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

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)

 

 

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

Amazon Lifts Payment Threshold Amount For EFT Users

If you currently publish on the Amazon ecosystem (as I fondly call it) and you use Electronic Funds Transfers (EFTs) to receive your royalties, then you probably have noticed that you’re seeing money deposited in your bank account on a more frequent basis. To which I say…YIPPEEE! I’m ecstatic, but some authors – not so much. This is because depending on the market your selling in and/or what you’ve asked for, Amazon may pay you via EFT, Wire Transfer or check.

Wire transfers a.k.a. bank wires typically cost the sender money($10USD or more), yet sometimes the receiver’s bank will charge them a fee for receiving a bank wire as well. WHY? Well that’s a question for your bank, but they typically charge and that’s when this threshhold lift thing gets tricky. (At least that’s what I’ve heard.)

I only get EFT payments from Amazon and I’m never charged a fee from my bank, so it works well for me. But some markets (foreign markets) may charge you for transferring funds, so you may want to check your KDP and CreateSpace account settings to see how each market is paying you. It may not be cost effective for you to receive your foreign income on a regular basis electronically if your bank charges you for each deposit.

That’s why I’ve set the main site (Amazon.com) as well as the Japanese site to pay me via EFT, but most of my foreign markets are set to pay me by “check” only. So I’ll have to wait to hit the threshold in those markets before I get paid, which is fine by me.

KDP payment options

 

The moral of this story – check your settings:)

 

Kindle Countdown Deals: A New Promotional Tool For Authors

kindle countdown deals
Amazon has recently announced the launch of a new book promotional tool for KDP Select authors called Kindle Countdown Deals. I suppose they are adding this tool as a way of sweetening the pot for authors to choose to enroll their books in the KDP Select program. A program which entails publishing your book to Amazon exclusively for a period of time (no selling on B&N, iBooks, Kobo, or even your own website).

Kindle Countdown Deals does address an issue that many indie authors were having with running promotions for their books and what many authors will still have to deal with if they don’t use this tool. For example, say you want to run a promotion and offer your book which is typically $2.99 for .99 for a period of time. You’d have to log into KDP and manually change the price of your book and WAIT for Amazon to administer the change. The waiting on Amazon part is what would be a problem for some authors because you may have already announced to your community that you are running the promotion but Amazon has yet to make the change so readers cannot buy the book at the promotional price. The rule of thumb was to give Amazon at least 24 hours to change your pricing, but that wasn’t always guaranteed and a lot of promotions ran into glitches.

So Kindle Countdown Deals addresses this issue by Amazon offering their own built-in promotional program. This is how it works:

1. Set Time-Bound Promotions

You can control how long your book is discounted and the time remaining for your promotion will be visible for customers to help generate excitement for the price discount. Obviously this is going to work well because Amazon has put in place the infrastructure to make these changes work as soon as you set them.

2. Customers See Both Prices

Readers will be excited because they can see the great deal they are getting. The listing will include the regular price of your book right alongside the promotional price. When we did it manually, the reader would only see the promotional price because in essence you were changing the price of the book – not running a limited promotion.

3. Retain A 70% Royalty Rate

This is a biggie. You will earn royalties based on your regular royalty rate. So if you are using the 70% royalty rate option by pricing your book above 2.99, you will still earn 70% even if the promotional price is below $2.99.

4. Increased Discoverability

Customers can easily browse live Kindle Countdown Deals to see what books are on promotion (which you know readers love to do). This is a great way for your book to get discovered. Take a look at current deals here: http://amazon.com/kindlecountdowndeals

5. Monitor Performance In Real-Time

A new KDP report will display sales and royalties at each price discount side-by-side with pre-promotion performance, so you can compare results. Love that! You know I’m a stats girl:)

So in my opinion, Amazon has created a great tool for indie authors to really build momentum for new books or to breathe some life into stalled titles. Of course the trade off is that you have to commit to the KDP Select program for at least 3 months, but seeing that Amazon is the big player in the marketplace – this may be a trade off that you can live with.

* Kindle Countdown Deals are only available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Kindle Matchbook

Kindle Matchbook

Amazon has released a new program called Kindle Matchbook. If you purchase or have purchased in the past a physical book from Amazon, which use to be the only option prior to the release of the Kindle reader, they now offer the digital copy of the book to the owner at a lower price point: $2.99, $1.99, $0.99, or free. You can read these on your Kindle or using your Kindle reader app. I believe that providing a digital copy of a book is up to the publisher’s discretion so there may not be a ebook copy for every book you own, but here’s how you can find out:

1. Go to Kindle Matchbook main page and check out Q&A if you like.

2. Login to your Amazon account and click on the Find Your Kindle Matchbook Titles button (found on the Kindle Matchbook main page up above). This will automatically look through your physical purchase history and then pull up which books offer a digital version.

find matchbook titles

3. When I tested this, only one book came up, but that’s probably because only about 74,000 books are currently part of the Matchbook program at the time of this writing. You can continue to check back as I’m sure Amazon continues to add more titles. But as you see from this example, when I pulled up one of the books that I own: Taming Your Gremlin, it shows that I qualify to buy the Kindle version at the $2.99 price point rather than the regular Kindle price of $9.78.

matchbook example

 

4. Another way you can search is to scroll through the list of Matchbook eligible titles. This is where you’ll see the list of over 74,000 titles to choose from. But don’t panic, you can search through the titles using the categorized links in the left hand sidebar.

kindle matchbook titles

I think this is a great program offered by Amazon. It really provides an author with a backlist of paperbacks to offer readers an opportunity to enjoy the book again on their eReaders. You’d be surprised how many people will take advantage of this upsell. I’d definitely purchase my non-fiction books in both formats. One for marking up and the other for reading on the go.

5. If you are an author and want to learn more about enrolling in the Kindle Matchbook program, login to KDP and then read their Q&A on the program.

matchbook kdp program

What do you think of this new program over on Amazon? Hurtful or helpful for authors?