Dana Lynn Smith's Blog

March 31, 2015

ChildrenLibraryOnline marketing can reach a huge audience, but one of the best ways to sell children’s books is in person, doing presentations at schools, libraries and other events for kids or families.



The great thing about school presentations is that authors are often paid a speaking fee in addition to being able to sell their books.



See these two articles for tips about promoting in schools:



How to Market Children's Books in Schools by Melissa Williams



Making School Assemblies Fun by Sheri Bell Rehwoldt



Virtual Author Visits



You aren't limited to schools and libraries in your area, because you can do presentations to kids around the world through the magic of Skype. And if your day job prevents you from visiting local schools and libraries, you can visit kids in other time zones through Skype. In this podcast, Margot Finke shares her experience with doing Skype visits to schools.



More Resources for Children's Book Authors



Children's Book Marketing Tips Newsletter



Author training program: How to Sell More Children's Books



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Published on March 31, 2015 06:18 • 43 views

March 18, 2015

Mic_Kittisak_FreeDigitalPhotos.net



In today's guest post, media coach Gina Rubinstein shares her expertise in using the media to promote books.



10 Tips on How To Use The Media To Sell Books



by Gina Rubinstein



FACT 1: The marketplace for books is crammed with competition – over 3 million titles a year in the U.S. alone, the majority of which are self-published or public domain.



FACT 2: The average non-fiction title sells less than 250 copies a year, and less than 3,000 over a lifetime. This isn’t surprising since reportedly only 1% of books actually make it onto bookstore shelves.



FACT 3: Authors have to do their own marketing – the days of leaving it up to publishing companies is long over.



FACT 4: Despite Facts 1 through 3, there’s still a lot of value in writing a book. You can use the book to gain credibility, raise your business’s profile, and make a name for yourself as an expert in your field. AND, if you’re like many authors today, you can beat the odds and make money on your books. But you have to know how to market yourself.



FACT 5: The media, in all its forms, is the best marketing tool there is.



Here are 10 tips on how to use the media to sell books and grow your business.



1. Go from author to expert – Become an expert in your field, if you’re not already. Being an author gives you credibility as well, so build on that. Experts are widely used on TV and radio to give background and perspective on current events.





2. Tie in your expertise to the hot topics of the day -- What knowledge and experience can you add to the discussion of the topic? Be creative. A client of mine who wrote a book on parenting got booked on a show about legalizing marijuana because she had advice for parents who want to say “yes” to pot for themselves and “no” to pot for their kids. What interesting angle can you bring to the topics on everyone’s minds?



3. Have a good elevator pitch - In three or four sentences I need to know who you are, why I should listen to you, what problem you’re going to solve, how if affects me and what fresh ideas you have as solutions. A client of mine literally found herself in an elevator with a radio producer, gave her pitch, and by the time the elevator got to her floor she was booked on the producer’s show.



4. Prepare to go on-camera – You need to be authentic, articulate and high energy to look confident and engaging on television. I do on-camera practice interviews with my clients to get them comfortable and ready for television. My client Judy Carter was so comfortable and genuine when she was on the Marie Osmond show that Marie sat in her lap after 30 seconds because she liked her so much! Watch here.



5. Have 3 clear-cut messages – A message is a statement that connects a point you want to make with something your audience needs or wants. The headline of this blog is a message. It contains my point (“Use the media”) with your need (“to sell books”).



6. Write punchy sound bites for your message – You need to have quotable, seemingly off-the-cuff lines that illustrate your messages. They should be about 10 to 12 seconds long. I craft them ahead of time with my clients so that they have them ready whenever they need them.



7. Have compelling stories and statistics – Flesh out your message with stories of people overcoming obstacles. Humanize your statistics by putting them in a context – what do those numbers mean? What picture can you paint with them?



8. Make a demo reel – Get someone to tape you in an interview setting, and deliver your messages, stories, sound bites and statistics. Edit together a 1 to 3 minute video that shows you at your best.



9. Get on national and local TV and radio shows – Producers are hungry for guests for their shows. Check out the web sites for the national and local shows where your expertise could come into use. Don’t forget the smaller shows, especially if they have your target audience. Get the names of television producers from the credits of the show and email them – let them know your area of expertise and include a link to your demo reel.



10. Guest blog for someone who has your target audience – Find a blogger who’s popular with the people you want to reach, and see if you can do a guest blog for them. Several of my clients have seen their book sales go up after doing a guest blog for someone popular in their niche.



