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Free Par-Tay Was Ground-Breaking Promotional Success

March 26, 2012

On March 14 – 18, thirty-five Indie authors linked arms and kicked off a free promotion, building on the success of our first IBC Free Par-Tay. With over sixty titles representing every genre, the Indie Book Collective’s “Lucky Day’s Free Par-Tay” was out to rock the world of eBook publishing, and by the close of the first day we ran out of superlatives!

By the end of the groundbreaking promotion, the stunning success of the Lucky Day authors had us shaking our heads in astonishment.

The numbers say it all.

Out of 60 titles, we had 16 in Amazon’s Free Top Twenty! At one point we had #1-6 locked down! On top of that, we had an eye-popping 35 titles in the Top 100 Free! And while all of our authors did remarkably well across the board, we had our fair share of genuine rock stars:

Stephanie Bond had three of the top five titles on the free list and continued her amazing success when she moved from the free lists to the paid. She made it into the top five spots on the paid list, and at the writing of this post is claiming the TOP 3 spots in the Movers and Shakers lists. Like all of the authors, Stephanie is effusive in her praise of the event.

“Working with Carolyn McCray, the IBC network, and the Free Par-Tay promotion has been, in a word, career-changing. Carolyn McCray is at the forefront of ebook publishing; her experience as an author and as a promoter make her uniquely qualified to offer a comprehensive roadmap for writers to follow. I’m absolutely on board.”

Of course, Stephanie wasn’t the only one to make headway for Free Par-Tay. Ann Charles, a perennial star, didn’t disappoint. After Ann left the free promotion, her Nearly Departed In Deadwood sat squarely at #20 overall PAID in Amazon Top 20 PAID list for days. Charles says

“IBC rocked my world! Through their events I have learned the value of co-promotion, experienced the power of the strategic use of “Free” marketing, and gained vital knowledge about optimization, cover art, and branding. IBC has the tools you need for a successful writing career.”

Determined to bridge the challenging move from the free lists to the paid, we extended the event adding a three day Indie Book Blowout giving the authors in Lucky Days the advantage of heightened visibility and support in that all important move to the paid list. And once again, the numbers proved the wisdom of that strategic initiative. Two days following the end of Lucky Days Indie Book Blowout, we’ve had 5 titles in the top 100 paid list, an additional 9 titles under 500, and a total of 20 books in the top 1,000 paid titles.

Success by any measure!

But there was an intrinsic, less “measureable” aspect of the event. That was the camaraderie, support, and commitment to each other’s success. When the great numbers came in, we all roared with approval.  When someone started to slip, the gang went into high gear with extra tweets and pats on the back.

Author J. Thorn captured this remarkable element when he noted, “The other writers involved in the Free Par-Tay locked arms in a virtual onslaught of positive energy and enthusiasm for each other that I believe is unprecedented.”

Virna DePaul, another of our super stars, summed it up just as nicely. “In the murky and erratic waters of self-publishing, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to lock arms with other dedicated writers; we support one another, cheer each other on, and learn the “secrets” that put a great book in front of thousands of readers.  Thank you to IBC and Carolyn McCray for illuminating the stars and showing us the way.”

Well said, Virna, J., Ann, and Stephanie. And, well done, all!

Are we resting on our laurels? Never! Already we are hard at work planning our next Free Par-Tay and Indie Book Blowout, Spring Fling, May 7-12 with a special Mother’s Day Finale.

Want to change your writing career? Work with dedicated authors who are out to make a splash?  Consider joining us. If Lucky Days is any example, you’ll have the ride of your life!

Questions? Happy to answer them here:  freepartay@gmail.com

 

 

NaNo and You

March 19, 2012

By  Melissa Dalton

I love March. It’s one of my favorite months of the year because we eagerly wave good-bye to winter and embrace the warmth and green and brightness that is spring. In fact, March is one of my favorite months to write because I can take long walks without freezing my toes off and think about where my stories are going, or develop new characters. Everything seems to inspire me—a robin sitting on its nest, a newly budded flower, the blue sky—I find story inspirations everywhere, and my muse is as giddy as a school child at recess when she thinks of all the story possibilities.

