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How to Sell Your Books

[found on lloydlofthouse.org; by Lloyd Lofthouse]

 

“How I sold almost 2,000 books in twenty hours…

If you are a serious author—indie or traditional—then you’re in business and should have an internet platform. The simplest platform might just be a blog, or it could be more complex with a combination of a website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, and an Amazon author page, etc.

Once an author has an internet platform, there’s one more step to seriously consider—to advertise. Although I have been a guest on thirty-one, traditional radio talk shows, advertised in a regional magazine, held several author events in brick and mortar bookstores, earned awards from literary contests and been on several book blog tours, the only two marketing methods that resulted in immediate, measurable sales was through blogging on iLookChina and buying e-mail blasts from BookBub and/or Ereader News Today.”

To read the rest of Lloyd Lofthouse‘s article, and to add his blog to your toolbox, and bookmark the link, click HERE.

[found on http://lloydlofthouse.org/2014/06/19/how-i-sold-almost-2000-books-in-twenty-hours/]

 

Calling All Fiction Authors — Platform Up!

[found on thewritepractice.com by Joe Bunting]

“What Fiction Authors Really Need to Know About Their Platform

“…Several times a month, writers  ask me, “How can I balance blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, Goodreading, and all the other stuff I’m supposed to do to build myplatform, while also focusing on my writing? I have a full time job, a family, and a cat. I just don’t have time for all that other stuff.”

Writers today are overwhelmed, frustrated, and let’s be honest, a little pissed off.Why do we have to build a platform anyway? Can’t we just focus on writing? 

It all came to a head for me when I read Michael Hyatt’s bestselling book Platform: How to Get Noticed in a Noisy WorldThe book was interesting enough, but when I looked for information that related to fiction writers, I found the only advice specifically focused on helping fiction writers was tossed into an appendix in the back of the book.

An appendix! 

That’s when I realized most of the so-called “experts” who said every author needs a platform were really just speaking to non-fiction authors. They didn’t have a clue what a fiction platform would even look like.

Meanwhile, thousands of fiction writers followed their advice, creating blogs they resented, Twitter accounts that overwhelmed them, and Facebook pages with thirty-seven likes. For most creative writers, this whole platform experiment has been a waste of time.

That’s when I decided I needed to learn everything I could about how to build a platform specifically designed for fiction writers.”

There is too much excellent information on this, to put it here. To learn more about Fiction Writer’s Platforms from TheWritePractice, click HERE.

[found on http://thewritepractice.com/fiction-platform]

How to Write a Book Proposal

[found on rachellegardner.com; by Rachelle Gardner]

“There are several great books available on writing book proposals. My favorites for non-fiction are:

A good book for fiction proposals is:

Here are bare-bones outlines of what a book proposal looks like.

For Non-Fiction

Title page: Title, authors’ names, phone numbers, email addresses.

One sentence summary: It captures your book. It should be more hook than description.

Brief overview: This should read similar to back-cover copy. It should be exciting, informative, and make someone want to read your book. It tells the publisher in a succinct form what the book is about and who the market is. Three to four paragraphs.

Felt need: What needs will your book fulfill that your audience is already aware of? What questions are they asking that your book will answer? What do they want that you can give them?

About the authors: Half page to a full page on each author. Why are you qualified to write this book? List any previously published books or articles along with sales figures. Make a good case for YOU as the best possible author for a book on this topic.

The market: Whom do you see as the audience for the book? Why would somebody buy this book? How is this audience reached? Do you have any special relationships to the market? What books and magazines does this audience already read? What radio and TV programs do they tune into? Demonstrate an understanding of exactly who will buy your book and why.

Author marketing: This is where you’ll talk about your platform. How are YOU able to reach your target audience to market your book? This is NOT the place for expressing your “willingness” to participate in marketing, or your “great ideas” for marketing. This is the place to tell what you’ve already done, what contacts you already have, and what plans you’ve already made to help market your book. A list of speaking engagements already booked is great; radio or television programs you’re scheduled to appear on or have in the past; a newsletter you’re already sending out regularly; a blog that gets an impressive number of daily hits. This is NOT the place to say that your book would be terrific on Oprah, unless you have documented proof that Oprah’s people have already contacted you.

