Book Update

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

[Book Marketing Expert] Why Your Book Isn't Selling

[Book Marketing Expert] Why Your Book Isn't Selling

A newsletter all about SUCCESSFUL publishing and POWERFUL promotion.
August 6, 2009 Issue #201
in this issue
-- Note From The Editor
-- Savvy SEO: What is Anchor Text and Why it Matters
-- Featured Article - Why Your Book Isn't Selling
-- Blogger LinkUp
-- AME-University: Book Marketing, Publishing, and Internet Marketing classes
-- Making Money Online
-- Book Bits and Bites
-- Voicemail Savior
-- Top Seven Media Fallacies
-- How to Look Good Online
-- Got Blog?
-- Tune in to The Publishing Insiders
-- Don't Miss Out on This Twitter Contest!
-- It's Time to Promote Your Book
-- The First Annual Self-Publishing Book Expo
-- Achieve Publishing Success With Our Products
-- Twitter Tip: TweetSum
-- Twitter Tip: Tweet Stalk
-- Reader Tip!
-- ------------------------------------------------------------

Penny C. Sansevieri, Editor penny@amarketingexpert.com


You are receiving this newsletter compliments of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. To opt out, please scroll down to the bottom of this newsletter.

Note From The Editor

Welcome to another issue of the Book Marketing Expert Newsletter!

Dear Author,

I just returned from BlogHer (which I still need to blog about) and all I can say is wow, what a great conference. Bloggers everywhere and goodies for all the bloggers, too (yes, I grabbed a few). I got to have a fab dinner with AME's COO Paula Krapf, who is based in Chicago. It was a great event, keep checking our blog for updates.

You know, it seems that authors and publishers are eager to blame the slow economy on fewer book sales and maybe I'm just an optimist (which anyone who knows me knows I am), but it seems that during down times people want more entertainment. So what's the reason your book isn't selling? It might not have anything to do at all with the economy. You might just need to dig in and get more creative, and also consider that each day there are 1,100 books published in the US. Yeah, that's a lot. But don't let that number discourage you. This week we're taking a creative look at how you can succeed regardless of economy or number of books published!

Thanks for being with us for another issue, we hope you're enjoying the summer as it already starts to wind down. I don't know where the time has gone, but we're thrilled you're here, and we hope you learn a lot from this issue!

Wishing you continued publishing success,

Penny, Paula, Susan, Alex, Nancy and everyone at Author Marketing Experts, Inc.
Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Bookgal.

PS - If you're a reviewer reading this, and you'd like to review Red Hot Internet Publicity, send me an email and a link to your blog and we'll get you a copy!

P.P.S. Check out our blog!

We offer great tips and insights, such as: 'Seven Ways to Jump on Breaking News and Get You (and Your Book) into the Conversation:'

Savvy SEO: What is Anchor Text and Why it Matters
If you ask any Search Engine Marketing Expert they will tell you the importance of anchor text. What is this exactly? It's the hyperlinked text that you click on to follow a link. Most people overlook this text, using words like "click here" or other nebulous terms. If used correctly, anchor text can really help with your site ranking. It's not that difficult to implement really, you just need to understand a few basic concepts.
First, anchor text should be descriptive. It should describe the link you're sending people to using keywords that reflect the page you're recommending.
Second, if you know the high traffic keywords for your market you can use those as well to describe the link (but only if the keywords relate to the page you're sending visitors to).
Third, knowing where to use anchor text is almost as important as the text itself. All external links should be anchor text, but often web designers forget internal links (i.e. links leading to pages within your site) although they are equally as important. Your home page is also critical for anchor text links. If you have a blog (and you should) make sure that any article, web site or blog you reference has anchor text in the hyperlink.
Creating these hyperlinks is easy, especially if you're using them in a blog. Most blog software have some very simple one-click anchor text creation widgets.
So take some time and go through your site, make sure that anything you have hyperlinked is anchor text. Stay away from nebulous terms like "click here" or "follow this link" because you won't get picked up by search engines that way. Make sure the text is focused and specific. How long can anchor text be? It doesn't have to be long, but if need be, it can be multiple words. Keep in mind that as long as the words are relevant to your topic, the anchor text verbiage is all that matters.

