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It used to be that when an author published a book, they would have to go on a city to city book tour. Today, you can tour your book without leaving home. Book bloggers and podcasts want to talk about your book. You can organize your own or take the stress out of the equation by booking the services of a book tour company. In this video, Author Nation sits down with Lauren Carr of of iRead Book Tours to learn how to have a successful book tour.
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Thorny Rose, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Nikki Bryant Cozy Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across five fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!
Realizing that she could use her experiences to help other writers achieve their dreams to become published authors, Lauren established Acorn Book Services, offering professional services, including iRead Book Tours, to independent authors.
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Positive, tasteful ways you can reach out,
build community and maybe sell a few books online.
With Mary Walewski, Buy The Book Marketing
And Polly Letofsky, My Word Publishing
If you’re wondering what social distancing marketing is, well, I just made that up. Who would have thought that a virus would turn our world upside down? Here we are, mostly stuck at home, wondering when life will be normal again. Should you just stop promoting your books and wait it out?
Here’s our opinion: We can’t control what’s happening out there, but we can help create community by reaching out to friends and readers alike. You can (tastefully)promote and help your friends and readers while still practicing social distancing.
Here’s what we covered in this webinar:
by Lauren Carr
“Why can’t I get reviews?”
It’s a complaint as old as independent publishing.
Indie writers put blood, sweat, and tears into producing great books, they put them out there, and then they wait for the reviews to come in. That’s bad enough. But when they finally get a wonderful review from a blogger or book reviewer only to have it not appear on Amazon—that can make many authors want to tear their hair out—and that of the reviewer or blogger who hasn’t posted the review on Amazon where millions (okay, maybe not millions!) of potential readers can see it.
Before you go bald, sit down, and take a breath.
The truth of the matter is that most book bloggers and reviewers honestly want to post their reviews on Amazon. Think about it. To post their reviews on Amazon gives them as much exposure as you. With helpful votes and their names there along with the names of their blogs, they can grow their following.
These bloggers and reviewers are not withholding their reviews from Amazon out of cruelty. The truth is—many legitimate book reviewers and bloggers have gotten caught up in Amazon’s net trying to weed out fraudulent reviews.
There are dozens of ways that book reviewers can wrongfully get blocked from posting onto Amazon:
Have you ever done a giveaway? Indie authors are told to do giveaways all the time. So, in hopes of one of our giveaway winners being so grateful for their prize that they go out and buy one of our books we host a giveaway. Turns out, this commonly used marketing ploy can turn around and bite you and the winner in the butt!
I host a giveaway for an Amazon gift card with every book tour I go on when I have a new release. When the winning name is drawn, I go to my account on Amazon, put in the email for the winner, and then send them the gift card.
Now, suppose that winner is a reviewer. Suppose that reviewer buys one of my books, loves the book, and then wants to post a great review for my book—totally separate from winning the gift card. Well, Amazon’s AI keeps track of who we send cash cards to. That AI will record my sending that cash card to that reviewer, who now wants to post a review for my book. In Amazon’s world, I sent that reviewer fifty dollars for a book review.
Forget about trying to explain to Amazon that this is not the case. In Amazon’s world, you are guilty with no options to prove you are innocent. Believe me! I’ve tried.
Unfortunately, it goes beyond cash cards. Most serious book bloggers use virtual book tour coordinators to act as go-betweens between themselves and the authors. Virtual book tour services vet the books, so the bloggers can be assured that they will get quality books. Also, the bloggers would rather deal with a handful of favorite book tour coordinators instead of dozens of authors.
Yet, virtual book tour coordinators charge authors for the service of coordinating the book tours. Amazon has equated this with charging for reviews. As a result, many legitimate book bloggers who never receive a dime for a book review have been banned from posting their reviews on Amazon! I know book reviewers who have waken up one morning to find dozens upon dozens of honest reviews that they have posted over the course of years yanked from Amazon!
Where does that leave us authors? As a book tour coordinator, this is one of the first questions I get from new authors considering setting up a book tour. “Will your book reviewers post their reviews on Amazon?”
