip 10: Request a proof

You’ve checked (and double-checked, triple-checked…) the PDFs for your inside pages and cover, you’ve sent the files to the printer and you’re feeling ready to get this book finally printed!

Hold up. There’s nothing more disheartening than receiving a box of books at your front door, only to find that there’s a now blaringly obvious spelling mistake on the blurb or that the color on the cover doesn’t look right. 

Always, always, always request a proof of your book. This pre-press copy is usually provided free of charge, and from this you can assess the technical quality of the printing, as well as hunt down any stray typos you may have overlooked. 

If something’s not right on the first proof, don’t be afraid to ask for a second one. This is your book, the result of months, if not years, of hard work. Once you’re completely happy with the proof copy, sign it and give the printer the go-ahead. 

Now you can sit back, have a well-deserved rest and wait for your beautiful printed books to be delivered! 

A quick-start way to design professional books

Self-published authors don’t benefit from the luxury of in-house design departments, but that doesn’t mean a self-published book can’t look as professional as one produced by a publishing house. With the goal in mind of bridging the gap between self-publishing and professional book design, the team at InDesignSkills created the Self-Publish Starter Kit

Drawing on her decade of experience in publishing design, lead designer Grace Fussell has created a set of InDesign templates that allow self-publishers to create the book design of their dreams. 

Exclusive to Self Publishing School, you can download the kit at the discounted price of $39.99. Save 20% on the kit today with promo code SELFPUBLISH20. Simply enter your code at checkout.

How to Find a Great Book Publicist for Your Next Book

Marketing and publicity are often the things self-publishing authors struggle with the most. Doing this job yourself will only take you to a certain point in the process. Plus, consistent self-promotion and marketing can take their toll. Working with a book publicist means you can rest assured that a professional will help you achieve your goals. 

While book distributors take care of some of the marketing, they don’t have the same influence as a publicist. In short, distributors focus more on the relationship with retailers while publicists handle media coverage. They work towards getting influential people talking about you and your book. 

In this article, we’re going to take a look at precisely what a book publicist does and how you can find the right one for you. 

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Here’s a list of everything you need to know about finding a great book publicist:

  1. What does a book publicist do?
  2. What does the process look like?
  3. What you don’t get from a book publicist
  4. Publicity as a self-publishing author vs. traditional publishers
  5. How do you know if you should hire a book publicist?
  6. When to get a book publicist involved
  7. Tips on how to find and work with a publicist

What does a book publicist do?

Put simply, a publicist’s job is to make a book or an author newsworthy. Traditionally, that meant getting relevant media coverage for your book. Depending on your budget and target audience, it can include newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, and events. However, in today’s digital age, their role goes far beyond the traditional media platforms (although they’re also included in the scope). 

The modern book publicist also works with various social media platforms, websites, blogs, podcasts, etc. They can help you avoid marketing tactics that are problematic by pointing you in the right direction. And they offer tools and guidance in an ever-changing digital marketing age. Good publicists understand the media so they can recognize which stories certain journalists want to write about. 

So, what does the marketing process look like? 

Typically, a book publicist starts with having an in-depth conversation with the author. They’ll ask about things like your goals, your writing, and your ideal target audience. From there, they’re able to build a campaign and create strategies to reach relevant media outlets. They usually work within two business models, traditional fee-based or pay-for-performance. The first means that the publicist gives you a fee based on what they’ll do and the job’s timeframe. Pay-for-performance means that they charge a set-up fee, then you pay on a per-placement basis. For example, a feature in a high-prestige magazine will cost more than an interview on your local radio station.  

To sum it up, what can you expect to get out of a campaign? The result of a successful campaign may be one, or a few, of the following:

  • Book reviews
  • Recommendations and excerpts
  • Feature stories
  • Print and broadcast interviews 
  • Bylined articles
  • Press releases
how to find a book publicist cover image

What you don’t get from a book publicist 

Although publicists should be included in your marketing plan, strictly speaking, they’re not marketers. They don’t provide any advertising, such as billboards, social media ads, or Google ads. 

They’re PR specialists, a term that falls under the marketing umbrella but with a slightly different focus. As PR specialists, their focus is to raise awareness of you and your book in publications that matter in your niche. While marketers focus on promoting or selling a specific product, a publicist works with strategic communication to build and maintain your reputation as an author. 

Publicity as a self-publishing author vs. traditional publishers

For traditional publishers, the publicity campaign usually looks slightly different from one of a self-publishing author. Their focus for the publicity is around a book’s launch date, usually with a window of three to six months. 

