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Tips For Authors Getting Headshots

You\'ve finally finished your book! After months of writing, followed by toing and froing with your beta readers and editor, the book is ready to go to print. But just as you\'re thinking of jetting away somewhere hot and having a much-deserved rest, your publisher (or Amazon Central) asks you for an author headshot.   You could give them that photo of you at your cousin\'s wedding, or the one work took for their website. Right?   Wrong.   In this guide, I\'ll be explaining how author headshots function, why having the perfect one matters, and I\'ll show you how to organise a professional photoshoot, get the right look, and make the best use of the result. I’ll also link to some real-life author headshot examples. The Importance Of Author Headshots Like any aspect of self-branding, the writer headshot should never be overlooked. However open-minded we like to think of ourselves, people make snap decisions about each other and what they have to offer based on what they look like. This also holds just as true for an author on the back of a book, as well as people we meet face to face.   This is both bad news and good. While a poor author portrait could put potential readers off your work, a good one can do the opposite. It\'s an excellent opportunity to communicate your genre, tone, and style. And it\'s in your control!  This is why it makes sense to invest time and money hiring a professional photographer for a photoshoot (unless you have a generous friend in the business who will do you a favour, or you’re exceptionally good at selfies and have a well-lit studio at home).  So where do you start?  Author Headshot Tips Find The Right Photographer  Traditional publishers will occasionally arrange author headshots themselves. Usually, however, it is left to you to choose a good local photographer. Make sure you follow any specific instructions from your publishing house – and if you\'ve collaborated with somebody else on this book, you will both need your own photo.   The ideal photographer will have taken this kind of portrait before, and they should be able to show you some of their previous work to help you decide. Take a look at the photographer’s online portfolio or check out the name of photographers that took author headshots you like from other local writers.  Are They Right For You? Choosing a photographer may not be a life-long commitment, but you are paying them to take photos that will be defining you as an author – not to mention spending a morning or afternoon with them. It’s important you feel comfortable around them. Meet them first to discuss your requirements or have a quick Zoom call to get an idea if you will work well together (after all, you may need more photos in the future). If you’re not happy, walk away. The more comfortable your photographer makes you feel, the better the results will be.  Calculate The Best Package For Your Budget Author headshots can cost thousands of pounds or dollars. However, the average cost is between £100 and £150 (US$100 and $250). Location shoots with multiple looks and outfit changes are likely to cost more than straightforward studio shots in front of a single background.  Confirm the price and what to expect within the package. Ideally, you want to own the images you choose (the alternative is paying a licence fee every time you use one). Find out whether you will need to pay for each photo separately or if the photographer will give you all the images in a digital file.   You may want your photos retouched to remove blemishes (dark circles under the eyes, for instance). The need for this may only become obvious after the shoot and add to the cost as it’s not always included. So be prepared for that.  Create A Good Brief  Decide the impression you want to make with the headshots and communicate this clearly to your photographer. What do you need to consider?  Research your competition To get an idea of what style of author portrait photo is right for you, look online at the Amazon pages and websites of other writers in your genre for inspiration.   What are you trying to get across in your author portrait? Are you fun and lively, or moody and dark? Is your work serious literary fiction, or do you write light and fun rom coms? The photos on the website of a picture book author will be very different from the one Ian Rankin uses for his crime books, for example.   Black-and-white or colour?  While black-and-white works well for high-brow literary types, most commercial authors choose colour. A traditional publisher may make this decision for you. The average release from Galley Beggar press wins at least one literary award, so it\'s no surprise the author photos on their website are all in monochrome. But bear in mind, if you wish to use the same photo for press, many magazines ask for a colour photo. Some writers use a number of images from the same shoot for various things.  Location, Setting, And Background The focus of the headshot should always be on the author\'s face. Thus, many writers use a plain studio background, particularly for online stores like Amazon. However, others use an appropriate setting, hoping it will help communicate their brand.   Mary Berry, famous cookery book writer and presenter of The Great British Bake Off, stands in a white kitchen for her author portrait. Robert Thorogood’s photo is in front of Marlow, the UK setting for his new cosy crime series. Cathy Cassidy, a Young Adult writer, is pictured in the back of a VW campervan.   The dark red wall behind Rory Sutherland’s Twitter profile, clashes with the bright red jacket he’s wearing. The overall effect is unexpected for a business guru, yet his latest release \'Alchemy\' has the tagline, \'The Magic of Original Thinking in a World of Mind-numbing Conformity.\' He’s not trying to be corporate.   Plain studio shots work particularly well for serious black-and-white photos. But remember, an entirely plain white background flatters very few people.  Image Styling: Be Yourself If I was being entirely myself in a writer headshot, I wouldn\'t brush my hair. That kind of honesty, however, would probably stop me selling books.   I\'m not suggesting you lie about who you are, but it’s important to project how you wish to be perceived. Think of yourself as the main character in a book about your writing career. What does this person wear? What expression and mannerisms do they use? Are they business-like, fun, or very serious?  Outfit Even authors going for ‘zany’ should keep their outfits as simple as they can. The safest plan is to wear one or two layers of plain clothing with an open collar. Busy patterns will detract from your face, as will too much jewellery. (The shy may see that as a good thing, but it isn\'t).  Period costumes may well suggest historical romance, but they will detract from the author’s face – and it’s important that your readers (and the press) know what you look like. Period romance author, Evie Dunmore, gets it right. Her outfit suggests a Victorian or Edwardian woman by wearing three simple items - a lace top, a wide-brimmed hat, and a pearl ornament in her hair. Not quite fancy dress, but enough of a nod to her genre.  Different make-up and clothes will look better in colour or black-and-white. If you\'re not sure which will work best, play around with both looks. You can always ask to have more than one photo taken at the shoot, but as discussed, this will increase time and possibly cost. Save time and money by taking selfies at home and asking friends and family what they think suits you best. Hairstyle This is probably not the time for a radical new hairstyle unless you\'re given to eye-catching changes. Ideally, you want readers to be able to recognise you at author events. Even if you don\'t think you’ll attend real-life book signings, you may want to appear online in a Facebook live, for instance. So if you\'re usually blonde and wear your hair back in a ponytail, do that. Now is not the time to try out a bright pink beehive. Lighting If the shoot is outside, the photographer will probably make the most of the natural light. Depending on the time of day this may be warm, soft, and flattering light. Let them decide the best time of day to achieve the look you are going for. For instance, during the late morning or early afternoon, there\'s usually a yellow light with few harsh shadows. And the ‘golden hour’, the period just after sunrise or before sunset, gives a red light and softer look.   Wherever the shoot, light on the face makes you look fresher and more approachable, a good thing for almost every author. If you write crime or horror, an arty portrait with your face in shadow may seem like a good idea. Take care, however. You don’t want to be confused with one of your villains! Practice Your Pose Body language matters, and so does being relaxed in front of a camera. This is the time where the mirror is your friend.   Choose a pose that feels natural. Don\'t force a smile or anything that doesn\'t feel right. If you\'re not comfortable, it will come across in your photos.   Consider if you\'re going to have your hands in the picture and what you can do with them to add to your message. For example, you could rest your chin and hands on a flat surface for an informal feel. Or hold your chin to look like a professional with good advice. Some authors cross their arms, but remember that depending on your genre this can look defensive and may make you look unapproachable.  Again, take a look at what other authors are doing. Some writers opt for the close up to be framed so no arms make it into the shot (a lot less pressure). Props You could also think about using an appropriate prop (and whether it would make you more or less comfortable during the shoot). Perhaps, you could hold your own book, or the Golden Dagger you were awarded last year. Again, the emphasis should be on you, so keep it simple and avoid cliché. Only use a prop if it will add to your overall message.   Also bear in mind whether this photo is just for one book, or you want it to be used for a number of years. It doesn’t always help to use a photo of you holding up your debut when five books down the line you are known for a lot more.  Rest Before The Shoot A photoshoot may seem like a largely passive activity, but how you feel on the day will affect how you look and come across on camera. Avoid those dark under-eye circles by drinking plenty of water and getting a good night\'s sleep beforehand.  Look Directly At The Camera Many headshots break this rule, but it helps create a sense of connection with the viewer. Again, ask yourself if you want to come across as a whimsical, mysterious writer or direct and approachable.  Be Relaxed The photographer will do their best to put you at ease, but there are also practical things you can do to help yourself on the day.   Allow yourself plenty of time to get to the shoot, so you\'re not rushing.   Remind yourself that however badly it turns out, your author headshot is nowhere near as important as writing a good book. And the photographer will take lots of photos, so you can always discard those you hate at the end. If it puts your mind at rest, ask to take a look at the first few shots to see if they are working.  And, going back to acting like a character in your own book, if it helps hide behind your new persona. Yesterday you were a nervous introverted debut writer, but today you are a famous author - cool, calm, and collected.  Listen To Your Photographer They should be able to guide you to an author headshot that works. If they say that a certain pose works best, listen to them. Take direction. They know what works.  Ask For Black-And-White Copies Of Your Colour Photos This increases your choice later on. You can convert the photos digitally yourself, but it’s usually better done by a professional.   Select The Right Images You may be tempted to choose the image that makes you look fifteen years younger or like a supermodel - but the best author headshot is the one that conveys the right message and reinforces your \'brand\'.   Ask other people to tell you honestly what they think, especially if they read the genre you write. Why not enlist the help of your followers on social media or your publisher’s publicity department? This can be a fun way to connect with readers and see yourself through their eyes.  Use The Same Photo Across All Of Social Media Consistency is key when it comes to self-branding. Whatever image you choose to use on your website or the back of the print book, use the same photo across online stores and social media. This will make it easier for readers to recognise you as the same person and, hopefully, increase your number of follows.  But, like most rules, some are made to be broken. Picture book author, Julia Donaldson, uses a headshot with a plain studio background for her Amazon page but she’s surrounded by soft toy versions of her characters on her website. There’s a particularly good photo of her reading to the Gruffalo.   So, if your Linked In profile is serious and you are using it to connect to the industry to sell them a self-help book you are pitching – perhaps don’t use the same sultry image of yourself that appears on the website of your raunchy erotica series.  Keep Your Photos Up-To-Date Whatever the temptation to stay eternally young in your reader\'s minds, you should upload a new book author headshot every two to three years – especially if you change genre or publisher. As your career evolves, so should your photos. To Summarise… All in all, preparing for the perfect author portrait shoot is simple.  Hire a professional, brief them well, prepare your look and setting beforehand, and relax during the shoot. If you follow this advice, you should have a great headshot to add to the rest of your marketing package.  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

How to Ruin Your Author Brand

When Author Branding Goes Wrong Just as you put thought and dedication toward what you write as an author, the same focus should be put on your writer brand. Author branding tells your readers a story about who you are and inspires them to connect with your work.   Think about some of your favorite businesses. What draws you to them and what sort of characteristics come to mind? What about the brand keeps you coming back?  You should consider the same questions when it comes to your writer brand. Creating a strong, defined presence will significantly help you find and connect with your readers – helping them know if what you create is for them, and what to expect from you in the future.   Getting started on your branding involves several different factors from conceptualisation to marketing. In this guide you will learn exactly what elements to focus on, along with us sharing a few author branding examples for inspiration!  What is Author Branding?  Author branding is how you choose to present your values, mission, credibility, and personality to readers. In order to create your author brand, you should start by identifying your target readership. Remember you’re not aiming to appeal to everyone; a loyal target audience is more beneficial than trying to reach all readers.   Once you know who you want to connect with you can work on developing your brand voice and the face you will put out into the world. Tell your story and showcase what makes you different from other authors in your niche, it’s your USP (unique selling point). This also ties into your brand appearance, which might include consistent colours, logos, and fonts across your website and social media channels.   For instance, if you’re a horror writer then the images you share, posts you write, and general look of your social media will differ from that of a children’s writer who publishes books on unicorns and fairies.   As a horror writer you may link to horror-related shows, other books, funny images, explain your writing journey, run a competition around Halloween etc. Whereas a children’s author is more likely to talk about school visits, sharing cute pictures, talking about funny things kids said to them, inspiration for their books, and get behind child-related charities etc  Your writer brand should offer an experience for your readers, and as you gain your following you also want to make sure to stay consistent with reader expectations. Yes, building a winning brand is a lot of work but it’s 100% worth it for longevity (and can be a lot of fun). The Importance of Author Branding  So why is having an author brand so important?   For one, it’s what helps inform readers why they should buy or support your content. When you have a strong, effective brand, it shows your audience that you’re an expert and demonstrates why they can trust your writing.  Your author brand is also a bridge of communication with your audience, keeping them engaged and excited. When readers feel they have a personal connection with you and your work it keeps them coming back for more.   You can engage with your audience by asking their opinions, talking about real experiences, and most importantly, being consistent. Getting your author brand right is only a small part of your author marketing activity – it’s more PR than sales. Remember: only 10-20% of what you post online should be promoting your work (no one likes to be sold to). This is about giving a clear picture of what you stand for as a writer.  Your brand also goes a long way with reinforcing your overall reputation. For example, if you are going live on your social media and interacting with your followers, they’ll get to know you as a reliable brand. Responding to comments, answering inquiries, and providing meaningful content are all reputation boosters. A positive image is crucial for marketing success! Author Branding Mistakes Now that it’s clear exactly how beneficial author branding can be for your writing career, we want to also highlight just how damaging certain mistakes can be. It takes a long time to build a good reputation, but it doesn’t take long to ruin your author brand.  So take your time building your brand in order to avoid certain pitfalls that can diminish all of your hard work. Here are a few common author branding mistakes to avoid: Failing to Connect with the Right Audience  As previously stated, determining your audience should be the first step to take when considering your brand. If you fail to target the right audience then no connection will be built, and that is bad for business.   Your tribe will be naturally interested in you and your story, so it’s up to you to deliver stories, visuals, and content that match your niche audience and the product (i.e. books/your writing) you are promoting. This all helps to establish an emotional connection that must be maintained to keep your audience interested on a deeper level.  If you are struggling to pinpoint one specific target market, it can help to imagine an avatar, a literal representation of who your reader is. Then have that image in mind when deciding what to talk about and share. If your make-believe ideal reader is Jane, a thirty-year-old mother living in Idaho who enjoys pottery and poetry – then great. Think of all the things Jane would like to know about, not just about your books but your life and interests that may match hers too. And if 65-year-old Bob from London hates that content, then that doesn’t matter. Don’t change a thing. Bob isn’t your target market.  The more you stay focused and consistent, the easier it will be to naturally form a coherent audience that grows and supports you and your work. Poor Market Understanding As you start to consider yourself as a brand and a business, you’ll need to also think about competitors. You have to research the market to understand what others in your niche are doing. Focus on what they are doing well and what they could improve upon. How are competitors influencing audience perception? Not doing your due diligence when it comes to competitive analysis will adversely affect your author brand.   If you see that an author of similar books to you is getting a lot of traction by sharing certain pictures or asking certain questions, see how you could do similar things. But that doesn’t mean losing your individualism…  No USP Think about some of the most popular writers across different genres. The reason they stand out is because they have a unique selling point, also known as USP. Your author brand needs to convey how you are different from the thousands of other writers in the market. Simply matching what competing brands are doing won’t make a reader want to choose you over them. You must clearly communicate your own brand values, vision, and a strong author identity to be unique.   Inconsistent Messaging and Visuals Do you have a website? Social media channels? Do you attend public events or take part in school visits?  While completely different platforms, the content you post should be consistent across all forms of communication. Online you should identify colors, fonts, and logos that best reflect who you are as an author. Then ensure you use your branding kit when you post visuals. If people don’t automatically recognise your work, it’s impossible to stand out from the competition – this is especially relevant to those who write non-fiction, run a blog, or offer freelance writing services.  Your messaging should also be consistent, making sure that you (or a social media manager) always write in the same voice and tone. And when you are taking part in public events, reflect that brand. You should act, look, and sound exactly as they expect you to.  Some authors like to be visually recognised when at public events: Terry Pratchett was known for his hat and scarf, V E Schwab wears cat ears to her signings, and Jackie Collins wouldn’t be seen dead without her big jewellery, big hair, and very glam outfits!  No Brand Strategy Without a brand strategy, you won’t have any structure for your author brand. Without structure, you won’t have consistency and that can contribute to brand failure. A solid brand strategy is built from your values and vision. You need to find the balance between authenticity and having a clear direction.  Once you have achieved that, you can identify your goals, and then determine how you will track them. These can include financial goals, marketing goals, or goals set around content production. Consider how you’ll position your brand and iron out how you will highlight your value proposition.   With all of these elements in your strategy, you will have brand success.   All this may not be as relevant to fiction authors who are simply wanting to showcase their books and talk about their writing journey (some authors are lucky enough to have huge support from their publishers in terms of marketing, so don’t feel the need to be on Twitter every day). But it’s highly important if you write non-fiction and wish to prove your worth as an expert in your field, if you want to interact with your readers, or if you are looking to create hype in order to sell more self-published books, attract an agent, or get readers excited about a new book release.  A Subpar Website You don’t have to invest a lot of money in a web designer. In fact, there are plenty of DIY website builders like Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress that are more than good enough for writers.   However, you do have to ensure your site looks professional and accurately represents your brand. Your webpage is where readers (as well as reviewers, press, interested publishing professionals etc) can go to learn more about release dates or new announcements. It’s also a hub for your social media channels and contact info.   Keep your domain active and make sure your site is up to date, has a press kit with working purchase links, author photo, your contact info, and that it all loads properly. It can reflect poorly on your brand if your website looks subpar.  Stay On-Brand Many authors gets sucked into Twitter wars or make mistakes in their career. That’s OK, we are all human, but often it’s not the strident opinion that the public and their fans take umbrage at…it’s that their opinion is off-brand.  If you are an children’s author writing stories about equality, but you don’t think kids in the UK should have free school meals, you’re off-brand. If you write about saving the planet and you wear a fur coat to a signing event, you’re off-brand. If you spend a year posting funny content and wise writing advice, then all your post from then on are photos of your pet snake, people will stop following you. A huge U-turn is the fastest way to undo your hard work and stop your hard-won readers from trusting you.  So pick three words that represent you, your values, and your work – and ensure all you do reflects that.  Get Branding! Author branding is something all writers should create a strategy for. Showing your readers who you are and connecting with them on an emotional level is key to building a fanbase. Yes, it takes dedication but as long as you avoid these common branding mistakes you will easily win the hearts (and trust) of your readers – and in turn, you will have an audience that will not only support you but encourage others to as well!  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