Unfortunately, I can’t guarantee that. Any book tour coordinator who does promise an author that their reviewers will and can post their book reviews on Amazon will next try to sell you some swamp land in Florida!
BUT—dear author! Take heart! There is a solution to this problem! When Jeff Bezos closes one door, he opens another. It’s more like a window.
As the author, you see, you can post those banned reviewers’ reviewers under Editorial Reviews!
Let me show you how.
First, let’s go to an Amazon book page. The page we are looking at is for one of my books. Winter Frost.
You’ll see that I have forty-three customer reviews. Those are readers and reviewers who have posted reviews for this book. But, wait! There’s more!
When you post a review under Editorial Review, it doesn’t get buried in among the customer reviewers. When you put a review under Editorial Reviews, it is separate from the customer reviews.
Scroll down a bit.
These Editorial Reviews are reviews that bloggers and book reviewers have posted on their websites. As the author Winter Frost, I have taken blurbs from these great reviews and posted them under Editorial Reviews so that readers can see them in the prime space above the customer reviews.
How can I do that?
Well, through Author Central that’s how!
What’s that? Are you saying, “What’s Author Central?”
First, use the link above and log into Author Central. You will use the same log-in that you use to log into Amazon or your KDP page.
Author Central is Amazon’s website that is dedicated to their authors. At Author Central, you can set up your author page and book information. There is so much you can do with Author Central.
For this blog post, we are going to address how you can take that winning blurb from a book reviewer and put it right there on Amazon where everyone can see it.
Note: Some authors who are traditionally published by small presses have asked me if they can use Author Central to post reviews under Editorial Reviews. I have spoken to Author Central and they tell me that if you are listed as the author of that book, even if a traditional publisher has published it, that you can post reviews for your books under Editorial Reviews. They said that if you are unable to access the editing feature that I am going to show you here, go to “Contact Us” in Author Central and send the blurb to them and they will post the review under Editorial Reviews for you.
Now, back to my demonstration.
For this demonstration, I am going to add a blurb for Winter Frost that I had received from Merry Citarella of Mystery Suspense Reviews.
Admittedly, space is limited in the Editorial Reviews, and potential readers aren’t going to want to weigh through long paragraphs of a dozen reviews. So you’ll want to pick out a blurb that will grab their attention. You’ll see in the screen shot that I highlighted a paragraph and line from Merry’s review and copied it.
After copying the line from a blog post, you will want to sanitize it. By this, I mean strip it of coding or formatting. Otherwise, when you paste it into Author Central, you will end up with a mess. I suggest you open up Notepad, this is an app that comes along with your laptop or desktop. Paste the blurb into Notepad.
You will then want to add to the blurb the name (if you have it) and name of the blog. It is a good idea to put the blurb in quotation marks. I like to italicize the reviewer’s name and the name of the blog.
Now, return to Author Central. You’ll see in the screen shot above that I have highlighted the “BOOKS” tab. After you log in, you need to click on that to go to your book page.
When you go to the BOOKS page, you will see your list of books.
If this is the very first time that you have logged into Author Central, there will be no books listed here. Don’t freak out. You will have to “claim” your books. Not unlike you have to do in Goodreads. Click on the Add More Books button and then do a search of your books and claim them. It can take a few days for those books to be listed as yours. Until then, you won’t be able to add the editorial review.
If you have your book listed, then click on that to bring up the book page in Author Central.
You’ll see the Editorial Reviews tab right there with an “Edit” button. Click on that.
This is the screen where you will copy the blurb that you have put into Notepad and paste it into the Editorial Review. I’m going to add the blurb from the Mystery Suspense Review under the first review.
After adding the review, then click on the Preview button to see what it looks like.
You will see that Merry Citarella’s review is there right under the review from Locks, Hooks, and Books. Wait! We’re not done yet! You need to hit “Save Changes.”
The yellow banner says “Success!” But you don’t know that for sure until you look at the editorial reviews listed on this page. Look at the second review down. There is it! Merry Citarella’s review from Mystery Suspense Reviews is there.
