Make the Most of Your Book Back Cover With These Tips

26 March 2017

From BookWorks:

You have heard over and over from experts and read online how important your front cover is.  It is true.  How your cover looks is even more important that what you write inside the book. Because if your cover is not terrific, then no one will ever know how brilliant your writing is. It is the front cover’s job to convince a potential reader to flip the book over and read the back cover.  It is the job of the book back cover to convince a reader to flip open a book and read a few pages.

. . . .

Our job as authors/publishers is to convince readers that our books are wonderful. The back cover is one of our best tools to do that. Too often, we try to get EVERYTHING we want to say about ourselves and our books onto the back cover.  We cram too many words into too small of a space and when we want to get it to fit, we shrink the text size. That is not how to entice someone into reading your back cover copy. Think about how magazines use space and headlines and large font sizes to lure their readers in. We should be emulating those same practices.Before you write that back cover copy, ask yourself the following questions:

1 – Does your Bio and picture NEED to be on the back cover? Are your bio and picture going to convince someone that your book is terrific?

2 – Do YOU read tons of text, in small type, smashed together with no line spacing to give your eyes a break? Or do your eyes gloss over the words?

3 – Do you read headlines on Magazines, Newspapers, and Online?

Link to the rest at BookWorks

8 Book Description A/B Tests You Need to See

23 March 2017

From BookBub:

At BookBub, we connect books to readers, and readers to books. One of the components that drives this connection is the blurb we write for each book featured in our Featured Deals email. A successful blurb caters to the settings, characters, and tropes our readers love — so to write such a blurb, we need to learn as much as possible about our readers’ tastes.

To do this, we A/B test many of our blurbs, which lets us evaluate the performance of certain words, phrases, punctuation, or other blurb elements. Through this analysis, we can see what our readers engage with — and what turns them away. This post will highlight some recent A/B test results that you may find useful as you write and improve your own book descriptions.

. . . .

We run A/B tests by creating two different versions of a blurb: the A version is the control, and the B version has a slight variation. Most users see the A version, but a randomly selected group gets the B version instead. By comparing each blurb’s click-through rate (CTR, or how likely users were to click on the book), we measure the impact of the change we’re testing.

. . . .

1. Call out authors’ accolades

Readers respond well to mentions of an author’s accolades, including awards the author has won. Blurbs that named prestigious, genre-specific awards boosted CTRs by up to 25%, with an average increase of 5%.

. . . .

2. Avoid including too many characters’ names

It seems intuitive that one great way to help readers connect with a book is to introduce them to characters, calling out the main characters by name. However, test results show that this may not be the case. Especially in books with several main characters, names in the blurb hurt its performance. The example below seems drastic, but the trend is consistent across all of our tests. On average, blurbs with 3 or more names saw a 10% lower CTR than the nameless variations.

. . . .

7. Call out characters’ ages in Chick Lit

If blurbs shouldn’t mention too many characters’ names, what kind of information should they include? The performance of certain character attributes can be hard to predict. Furthermore, readers’ engagement with these attributes often varies by genre — which is why running your own tests with your own readers is so important! Here’s a great example of this: in Chick Lit, mentioning a character’s age consistently helps drive engagement. Including the heroine’s age boosted CTR by an average of 9%in this genre.

Link to the rest at BookBub and thanks to A.R. for the tip.

This Bookstore’s Clickbait Headlines on Facebook Are Actually the Plots of Classic Novels

17 March 2017

From AdWeek:

Does the end ever justify a means like clickbait?

That’s debatable. But a new contender in the discussion is Dallas bookstore The Wild Detectives, which is using what it wryly calls “Litbait” … to trick people into reading classic, copyright-free novels.

. . . .

Facebook posts featured witty teases like “British guy dies after selfie gone wrong” (The Picture of Dorian Grey), “Teenage girl tricked boyfriend into killing himself” (Romeo and Juliet), “When it’s OKAY to slut shame single mothers” (The Scarlet Letter) and—wait for it!—”This Italian politician makes Trump look like a saint” (The Prince by Machiavelli … which got as passionate a response as you can expect).

. . . .

“You fell for the bait, now fall for the book,” the video concludes, which pretty much sums up the goal of the campaign—to remind people that there are way better things to read than clickbaity articles on the internet.

Link to the rest at AdWeek and thanks to Dave for the tip.

Your Author Bio: Does it help your Book Sales or Stop Them Dead?

13 March 2017

From author Anne R. Allen:

No matter how great a book’s cover and blurb, one thing can stop me from buying yet another ebook for my Kindle: an author bio on the buy page that screams “amateur.”

I spent some time as an editor, so when I pick up a book for relaxation, I want to know it’s going to be a professional work and not something that makes me want to run for my red pencil.