Featured Article - Why Your Book Isn't Selling
Over the past several days, I've fielded a number of calls from authors frustrated with their progress. "Nothing is happening", "Am I doing this right?" and "My book isn't selling" are some of the biggest complaints I hear when authors are marketing on their own. Especially now, when we feel the pressure to make every marketing effort count, marketing effectively is becoming more of a concern. Authors like to blame it on the downturn in the economy but the truth is, books are a low dollar item and likely to sell better over the holidays than the spiffy new iPhone. So here's a little reality check, mixed with some inspiration and a few ideas to hopefully kick start your momentum!

1) Goals: it's good to have them but make sure they are realistic. If you're not sure, ask someone who can be objective. (We're here to help, email us at info@amarketingexpert.com if you have nowhere else to turn for an honest answer). Yesterday I was speaking to an author who was really discouraged she hadn't met her sales goal for the year. She had set herself a goal of selling 20,000 books. Now that's a great number to aspire to, but not a realistic figure. Why? Because it was her first book, because she self-published it and because she didn't have a distributor in place and didn't have a platform. All of these things are factors to consider when setting these types of goals. What's more realistic? Well, it depends on your market, but 2,000 to 5,000 especially if you're starting out is a much better target. Keep in mind though, that if your book has limited distribution, this number could drop drastically.

2) What's your plan? While setting goals is important, it's equally important to have mini-goals or milestones that you can reach and check off your list. I outline my big goal, let's say it's finding a traditional publisher for my book, and then I outline the hundreds of mini-goals I need to reach before I can even be considered by a mainstream house. When you work your goal setting this way, it will feel like you are accomplishing things because you are. So often the larger scope of what we do is comprised of micro-efforts, things that might go unnoticed and unseen if you don't write them down or somehow keep a log of them.
In all the years I've worked in marketing and publicity, the single most discouraging thing is when you do a million pieces of invisible work and don't keep track of it. Make a roadmap: you would never drive from San Diego to New York and not have a map. Much like a trip from West to East you'll need a map to keep you on track. It doesn't have to be formal, just a list of things you want to accomplish today, this week, this month and the next six months. Keeping yourself on track will keep you on the right road, if not you could end up being someplace you never planned on. Like Peoria.

3) Am I doing the right thing? No one markets well in a vacuum, so if you have questions, get answers from someone you trust. You might be doing all the right things, but it might just be a matter of timing, patience, effort, and oh, did I mention patience? The important thing is to ask someone in the industry and someone who will give you honest feedback without trying to sell you their stuff.

4) Brainstorm and get creative: again, no one works well in isolation so get out there and brainstorm with people who are in a similar situation. If that's not possible, then start attending classes whether in person or teleclasses - we offer these, they're totally free: authors@amarketingexpert.com. The point is, get out there and start those creative juices flowing or just sit with a speaker you like and get inspired. Re-ignite your campaign.

5) Reevaluate: if you keep hitting a brick wall, it's time to reevaluate your marketing. Are you hitting the right targets? Are you going after your niche market or are you shooting too wide? Are you spending time and money on things that aren't leveraging results? If so ask yourself why? Are you doing it because everyone else in your writing group is? Ask yourself some critical questions.

6) Stuff only works if you do a lot of it: whatever you focus on, you should plan to do it consistently. If you blog, blog consistently. Radio? Same thing. Get yourself in a social networking site then be social. Don't "dabble" - someone once told me they've dabbled in this and that. Trust me, dabbling doesn't work. Diving headlong into marketing does.

7) Put a lot of lines in the water: I don't fish, so I'm not sure where that analogy came from, but you get the idea. Put a lot of stuff out there. Don't just blog and expect that to be your singular source of marketing. Blog, social network, do radio if it's appropriate to your book, do talks, book events, network, and go to conferences.