Now, the message says that it takes 3-5 days for the review to appear on the book page. They lie! Fifteen minutes later, this was under Editorial Reviews on Winter Frost’s book page on Amazon!
To tell you the truth, I prefer adding the blurbs from book reviewers and bloggers to depending on them to post the reviews themselves. With the blurbs posted under Editorial Reviews, all of the best stuff is up there at the top. In fact, even if a blogger who has hosted me on tour posts their reviews on Amazon, I will still put a great blurb under the Editorial Reviews where readers will see it first.
Now it’s your turn. Log into Amazon Central, set up your Author Page, claim your books, and start selling your books!
Authors on iTours: Interview with Marilyn R. Wilson, Writing and Living Outside the Box (Episode Three)
Everyone has a story to tell, it's simply a matter of asking the right questions. That's Marilyn R. Wilson's motto, which she has proven with her extraordinary books, LIFE OUTSIDE THE BOX and THE WISDOM OF LISTENING.
Marilyn R. Wilson's focus as an author is non-fiction published under the label Real People - Real Lives. Whether she is sharing the stories of others or passing on what she has learned through interviewing, her books affirm how beautifully diverse life's journey is - there is no one right way to live - and encourage readers to embrace their uniqueness without apology.
In this third podcast of Authors on iTours, Marilyn and I will discuss her extraordinary career that began when she was 50 years old! Marilyn's career as a writer began when she answered a Craigslist ad looking for magazine submissions. When two were accepted, she was launched into a whole new career that included co-owning and running a magazine and doing freelance articles for others both local and international; conducting over 150 interviewing over people from around the globe; stepping on stage as a speaker; doing social media and author support for her publisher, working on contract with Eco Fashion Week Australia for their first event, mentoring young talent and publishing two Amazon best sellers - Life Outside the Box (2016) and The Wisdom of Listening (2018).
There's a growing audience of audiobook listeners out there. So authors need to be aware that not only are they writing for potential readers, but also potential "listeners." What goes into producing an audiobook? Do narrators just sit at their kitchen table and read into a microphone? No, more goes into it than that. Audiobook producer Mike Alger talks about how he came about producing his first audiobook and what actually goes into it.
Authors on iTours: Why Virtual Book Tours Are A Necessary Tool in Every Writer's Tool Box (Episode One)
Lauren Carr interviews guest Walewski, owner of Buy the Book Marketing, about how virtual book tours have become a necessity for authors when it comes to book promotion. During their discussion, they advise authors on how virtual book tours give their books lasting exposure, how to select a virtual book tour coordinator who will be the best fit for them and their book, and how to make their tour a success.
Article by Harry Southworth
The Nobel Prize for Literature is treated to be the most elite accolade that is ever awarded to authors. This is why the honor is only bestowed upon people who have made a special or unmatched contribution to the world of writing and literature.
If you are an aspiring author, you know that creativity and talent are not the only factors that will affect the success of your memoir, novel or song. Your words have to come from the heart in order to reach the hearts of the audience.
Here we have selected a piece of advice from writers who have already won Nobel Prize. These renowned authors come from different places and have a distinctive and special attitude towards their writing. Nevertheless, they all agree upon a few points that can help any amateur or professional who wishes to receive this amazing prize one day. Here are the best writing tips that can prepare you for achieving your goals:
Focus on the Imaginary World:
A great Nobel Prize-winner's advice is to disconnect yourself from all distractions. Award-winner Kazuo Ishiguro stated that he would go on a crash writing mental state where he would write for more than 12 hours per day, disconnecting himself from all sorts of human interaction and communication. This helped him to reach a degree of isolation and focus where his imaginary world seemed more real to him than the real one. He wouldn’t worry much about the connection and correlation between the pieces that he wrote as he was more focused on letting his ideas out. His advice for writers is not to try to correct their works, but write, wait then focus on the editing at a later stage.
