Useful websites for self-published authors

Man reading book

Man reading book (Photo credit: Alan Cleaver)

I feel like I am on a steep learning curve when it comes to promoting my ebook so I am grateful to have found the following sites.

World Literary Café-This site has lots of features that enable authors to promote their book.
1)It allows authors to increase the number of twitter, facebook and blog followers they have by linking up with other authors who follow you back.
2)You can let readers know when your book is free on this site.
3)You can advertise your book when it is newly released (in the last month).
4)It has a forum which allows authors and bloggers to connect for blog tours and other cross-promotional activities. Corey Circello, another self-published author, is showcasing my book on his blog now.
5)It has a forum where you can get reviews from reviewers or do a review exchange with another author. I have just done a review exchange with another author Marquita Herald, who has written a book on self-publishing. A particularly helpful exchange for me.
6)You can also promote your book via their IndieKindle twitter feed.

Goodreads has an indie book collective forum. You can introduce your book there, get advice, advertise your blog, discuss cross-promotions with other authors, sort out blog tours and promote book giveaways. It also has a self-published author group.
Indie author promotions has a facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/indieauthorpromos/ where authors agree to cross-promote each other to their own followers on social media sites such as twitter, facebook, google plus. You have to agree to help other authors and the administrator signs you up to the group. It is associated with the Goodreads indie collective. The site works by drawing information from Amazon about your book so your book has to be published on Amazon for it to work. The cross-promotions are focused on driving traffic to the website http://indieap.cucinavivace.com, where each authors books is advertised under relevant sections.
Indieauthorland.com-This site enables you to promote your book via an author interview on their website. All you have to do is answer some pre-set questions about your book and yourself on their author interview form. The interview can then be tweeted to your followers.

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/index.php is an authors’ forum where you can get advice on publishing your book, writing and promoting it. I have found it helpful to read advice from other authors about print-on-demand books, which is something I am considering.

http://thebookmarketingnetwork.com/forum/topic/listForContributor?user=JohnKremer Has a section where authors can connect to other authors to do cross-promotion.

Bookgoodies.com allows you to submit your book for review, advertise your book and do an author interview to promote it.

http://awesomegang.com offers a free book posting and you can also do an author interview to promote your book. They have a facebook page and a google plus page, where you can post your book too.

7 tips on how to promote a book using SEO to get more traffic

 

English: A person navigating through a Chilean...

Many self-published authors have a website or blog to promote their book but it can be difficult to get people to your website to even see your book.

What is SEO?

SEO stands for search engine optimisation. You can maximise the chance of your website or blog appearing high up on a search engine list by making your site more visible to search engines.

How can you make your site more visible?

  1. Have 500+ key phrases (rather than key words) that relate to your website/book. It is easier for a search engine to find your site if you use a phrase such as ‘Psychology for parents’ rather than the single words ‘Psychology’ and ‘Parents’. Use lots of alternative phrases for the same thing. You can use keyword suggestion tools such as wordtracker.com, keywordspy.com and seobook.com. Use a few of these key phrases on every page of your website.
  2. If you have your own website, you can make sure that the first page that visitors land on contains your most important key phrases. It should also allow visitors to buy your book straight away. The headers and key phrases should be in bold, italics or underlined so that the search engines recognise these phrases are important.
  3. Page titles should include your most important key phrases. If you can adapt your website, then change the homepage to your book name and your about me page to your author name. This will help search engines to find you.
  4. Add ‘Meta‘ tags to every page of your website and make sure they are relevant. These are key phrases again.
  5. Add small images to every page, which will load quickly but still enable search engines to find you. Put a descriptive alt image tag on every image.
  6. Update the content on your site regularly and include links to other pages of your website. For example, I wrote a blog post on ‘Mindfulness techniques for children and teenagers’ and I linked this to an older post on ‘Mindfulness in schools’.
  7. To keep  people coming back to your website, make sure your content is engaging and interesting. People won’t buy your book, if you only consider optimising your site for search engines.

If you have wordpress blog like me, you can see the search terms people are using to arrive at your site in the stats section. It is helpful to know how people are finding you i.e. which key phrases they are using, so that you can work out how to improve your visibility on search engines. There are free web analytic tools such as Google Analytics, getclicky.com or piwik.org that enable you to see site stats if you don’t have it already built-in to your website/blog.

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How to write a press release to promote a self-published book

Books in the Douglasville, Georgia Borders store.