A Simple Guide To Social Media For Authors

Many an author, struggling to balance writing with the constant pressure of having to be visible online, often finds themselves asking – ‘But do I really need social media?’  Let’s take a look.   Do Authors Need Social Media? Yes and no. If the thought of spending time online trying to engage with strangers in the hope they might buy your book is distressing in any way, then the simple answer is don’t do it. My agent has never asked me if I have a social media presence, and neither has my editor. Social media takes time, effort and planning – it’s not something we all have the time or inclination for.   However, it’s worth noting that while the UK industry doesn’t currently seem to mind too much what you do or don’t do online, this isn’t always the case in other parts of the world and the goalposts are always changing.  A strong social media presence is beneficial in many ways – especially if you’re an aspiring writer or an independent author. Without the marketing clout of a publisher, social media is the cheapest (well, free) way for you to be seen. Remember that your potential readers are likely to have at least one social media account to their name, if not several. Developing an author brand and connecting with your audience can massively boost your profile and get your books where you want them – in the hands and under the noses of readers and industry decision-makers. This article isn’t a deep dive into the intricacies and algorithm theories of each social media platform. Feel free to research this once you decide to make the leap into the mire of author social media. This article is less of a how-to….and more of a why-to, when it comes to social media. This may sound rather intimidating for a beginner but don’t panic, here are some tips on social media marketing for authors. Social Media Platforms For Writers Rule number one: know your audience.  The number of platforms you can use might seem dizzying, but you don’t need all of them. Social media professionals always say to focus on one or two. Ask yourself - Who will most likely read my books? Which social media platforms are they more likely to use? It might be worth looking at your comparative book titles before you start investigating. For instance, how do your favourite authors in your genre use their social media? Let’s look further at some of the more popular platforms and look at how different authors are utilising them to their benefit.  Facebook Did you know 66% of the UK population is on Facebook? That’s a lot of potential readers meaning it’s a popular platform for writers of certain genres. Currently, the biggest expansion in regular users is coming from the 65+ age group, with younger users dropping off. Although it’s still the most popular platform in the world and (especially for genres catering to over 30s and parents) it’s a great way to connect with potential readers. Before you consider creating your own author page, take a look at some of the reading groups that already exist and join as a reader (most of them won’t let you promote your own books, but occasionally they have exceptions). Crime novels are extremely well represented on Facebook – the UK Crime Book Club alone has 20,000 members. Being present in groups like this and interacting on posts by readers is a small but effective way to raise your profile (and you’ll find loads of other great books to read too!). One author who is great on Facebook is Clare Mackintosh, who runs her own monthly book club group. It has 8,000 members, and people post recommendations and requests daily for new reads. Clare is very active in the group, often commenting and starting discussions as well as running the monthly ‘readalong’. She also offers various promotions and sneak peeks which are very popular.   If you aren’t too keen, just a simple page where you share your news is fine – you can have a look at mine if you like. I don’t use Facebook a lot, but it’s useful for having a foothold that I can amp up later or use as a base for future advertising. It also keeps a nice record of various reviews and things to look back on and allows people to tag you in relevant posts. Or irrelevant ones – it happens!  Twitter Twitter is a popular social network for writers as it’s instant and in real time and focuses on short, succinct posts (though always add a picture if you can – they get 150% more engagement!) I find Twitter to be the simplest of all platforms to use - easy snippets, easy shares, easy interaction. This is where you’ll find your 30-49 year olds and is the most popular platform for male users; 68% according to these demographics. You can find your people on Twitter by following other authors in your genre and checking what they’re up to, and by searching hashtags like #writingcommunity. If you’re lucky you may even go viral, which (although no guarantee of increasing sales) it certainly gets you lots of exposure and often media picks up on viral trends and posts. Regardless, you\'ll benefit from being part of a social network for writers within these smaller Twitter communities. It’s worth remembering that Twitter is a good place for your readers to get to know a bit more about you as a person aside from your writing. So don’t just share promotions, write about other things too. What are you reading? What is your writing process like? Hear any good advice recently? Ask questions, and don’t forget to interact with other people’s posts.  One of my favourite authors to follow on Twitter is Margaret Atwood. I like how she engages with her fans online by retweeting articles, promoting things she’s up to and even responding to fellow writers about her creative process. She ‘liked’ one of my tweets once and I nearly expired. Instagram Instagram is where you’ll find more women hanging out, and your slightly younger audience – 70% of users are under 35. Although that doesn’t mean us oldies can’t enjoy it – I love Instagram. You can use it to post pictures of yourself or your books, or anything really, and use hashtags to make your posts easier to find.  Instagram is absolutely stuffed with book reviewers. They’re an amazing community to get involved with and can help get a real buzz going about your work. It’s not just about the pretty pictures – I rarely post on my ‘grid’ – it’s the ‘Instagram stories’ that work for me, and for lots of other authors too. One of my current favourites to follow is Elodie Harper, author of Wolf Den, a novel set in Pompeii, pre-eruption. She often shares beautiful mosaics and art from the period, giving a wonderful taste of the time and the basis of her inspiration in her stories. TikTok Getting involved with ‘BookTok’ (ie book lovers on Tik Tok) is becoming a truly inspired way to reach the youngest of social media users. If you’re writing YA or older MG, get yourself on there! Tik-Tok is the fastest growing platform in the world and the most used – one hour per day on average – with more than a billion users. There are already lots of authors paving the way on TikTok – one to follow is Victoria Aveyard, author of the Red Queen series. She shares all sorts, from insights into the publishing world, how to structure novels, to killing your darlings. She’s also really funny, which always helps. Social media isn’t always about self-promotion, though. You can always follow just for fun, and BookTok really is just that – fun. It’s also a great way for an author to relax and procrastinate productively! Other Social Platforms While we’ve listed the main contenders, there are other platforms that might suit you and your needs more.   Pinterest Pinterest is the corkboard of the internet, full of tips and how-to’s on any subject you can imagine. Try searching up a topic you’re interested in and have fun ‘pinning’ all the articles to read later – you might even want to write and share your own! Many authors use social media platforms like Pinterest to create secret inspiration boards for their novels, and it’s a great way to link blogs to your website to pretty images. One of the good things about Pinterest is you don’t actually have to talk to anyone… YouTube YouTube is the platform for the hardcore videographer. Alexa Donne is a powerhouse – check out her videos for pretty much everything you need to know about anything ever.   LinkedIn LinkedIn is where you wear your suit. Professional profiles for connecting with other writers on a more business-level – basically an interactive online CV. Great for connecting with industry professionals too. Goodreads Goodreads…never mind. Probably best that no author goes on there unless they have a thick skin. But in all seriousness, many find it a great site on which to log their own reading progress, run book giveaways, and gauge the reaction to their books before they are published. Social Media Advertising All the stuff we’ve talked about so far is completely free. However, you can pay to harness the power that is the social media behemoth. Facebook and Instagram both offer paid advertising opportunities which can be very successful but do your research first! Learn how to set up audiences for your ad and how to clone audiences that other ads use. It’s much easier than staring at the back end of your ad and crying because no one is clicking through, believe me. There’s lots to consider but get it right and you’re on your way, because Facebook still remains the most targeted form of affordable advertising out there.  How To Interact With Your Audience Social media lets you directly interact with your audience. This can be amazing, but also a little scary. Here are a few tips on getting it right:  The Three E’s You might be asking yourself - ‘What the hell do I write about now I’m here?’   A rule of thumb is the three E’s: when writing a post make it either Entertaining, Engaging or Educational. Or all three if you’re clever. People want to be entertained, they want to be part of things, and they want to learn (usually).   Community Matters Basically, your vibe finds your tribe. Cultivate your community so it’s full of the people you want, preferably ones you admire and care about. For instance, there’s absolutely no reason why Twitter need be a stressful place for you if the only people you follow are those posting about books, cats, and baking!  You already know how to talk to the people important to you, so simply treat the people who now live in your phone/laptop the same way. These are the people whose feedback and opinion matters. If they like your posts, they might buy your book. If they like you too, they might tell other people to buy your book as well.   Find Other Authors One of the biggest draws to social media (especially Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) is how vital it is for finding other writers and building your own support network. There are legions of fellow writers all over the internet, on all the platforms, in all guises, at all stages of their careers. They are your people – go find them. Talk to them, ask them questions. Join groups and chats and hashtags. Writing can be a lonely occupation, but it doesn’t have to be.  The wonderful thing about the #WritingCommunity on Twitter, especially, is that everyone is just as lost as you. Don’t be shy to create a page and then post along the lines of ‘Hi, I’m new to the writing world. I’m looking to follow and chat to other writers of xyz.’ Or ask for critique partners or beta readers. You’ll be surprised how many like-minded (and just as lost) writers jump at the chance to be part of your squad.   Share New Writing Projects There’s nothing quite as exciting to an avid reader as a teaser for what you’re writing next. How are you getting on? Are you editing yet? Can we read some, pleeeease? You get the picture.  Demonstrate Audience Appreciation An author who clearly appreciates their audience is a popular one. You can demonstrate this by offering exclusive content to your advocates, by including them in discussions, and by sharing their content as well as your own. Some authors even run fun giveaways, such as ‘Follow me and you may be picked to have your name appear as a character in my next novel.’ Include your audience in inventive and engaging ways!  So, Is Social Media Useful For Authors? Undeniably, yes! Social media is very useful for authors who want to create communities, find their audience and showcase their work. There’s no direct evidence that it will increase your sales, but it WILL create positive PR and get you exposure, which all helps.  So get out there, have a quiet little chat or TikTok dance your way into the hearts of your readers. However you choose to use social media, make sure it works for you and you have fun!  Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

