22 September, 2015

The World’s Worst Ebook Artwork

By |2018-03-29T11:09:21-07:00September 22, 2015|Authors Academy, Marketing, News|Comments Off on The World’s Worst Ebook Artwork

Wheatmark client and Authors Academy member Bill Corbett sent me the link to this sobering article the other day.

It talks about how the digital era has led to a decline in income for authors.

The article cites a number of reasons for this, but another one (which the article doesn’t discuss) is increased competition.

According to recent numbers I’ve seen, there are now more than 4,500 books published every day.

That’s a heck of a lot of books vying for readers’ attention!

How do you compete with all those titles? One great way is to submit your book to—and win—contests.

But—and you can see this one coming—with all those books being published each day, far more books than ever before are being submitted to contests for consideration.

How do you ensure your book has a good chance of standing out from the crowd and getting recognized?

Some tips are obvious. Don’t make this mistake.

But there […]

16 July, 2015

Amazon gets flamed

By |2018-03-29T11:09:22-07:00July 16, 2015|Authors Academy|Comments Off on Amazon gets flamed

As I write this, folks all over the Internet are flaming Amazon for over-hyping its latest sales promotion, Prime Day.

Here are some choice tweets:

Amazon has gone crazy! I mean, 64% off Antarctic krill oil? http://t.co/mVRgvP5o3k
— John Aboud (@jaboud) July 15, 2015

Amazon sub-prime day. https://t.co/qu6jitO6SL
— Brenda Kelly (@Brenda_Kelly) July 15, 2015

Amazon Prime Day? More like Amazon “let’s get rid of this excess inventory” Day
— Neil Cybart (@neilcybart) July 15, 2015

The outrage is perhaps matched only by the recent uproar created amongst authors when Amazon announced that it would pay self-published Kindle Direct Publishing Select participants only for the pages that readers actually read of their books.

(Before you freak out, too, be sure to check out the rebuttal in this article.)

Hard to believe it, but 15 years ago, Amazon was just a hardscrabble online bookseller (albeit one already worth north of $16 billion.)

Meanwhile, the Kindle was just […]

24 April, 2015

What should you be doing to market your book?

By |2018-03-29T11:09:22-07:00April 24, 2015|Authors Academy, Marketing, News|Comments Off on What should you be doing to market your book?

I received an email recently from long-time Wheatmark client Eddie Browning that invited him to display his books at Book Expo America (BEA) next month.

Eddie’s kind enough to keep me in the loop about all the different kinds of promotions authors receive on a daily basis that claim to help them market their work.

Eddie doesn’t have any intention of taking the bait, but I saw this as an opportunity to share a valuable marketing lesson with all of our readers.

The lesson is that good marketing is a process, not an event.

This is a tricky concept for many authors to grasp.

They equate “marketing” with “selling.”

They’ll often say things like “I tried marketing my book, and it didn’t work.”

Usually, what they actually mean is “I tried selling my book, and it didn’t work.”

What’s the difference?

“Selling” is pretty straight-forward. It means asking for the sale:

“Would you like to buy my book?”

“Would you like […]

5 January, 2015

New Year’s Resolutions…and a pretty neat trick

By |2018-03-29T11:09:22-07:00January 5, 2015|Authors Academy, Marketing, Publishing|Comments Off on New Year’s Resolutions…and a pretty neat trick

It’s that time of year again… time to resolve to finally get those things done that somehow, we’ve failed to achieve every year prior to date.

For some, it might be losing weight.

For others, it might be getting their books finished and ready for publication.

Still others might finally be ready to make some progress on their marketing.

The problem is: everyone knows that most resolutions are broken by February, if they even last that long.

How do you ensure that you follow through on your resolutions?

Today I’m going to share a neat trick that I learned from one of my mentors, marketing legend John Carlton.

John’s trick is simple, but profound: sit down and write a letter to yourself, but date it January 1, 2016.

That’s right: one year from now.

In the letter, write down all that you have accomplished this year—that is, in the year to come.

Of course, you’ll write it in the […]

3 January, 2015

5 Things Your Author Website Should Do

By |2018-03-29T11:09:22-07:00January 3, 2015|Authors Academy, Marketing, Social Media|Comments Off on 5 Things Your Author Website Should Do

I could have titled this article “Five Things Your Author Website Should Have” instead of “Five Things Your Author Website Should Do.”

And it would have been a very different article.

When we market our message or services, it is a very common error for us to think in terms of features instead of benefits. It does not matter how many bells and whistles your website has if they aren’t doing anything in terms of accomplishing your website’s goals.

Does your website have goals? A reason to exist? If you’re asking the question, What should my website do? you’ll be closer to thinking in terms of goals than if you’re asking, What should my website have?”

Only you can come up with a goal for your website, but I’m listing five below that you should consider.