GinaRubinsteinAbout the Author



Gina Rubinstein (ginarubinstein.com) is a Los Angeles-based media coach who trains her clients to use the media to grow their businesses. She is an Emmy Award-winning executive producer of reality television who has transferred her directing skills into helping authors, speakers and others to become engaging and confident on-camera. She offers a free evaluation to anyone who fills out a short questionnaire.



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Published on March 18, 2015 03:29 • 70 views

March 4, 2015

Bigstock_Free_-_Green_Button_5277881Did you know that some of the most successful authors are giving away their work?



In fact there are several ways that authors can profit from giving away free ebooks, reports and other valuable content:



KDP Select



The main reason authors sign up for Amazon’s KDP Select program is to be able to give away free copies of their book on Amazon for five days out of every 90 days. These “free days” tend to generate lots of downloads, push books up the bestseller ranking for their niche, and generate reviews.



Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to KDP Select, so you’ll need to decide if this program makes sense for you. Recently I wrote a detailed article in my book marketing newsletter about the pros and cons of KDP Select. (If you aren't already getting my newsletter, sign up here.) 



PermaFree Ebooks on Online Bookstores



Some authors give away free ebooks on Kindle and other bookstores all the time! Recently I had the chance to interview Shelley Hitz about this highly effective strategy for growing your mailing list. Get the details in this podcast



Mailing List Bonuses



Once you get people to your website, it’s important to persuade them to sign up for your email list so you can continue to communicate with them. The most effective way to increase a mailing list is to offer an “opt-in bonus” to everyone who signs up.



Nonfiction authors typically give away a free ebook or report, or some kind of a useful template or tool. On my website, I offer a free report, How to Create a Book Marketing Plan That Sells Books.

Novelists can give away a free ebook or collection of short stories, or perhaps a prequel to their book or the first few chapters of a book. Children's authors can give away ebooks, games or activities related to their books, or audio versions of bedtime stories.

Learn more about how to set up and profit from email lists in this article: Promote Your Book With an Opt-In Subscriber List 



Other Ways to Profit from Free Content



There are many other ways to profit by giving things away. For creative ideas, check out this article from Vikram Narayan:



7 Ways to Market Your Book by Giving Away Free Stuff



Don't be afraid to give away content in order to grow your list and increase your sales in the long run!



Want more book marketing tips? Subscribe to this blog by email or RSS feed so you won't miss a post.



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Published on March 04, 2015 05:28 • 68 views

February 18, 2015

Q&A



Press releases are a great way to get media coverage that can build your reputation as an author and lead to book sales.



Some press releases announce the publication of a new book, while others are designed to gain interviews and media attention for the author by showcasing the author's expertise or background. Press releases are also used to spark story ideas for journalists and bloggers, and are sometimes published verbatim.



To get the most benefit from press releases, you'll need to have a specific goal for each release and know how to write it in the proper format and get it in the hands of the right people.



These articles have some terrific tips for writing effective press releases and the mistakes to avoid:



5 Tips for Writing a Strong Press Release by Marsha Friedman



5 Ways to Make Sure Your Book’s Press Release Doesn’t Get Used by Sandra Beckwith



For detailed step-by-step instructions on how to create and distribute a press release that gets results, I recommend Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book, by Sandra Beckwith. It even includes a fill-in-the-blanks template and 11 sample releases in several genres, so you can see how it's done right.



For an even more extensive collection of templates and examples for various types of book promotion press releases, check out Sandra's companion workbook, Publicity Forms & Templates



Want to learn more about how to use press releases to boost your book sales? Listen to this highly informative podcast interview with Sandra Beckwith:



Use Press Releases to Sell More Books



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Published on February 18, 2015 03:26 • 27 views

February 11, 2015

Gnome



When someone lands on your website, book sales page or social post, you may get only a fraction of a second to capture their attention before they decide to move on. Photos and illustrations (along with strong headlines) are key to drawing the eye and breaking up large blocks of text to make it more inviting.



Carefully selected images can also convey a sense of the message contained in the text, but sometimes bloggers choose beautiful or whimsical images to capture the reader's attention. (I ran across this gnome image while working on this article and just couldn't resist!)



Copyright Concerns



Like our writing, the work of photographs and illustrators is protected by copyright. The creators of photos and illustrations can choose to make their work available to others through various types of licenses that govern how and where the images can be used and how they are compensated.



It doesn't make sense to buy an image for every blog post or social post, but it can be a challenge to find images at no charge. Following are some tips for finding and using images in your book promotion.



Creative Commons Licenses



Many images are available free under a "Creative Commons License". Although there is no charge for using the image, there may be restrictions on how it's used and you may be required to give credit to the creator. See the bottom of this page for an explanation of various types of creative commons licenses.