A Complete Guide to Using a Pen Name

Budding writers often ask whether they should use their real name or create a pen name. The truth is pen names can be very handy. Whether you don’t want your boss to know that you spend your nights writing about peacocking lords and their throbbing members, or you don’t want your aunt Susan to find out she was the sole inspiration for your serial killer MC. Hey, it’s her fault for being a countryside taxidermist, right? In this complete guide to using a pen name we will cover the many reasons authors might consider using pen names for their work, explain why it might be right for you, and how to pick a pen name of your very own. And check out our post on the pros and cons of using a pen name to help you decide if it\'s the right move for you. What is a Pen Name? Simply put, a pen name is a pseudonym chosen by an author and used on their by-lines for their work. It’s also referred to as a Nom de Plume. Despite the words being French the expression originates from England, when the English failed to use the then common French expression Nom de Guerre (Name of War) which was used by the French at the time to describe pseudonyms. They later switched to using the catchier expression Nom de Plume (Name of Feather – as in a feathered quill). Famous pen names include Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson), George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair), Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), and even the mighty Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet.) Why Authors Use Pen Names There are countless reasons authors may choose to write under pen names - from privacy concerns, legal reasons, or preferring the sound and visual aesthetics, to the desire to choose a pen name that will better appeal to their readers. The reasons can range from the obvious to the very specific. In order to help you make your decision on whether or not you should use a pen name and how to use one, we will delve into the most common reasons pen names are used in the first place. Privacy Of all the uses pen names have, keeping your identity secret is probably the least useful. Yet, nonetheless, one of the most common. Consider this, a book will flail and burn if not properly promoted, and since we know author promotion starts with your existing network, being completely secretive about your work will probably not do you any favours in the long run. With that said, there are reasons authors would like to keep their identities secret from families, colleagues, and institutions. A few notable examples include stories inspired by true events or memoirs that depict toxic family members or dysfunctional family dynamics. Some authors may want to write about the domestic abuse they’ve experienced, but don’t want to write under their own name and have the work traced back to them. Often people will choose pen names to retain privacy from their employers. Just because an employer can look you up on LinkedIn and Facebook doesn’t mean you want them to read your violent novels, or know that you write erotica, or have access to your dark poetry collections. The truth is many authors retain their day jobs whilst simultaneously pursuing careers as authors and it makes sense to keep both worlds apart. Though the degree of anonymity you are able to retain is up for debate. As we mentioned earlier, the success of a book depends heavily on marketing – basic requirements, such as author bios and author pictures, will still give you away – but you can still retain a degree of anonymity with employers and control what they see when they google you. Pen names can also be beneficial if you are being critical of an employer or institution in your work. If you, for example, are on the police force but are writing about incompetent cops and corruption, you may wish to keep the two separate. All in all, privacy plays a large role in people choosing to use pen names. Change Gender Female authors are (whether we like it or not) more popular in the romance genre, and male readers tend to buy more crime thrillers written by other men. This is of course all very outdated, but nonetheless factually accurate. Of course, this won’t stop an author penning the book of their dreams - so those worried that the gendering of their name might affect their sales may opt for a unisex pen name, or a pen name with initials. Back in the mid-nineteenth century, when women weren’t as prolific in the world of writing, Mary Ann Evans wrote under the pseudonym George Eliot in order to be taken more seriously. And it worked! Clashing Names Some authors adopt pen names because their real names clash with, or are the same as, those of existing authors, actors, politicians or even people famous for a negative reason. Before setting off on your author career it’s probably a good idea to look at the viability of your name from a legal, practical, and even SEO standpoint (how easily Google can find you). Something I realised only a year into my career was that Sylvester Stallone’s mother was named Jacqueline, which means I (Jacqueline Silvester) often have to contend with Rambo’s mom trumping my SEO. Of course, this isn’t going to affect my writing career too much, but if your name is similar or the same as someone with a lot of internet presence, you might want to consider a pen name. You especially don’t want your name to clash with an existing author or media personality, it will just cause unnecessary confusion and you will be fighting an uphill SEO battle. Genre It’s common for authors to pick pen names or alter their current name (i.e add an initial or swap to a maiden name or deviation) when switching genres. As an author you build a personal brand, and (hopefully) a loyal following. A readership will have expectations about what sort of work you release. So if you have a following that has read your last six quirky romance books and suddenly you release a bloody psychological thriller, they might be put off and lose faith in your brand. This is especially true if you’re making a massive leap in genre (erotica to middle grade, for instance) in which case it\'s vital you change your author name. You certainly don’t want readers to be confused or auto-buy your books, or for a child who has loved your kids’ mermaid stories to end up getting a hold of your much more…umm… 18+ mermaid content. Another thing to consider is that authors often choose names that suit their genre. Names in children’s literature tend to be easy to pronounce, light and airy, with an air of magic or mystery. For example, the famous pen name Lewis Carroll sounds more delightful than his birth name Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, and Lemony Snicket (author of A Series of Unfortunate Events) sounds more whimsical and adventurous than Daniel Handler. Consider creating a new, more fitting, pen name when switching genres. Aesthetical Preference Some people simply don’t like their name and don’t think it will look good on the cover of a book, or the by-line of a heart-breaking poem. Sometimes authors want something with more flare, or a less common name. We can’t all have Kris Jenner’s foresight and be born into a family with perfectly trademarkable names peppered with alliteration, like the Kardashian clan. And we can’t all be born with a perfect sounding name like Stephen King. Although even King resorted to using a pen name (Richard Brachman) when he realised his incredible output required two names instead of one, so he chose a separate name for his more twisted work. Author Output and Co-Writing Speaking of Stephen King, in trade publishing authors are generally expected to release one book a year (it takes a long time for trade publishing to market and position all their books), so if your output exceeds that you may choose to use a different pen name so you can churn out more work. Stephen King did it, and so does Sophie Kinsella (who also writes under the pen name Madeline Wickham) because trade publishers will very rarely publish and market multiple books a year under one name. Co-authors will often choose to co-write under one joint pen name too. It simplifies marketing and PR, plus one cohesive name on the cover instead of both names means their new work won’t be mistaken for their previous solo backlist. How to Choose a Pen Name As outlined above if privacy is a concern, or if you would like to distance parts of your life from your work, a pen name could be just the ticket. If you don’t like the way your name looks on a book, or if you don’t think it’s easy to remember or pronounce, or if you think you’ll be fighting an uphill battle with SEO, you should opt for a pen name. Whatever your reason (you don’t even need one), here are some ways to help you pick a pen name. Did you know, like with any other trends, there are trends for author names in your genre? Romance novelists, for instance, often choose names with a romantic flare. When choosing a joint pen name for our paranormal romance series Blood Web Chronicles, my co-author and I landed on Caedis Knight. ‘Caedis’ means ‘slaughter and bloodshed.’ We write romance, and the name sounds quite modern with a heroic surname, but we also wanted to make it clear we write dark paranormal romance. Had we opted to write more floral country romance, then a name like Rose Delacourt would have been a better fit. Or had it been BDSM erotica, we may have opted for Scarlett Pane. Yes, this pen name game is a lot of fun! The first step of choosing the perfect pen name is research. Go to a bookshop (or go online) and browse your intended genre. See what trends you see in the way names look and sound. Examine the names in depth. What are their genders? Do they use full names or initials? Is there anything distinctive about the chosen names? Who is your target audience and what would they like? Ask yourself what sort of name your target audience would find memorable? When you have a shortlist, choose a name that’s easy to spell and pronounce. Make sure it’s not already used and isn’t associated with anything bad (e.g. Fred West). Check the name’s SEO viability; are you competing against the name of a popular brand? For example, Kath Kidson might sound like a great pen name but, because of the brand, you would be crazy to use it. Even if it’s your actual name. Also check whether the URL is already owned. Having your author name as your website is ideal, so if you get to choose your name choose one where the domain name isn’t already taken. Once you’ve completed all your research, start putting pen to paper and get brainstorming! In Conclusion Picking a pen name is a very personal choice, but one you can approach freely and confidently knowing that countless authors have chosen this route. Remember that a pen name is akin to a stage name - it serves a purpose and that purpose can be whatever you want it to be. Consider your genre first, your personal privacy preferences, the aesthetic appeal of your name, and make sure to check it for SEO, legal issues, commonality, and genre appeal. Lastly, make sure that you absolutely love it – because if things go well, your author name will be everywhere! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Do Professional Writers Need a Website?

One of the questions writers ask most frequently is - “does an author need a website?” With so many ways to promote yourself online now, from social media to forums, do you really need to go to the expense and hassle of creating a website for you and your books? The simple answer is…yes! In this article I will guide you through everything you need to know, from what makes a good author website, to whether you need one of your own. By the end of this blog, you will understand the perks of having your own dedicated website and how it can be instrumental to building your author brand. Do Professional Writers Need a Website? Whether you are an author, journalist, poet, playwright, freelance writer, or any kind of writer, it is likely you have asked yourself the same question. As a writer there are already so many things you need to do to get your work out there, this feels like one very large and unnecessary thing to add to your to do list. Bear with me, because you’re about to find out how this may well be one of the most important things you can do for you and your future as a writer. Regardless of the industry you are in, your online presence can contribute massively to your brand and the success of your creative work. You wouldn’t set up a new business without having a website – and being a writer or author is no different.  According to Internet World Stats, there are over 4.2 billion internet users, and Google averages about 40,000 searches per second, so it stands to reason that the internet is instrumental to the success of any brand today. I’m sure even Shakespeare would have had a website if he were around today! Having your own website doesn’t mean you need to be tech-savvy, or that you need to invest in a professional designer. But when your book is in the shops and the press or a reader Googles you, you want to make sure you are able to share everything about you and your work that you can. So where do you start? Let’s look at this in more detail… Reasons Why Writers Need a Website Social Media isn’t Enough Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Tumblr are great platforms on which to promote your businesses and the perfect place to engage with your audience, but you don\'t want your business to live solely on social media. Firstly, you have very little control. Recently, Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp were down for around 6 hours, all at once! That’s six hours that people can’t find out anything about you. Social media platforms can also delete or restrict accounts when they wish. And even though most of these platforms are established and been about for years, neither do we know if they will be around for ever – or as popular.  Ideally, you want your brand to live on your own domain. You own and control your website; there are no rules or conditions you have to comply with. Your website belongs only to you, and you can post any kind of content you want and conduct any form of marketing or advertising on it that you wish. Personal Brand Development A personal brand is your identity – and when you are an author, that reflects on your work too. Just like any organisation’s personal brand helps convey their values and identities to its customers, your own personal brand helps you communicate who you are and what you stand for to your readers. When you control what’s on your website, you control the narrative. Your author website provides a platform to tell your story, communicate a coherent brand image, showcase your expertise, qualifications, works, professionalism, plus shout about your publishing achievements to readers, the press, and other publishing professionals. Example 1Judy Moody is a fun children’s book series by Megan McDonald. The creative style and illustration of the author’s website perfectly reflects the brand image of the author: Build a Community A professional website presents you with an opportunity to build an active community where readers can interact directly with you, get an exclusive insight on you and your work, and provide feedback that you can use for future work. You can also build a newsletter, which has a much higher ‘book sale’ conversion rate than most other forms of advertising. Visitors can subscribe to your mailing list where you can keep in touch with them weekly or monthly. These newsletters can attract a lot of interest in the long run as subscribers who are already in love with what you do are more likely to recommend your books or services to other people who are looking for great writers. Personal recommendations go a long way in promoting your personal brand. Gain Audience Trust Most people go online to search for more information about a person or brand. According to wpforms, 55% of people search the internet for a brand’s website – and that includes your book. You can lose respect and credibility with readers if you can’t be found online. A strong website that showcases your brand, your work, and you, is a great way of demonstrating that you are as reputable as you claim to be. Example 2Aside from the immersive experience Jennifer Egan’s website gives its visitors, it also showcases reviews from reputable sites which is a great way of building trust with her readers. Interaction Opportunities Just like all social media platforms, a website is a great medium for interacting with your audience. You can even create a forum on your website where members of your community can interact with you and each other. You can also set up a blog on your website where you can get feedback from visitors. Links to these blog posts or forum topics can be shared on your own social media platforms, and are also likely to be shared by your community members – helping spread the word to their like-minded contacts. Social media can also be instrumental in driving traffic to your website. Instead of creating a long thread or post on your social media personal pages, it’s always easier to share links to your website or specific pages – ensuring your marketing remains cohesive and everyone gets to hear about you. Establish a Content Hub A website also provides you with a great content platform on which you can showcase your work. Editors, publishers, press, and readers who are interested in your work can find everything they need, in one place, on your website.  Example 3Gretchen Rubin’s website provides more than just information about herself and her brand. Her website offers extra value as it’s also filled with blog posts, podcasts, quizzes, and other resources. This is highly appealing to her visitors and makes them more likely to return to her website. Be Competitive Whether you like it or not, your writing should be treated as a business if you want to succeed. You want your author name to be found on search engines when people look for you. There are thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) great writers out there - so how will your prospective readers find you? A writer website gives you a competitive advantage as not only will it help people find you, but it boosts credibility and perceived value. Put simply, people are more likely to trust a brand with a dedicated website featuring detailed information and services than a business that doesn’t offer that. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Your website doesn\'t just provide information about you and your work, it can also boost your visibility on the internet. The more visitors you have, the higher the ranking on the search engine results page. According to Forbes, 75% of people never go past the first page of search engine results, hence the need for your website to rank as high as you can on the organic search engine results page. By incorporating SEO practices into a website for an article writer there is a decent chance of it being easily accessible. Regularly updating your website with relevant content and adding keywords to your content are SEO practices you should consider. So, if you are a romance writer specialising in books about Victorian detectives – make sure you use those terms as often as you (naturally) can on your website. Because when someone Googles ‘Romance novels featuring Victorian detectives’ you want to be the first person they find! Example 4In terms of design and functionality, Austin Kleon’s website is up there with top author pages. The website demonstrates his brand, it’s easy to use, and it’s evident that he updates it regularly and is always bringing out new books. Save Time and Money Aside from the fact that websites are affordable to set up and maintain, they can also save you a lot of time and money. When querying your work with agents, many ask for your website. Likewise, when press want to write about you and your book, you don’t have to keep sending long emails or press releases to each separate media company – simply direct them to your press kit on your site featuring bios, credited author photo download, and everything they need to know about your work and where to buy it. Publication Platform Having your own author website means you are free to publish your work, on your site, for free – whenever you want. As established earlier, there are no restrictions guiding the timing and content you can publish on your website. Many authors like to publish free short stories for their readers, or run competitions on their newsletters, or use this free content as a way to get people to subscribe to their newsletter. Example 5David Sedaris’s brilliant website showcases his books in a simple fashion. The “works” section on the website is unique, creative, and tells the whole story. Also, publishing content on your blog regularly keeps your visitors engaged and helps you collect feedback.  Derive Revenue A website can also be a valuable sales platform – especially for self-published authors. As of 2021, 27.6% of the world population makes the majority of their purchases online. It’s easier, quicker, and faster to buy books online than in a bookstore (especially with those with mobility issues, living in remote areas, or unable to leave the house). And with the recent lockdowns, online book purchasing has seen its largest rise ever. The best author websites have a payment gateway feature. You can integrate a payment system on your website that allows people to place orders for your book and checkout with ease or simply connect visitors to other distribution platforms such as your favourite indie bookstore, Amazon, or your publisher’s online shop. How Much Does a Website Cost to Create? Websites are cheaper and easier to set up and maintain than people realise. Your first stop is creating a domain name – this should be your author name. Luckily most people find that the url of their name isn’t taken. If it is, you can always add the word ‘books’ or ‘author’ after your name.Next you need to design your site. If you haven’t a clue how to create your own author website, there are several DIY sites such as WordPress, Squarespace or with a template collection from which you can choose any author website template and edit it to your style. Examples of inspiring author website design templates can be also found on Pinterest. However, if you want a unique author website design, you can always hire a professional. Get Seen I hope this guide has helped you understand the importance of having an author website, and why it’s worth the investment in time and money. Not every author wants a website, and perhaps if you write for fun or only have one book to promote, you may not see the need for it. But remember, if your work is competing against that of dozens of similar writers – it’s the one with the largest online presence who will be found first! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community.