The reason for this is the bookstore’s retail models. Publishers want to sell as much as possible right after the book hits the stores, to avoid bookstores’ returns. Self-published books, on the other hand, aren’t typically distributed in high-volume to bookstores. Print-on-demand services (like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing) mean that there isn’t any pressure to avoid returns, so the timeframe for success can stretch over a more extended period.  

How do you know if you should hire a book publicist? 

First of all, book publicists are generally expensive. Especially the good ones. So, that raises the question – can you afford one? An experienced publicist can charge upward of $5,000 per month. With a good campaign running for at least two-three months, you’re looking at around $15,000. In saying that – if your budget allows it, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t hire a book publicist. 

And if you’re in two minds about it, you could ask yourself a few questions to make the decision easier:

  • Is your goal to reach a large audience with your book? Nation-wide, or even globally?
  • Do you want to have a long-term career as an author? 
  • Are you willing to put in the work yourself when it comes to promotion and marketing?
  • Can you afford the initial investment? 
  • Are you willing to pay the money without any guarantees?

If you’ve answered yes to most of those questions – you should start looking for a publicist. An option, if you’re on a tight budget, is to work with a local publicist. They typically charge less since there are fewer media outlets. Of course, this also means that you won’t get national coverage.

Note that some publicists don’t work with self-publishing authors, so make sure you check this when doing your research. 

A book publicist offers no guarantees 

What many authors don’t realize, and what can also hold some of them back, is that a publicity campaign doesn’t come with any guarantees. Many factors determine your campaign’s success, such as your publicist’s expertise and your story’s quality. 

Traditional outlets, like radio and print, have shrunk while the number of published books has increased. That means the competition is fierce. So the harsh truth is that no matter how much money you put into a campaign, you can’t rely on getting traditional reviews or being featured in a big magazine. You can, however, increase your chances significantly. 

Also, marketing and publicity is a process that will take time. You very rarely see any overnight success. Sure, you may see results in the first three months, but it can also take years. A pro tip is to consider a publicist as an investment in your career rather than focusing on getting the money back and boosting your sales within a few months. 

It’s about getting people to recognize you in an over-saturated industry – about getting your name out there and start building your reputation. Think of the long-term results and the bigger picture. 

When to get a book publicist involved

You should begin doing your research and get in touch with a publicist as soon as you start planning your marketing strategy i.e., a few months before your launch date. There are a few reasons for this: 

  • Availability. Good publicists are usually booked out, so if you’re late, you may need to settle for one that’s less in demand. 
  • Research time. You’re going to need plenty of time to find the best publicist for your book. 
  • Strategy planning. Your publicist needs time to create a strategy and start putting it in action, i.e., contacting media outlets, distributing advance review copies, etc. 

A good campaign comes into play two or three months before your book launch, which should be the peak of your campaign. However, you don’t want to bring a publicist too early either. Make sure you have a draft of your book and a timeline for when you want to publish it. That gives them more to work with in terms of pricing and planning. 

Bear in mind that even if you’re hiring a publicist, you still need to learn how to market your book. Publicity and marketing is a team effort, and the more work you put in – the better results you’ll see. 

Publicity tasks you can do on your own (DIY Book Marketing) 

The most successful authors are generally the ones who know their target audience and already have a platform (such as blog readers, social media followers, or podcast listeners). That way, when the publicist comes into the picture, they’re not starting from zero. The foundations are already in place. 

Here are some things you can do before bringing in a publicist (and during the campaign). 

  • Learn the social media platforms. Find out where your target audience hangs out on social media. Reach out to them and grow your audience. 
  • Understand who your competition is. Do some research and find out who’s writing in your niche. These authors are potentially reaching the same target audience as yours. A great place to research books and authors is Goodreads. 
  • Connect with authors in your genre. Use your social media platform(s) to talk about other author’s books and reach out to them on social media. Try building a community of support instead of seeing them as your competition. 

Tips on how to find and work with a publicist

To wrap things up, we want to give you some final tips on finding and working with a publicist. Since it’s such a significant investment, you want to get as much as possible out of the relationship. After all, it can be the way towards sky-rocketing your author career. 

  • Make a list. List the goals and outcomes you want to achieve from working with a publicist. Share this list with the publicist you’re looking to hire and ask for a proposal with fees included. 
  • Do a background check. Research other campaigns they’ve worked on. If possible, talk to their former clients. Find out if they’ve achieved the results you want. 
  • Have open communication. When you’ve found a publicist and got the ball rolling, make sure that you keep the communication open between you. You may find that parts of the campaign aren’t working, and you’ll need to put your focus elsewhere. Check in with each other regularly to determine what’s working and what isn’t. 

Is a book publicist worth it?

A book publicist is worth it if hiring one makes sense for your book budget and allows your resources to be better used elsewhere.