March Madness

Spring aside, there’s another major March event that my friends will never let me forget: March Madness. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, March Madness is all about college basketball tournaments. In years gone by, I’ve filled out brackets and joined the company bracket pool with the others, but this year, I’m doing March Madness in my own way. Before I tell you about it, however, I need to ask you a question. Remember that tiny little event we talked about back in November called National Novel Writing Month? You know—the one where we took the challenge and wrote 50,000 words in 30 days? (Hey now, don’t groan at me. I can hear you from all the way over here.)

At the end of November, I told you that I’d be back in the spring with more NaNo news and posts, and I’m excited to tell you that the time has come. It’s time to dust off those manuscripts, flex those writing muscles, and take the next step toward achieving your publishing dreams. I told you that the Indie Book Collective is here to help you reach your writing goals, and that I’d be going through the process with you.

Get out the Red Pen, Baby

This year, as my own version of March Madness, I’m participating in a month-long program for writers called National Novel Editing Month. It’s designed for those pesky little internal editors whose red pens you stole and who you sent on vacation during NaNoWriMo. This month, NaNoEdMo participants gather together and, in traditional NaNoWriMo style, join forces to help push each other to edit their novels. The challenge is to log 50 hours of editing time by the end of the month. And since I know you’re all working hard on your own stories, who wants to join me?

Before you panic and run away at the thought of this challenge, let me assure you that the hardest part is behind us. Writing at least 50,000 words in 30 days is a monstrous task, and if you can do that, then logging 50 editing hours in 31 days will be a piece of cake (and you even have an extra day!). Even if you didn’t make it to 50,000 words in November, you can still participate in NaNoEdMo. The philosophy is the same: at the end of the month, it’s really all about advancing toward your publishing dreams. If you can only log 3 editing hours the whole month, you’re that much closer to having a polished manuscript that’s ready for publication. And the best part is that you don’t have to do it alone. Grab your favorite writing buddy, go to your local writers’ group, or talk to your muse. Tell your friends that you need them to check on your editing status to see how many hours you’ve logged this week. You can do it!

And There’s More!

I’m also excited to tell you that NaNoEdMo is just step two of our journey. In June of this year, the IBC is introducing its own month-long program called National Novel Marketing Month—NaNoMarMo for short. NaNoMarMo is going to be amazing, and I can’t wait for you all to participate. The goal will be to set up and implement your author platform and start marketing your book by the end of June, whether you’ve published it yet or not. We’ll have message boards, a website, prizes, and so much more. The IBC will release more details about this program soon, so keep watching for more info.

* * *

Melissa Dalton is a writer and a book lover, and she has been all her life. Her first novel, Merrick Maples and the Legend of the Lost Stone, which she wrote during NaNoWriMo 2010, will be released in June 2012. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, or at her blog.

Lucky Days Free Par-Tay

March 12, 2012

Announcing 

Lucky Days Free Par-Tay

March 14th-18th!

Discover over 40 amazing ebooks: Romances, Thrillers, Mysteries, Humor, and more!

All FREE at Amazon.com

Fantastic ebooks, many by award-winning and best-selling authors. 

Let’s Par-Tay!

“The wealth of knowledge, experience, and hard work that the amazing IBC staff puts behind the Free Par-Tay events is simply stunning. I am absolutely a lifelong fan. My book, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, not only hit #1 on the Kindle Free Bestseller list (plus several genre lists), it also made it into the top 10 of the Kindle Paid Bestseller list after the Par-Tay, thanks to the careful coaching of Carolyn McCray. IBC is truly the best kept secret in indie pubbing today.” Nina Bruhns

On Feb 2- 4 , Indie Book Collective conducted our first FREE Par-Tay.  Twenty–five authors linked arms in the first ever coordinated FREE event on Amazon.  The results?  PHENOMENAL!

Of the 40 titles in the promotion, all but four ranked in the top 500 FREE and ALL ranked under 1000 FREE.  Moreover we had 10 authors who scored in the top 100 FREE consistently throughout the free promotion.