8) If you do nothing, expect nothing: your book is not the field of dreams, if you write it people won't just beat a path to your door. Get yourself out there, do whatever you need to market the book. Sending postcards to your mailing list might get you a few "Hey, great to hear from you" emails, but it won't sell books. Surprisingly enough, most authors don't sell but a few books to their immediate social circle. Break out of that circle. Mom can only buy so many of your books. I queried this on my Facebook page earlier, and someone responded by saying that she's frustrated that her clients don't market the books they publish. Hmmmm.

9) Realism will keep you sane: the truth is that unless you get a ticket to her show, you'll probably never meet Oprah. That's ok. There are a million other things you can do instead of sitting by the phone waiting for her to call. Realism will not only keep you sane, it'll keep you on target. Having dreams is a great thing, everyone should have a dream, but realism will keep you from being discouraged and keep your marketing momentum on track.

10) Don't throw money at something just to feel like you're doing something: throwing money at a problem isn't always a good thing; in fact, sometimes it's the worst thing. If you're going to invest in your marketing (and you should), make sure you're investing your money wisely. There are great deals out there, but some of them are a waste of your time and certainly, your money.
Make investments wisely. I've known authors to blow through a $5,000 marketing budget $99 at a time and still have nothing to show for their efforts. Also, while it's tempting and easy to do, don't place ads. Ads (especially online) don't work. Media blasts aren't recommended either. It's tempting, I know. Blasting thousands of media at one time with your message should result in something, right? Not always. Be smart with your marketing dollars. If you're blasting the media, ask to see the media targets first. You don't want to be pitching your romance novel to Car and Driver.

So what's the solution to all of this? Here are some guidelines to help you navigate this marketing and PR path:
1) Become part of the conversation, wherever that conversation exists. If your book is a New Age topic, go to web sites, blogs, and even consider attending some conferences. If you're following blogs, comment on those blogs, get to know the big bloggers out there. If you have a social networking site work it, make friends, comment, be helpful.
2) Don't get into the Internet with the idea you'll make a lot of money. Get online and be helpful, the money will follow. If you do it in reverse you'll have a very short-lived time online. Offer tips, link to other blogs or web sites you find helpful. Offer guidance, insight, wisdom, inspiration, whatever works for your market.
3) Want to sell books? Then go for exposure. Repeat after me: marketing and PR doesn't sell books - it gets you exposure. Exposure gets you an audience, and an audience gets you book sales. Whatever effort you're going to put into your book, understand it's for the exposure, not for sales. Much like point #2, if you attack your marketing with the idea of selling books, you'll be disappointed. If you tackle it with the idea of gaining exposure, you'll be pleasantly surprised, and it's likely that book sales will follow.
4) When you make up your list of things to do to market your book, ask yourself what can give you the best exposure. That's one of the reasons I love the Internet, because the exposure is limitless. Don't go for flash in the pan marketing ideas, go for substance.
5) Having 35 social networking accounts is only a good thing when you use them all. People ask me how many social networking pages should they have, I say: how many can you manage? If you can't keep up 35 pages, then start with one and go from there. Better to have one very active page than a bunch of pages that are blank.
6) Do one to five things a day to market yourself and your book. Keep on track with your marketing efforts and stay in the marketing "zone" by crafting a list that lets you chip away at your goals, one goal at a time.
7) Please, please, please get a web site. It's your 24/7 sales tool and should be one of the first things on your list of must-do marketing tasks.
8) Get help from a professional you trust. I know you're loving this "going alone" thing, but let's face it, at some point it might make sense to bring in a professional who can help you, someone you trust who will give you a straight answer and good, solid advice. Stay away from anyone offering guarantees in sales. This is a huge red flag, no one can predict this, nor can anyone predict a bestseller.
The more you can approach your marketing plan with goals, a dash of realistic expectations and a lot of hard work, the more successful you'll be. The truth is there are hundreds of thousands of books that get published each year that end up dying a quiet death due to lack of focus, goals, and exposure. Get yourself on a path and then find a manageable plan that will work with you, not against you!