As always, knowledge is power. The more you know about marketing and publicity yourself, the easier it will be to find the right publicist and have a successful campaign. And remember, marketing isn’t a one-off job, even though your campaign runs for a limited time only. Marketing continues for as long as your book can sell or as long as you have an author career. 

Ready to go to the next level with your author journey? Swap one hour of Netflix with this free training to get your book published.

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author platform

Author Platform: How to Build & Grow Your Author Platform

Becoming an author is a thrilling journey. You work hard for months to write a book, get it out there—through self-publishing or traditional—and if you have done your research, readers are ready to buy from you.

This is easier said than done, but what does streamline the process is having a platform to launch from.

Not every author has a platform, and if we are talking about self-publishing, most authors come into the game with a book idea and nothing more. Back in the day not so long ago, you had to have excellent writing skills and be able to approach a publisher to sell your idea.

The traditional publisher has a lot to do with platform building by featuring the author on their site. Now, while writing skills are still most definitely needed, as a self-publisher your platform is entirely up to you.

But the question that many first time authors ask after the fact is, “What is an author platform, and, how do I go about building one?

Building a platform is a long-term process that doesn’t end, you can move at your own pace, using only those tools and strategies you feel comfortable with. The good news is, you don’t have to be everywhere, doing everything, shooting life Facebook videos as you’re walking your dog.

Regardless if you’re a first-time author or you have several books already published without any platform, it’s never too late to start. The best time to begin was yesterday, but the next best time is right now, with where you are and what you have.

Here’s what you should know to start creating your author platform today:

In this post, we will answer that question and provide you with a framework so that—even as a beginner—you can start to piece together your platform and prepare your author career for bigger success in the near future.

What is an author platform?

An author platform can be drilled down to your ability to sell books based on who you are, the type of content you create, and how that content engages with a specific audience. You might be targeting a very niche audience, or you could be broad and have a wide reader base of multiple avatars.

Your author platform is how you engage with your audience. It is the way in which you connect with readers and the tools and strategies you employ for building your audience. You want your books to sell, right? Yes! So to make this happen, you need to get noticed.

When we look at famous authors such as John Grisham, Danielle Steele, or Dan Brown it is obvious they have a huge platform of published books and millions of followers. But it didn’t start out this way. Everyone starts with one book, two books, and the business grows from there. Authors—just like any business—must build as they grow.

Your author platform is the foundation of your business. Now, writing might be still a hobby for you, or a side gig where you earn extra cash. Or it could be something much bigger if you are gravitating towards becoming a full time author. Your author platform is a combination of several core elements that we will dive into later.

Basically it’s made up of:

  1. Your audience. This includes your social media and email list. Your audience are the people, subscribers and fanbase that read and engage with your written content.
  2. Your books and/or products. You have a book or books on your author line and may have additional services and or products such as courses, workshops, etc…
  3. Online presence. This includes your website—or homebase—where readers can find out everything about you, sign up to your newsletter, or visit your blog.
  4. Marketing outreach. Yes, as self-published authors we have to market our books. These are skills that will make you money over the years, so the best way to get started here is to learn about Amazon Advertising and the Bookbub Platform.

6 Pillars of the Author Platform

Let’s break down your author platform into what I call the six pillars of your foundation. Your author platform should consist of the following components (but may not have everything):

1. Email list/subscriber newsletter. I think this is not optional. You need an email list so you can build your own in-house marketing and promotion. They say that the money is in the list, well, the core of your business growth is here. To start building your list

2. Author Website. This might not be necessary right away, but at the very least, you should have a landing page to your book. You can set this up through Mailerlite landing pages or LeadPages. Your Author Website is something you can build later, but it is better to start with something than nothing.

3. Catalogue of Books. The best way to build your author brand is to have multiple books published to grow your business, regardless if you are fiction or nonfiction. A series of books works exceptionally well if you get the branding right. You can check out sci-fi author John Scalzi, or for nonfiction, Thibaut Meurisse with his Mastery series.

4. Distribution Model. You can go exclusively with Amazon by signing up with KDP Select. Or, go wide and get your book onto other book platforms outside of the Amazon publishing model. Whichever way you go, be aware of the pros and cons to KDP vs. Going Wide.

5. Courses and/or Training. This largely depends on the type of content you create. Courses are optional, but can be a great way to leverage and diversify your platform. 

6. Personal Branding. Yes, the colors, images, text font, and the style of content you are creating. All of it is about branding. Your brand helps people to recognize you and form an opinion about you and your books, through your personality, your voice, and your promise to your readers. Branding is how you connect with readers through your voice and message.

Author Platform Beginnings: Where do I Start?