One of the first things I have started doing to promote my book is releasing press releases. I have registered at Prlog.org, which offer free press releases. It was relatively simple to register although you do need to have a business email (not a gmail or hotmail account) and you do need to verify your contact telephone number.

Other free press release sites are:  Open PRPR Fire, News Wire Today, PR Zoom, Idea Marketers

I have had between 30-90 views so far for each of my press releases on Prlog.org. Although this is a relatively small audience, I hope in the long-term I can build the profile of my book.

So how do you write a press release?

Here are some tips:

1) You have to write your press release in the third person.

2) Include quotes from you/your book.

3)Include links to your book but try to make your press release engaging and newsworthy.

4)Give your press release an attention grabbing headline.

Here is one of my press releases

Heading: Parents confused by conflicting advice in parenting books

Subheading: Parents are increasingly using parenting books to guide them in bringing up their children.

Body: In the past, mothers often lived near their own parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents who were readily available with parenting advice. Nowadays, people tend to live further away from where they grew up and may not have family around to help them make childcare decisions. Therefore, many parents turn to parenting books for guidance. However, as the number of parenting experts out there rises so does the amount of conflicting advice, which creates confusion. Parents may worry whether they should or should not sleep train their baby or whether they should be following a strict routine or not. At one extreme there is the rise of attachment parenting books, which suggest that parents should carry their baby around at all times and sleep with their child. At the other extreme, there are books telling parents to get their baby into a routine straight away.
One book ‘Psychology for Parent: Birth to teens (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Psychology-parents-Birth-teens-eb…)’ tries to cut through the conflicting advice offered by parenting experts.  Carlisle says that her inspiration for writing the book was to provide evidence-based parenting techniques rather than opinion-based advice. She presents psychological research on parenting in an accessible way, so that parents can make decisions for themselves.

One controversy, Carlisle feels strongly about is whether breastfeeding affects the mother-baby bond. ‘I know that breastfeeding has important health benefits for babies but some mothers are made to feel awful if they can’t breastfeed and that is wrong. Many of my friends had problems breastfeeding their first child for various reasons, having a premature baby, having a baby with tongue-tie (a condition where the underside of the tongue is too tightly bound to the floor of the mouth for the baby to breastfeed easily), getting mastitis (inflammation of breast tissue) or not producing enough milk. I heard many comments when my son was a baby about breastfeeding leading to a better bond with your child but I was pretty sceptical about them.  In my book I discuss evidence, which shows that breastfeeding does not affect the mother-baby bond.’

‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ covers a wide range of topics including attachment, discipline, mindfulness, giftedness, language development and special needs. ‘It is not just a book for parents of new-borns’ Carlisle says ‘My book is a reference guide that will last parents until their children are teenagers.’

Have you asked yourself the questions: Is it better to be too strict or too lenient with my child? Is it okay to smack? How can I help my child to read? How can I get my teenager to talk to me? What should I do if my child has dyslexia? If you want answers to these questions grounded in psychological research, then ‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ may be the book for you.

‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’ is for sale as an e-book on Amazon, smashwords.com, Barnes and Noble (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/psychology-for-parents-fa…), Kobobooks (http://www.kobobooks.com/ebook/Psychology-for-Parents-Bir…) and Apple ibookstore.

Advertising your book when it is free

various e-book readers. From right to left iPa...

various e-book readers. From right to left iPad (Apple、2010) kindle DX (Amazon、2009) kindle 2 (Amazon、2009) kindle 1 (Amazon、2007) PRS-505 (Sony、2007) PRS-500 (Sony、2006). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Below I suggest a number of websites where you can list your book when it is free.

I am not able to make my book free on Amazon for a selected period of time because I am not with the KDP Select programme. Many of the free book lists are for books going free on Amazon Kindle only. I now realise that there may have been an advantage in going with Amazon KDP select initially rather than going for non-exclusive promotion of my book on Amazon and Smashwords.com. 

If you are not in Amazon KDP select then you can advertise your book as free in different formats at these websites:

www.ereaderutopia.com

http://freebooksy.com/editorial-submissions This website allows you to advertise books, which are free on Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Apple

http://blog.orangeberrypromo.com/sign-up-sponsorship-2/ Scroll right down to the bottom and you will see the orangeberry newbie promotion, which is the only free one. Your book has to have been published in the last 30 days and be free.

www.greatbooksgreatdeals.com You need to have 20 reviews with a 4+ rating or more to advertise on their free book list. However, you can advertise your book when it is free on Amazon and in the Barnes and Noble Nookstore.

http://ereadergirl.com/submit-your-ebook/ Your book has to be non-fiction, a children’s e-book or Christian fiction to advertise on this website. You can add your book to their list when it is free on Amazon, Barnes and Noble Nookstore and as a PDF on your own site.

http://authormarketingclub.com/members/submit-your-book/ You can use their free submission tool. It links to all the free listing websites easily.

http://blog.booksontheknob.org This site offers listings of free books in multiple formats-Nook, Sony, Kobo, Apple, Kindle.