Our results following the free promotion during the paid cycle were nothing short of amazing.  We had a 79 %rise in rankings overall and our top producers scored an astonishing 89 % rise in rankings. As of this writing many of the books are STILL in the Top 1,000 PAID lists.

Free Par-Tay was a career changing event for me. Enchantment had never been on a best seller list before. It’s now on three. I sold more books in two weeks than I had in the previous 7 months combined. Thank you IBC! Charlotte Abel Enchantment

We are taking everything we learned in our groundbreaking FREE Par-Tay and applying it to LUCKY DAYS.

There’s a genre for every reader’s taste.

You like Romance? We have them. From Romantic Suspense to Humorous  Romance, Paranormal Romance and Historical Romance? We have them all!

Or if Mysteries and Thrillers are your thing you can’t go wrong. Police action, Murderous Mayhem, amateur sleuths and more.

You’ll also find Horror, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, and Woman’s Fiction…. A fantastic selection!

Got kids? We have books for elementary school age and teens alike.

Don’t miss out! Soon these amazing ebooks will be back to their usual prices. Grab them while they’re FREE! March 14th-18th.

Who says you can have too much of a good thing. You can never have too many great books. Load up your Kindle and tell your neighbors to do the same.

FREE Par-Tay, is a groundbreaking venture to build on the power of KDP Select’s’ Free option and the first program to capitalize on the possibilities our prescient leaders foresaw in the KDP initiative

LUCKY DAYS

Will be Biggest and Best FREE Promotion Ever!!!

 http://web.me.com/craftycmc/Free_ParTay/Free_Par-Tay_Home.html

A Second Life For Your Book

March 5, 2012

by George Sirois

It has already been one year since Carolyn McCray (IBC co-founder) and I shared this conversation and it feels as though it were only yesterday. She had asked me what other stories I had on the horizon, and I mentioned two: the eventual sequel to Excelsior and my 2002 novel From Parts Unknown, which was with iUniverse and should have been formatted as an ebook months ago. She asked me about that 2002 book, and I told her how I accepted an offer from the POD publishers to have my novel turned into an eBook in March of 2010. All I had to do was purchase 25 copies of the paperback, and they would sell them to me at half-price and perform the conversion for free.

Of course, this conversation with iUniverse took place almost a full year before I would join the IBC, so this sounded like a great deal for me. However, months passed and I grew less enchanted with the deal, especially when I discovered that From Parts Unknown would have a $9.99 price tag.

I started re-reading my novel for the first time in years and, much to my chagrin, I didn’t like it anymore. However, I had some ideas on how to make the book much stronger. When I told all of this to Carolyn, she told me something that I would never forget.

“You have to get that book back from them. Then you can do whatever you want with it.”

I contacted iUniverse and told them that they still have not fulfilled their end of the deal they offered me. Therefore, I would like all rights of From Parts Unknown returned and all forms of my book removed from all catalogs. To their credit, they complied and in less than 30 days, I received the letter severing all of my ties with iUniverse.

Now, little more than a year after that fateful conversation, I am still hard at work with rewriting From Parts Unknown. It turns out this rewrite is more difficult than I originally thought, but I can already tell that it’s going to be worth it in the end.

In closing, I offer this suggestion to all of you who may have some abandoned projects sitting in your desk drawer. Give them another read. Find out what worked and what didn’t work. Maybe it’s a supporting character that would fit better in a different story. Maybe the story itself works, but it wasn’t told effectively the first time around. Whatever the case, the work you have slaved over at your computer should not be cast to the forgotten realms of your desk drawer or your hard drive. Especially during a time when it’s easier than ever to share that work with the rest of the world.

Of course, I’m not suggesting that you just upload whatever you have, regardless of quality. If I were preaching that, then From Parts Unknown would already be up on Amazon and would have maybe a couple of three-star ratings, making no impact whatsoever. Despite the ultimate fate of the paperback version, there are bigger and better things awaiting this story, but only when all of the rewriting is complete.