Start Now. You might think you have to wait until you get a few books out there, or wait until you have an email list. But actually, you want to start now in building your platform. What you can do to start is create a system where you are investing time into your business. It begins with a system of habits that accumulate into a book catalogue and an email list. Your book catalogue becomes your backlist, so whenever you publish a new book, you already have other books to cross promote.

Connect with authors. The other strategy that is very important is connecting with authors in your genre. Although writing itself can be a very isolating experience, you should be intentional with building out author connections. This will definitely help when you launch new books for cross promotions as well as joining author swaps. An author swap is a strategy when a group of authors join forces to cross promote each other’s books. This can be done through a free or 0.99 book promotion. But if they don’t know about you, chances are you won’t get an invitation. 

Begin blogging. This might be something new to you, but blogging is a great tool for several reasons.

  1. It is practice writing. That’s right, by blogging you are honing in on your craft as an author. If you make mistakes, blog posts can easily be fixed. This isn’t to say that quality doesn’t matter because it does.
  2. You publish content regularly. A book can take months to write and publish. But a blog post you can write and publish within a few hours or days.
  3. Keeps readers in the loop. Yes, if readers don’t hear from you for a while, they become disinterested and forget who you are. They might unsubscribe from your list for lack of interest. Regular blog posts keep them engaged and up to date on what you have coming down the funnel.

You can set up a free blog through WordPress or Medium.com. If you don’t have a website yet, you can add in a blog later. Your blog content will depend on the focus of your work. For fiction, you might write about publishing strategies or crafting the perfect story or characters. Nonfiction writers might focus on specific strategies they discuss in their books. 

Write Guest Posts. Yes, not only can you blog on your site or post elsewhere for free, but get onto other sites as a guest post blogger. This is usually free marketing for your platform, and it adds value to the site owner’s platform.

To write a guest post for another website and/or blogger, simply visit their website and initiate conversation through the contact page (if there is one). Many bloggers will have a set of requirements listed for guest post blog submission.

Market research. This comes down to knowing who your audience is. You can begin market research by following and subscribing to the authors in your genre.

We recommend reading their books and engaging with the community, too. By modeling the writers in your genre that are already in that place you want to be, you will discover many things about your market as well. Your audience is not everyone, but a specific niche or interested people, even if it is a broad audience.

For example, readers of romance novels most likely will not be your choice market if you write urban fantasy or sci-fi. Readers could cross over if they read various genres but this would be the rarity and not the norm. 

Narrowing your audience and knowing the details behind who they are and how they live can help you sell more books, refine the way you communicate to your audience, and determine how best to invest your time, effort and money.

Social Media Connections. Once you have identified the established and best-selling books within your genre, look at who is engaging with these authors on social media.

You can gain a lot of information by looking at the interactions, posts and discussion feed. Watch for the demographics, trends, and particular habits that might not be obvious, but can provide clues as to what your audience is looking for.

Pay attention to the kinds of questions they ask, the solutions they are seeking, or the pain points they have that they need help with.

Another strategy for social media is to connect with groups and online communities that have shared interests.

Run a search on Facebook for groups who are interested in books similar to yours. Facebook groups such as 20booksto50k with David Guaghran or the Self Publishing School community are great places to check out.

Essential Author Platform Tools

In the previous section, we looked at the pillars for building your author platform. Now let7s look at the best tools of the trade for putting these 

Buy a domain. Even if you don’t have a website or presence, get your domain now. You will need it later. Ideally your domain could be your author name with a .com URL. You can use your book title. You might decide to use a domain name for your author business that isn’t your author name. But readers and subscribers recognize the branding as yours.

For example, https://www.developgoodhabits.com/ is a habit-themed blog and website that is run by bestselling self-publisher Steve (S.J.) Scott, who has written multiple books in this genre.

Bestselling author of Mini-Habits Stephen Guise uses https://stephenguise.com/ as his homebase. His platform mainly consists of his blog post that he delivers consistently every week. He has multiple books that he promotes through his channel, too. But his homebase is the website where you can sign up for free stuff and join the newsletter.

Chandler Bolt of Self Publishing School has his company domain as: https://self-publishingschool.com/. Here you can find the various top-notch courses and services provided by Self Publishing School and sign up on the site, or schedule a call with someone.

How do you get a domain name?

You can purchase a domain name through a website host server such as Bluehost or Hostgator. I registered my domain through Name.com, but you can find a host of places to get your domain. Where you buy it isn’t as important as what your domain name is and what it stands for. 