Here are two sources of free creative commons images:



Flickr Creative Commons is especially good for photos of places and nature, but a wide variety of images can be found here. Be sure to check which type of license is being offered for the image you want.



Wikimedia Creative Commons - Enter a search term in the box at the top and then scroll down the page to see images. You're free to copy, use and modify images found here as long as you follow the terms specified by the creator. The license conditions of each media file can be found on its description page.



Royalty-Free Images



Images available for licensing are often called "stock photos," but you'll also see the term "royalty-free." That means that the creator allows the image to be used multiple times according to the terms of the license, without paying a royalty fee for each use or viewing.



Royalty-free images are offered through several online agencies. Typically you pay a one-time fee to license the image and then you can use it as many times as you like within the terms of the license. Some sites offer royalty-free images at no charge, but attribution to the source may be required.



When using a new image source, check the terms of their standard license to verify what uses are acceptable. Almost all images can be used for things like blogs and other online posting. But you will find some images labeled as "no commercial use," so check the license for specifics before using those.



Sources for Free Images



For years I've been using Microsoft's free image library, which was accessible online and directly through programs like Word and PowerPoint. This service has been discontinued, so here are my new favorite sources for free images:



Free Digital Photos gives away the smallest size image free (usually about 400 pixels wide, suitable for blog posts) and then charges a fee for larger versions. The only catch is that you must give attribution when using the free image. The easiest way to do that is to use a phrase like this in small type beneath the photo or at the end of your blog post: Image courtesy of [name of the image creator] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.



Pixabay is another good resource for free photos and illustrations. The "sponsored images" on the top row of each search results page are available for purchase, but the other images on the page are free to download. The images that I have found there required no attribution. This site is especially good for nature photos and social media images, but they have a variety of subject matter. The selection of free images is somewhat limited, as the goal of the site is to sell the sponsored images. Here is an example of a free image I found on Pixabay:



Social-media-488886_1280_pixabay



Free Images, owned by Getty Images, is similar to Pixabay. I find the selection to be more limited than some other sites, but you might find just the right thing.



Google Images and Bing Images are also possible sources of free images. On both sites, enter you search term and then near the top of the results page you can choose what type of license you're looking for to narrow down the results. However, my experience has been that many searches lead to images that are being used on websites and I'm not very confident that those images are really licensed for free use.



Purchasing Images



When you are creating a book cover, sales page or other important marketing tool, it makes sense to spend some money to find just the right high-quality image. 



Each of the sites listed below allow you to purchase individual images, but some require that you purchase a package of "credits" to be used to buy images. Prices vary and are usually based on the image size and resolution. Some of these sites also offer audio and video clips. When shopping for images, you will see a watermark on the image, but that will disappear when you download the purchased image. 



123RF is my go-to site when I can't find what I want on the free sites. Quality images can be purchased for as little as $1 for the smallest size, so this is also a good source for blog posts. Here are a few examples:



Little girl reading a book



Email newsletter button



Woman reading a book at the beach



iStockPhoto has a huge library of high quality photos and illustrations and their search engine allows you to narrow down your results better than some other sites. This is a good place to search for just the right image for your book cover, but the prices are rather high for blog post images. Here are several similar sources:



Shutterstock  
Fotolia 
Dreamstime  
Big Stock  
Crestock 



Savvy Tips for Finding and Using Images





If you don't find quite the image you're looking for, try different keywords. It may work better to search for one keyword or phrase at a time. On some sites you can also narrow your search to include just photos or illustrations (also called vector art).





Low-resolution images are suitable for online use, but you will need high-resolution for anything that's being printed. Image sizes are usually shown in pixels, but some sites also list inches for reference.





When I save an image to my computer, I add the name of the site where I found it to the file name. If attribution is required, I also include the name of the creator. That makes it easy to remember where I found the image later, and also to give proper credit when necessary.





If you're working with a graphic artist on a book cover or other marketing materials, send them a link to the image that you are interested in and ask for advice on the suitability and the size required.



If you have any other favorite sources for photos and illustrations, please share in the comments below.



Want to see more book marketing articles like this? Click here to get each weekly blog post delivered to your inbox or your favorite feed reader.



 



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Published on February 11, 2015 03:32 • 30 views

February 3, 2015

NonfictionWritersConf

Learn how to publish, promote, and profit from nonfiction books at the 5th annual Nonfiction Writers Conference, May 6-8, 2015. 


This virtual event features 15 speakers over three days, with attendees participating via phone or Skype.

