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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How to Use Breaking News to Buzz Your Book - Eight Strategies -The Future of Ink

Your opinion counts on matters you devoted your book to, so why doesn't the media know how to contact you?

 

3 Book Marketing Projects to Tackle in 2014 - Duolit

Make the year ahead a productive and fruitful one with these three marketing projects. 

 

Film

 

How to Turn That Passion for Writing and Filmmaking into a Reality - FAST - Raindance

Passion to action. Action to achievement. Achievement to reality.   

 

How Do You Define "Independent Film" in 2014? - Indie Wire

Technology has democratized the film industry and blurred the lines between studio, independent and no-budget filmmaking.     

                                    

Music

 

12 Ways to Make More Money with Your Music - Hypebot.com

Twelve music industry insiders share their best advice on how to bring in the cash with your music. 

 

How to Make It in the Music Business - Judy Rodman

Before you can know if you've made it, you have to define what "making it" is.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - January 17, 2014

Weekly News Roundup - January 10, 2014

1,516 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, filmmaking, sales, writing, book_marketing, social_media, independent_film, music_business, music_production
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Form an Author Co-op

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 13, 2014

I'm guessing a large number of people reading this are writers with friends and family who also write. You may even belong to a writers group. I'm also guessing that among your collective of writers there are those of you who have jumped into the world of indie publishing. In other words, you have numbers, and where there are numbers, there is strength.

 

Alone, you are one author trying to break through by finding the right branding formula that will lead to a boatload of book sales. It's a tall order when you're on your own to keep up with the latest and greatest marketing tools and techniques or what's on the horizon.

 

Consider this: Instead of being a one-author operation, why not team up with your fellow indie author friends and become a cooperative, a kind of authors group where you meet monthly and examine each other's marketing strategies? You can share insights on what's worked and what hasn't. You can guide each other through this maze. You can organize group signings, appearances and readings. The possibilities are endless.

 

If you decide to give this a try, my suggestion is to go the whole nine yards. Have officers, take minutes, follow a meeting agenda, etc. Make it a real organization that effectively serves the needs of the authors in your group. Remember, this isn't a group critiquing each other's work. You have writers groups for that. This is a group dedicated to the topic of marketing and branding for authors.

 

Imagine how much easier your journey as an indie author would be if you had a group of other indie authors helping you navigate the marketing world. Authors helping authors: that's how it should be!

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Covering the Convention Beat

It's Not Just a Hobby, It's a Marketing Opportunity

1,680 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, author, sales, writers
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I self-published my first book in 2005. From the moment I had the trade paperback in my hand, I knew it wasn't going to sell itself. I scoured the Internet for information on how to sell books. The old world of publishing dominated the landscape at that time, so it was difficult parsing all the information to find strategies that fit an indie author. Slowly, I scratched and clawed my way through the gnarly marketing jungle and carved out a small, but growing niche for myself. I became known as an author who writes horror novels for young adults. It was a status that suited me just fine...at the time.

 

But I am an artist, and I like to experiment. I wanted to write something outside of the horror genre for an older audience. I tried doing just that under my name. It worked and it didn't. The book turned out as I envisioned, but most of the reader base I had built just wasn't that enamored with the work. Why should they have been? It was outside of their preferred genre, and it was written for a different demographic. I went back to my bread and butter and, as much as I enjoyed writing the other material, I decided I couldn't waste my creative time on it.

 

Then an idea came to me that I just couldn't shake. It wasn't young adult, and it wasn't horror by any stretch of the imagination. The characters, setting, and story were so clear in my mind that I couldn't help but write it. I decided early on that I would publish it, but not under my name. I would use a pen name.

 

I found it very liberating to write as someone else. If you're considering switching genres and trying something new, you might find it freeing as well. Using a pen name removes the expectations of the audience of readers you've established. Even if you choose to market to that same audience, they'll likely have a clearer understanding of the differences between your titles if you explain your choice of going with a nom de plume. You'll be able to experiment with style and language in a way you probably could not have under your established name.