Other domain names you might recognize:

Here are a few tips on coming up with a domain name:

  1. Keep the domain name simple. Try to avoid domain names that use hyphens or strange characters, which make remembering and properly entering the domain name more difficult. A domain name should be easy to remember. Don’t get fancy. Keep it simple and clean.
  2. Acquire more than one domain name. Yes, you can have more than one domain if you are doing fiction and nonfiction. Or you might have a separate domain name for your course platform to separate from your books.
  3. Brand representation. Your domain name should represent what you do, or what your company provides. So if you are an author, a domain is either your author name, or the name of your company. For example, John Lee Dumas of Fire Nation created Entrepreneurs on Fire. Professional blogger Darren Rowse created https://problogger.com/ 
  4. Keyword specific domain. Include a keyword in your domain name, if possible. This is also helpful if the domain of your name is already owned by someone else. Every link to your site that’s placed online will contain your domain name, so reinforcing a keyword linked with your site can increase your chances of SEO love long-term.

Sign Up with an email service provider.

What is an email platform? 

An email platform is a database that holds your email lists, and allows you to communicate with your subscribers, or fans, in mass.

Just to be clear, an ESP (Email Service Provider) is not gmail or yahoo. 

You need a system that will gather, store and organize your emails when people subscribe to your list. These services are built to provide you with all the necessary tools.

An email list is a list of email addresses of people that have subscribed to your blog, website, or other channel. Email lists give you direct access to communicate with your fans, readers, and/or subscribers, which allows you to build a relationship of trust and value.

Email lists are important because it allows you to continue a relationship with people who are interested in your products and services even after they finish reading your book.

Having direct access to communicate with your fans and readers is powerful, because you can build trust and offer even more value, which places you in a great position to offer even more products, services, and content.

The top 5 recommended email service providers are:

Mailchimp

You might have heard of MailChimp as a good starting email platform, mainly because they offer a free version and you’re looking to build an audience first before you start paying.

Mailerlite

A better solution would be either MailerLite, who offer a similar free plan (first 1,000 subscribers for free). The site has better service and is easier to navigate. But for a more robust platform, you want to eventually use…

Convert Kit

Any free plan you start with will have limitations, which is why I would recommend starting with a paid option. But you get to decide what this looks like for you.

Free or paid, pick one. If you don’t like it, you can always change it later.

Additional options:

Active Campaign

AWeber

We recommend signing up with the cheapest viable option that would be Mailchimp or Mailerlite. You can sign up for free until you hit a number of subscribers and then begin monthly/annual payments.

You can also read this article on our site to learn everything about setting up and managing your email lists:

Tips for Building an Author Platform

In this article we covered the essentials for what you need to build an author platform. There are always those “other things” you can be doing but they are not critical tasks. For example, posting to social media 30x a day sounds productive, but at the end of the day, many authors see better returns by writing more books. If you have the time and want to explore other options that have not been mentioned before, you are welcome to try.

Here are several more tips you can try for marketing and building your author platform. I would not call these tasks you should or need to do.

Create a Mastermind Group. This is a fantastic way to really get to know your readers by setting up a Mastermind community. You can do this through a Facebook group. Or, set up a private Mastermind through ClickFunnels, Kajabi, or a number of sites that can host your program. This could be something to consider after you have built a nice following and you have people to start with in order to get engagement moving.

Attend Writer Conferences. One of the best ways to start learning about your craft and connecting with author communities is attending a writers conference. This can be an event in your local area, in another part of the country, the world, or even online!

Writers conferences can be some of the best investments to make in your writing career. And guess what? There are plenty of writing conferences for authors in North America taking place all year round.

Writers conferences and workshops are available in most cities across North America and you can find one near you to attend this year or in the near future.

Conferences can be hosted according to specific subjects, writing niches, or genres, or they can be targeted towards the broad writing and publishing industry. Attendees are able to network with peers, industry experts, and professionals that provide author services, such as publishing agents, book editors, and illustrators.

Depending on which area of expertise interests you, there are a variety of writers conferences offered throughout the world.

Even if you haven’t published a book yet but are in the middle of a great outline, joining a live event could be the magic sauce to make that happen. Even if writing is a part time job and you want to build your name and platform before taking the leap, attending a writers conference can jump start your career. It builds important connections, expands opportunity, and defines your clarity of purpose!

The Author Advantage Live conference from Self-Publishing School tops our lists of writers conferences for 2021 because it’s truly one-of-a-kind experience, tailored to the demands of today’s digital author (and those aspiring to be!).

For a listing of scheduled writer’s events in 2021, you can check out our article here https://selfpublishing.com/best-writers-conference/ and get ready for a great year of writing!

Here are 3 questions to help you sign up for a writers conference:

  1. What is the best event for me? Is it the Author Advantage Live event or The Muse and the Marketplace?
  2. What is drawing me to a particular event? The speakers? Size of the guest list? Convenient location? Workshop themes?
  3. Am I ready to sign up for an event now?