I'm honored to be speaking at the conference again this year, with my presentation on “How to Launch and Market Your Book.” Here’s a rundown of the topics to be presented:



Julia Cameron – The Writer’s Way: Q&A with a Legendary Author 


Dan Poynter – From Author to Speaker: How to Sell More Books and Fill Your Speaking Calendar 


Mark Coker – Hot Promotion Strategy: Sell Ebook Preorders 


Michael Larsen – Special Event: Pitch the Agent! 


Cathey Armillas – How to Pitch, Prepare and Deliver a Killer TED Talk 


Bob Erdmann – Build Your Foreign Rights Revenue Stream 


John Lee Dumas – Podcasting for Promotion and Profit 


Pam Lontos – Publicity Strategies That Get Results 


Joanna Penn – How to Make a Living from Your Writing 


Joel Friedlander – Essentials for Author Websites, Blogs and Book Sales Pages


Amy Collins – Book Distribution 101: How to Get Into Bookstores and Beyond 


Maria Nemeth – From Author to Coach: Build a Thriving Coaching Practice Around Your Book 


Roger C. Parker – Write Three Books This Year! (Or, How to Write Faster) 


Stephanie Chandler – Social Media for Authors: Proven Tactics to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books


Dana Lynn Smith – How to Launch and Market Your Book

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from these industry leaders! Register now!




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Published on February 03, 2015 10:56 • 27 views

NonfictionWritersConf



Learn how to publish, promote, and profit from nonfiction books at the 5th annual Nonfiction Writers Conference, May 6-8, 2015. 



This virtual event features 15 speakers over three days, with attendees participating via phone or Skype.



I'm honored to be speaking at the conference again this year, with my presentation on “How to Launch and Market Your Book.” Here’s a rundown of the topics to be presented:





Julia Cameron – The Writer’s Way: Q&A with a Legendary Author 





Dan Poynter – From Author to Speaker: How to Sell More Books and Fill Your Speaking Calendar 





Mark Coker – Hot Promotion Strategy: Sell Ebook Preorders 





Michael Larsen – Special Event: Pitch the Agent! 





Cathey Armillas – How to Pitch, Prepare and Deliver a Killer TED Talk 





Bob Erdmann – Build Your Foreign Rights Revenue Stream 





John Lee Dumas – Podcasting for Promotion and Profit 





Pam Lontos – Publicity Strategies That Get Results 





Joanna Penn – How to Make a Living from Your Writing 





Joel Friedlander – Essentials for Author Websites, Blogs and Book Sales Pages





Amy Collins – Book Distribution 101: How to Get Into Bookstores and Beyond 





Maria Nemeth – From Author to Coach: Build a Thriving Coaching Practice Around Your Book 





Roger C. Parker – Write Three Books This Year! (Or, How to Write Faster) 





Stephanie Chandler – Social Media for Authors: Proven Tactics to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books





Dana Lynn Smith – How to Launch and Market Your Book



Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from these industry leaders! Register now,
and save 50% if you register by February 13 and enter promo code NFWC2015



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Published on February 03, 2015 10:56 • 18 views

NonfictionWritersConf



Learn how to publish, promote, and profit from nonfiction books at the 5th annual Nonfiction Writers Conference, May 6-8, 2015. 



This virtual event features 15 speakers over three days, with attendees participating via phone or Skype.



I'm honored to be speaking at the conference again this year, with my presentation on “How to Launch and Market Your Book.” Here’s a rundown of the topics to be presented:





Julia Cameron – The Writer’s Way: Q&A with a Legendary Author 





Dan Poynter – From Author to Speaker: How to Sell More Books and Fill Your Speaking Calendar 





Mark Coker – Hot Promotion Strategy: Sell Ebook Preorders 





Michael Larsen – Special Event: Pitch the Agent! 





Cathey Armillas – How to Pitch, Prepare and Deliver a Killer TED Talk 





Bob Erdmann – Build Your Foreign Rights Revenue Stream 





John Lee Dumas – Podcasting for Promotion and Profit 





Pam Lontos – Publicity Strategies That Get Results 





Joanna Penn – How to Make a Living from Your Writing 





Joel Friedlander – Essentials for Author Websites, Blogs and Book Sales Pages





Amy Collins – Book Distribution 101: How to Get Into Bookstores and Beyond 





Maria Nemeth – From Author to Coach: Build a Thriving Coaching Practice Around Your Book 





Roger C. Parker – Write Three Books This Year! (Or, How to Write Faster) 





Stephanie Chandler – Social Media for Authors: Proven Tactics to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books





Dana Lynn Smith – How to Launch and Market Your Book



Don’t miss the opportunity to learn from these industry leaders! Register now,
and save 50% if you register by February 12 and enter promo code NFWC2015



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Published on February 03, 2015 10:56 • 15 views

January 28, 2015

FoundationIt’s important to have a strong foundation in place for promoting your book.