Blogger LinkUp
Blogger LinkUp is the creation of Cathy Stucker, the Idea Lady.
This is a free service that is all about helping bloggers - or anyone who wants to contact bloggers.
You can:
* Request guest posts
* Request sources for interviews and round-ups
* Offer guest posts to bloggers
* Offer products to bloggers for review
Who Should Join? You should join Blogger LinkUp if you are:
* A blogger who uses guest posts to fill in when you are away or just want to give your readers another point of view
* A blogger or web site owner who wants to get links and exposure by writing guest posts
* A blogger who does interviews or round-up articles and needs sources
* A representative of a company that wants to get your products reviewed by bloggers
* A PR person, publicist or social media consultant who helps clients with any of the above.
Here is how it works: Join the Blogger LinkUp list and you will get emails once or twice a day, Monday through Friday. These emails will list bloggers looking for expert sources, requests for guest posts, bloggers and web masters offering guest posts, and PR reps and others seeking reviews of products. When you see a request that you can fulfill, just respond directly to the requester.
Have a request of your own? Simply submit a request, and it will be forwarded to the list.
Blogger LinkUp
Email Cathy Stucker: cathy@idealady.com

AME-University: Book Marketing, Publishing, and Internet Marketing classes
These free teleclasses from AME-University may be just the thing to get your book marketing savvy ramped up! A new class list is coming soon so be sure to check it out!

Red Hot Internet Basics w/ Penny Sansevieri

When: Thursday, August 13, 4:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Description: If the idea of blogging, podcasting, and vlogging has your head spinning, you'll love this class! We'll look at easy ways to start a blog or podcast and tricks for keeping them going. Did you know that most bloggers or podcasters only keep the momentum going for a month? This class will show you simple things you can do so you never have to worry about running out of ideas or ways to market yourself!

Red Hot Web 2.0 Tricks to Sell More Books!

When: Thursday, September 10, 4:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Description: You've heard the term "Web 2.0" but can it really help you sell more books? You bet it can, and this class will show you how. Packed with tons of information and super simple things anyone can to do get themselves into the Web 2.0 marketing world, you'll walk away with fun ideas, simple tricks, and tons of helpful advice.

Here's what we'll cover:
· Creating "feeder" sites that feed traffic into your web site!
· Using book videos to sell more books
· Using Wikipedia to market yourself
· Why linking to other web sites is a bad idea
· How to get more web site traffic right away!
· Got blog? The one thing you should NEVER do with your blog!

All your Internet questions answered:
· What the heck is RSS and why you should use it
· Blog, blog, blog - the best and fastest way to get a blog
· Podcasting simplified: if you think audio is no big deal think again, podcasting is inexpensive and a fast way to build an audience
Come with ALL of your Internet questions, this class will get them answered!

How to join in:
To sign up or learn more about these classes send an email to author@amarketingexpert.com.

The AME website has a complete class listing for handy reference: http://www.amarketingexpert.com/iclasses.html.

Missed a class? Here's an easy way to catch up on past classes, just visit the AME-University All Access Pass.

Making Money Online
I just found a post on Seth Godin's blog where he talks about using the Internet as a "tool" for your business and not as the business itself.
Working with authors who want to build their book, speaking, product sales, I think it is important to understand what the Internet can and cannot do for you.
Seth says that you:
"Make money: not by building an internet company, but by using the net as a tool to create value and get paid. Use the internet as a tool, not as an end. Do it when you are part of a big organization or do it as a soloist. The dramatic leverage of the net more than overcomes the downs of the current economy.
The essence is this: connect."
As someone involved in the social networking movement, Seth says why you should connect while my work is showing you how.
Seth listed many ways that you can connect and the two that seem most relevant to me for authors are:
Connect like-minded people into a movement.
The secret: Don't write your blog for everyone. Instead, they use the blog as the center connecting point for a niche, and then go from there.
Connect information seekers with information.
What information do you have to offer that other people want? Which industry needs you to channel and collect and connect?
More feedback on this post and a link to Seth's full post can be found at: http://www.susangilbert.com/how-to-make-money-using-the-internet/.