How to Control Your Self-Publishing Costs

How to Control Your Self-Publishing Costs So you’ve chosen the self-publishing route, and as a responsible author-entrepreneur, you’ve no doubt set out to create a detailed self-publishing budget for your book. Unfortunately, you’ve discovered you don’t have unlimited money, and are facing some tough choices. How do you control your costs without compromising your vision? In this article, we’ll show you some effective ways to reduce your self-publishing costs—and warn you away from some unsafe ideas that could do more harm than good. To begin with, let’s examine your budget situation. Know Where You Stand I’m going to assume you’ve set a maximum budget for your project, and that you have an idea of the cost to publish a book. You should therefore know the relationship between your budget and your expected costs. If you’ve got room to work with, great! You can use this article to check for any extra savings that might allow you to shift more of your budget to promotions or future books. But if you’re feeling the squeeze, start by calculating how much you need to save. Then, you can use this article to identify the safest ways to save that money, without compromising your book’s potential. As you read, keep in mind your audience’s quality expectations. Each genre or category has its own standards. Don’t do anything that would bring your book below your audience’s expectations. Book Editing and Proofreading Costs Editing and proofreading can easily take up 40-50% of your budget, making this a tempting target. But savings here are not always easy to come by. You should banish from your mind any thought of not paying a professional editor. No matter how good you are at self-editing, you can’t see your own blind spots. Use a professional, but prepare your manuscript well, so that their time and effort produces the most possible value for you. And please don’t even think of using an automated correction tool for your final edit. The technology simply isn’t there yet—you’ll end up “incorrecting” passages that were actually correct as-is. Check spelling, of course, but leave grammar and phrasing to the humans. So, with those ground rules in mind, what can you actually do to reduce your book editing costs? Keep a list of any errors your beta-readers report. Before sending your manuscript to your editor, correct those errors, and search your manuscript to see whether you’ve made the same mistake elsewhere.Learn to self-edit effectively. By removing distractions such as repetitive tics or basic errors, you help your editor to focus on finding problems you can’t see.Avoid unnecessary rounds of editing or proofreading. Keep your audience’s quality standard in mind, but don’t get caught up in perfectionism. Internalize this truth: widely promoting a book that contains a handful of trivial errors is a better business strategy than weakly promoting a book whose text is flawless. In the end, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to save a lot of money on your required editing. It’s simply a less flexible cost than others—so let’s move on and look at some of those. Book Layout Costs Your layout needs and costs will depend a lot on the type of book you’re publishing, and so will your cost-cutting decisions. If your book is a visual product (for example, a recipe book), you should be very cautious about cutting any corners on your layout. For books that are primarily text-focused, understand that layout isn’t so much about aesthetics as it is about readability. Font choice, line spacing, margins—many aspects of your layout, if done wrong, will make your book unpleasant or even difficult to read. Because layout is a specialized technical task, your options for cutting costs are limited—but you do have a few: Use an automated layout program, if appropriate. If your manuscript contains only running text (for example, most novels), you can safely use an automated layout program with a professionally-made template and get acceptable results for both e-book and print (but do resist the urge to tinker with the results).Ask your designer to provide a no-frills design, if that will lower the price. Fancy chapter graphics or other custom design are pleasant, but never necessary.Publish in fewer formats at first. If your audience is strongly focused on either e-book or print, you can publish first in the main format, making other formats available afterward as demand justifies it. For example, a hard sci-fi novel can safely be published as an e-book first, since that’s the preferred format for that audience.Merge your hardcover and paperback layouts. If you’re publishing both a hardcover and paperback edition (which is a decision you should scrutinize), you can potentially use a single interior layout for both formats if they have the same or similar trim size. Ask your designer about this possibility. Saved anything yet? If not, don’t fear—we’re about to enter more fertile territory. Book Cover Design Costs Authors have a strange relationship with their book covers. For something that has the same business purpose as the sticker on a tin of sardines, the intensity of emotion involved can be surprising. (Alright, alright, I’m teasing—barely.) My point is that you need to approach your cover from a business perspective. It’s a piece of advertising, it targets a specific audience, and it needs to convey a specific message. Have you taken the time to identify that audience and that message? If not, how will you instruct your designer, and how will you know when you’ve got the right cover? And have you surveyed other covers in your genre, so you know the stylistic conventions? Avoid any temptation to use a style that’s cheap but doesn’t fit your genre. Your buyers will be confused, and your sales will suffer. With those cautions in mind, here are some safe ways to cut costs on your cover design: Buy a pre-made cover. Only do this if you’ve thought hard about the message your cover needs to convey. Otherwise, you’ll end up making compromises to convince yourself this approach is workable. If you do find a pre-made cover that truly fits your book, ensure that you’re licensing it for exclusive use.Commission a cover based on stock photos. Assuming a photo-based cover is appropriate for your genre, stock photos are an inexpensive way to get a striking, detailed image. Make sure your designer composites or manipulates the image in some way, to reduce the likelihood of your cover being (legally!) cloned.Go with a less-detailed design. Authors, especially of fiction books, often ask for too much detail on their covers. Talk to your designer about ways to pare down the level of detail to save costs, especially if your cover features an original illustration. Even better, allow your designer to provide their own ideas—conveying a message with only a few visual elements is part of their skill set.Avoid custom photography or illustration if you have other viable options. These are the two most expensive sources of cover imagery. Only use them if required in your genre or central to your book’s marketing. We’ve now covered the production side of your expenses: editing, layout, and cover design. What about cutting costs on distribution and marketing? Self-Publishing and Distribution Costs The rule here is simple: any choice that reduces the reach of your distribution is a bad one. Always maximize your availability by distributing to all retailers with significant market share, and in all formats that are in demand with your audience. However, there are two quick ways you can save a little on your distribution costs: Don’t buy more ISBNs than your immediate need. Of course, if you can get a large bundle cheaper than individual ISBNs, you should do that. But don’t buy a hundred-pack for hypothetical “future use”.Don’t pay for a bar code. These are supplied for free by most distributors, and there are also free barcode generators on the web. Book Marketing and Promotion Costs Marketing and promotion is individual to each book, and so are the opportunities to reduce costs. We can’t anticipate your unique situation, but let’s examine a few tips that apply universally. First of all, remember that your goal is to generate awareness of your book. So avoid any big mistakes that “save” money by crippling your marketing:MARKETING MISTAKES Relying solely on word of mouth. Maybe you’ve heard that “a good book sells itself”. Unfortunately, that’s a lie. Don’t sabotage your hard work—plan and expect to spend money on promotions.Relying solely on local legwork. Selling books in person can be invigorating and builds positive relationships. But keep in mind that your audience is global. You need to reach the 99.9% of your readers who don’t live in your neighborhood, and to do that you’ll need to invest.Paying for shady shortcuts. For example, paying for social media followers or likes, paying for Amazon reviews, and so on. These scams are worthless, and worse, they can get you banned from the very platforms that are vital to selling your book. Okay, so you know not to make those big mistakes. Is there any other universal advice for controlling book marketing costs? Marketing Advice Never pay for promotions you can’t measure. Book marketing is a long-term game of finding the right promotional methods and fine-tuning them. Without measurement, you can’t make those decisions rationally. You’ll end up spending randomly, and that means waste.Only pay for tangible results. Always ask yourself, what impact will this ultimately have on sales? Don’t get caught up with abstract or intangible concepts like “buzz”, “exposure”, or word of mouth. The best way to get people talking about your book is to get them to buy it, so look for promotions that have an obvious pathway to generate sales.Don’t spread your money too thin. Many promotional options require a certain investment to produce results—or to get sufficient data to know whether they’re performing. Rather than trying everything at once, concentrate your money on the most promising options and evaluate their performance. Save Money and Make Money If you’ve made some tough sacrifices, but your expenses still exceed your maximum budget, don’t push ahead in denial or make damaging cuts out of desperation. Instead, make it your mission to find creative ways to raise the remaining funding for your book. Hopefully, though, this article has helped you to trim your self-publishing budget to something you can afford, or even better, free up additional money for promotions or a future book. These decisions aren’t easy. One of the best things you can do to get feedback on your plan is to join a community of other authors. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book?

How Much Does it Cost to Publish a Book? As a writer, your passion is your writing—you care about getting your ideas out there. But as you near the end of your writing process, the question of publishing costs pops up with all the tact of an uninvited party guest. Suddenly, there are decisions to make—important ones, and they can be daunting. How much is this really going to cost? How do I know if this quote is reasonable? Do I really need this service? The temptation to ignore the business side can be strong, but don’t give in. Your book’s success depends on you giving it a solid business foundation, and that starts with a sane budget. After reading this article, you’ll feel confident creating a budget for your book. You’ll know which factors affect prices, how much you should expect to pay for each service, and a reasonable ballpark for your total budget. Book Publication Costs A budget is more than just a list of prices—it’s about priorities. This article will familiarise you with what various services cost. Allocating your money wisely and planning your launch are topics of their own, and you can read about them here: How to Self-Publish Your Book on Amazon KDPHow Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish a Book?Literary Agent Fees Meanwhile, if what you’re really interested in is traditional publishing, you’ll want to read How to Get Your Book Published in 2021. And if you’re not sure of which route to take, Traditional Publishing vs Self-Publishing is the article for you. Still here, and still ready to talk prices? Let’s go! Production Costs Almost all publishing budgets include editing, layout, cover design, and ISBNs. For certain non-fiction books, indexing will also be a significant expense. What do each of these services cost? How are the fees typically structured, and which factors influence the final price? Let’s take a look at each one in detail. Book Editing Costs and Proofreading Costs For most self-published books, the biggest non-marketing cost is editing, accounting for around half the production budget. And rightfully so! Ask any successful author and they’ll tell you: never skimp on editing. Even if you’re a professional editor yourself, there’s no substitute for the perspective of a trained professional who lives outside your head. What Influences Editing Costs? The length of the manuscript. (You want them to check every word, right?)The difficulty of the manuscript. If you’re the type of writer who can weave a great yarn, but is a little “loose” with their text, your editor may charge a higher rate. Meanwhile, technical non-fiction content will require a specialist editor, also at a higher rate.The depth of the edit. Editing that reviews elements of style (phrasing, tone, word choice) is more costly than editing strictly for correctness (grammar, spelling, typos). The experience of your editor. An experienced editor won’t necessarily catch more mistakes, but they will have established work habits that allow them to be more efficient, reliable, and consistent. How Do Editors Structure Their Fees? There are two common fee structures: per-length or per-time. In a per-length scheme, the editor quotes a guaranteed cost based on the number of words or pages in your manuscript. In a per-time scheme, the editor quotes an hourly rate, and usually provides an estimate of the number of hours required. Per-length rates are more common in the modern self-publishing community, probably because they provide cost certainty to the author. However, there’s nothing wrong with a per-hour rate. If your editor can provide a reliable estimate of the time your edit will require, it boils down to almost the same thing. A Note on Terminology: Editing terms can be confusing because they vary between countries and between writing communities. Is it a copy edit, or a line edit? A line edit, or a stylistic edit? When requesting quotes, it’s best to specify the scope of editing you need, instead of assuming a common vocabulary. For example, you might ask for an editor to correct “grammar, spelling, and typos, but not matters of style or flow”. (If an editor’s website gives you their definition of terms, you can safely use those.) What Does Editing Actually Cost? Here are typical ranges, using all three price structures, in US dollars: Type of editPer-wordPer-page (300w)Per-hourStyle + correctness$0.015-$0.020/word$4.50-$6.00/page$15-20/hrCorrectness only$0.010-$0.012/word$3.00-$3.60/page$10-12/hr The lower end of this range would be for a less experienced editor and a less difficult manuscript; the higher end would be for the opposite. A Note on Structural / Developmental Edits: The editing we’ve described here is what’s sometimes referred to as final edits, meaning that you’ve finished making structural changes to your manuscript, and are now focused strictly on making the text the best it can be. There’s an entirely separate service known as “structural editing” or “developmental editing”, whose purpose is to make higher-level suggestions about your manuscript, such as restructuring chapters or cutting or adding content. If you plan to pay for a structural edit, make sure you budget for it separately from final edits. Book Formatting Costs With a number of do-it-yourself layout tools available, it’s tempting to try this step yourself. However, book layout is about more than just “converting” a manuscript into PDF or EPUB format. The wrong choice of font, font size, line spacing, or margins will reduce readability and cause reading fatigue. Unresolved widows, orphans, and rivers will distract the reader. If your book also contains tables, images, footnotes, or other rich content, the decisions are multiplied. What a designer offers is the judgment and best practices to make those decisions correctly. This is why, for most books, the right choice is to hire a professional. Fortunately, layout is often one of the less costly services you’ll need. What Influences the Cost of Layout? The formats you’re publishing in. An e-book layout is an entirely different thing than a print layout. If you publish in two print formats (e.g. hardcover and paperback), those may require separate layouts as well.The length of the manuscript. Sometimes this is only considered if it exceeds a certain threshold, such as 100,000 words.The complexity of the content. A novel is usually composed of what’s called running text—simple paragraphs. Meanwhile, a textbook or recipe book would include diverse elements, such as footnotes, tables, images, captions, headings, and so forth. How Are Fees Structured? For a running-text book, it’s common to see a single, fixed price. For books with more complex content, expect a custom quote. You may be asked to fill out a form identifying the number of images, tables, footnotes, and so on; or the designer may ask to review your manuscript. What does it cost? Here are some typical costs in US dollars: Running text, one format (e-book or print): $300-500.Running text with some images or diagrams (memoir or simple how-to book): $500-1000.Rich content (recipe book, textbook, technical how-to): $1500-2000 or more.Multiple formats: For one print and one digital format, expect to pay a bit less than the sum of the individual prices. For multiple print formats, there may be larger discounts. (Always let your designer know all the formats you’re considering.) Book Cover Design Costs Your cover is the centerpiece of your marketing; as with editing, this is an area where you shouldn’t skimp. A good cover designer doesn’t just create an image, they also give you valuable insight into the visual language of your genre or category. Book cover design costs vary considerably, and represent much more than just the technical quality of the final image. Careful research is essential. What Influences Book Cover Design Costs? The source of the content on which the design is based. Licensing fees for a stock photo may be as little as $20, while the cost of an original photo shoot can easily exceed $1000. In both cases, the final cover would be based on a photo, but the creative flexibility and licensing restrictions would be different.The labor-intensity of the work. The more detailed a cover is, or the more precisely some part of it must be executed, the more it will cost.The depth of the design consultation. This ranges from no process at all (buying a pre-made cover) to multiple drafts and revisions plus audience testing. How Are Fees Structured? Many designers offer packages at fixed prices, in exchange for limiting the design parameters. For example, it’s common to see a package in the $400US range that offers a cover based on a stock photo, with one or two rounds of revision. These package prices give both you and the designer a degree of certainty. Other designers, meanwhile, operate on a more open-ended process. They’ll provide a quote after receiving a brief or discussing your project with you. The quoting process itself takes time and effort, so this is uncommon at lower price ranges. A Note About Add-Ons: When dealing with package prices, you’ll often see “extras” included, such as a 3D render of your book, pre-made ad banners, or the source files for the design. Don’t compare packages based on a bullet list of “items” you’re getting—instead, focus on the design process and the designer’s skills and experience. (If you need specific extras, just ask for them.) What Does a Book Cover Design Cost? Keeping in mind that there’s a wide variation, here are some reasonable benchmarks: $400-600US is a typical price for a cover based on a stock photo, using a more “assembly line” design process. This price is typically a sweet spot for first-time authors who need a cover that conveys a sense of quality, but are on a tight budget.$500-800US is a typical range for an established designer using a more interactive process, but without any original illustration or photography.$800-1500+US is common for in-depth design processes, veteran designers, and covers that incorporate original illustration.For a print cover, expect $50-100 more compared to the e-book cover price. (This is for layout of the spine and back cover, plus meeting the printer’s specifications.) For both formats together, the price should be only slightly more than the print format on its own. Don’t Forget Genre... Every genre or category has certain conventions for cover design, and this can tie your hands with regard to some costs. For example, a space opera cover will typically be illustrated (where are you going to get a real-life photo of an alien planet?). That illustration will cost more than licensing a stock photo for a steamy romance cover. Book Indexing Costs If you’re publishing a non-fiction book in print, you may need indexing. (E-books are searchable, so are not normally indexed.) If you do need indexing, expect it to be a significant part of your total budget. What Influences the Cost? Length of the book, measured by the number of “indexable pages” (any page with text that needs to be indexed).Density of index entries (number per page).Difficulty of the text (degree of technicality or specialization). How Are Fees Structured? The most common model is a fixed cost per indexable page. However, some indexers may charge per index entry, per hour, or even a flat rate per book. What Does Book Indexing Cost? Generally, from $2.50-6.00US per indexable page. The low end would apply to the least dense and least technical books, such as business, political, popular science, and memoir. The high end would apply to the most dense and most technical books, such as textbooks, academic books, and technical manuals. ISBN Number Costs An ISBN is a stock-keeping number used by retailers to track inventory and/or sales. (It’s not a license to sell, and doesn’t affect your copyrights.) Although not strictly obligatory, the world’s book distribution infrastructure is built around ISBNs, so serious authors always use them. Each country has one national agency that manages ISBNs—sometimes this is the government, and sometimes this is a private entity that has been granted a monopoly, so prices vary. You need a separate ISBN for each format of your book. Below are some sample costs: CountryISBN agencySingle ISBN10-packUKNielsen£89£164USABowker$125 US$295 USCanadaCanadian governmentFreeFree A Note About “Free” ISBNs From Distributors: Some distributors or retailers offer “free” ISBNs as part of their service. However, these come with limitations. Typically you won’t be listed as the publisher in the ISBN registry, which can look unprofessional. And you’re usually not allowed to “take the ISBN with you” if you stop using that distributor or retailer. (This doesn’t affect your copyrights, but it can create a huge administrative hassle.) We recommend you buy your own ISBNs. A Note About Barcodes: When you buy ISBNs, you may be offered barcodes as well. A barcode is a way of representing your ISBN so a scanner can read it—you’ll see them on the back of every book.This is generally not something you need to pay for. If you’re using a mainstream print-on-demand service, such as IngramSpark, your barcode is automatically generated for you. If you need barcodes in other situations, there are free barcode generators on the web that you can use. All-in-One Packages The appeal of an all-in-one package is that it removes the entire process of comparing quotes from multiple contractors… and the risk is that it removes the entire process of comparing quotes from multiple contractors. Package Deals Commonly Come in Two Flavours: An “assembly line” package is focused on reducing your costs. It achieves this by streamlining the administration that would be duplicated across services, and through pre-existing relationships with specific contractors. You can save money this way, but watch out for unneeded services, and expect a more cookie-cutter result than you might get from hand-picked professionals.A “project management” package is focused on integrating the whole project under a consistent vision, selecting professionals suited to your project, and providing you with advice to make smart publishing decisions. With this approach, you pay more money than doing it yourself—in exchange for consistency, convenience, and advice.  When looking at costs, refer to the benchmarks for total costs later in this article. Expect an “assembly line” package to cost less than our benchmark, and a “project management” package to cost more. In all cases, investigate package deals carefully—remember you’re effectively making several hiring decisions at once. Book Marketing Costs Marketing is Different From Production in Important Ways: Production is a one-time expense to create a product. Marketing is an ongoing process, with no limit to total spending.Certain production tasks apply to almost every book (editing, cover design), while marketing plans are unique to each title.Production is about achieving quality and suitability while controlling costs. Marketing is about experimentation, and focuses on return on investment. Unfortunately, This Means There’s No “Average” Cost for Book Marketing. However, Here Are Some Useful Benchmarks:  “Deal” newsletters are a tried-and-tested promotional method, and there are effective options at prices from $20 to $1000. Remember to compare cost and audience size.Editorial review services can provide you with credible, positive marketing quotes for $200-400.Many authors achieve positive return with Amazon ads and/or Facebook ads. These systems are too complex to describe here, but as a rule, at least $100 (preferably more) is needed to properly test per-click ads for your book.Your author portrait is a useful marketing asset and can boost your credibility. $200 is a reasonable investment for a professional portrait that will last you several years.When you’re starting out, it’s safe to DIY your author website. Keep it simple, include links to your books and your social media channels, and revisit it over time.NetGalley is a service for generating buzz, media, and reviews. Although very useful for books with a larger marketing budget, it needs to work in conjunction with other efforts, so it should never take up the majority of your marketing budget. Costs range from $450-850US for a listing.Copywriting for your book description and marketing text provides a high return on investment. For as little as $50 you can obtain a strong marketing text that will generate a much better response than something self-written. As Far As How Marketing Fits Into Your Overall Budget, Again, Every Book is Unique. But Here Are a Few Rules of Thumb to Follow: A $0 marketing budget is almost always a mistake. At minimum, include $100 for inexpensive options.For a book with a budget of $2000 or less, allocating a quarter of your budget to marketing is reasonable.As your budget rises, the fraction allocated to marketing should also rise. For budgets $2000-$10,000, about a third of your total budget for marketing is reasonable. Above $10,000, most of each new dollar should go to marketing rather than production, as you should already have a top-quality product. Average Cost to Publish a Book So, with everything taken into account, what does it cost to publish a book? It should be clear by now that this question doesn’t have a single answer, and it would be unhelpful if we simply gave a range without any context. Instead, here are three sample budgets, each with a breakdown of costs: Example #1: Romance Novel. E-book and Paperback; 60,000 words. Editing for correctness and style: $0.02/w = $1200Book layout, e-book and paperback, running text only: $550Cover design based on stock photo: $400Total $2150 + ISBNs + marketing. Example #2: Epic Space Opera Novel. E-Book Only; 120,000 words. Editing for correctness and style: $2400Book layout, e-book only, running text only, extra cost for length: $320Cover design based on original illustration: $800Total $3520 + ISBNs + marketing. Example #3: Academic Text on the History of Steam Engines. Hardcover and Paperback; 85,000 words; Numerous Images, Diagrams, Tables, and Footnotes. Editing for correctness and style: $0.02/w = $1700.Book layout, hardcover/paperback with same dimensions (one layout), complex content: $2300.Cover design, based on historical photo: $400Indexing: $5.00/page @ 270 indexable pages = $1350.Total $5750 + ISBNs + marketing. As a general rule, you would rarely spend more than $5000 to produce a novel, and only the most complex non-fiction would exceed $15,000. At the low end, spending less than $1200-1500 on book production likely means you’re cutting corners. There are exceptions to every rule, so always base your decisions on an analysis of what your book needs to succeed. Compare with other authors wherever possible; budgeting and planning your book can be daunting, so why navigate these waters alone? Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Marketing Tips For Authors