So I can’t thank Carolyn enough for giving me this valuable advice, and I hope that when this version of my story is finished and uploaded, you’ll see why I felt it was worthy to have a second life.

Top Five Industry Changes All Writers Should Embrace!

February 26, 2012
Amber Scott, author

Amber Scott, author

by Amber Scott
IBC Executive Director

1. EBooks. Yes, even after the huge surge in e-readers, smartphones and tablets, there are authors who doubt the long term profitability of electronic reading. In December 2010, Amazon reported that eBooks on their site outsold all other forms of books. It’s 2012. Just imagine what that number is now. While print and audio formats will never die out, the sooner authors embrace this new, viable format of eBooks as the forward trend, the better their careers will be for it.

2. The Power of Free. Whether it’s the buy one book in a year and get ten free option of book clubs or your weekly visit to the library, then and now, free reads can earn future dollars and new fans. Harnessing the power of creating a free reads, and giving free reads away in a strategic way, will expose authors to tons of new readers they can earn into fandom. If enrolled in KDP Select, use your title’s free days strategically and get involved in programs like Free Par-tay that focuses on strategic free. If NOT enrolled in KDP Select, Smashwords as a platform can get you the power of free, too. Use coupons to get ebooks to reviewers, readers, to use in contests and tours like Blog Tour de Force. Check out your *local library system to see how you can get your title among those lent. (*Be sure, of course, that you check Terms of Service thoroughly first.)

Irish Moon, by Amber Scott

Irish Moon, by Amber Scott

3. Book Bloggers. Even toothpaste commercials refer to blog review approval. The new bookstore  kiosk is online. Readers used to look to magazines and word of mouth for book reviews and recommendations. Not anymore. The blogosphere has evolved into a reader-centric place filled with bloggers who love to read and love to talk books. Readers are finding their additions to their To Be Read pile through blog hops, guest blogging and contests thrown by members of this tight community. Become a good neighbor by visiting a blog a day and commenting in a positive way.

4. Even traditional is going indie. Brenda Novak, Jeaniene Frost, Bob Mayer, Julia London, Barbara Freethy. Any of these names look familiar? Yep. Having a New York contract doesn’t mean authors aren’t going indie. Because of massive innovations and a plethora of author friendly self-publishing platforms, being indie is no longer a dirty word. Authors of all sorts of backgrounds are dipping a toe in the indie waters and creating extras through self-publishing for fans during the down time between traditional releases. In fact, many an indie author have earned a New York contract by starting out indie and showing long term career viability through sales.

5. Social Media. Twitter, Facebook, blogging or any other social media platform will NOT sell books. It will, however, forge relationships that authors can nurture into a tribe of readers who then create the word of mouth buzz that does sell books. Word of mouth buzz comes in many forms now thanks to tweets, status updates, blog posts and more. Reviews, hitting the ‘like’ button on an Amazon page and more all create popularity and stem from social media relationships. If authors keep this platform fan-centric, their readers will repay them in kind through word of mouth, and do so spontaneously. Because they love to help authors that they love!

In between naptimes and dishes, Amber Scott escapes into the addictive twists and turns her characters take. She often burns dinner, is hooked on chocolate and still believes in happily ever after. She can be found online everywhere and helping run the Indie Book Collective as Executive Director. She makes her home in Arizona with her husband, two kidlets and one day, many, many cats.

Why Every Author Needs a Backlist

February 20, 2012

With eBooks taking the book world by storm and an app available for just about every electronic device, an author’s backlist is a critical component of creating traction.

What’s a backlist you ask?

A backlist is an author’s list of titles, usually published previous to the current release.

A backlist functions on two levels. It foremost proves longevity to a reader. An author with multiple titles is no one hit wonder. Readers want to know they will get to read a favorite author again. Backlist creates the security of a long term relationship.

Secondly, an author who has more than one title out, must not, well, stink at writing. Multiple titles increases that overall meta-message that this author is a safe bet. Other people must like them if they have more than one book out. And the author must have experienced enough success to warrant multiple books.

An author’s greatest compliment is when a reader finishes their book and asks “when is your next title coming out?”