Tip offered by Susan Gilbert, AME's Search Engine Marketing Expert and Web 2.0 company owner, http://www.JoomlaJump.com, which provides Social Networking websites and services.

Book Bits and Bites
A Novel Use for Old Books: An artist takes old paperbacks and turns them into priceless art - these works have to be seen to be believed. The Telegraph UK has the story.

How Much Would You Pay for a Special Edition?: A new book that will commemorate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing will be special indeed. The book will include a piece of moon rock in the binding and retail for a cool $1,000. Get the scoop.

Li-berry Pie or Sh-sh-sh-sherbert?: Thousands of Ben & Jerry's fans are asking the innovative ice cream makers to create flavors especially for book-lovers. Suggestions include Gooey Decimal System - dark fudge alphabet letters with caramel swirls in hazelnut ice cream, and Dusty Stacks - a layered ice cream with speckles of cocoa in every layer. Read more about the proposed sweet concoctions.

Always a Borrower Be?: A 91-year-old British woman is about to borrow her 25,000th book. The woman reads about 12 books a week, and, wait for it: has *never* returned a book late. Learn more about the record-setting library patron.

Voicemail Savior
Need to leave someone a voicemail but don't want to disturb them and/or avoid an awkward conversation? Passive/aggressives unite! Check out the sneaky site called Sly Dial, www.slydial.com.

Top Seven Media Fallacies
Real television is very different from the "dramas" that entice us on a daily basis. Everyone is beautiful, spoiled and catered to, but the truth of television is very different. Here are the top seven "real situations" you will encounter as a guest.
1. Most television stations do NOT have a green room. You wait in the lobby with everyone else until it is your turn to be interviewed.
2. Breakfast, lunch or dinner is NOT provided while you wait in the fictitious green room. You will get coffee, tea or water.
3. Make-up artists and hair stylists are NOT there to make you beautiful. Come camera ready.
4. A limo will NOT be picking you up at your door. You will be driving your own car in rush hour traffic like everyone else. In my experience media escorts or car services are only provided by publishing companies to their well-known authors on a tour.
5. Television stations do NOT provide a copy of your segment. They will give you the number of a media service that will charge you anywhere from $50 to $100 for a dub. Set your Tivo or DVR.
6. Your book signing, website, workshop, etc. will NOT always be graphically displayed on the screen. You must ask. Most televisions stations do provide a link on their website either to your website or to your pertinent information.
7. IT'S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU! You are there to provide information, entertainment, or an interesting tidbit or story to enhance the show.
Always remember a good guest is one who comes prepared, is enthusiastic about their topic, has good, relevant information that the audience wants or needs and is a pleasure to work with. Television can be an exciting experience for any author. The chance to share your passion can be intoxicating, but be realistic about your expectations.

For more information or to schedule a coaching session go to www.myhattricktv.com or call (602) 509-6468.

~Tip offered by Media Veteran Laura Holka, who is the producer of the Pat McMahon Show & a Media Consultant. She can be reached at www.myhattricktv.com.

How to Look Good Online
There are those that say it's all about appearances, this is very true online. Why? Because everything you do online not only leaves a footprint but it's also your 24/7 resume. If the footprint you're leaving looks unprofessional and half-finished, it might not bode well for your online reputation and sales. Here are some quick tips on how to look good online:
Social Networks: with social networks it's not about quantity but quality. I often have authors tell me they are on numerous social networking sites (some are on as many as 50). That's great if you can keep them all current - if you can't, find the ones you can participate in and stick with those. Remember that the first word on social networking is "social," so if you're not able to participate actively (at least once a week) then get out.
Sign up for Google alerts: who's saying what about you? If you don't know, you should. This is (usually) a good thing. You want to know where reviews appear so you can a) link to them and b) thank the person who reviewed you or mentioned you on their blog or web site.
Get a blog: in order to get on blogs, you must have a blog but it's more than just having one, it's about keeping it updated. (see Participate)
Participate: In order to reap the benefits of the online world, you must participate. This goes back to the social networking site and your blog. Participate, communicate and listen. Three rules online that will never steer you wrong.
Don't get greedy: lead with the benefits, not the dollar signs. What I mean by this is that if you're going online to make a quick buck, get out. You might make a few dollars, but success will be short-lived.
Network: it goes without saying that networking (especially online) is important. Network, lend a helping hand, show people how you can help them.
Get a web site: don't just get one, get a good one. You'd never think to show up for a car race with a scooter. Don't even try to go online with anything less than a professional web site. While I know it's tempting to do it yourself, most authors always end up regretting it. "My web site is fine," they'll say until you ask them how well it's selling for them. If the answer is: "it's not," then you need a new site. Show up online with a site that reflects your expertise, creativity, and message. This is one race you can't afford to lose.