1. Establish or solidify your credibility as an author or expert in your niche.

What would communicate this goal to […]

15 December, 2014

My Book Got Optioned. Here’s What Happened.

By |2018-03-29T11:09:23-07:00December 15, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing, Resources|Comments Off on My Book Got Optioned. Here’s What Happened.

I came across this article in The Chronicle of Higher Education and thought I’d forward it on to you.

As many of you know, I was a screen-writer in my former life, so I can really relate to this piece.

I was working in the indie world, and, since we’d arranged our own financing, my first professional writing gig was made into a finished film.

We sold it to a number of foreign TV markets, and landed several domestic DVD deals.

Yes, this was a “straight-to-video” project—domestically, at least.

But at least we got it made, and then got it out there.

To get a film or TV project made, you need to have three ingredients:

1. Material to develop
2. Access to distribution
3. Financing (money)

In my case, we had all three. But if you’ve written a book, you’ve got number one above covered, too.

That means all you need is numbers two and three, and you’re good […]

9 December, 2014

It ain’t over

By |2018-03-29T11:09:23-07:00December 9, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing|Comments Off on It ain’t over

2014 is coming to an end.

In fact, for some folks, the year is already over.

They figure: if it ain’t done by now, it ain’t gonna get done!

I don’t agree with that philosophy, though. Not at all.

You see, while many people essentially take six weeks off between Thanksgiving and New Years, successful people recognize that this period is ripe with opportunity.

Take the example of marketing your books.

Many authors are racing to implement some tactics quickly to “get the word out” about their books, thinking that this is their best chance to generate some meaningful sales.

It’s the holidays, after all… which means people are buying things, right?

But as Jim Best discussed with me on last month’s Authors Academy call, all the work he does to generate his impressive holiday sales comes BEFORE the holidays!

(Jim’s sold more than 70,000 copies of his books to date, so he knows what he’s talking about.)

One of […]

21 November, 2014

Did you hear what I heard?

By |2016-07-18T14:37:15-07:00November 21, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing|Comments Off on Did you hear what I heard?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Wednesday’s Authors Academy call was one of our best ever!

Jim Best totally blew me away with his insight and his experience marketing his books.

Jim’s sold 70,000 copies to date… so he knows of what he speaks.

His closing thought was that first and foremost, your book has to be good.

Otherwise, you can’t get the power of word-of-mouth marketing working for you.

Jim’s books happen to be great—and they make great gifts!

You can check out his entire catalog here.

I recommend starting with The Shopkeeper—it’s lots of fun.

Meanwhile, you can definitely file the interview under “can’t-miss.”

But only Authors Academy members have access to the recording of this call to review on-demand.

If you’re not a member, give yourself a much-deserved early holiday gift by clicking here.

If you’re at all serious about selling copies of your book, you’d be just plain nuts to […]

14 November, 2014

How to Sell 1,000 Books during the Holiday Season

By |2018-03-29T11:09:23-07:00November 14, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing|Comments Off on How to Sell 1,000 Books during the Holiday Season

How would you like to sell 1,000 copies of your book during the upcoming holiday season?

I know I would!

Next week in the Authors Academy I’ll be interviewing James D. Best, author of the Steve Dancy series of westerns including his latest, Jenny’s Revenge, scheduled for release in February.

Jim’s sold more than 70,000 copies of his books to date, which includes a few one-off titles in addition to his extremely popular westerns.

Jim published the first Steve Dancy tale, The Shopkeeper, back in 2007.

He was a complete unknown at the time, having published only one book previously. The Shopkeeper was his first work of fiction.

His book sold reasonably well at launch, but his initial sales tapered off after a bit—he’d reached the end of his existing platform.

Most authors give up at that point, figuring they’ve sold as many as they’re going to.

Not Jim. He went to work, and by the following Christmas, […]

12 November, 2014

It’s the end of the bookselling world as we know it

By |2018-03-29T11:09:23-07:00November 12, 2014|Authors Academy, Marketing|Comments Off on It’s the end of the bookselling world as we know it

… and I feel fine!

This article (sent to me by client and friend Byron Thompson) predicts the demise of publishers at the hands of retailers like Amazon and Apple.

Meanwhile, this article predicts the decline of—you guessed it—retailers like Amazon and Apple, at least when it comes to selling books and other media like music.

These types of articles sometimes make us wring our hands and fret: what, oh what, are we to do?

How will we ever survive without NY publishers… or even worse, without retailers like the mighty Amazon and the amazing Apple?

I think there’s nothing to worry about, and let me tell you a story that illustrates my thinking why:

Back when I was in middle school, I loved reading Michael Crichton sci-fi thrillers like Congo, The Andromeda Strain, and Sphere.

This was around the time when the first Jurassic Park movie came out.

One time, I remember being so wrapped […]


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