If you start your bio “I’ve always wanted to write a book, ever since I won a penmanship prize in third grade, and now that I’ve self-published, “If My Cats Could Talk” my wish has come true…,” all you’ve told me is you’re a beginner.

Is that really what you want your customers to know?

. . . .

An author bio should not be a chronological report of your whole life. And you don’t want a list of dry facts, like a resume. But it’s also not a personal essay about your hopes and dreams. Readers don’t care about that stuff when they’re deciding whether to buy a book.

What readers do care about  is an author’s competence. We want to know if you’re qualified to:

  • Teach me something.
  • Entertain me.
  • Make me laugh.

If your author bio doesn’t convey your qualifications to do those things, the reader is going to move on.

Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog

Here’s a link to Anne R. Allen’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

The Writer as Public Figure vs. the Writer Who Actually Writes

27 February 2017

From LitHub:

I’m supposed to be writing a speech about my new novel, The White City. It’s a March morning, no sun. I’m standing by my secretary desk. I’ve shut the doors to the rest of the apartment and have been on the verge of sitting down to begin, but each time I tried someone called for me: my husband, my son, or one of my daughters. I can still hear them out in the hall.

It’s impossible to speak to someone about a book one has written. I’m supposed to be writing, but this is the only sentence inside me. There are mere days before the book comes out. A number of so-called “author appearances” have been scheduled at bookstores and libraries around the country. I have to figure out what to say—draft a talk about this novel that I can give not once but repeatedly. It’s paralyzing. I can barely bring myself to make even this tiny movement: my fingers tapping the keys as I write this text.

The kids are making noise in the hall again; the front door slams behind them. Silence. I breathe through my nose and think of the meditation techniques I should be practicing. I think about what Virginia Woolf said in her speech before the National Society for Women’s Service in London in January 1931: that all the great women novelists in England in the 1800s did not have children. Those words strike me occasionally.

. . . .

When a book has just been published, the author is asked many questions. It’s usually difficult to respond, and there might not be any answers. One of the most common questions—and yet it always blindsides me—is “Why do you write?” When I was young I spent a lot of time trying to answer that question, but however I tried I couldn’t come up with an answer that I knew to be true. It made me feel lousy, like someone who’d never be a writer because I didn’t even know why I wanted to be one.

. . . .

An author appearance is a meeting between the author and the readers who share time and a space and in this way it differs from our usual meeting, the one in which the reader sits alone with the text and completes it by reading. I like our in-person meeting best when it reminds me of the latter. But this latter meeting can occur when we’re in the same room, too, for instance during a Q&A in an auditorium when a member of the audience shares his reading of the novel in a way that allows us to glimpse our usual space of encounter: the true space of reading. I like when this happens; experiencing the closeness between strangers that arises when we recall the fellowship to which we are accustomed, but can’t achieve as long as we are in the same room speaking to each other.

Link to the rest at LitHub

Depth of Growth is More Important than Rate of Growth

25 February 2017

From Fine Art Views:

Attracting one new deeply committed fan is worth far, far more than attracting 100 mildly interested visitors to your website.

Consider what Jonathan Mead wrote in this blog post:

I’ve learned that there’s no guarantee that growth will make a difference in your business. You can have more people on your list, and no one actually buying. You can have more traffic, and only crickets in your comments section. There’s a big difference between growth that’s meaningful and growth that’s hollow. The difference is depth….People that buy everything you create…They comment on every post. They tell everyone they can about what you do. – From: The Secret to Attracting 1,000 True Fans 

The problem is, if you do what most articles tell you to do, you’re mostly doing the wrong things or, at best, you’re simply doing what everyone else is doing:  You’re optimizing for hundreds of mildly interested people instead of a few deeply committed people.

Here are the type of articles I generally see that pass as “art marketing advice” these days:

– “Facebook for artists: 20 ways to get more fans”

– “How to use Pinterest to Promote your art”

–  “Instagram for Artists – 5 Ways to Promote and Sell Art on Instagram”

– “Use pop-up forms to increase engagement with your art email newsletter list”

– “SEO for Artists: 7 Website Tips to Help you Rank Higher”

These articles . . . and thousands like them . . . all focus on quantity over quality.

Link to the rest at Fine Art Views and thanks to Felix for the tip.

Writing Prompts by iAuthor

11 February 2017

Here’s a link to an interesting Google+ Collection of writing prompts from iAuthor UK.

From iAuthor UK:

iAuthor is an interactive book discovery and promotion platform.

Through eye-catching book profiles, ultra-smart book samples and mind-expanding book themes, iAuthor connects AUTHORS and PUBLISHERS to READERS. iAuthor is global in reach and vision. We aim to give the publishing world something unique: a hub for serendipitous discovery.

Link to the rest at iAuthor UK

Since PG hasn’t paid any attention to Google+ for a long time, he had to look up an explanation of Google+ Collections.

