Step One: SEO
How do you begin to compete with all of the other authors, books, and content out in the world and online? Start with the basics. Today in the first installment of a three-part series, we look at the importance of considering search engine optimization (SEO).
Consider these SEO strategies
Keyword selection: Match search terms with the text on your book’s page. Look for strong keywords that are more relevant and have less competition as this is more likely to get you a qualified customer.
Trending keywords: Pay attention to quickly spiking trends you see on search engines, social media, and news sites. Also think ahead about keywords that are seasonal or based on holidays relevant to your book (Example: the word IHOP spikes on National Pancake Day).
Advertising/search engine marketing: Use analytics and multivariate or A/B testing on ad copy, descriptions, and imagery. Experiment and test different options, calculate ROI, and make incremental adjustments until you find what is working the best.
Control the things that are within your control.
Utilize your seven keywords available through Amazon when you update your Amazon book description. Do this regularly. (You’re able to update both your keywords and book description through Greenleaf when working with us, your own publisher if they allow it, or via your KDP account if you are self-publishing.)
Here are some tips from Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing on how to make your book more discoverable with keywords: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2EZES9JAJ6H02.
Continue to ask people to review your book on Amazon and Goodreads. You can leverage your networks not just at your book’s official launch but also in the long-term to show that traffic is continuously being driven to your book’s page.
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You've spent countless months writing your book and you have great informational content just waiting to be read, discussed, and shared. How do you create additional value from that existing content for your readers?
You chunk it.
The idea of chunking, or taking samples from your book and using them for promotional use has been used in media for years. The music industry has singles. The movie industry has theatrical trailers. The publishing industry has excerpts.
Pulling out nuggets of useful gems from your book can be an easy way to create material for everything from Facebook status updates to presentations. If you take the traditional book excerpt a step further and use those chunks as a basis for articles and blog posts, then you're really giving the content legs by offering your audience additional opportunities to discuss, engage with, share, and ultimately promote your book and your message.
Don't be afraid to put your content out there. Offer your readers a little chunk and you'll leave them wanting the whole book.
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Thinking about publishing your book? No matter where you are in the process, it is important to ask questions. I went ahead and asked them for you! In this series, I will be visiting with each department at Greenleaf asking some of the frequently asked questions.
This week, I asked accounting about the world of royalties and returns.
1. What is a royalty?
A royalty is payment for the sale of a book. For each book we ship to a retail partner and for every e-book that gets downloaded, a royalty is calculated for the author (pending any returns). In most cases, our authors retain 35% of the cover price for all physical books sold to retail accounts. For e-books they retain 70% of Greenleaf’s payment.
2. How does Greenleaf’s royalty program differ from that of other publishers?
Traditional publishing houses will often pay out an advance to an author when they accept their book. The typical advance range is about $2,000 - $20,000 with a royalty rate of 5 – 15% of the cover price. Royalties are paid only after the author has earned enough to re-pay the publisher. With Greenleaf, royalties are recognized from the very first book sale. As mentioned above, our royalty rate is generally higher than traditional publishing houses.
3. What is a return?
A return occurs when any book comes back to us from our retail partners. It’s industry standard that all physical books be fully returnable to the publisher. Returns occur for various reasons, one being decreased sales demand. Stores have limited shelf space and will therefore return books with slower sales in favor of newer titles. Books may also be returned because of damage they may have received in transit. Smudges, bent covers, torn pages – these are all examples of transit damage that result in unsellable product.
4. How are returns processed from an accounting standpoint?
Our authors earn a specific royalty rate for each book sold. That same rate applies for books that come back as returns. For example, if John Smith earns a $5.23 royalty per book sale ($14.95 cover price X 35%), then $5.23 will be deducted from him should that book be returned. The accounting on the retail side works much the same way. Greenleaf invoices a retailer for books sold and they pay Greenleaf. If that retailer ends up returning those books, they deduct the amount originally paid from a future Greenleaf payment.
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There's so much information out there about how to market your book that it can be hard to determine the best place to start. Here are 10 simple tips for marketing your book that will put you on the path to success.
1. Know your audience. Thinking that your book is for everyone doesn't give you anywhere to focus your efforts and usually results in inconsistent messaging. Identify whom your book would appeal to most, then start your marketing and promotional efforts there.
2. Create an elevator pitch. Can you tell someone what your book and/or platform are about in 30 seconds or less? Sometimes that's all the time you have, so create a memorable and impactful elevator pitch that you can deliver at a moment's notice.
3. Develop a press kit. Before you can begin PR outreach, you need to compile all relevant information into a single, professional press kit. Bio, photo, elevator pitch, book excerpt, and endorsements are just some of the materials you should have at the ready.
4. Launch a website. What is one of the first places people to go for expert advice? The Internet. Your author website is the hub for information about you, your book, and why you're an expert. Get it launched, keep it updated, and establish your online presence.
5. Network. Online, at events, in your industry. Work to establish meaningful connections that strengthen your position as an expert and that can create opportunities down the road.
6. Focus on discoverability. One of the biggest hurdles for authors is getting lost in the shuffle of the thousands of books that are published each week. Make sure that you have a consistent online presence, that your book previews are available for consumers to browse, and that your retail pages are optimized with keywords and descriptions and are rich with reviews.
7. Start locally. Regional media and booksellers are typically most interested in promoting local authors because of their ties to the community and local interest. Once you gain local and regional attention, you can begin focusing on national placements.
8. Pitch yourself, not your book. You can only talk about your book so many times before people stop listening. But as an expert, you can talk about, blog about, and discuss how your specialty relates to an endless list of current events. Focus on the broader reach of your expertise and your book will get noticed because you're getting noticed.
9. Submit submit submit. Reviews and awards are a great way to get people talking about your book and serve as proof that your ideas offer value to readers. Be on the lookout for awards and publications that specifically relate to your niche.
10. Don't get discouraged. It's a marathon, not a sprint, and each turn offers new opportunities to refine your message, build your brand, and sell more books!