Keep Your Eyes Open:
This is one of the most interesting tips from authors who received the Nobel. Winner Orhan Pahmuk advised all writers to keep their eyes open, watch other people, talk and listen to them. He believed that there is a story to tell in everyone’s life and a good author can take the idea and transform it into a beautiful novel. He also believed that a writer should never stop editing. He or she should allow different people to read what they have written and listen to all points of view before they have the final draft.
Avoid Big Words:
Award winner V.S Naipaul believed that there should be something left to the imagination. He advised every writer and author to avoid using complicated words. Using simple words allows the reader to think about the meaning of the word and what lies behind it.
Toni Morrison, another winner, explained that dead language would have a negative effect on writing. A writer shouldn’t try to tell everything in words. If they are talking about a certain event, idea or theme, they should tell one single story about it and let the reader understand the meaning that lies within the lines.
Self-Reflection is the Key:
An author or any other creative artist should focus on their inner selves, what affects, what inspires them and what matters to them the most. This is why Naguib Mahfouz, an acclaimed winner, explained how he would reflect on the events that directly affected his lives and the lives of his friends and then incorporate them into his novels. What mattered to him might not have mattered to other people, but he strongly believed that an author should write about the things they can personally relate to.
Believe it and others Will:
Fiction writing is not just about creating imaginary events. Gabriel Garcia Marquez explained that one fact will give legitimacy to the entire work if it is used right. He explained that a writer should believe in what he or she writes so that audience will believe it too. Regardless of the setting or the events, an author should create believable characters that come from real places allowing the reader to connect with them. His best advice is to make them have real traits, motivations, feelings, and flaws as this will keep the readers engaged.
Writing is not about the end goal, but the journey and the process. A writer might not be able to write a single page for days then have it all flowing in a day or two. Focus on your inner-self and your ideas then give your emotions the time to blossom.
Harry Southworth is a Literature Professor. He also writes for a local magazine and helps college students with finishing academic essays and assignments at https://eduzaurus.com. Besides, he has written many books and is dreaming of winning Nobel one day.
5 Essentials for Self-Publishing Your Novel
Article by James Daniels
The internet has enabled writers and authors to broaden their horizons and find a huge audience all over the world, and one of the most popular developments has come in the publishing world, with the rise of self-publishing.
These days you can get your book online, and available to sell online in a matter of minutes, once you have done the hard work of writing and editing your novel, of course. Here are five essentials you need to self-publish in style.
A Fully Proofread Manuscript
Self-publishing received a lot of criticism in the early days because, for all the good books that emerged such as The Martian (which became a successful Hollywood film starring Matt Damon), there were a large number of poorly-edited, poorly-designed books that flooded the market, cheapening the idea of self-publishing being legitimate.
However, in recent years, self-publishing has become hugely popular with authors who are prepared to spend the extra time and money in getting a professionally edited, fully proofread manuscript out into the book world. You need to do this if you expect to be taken seriously in the book community, especially when those book reviews start trickling in.
A Quality Book Cover
The old saying that you can’t judge a book by its cover doesn’t apply here. A cover is the first glimpse and understanding a reader receives of what the novel is about, and can be one of the reasons that many self-published authors fail. The book cover design is an important part of the process to help entice the reader into finding out more about the book, and ultimately making a purchase. If you’re not confident with design, you could pay a graphic designer to make one for you, if you have the budget to do so.
Print and Digital Copies Available
Although eBooks now sell in their millions due to the rise in e-readers and Amazon Kindle getting in on the action, some readers still love nothing more than to feel paper between their fingers, and the smell of a new book. Fortunately for self-publishing authors, you can have both, with eBook and print versions possible across the marketplace. Look into publishing your novel via CreateSpace in order to get a print and digital version out there in the world.
A Willingness to Market Yourself
One advantage of going down the traditional publishing route and finding a big-name publisher to back-up your book is that you won’t have to do all the marketing and promotion yourself, which self-published authors will have to do. For some authors, this is their worst nightmare, as they would rather be writing than spending time on social media and blogging on their website. However, many traditional publishers are now taking on authors who already have a large social media and online presence, as it makes their work a lot easier, so you should definitely be willing to engage with the online world if you want your novel to find a wider audience.