You’ve written a book. You’ve got it all the way through production, either with the help of a traditional publisher or on your own, via self-publishing. And all that seemed like plenty of effort, did it not? You’d think that you could now lie back in the warm sun of adulation as readers flocked to your books and asked you intense questions about just how you found your inspiration. And then, you know. Reality. If you have a traditional publisher and you’re lucky with them and the book, then things really can be like they were in your dreams. Huge retail distribution. Big sales. All that adulation. But even for traditionally published authors, those things are rare. The situation for most of us (and I’m a hybrid author, both traditionally and self-published) is that we see our books – our beautiful, published books – languishing a long way from the happy sunlight at the top of the bestseller charts. So, what to do? There’s a lot you can do, in fact, and some of the tools are very potent indeed. So here’s the top 10 things to try when marketing a book. Some are more complex than others. Some cost money. Some are as free and easy as winter rain. So let’s explore. We’ll start with stuff that’s easy, cheap and relatively low in effectiveness … and move up the ladder to stuff that’s harder, but more potent. 1. Post Something On Your Blog You have a blog, right? Preferably integrated into your own website that has a domain name of the form If you’re not yet there, well – you need to get there. A decent looking website is necessary these days. These things can be put together for almost nothing these days, though if you’re serious about your career, I think you’ll do what you need to do to create something of quality. In any case, use your site to tell a story. Don’t sell at the reader. No one loves to have stuff shoved at them. Your best bet is to tell a story that engages in some way … and then make it unbelievably easy for readers to buy your book if they want to. That means creating easy, obvious links to your Amazon page, at the top, front and middle of your piece. Need to set up a website? Here’s how. 2. Create Author Profiles On Amazon And Goodreads Readers hang out both on Amazon and Goodreads. Both sites want authors to claim their profiles. Use a photo that feels personal. Write a short bio that feels human and engaged. If you want to reference your favourite authors (ones writing in a similar field to you, of course), then do so. These things won’t create readers overnight, but they are part of any modern author’s armoury. Basically, you must do them. Having said that – don’t misdirect your attention either. I have yet to meet a professional author who thinks that being active on Goodreads is a good way to spend time. It isn’t. You need to create an attractive profile there, then leave it. Spending hours engaging with the community will not create sales. Advertising on Goodreads is a simple way to lose money. Create a good-looking author page following Amazon’s own recipe. 3. Create An Author Page On Facebook (And Connect It To Your Blog) You don’t want to mix your personal page with your professional one, so set up a yournameauthor page on Facebook. Maintaining that page as well as your blog will drive you crazy, so make sure that when you post on your blog, that post pops up both on your Facebook author page and on your Goodreads one. The truth is that probably no one may read your blog much in the first instance – these things take time to grow and even major authors don’t necessarily have huge volumes of site traffic. But readers do congregate on Goodreads and Facebook and they do like to see some personal, engaging material on authors they may happen to stumble across. So create the material on your blog. Pipe it over – automatically – to those other sites. If you can’t do that by yourself, then pay someone to do it. You’re an author not a tech-expert, so it’s OK to pay others when you need to … and there are cheap or free ways to automate these things, so paying someone to make the connections shouldn’t cost you much. Read up on more tips for your author page. 4. Open Yourself Up To Twitter Yeah, I know. If you like Twitter, you’re already on it. If you’re not, that’s because you hate it and can’t see the point. And I hate Twitter. I don’t like the zero-attention-span, weirdly formatted, near-impenetrable texts that the damn site is full of. Also: you cannot sell stuff via Twitter. Yes, this is a post about marketing your work. Yes, I am recommending that you join Twitter. And yes, I have just told you that you cannot sell on Twitter. It’s not just me that thinks that last thing. The digital marketing manager at a major publishing house told me the exact same thing. I’ve also seen data that calls into question the degree to which even a really ‘successful’ Twitter campaign can influence sales. The only real exception is where you are already established enough that you don’t have to sell your book, but you can notify people that it’s there. All that said, you still need to be on Twitter because numerous people that you may want to connect with (bloggers, other authors, marketing types, industry folk) may not publish an email address, but are publicly and easily available on Twitter. And if you want to reach those people, you don’t just need to be signed up to the service, you do need to follow some people, and get followed back, just so that you don’t look like the only naked one in the room. It’s a faff, yes, but you’re marketing your books and you can’t ignore Twitter just because you #hateit. And – once you’ve signed up, and got properly started – then start to contact the people that matter. And remember that conversations on Twitter are like conversations anywhere. You don’t just barge in and shout and try to sell stuff. Be courteous, interested, and – when you have a relationship – you politely enquire if Person X might be interested in your very fine Y. Out of those relationships, come invitations to appear on blogs, to get book reviews, to do Q&As and all the rest of it. There are other ways to reach those people – email works, and there are some great groups on Facebook – but Twitter is still the easiest way to make that first knock on the door. Need more on getting started? Find out more from these people. 5. Use Your Ebooks As A Platform To Sell Your Ebooks If you have more than one ebook, then make sure that your ebooks are properly set up to sell each other. That means that in the back of each e-book you have a proper listing of your titles – updated, please, as new books come out. That listing shouldn’t just list the actual titles, you should also include some enticing sales copy and think about including a book cover too. The point is to catch readers when they’ve just finished your book – when they’re still half in love with your character, still giddy with the excitement of your ending – and get them to buy more stuff. So put that stuff under their noses, and make it very attractive, very engaging and very buyable. And that’s only step one! You also, crucially, need to make it unbelievably easy for people to buy the books they’re looking at. That means (for most indies) a simple link to Amazon in your mobi files – or rather three, as you’ll need different links for the .com, .ca, and sites. Traditionally published authors can’t – for complicated reasons to do with their publishers’ contractual situation – place the same easy links to Amazon. So what you need to do is create a kind of “choose your e-store” page. That page will basically just bounce people from your ebook to the reader’s choice of e-store. You can see a fine example of such a page right here. Notice that although that page exists on my own website – – it’s shorn of all in-site navigation. That is, once you arrive on the ‘choose your estore’ page, there’s absolutely nothing to do except choose your estore and move on. Also – obviously – the links are to your page on the various estores, not just the home page. Getting your ebook to sell effectively at the end of the book is essential and it’s a free and easy way to make additional sales. The best way to understand what the back end of an ebook should like is to look at an ebook that has been carefully designed to sell an entire series. My own ebooks do just that, like the back of The Dead House. Notice the author’s note, the series listing, those “choose your estore” links, and the multiple email sign-up opportunities. 6. Get Clever With Your Bisac Codes Your BISAC codes or ‘browse categories’ tell Amazon where to shelve your book. (Find out more here.) And mostly, you’ll want to shelve it in places that actually collect some traffic – so “Romance/Historical” say, rather than “Family and Friendship”. But it’s hard to climb far enough up those major categories to really find eyeballs … and one brilliant, if sneaky, little trick is to choose one BISAC code that’s so minor you just don’t need to make many sales to hit that #1 position. And once you have that #1 position, Amazon tags your book with a sweet little #1 bestseller icon … which is a wonderful lure to anyone stumbling across your book. And, in any case, remember that your BISAC codes are infinitely malleable. If your original choices aren’t working for you, then change them. Mess around and see what works. That’s free and it’s easy. If you’re traditionally published, then you won’t have direct access to these codes, but do ask your publisher what they’re doing, and test their answer. Make sure they have a strategy and are revising it if need be. 7. Get Clever With Your Keywords And Subtitles Try typing something into Amazon now. Just type the first two or three letters of whatever you’re searching for and Amazon will quickly offer you a dropdown list of things it guesses you might be seeking. Sometimes, it’ll offer you the name of an author (‘Harry Bingham’). But often enough it offers you thematic-type searches – things like ‘psychological thriller’ or ‘historical novels’. Those thematic search terms are great to use as keywords for your book – just make sure they pop up on those Amazon dropdowns, because if they don’t, then no one is searching for them. And once you’ve chosen your keywords, do shove them into your series titles or subtitles, because use of a keyword with subtitle/series title support always beats an equivalent book which lacks that support. If you’re self-published, you already know about this and are probably already doing it. If you’re traditionally published, you may well think that this is all complicated stuff and your publishers presumably know their onions. Except they may not do. A huge proportion of traditional publishers have been trained and brought up in a world of bricks and mortar print. Editors who came into the industry because they wanted to edit books may simply not want to deal with the minutiae of keywords and series titles. Results: some huge and supposedly sophisticated firms can be blithering morons when it comes to online visibility. So ask. Understand the answers. And ask again. Do not let this one get away. Learn more about keywords. 8. Pricing So easy, this, but I’ve relegated the matter of price to a long way down this list because unless you have other ingredients of your marketing platform well-set in advance, the impact of a pricing tweak will dissipate far too fast into the cloudless blue. But once you are happy with your author platform, once you have optimised your ebooks, once you do have your keywords and your BISAC codes and all the rest of your metadata straight, then press the pricing button. Dropping your price from $4.99 or $2.99 down to $0.99 will give you an immediate strong but relatively short-term boost to pricing. All the same, that boost gets more readers into your series and gives you the chance to make full-price sales of later books. I do also recommend the use of Amazon’s useful pricing tool, KDP Pricing Support (available via Kindle Direct), locked it would seem in permanent beta. The tool shows you the impact of pricing on both readers and revenues. You want revenues, of course. That’s your aim. On the other hand, nearly all authors want to grow their readership in the hope of earning even larger revenues down the road, in which case you’ll want to price somewhat to the left of that ‘revenue maximising point’. Dipping down to $0.99 or $2.99 to raise visibility, then jumping back to a higher price point makes great sense. If you live at the lower price levels all the time, you’ll find that you don’t secure any extra kick staying there. You’re better off with a kind of yo-yo strategy. 9. Email Lists If you don’t keep an email list, you need to create one. If you do have one, then you probably know how to use it. But for a whistle-stop tour of why you need one and how to make one, then here you go. A. You need your readers’ email addresses so you can contact your customers directly when you have a new product. It’s like when you buy a new dress from an online retailer: they’ll be in touch later to say, ‘Hey, you like dresses. We’ve got some more dresses. How about it?’ That tactic was and is the best marketing tactic ever invented. You’re basically talking to customers who like your stuff and have been ready to buy it in the past. They’re the very first people to go back to when you have more products available to sell. B. You collect readers email addresses by setting up a ‘Readers’ Club’. People want to be part of a readers’ club attaching to a series or author that they love. C. You can’t just take stuff (an email address), you must give, too, and what you give has got to be a lot better than one email address. But you’re a writer, yes? And readers are committed to writers. Write a long short story or a short novella and give it away for free to anyone who signs up to your club. The story should be exclusive, for subscribers only. If you sell the thing on Amazon, you’re demeaning the gift, so don’t do it. D. In terms of techie stuff, you need an email provider – most likely Mailchimp – and a sign-up page. If that sentence frightens you, then pay someone to do the necessary. Your aim is to have a landing page that functions like this one. There’s no in-site navigation, big obvious sign-up buttons, plenty of use of the word ‘free’. Oh, and don’t ask for an email straight away because that seems grabby. Only ask for an email address in direct response to a customer’s request. Only when a user on my website clicks the “Get my download now” button do I ask for an email address. In other words, let them give the orders. You only ask for the address to fulfil that command. E. Where do you get your email sign-ups from? Well, yes, from the website, except that realistically the only people who come to your website with the intent to join your Readers’ Club are people who have just read and enjoyed one of your books. The real source of sign-ups is from within the ebooks themselves. I have graphic calls-to-action in the front and back of my ebooks and text-only links underneath and a call to action in my author’s note and a further one in my series listing. That sounds horribly overdone, except that it seems perfectly natural when you have the book in your hand. And get this: I get about one email sign-up for every five ebooks I sell. That’s a very good ratio, which means I can reach at least 20% of my readers by email whenever I want. F. How do you use the email list once you’ve got it? Answer: as little as possible. People will just unsubscribe if you blast them with unwanted crap, so keep it very light. I reckon that two emails a year is (in most cases) plenty. One to announce when a book goes up for pre-order. Another to nudge people when that book is published or enjoying a special and temporary price promotion. G. And, to be clear, the real beauty of the email list is not the fact that you can collect however many hundred sales. It’s that because those sales are densely focused around the time you send the email, you can instantly jump into the bestseller charts, at which point Amazon’s own algorithms will start giving you a ton of visibility – then, consequently, a whole heap of additional sales. The email list isn’t there to sell to the people on the list only, it’s there to multiply your visibility whenever you choose to do it. Lovely! 10. The Joy Of Facebook And finally, the simplest way to promote a book and get sales is the most traditional way of all. Advertising. Placing ads is not particularly hard or technical or difficult. You simply go into Facebook and click the little down arrow on the right-hand side of the top navigation bar. You’ll get a drop down with ‘Your pages’ at the top. You want to click on ‘Create Ads’ a little further down that list and you’re off. The things you really, really need to know about Facebook advertising are as follows. First, Facebook-world distinguishes between Campaigns, Ad-sets, and Ads. The Campaign might include all the ads you use to promote a book. The Ad-sets are defined by budget and audience. The ads themselves are defined by the text and images that you use. The five great keys of Facebook advertising are: 1. Start with small budgets£10 a day is fine. When you get a sense of what works, add money cautiously to the ad variant(s) that is/are working. And don’t woosh the budget up from £10 to £100, as that can throw sand in Facebook’s ad gears. Go up in 50% increments, even if you’re impatient. Watch what works – and the key metric here is cost per click. How much does it cost you to send a qualified, interested reader through to your Amazon page? 2. Test, test and test againTry varying audiences, headlines and either image or ad text. Once you evolve your best audience, your best headline and so on, you can pile your resources in there. And don’t vary everything all at once. You need to be able to compare ads that are basically identical except for one thing changed. 3. Always include an emotional reason to buyWhat will your book make the reader feel? What mood do you want to convey? You need to make sure that your image, your text and your headlines are all in sync with that mood. 4. Always include ‘social proof’People are – rightly – suspicious of ads, because those ads want to take money off the reader. So include ‘proofs of excellence’ from whatever source you can. I have nice reviews from well-known newspapers and bloggers, so I tend to use those. Others will use things like ‘Over fifty-five-star reviews’ or ‘Readers are saying that …’ Whatever you do, make sure that your ad is conveying the idea that other people like this book. That way, no one is dumb for forking out a few dollars for it. 5. Always include a rational reason to buyPeople know that they can go to Amazon any time they want to pick up books at full price, so an ad that says, in effect, ‘Here’s just one more full-price book on Amazon’ will struggle to achieve real traction. So discount your book. Slap something on the ad that says, ‘Now only £1.99’ (or similar). Your ad has got to make people feel (i) Oooh, I like the sound of that, and (ii) better get in there now, before the price goes back up. And – of course – start modestly. Track results. Stick to budgets. And be quick to pull out or pull back if things don’t go the way you want. It’s easy to spend a ton of money on Facebook – and that’s fine only if you’re making two tons of money via Amazon. So that’s our top 10 marketing tips for authors, self-published or traditionally published. The last two of these tools are extremely potent but do work best if you’ve done all or most of the other things first. Good luck, and happy marketing! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