So what if you are a debut author with one title out? Get writing. Work on short pieces for anthologies, that next title and other ways to get your name out there en masse.

It’s that in the meantime factor that brings ‘virtual backlist’ into play.

A virtual backlist is the titles you promote in your book’s back matter (sneak peeks, blurbs, etc. at the end of a book) that are not necessarily your titles.

Step One—Connect with an author in a similar genre to you, one that your reader will likely enjoy, too. Feel free to venture into sister genres to help expand that audience. Just be sure the genres make sense together. Will a non-fiction humor book marry well with a horror novel? Probably not as well as with another non-fiction title, or, depending on the humor content, a romantic comedy title.

Step Two—promote to each other’s work on your product description, in you back matter and on your social media platform. This drives the virtual backlist buyers and gives the illusion of security through that approval of peers. “It must be good if that author I like likes it.”

What does a virtual backlist do for you?

-It gives you control over the recommendation queue. “People who bought this, also bought this.” In essence, it gives you power over who you sit on the internet shelf next to.

-It creates a forward pointing system that keeps titles linked together in sales, helping each author increase them overall.

-It creates that popularity factor that meta-message and buyer security is grounded in.

-It creates cross promotion and thereby, cross pollination.

Overall, it gives you the author a little breathing room while you focus on creating a real backlist through anthology contributions, co-authoring and getting that next book out.

Where do you find authors to cross promote and co-create a virtual backlist with? Put a tweet out, hunt the titles similar to yours, check with your local writing groups. Just like finding a great critique partner, take the time to find a good match with an author with similar goals to create a reciprocal relationship.

Once you do, the possibilities are endless.

To KDP Select or not to KDP Select, that is the question

February 13, 2012

By Carolyn McCray

It’s funny how whenever I discuss the KDP Select Program, I feel as though I must either carry a pitchfork or a harp.

The program is either the salvation of indie authors, or its damnation.

The KDP Select Program is neither. It is a marketing opportunity that may or may not work for you.

Utilizing KDP Select’s tools has worked for me. I leapt into five-figure monthly royalties and was announced as one of the top-ten authors in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for the month of December.

I could sing the praises of the program all day long, but it would not help you decide if the program was right for you.

In this article, I hope to demystify KDP Select and give you actionable advice on how to evaluate if the program is a good match for your marketing efforts (whether you’re just entering the program or renewing in ninety days).

Quickly, let’s review the major “pros” and the “con” to the KDP Select program.

Pros

  1. You are allowed into the Lending Library, where the current value of a lend is $1.70.
  2. Each lend counts as a “unit sold” and helps your Paid sales rankings.
  3. You are allowed to control five “free” promotional days.

Con

  1. You must commit to exclusivity with Amazon for ninety days.

Notice how I didn’t say “commit to Amazon for your entire lifetime,” but commit to them for only three months. In the scope of your book’s longevity, that is a blink of an eye. Now, it may be an important blink, but a blink it is.

I know that many people have had an exceptionally sharp knee-jerk reaction to this exclusivity clause, but hopefully, after this article, you will understand how to interpret that clause as it relates to you directly, so that you can make the most informed decision possible.

The exclusivity clause does mean that you must remove your eBook from all other retailers and give up royalties from B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, your own website, etc.

This is the first factor that we consider when deciding if KDP Select is a match for your title(s).

As a general rule of thumb, if, on the books you are thinking of enrolling, you are making 95 percent+ of your royalties from Amazon, then the decision to go exclusively with them in order to enter the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and have control over free promotions is a pretty easy one.

There is very little downside in losing 5 percent of your monthly income on these books to gain these exceptional tools. Therefore, most authors in this 95 percent+ Amazon royalties bracket can jump into the KDP Select program with both feet.

You are risking so little by leaving the other sales platforms and potentially gaining so much with KDP Select, that the decision is simple.

Conversely, if your KDP Select-enrolled book is earning >30 percent of its monthly royalties from non-Amazon sources, the decision is pretty easy.

Why?