 

So if you want to stretch your creative chops and untangle your imagination, I highly recommend publishing under another name. You may discover you've unwittingly been holding yourself back in certain areas. Once you exorcise those demons under a different name, you will satisfy the artist in you and become a better writer.    

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Should Authors Ever Reinvent Their Brands?

Brand Audience vs. Book Audience

6,105 Views 4 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, selling, self-publishing, sales, writing, genre, brand, craft, marketing_strategy, brand_identity, demographic
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Making it in publishing (indie or otherwise) is hard - hard in the same way it is to sail a boat without wind. It's a beautiful calm day on the water, and you're surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Schools of fish swim just below the glassy surface, birds soar overhead in a bright blue sky...yet all you can concentrate on is the fact that you're aimlessly drifting. 

 

So, when should you give up? When is enough enough? Tell me if this sounds familiar: You did your part. You wrote the best possible book you could write. You've blogged about it. You've taken to social media and done everything you can to get your friends and followers to help you spread the word. You've done personal videos. You may have even spent some money on advertising. But still the wind hasn't picked up. 

 

Don't give up on the wind; just stop waiting for it. You can still appreciate the scenery; that is to say, keep enjoying the writing. Here's the thing: as much as we hate to acknowledge it, drifting is moving. You put yourself in the water. You hoisted your sails. You are prepared for the wind. The longer you're on the water, the greater the chance you'll catch the wind and skirt over the waves. 

 

Writing keeps you on the water with your sails up. Keep at it. Appreciate it. Instead of focusing on what you haven't achieved, focus on how far you've come, what you've learned, the stories you have yet to write. A strong gust is bound to come along, and until then, there's too much else that deserves your attention.  

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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That Wise Old Doubt

How to Get Through the First Draft

1,601 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, author, promotion, sales, promotions, self-doubt, marketing_strategy
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Can You Do More?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Oct 7, 2013

If you're not selling as many books as you envisioned you would, the answer isn't to give up on your dream. The answer is to sit down and ask yourself a series of tough questions that may help you pinpoint where you went wrong, or if you went wrong. Here are the top questions you should ask yourself.

 

  • Is your cover holding you back? Even in this world of eBooks and online shopping, covers matter. A poorly made cover or a cover that doesn't adequately represent your genre can sink sales.
  • Is your book description just a summary? Book descriptions shouldn't be approached as a chance to summarize your story. Book descriptions should be looked at as a chance for you to sell your books. If you didn't write it with your marketing hat on, chances are it's not hitting the mark. Get your power words out, and get to work rewriting it. See my tips on book descriptions here.
  • Did you pick the right genre? Perhaps you're not totally clear on what kind of book you've written. Or you may even feel that your book is so versatile that it's not fair to limit it to just one or two genres. But do yourself a favor, and narrow your genre identification down to no more than two. It will be much easier to find and attract readers if you clearly define the book you've written.
  • Are you actively marketing? If you're sitting back and waiting for sales, there's a better-than-good chance those sales won't come. Get on the social media wheel and start running. Blog your heart out, and turn on that video camera. You've got some marketing to do. Check out Marketing Central for some ideas.

 

A little self-examination never hurt anyone. If book sales are less than stellar, you owe it to yourself to do all you can to sell more books. If you don't want to do it for yourself, do it for all those readers who are missing out!

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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What is Your Pivot Point?

Make Your Brand Engaging

7,685 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, authors, marketing, sales
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Selling books is hard. I understand that because I fight the fight every day. I sometimes look at my sales figures and wonder why the universe is so angry with me. What have I done to deserve such a thing? I fret and search the internet for stories of authors who've made it in a big way, and I look for the magic bullet that garnered them all those wonderful sales, only to discover there usually was no magic bullet. Persistence and opportunity happened to converge in their lives and BAM! Books went flying off the virtual shelves.

