Cover Design Secrets For Indie Authors That Mean More Sales

I read quite a lot of articles every week on ePublishing, but I think this is one of the best articles I’ve read on how to design a book cover that sways readers into buying your books. I found it over on Creativindie.com and it’s written by Derek Murphy. Check out this snippet on crafting clever covers for non-fiction books… the great reset book cover 200x300 8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying booksMade to Stick Book Cover 251x300 8 cover design secrets publishers use to manipulate readers into buying books

“Here’s a quick rule of thumb: non-fiction appeals to the brain. You want an instantly clever image to catch their men­tal atten­tion.  Non-fiction cov­ers should have a cen­tral “gim­mick” and a solid color back­ground or gra­di­ent (orange and yel­low are very pop­u­lar for busi­ness books. (BTW, notice how wide the spac­ing is between the let­ters on these two cov­ers). You catch the brain’s atten­tion by show­ing a jux­ta­po­si­tion — things that shouldn’t really go together and are unex­pected. Then the sub­ti­tle tells them what the book is about.”

I really liked some of the tips he gave on letter spacing, selecting fonts, color contrast, and adding a blurb on the cover of your book. Read the article in it’s entirety here: http://www.creativindie.com/8-cover-design-secrets-publishers-use-to-manipulate-readers-into-buying-books/ Let me know if you learned anything cool!

Amazon + Twitter = AmazonCart

amazoncart

Did you know that many authors love Twitter and many have a pretty large following on Twitter? Well Amazon has recently introduced a new feature called #AmazonCart which hopes to help authors (as well as other Amazon vendors) profit a bit more easily from their relationships on Twitter.

The point of AmazonCart is to help authors grow sales when they tweet about their books on Twitter.  Customers can add products they see on Twitter to their Amazon.com Shopping Carts without leaving Twitter.

Now, when you send a tweet that includes an Amazon.com product link (such as to your latest book), Twitter users who have connected their accounts to Amazon will be able to add the product directly to their Amazon.com Shopping Carts simply by replying to the tweet and adding “#AmazonCart.”

They will then receive a reply tweet and an email confirming the Cart add, and they can complete checkout on Amazon.com at their convenience.

Hopefully you may begin to see replies containing “#AmazonCart” to your tweets with Amazon.com product links. These replies can also give us a good idea of which followers are engaging with our tweets.

While all social media should be used first and foremost to build relationships with potential readers, it’s nice to see a feature like this which requires less work on the reader’s part to purchase our books on Amazon. Only time will tell if it “catches on” with readers.

What do you think about the new AmazonCart feature? Brilliant or a bust?

For more information about the feature, visit www.amazon.com/AmazonCart.

Barnes & Noble Stores May All Close By 2015

barnes and noble gone

Tribeca Location

Visiting my neighborhood Barnes & Noble use to be an “outing” with my 3 girls that we all looked forward to. A little Starbucks coffee. A new book. And at least an hour browsing. Now it looks like that is coming to an abrupt end. We now have to drive at least 20 minutes to our closest B&N since our neighborhood one closed down and that’s just not realistic for me. Especially since the girls are older, own Kindles, and rather download books then drive that far or “read an icky used book from the library”. Oh the horror! LOL!

Looks like even though B&N has zero brick and mortar competition, they still are struggling to make ends meet and have been systematically closing stores all over the country. Author Michael Levin wrote about it over at The Alternative Press and gives some pretty compelling reasons why this may be the end of the bookstore as we folks (over 20 years old:) know it.

Check Out The Article Here:

http://thealternativepress.com/articles/barnes-and-noble-gone-by-new-years-2015

Ensure Vs. Insure: Can You Interchange The Words?

I was working on my edits for my book How To Select Best Selling Non Fiction Ebook Ideas To Publish On Amazon’s Kindle and since my brain was muddled with “edits”, I started to second guess myself about the usage for ensure and insure. When I thought about, I wasn’t sure if I really knew the grammatical rules around the usage of both words.  So I looked it up and was satisfied with this answer over at Writer’s Digest:

Q: Are “ensure” and “insure” interchangeable?—AnonymousA: Some stylebooks say yes, and some say no. Are you any less confused? These two words are often used in place of each other, but WD’s style separates them.WD—and many other publications—uses “insure” only when referring to financial insurance policies. After signing a contract with a professional baseball team, Jack decided to insure his pitching arm for $1 million.

