Friday, June 29, 2007

21 Steps to Boosting Your Book Sales

I have been cruising around the Internet trying to find ways to increase book sales for our novel, Over Time, and for our new nonfiction book, The Publishing Primer. It seems everywhere you turn, you bump into someone that has the secrets to making a bazillion dollars marketing online. And yet when you try to find a simple step-by-step plan, there aren't any.

Now I don't know about you, but I need to keep myself motivated when I don’t see results immediately. On the Internet it takes time to build enough momentum to be effective in producing sales. So I thought I would post the steps I will be taking for the next 21 days and also post it to my blog. If you have comments or questions I'll do my best to answer them.

The basics I have in place are:

a website
a blog
two squidoo lense and

The objective is to get visitors to these sites and then hopefully they'll purchase a book. Increasing traffic, targeted traffic, increases the odds a book will be sold. It's not really a complicated process.

If you want to join me on my 21 day plan I'd love to have you.

Step One

You're going to set up a squidoo lense, but first you need to do some research on key words. Trust me this is important.

Search engines find websites/blogs/squidoo lenses through key words and key word phrases. Think about the last time you searched on Google, what were the words you put in to find the information you wanted? Now if someone were looking for your book what words would they use? Long tail key words are phrases that narrow down the number of websites that would be appropriate.

For example I could put in 'sinus pain' (believe me I know what that is) I'd get millions of relevant sites. If I put in 'natural cures for sinus pain,' I get fewer but more relevant websites. And fewer still for 'natural herbal cures for sinus pain.' So if your book was on natural herbal cures for sinus pain, you wouldn't want to use the general phrase of 'sinus pain,' but the longer phrase of 'natural herbal cures for sinus pain.'

If your book is fiction, you can use the location, setting, time period, characters' occupation, hobbies, or sports in the keyword phrases.

Let's say that your book features a wedding on a tropical island. If I use the word weddings, I get a hundred million hits. I can narrow down the competition by using a longer phrase, those long tail keywords. So instead of wedding I'll use "weddings on a tropical island" as my search phrase. Someone planning a wedding on a tropical island might very well be interested in a romance novel that features a wedding on a tropical island.

So think about your book and come up with 4 or 5 long tail key word phrases. Pop them in Google and see what competition you're up against. You can also go to Google's adword keyword generator,, Use the tab keyword variations, enter your key words and then hit the "get more key words" tab underneath.

Pick out eight to ten key word phrases.

Now go to and get your self a lense using your key word phrase as the name of the lense. Think of squidoo as a place where you can get a free one page - but it can be a very long one page - website. Set up your bio. Now write a 250 to 500 word essay using your key word phrase at least three times. Of course the essay should be relevant to your book. In the essay link to your book and to your website. You might want to use a teaser phrase to encourage people to click on the link. You can upload the cover of your book to be included in the essay.

You can then add additional text modules with more teasers and links to your book. You can add a poll, an amazon store, a news feed from google, or an ebay module. You can take a look at and to give you some ideas.

It will probably take you 3 or 4 hours to do the keyword research and set up your lense.

Go to google, yahoo, and the MSN search engine and submit the lense as a url. Go to craigslist and set up a short ad, include your long tail key word phrase for your book using the squidoo url as the link. The search engines will index (include it in their database) more quickly.

Okay that should be enough for day one.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day Two of Our Cool Mountain Vacation

The day started out early, 6:30 AM. And since the backyard of the cabin wasn't fenced we had to take the girls on potty break walk before we were really even awake. After breakfast we walked up to the little general store for a newspaper. Christopher Creek has really changed since the highway now goes around it. It's much quieter which is a good thing. But I think the businesses here are suffering. Once of the restaurants has a for sale sign and so do two of the lodges.

Deciding to be brave we packed a picnic lunch and drove up to the lakes. The first lake has a boat ramp, campground and a picnic area, but nowhere to sit on the lake shore with the dogs. It was all rocky. So we packed up and drove to Willow Spring Lake, that was much better. A nice shoreline, not too many people and the lake got deep pretty quickly.

Rose was tugging on her leash to get into the water, and straight away she did. Kate, who I thought would just go diving in, was a little timid. But finally she got up to her shoulders (which is only about a foot deep.) A swell from a nearby boat gently lifted her off her feet and much to her amazement she was SWIMMING. Dogs aren't supposed to express their feelings through facial expressions but I think she did. She look terrified and happy.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Day one of our cool mountain trip with Rose, our Irish Setter, and Kate our English Springer Spaniel.

The trip up to the mountains is about 2 hours. We took Rose and Kate to the dog park to romp right before we left. Unfortunately the sprinklers were on! No matter. Rose said hello to everyone else in the park. Kate chased birds like she always does. It amazes me that she can run so fast. I think she's going as fast as her little paws can carry her and then she goes into overdrive. After a quick drying off we're finally on our way.