Got Blog?
Don't forget to add it to:
* www.google.com/blogsearch
* www.technorati.com
* www.blogpulse.com

Tune in to The Publishing Insiders
Be in the know and hear what the publishing insiders: Penny Sansevieri, CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. - and her guests - have to offer in terms of tips and insights into the industry! Listen here.

Join us for the next show, Aug. 11, at 4 pm Pacific, http://tinyurl.com/64sfjj.

Publishing Insiders is also available on iTunes, so you can keep up with the show wherever you go!

Don't Miss Out on This Twitter Contest!
Tony Eldridge, creator of the Marketing Tips For Authors blog and free video tips, is running a Twitter contest from Friday, August 7 to Sunday, August 16. He has gathered some of the best book marketing experts in the business and has a prize package worth over $1,300. Of more value is the knowledge and tools you can win in the package, including books, consultations, classes, mailing lists, and web memberships. This prize package can give you all the things you need to effectively market your book.
You can even win a copy of Penny's revised Red Hot Internet Publicity and a mini website evaluation!
For more details on the contest, visit the contest page at: http://marketingtipsforauthors.com//TwitterContest.html
You can sign up for Tony's free video tips for authors newsletter at: http://marketingtipsforauthors.com//videotips.html.

It's Time to Promote Your Book
Looking for inexpensive ways to promote your book? We've just developed and launched an exciting series of budget-friendly programs that still pack a powerful punch! Think you can't market your book in a tough economy? Think again - we've got the answer! Email us for more details: info@amarketingexpert.com.

The First Annual Self-Publishing Book Expo
Penny will be speaking at this event, to be held Saturday, November 7.
The first annual Self-Publishing Book Expo, at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, will bring national focus and attention to the fastest-growing segment of today's publishing industry. Unlike any other book exhibit, the Self-Publishing Book Expo will be the only event of its kind to highlight the books of self-publishing companies and their authors, and give them the prominence and prestige they deserve.
For more information, visit the website: http://www.selfpubbookexpo.com, or contact conference organizers at: info@selfpubbookexpo.com or (212) 353-3478.

Achieve Publishing Success With Our Products
We've designed our products with your success in mind! Regardless of where you are in your publishing journey, we've got a product that will suit your needs. Check out our books, special reports, and our audio programs, all designed to help you reach publishing success!

Twitter Tip: TweetSum
TweetSum: http://www.tweetsum.com allows you to quickly follow or ignore people who are following you.

Twitter Tip: Tweet Stalk
Tweet Stalk: http://www.tweetstalk.com. If you want to follow someone but don't want them to know you're following (huh?) - I present you with Tweet Stalk. Creepy.

Reader Tip!
If you've got a Reader Tip you'd like to share, please send it to penny@amarketingexpert.com with the subject line "reader tip." Submissions should be 75 words or less.

Author Marketing Experts, Inc. is a full-service book marketing, promotion, and publicity company. We serve authors at all stages of marketing and promotion. We offer a full range of packages and services to choose from.

To see a price list or schedule a free consultation, send your e-mail to penny@amarketingexpert.com with the subject line "Author Services Info." You can also visit our Web site at www.amarketingexpert.com.

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