How to Increase Amazon Book Sales

This post will tell you how to increase book sales on amazon, primarily by using categories and keywords. The ever-rising power of the Amazon Kindle Store in the publishing market offers the possibility of extremely lucrative book sales for self-published writers. However, to get visibility in the Amazon charts, you need to be deadly smart about the categories and keywords (the ‘metadata’) you choose for your book in order to get maximum sales. Luckily for us, guest author and blogger, Dave Gaughran, is here with his many successful years’ experience as a self-published author to explain how you can get the most sales out of your book on Amazon. This is an adapted excerpt from the third edition of Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should by David Gaughran, available from Amazon and other retailers. You can find our own complete self-publishing guide right here and advice on which ebook format to use here, should you need it. Categories And Keywords On Amazon Kindle Why it pays to be smart with your metadata Authors are an impatient bunch. In the eagerness to share our scoundrel rakes and dastardly villains with the reading public, we can often rush through critical steps, and miss powerful, free opportunities for visibility in the Kindle Store — a classic example being keywords and categories. Many writers give little thought about metadata until confronted with the box on KDP, which is hardly the optimal time to be researching keywords and categories. Best to be well-prepared so you are not caught short during a stressful launch. You can rather cleverly “bake in” little bits of marketing and discoverability into your book. This is all that is meant by the somewhat intimidating phrase of “optimizing your metadata” — you’re simply attaching the right pieces of information so retailers know what kind of book it is and fans of that genre can find it more easily. If you are smart about metadata, you can give yourself a huge advantage over much of the marketplace, and increase your kindle book sales on amazon. How To Choose Categories Most publishers — even the largest — have only a rudimentary understanding of Amazon’s store, categories in particular. You often see books from huge authors in sub-optimal categories, decreasing their visibility in the biggest bookshop in the world, and hurting their chances of being discovered by readers, even ones searching for that exact kind of book. Publishers will fail to use all categories available to them or, without drilling down further, will choose something generic like Fiction, which is useless as a category unless you are at the very top of the Amazon rankings. Just choosing the right subcategory for your work can give your book a real head start. You only get two choices when uploading. As I will explain in the next section below, smart keyword picks can get you into additional sub-categories, but they must be related to the categories you pick now, so you must choose wisely. Appearing in the Top 100 of Fiction in the US Kindle Store requires a tremendous number of sales — around 650 in a single day — which will be beyond us most of the time. However, choosing Fiction as a category is a waste for a much simpler reason: electing a subcategory of Fiction will get you into the Fiction category as well. Even if you drill down several levels to choose something like Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > Mystery, Thriller & Suspense > Thrillers > Political, your book will still show in all the top-level categories above the one you have chosen (i.e. each of Fiction; Mystery, Thriller & Suspense; Thrillers). When you pick something more specific, you are multiplying your potential visibility opportunities rather than restricting them, and more successfully promoting your book. Each one of those sub-categories has a Top 100 of its own, and qualifying on those charts requires a much more manageable number of sales. If your book is doing particularly well, you will appear on a number of Top 100 lists, all of which will bring you new readers. Wherever possible, it’s wise to choose categories in which you can compete. Let’s say you have written a Contemporary Inspirational Romance, more Nicholas Sparks than Fifty Shades. If you pick Romance > Contemporary as a category you will need a rank of #500 or better to hit the back of the Top 100, which is 200 sales a day, or more. It’s a competitive category. But you have alternatives. The competition is a little less tough in Romance > Inspirational, where a rank of around #3,000 will get you into the back of the chart, around 80 sales a day. A little more manageable, and even more so if you drill down to the sub-categories under Romance > Inspirational. A little nosing around the Kindle Store might turn up more suitable opportunities, such as Romance > Clean & Wholesome. Qualifying for that Best Seller list requires a rank of about #10,000 or in the region of 20 sales a day. This is starting to seem more achievable, particularly if you consider what you might be selling during or after a promotion. Also remember that new books qualify for Amazon’s Hot New Releases charts, which are even more attainable. At the time of writing, only one sale a day is needed to hit the back of the Clean & Wholesome Hot New Releases chart. Of course, there’s no point picking a less competitive sub-category if it’s not a relevant choice for your book. Going through potential sub-categories can indicate the relative size of each genre and subgenre, and can also help you identify a category that might provide an easier path to visibility. Be warned, however, that a very small category might not receive a lot of reader traffic. If the lists are small and stagnant, readers may not return to be faced with the same books each time. As a self-publisher, you have just two categories to play with. It can be a good approach to pick one competitive category you occasionally qualify for, and one that is a little less competitive and enables you to always hit the Best Seller list. This way, you have a chance of front-page action in a smaller category, plus you’re covered if you have a good run of sales and start moving up the Best Seller list of a more frequently browsed category. You may wish to freshen up your category choices at some point to hit new readers. Or your sales may increase to the point where you feel confident about charting in those bigger categories, which will naturally attract more browsers and lead to more sales. Alternatively, you may realize you were targeting the wrong readers and need to tweak your approach. It’s always good to have alternatives. Just be careful that your book is a good fit for the categories you are playing with. You don’t want to incur the wrath of romance readers because your book doesn’t have a happily ever after. And if you don’t know what that is… Like virtually all ebook retailers, Amazon gives you numerous category choices when uploading your book or making changes. These are based on BISAC subject headings, which are industry standard. However, it’s extremely important to note that these don’t always reflect the actual categories in the Kindle Store. I could go into this in granular detail but all you need to know right now is that it’s important to first identify your optimal categories by browsing Amazon as your target readers might. But if you want to learn more about categories you can get a free copy of Amazon Decoded: A Marketing Guide To The Kindle Store by signing up to my mailing list. It’s the only place you can get that book at the moment, and you can unsubscribe right away if you wish. How To Choose Keywords The final piece of metadata you need to consider are keywords. Great keywords give two killer benefits. First, you can expand your number of assigned categories. Second, you will appear higher in search results on Amazon. You need to consider both angles. (At this point, you might be considering looking for a publisher instead but, trust me: they don’t know this stuff.) For any given search term entered by a reader, Amazon’s system will return a list of books it considers relevant. Relevancy is determined by a number of factors, including keywords, your book’s title, and subtitle. You may not have too much wiggle room with your book’s title, although, for non-fiction, putting keywords in the title is very important; for example, Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should or Guitar Mastery Simplified: How Anyone Can Quickly Become a Strumming, Chords, and Lead Guitar Ninja. You only get to choose seven keywords, so make sure they are relevant to your book. Try to put yourself in the shoes of one of your target readers, and picture the kind of terms they might enter into the search box when looking for books. Each “keyword” can actually be made up of several separate words as long as you remain within the limit of 50 characters. Try to maximize the opportunities here. You want to increase your categories and cover what readers might search for, although the latter is much more important for non-fiction than fiction. Some examples: my book Liberty Boy is set in Dublin in 1803, in the aftermath of a failed rebellion against the British. It’s a plot-driven historical novel, with some slight literary inclinations. In this case, expanding categories is most important, as historical fiction readers use Amazon charts to browse for new recommendations, and don’t use Search as much to find books. By consulting this list on KDP Help of extra categories, I immediately get keyword ideas. My two primary categories for that book are Historical Fiction and Literary Fiction. I can then expand my footprint by choosing keywords like “18th century,” “19th century,” “politics,” “politician,” “military,” and “love.” I myself can think of things that might be appropriate for the book like “Ireland,” “Irish,” “British,” “history,” “historical novel,” “historical fiction,” “literary fiction,” and so on. We can combine some of those to optimize the space. With that in mind, I might have “historical novel literary fiction” as one keyword and “Ireland Irish British history book” as another. And then I’ll appear for variations of those searches, like “Irish history” or “historical fiction.” You can change these keywords at any time, so don’t worry if it’s not perfect the first time out. With a non-fiction, search becomes much more important — and there are few appropriate categories to add with keywords. Try to make a comprehensive list, then be artful with how you maximize your allotted keyword space. At all times though, only choose relevant keywords. You don’t want to appear to anyone outside your target audience; that only works against you, something I’ll explain in comprehensive detail later. Metadata might not be the sexiest topic in the world, but getting smart about it can give you a real advantage, one that costs you nothing but a little effort. With a pair of well-chosen categories and a set of smart keywords, you will make your book instantly more discoverable and expand your footprint in the world’s biggest bookstore. And it won’t cost you a penny, either. The updated and expanded third edition of David’s Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should is available from Amazon and all other retailers. David has helped thousands of authors self-publish via workshops, blog, and books, and you could be one. Visit to sign up to his mailing list and get a free copy of Amazon Decoded. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