Kate snuggled down on the floor in the backseat and promptly went to sleep. For some reason Rose feels it's her obligation to stand up and look out the front window while we drive. Eventually, after about 45 minutes she finally laid down.

The drive itself was uneventful. We arrived at the cabin. It's a cute two bedroom decorated in country farm. What was nice about this particular cabin is that it was built as a vacation home not as a rental cabin, so the bedrooms are full size and so is the kitchen and bathroom.

Brian and I unpacked while the girls stayed in the car. The first thing we did is throw old sheets over the living room furniture. That way we don't have to worry about dog fur on the sofas.

I usually take Rose and Brian takes Kate. We walked down the road for a potty break, then walked around the cabin and down to the creek in the back. The creek was only a couple of inches deep. Just enough to get eight paws wet and muddy. Thank goodness we brought old towels for that very reason.

The cabin had some comfy lounge chairs in the little back yard so all four of settled in to watch the creek, listen to the wind in the tall pines, and bark at the squirrels. Well two of us barked at the squirrels.

The Dog Lover's Guide to Traveling Don't leave your Canine Companion at home this summer have a dog friendly vacation. Dogs need vacations too. Your family and your puppy buddy can have a great time at the beach, a Manhattan hotel or camping. Over 20 pages crammed with where to go, what to pack and how to have fun when you arrive. Your dog can have a dog friendly vacation.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

29 Full Grown Elephants? That’s a Lot of Books.

(Fountain Hills, AZ- June 5, 2007) The year 2006 saw 291,920 new titles released in the United States, according to Bowker, the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information. The number of new titles increased slightly from the 2005 level of 282,500, but didn't reach the level of 2004, an all time high of 295,523. If these numbers sound a little different than last year, they are. Bowker, in their news release of May 31, 2007, says "Due to a change in methodology this year to more accurately track and report on these figures, the statistics cited in this news release differ from the statistics cited in previous years." 291,920 titles is still quite a few books.

Dee Power, the author of The Making of a Bestseller, and the soon to be released The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success, puts this number into perspective. If the books were shelved side by side one would need four and ½ miles of shelving. If the books were stacked one atop the other, they would reach almost 15 times higher than the world’s tallest building, the Taipei 101, which measures 1,677 feet. To transport one copy of each title, the vehicle would have to be capable of hauling 118 tons or 29 full grown elephants. Laying the books down in a straight line would require a little over 23 miles of railroad tracks.

If an average person read a copy of each title, it would take them 249 years to get through the entire pile. If one cup of coffee was drunk while reading each book, nearly 18,245 gallons would be consumed by the time the last book had been read.

If a copy of each title was purchased at retail, the total expenditure would be enough to send 33 students to Harvard for four years.

If each author received a $5000 advance, the total would nearly approach $1.5 billion. And most interestingly of all, if one author wrote all these books, consecutively, he or she, would have had to start writing during the time of Neanderthal Man, nearly 145,000 years ago.


About the Authors

Brian Hill and Dee Power are the authors of several nonfiction books including The Making of a Bestseller, Dearborn Trade. $19.95 trade paperback, ISBN 0793193087 and the soon to be released The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success, trade paperback, $19.95, Javelina House Publishing, ISBN 9780974075442 trade paperback. Contact them through their website

Monday, June 04, 2007

Book Publishing: Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a book published?
On the average about a year. Six months to write a nonfiction book or revise a novel after a publishing contract has been signed and six months for production from editing the manuscript to finding your book in a bookstore.

Why does production take six months?
The actual production process of revising and editing, copyediting and proofing the galleys could be quicker. But enough time has to be allowed for obtaining endorsements, distributing ARCs (advanced reading copy) and bound galleys to reviewers and promoting the book to booksellers, libraries and such. Many major review publications like Publishers Weekly, insist that they receive the review copy at least four months prior to publication. Many newspapers will not review a book currently available.

What is the typical advance and royalty?
There isn’t one. The advance can range from $0 to over six figures. Royalties can range from 5% to 15%, based on the net price the publisher receives to retail. The percentage can also be on a sliding scale based on how many books have been sold, the more books, the higher the royalty percentage.

Do I have to pay the advance back?
In most cases, no, only if you don’t deliver an acceptable manuscript by your deadline. If the actual sales of your book don’t reach the amount that was advanced, and 90% of books don’t, you don’t have to pay the difference back.

Which is easier to get published fiction or nonfiction?
Nonfiction. Of the 150,000 books less than 10% were fiction.

What category of fiction is the largest.

Romance, 55% of all mass market paperback books sold are romances.

What is backlist, mid list and front list?
Backlist books are those written in the prior year(s) but still selling and still being published. Publishers select a small percentage, probably less than 5% of the books published in a season and actively promote those books in the front of their catalogues with full page descriptions including national promotion, book tours dates, advertising budgets, first print runs, as their front list. 95% of books published are mid list, in the middle of the catalogue, no ad budget, no promotions, no book tours.