Joining an event is a no-brainer. You owe it to yourself as an author and a creative to scale up your skills as a writer and meet the people on the same journey as you.

Create a Free Giveaway. By creating a piece of free content that goes with your brand, you can begin right away to build your audience and email list. We recommend this is done using a lead magnet, a free piece of content that could be a downloadable PDF, checklist, audiobook, or a free chapter of your next book. 

Planning to include a lead magnet together with your book makes it super-easy for readers to discover your brand and join your thriving community

Your lead magnet is a great way to attract more customers and scale up your business, but you have to know how to build an effective piece of content that people actually want, and then, present it to them when they need it the most.

The lead magnet has a two-fold purpose.

First, it needs to serve your purpose as an author or business owner. 

Second, it must serve the purpose of your subscribers. Why are they signing up in the first place? You must know why, and be prepared to deliver on that WHY.

Here are some effective lead magnet ideas to consider creating:

  1. Action guide
  2. Checklists
  3. Catalog
  4. Workbooks
  5. Worksheets
  6. Cheatsheet
  7. Templates
  8. Video series
  9. First 3 videos for a paid course
  10. Recipes
  11. Access to an exclusive Facebook community
  12. Toolkit

The lead magnet can be placed in the front and back of your book. You could have the lead magnet page at the back of your book right after the last chapter just to serve as a reminder:“Hey, don’t forget to sign up for your free action guide right here!”

By placing the lead magnet at the front and back, you have all the bases covered.

Link on Your Amazon Author Page

Your lead magnet in a book is not the only place to put it. What many authors fail to see is that the amazon author page serves as a great opportunity for you to build your email list. 

For everything you need to set up your lead magnet and deliver it to your potential readers with best results, check out our article right here: https://selfpublishing.com/lead-magnet/

Author Platform Examples

The best way to learn about building a great platform is to begin researching the platform of successful authors. This depends if you are writing fiction or nonfiction but, remember the basic of your platform is about branding, showcasing your books and products, and thirdly, newsletter signups.

Here are some examples of authors with platforms that do a great job of showcasing and marketing their branding. You may recognize some of these authors in your genre or area of reading interest:

Dean Koontz

Brenda Novak

Nora Roberts

Rachel Howzell Hall

http://www.rachelhowzell.com/

Author Platform: Building an Amazon Author Page

Your Amazon Author Page is basically your personal homepage dedicated to you as an author, and the books you have published. When your book is displayed on Amazon, the author’s name can be hyperlinked, and when the customer or reader clicks on the author’s name, the customer is taken directly to the author’s page. If you don’t have a website, this is a great place to start building your brand.

You can use your Amazon Author Page to personalize a page specifically featuring information about you as an author, and the books you have written.

While it’s a super-powerful platform for indie and self-published authors, it’s also powerful for traditionally published authors. Any author that has written a book that’s sold online or in-store should have an Amazon Author Page.

Setting up and optimizing an Amazon Author Page using Amazon Author Central is a very smart idea for several reasons. First of all, potential readers can take an immediate interest in your work. 

So, who can create an Amazon Author Page? An author with a published book on Amazon!

Yes, as soon as you launch your first book you can get to work on setting up and maintaining your most prolific profile, next to your own website. You don’t have a website yet? Then you definitely need to maximize on your Amazon page.

Author Platform: Ready to Start Building?

No matter where you’re at in the process, today is the best time to start, even if you’re not done with your book yet. You can set up a blog, start your email list with a lead magnet, and set up a Facebook Author Page in just a few minutes.

But what matters is you take action and do something! Every author begins at the same place…the beginning! It doesn’t matter if you’re Stephen King, JK Rowling or Barack Obama. Get started today and let’s see what you can create in the next year.

Have you had some recent success with your author platform and want to tell us about it? Drop your notes below and share your story! We’d love to hear from you…

Book Writing Programs: 18 Tools for Authors

Writing a book is one of the most complex projects any writer can pursue.

There are a lot of stages in the process of going from your initial idea to a published book. Keeping track of all the moving pieces, and making sure they are carried out the right way, is no small challenge. 

Thankfully, there are book writing programs available to make your life easier every step of the way. 

To help you decide on the right options for your book, we’ve gathered together some of the best programs. There is a mixture of paid and free tools for Mac, Windows, mobile devices, and the Cloud.

Are you ready to discover the best book writing programs for your next project?

This guide to book writing programs covers:

  1. Programs for book research
  2. Programs for planning
  3. Programs for book writing 
  4. Programs for editing and style 
  5. Programs for formatting and exporting
  6. Book Writing & Publishing Program

Programs for Book Research

Fiction and nonfiction books alike require careful research to give readers everything they are looking for. 