Because, on average, by joining KDP Select, you can earn an additional 26 percent in royalties from the KDP Select fund, on top of royalties from your paid sales (see the Amazon KDP Select Press Release here for details on that figure).

Sure, you could outperform this 26 percent average bump, but you would be gambling on having greater than a 30 percent return on your exclusivity investment for these books.

And what if you happen to underperform and only increase your sales by 15 percent? How many royalties would you have lost from those non-Amazon platforms?

You also must consider that in leaving those other platforms you are also giving up your current sales rankings.

This is that important “blink” that I spoke of.

A “blink” of three months off of those other platforms could have catastrophic consequences to your overall royalties, since it can be very difficult, if not nearly impossible, to scale those bestselling lists again and reclaim your previous royalties from non-Amazon sources.

For these reasons, it makes very little sense for authors who have a significant royalty stream in excess of 30 percent from non-Amazon platforms to give up those royalties in the hope that they will overperform the average KDP Select revenue bump.

Therefore, those authors who earn between 6 to 29 percent of their royalties from non-Amazon sources must really drill deep to see if KDP Select is for them.

How do those authors decide if KDP Select is a worthwhile risk?

The answer to this question is a bit more complicated.

Let’s take the decision-making process step-by-step.

1. How well are you selling?

The more you are selling, the more likely you are to be on best-selling lists at Amazon which greatly increases your discoverability which usually translates into higher lends and “free” giveaways (and therefore greater post-“free” sales).

On the other hand, you also might be well positioned on your non-Amazon platforms.

Which weighs more heavily? Being well ranked on Amazon or non-Amazon platforms?

The answer is in sheer sales volume. Amazon has the lion’s share of the market. Therefore your ranking on Amazon is weighted much more heavily than any other platform. You simply have a far greater chance of selling far more books on Amazon.

But let’s drill deeper than even that.

If you are in this mid-bandwidth of non-Amazon royalties (6 to 29 percent), you will need to calculate your exact royalties over the last three months from all other sales platforms combined. Hang onto this figure.

Calculate your last three months’ Amazon royalties.

Then calculate a potential 26 percent bump in Amazon royalties for the book you would like to enroll in the KDP Select program (by gaining royalties from “lends” in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library).

Now, let’s turn our attention to your rankings.

If you are already on a Top 100 Bestselling list in a genre, what would a 26 percent increase get you?

Meaning, would that 26 percent increase propel you into the Top 80? 60? 40? 20? 10?

On average, increasing your best-selling ranking by each page will increase your royalties by about 7 percent.

Example:

You sit at ranking #85 in your genre. By using all the tools that KDP Select provides for you, your book should get you a bump into the high 70s. That gets you onto the #60-80 rankings, which should give you about a 7 percent bump in royalties.

Now, add together your potential 26 percent pump from the KDP Select Fund along with your 7 percent bump from moving up the best-selling lists (if you are at the cusp of moving up to another page).

How does that compare to the money you would lose from your other sales platforms by going exclusively with Amazon?

You then can decide if the leap to KDP Select is worth it.

One other factor to consider: As other authors enter the KDP Select program and begin using its powerful tools, they may begin to outsell you, forcing your best-selling rankings down, and therefore negatively impacting your Amazon royalties. Remember, if you fall off by a page—going from 79 to 85—it will decrease your royalties by about 7 percent).

Lastly, let’s consider the author who is deriving 6 to 29 percent of their royalties from non-Amazon sales platforms, yet isn’t selling well (ranked worse than 50,000).

How do they determine if KDP Select is for them?

Most importantly, the one factor that is not in play is losing your sales rankings on the other eBook platforms.

More than likely, if you are ranked 50,000+, you are not on any significant bestselling lists, so therefore, you will not feel the sting of leaving that platform and returning far lower.

With that concern out of the way, the decision really is fifty-fifty.

Basically, if you sell well, you will lend well, and you will “give away” well. If you aren’t selling well, you won’t lend well, or even “give away” well.

But what are you giving up to take the chance that your book is one of those “breakout books” that beats the odds?