Promote Books On Bookbub For Huge Sales

How to get chosen. How to structure your promotion. How to maximise sales across your series. And why servies like Bookbub are great for authors. You’ve launched your book, you’ve accrued some sales, you’ve had some nice comments from readers and then … … Launch sales drop away. You may not have another book out (if you’re me) for another twelve months. It’s not that your books become invisible on Amazon, exactly – you’ll still be kicking around on some sub-bestseller lists, you’ll probably be visible on some Also Boughts – but, no question, your sales drop off to levels that are a pale shadow of what they were. So what do you do? Well, there are a few possible answers to that. After Your Book Launch: Some Strategies Option #1- Quick Release Model One popular answer is: just keep pumping out the books. Bookouture, a wonderful British digital-only publisher, works on a book-every-three-months model. The beauty of that is that no sooner has a reader finished one book by Author X than they can pre-order the next one. (Amazon pre-orders are limited to 90 days, hence the three-month model.) Although Bookouture is the most visible example of such a publisher, the basic model was invented by indies. John Locke, Sean Platt / Johnny B. Truant, Adam Croft, and countless others blazed that trail, or variants of it. And the model works. Each new launch helps build the mailing list and elevates the visibility of the entire series. What’s more, because you accumulate backlist so fast, even if you only make $200-300 per title in a quiet month, your list may be as big as 10-20 titles long. You only have to multiply that out, add in some extra money during those juicy launch months, and suddenly the financial arithmetic starts to look more appealing. Disadvantages? Well, none really, except you have to pump out the fiction and maybe (like me) you feel that you can’t do that and retain the quality. Option #2- Paid Ads So a second popular answer is: advertise the heck out of your books. That’s easier said than done, to be honest. Facebook ads are very expensive these days, and conversion rates have fallen. AMS ads are fabulous value, but can be hard to scale meaningfully. Bookbub’s own advertising platform (ie: paid-for ads, not featured deals) is great but Ex. Pen. Sive. So yes, advertising is still an option. It still works for some authors, some genres, and some titles. But you do need to be very careful with it – you need to become as as skilled at advertising as you are at writing. Option #3- Join Bookbub So a third – beautiful – answer is Bookbub, designed to stuff money into your pockets, and the more the better. Bookbub isn’t so easy to access, and even if you do succeed in accessing it, there are tricks and tools for maximising the value it creates for you. So buckle up, sit tight, and let’s go Bookbub. What Is Bookbub? Bookbub is basically an email service. Readers can sign up (here) for a series of emails that alerts them to high quality ebooks at deeply discounted prices. That’s great from a reader’s point of view – the emails are human-curated, so you are getting some real assurances as to quality and the books are priced at a minimum 50% discount, but are often free or just £0.99/$0.99. Obviously, readers can specify what genres they’re interested in, and Bookbub is smart enough to flex those lists as tastes and interests change. The reason why this service is so great for authors is that Bookbub’s free books email lists are huge. I write crime fiction and Bookbub’s crime emails go out to nearly 4 million crime readers worldwide. Sure, lots of those 4 million won’t read or open every email. And sure, not everyone is going to be interested in your book, but the numbers are still huge. Bookbub reckons that a free crime book should expect around 50,000 downloads. A £0.99/$0.99 one might hit 4,000 sales. In a day. How Does Bookbub Make Money? Bookbub’s service is free to readers, but as an author (or publisher) you have to pay to play. The full data can be found here, but suffice to say that the cost in a popular genre can run into thousands of bucks. If you want to submit your crime novel as a free ebook, it’ll cost you $512. If you want to advertise it as a $2.99 ebook, it’ll cost you a thought-provoking $2,560. How Does Bookbub Make Money For Indie Authors? These numbers are impressive, but the astute indie may be thinking, “50,000 downloads multiplied by no money at all, equals, uh … hang on, that can’t be right.” Even if you price your book at £0.99/$0.99, it’s quite likely that the actual sales made on the day of your Bookbub promo will only just cancel out the cost of buying the promotion in the first place. This might makes it sound like Bookbub is fun as a way to draw attention to your books, but not actually a way to make money. Except it is. Because Bookbub’s numbers are so huge, they basically buy you access to the upper end of Amazon’s sales rankings. And sure, you may or may not make money on the day of the actual promo, but who cares about that? If you’re smart (and have any kind of backlist), you make money by the spadeful in the days and weeks that follow. In essence, Bookbub gives you visibility on Amazon. That visibility brings new eyes to your book page. Not just Bookbub users. Not just your existing readership. But completely new readers. A proportion of those guys buy your book. That’s new readers, new fans, for you. And the day after Bookbub, sure: your sales rank starts to crash back to earth again. But not all the way, and as you travel back down from (say) #100 on Bookbub day to (say) #30,000 or wherever your ‘steady state’ sales rank tends to settle, you will accumulate new readers and new sales. Because most writers eliminate or reduce their discounting post-Bookbub, those new sales will be at full price. And, of course, a good proportion of those new readers will become committed fans of your whole series, so a £0.99/$0.99 or free Bookbub offer could bring in readers who then buy half a dozen books or more at the full £4.99/$4.99, or whatever your chosen price point is. (Need some actual figures on an actual Bookbub promo? Stay with me. We’re getting there.) How To Get Selected For A Bookbub Promotion There’s no real magic here. Bookbub tells you exactly what you need to be considered, so you just need to go ahead and supply it. The minimum requirements are clear enough (listed in full here). Your title, minimum, needs to be: Free or discounted by at least 50%.Error free.A limited-time offer.A full-length book.Available at least in either the US or the UK. In short: you need to submit a book that is a full-length text, at a radically discounted price, which hasn’t been offered for less money over the past few months, and is high quality (no errors!) and widely available (which is code for “not exclusive to Amazon, please.”) In addition, you should certainly also review this advice on how to make your submission stand out. The gist there, quite simply, is you need to make sure you are offering Bookbub’s readers a wonderful, professionally produced text that has already demonstrably satisfied numerous readers. In particular, you should check that: Your book has a classy, professional cover. (More advice here.)Your cover copy (or book description) is classy, inviting, and error free.You have a good number of positive reader reviews for your book or your series. I’d suggest that your entry level ambition should be an average star rating of no fewer than 4.0 and (depending on genre) anywhere from 50 to 100 or more reviews in total. For crime or romance books, you might need to do a fair bit better than that to pass muster.Ideally, you’ll have scored some prize shortlists or awards, or positive critical reviews in nationally recognised outlets, or been a NYT bestseller, or something along those lines. Those things are harder for indies to come by than it is for traditionally published authors, but don’t panic. They’re more of a nice-to-have than a real essential. Great, authentic reader reviews will do just fine instead.You should also aim to have your title available wide, not narrow – that is, not exclusive to Amazon. You should also aim to have your deal global in scope. A flexible promo date also helps with the scheduling. Personally, I don’t think any indie author should be soliciting a Bookbub deal unless they’re offering their work free or at £0.99/$0.99. (Unless it’s a box set, in which case £1.99/$1.99 is OK too.) Bookbub tells you that they won’t offer the same book to their readers more often than once every six months or any book by the same author more often than every 30 days. That’s true, yes, but a bit misleading in bigger genres. If you’re not a Mr John Grisham or a certain Ms Rowling, I’d suggest that you should bank on getting at most two Bookbub deals in the course of a year … or, more likely, just the one. How To Make Bookbub Work For You The key to making these promotions work is twofold. You need to lure people from the book to the series, and you need to expand the sales window from one day to 2 weeks, or even two months. Let me explain. Let’s say you’re like me and you have a six-book series to play with. My standard ‘full’ price is $4.99, and I might want to give the first book away for free. So here’s one way I could do things: The Naked Bookbub Strategy Book #1: down from $4.99 to free. Back to (say) $2.99 post-promo Books #2-#6: $4.99 (no change) That’s fine, except that it doesn’t really do anything to lure Bookbubbers into the series then and there. A lot of them will probably think, “hey, this series looks interesting, but expensive. I’ll read this free book at my leisure and if, in a few weeks time, I want more, I’ll take a look then.” And sure, you will pick up new readers that way, but you’ll get a thin trickle drawn out over a number of weeks, and that trickle will do nothing so great for your sales rank, or your visibility. We’ve reached those Bookbub free-sample types, and no one else. So let’s try running our promo like this instead: The Enticing Bookbub Strategy Book #1: down from $4.99 to free. Back to (say) $2.99 post-promo Books #2-#6: $0.99 (for a few days post-promo, then $4.99) The brilliant thing about this approach is that Bookbubbers are likely to see that the free book is an entry to a whole, wonderful, cheap series, and they’ll fill their boots. Yes, you’re giving the book away free, but you’re making money back from all those $0.99 sales. $0.99 is hardly great, but those are paid sales, which means they boost sales rank, so that by the time you do snap back to full price, your books are going to be a lot more visible than they were before. But it gets better. Because there’s a really obvious extension to this strategy, and one that instantly adds a ton of profitability. The Crafty Bookbub Strategy Book #1: down from $4.99 to free. Back to (say) $2.99 post-promo Books #2-#6: $0.99 on a Kindle Countdown deal (few days post-promo) Then snap back to full $4.99 price. If you’re okay with having your #2-and-later books exclusive to Amazon, then you can jump from a 35% royalty share to a 70% one, simply by synchronising your Kindle Countdown deal with your Bookbub promo. That’s an easy-peasy way to put money in your pocket. It’s like having your very own $100-bill counterfeiting plates. Only legal. And, you know, less likely to land you in a Federal Penitentiary. The Ultimate Bookbub Strategy But it gets better. We said that to make real money from Bookbub, we wanted to achieve two things: Lure people from the book to the seriesExpand that sales window We’ve done that by pricing the rest-of-series books aggressively, and keeping the discount window open for long enough to really boost sales rank and visibility. But there’s one easy – free – way to ramp up the success of a Bookbub promo, and it’s this: you co-promote the giveaway. Sure, Bookbub boasts an email list that’s a gazillion times bigger than yours. But who cares about that? You boast an email list consisting entirely of your readers and ones who already have a personal connection with you. Use that list. Load bullets into that little Email Service Provider gun of yours, and blaze away like a deranged Charlton Heston. Like the end of a Schwarzenegger movie. Or, to say the same thing in somewhat less colourful language, allow me to unveil the Ultimate Bookbub Strategy. The Ultimate Bookbub Strategy Book #1: down from $4.99 to free. Back to (say) $2.99 post-promo Books #2-#6: $0.99 on a Kindle Countdown deal (4 days post-promo) Then snap back to full $4.99 price Email support from your list: Emails to go out Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4 If you like, also a teaser on Day -2, or something like that And sure, most of your readers may have bought most of your books, but only a fairly small fraction of your list will have bought everything. Even committed fans may have missed the launch of #5, or have lost the copy of #2 that they once had on their Kindle. And even if they have got everything, maybe a low-cost sale like this is the moment where they think, “Oh, what a great offer, I’ve got to tell my reader-buddies about this.” In short, if you email your fans to say, “Hey, if you’ve got any holes in your collection, this is the perfect time to fill them,” that’ll seem like a helpful, kind and generous offer. You’re not annoying them, you’re helping them. Meanwhile, the support that Bookbub has given your books gets another kick from the further support that your readers give them. Result: huge sales rank boost, long term visibility gains – and sales. New sales, to new readers, at full price. Why the hooting heck are you even reading this post?I’m gonna guess that you’re an indie author and you want to maximise your returns from your list. But did you know that Jericho Writers is a club for writers just like you? And we have an entire, complete self-publishing course with tons of information in it for writers in your exact position? And that you can get free access to ALL our materials, just by taking out a simple, low-cost, cancel-any-time membership.Your best strategy as an indie? Learn more about Jericho Writers now.Like right now. This minute. Go. Bookbub Series Promotion: A Case Study That all sounds good, right? But you’re an indie author, and I know how your mind works. Talk is all very well, but in the end it comes down to the figures. So here are some figures. I ran a Bookbub promo earlier this year, using essentially the Ultimate Bookbub Strategy described above. The full price for my books is $4.99. My email list at the time was then about 6,000 names, but a good chunk of those related to the UK, where I’ve been traditionally published in the past. I’d say my email list then wasn’t huge – it’s more than doubled since February – but it was committed. My open rates and click rates were always excellent. So. That’s the background. I ran a Bookbub promo, bringing my #1 series title down to free, on February 21, 2017. Here’s what happened: On the day of the promo My #1 title hits the #1 rank in the Amazon free charts in the US. It does the same in the UK. My other titles start to sell like crazy. I’d earned out my $512 Bookbub fee by about midday EST on the day of the promo. Subsequently I had a big kick in sales in February, which was solely because of my Ultimate Bookbub Strategy. I did no other promo activity at all. I didn’t even tweet. March and April: the same thing. That was the tail end of the Bookbub effect. There’s nothing else jigging those numbers around. No new ad campaign. No launch. And, to be clear, those were all paid sales. I’m not taking the free downloads into account. And aside from my #1 series title, my books are exclusive to Amazon and so eligible for KU borrows as well. There was no huge effect in February itself (because Bookbub readers were digesting book #1 before turning to the rest of the series.) But then came a huge surge in March. The effect was still significant in April. And even May was ahead of the “steady state” reader-flow in January. Indeed, if we take January as my “steady state” month, then Bookbub probably delivered the equivalent of an additional 8 new sales-months, and maybe 4-5 new KENP-months. All that, from a one day free promo. That cost $512. In my experience, nothing at all delivers a better outcome than this … aside of course from launching a new book, which has the irritating disadvantage that you actually have to sit down to write the thing. How To Maximise Your Returns From Bookbub Final reflections Posts like this one follow a conventional strategy. Introduce a book-promotional topic (in this case, Bookbub)Outline a basic strategyIntroduce some refinements to that strategyReveal some case-study style dataAnd – ta-da! – job done And whilst posts like this one are useful, and the strategies outlined do really work, they also miss something. The thing that they miss is still the one thing that really, really matters. Think about it: why does our Ultimate Bookbub Strategy work? Bookbub’s giant email list pours gasoline over your sales, and your laser-targeted email-support tosses in a stick of gelignite, but plenty of authors use broadly similar tactics and don’t always see the same results. In the end, the difference between a good Bookbub experience and a dazzling one is simple. Whether readers love your book. That Bookbub free promo put a free sample of my work into the hands of 50,000 readers. Do those readers read beyond the first chapter? Do they read all the way to the end? Do they feel compelled to sign up to your email list? Do they feel compelled to go and buy other books in your series? Or maybe the entire series? The ultimate success of a properly structured Bookbub promo has to do almost entirely with the actual quality of your actual book. And not just the quality of that very first book, but of the entire series. In the end, you can market books as hard as you like. But if the product is duff, the product is duff. So the final moral of this post is the same as it should always be. Write hard, and market easy. It’s more satisfying that way – more satisfying to you, the creative artist – but long run, it’s more profitable too. The best of both worlds. Happy writing. Happy editing. Happy publishing. But don’t leave it there!We created our Jericho Writers club especially for writers like you. Members get access to our super-premium self-publishing course completely FREE. And our crazily popular writing course, completely FREE. And masses of other stuff as well. All free. You can find out more about what we offer and what our club is all about. But remember: we’re writers too, and we built this club for you. Learn more about the club. Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community. 

How to Write a Book Description for Amazon That Sells (Examples & Template)