The competition: What other books are in print on the same subject? How is your book different and better? (There is always competition.) First, give a general discussion of the state of the marketplace as regards books of this topic. Then do a list of 4 to 8 books that could be considered most comparable to yours. List the title, author, year of publication. (Only books in the last five years are relevant, unless they’re still bestsellers.) Then write a couple of sentences explaining what that book is about, and how yours is different, better, and/or a good complement to it.

Details: How many words will your book be? (Words, not pages.) How long after the signing of a contract will it take you to complete the book? (This is usually 2 to 6 months.)

Chapter outline: This is where it becomes crucial that your book is well organized and completely thought-through. You will need chapter titles, and a couple of sentences capturing each chapter’s theme.

Sample chapters: This is usually the Introduction, plus one or two chapters. Make sure they’re polished and perfect!

Those are the basics, but I highly recommend you get a good book on proposals before writing yours. Mary DeMuth has a 50-page book proposal tutorial available for $10. Click here to go to her website and order it. (Mary writes incredible book proposals and she knows what she’s talking about.)

What about fiction?

If you’ve written a novel, you still need a book proposal but it will look slightly different. The most important thing with fiction is the writing itself, so your sample chapters must truly shine to capture an agent or editor’s attention.

However, just like with non-fiction, the author’s involvement in marketing is of utmost importance. So, much of your proposal will look similar to a non-fiction proposal because it’s about YOU and how you can help market your own book.

In a fiction proposal, you’ll be most successful at capturing attention if your first page includes a killer “hook” and a concise synopsis that doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story, but intrigues the reader enough that they feel they MUST read your book.

Jeff Gerke has a great post on writing a fiction proposal here.

Here’s a rundown of a great fiction proposal:

Title page: Title, authors’ names, phone numbers, email addresses.

One sentence hook: This is more of a tagline, one sentence that creates interest in the book.

Brief overview: This should read similar to back-cover copy. It should be exciting and make someone want to read your book. It tells the publisher in a succinct form what the book is about. Two to four paragraphs.

The market: Whom do you see as the audience for the book? Why would somebody buy this book? How is this audience reached? Do you have any special relationships to the market? What books and magazines does this audience already read? What radio and TV programs do they tune into? Demonstrate an understanding of exactly who will buy your book and why.

About the authors: Half page to a full page on yourself. Why are you qualified to write this book? List any previously published books or articles along with sales figures. Any awards or special degrees or certificates in creative writing? Anything that helps establish you as a novelist goes in this section.

Author marketing: This is where you’ll talk about your platform. How are YOU able to reach your target audience to market your book? This is NOT the place for expressing your “willingness” to participate in marketing, or your “great ideas” for marketing. This is the place to tell what you’ve already done, what contacts you already have, and what plans you’ve already made to help market your book. A list of speaking engagements already booked is great; radio or television programs you’re scheduled to appear on or have in the past; a newsletter you’re already sending out regularly; a blog that gets an impressive number of daily hits. This is NOT the place to say that your book would be terrific on Oprah, unless you have documented proof that Oprah’s people have already contacted you.

Comparable books: Instead of a “competition” section, you’ll want to include four to five novels that you see as similar to yours in some way. It helps the editor develop a big-picture understanding of your book. It’s best not to include blockbuster bestsellers (The DaVinci Code, Left Behind) but do include well-known books with solid sales. Include title, author, release year, and a couple of sentences about the book and how yours is similar and would appeal to the same audience.

Details: How many words will your book be? (Words, not pages.) How many chapters? Have you included book club discussion questions? Is your manuscript complete? (Note: Unless you’re a multi-published novelist, you must have a completed novel before approaching agents and editors.)

Longer synopsis: In several pages (2 to 6 is a good guideline) describe the story. In this part, don’t worry about preserving the “surprise” factor. This is where you have to explain the story, start to finish.

Sample chapters: Include the first 40 to 50 pages of your manuscript (ending at a natural chapter break). Don’t include random chapters – you need the FIRST few chapters. Make sure they’re polished and perfect! THIS is what will determine whether you get a request for a full manuscript or not.

*Please note that you normally only send a full proposal if requested by an agent or editor based on your written query or a face-to-face meeting at a conference.”

[found on http://www.rachellegardner.com/how-to-write-a-book-proposal]