Other websites where you can advertise your book when it is free on Amazon only are:

www.pixelofink.com

www.bargainebookhunter.com

http://bookgoodies.com/submit-your-free-kindle-days/

http://ereadernewstoday.com/ent-free-book-submissions/

http://snickslist.com/books/place-ad/

http://www.freebookdude.com/p/list-your-free-book.html You can post your book here when it is free on Amazon Kindle or any other Kindle website.

http://kindlebookpromos.luckycinda.com/?page_id=283

http://www.itswritenow.com/submit-your-book/

http://freediscountedbooks.com/submit/

http://digitalbooktoday.com/12-top-100-submit-your-free-book-to-be-included-on-this-list/ You have to have 18 + reviews  with 4+ rating to advertise your free book here. It also has to be a full-length book.

http://ebookshabit.com/for-authors/

http://www.theereadercafe.com

http://thefrugalereader.wufoo.com/forms/frugal-freebie-submissions/

http://www.fkbooksandtips.com/for-authors/ You need to have reviews with a 4+ rating

 

So where can you advertise when your book is not free?

https://www.facebook.com/galleycat/app_362465080506455 You can put any new book up here.

http://addictedtoebooks.com/submission Your book has to be under $5.99 and have at least 5 reviews on the US Amazon website.

How easy is it to self-publish?

English: Photographic composition of Granmata ...

Despite the fact that I am not particularly computer savvy, I have still managed to self-publish my book on Smashwords.com and Amazon. I downloaded the style guide for Smashwords.com and Amazon onto my Kindle and I followed their guidelines to the letter. However, I could have saved myself a lot of time, if I had read the style guides before I wrote my book. Every single paragraph return in my document had to be deleted for Smashwords.com. The Amazon style guide was easier to implement, but there are two downsides to self-publishing on Amazon KDP: One is that people can only download your book if they have a Kindle and the other is that you have to give them 30% share of what you sell unless they are the exclusive sellers. In contrast, Smashwords.com only takes 20% share of what you sell and customers can download your book in lots of different formats. For example, they will add your book to the Apple iBookstore for download.

The most difficult thing to do for those less computer literate is the e-book cover. Smashwords.com says that the cover should ideally be 1600 pixels wide by 2400 pixels tall and the height must be greater than the width. They think that the best looking height: width ratio is 1.5:1.6 and the image needs to be in RGB colour. Now I personally would have no idea where to start producing such an image. However, for those in the know, it can be created in Paint. NET and should be saved as a jpeg image. Fortunately for me, my kind computer-programmer brother did my e-book cover after I sent him some ideas of what I wanted. He also did it for free, which is a bonus as I have no idea whether I will sell any of my books at all.

In fact, the whole process of self-publishing has so far been a bit of an anti-climax. It has been 7 days since I put my book up for sale and I thought I might immediately start selling books but apparently it doesn’t work like that. In the masses of books out there, my book is almost invisible. Therefore, I have started blogging again, in the hope of trying to attract customers to buy my book. Hopefully, someone out there is interested. I have read that some self-publishers put hours of effort into blogging/twittering etc. to advertise their book but at the end of the year, have not achieved much. So I need to make sure I don’t feel too upset if it doesn’t get me anywhere.

There has also been the question of price. What is the ideal price to start selling an e-book for? I have looked on the internet and it seems that you should start by either giving your book away for free or by selling it at a really low price such as £2/$2.99. You then raise the price of your book, once you have some reviews. Ignoring all the advice I have read, I have put my book on for a higher price just to see what happens and also because full-length parenting books seem to sell for more than £2/$2.99. I can see why people prefer to have an agent and a publisher do everything for them. A bit of advice and advertising can be very handy. As I have not had the luck of landing a publisher, I hope I can make my self-publishing journey as success. Wish me luck!

I have recently self-published an e-book ‘Psychology for parents: Birth to teens’. It is on sale at Amazon, Smashwords.com, Barnes and Noble, Kobobooks, Sony Ebookstore and Apple iBookstore.

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