The first step is to start “building your author platform” –  in other words you need to develop a reputation, connections, and online followers.

Building a platform takes time, so it’s best to start as early as possible (ideally when you decide to write a book). Here are some essential steps to platform building:





Decide how to brand yourself and your business. (I use Dana Lynn Smith and Savvy Book Marketer.)





Write a strong author bio and get a good author photo made.





Create accounts and profiles on all relevant social networks.






Buy the right for your website.





Build an author website. It can be improved and expanded over time, but it’s best to at least get the home page up early.



Buying your domain names and creating social network accounts as early as possible increases the odds of you getting the names that you want, and it allows you to coordinate the branding across networking platforms.

Once you have these pieces in place, begin developing your platform by networking, commenting on blogs and forums, and writing articles for blogs and publications. Over time your reputation and following will grow.

Once your book is published, be sure to write compelling sales copy (the book description), optimize your Amazon sales page, and continue to improve and add content to your website.

With this strong foundation in place, your book launch and ongoing promotions will be much more effective.



If your book has already been out for a while, review these steps and see if there are any areas where you might make improvements. And remember to do something every day to promote yourself or your book!

Photo courtesy of RBerteig on Flickr, via Creative Commons License.



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Published on January 28, 2015 09:09 • 17 views

January 21, 2015

NickDaws01Today I'm delighted to have Nick Daws share a clever way to increase revenue from Amazon. After you read Nick's post, be sure to click the link at the end to learn more profiting from Amazon Associates.



Use This Simple Free Service to Boost Your Amazon Sales and Commissions



by Nick Daws



If you have books or e-books on Amazon, you will almost certainly have discovered one problem when promoting them to a worldwide audience.



This problem is that you can only link to one Amazon store at a time. If a visitor from the UK follows a link to your book on Amazon.com, they won’t be able to order, and a potential buyer may be lost.



If you’re an Amazon Associate, it’s even worse. Normally, if you send a visitor to Amazon via your affiliate link, you will get commission on any and all purchases they make. But if your link sends them to the “wrong” Amazon store, not only won’t you get a sale, you will have no chance of earning any affiliate commissions either.



One solution could be to provide multiple links to different Amazon stores, but this is cumbersome, and there will inevitably be some national stores you don’t have room to include.





There is a solution to this difficulty, however, and it is to use a link management platform such as GeoRiot. This free service automatically detects where a visitor to your site is based and forwards them to the appropriate national Amazon store, with your affiliate code for that store applied (if you have one).



To use GeoRiot, you first have to register on their website at www.georiot.com. This is free and only takes a few moments. If you want to redirect visitors using your affiliate link you will need to supply the relevant code for all Amazon stores of which you are an affiliate. There is no obligation to do this if you’re not bothered about affiliate commissions, however. In that case your links will simply forward visitors to the relevant page of their national store.



Once you have signed up, any time you want to create a link all you have to do is go to your GeoRiot homepage and enter the relevant page URL from Amazon in the “Create Link” box. GeoRiot will then create a universal “Genius” link you can use anywhere you wish to link to the book in question. Here is a sample link for one of my Kindle e-books: http://geni.us/1kW2. If you click on this, you should be taken to the relevant page of your own national Amazon store, wherever in the world you may live. And yes, my affiliate code will be applied as well!



You might ask how GeoRiot make money. The answer is that they apply their own affiliate code in any cases where you have not specified a code of your own, which for English-speaking authors may include non-English language stores such as Amazon.de. In addition, they offer a premium service, where they take a certain proportion of clicks on your links (up to 15%) and apply their own affiliate code instead. Premium members get some additional benefits, e.g. unlimited vanity links with customized URLs. For most authors and self-publishers, however, the free “Core” membership should be more than adequate.



One other benefit of using GeoRiot is that you get access to a lot of useful stats, including where your visitors are from. Through this I discovered that although I am UK-based, I was actually getting more clicks on my links from people in the US. I have therefore modified my book marketing strategy accordingly.



I have been using the GeoRiot link management platform for over a year now, and have seen a pleasing rise in both sales and affiliate commissions during that time. If you are an Amazon author yourself, therefore, I highly recommend checking out this excellent free service.



About the Author



Nick Daws is a professional freelance writer and editor based in Staffordshire, UK. You can visit his blog at www.mywritingblog.com.



Savvy Tip for Authors



Read this article to learn more about boosting your profits on Amazon by using affiliate links to sell your books. GeoRiot can also be used to create affiliate links for Apple's iTunes Store, App Store, and iBookstore if you're promoting any products there.



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Published on January 21, 2015 00:00 • 20 views