An Ability To Take Criticism
Bad reviews are as inevitable as breathing, and the quicker you learn that you can’t please everybody and grow a thick skin, the more likely you are to grow as an author and keep getting those books out there. JK Rowling, Stephen King, and Dan Brown are all multi-million selling authors, but they’ve also got one-star reviews aplenty on Amazon. They just don’t read them anymore. You should take the same approach, or - if you’re really thick-skinned - get into the habit of reading them and laughing them off. The quicker you learn to ignore bad reviews, the better you’ll get on in the literary world.
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading. He enjoys offering views and opinions on these topics.
Article by Michael Schacht
As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. But since most people still make preconceived notions of what something is based on what they initially see, judging a book by its cover isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.
As a self-publishing author, you’ll find yourself worrying about what people who might come across your book would think about its cover even more than making a profit out of your book’s sales. If those people find out that your book cover looks almost exactly like that of an author who sells more than you do, your career as a self-publishing author would surely go down the drain faster than having sold even just a single copy of your book.
To prevent that scenario from happening, you should start looking into taking an amazing photo for your book cover with these tips you’re about to read below.
Why Should You Not Buy and Use a Stock Photo for Your Book Cover?
You might have resorted to just searching online for a stock photo that very closely matches the content of your book.
While undoubtedly cheaper than hiring a professional photographer, who might charge a steep fee for their services, buying and using a stock photo for your book cover is very much looked down upon for a couple of reasons:
1. Using a stock photo for your book cover doesn’t make your book stand out at all. No matter how well-written your book may be, coming out with a book cover that makes use of a stock photo is sure to get you unnoticed.
2. Using a stock photo for your book cover confuses anyone who would come across your book. Since the stock photo you picked for your book cover might have already been used before by other authors who are writing in the same genre as you are, you may unintentionally drive sales away from your book.
How Can You Take an Amazing Photo for Your Book Cover?
As digital photography is now within reach by just about everyone, it has become more convenient for the average person to take photos that are almost in the same level as those shot by professional photographers.
If you’re looking to save money that you can use instead to finance the publication of your book, you can start following these tips on how you can take an amazing photo for your book cover at a fraction of the price you would have paid for either a stock photo or a professional photographer.
1. Choose the subject of your book cover photo based on what most prominently appears in your book itself. As another saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words, so you would want the photo you’ll be using for the cover of your book to quickly tell what your book is all about even without the buyer having opened a single page of it just yet.
2. Take more than just one photo while trying out different angles. Now that you’ve identified the subject you want to use for your book cover photo, you should experiment with taking different shots of it until you get your desired result.
3. Frame the photo you’ll be taking for your book cover such that there will be enough space for both the title of your book and the name you’re using as its author. It’s not enough to just take any photo of the subject you’ll be using for your book cover as you’ll have to make sure that there’s enough space in there for your book title and whatever name you’re using to write it.
The cover of your book is the very first thing anyone who comes across it begins to see, and whatever photo you’ve decided to use for it can either make or break your book’s sales. However, hiring a separate professional photographer to take a photo for your book cover can be expensive, but it does have its advantages. What you can do instead to is to use these tips on taking an amazing photo that you can proudly claim as yours to use for your book cover. So, grab your camera or smartphone and start taking your book’s cover photo right away. We hope you like this article from 312 Elements.
Michael Schacht is a portrait photographer and photography educator based in Chicago Illinois. As owner/operator of 312 Elements Headshot Photography located in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, Michael oversees the day to day operations and has had the opportunity to photograph thousands of corporate professionals over the last decade. Through his direction, attention to detail, and people skills, he's helped these clients to craft a narrative around their personal brand. It's his belief that the headshot is the modern dad business card and that a better headshot is essential for a better career.