 

Success should be earned. It should be something you struggle to achieve. That struggle is really just a series of trials that can lead you down one of two paths. You can either wind up feeling bitter for what hasn't happened, or you can feel appreciative for what you've learned along the way. If you choose the bitter path, you will undoubtedly ditch the persistence and miss the opportunity to succeed. If you chose the learning path, you'll crave to know more, and you'll be fully prepared to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves to you.

 

I write all this because I've come across a few pronouncements by authors online that reeked of desperation. They've publicly lamented that they can't get anyone to buy their books, and the effort is just too great. Writing a book hadn't changed their lives like they thought it would. They make a plea for readers to do more. If readers don't, then the author will give up on his or her dream. Their plea usually falls on deaf ears. 

 

Guilt is the least effective marketing tool that I know of. It will have the opposite effect on readers. Desperation is an inevitable feeling when you think your dream is just too far out of reach, but don't let it taint this publishing journey for you. Learn from the struggle, appreciate it, and embrace the opportunities when they finally arrive.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Book Marketing Takes Persistence

Book Marketing Tip: Be Resourceful

1,867 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, selling, promotion, sales, effective_marketing
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Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup - a collection of news, advice and opinions from around the virtual globe.

 

Books/Publishing

 

How a Great Twitter Bio Can Net You More Followers…and Sales! -BadRedhead Media

Your Twitter bio is important, so make it count.           

                                                    

Storyville: What is Literary Fiction? -Lit Reactor

The answer to that age-old question many authors have asked: "Did I just accidently write literary fiction?"

 

Film

                                                        

Social Media for #Filmmakers: Facebook 101 - Film Independent

To thrive in filmmaking today, you have to add one more job title to your list of many as an independent filmmaker: social media evangelist.

                                          

10 Pinterest Boards Filmmakers Should Be Following - Indiewire

Pinterest has become a social media favorite for a lot of filmmakers.

                                    

Music

 

11 Ways to Sabotage Studio Vocals - Judy Rodman

Judy lists some the habits and choices that influence your vocals.

 

The Accident That Changed Modern Guitar Sound - The Big Picture Music Production Blog

Who knew a little accidental guitar distortion would have such a huge impact on music?

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Weekly News Roundup - August 9, 2013

Weekly News Roundup - August 2, 2013

1,992 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, music, filmmaking, self-publishing, indie, sales, writers, writing, films, promotions, filmmakers, social_media, author_brand, music_production, vocals
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Many writers make the mistake of thinking that bigger is better when it comes to defining a book's target audience. Logically, it seems to make sense: they want to sell as many books as they can, so they want to find the biggest pool of people to market to. That line of thinking is all about the numbers; the bigger the number, the bigger the opportunity to succeed. So the author designs a generic strategy in order to appeal to as many people as possible. They believe that if a potential reader is simply made aware of their book, then surely they'll take a chance and buy it.

 

But by choosing this "big pond" approach, those authors are being overlooked, and they're missing the opportunity to stand out in a smaller pond. What authors should do instead is look for ways to make their target audience smaller.

 

Find an element of your book that will resonate with a specific group of people and reach out to them. What you're looking for is a niche market. Dictionary.com defines niche market as "specialized and profitable part of a commercial market; a narrowly targeted market." The key word in that definition is "profitable."

 

An example of a niche market is fly fishing enthusiasts. Let&rss assume that you've written a murder mystery that features a protagonist who is a master fly fisherman. You'd be well-served to pursue fly fishing blogs, magazines, websites, clubs, etc. Let them know about your book. Offer them review copies. Let them know you're available for an interview, personal appearance, or whatever else they need.