When the meaning is “to make certain,” WD sticks with “ensure.” It’s my job to ensure that you don’t misuse terms like these.

There are some newspapers and magazines, such as The New York Times and The New Yorker, that still use “insure” in both instances, but it’s fairly archaic to do so. Most publications differentiate the two.

I use to edit over on the news desk at The New York Times in Washington D.C., and their usage of the word is probably what tripped me up:)

Amazon Writing Clinic Series Launches Soon! (Get Promo Copy)

As many of you know, I have been furiously working on a book series dedicated especially to all of my readers on this blog. It’s called the Amazon Writing Clinic Series and I’ve just completed Volume I of the series titled: How To Select Best Selling NonFiction Ebook Ideas To Publish On Amazon’s Kindle. The book is in final edits and should be up soon on Amazon. I will announce it when it’s live.

amazon writing clinic book

I’ll be deciding on topics and writing the series based on a gang of reader feedback from this blog AND on what makes sense as you embark on your venture as an information author a.k.a. nonfiction writer.

A lot of readers who are considering writing and publishing to Amazon as a secondary income have said to me countless times that they have little idea of how to select niches that are profitable. Obviously one of the big nightmares about this income stream is that you may possibly write a book that no one wants to read.

While there are no guarantees that people will purchase your book, read it and review it, there are definite steps you can take to ensure that you have a really great chance of making money and making a difference with your book.

The first CRUCIAL step is by selecting a topic that is profitable. My formula for success in doing this is by selecting a topic based on this mathematical equation: Knowledge + Passion + Profitability =Amazon Success.

Snag A Promotional Copy Of The Book!

I am releasing several copies of the book as promotional copies to those that are interested in reading it (pretty quickly:) and leaving an honest review on Amazon about it. If you’re interested in receiving a copy, then leave a comment on this post and I will send you a Pdf copy of the book via email.

 **UPDATE** 5/7/14

I am no longer releasing any further promotional copies of this book, but be sure to continue to check back on my site for further promotions. Thank you so much to the readers who participated. If you’d like to purchase the book and start generating ideas for your first (or next) nonfiction book, please click on this link:

How To Select Best Selling Nonfiction Ebook Ideas To Publish On Amazon’s Kindle (Kindle Self Publishing Clinic Series)

 

 

Check Out My Fiverr Gigs!

fiverr gigs

In an effort to introduce my business to a broader audience, I have created six gigs on the popular outsourcing website Fiverr. People will get the opportunity to try some of my services at rock bottom prices and of course the hope is that they will return to me again for more work and for my more sophisticated services, which are at a higher price point.

Fiverr is also a great place to test out a new service that you may be considering and want to “tweak” before you offer it to your tribe. This is another reason why I am doing this as well.

Right now, I am testing six services that I have done with VIP clients only but am looking for a way to offer them at a more affordable price point for a larger demographic. Here are the services that I’m offering, all at the famous Fiverr $5 price:

1. Transcription of 10 minutes of audio or video

2. Transcription of 12 pages of  notes (handwritten or typed)

3. Tweeting a promotion to all 15,000+ of my Twitter followers

4. Professionally analyze someone’s blog (content + seo)

5. Proofread one blog post in 24 hours

6. Proofread and edit any document up to 1200 words

You can take a look at all of my gigs here: http://www.fiverr.com/writergirl

Buying On Fiverr

If you’ve never purchased a product or service on Fiverr, you won’t believe what your missing! You may think that for $5 bucks you’re going to get junk, but that is not always the case. Typically what you’re paying for is a “taste” of the service the seller provides and you have to pay for more “gigs” to get the full kahuna. I’ve made several purchases from Fiverr over the years and honestly I wasn’t disappointed by much. Just remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Select your gigs carefully.