What is the difference between mass market, trade paperback and hard cover?
The way the books are produced and consequently how they’re priced. Mass market are the smallest in size usually 4” by 6”, they are the least expensive from $4.99 to $9.99, the binding is perfect which means the pages are glued in. The cover is paper. Trade paperback is 5” by 7”, mostly nonfiction titles, the prices range from $9.99 to $24.99. The cover is paper and the binding is perfect. Hardcover or hard back comes in various sizes, the pages are stitched to the binding, and the cover is cloth covered over cardboard. The price ranges from $19.99 upward.

You can send for our free report The Pitfalls and Perils of Publishing: Who Can A new Author Trust?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Do Online Matching Services or Email Blast Programs Work?

How to get a book published can be a daunting task for any writer. Should you use an Online Matching Services or Email Blast Programs?

These services, for a fee, put your query letter, synopsis and first chapter online. Acquisition editors and literary agents then have the opportunity to peruse the offerings. You have to ask yourself if you truly believe that the average literary agent, who receives 1100 unsolicited queries a year, has the time to look at these websites. Don't be surprised if you're contacted by an editor that works at a vanity/subsidy publisher.

The reverse, or maybe it’s the inverse, are services that have databases of agents and publishers. You specify the genre of your book and up pops agents/publishers who have said they are interested in your genre. Sometimes the agents/publishers have provided their acquisition specs and sometimes the owner of the database has just input the information from other sources.

Finally there are services who will email blast your query letter to agents/publishers. If the participants have agreed to receive the query letters there is a higher probability you will be successful. But, again you have to wonder, with all the unpublished manuscripts out there looking for a publishing home, why would an agent/publisher feel it necessary to sign up for these types of services. Agents who require an upfront fee (never pay an agent upfront) are members of these services. Before you get all excited do a brief search on the agent before you send them your manuscript or book proposal.

Every author asks the question "How to get a book published?" If you're considering using one of these services ask for references. You can also ask about the success rate of the program.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The wrong book publisher can turn your dream of becoming an author into a nightmare. One out of every eight people call themselves a writer, which means there are roughly 24 million people in the United States who carry that banner. Unfortunately there are charlatans and scam artists just waiting to ambush the unsuspecting author. How can a novice writer protect themselves against unscrupulous book publishers?

Anyone can call themselves a book publisher. Always remember money flows towards the author from the book publisher, not the other way around.

What to look out for: The book publisher charges the author a fee up front, to have their book accepted, considered or read. These fees are sometimes called a reading fee, intake fee or administrative fee.

The book publisher directs authors toward specific editing services or gives authors’ names to these services, with the caveat that if the author hires the editing service, their book will be published. Every book needs editing. It is part of the publisher’s job to provide that editing at no cost.

The book publisher offers a contract where the author has to pay for part of the publishing costs. The acquisition editor will sometimes say that the publisher’s list is full for that season, but the author’s book has so much going for it, they would still like to publish it. However the publisher’s resources are fully committed and the author will have to share in the costs.

Some book publishers offer contracts that are unfair, such as they obtain rights that should remain with the author of the work. Some book publishers’ contracts contain a clause that if the author says anything negative about the book publisher, there is a monetary fine. There are also book publishers who hold the rights for a lengthy time period, regardless of whether the book is still in print or selling.

The book publisher doesn’t disclose they are a Publish on Demand (POD), or vanity/subsidy publisher, or actually denies they are a POD book publisher. There is nothing wrong with an author using a subsidy/vanity book publishing company as long as the author is well aware of the disadvantages.

Publish on Demand books are not, as a rule, stocked by bookstores. Some POD book publishers will insist that their books are available in book stores, as a way to get around this issue. Available is not the same thing as stocked. Available only means the book can be ordered through the bookstore. Since the majority of books sold, are stocked and sold by bookstores, this situation puts a damper on sales.

What else can a writer do to check if a book publisher is legitimate?

Go to the local bookstore and see if any of the book publisher’s titles are stocked. Ask the manager if necessary.

Search the Internet using the book publisher’s name plus the word ‘scam’ or ‘complaint.’

A book publisher’s website is targeted to its customers. If the website promotes the books they’ve published that’s a good sign. If the website is focused on recruiting writers, that’s a bad sign.

Go to forums or bulletin boards that are for writers and see what the authors who have published with the book publisher you’re considering have to say about their experience.

Want to find out how you can avoid scams and still get your book published? You can receive a free report Perils and Pitfalls of Publishing for Writers just visit Free Report

About The Authors Brian Hill and Dee Power have written several nonfiction books including The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success and The Making of a Bestseller: Success Stories From Authors and the Editors, Agents, and Booksellers Behind Them.