 

You'll have much better success being a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Passive Marketing is Important Too

It's Not Just a Hobby, It's a Marketing Opportunity

34,706 Views 2 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, marketing, selling, distribution, sales
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I'm feeling bad today because I'm not tortured. Wait...what? Let me explain. I grew up with the idea that writers are tortured artists. They suffer at the feet of their prose because they feel so deeply, and live in anguish over every word they write to tell their stories. When I decided I wanted to be a writer, I assumed that's where I was headed. I was trading in my happy-go-lucky lifestyle for the brooding existence of a word-jockey. 

 

The problem is that some 20 years after making that decision, I'm still happy, happier even. How did that happen? Could I possibly have done something wrong? Am I not a real writer because I'm not a tortured, dark soul tearing my heart out with each sentence I craft? 

 

I'm confident that I'm a writer. I've got the tax forms to prove it. I even consider myself an artist. The years behind me and some of the decisions I've made tell me that much. The truth is that most writers I've met have been well-adjusted and perfectly happy citizens of the world, and by the way, they're talented, too. That's not to say we aren't met with frustrations and setbacks. We are, but so is every other living person on the planet. 

 

So, where did this portrait of the tortured artist come from? Unfortunately, there are those writers who suffer for their art, and sometimes that suffering turns to tragedy. You need to look no further than John Kennedy Toole and Ernest Hemingway for examples of such writers. Their suffering became legendary and romanticized. A young writer who idolizes their talent may even get the idea that such greatness comes at a cost. 

 

It doesn't, or at the very least, it doesn't have to. There are far more authors out there who have achieved tremendous success while maintaining a healthy life balance. So if you're a young writer reading this, you're probably not destined for a life of heightened lament just because of the profession you've chosen. You can choose to be a writer and be happy; chances are you'll live a happier life for it.     

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Science Can Help You Be a Better Artist!

Why Are You An Author?

1,024 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: authors, selling, sales, writing, craft
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Uniting Author Brands

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger Jan 14, 2013

I have an author friend who has a fairly well-established brand. He has a deal with a traditional publisher, but even with that deal, he regularly independently publishes other titles to supplement his income. He recently started coauthoring books featuring characters he developed in earlier releases.

 

I have to say, I think it's a brilliant move by this author. He's not a household name by any means, and the authors he partners with are not household names, but together they can combine their separate pools of fans and garner additional exposure. This has potential to expand their readership for the other titles they've published and will publish. It's a win-win for all involved.

 

He obviously had a well-defined background story for the characters they built new storylines around, and he most likely took the lead on the project and provided a lot of guidance to his writing partners. They have published so many books that I'm assuming his coauthors are doing a good bit of the writing. And in some cases, they're releasing novellas instead of full-length novels.

 

As you're searching for ways to expand your brand and get more exposure, this might be a strategy you want to try. My suggestion is to look for authors with a more established name in your genre, read their material, and approach them with a possible partnership. You might have better luck if you approach authors with whom you already have a relationship. Sell them on the benefit you could bring to their brand. Give them the details of your social media connections. Demonstrate your value.

 

Above all, respect the fact that these are their characters and adhere to their guidelines. In the end, your author brand will be able to get exposure to the other author's fan base. Good luck and happy coauthoring!

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Writing with a Partner

How to be a Confident Writer

700 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, author, author, sales, sales, writers, writers, writing, writing, craft, craft
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You are about to enter a new year, and you will, no doubt, make a list of resolutions designed to move your publishing and writing careers forward. Most writers cram their lists with daily word count goals, sales goals, and completed book goals. I have a few suggestions that may not normally make your list of resolutions, but they'll be important for further establishing yourself as an author.

 

1. Make connections this year with other local self-published authors in your area. If you look through the history of literature, most of the greats bonded with other authors. It was fairly easy in those days because writers gathered in metropolises and created a romanticized culture of writers. These days, we are considerably more dispersed across the globe. But that doesn't mean there aren't authors with whom you can connect in your area. Other authors know what you're going through. They want and need support. It really is true that there is strength in numbers.