Authors Should Charge Much More For Ebooks

I’ve been saying this for years. Somehow publishers have gotten it all backwards. Ebooks should really be priced at a higher price point than print books because you have IMMEDIATE and convenient access to the product. Read this excerpt about this topic and tell me what you think:

From Digital Book World:

Imagine a cold winter day in New England. Now, imagine wanting a particular book. You have three options, according to Frank Luby, a pricing consultant and former journalist, speaking at the Copy Right Clearance Center’s OnCopyright 2014 conference in New York.

You could brave the cold and, presumably, snow, get in your car, drive to the nearest Barnes & Noble to hope that the store has a copy. If it doesn’t have one, perhaps a nearby location does. You can buy the book from the store and drive home.

Alternatively, you could log on to Amazon.com and purchase the book and have it delivered to your door in a matter of days.

Or, you can pick up your Kindle, Nook, iPad or other e-reading device and have the book in your hands in a matter of moments.

“Ebooks are terribly misnamed,” said Luby. “They’re not a product. They’re a reader service.”

Luby argued that the convenience that ebooks offer over their print counterparts are a great benefit that publishers and retailers should charge readers more for.

“Ebooks should be more expensive than they are, more than print books — a lot more,” said Luby, adding that ebooks are relatively cheap because publishers and retailers don’t properly explain their benefits, namely, convenience.

Read the rest at Digital Book World

The Only Password Software I’ll Use

password softwareIf you don’t use password software on  your computer, phone, or tablet — I think you must have a super power! I mean how do you remember every single password that you use on all the sites you visit? Ex: Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, WordPress, Gmail, Paypal, The Bank, etc. Almost every site you visit requires you to sign up or “gently bribes” you to sign up on their website and that’s a lot of passwords to manage.

Before password management software, I’ll admit that I was guilty of creating two or three passwords and rotating them on all the sites I joined. That is a HUGE security risk. (You’re not doing that right?) It would only take a 15 year old hacker about ten minutes to figure out my passwords and when he did he would have access to my entire world. My husband’s Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and Paypal accounts have been hacked twice. It was a pain in the @##! to rectify.

You need password software if you:

1. Shop online
2. Pay bills online
3. Want to safely digitally store important content such as: SS numbers, tax numbers, drivers license numbers, wifi passwords, email passwords
4. Sign up for a lot of online newsletters
5. Participate in social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.)
6. If you are a local/national entrepreneur with brand recognition online and/or beyond. Hackers prey on people like this. That’s why my husband is targeted so much.

That’s why years ago I signed up for password management software 1Password. At the time I think it was only for Macs and it was powerful and it was great and I’ve been using it for years until I came across a new software called Dashlane. Now I’m usually the type of person who is like “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and I didn’t necessarily have any problems with my old software but what I learned about Dashlane made me at least do some research around it. What I discovered was:

1. It’s super strong and safe. If you don’t remember your master password to unlock your account, the company can’t give it to you. You’ll be stuck like chuck.

2. There is a free and premium version and the free version is extremely powerful. You could definitely just use the free version and be fine. I paid a lot of money for my old software and I had to pay for a recent upgrade.

3. It integrates with all major browsers so I can log into all my websites seamlessly and pay when I’m shopping online with just a few clicks of my mouse.

4. You can use dashlane on your phone or tablet via their App. I love that I can use it on all my devices. It’s super user friendly.

5. It generates really strong passwords for you, remembers them, and automatically logs you into your sites with them. This is great when you need to generate strong passwords on a regular basis for things like your bank’s website, credit monitoring websites, etc. *Remember that those passwords should change often.

6. If you are currently using a password software, Dashlane can seamlessly import all your information, which was sweet! I just downloaded my info from 1Password and imported it into Dashlane and in less than 5 minutes I was up and ready to rock. They provide you with directions on how to import your info from most major password software products on the market. So it’s very easy.

7. A really cool feature on Dashlane is it’s security dashboard. It will tell you if the passwords you are using are strong enough and will give you recommendations on what sites you need to change them for.

dashlane dashboard

 

Cool right? If you’re ready to tighten up your online security, then you’re ready for Dashlane. Let me know how it works out for you. If you have any questions about it, feel free to add them in the comment section below. I should answer within a few hours.