Author Blogs: 5 Bad Reasons for Authors to Blog and 5 Good Ones

6 February 2017

From Anne R. Allen’s Blog:

5 Bad Reasons for Author Blogs

1) Getting Rich Quick

Nothing infuriates me more than those books and blogs promising writers they can make a gazillion dollars of “passive income” with a blog in the next month if they take this overpriced course or buy that book of rehashed advice from 2005.

The only people making a lot of “passive income” from blogging are the people selling the overpriced courses and worthless advice. Pyramid schemes always provide “passive income” for the people at the top of the pyramid. That’s not going to be you at this point. The boom is over.

Blogging is work. Writing is work. There’s nothing “passive” about it. Anybody who tells you otherwise is lying.

I used to subscribe to a couple of hype-y “how-to-blog” blogs, but I had to unsubscribe because these people are getting so desperate. One blogger now sends an email 15 minutes after you click through to read his post saying, “You’ve had enough time to read my post. Now share it to Facebook.”

Creepy!! I’d just shared his post to Twitter, but I deleted the Tweet and unsubscribed. You’re not the boss of me, dude. And I’m not responsible for your bad life choices. If you really were making the fortune you claimed to be making a decade ago, why didn’t you invest it?

Another sad truth is that Internet ads pay less than they used to. You’re not going to make more than pennies a day from ads (especially “affiliate” ads that only pay when somebody clicks through and buys something.)

Your best bet is to get a deep-pockets sponsor to bankroll you, but even so, that’s not likely to pay a lot of bills.

Medium, the popular blogging platform started a couple of years ago by Twitter and Blogger founder Evan Williams has not found a way to make money. You probably won’t either.

Author blogs are for promoting your own brand. You’re making money by not spending it advertising elsewhere, but that’s not going to buy you a house in the Hamptons.

2) Overnight Fame

The days of Julie/Julia  over.

Yes, you can still raise your profile with author blogs, and I strongly recommend you use a blog as one tool for getting your name out there.

But nobody’s likely to become an overnight sensation with author blogs in these days when everybody and his grandmother has one.

When Julie Powell started her Julia Child blog in 2002, the term “blog” itself was only 3 years old. Blogging was a whole new concept.

Now, WordPress alone, with about a quarter of the market, hosts more than 76.5 million blogs.

The odds for instant fame are not on your side. I highly recommend that authors blog, but we need to be patient.

Link to the rest at Anne R. Allen’s Blog

Here’s a link to Anne R. Allen’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

Why There’s No Perfect Time to Post on Facebook

31 January 2017

From Buffer:

There probably isn’t a single best time to share to social media.

There’s a long tradition of studies that have attempted to uncover a ‘best time’ to post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and almost every other social media marketing channel, with each study finding a wide range of results (we’ve even created our own studies here at Buffer).

Here are just some recommendations on the best time to post to Facebook to get you started:

  • Thursdays and Fridays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. [Hubspot]
  • Thursday at 8 p.m.  [TrackMaven]
  • 1–4 p.m. late into the week and on weekends [CoSchedule]
  • Early afternoon during the week and Saturdays [Buffer]
  • Off-peak times are best [Buzzsum0]

All of these studies are based on sound logic and can potentially be helpful to point marketers in the right direction. But almost every study reveals a different ‘best time to post’ and I believe there’s no perfect time to post to Facebook (or any social channel for that matter). 

The best time to post depends on a number of factors that are specific to every business: What’s your industry? What location is audience based? When are they online? Are you sponsoring your post?

I’d love to flip the conversation and say that instead of looking for a universal ‘best time to post’, maybe we should be focusing specifically on when is the best time for your brand to post.

Link to the rest at Buffer

Stop Demanding Attention And Start Earning It

6 January 2017

From Medium:

You aren’t entitled to a single reader. You aren’t entitled to a single customer, viewer, audience member or anything else. As a creative, you are doing creative work in the hope that people will consume it.

But you can’t demand their attention. The people with the potential to enjoy what you do are busy. They’re distracted. They have a hundred things they could be doing at any given moment.

They could be using your competitor’s app or reading your peers’ blogs.

They could be taking photos, playing Mario, seeing their family, drinking a latte, eating chips, listening to Black Flag or searching for that one pizza place they visited 10 years ago and have never been able to find since.

So when you demand their attention, they don’t care. They don’t want to.

There’s enough out there for them to worry about as it is.

. . . .

Which means the default position of your audience is to honestly not care about giving you any attention at all. It’s easier for them.

This isn’t a bad thing! This isn’t a disaster for you. This isn’t negative.

What it means is that you have to change your tactics.

You have to earn. You have to earn attention.

You earn attention by focusing on what your audience want, what they need, what they don’t even know they’re searching for. You research. You offer quality. You create your best work.

You create your best work at all times.

Link to the rest at Medium

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