 

The best place to find indie authors is in existing writers' groups. Check with your local library and bookstores to see if they support such a group. If they don't, chances are they'll know where you can find one.

 

2. After connecting with other indie authors in your area, organize public readings. Public readings are a way to entertain the literary crowd, spread the word about your books, build a fan base, and network with other authors. Find a local coffee shop or intimate bar and inquire about setting up a regular public reading night. How frequently you meet is up to you, but I would suggest starting out as a monthly event and over time move it to a bimonthly or weekly event. For variety and to support your peers, your group can add other author contributors as the year moves along.

 

Putting yourself out there is an important part of growing as a writer, and at the same time, it will help build your brand with fans and other writers. In 2013, resolve to break away from the solitude of a writer's life and make those connections that will help advance your career.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Book Marketing Tip: Hold On to Your Contacts

Setting Goals for Your Brand

8,814 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, authors, authors, marketing, marketing, sales, sales, writers, writers, resolutions, resolutions
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'Tis the season to sell, sell, sell. If you're an author looking for a reason to remind your friends, family, and fans that you have a book available for sale, then this is the excuse you've been waiting for. Holidays are a marketer's paradise. It's the one time of year where consumers expect to be inundated with gift-buying ideas. Much of the time, they don't just expect it, they appreciate it. So don't be shy. Jump right in there. Don't let them forget you; more importantly, don't let them forget your book.

 

While you're at it, don't forget your older books. You don't have to always restrict your book marketing efforts to your most current title. We live in a world where books no longer go out of print, so there's no reason to move on to your latest published masterpiece at the expense of your previous masterpieces. In fact, wouldn't the perfect holiday gift be your entire collection?

 

When you're putting out those reminders via email or social network, include all your books with their one-sentence descriptions. You do have one-sentence descriptions, right? They are perfect for times like this when people are short on time but desperate for solid gift ideas. Save them even more time by providing links to all of your books' detail pages, or one place where they can find them all, like your website or your Amazon Author Central page. Make it as easy as possible for them to make the decision and buy your books for the people they care about.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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A Brick & Mortar Holiday

Publicity Stunts

639 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, promotion, sales, publishing, christmas, branding
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What's better than giving out one or all of your books as gifts this holiday season? Gifting autographed copies. Imagine the smiles on the faces of lucky readers when they receive autographed copies of your books in the mail. It's something they will tell their friends and families about. Put another way, it's a word-of-mouth catalyst that could have far-reaching benefits.

 

Obviously, the logistics of selling autographed copies can get complicated and unwieldy. So, my suggestion is to hold a contest to give a signed copy or copies of your book away. Thankfully, social networking has made organizing and holding these types of contests relatively simple. Twitter and Facebook are great for engaging readers in contests; just be sure you abide by each network's guidelines and rules (find Twitter's contest guidelines here, and Facebook's here). I've also hosted contests on my blog, where I created my own rules for the participants that described what they would win, how they could win (and what would exclude them from winning), when the contest ended, and when I would announce the winner. Then, you just need to make an announcement to your friends and followers and update them periodically with reminders until the end of the contest.

 

There are a number of ways to structure the contest. I've seen authors post a cover of the book and announce that a random person who shares the post would get a signed copy. I've also seen authors say that the first ten people who leave a comment would get a signed copy. My most successful contest involved a bit of trivia from the actual book. The first few people who sent me a private message with the correct answer were winners.

 

Contests are great marketing tools. They can generate a buzz about your work that other marketing efforts lack. They're fun and generate a sense of excitement. Add to the mix that the prize is a signed copy of one of your books, and you multiply the buzz-worthiness of the contest.

 

One last piece of advice: track the feedback you get on the contest. You can use the information for the next contest you decide to hold. And, above all, have fun with it.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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Connect with Your Volunteer Sales Force

Interact, Interact, Interact!