Depending on the complexity of your book, it can be difficult to keep track of all your notes, research material, and snippets of inspiration.

Some authors prefer to keep all their research material in the same program that they write in, while others like to store everything in a separate app. 

If you want to have a dedicated program to keep all of your book’s research material, here are three great options.

Apple Notes

Apple Notes is one of the best book research solutions for authors who use iPhones, iPads, and Macs to create their books. 

It allows you to quickly jot down a moment of inspiration or save an idea or image while you’re browsing online.

Notes integrates well with all of Apple’s other tools, making it easy to transfer material back and forth between different apps. 

If you are looking for a minimalist, intuitive way to research and store material for your book, Apple Notes could be your perfect program.

Google Keep

Google Keep is a simple and easy to use research tool. It’s a great choice if you prefer to work with Google tools like Docs and Drive. 

Keep has dedicated mobile apps for Android and iOS making it easy to jot down your ideas and inspiration on the go and then sync seamlessly across devices. 

You never know when your next great idea will strike. Having a simple program like Google Keep makes sure none of your ideas go to waste.

Simplenote

Simplenote lives up to its name. It’s a minimalist, intuitive place to take notes and store ideas for your book projects. 

You can use Simplenote on almost every operating system and platform available, including Linux, so it’s a great choice for authors working outside of the usual Windows and Apple ecosystems. 

Simplenote uses Markdown, so if you’re already familiar with that way of working, you will find it easy to get started creating book research materials in Simplenote. 

Programs for Planning

After you’ve gathered together the ideas and inspiration that will form your book’s content, it’s important to plan and map out the rest of the project and how it will all fit together. 

Some authors like to go old-school and use sticky notes, whiteboards, and handwritten mind maps to plan out everything their book will contain. Others prefer to use digital programs to keep everything under control.

Here are two great book writing programs for better planning.

Trello

Trello is one of the most intuitive planning tools out there, but it doesn’t compromise on power. 

You can integrate Trello with other apps like Google Calendar to keep your project precisely scheduled out. 

Trello has an incredibly easy to use drag and drop Kanban-style interface. There are desktop and mobile versions of the program that sync, allowing you to check your book plan or outline across multiple devices.

XMind

Creating a mindmap of your book is one of the best ways to organize your ideas. You can always use large pieces of paper or a whiteboard for your mindmap, but there are also apps and programs that offer a lot more functionality.

XMind is a powerful and popular program for creating mindmaps. It supports aesthetically beautiful maps you can customize with different graphics, and it syncs across desktop and mobile. 

Programs for Writing 

The most important program for writers is the tool you use to write your book. Of all the categories in this guide, take the most time to think about your needs here and which app best meets them. 

Some of the factors to weigh up include:

  1. Will you be working on desktop, mobile, or both?
  2. Which operating system will you be using?
  3. What features do you require? 
  4. Are you looking for a simple writing solution, or a complex program offering research and formatting capabilities?
  5. Do you want to take the time to learn a powerful program, or do you want something simple and intuitive you can jump straight into?

Keep those five factors in mind as you browse this selection of eight book writing programs. 

FocusWriter

FocusWriter is an ideal choice if you’re looking for the most minimal and intuitive environment for book writing.

Using FocusWriter allows you to focus entirely on your work. It blocks out everything on your screen except for the words you are crafting, keeping your creative flow free from outside distractions. 

You can download FocusWriter for free on Windows or Linux, but it currently doesn’t work on Mac or mobile. 

Google Docs 

If you already use Google’s suite of tools, you should consider Docs for your book writing program. 

Google Docs has the advantage of storing all your work in the Cloud while also allowing you to work offline when needed. It’s easy to collaborate with proofreaders, editors, and other creatives by sharing a link to a Docs file. 

You can also add a lot of functionality to Docs with its add-ons, allowing you to customize its features to your needs. 

Microsoft Word

A lot of writers have experience using Microsoft Word and find it easier to continue with the program rather than adapting to something new. 

Word might lack a lot of the specialist features found in other writing programs, but it has everything you need to finish your book. 

If you’re already a regular user of Microsoft’s flagship writing tool and don’t feel the need for anything more complex, stick with it to start writing your book as soon as possible. 

Novlr

Novlr manages to blend advanced features for authors with a clear and attractive user interface that is simple to use. 

You can plan out your chapters and scenes using Novlr as well as storing notes and research material. 

Although Novlr isn’t an ideal choice for nonfiction writers, aspiring novelists should check out the free trial on offer to get a feel for what it’s like to work in Novlr compared to other specialist writing programs. 