Michael, his wife Meghan and his two daughters reside in Tinley Park Illinois where he is a community leader and active participant in the local business sector. Michael studied business at Ball State university and photography with world renown headshot photographer, Peter Hurley. It was Hurley that trained Michael in the art of human expression. Michael is now a Headshot Crew certified Mentor and active member of the Headshot Crew community where he was named one of the top 20 headshot photographers in the world.
Guest Post by Duke Vukadinovic
Succeeding on the digital market as a traditional writer can seem like an impossible thing to do. All those websites, forums, social media platforms and electronic media formats can cause a confusion for anyone with a pen and paper mindset.
But what if I told you that it is possible to do it with a lot less effort than you thought would be required? Here are the actions you should take to find success in the digital age as a pen and paper author.
Make a Website
I know what you are thinking: ”I don't have any technical skills, there is no way I could do this!” Yeah, 25 years ago that would have been a completely viable excuse. But today, you can get your website up and running in a matter of minutes. And all you would need to know is how to follow simple instructions and use a computer mouse.
Once you get your website up, you are ready to start making it as an author online. Next stop, your blog.
Start a Blog
Starting a blog and posting on it via your website is as easy as creating it was. A blog is an excellent place for you to put your writing skills on display. If you would like to extend your digital footprint, you should start writing on topics that you have personal experience with.
Trust me when I tell you that the online world is filled with content writers, and only a handful of them are authors in the full sense of that word. Since you are one, your odds of succeeding are quite good.
Sharing your opinions and providing valuable content is something that the online audience appreciates. Besides, it will make it easier for them to relate to you and to start coming back to read your new posts. Once you have filled your blog with some content, it is time to promote it.
Step Up Your Social Media Game
Get ready to be blown off. There are 2.46 billion social media users, and this number is going to be 3 billion by the year 2021. The time has come for you to become social media savvy. Don't worry, it involves a lot of writing.
The best way to start building your professional image on the social media is to use your own or pen name for your social media accounts. This will make it a lot easier for people to find you and to follow you. Once you’ve set your profiles up, feel free to share some of the content you’ve written on your blog.
The key is to make a perfect balance between promotion and engagement. People will not click on your links if they don't look promising. Engage them in conversations, like their statuses, make sure to share different things in order to keep them interested.
Start Building Your Personal Brand
In the online world, it became hard to make the audience relate to you and to remember you. This is why personal branding experts advise that you start promoting yourself by interacting with people and letting them in on who you are, what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Get an eye-catching logo for your website, incorporate it on your social media accounts and develop your unique personal branding strategy. If you are clueless about personal branding, here is a quicksprout article that will clear things up for you. It all boils down to one thing – building long-lasting relationships with your audience, the kind that will make them eager to hear from you and read your latest work.
Get some Gifts Going
Publishing an ebook is very easy and it can help you generate the initial attention, which is more than needed when you are just begging to build your online presence. Pick some of the most interesting content that you have written, format it properly and save it as a PDF ebook.
Don't worry, if you don't have any content that you can use, you can always just sit down and write something new, free ebooks are not that long anyway.
Announce it on your website, tell your audience what it is about and why people should download it. Use this opportunity to generate an email list of the people who download it. You can either create a landing page for this purpose or use a pop up window on your website.
Go over the list, follow the tips, rinse and repeat. Every time you go through this list, make sure to improve your game. For instance, you can learn a few things about the best SEO practices, learn how to efficiently use paid social media marketing, write engaging headlines for your posts, etc.
Duke Vukadinovic works for FirstSiteGuide.com. He is passionate about the Internet world and can be of great help to web newbies looking to build many successful blogs in various niches.
With over forty years of writing and publishing experience, international best-selling author Lauren Carr has played an active role in the revolution of independent authors. The international best-selling author of over twenty-five murder mysteries, Lauren has gone on dozens of virtual blog tours (most with iRead Book Tours!) and has seen first-hand that how an author publishes is irrelevant to success. The key is exposure to potential readers. Virtual blog tours are an excellent avenue for book promotion. Book spotlights, reviews, author guest posts and interviews are forever, unlike in-person book events, which become a memory as soon as they have finished.
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