653 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: author, self-publishing, promotion, sales, writers, publishing, promotions
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We've talked quite a bit about interacting on a regular basis with your friends, followers, and fans. Connecting with your readers on a regular basis has the potential to turn them into more than just casual contacts; it could potentially turn them into a volunteer sales force.

 

To fully utilize this sales force, you need to engage them as a sales force. If you've never worked in sales before, allow me to give you a little insight into what it's like. A sales staff isn't just handed a product and given the task to sell it. They are involved in the planning and the strategic steps it takes to sell a product. They are the people on the front lines. It only makes sense to seek their input before moving forward with a marketing plan.

 

With that in mind, I regularly take to my blog, Facebook, or Twitter and ask for input from my friends, followers, and fans about possible marketing ideas. If I have an idea for a contest, I'll ask for their input. If I have a couple of cover designs, I'll ask for their feedback. If I need help spreading the word about a giveaway or a new book release, they are the first ones I turn to for ideas. I'm fortunate to have a smart group of people who provide me with invaluable feedback. I'm sure you have the same type of volunteer sales force at your disposal just waiting to be engaged. The more you connect with them, the more ownership and pride they take in your success.

 

-Richard

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Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

 

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How to Connect with Your Readers

Book Marketing Tip: Make It Easy for Your Fans to Help You

654 Views 0 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: marketing, author, promotion, sales, writers
1

Why Print On-Demand?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger May 24, 2012

A lot has changed in the publishing industry. Gone are the days of sending your manuscript to dozens of publishing companies and waiting anxiously for a reply. No longer must you give up the rights to your work in order to reach readers. Nor do you need to print thousands of books on an offset printer and store them in your garage. As an independent author, you now have a technology ally to help bring your work to life efficiently and cost-effectively: print on-demand.

 

Print on-demand (POD) is a smart choice for bringing your book to market without lots of risk or investment. If you've published your book using CreateSpace, you're already reaping the benefits of POD. If you're an author considering the indie route or a publishing veteran looking for a POD refresher, allow me to share what I find to be POD's biggest merits. Print on-demand is:

 

  • Inventory free. Welcome to the digital era! There's no need to stack your books in your closet or spend all of your money on a storage unit. With print on-demand, your book is encrypted and stored safely in digital form on our computer servers.
  • In stock. With print on-demand, your book is always in stock. Books are printed from your digital files when a customer orders them, so even if you have a sales spike, you'll be able to keep selling without worrying about how many books are warehoused in physical inventory.
  • Cost effective. Since POD books are only produced as they're ordered, you save money by not printing and storing the thousands of books often required by offset printing. Just think of what you can do with the money you aren't using on upfront bulk print runs or storage! That leftover capital could be used to market your book.
  • Environmentally friendly. With POD, copies of your book are printed only when there is a demand for them. Therefore, thousands of copies of your book aren't printed in advance with the risk of any unsold copies being thrown away or pulped. Additionally, you have the choice to use other environmentally friendly options, like paper made from recycled materials.
  • High quality. Advances in print on-demand technology have led to high-quality books with professional covers and interiors. The average reader cannot tell the difference between a trade paperback book printed traditionally and one printed on-demand.
  • Low risk. With no setup fees, and no physical inventory, you can test the market without worrying about inventory. There is little risk in making your title available on-demand.

 

Those are some of the primary benefits of this game-changing print technology. Bottom line: modern print on-demand ensures you aren't literally selling yourself short by running out of inventory or risking large investments in physical inventory. It's a good time to be an indie author!

 

-Kelly

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Kelly is a member of the CreateSpace Technical Services team. She is passionate about ISBNs, margins, and all the artistic endeavors of the writers who cross her desk.

 

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London Book Fair Sessions: Food for Thought

Indie Freedom

2,041 Views 1 Comments 0 References Permalink Tags: self_publishing, self_publishing, author, author, sales, sales, publishing, publishing, writing, writing, pod, pod
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