An easy template | Loads of writing descriptions examples | A flood of sales … You’ve lured readers to your book page. Congratulations. Maybe, your stunning cover art has done it. Or a great title. Or a really well-constructed email campaign. Either way, you’ve got readers where you want them. They’re curious. They’re interested. But . . . they’re also suspicious. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying those potential readers are unusual in any way. Quite the reverse. They’re like you or me. Sure a $2.99 ebook isn’t a huge purchase decision – but a dollar is a dollar, and we value our time, and no one wants to buy a book that doesn’t grab them. And that’s why your book description is so intensely important: a vital member of the Fab Four of sales conversion. A strong description may make a reader buy the book or, perhaps more likely, go to the “Look Inside” feature which gives them more data on which to base their decision. And that really is the task of your book description: make readers click “Look Inside”. If you do that, you’ve won. Keep reading to find out how to write such a description. (Oh, and before we go further, I should say that the basic description writing template we’re about to lay out works for both novels and non-fiction – but it produces very different results in both cases. Bear with me, because we’ll look at both.) The Sales Pathway In fact, if you like to visualise the complete sales journey on Amazon (and excluding a ton of complicating factors), then it looks like this. Amazon Search Page ⇒ Your Book PageKey conversion factors: Cover, Price, Reviews (total number)Supporting cast: Title, Reviews (average rating) Your Book Page ⇒ Look InsideKey conversion factors: Book descriptionSupporting cast: Cover, reviews Look Inside ⇒ Buy NowKey conversion factors: The book itself!Supporting cast: Cover, book description, Reviews, Price Every step of that pathway is critical, except of course that in some cases the book page will push users straight to the Buy Now button. (Although, who actually makes purchase decisions that fast? You do if you’re buying Lee Child #97, because you’re already a keen fan of Lee Child #1-96. You do if you’re buying a “How To” style non-fiction book and you know that this author and this topic will meet your needs. But mostly? Mostly, I think, users want to try before they buy with authors who are new to them, and that means it helps you to visualise your sales journey in three steps, not two.) What Your Amazon Book Description Has to Do So, OK, your book description has to push people into hitting that “Look Inside” feature. That’s the step which defines success. But how do you actually accomplish that goal? How do you write Amazon book descriptions that really sell the book and compel the reader? To answer that question, you have to get a clear read on your who reader is – what their state of mind is. So let’s say, like me, you are a crime novelist. I’m going to assume that you’ve set your keywords and categories correctly. (Not sure about them? Check here for guest blogger, Dave Gaughran’s super-expert guide.) So, if you’ve done things right to this point, your book should start popping up in front of readers who: (a) have come to Amazon looking for a book,ie: they have real purchase intent – they want a crime novel (b) are interested in your genre,that’s how come your work is showing up in their searches, but (c) don’t know anything specific about you or what you’ve written Your great cover and great reviews persuade those people to click through to your book page. And these people are your perfect customers, in the sense that they have an immediate purchase-intent and they want a crime book. But They’re impatientBecause this is the internet, and everyone is impatient.They need information about what you’re offeringBecause you as an author are new to them, and they need help in understanding your product.They need to understand why they should buy your productBecause they need you to answer the question, “What will this book do for me? What will I get from it?” And finally of course: They want to be blown away They want to find themselves trapped in a place, where the only way out is to read your book. (And they probably need to be nudged towards that course of action.) So how exactly do you do it? How do you nudge the reader to set out on a book-length journey with you . . . when you only have maybe 150 words to convince them to take the trip? How to Take The Reader With You . . . In 150 Words or Less We’ve said that readers are impatient (it’s them that set that 150 word limit, not Amazon.) So you have to achieve a lot in a very short space of time . . . and here’s the basic template you need to follow. First, you need (1) to hook your readers in your first or second sentence. Then you need to (2) provide more data about what kind of book you’re offering. (Yes, a crime book, in our example, but police procedural? Or violent gangland thriller? And set in a quiet English village? Or south central LA?) And beyond that, you need to (3) give the reader a sense of what emotional payoff they’re going to get from your book. And that means that your reader actually needs to feel that payoff. Sure, there’s only so much emotion you can generate in a short space, but your readers understand the difference between the trailer and the movie. They understand the difference between the book description and the book. Then finally, (4), you need to nudge your reader towards the next action (either “Buy Now” or “Look Inside”). I’m not a huge fan of really direct calls to action in a book description, but you can still tip the reader in the direction you want to take. So that’s what our description has to accomplish. I’m about to tell you how to do it. Do just note that this is not a complete guide to the art of self-publishing. Luckily, though, we already have one for you, if you want it. It’s right here. Your Amazon Book Description Template The basic template for a book description is: Hook. This is one sentence, maybe two. Ideally, no more than that. If you go for three or more sentences, that can be fine . . . as long as they’re very short ones!Content. In the case of fiction, this will be a mini-story in its own right. In the case, of non-fiction, you will be laying out the substance of the book. In both cases, though, you’ll be answering the “what is this?” question and the “what will it do for me?” one. For fiction, your mini-story should run to about 75-100 words. Non-fictioneers can (and probably should) go long.Climax / call to action. If your main content is a mini-story, you want to end it on a cliffhanger, or a question, or some other place that is unsatisfying to the reader. In that sense, the cliffhanger IS your call to action. You’re effectively saying, “Hey, you don’t like being left in that place of suspense? Well, there’s only one way you can fix that problem, buddy . . . and the ‘Buy Now’ button is right up there.” You don’t even need to say that explicitly to say it. Oh, and the same basic approach works with non-fiction too. We’ll look at both. In terms of length, your climax is probably just one sentence. It could be two, but if so, they’re probably short ones . . . To be clear, that template works for every book. It’s the heart of every successful book description ever. We’re going to go on to look at some specific examples of how that template works out in practice, but before we get there, we have to face one more question. Do you want a very clean, pared-down book description, of the sort that Amazon Publishing generally favours? (One example here.) Or do you want to follow the kitchen-sink model favoured by Bookouture, an outstandingly successful British e-publisher? (One example of their monster book descriptions here – note the huge number of reviews etc included as part of that book description. Personally, I prefer the latter model. I like the ability to hold the reader on “my” part of my book’s web real estate. So I want readers to look at the reviews that I choose to shove under their nose. I don’t want my reader wandering down to look at the “also boughts”. I want them to feel complete before they even reach the end of the book description. But to be clear: that’s not the only method. Amazon, in case you hadn’t noticed, is rather good at data, and if their publishing arm favours a very trimmed-down version of the book description, it clearly works for them. So you can go light, or you can go heavy . . . the one thing you can’t do is mess with that template. The next thing for us to do? See how it works in practice. This stuff is helpful, right?But, you know, there’s a lot more where this came from. We’ve got an entire self-publishing video course, that’s expensive to buy (see details) . . . but which we’d like to give you totally free.And not just that course, but an awesome on on How To Write. And live webinars with literary agents and top book doctors. And an incredible cinema, full of films by writers for writers.In fact, our Jericho Writers club is made for writers like you – and was created by writers like you. We think you’ll be blown away by what we have on offer. To find out more, just Explore Our Club. We’ look forward to welcoming you soon. Your Book Description: Some Examples OK, you want an example of a top quality book description? Well, here’s one from Amazon imprint author, Mark Edwards. Mark writes his own descriptions and Amazon loves them so much, they don’t change a word. Mark opts for a super-pared down description and it works unbelievably well, as you can see. Here’s an example from his BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME. (Here on, or here on Amazon UK.) You can see that the hook / content / climax template is alive and well in that short piece of text. (Which totals just 100 words, by the way. I’d say that 100 words sits at the very short end of what you can get away with. Anything between 100 and, say, 180 words feels about right.) In this case, the hook is simply: “this author is a #1 worldwide bestseller, and if you like stories about jealousy / obsession / murder, you’re probably in the right place.” Works for you? Yep, it works for me too. Notice that that one short sentence has ticked two boxes. It’s said, “here are the themes of the book [so you already know what kind of emotional journey it’s going to offer.” But it’s also said, “And you don’t need to be worried about wasting your $3.99, because I’m a top author and you’re in good hands.” The story here is delivered with extreme economy, but just look what it accomplishes. That first sentence (Andrew meets Charlie) gives us the premise. In effect, that’s the initiating incident right there. In one sentence. Not just that, but you’re given the first uh-oh moment. (“He is certain his run of bad luck has finally come to an end.” You and I known damn well that it’s only just starting.) With the starting position swiftly drawn, the story instantly escalates . . . things missing, a stalker, misfortune, tragedy. The issues start small and build fast. In effect, in the tiny world of this book description, Mark Edwards has succeeded in building a perfectly formed story. What’s more, that little story answers the “what kind of book is this?” question. You just know exactly from the information you’ve been given. But it answers the “what feelings will you have when reading it?” question too. You know exactly what your emotional payoff is going to be. And then the climax / CTA: in this case, a question. Is this woman an angel – or a demon? Notice that you don’t actually need to do anything as crude as say, “Hey, go and buy my book!” That would actually spoil the emotional place you’ve got the reader into. What you’ve done is smarter than just some crude “buy me” message. You’ve engineered a little emotional conflict in the reader. They want to know the answer to your angel / demon question . . . but the only way they can resolve that is to buy the book. Don’t know about you, but that works for me. Different Ways to Deliver Hook Marks’s hook was a neat and uncomplicated one. Basically, “This book is a story about X, and you can trust that it’ll be a good one because I’m a #1 bestseller.” That’s OK if you are a #1 bestseller. If you’re not? Well, there are a million other ways to do it: Social proof. (“Readers are raving about this book. ‘Awesome, gob-smacking.’ Annie J. ‘Breathtaking. I never wanted it to end.’ Jaco R.”)Formal proof. (“The New York Times called this book ‘dazzling’.  The Washington Post said, ‘It’s so good, you’ll want to read it twice.\'”)Question. (“Was she an angel? Or a demon?”)Provocation. (“Finally – a heroine to kick Lisbeth Salander’s ass.”)Comparison. (“If you loved Donna Tartt’s Secret History, you’ll love this tale of darkness, betrayal – and Homer.”)Premise / set-up. (“She was his ex-wife. He still loved her. But why was she driving the getaway car in Chicago’s biggest-ever heist?”)Sales. (“100,000 copies sold in the series. And fans rate this as the best one yet.”) Or whatever! Be imaginative. Use whatever you’ve got. It doesn’t matter what type of hook you use. It does matter that you have one! Different Ways to Deliver Your Climax / CTA Likewise, your climax can operate in different ways. Choice / question. (“Was she an angel? Or a demon? Or – worse still – was she both?”)Suspense / cliffhanger. (“There was only one way to find out. And that was to open the tomb.”)Reminder of social proof / sales / formal proof. (“This is the novel that has sold a bazillion copies / that the New York Times raved about / that readers have awarded 100s of 5-star reviews.”)Comparisons nudge. (“Perfect for fans of Stephenie Meyer and Suzanne Collins.”) Again, it doesn’t really matter what you do; it does matter that you choose to do it. Personally, when it comes to fiction, I think you want to leave your readers in the story. That means the choice / question / cliffhanger ending works better for me than the jump back into “hey, the New York Times loved this”. But that could be a personal thing. Certainly you see plenty of competent indie authors / trad publishers using a whole variety of methods here. One More Example Just to show you how universal this model is, I’m going to give you an illustration from my own work – this one comes from the UK edition of my police procedural, THE DEAD HOUSE. I wasn’t in fact the primary author of this description – I just tweaked a description written by my publisher – but it’s probably the best of the descriptions of my work out there. You’ll see how precisely that description follows our template. The hook delivers a sense of emotion (“Chilling, atmospheric and gripping”), and a proof of quality – here’s top author Mark Edwards bigging the book up. (I’d forgotten, actually, that Mark had plugged The Dead House when I extracted his description above – but he’s a damn nice guy, with excellent taste . . . and he can write quite nicely too!) The story / content builds from the premise (victim’s body found), adds some mystery (who is she? why is she here? what’s with the thin white dress?), then escalates is one more time (another woman went missing). All that in a space hardly longer than Mark Edwards’s super-economical 100 words. And then the climax / CTA follows the template too: a question of the type that crime readers love. In fact – big claim here – if you find ANY good book description on Amazon, you’ll find it follows the same basic template. You don’t believe me? What about non-fiction, you cry? Pshaw, says I, and fiddle-de-dee. It’s true of non-fiction too. I’m going to show you an example of that in just one moment – but first some very important remarks about formatting, and how to make the most of the 4000 character allowance that Amazon grants us for book descriptions. Book Descriptions: Formatting, Length and Additional Content If you’ve been thinking about book descriptions at all, you’ll have noticed that some descriptions make good use of formatting (bold, italics, subheadings, etc), some make wildly excessive use of them, and some make no use at all. About Formatting Although Amazon’s own imprints make almost no use of formatting (and those guys test extensively, so they’re not just being stupid or lazy), my own view is that some good, calm, tasteful formatting adds structure and intelligibility to the blurb. I’m not going to talk in detail about how to insert bold and italics, etc. The short answer is that you use html tags like or to make text bold or italics respectively, and then lose the tags with, for example or , once you want the bold / italics to stop. But that’s not really a complete answer, so: You can read Amazon’s own guidelines here, but better stillThere’s a really easy tool here, which allows you to format your text on screen in a way that you’re happy with. Once you’re happy with the way your book description looks, you just hit “Get code” and the tool will deliver you with the text you can just cut and paste into your Amazon book description box. Simple! I’m happy enough using html tags, but I still use that tool, just because it’s easier to design nice-looking text if you can see what you get, real-time. In short, my advice is DO use formatting, but carefully. I think both my DEAD HOUSE description and the Italian guidebook description we’re about to look at use those formatting tools in a nice, clear, helpful way. But then another question looms. It’s this: do you want your book description to look very short and sweet – like the Mark Edwards description we looked at first – or do you want it to segue from book blurb into a whole pile of reviews and the like? Book Descriptions: Short Versus Long? Compare the Mark Edwards book description here, with this one from Angela Marsons, who is published by hyper-successful British e-publisher, Bookouture. The Angela Marsons one follows our template at the start – so it has a blurb-like blurb with intro / story / climax like all the others. But then it tells us “Readers are loving Dying Truth” and lays out a whole set of reader / blogger / formal reviews. Now there’s something interesting here. If you look at their records over the last several years, there’s a strong case to be made that Bookouture and Amazon are the world’s two best publishers when it comes to publishing and selling on Amazon’s KDP platform. They text extensively and monitor outcomes. But one firm – Amazon – goes for extremely short, unformatted book descriptions. The other, Bookouture, goes for very long, highly formatted ones. Which to prefer? Well, if you have two great firms making quite opposite choices, that says to me that both options work. Personally, I prefer – and use myself – the Bookouture model, of conventional blurb followed by a ton of reviews, but it’s your call. There’s no absolute right and wrong here. Using Formatting to Brand Your Book Finally, do take a look back at that book description for Angela Marsons. Notice the way that the publishers use formatting not just to say “this book is great”, but to ram home their key marketing messages for the book. So take this bit from the book description: ‘Just wow. This is police procedural at its best…It is complex, intriguing, and the writing hooked me in completely. I read the majority of this book in a few short hours not pausing for breath’ (5 stars) Rachel’s Random Reads That quote (and use of bold) is reminding the reader that this book is a police procedural. In other words, it’s sending out the not-so-subtle message to readers who like police procedurals that this book could well be for them. So the perfect reviews to select for your book description will be ones that (a) say “this book is great”, but also (b) reinforce your basic message of what this book is and what the emotional payoff will be. In effect, any reviews you include at the bottom of your book description should say, “You know that implicit promise from the blurb? About what you can expect to get from the book if you buy it? Well, trust me, buddy, this book will more than deliver for you.” So the blurb part of the book description delivers a promise, and the review part of it affirms that other readers / reviewers consider that promise to have been met. That’s a template that I personally like very much and use for all my self-published work. Has This Been Helpful? Before you leave this page – and just before we get to that long-promised non-fiction book description – may I ask you a question? It’s this: Has this page been helpful? And, because you’re an indie author, what that really means is: Will you make more sales by using insights from this page?Will you develop your career?Will you look like – and be – a more professional author? I’m really hoping that the answers to those questions are yes, yep, and you betcha. In which case – why stop at one blog post? Why not go the whole hog? Because – did you know this? – we have an entire course on self-publishing that tells you everything you need to know in incredibly clear detail. It’s fun. It’s engaging. It’s comprehensive. And it will get you from zero to sixty in no time at all. Basically, it’ll cut out all the mistakes and get you on the road to indie-dom fast and properly. And yes, there’s a catch. But, panic ye not, there’s a way to sniggle your way past that catch without being snared. So the catch is quite simply price. The course is a super-premium course and it costs hundreds of dollars to buy. (You can view the course outline in full here.) The price makes sense. You get 13 full length videos, plus a ton of bonus material too. Those videos come with full, extensive PDF-downloads, so you have notes on every topic at the click of a button.  Unless you are a super-sophisticated indie author already, this course WILL make you a better, richer, happier author. It’ll basically cut out all the mistakes and trial-and-error decisions, and put you on the road to success. But it’s expensive. So what to do? The answer is: don’t buy it. Rent it. If you become a member of Jericho Writers, you get all the learning material on this site FOR FREE. All of it. There’s no limit to your access. So you can gobble up that video course, and all our self-published filmed masterclasses, and all our material on how to write, and everything else besides, and not pay one dime over your monthly membership fee. You can learn more about Jericho Writers here or just sign up here. What’s more, our membership is cancel-any-time, so you can just sign up, help yourself to whatever you want from our learning tools, then quit. We’d love it if you stayed, but if you don’t want to, that’s fine too. We’re writers ourselves and we’re here to help. Non-Fiction Book Descriptions – Also Formatting, Length & Reviews The thing about non-fiction, is that you still need the hook, to draw readers into your page. You still need the springboard-style lift So here, for example, is the book description from Rick Steve’s Italy – a guidebook that I’ve chosen to complement the beautiful images of the Italian landscape that adorn this post. Notice the enticing intro, the meaty content, and what is effectively a call-to-action right at the end. Notice too the clever way this blurb moves from standard guidebook stuff (“top sights and hidden gems”) to things that make you start visualising yourself in Italy with this book in your pack (“Over 1000 Bible-thin pages”). That’s the whole book description template in (beautifully formatted) action, right? In fact, I hope that you can see our book description rules are basically universal. If they can cover dark crime fiction like mine / Mark Edwards’s / Angela Marsons’s AND a standard-issue Italian guidebook, then they just have to work everywhere, right? So go write your book description, entice those readers and grab those sales! Jericho Writers is a global membership group for writers, providing everything you need to get published. Keep up with our news, membership offers, and updates by signing up to our newsletter. For more writing articles take a look at our blog page or join our free writer\'s community.
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