Scrivener

Scrivener is famous for being one of the most fully-featured writing programs out there.

It’s a powerful solution for every stage of the writing process, from research and planning to formatting and exporting your final book file. 

Although there’s a definite learning curve to Scrivener, it’s great value and comes with one of the best free trials out there. Scrivener is available for Mac, Windows, and iOS. 

Ulysses 

Ulysses is a powerful writing program available exclusively for authors using MacOS or iOS. 

It combines a very focused writing environment with extra features such as the ability to set goals and track your writing stats, attach files and supporting documents to your project, and to publish directly to WordPress and Medium from within the program. 

If you prefer to work using Apple software and hardware, and want a program that allows you to blog as well as write books, Ulysses is worth checking out further. 

yWriter 

yWriter is a free book writing program available for users of Windows and Linux. 

Unlike a lot of other writing apps, yWriter’s creator is both a novelist and a programmer. Because of this background, yWriter is packed with specialist features intended for fiction authors, like the ability to store character and location information directly in the app. 

Nonfiction writers should look elsewhere, but if you’re working on a fiction book in Windows, take the time to check out yWriter. 

Programs for Editing & Style

Although there’s no substitute for working with an experienced human editor, you can make better use of their time by first running your text through a grammar and style checking tool. 

Some tools are well-suited to catching grammar and spelling errors while others are more concerned with tightening your text and improving its readability. 

Here are three programs to help self-edit your book and improve its style. 

Grammarly 

Grammarly is probably the most famous self-editing tool on the market today.

You can use Grammarly to catch errors with your punctuation, fix your grammar slip-ups, and improve the readability of your text. You can check out our full review here.

Grammarly exists as a standalone program, as a Cloud service, and also as an integration for web browsers and other apps. 

Hemingway 

Hemingway is far more focused on improving the style of your writing rather than catching our basic errors.

This program scans your text for complicated word choices, sentences that are too lengthy, and misuses of the passive voice. Our full Hemingway review breaks down exactly what it does. 

You can either use Hemingway in the Cloud or download a standalone app for Mac or Windows. It’s a good idea to use Hemingway in conjunction with Grammarly or ProWritingAid to focus on both errors and style improvements. 

ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid is a comprehensive style and grammar checking program.

As well as highlighting any basic errors, ProWritingAid shows you where you repeat certain words or phrases too often, where your sentence lengths aren’t varied enough, and where you use cliched language. 

Both ProWritingAid and Grammarly are powerful self-editing programs. Book writers should compare the two and choose the one which is the best fit for their needs. You can explore ProWritingAid in more detail here

Programs for Formatting & Exporting 

If you’re not only writing a book but looking to format and self-publish it as well, you need to either find a program with the right features or invest in hiring someone to carry out the work.

Some of the programs featured earlier in this guide, such as Scrivener, have formatting and exporting capabilities. 

But what if your writing program isn’t suited for formatting? 

Here are three programs you can use to format your book. 

FastPencil 

FastPencil is more than just a formatting tool. It’s a powerful and fully-featured cloud writing environment that lets you write, format, and market your book online.

As FastPencil offers a lot more than just formatting capabilities, you should be comfortable with using it for your entire book writing process. Check out our full review to decide if it’s right for you. 

Jutoh

Jutoh is a dedicated formatting tool intended for book writers looking to self-publish ebooks. 

You can download Jutoh for Windows, Mac, Linux, or even Raspberry Pi. It exports your book files as ePub or Kindle, allowing you to publish on all the biggest book retailers online. 

Jutoh is available for a one-off purchase price, meaning you don’t need to worry about a monthly subscription for a service you only use from time to time. 

Vellum

Vellum is one of the best-known formatting and export programs available to self-publishers.

You can use Vellum to format both ebook and paperback files as well as exporting them in all of the major file formats. Vellum is available as a one-off purchase, with a slightly more affordable option if you only need to format and export eBook files. Our Vellum review breaks down everything you need to know,

Vellum is only available for Mac at this time.

Complete Book Writing Program

If you’re looking for a complete solution to write and publish a book, there are a number of book publishing courses on today’s digital marketplace.

However, very few of these courses walk you through the entire process on how to write, publish, and market your book.

For a complete book writing and publishing program, we recommend these book writing programs from our partner site, Self-Publishing School.

You can check out our full Self-Publishing School review here.

You now have all the programs you need to write a successful book, from start to finish. 

So what are your next steps?

Choose the right mix of programs for every stage of your project, but don’t take too long to decide. These tools are just a means to an end, allowing you to focus on your book.

After that, it’s time to write! 

There’s nothing more exciting than starting a brand new book project, and the right mix of programs will make it easier every step of the way.