There is no guarantee with this strategy, but if your sales on the other eBook platforms have been stale, then taking a three-month gamble on KDP Select might be an interesting experiment.

Hopefully, this article has helped to clear up many of the misconceptions and superstitions surrounding the KDP Select program and has given you some metrics to logically evaluate whether KDP Select is for you!

That Little Blue Bird–Twitter

February 6, 2012

By Chelsea Fine

Twitter’s mascot is this little, harmless blue bird. See?  I think Twitter chose this adorable, small creature as an icon on purpose. Because bluebirds aren’t scary.

 

Twitter, however? Terrifying.

 

At least for me. When I was new to the world of publishing and self-promotion, there was nothing more nerve-wracking than the overwhelming world of Twitter.

 

That little blue bird would mock me every time I tried to navigate my way through the endless sea of self-promotion and followers. I was lost, confused, and completely clueless.

 

Geez, my hands are getting sweaty just thinking back to my early days on Twitter. The dark days.

 

The days when I wasn’t selling any books.

 

After a lifetime of hopes and dreams, I had published my first book. I loaded it onto Amazon, dusted off my hands and started to retreat back into my hole of writing to work on my next book.

 

But then reality smacked me in the face! I had to market my book.

 

After hyperventilating at the thought, I set off on an Internet search for help with marketing. And, lo and behold, I stumbled upon the Indie Book Collective.

 

And, yes, I literally stumbled upon this fantastic organization because, heaven knows, my feeble fingers wouldn’t have been able to find such a goldmine of knowledge and resources on their own.

 

I scanned the IBC’s webpage and was delighted to find a list of ways to market your book. And way number one? Twitter.

 

(Cue scary music.)

 

Just as I was about to click away in search of other, less-terrifying ways to sell my story, I noticed the Indie Book Collective offered a FREE social media class—specifically designed for Twitter-phobes like me!

 

I attended the online workshop with no expectations. After all, one social media class wasn’t going to ease my Twitter fears…right?

 

WRONG.

 

In one workshop, I learned more than I could have imagined about:

 

  • Gaining followers fast
  • Twitter Lists and how to use them
  • Tweeting the branded way
  • And Etiquette

 

But most of all? I learned not to be afraid.

 

And once I started to view Twitter as an effective marketing tool (rather than a jungle of nonsense) I started to sell books.

 

Imagine that!

 

I even mustered up the courage to self-promote with confidence. I let people know who I was and what I had written. And soon enough, I had followers.

 

But more importantly? I had readers!

 

Thanks to the Indie Book Collective’s Social Media Workshop, I’ve been able to build a wonderful network of Twitter friends and fans. And I actually like being on Twitter. I prefer it, in fact. When I wake up in the morning, the first window I open on my computer is my Twitter page.

 

Hmm…maybe that little blue bird on Twitter isn’t so scary after all….

~~~

Chelsea Fine grew up (and still live) in the Phoenix, AZ area where she studied Design at Arizona State University. During college, she also took her first creative writing class, which is how she feel in love with writing. Then, one day in 2007, she found herself working at a credit union, staring at a computer screen, and bored out of her mind. She promptly opened up Word and began writing a story…to kill time. (She knows, what a terrible employee.) But eight pages and forty-five minutes later, she realized she was actually having fun. And kept writing.

Special Bestseller for a Day: We Heart You

February 2, 2012

Not to get mushy or anything, but it is February and it is the one-year birthday of Bestseller for a Day! To say thank you to our readers and reviewers for a great year, we are sending out lots of love with a FREE brand-new romance anthology, 8 Hearts Beat as One.

8 Hearts Beat as One is the Bestseller for a Day on Thursday, February 2! And it’s free. This collection will steam up your Kindle window with love stories by best-selling authors Carolyn McCray, Amber Scott, Ann Charles, Ben Hopkin, Taylor Lee, Elena Gray, Jonathan Gould, and Kelli McCracken. #wow #IthinkIneed oxygen

But we’re throwing a party. So we need more FREE stuff. How about offering you FOUR more free books? Yes, on this special Bestseller for a Day, you can get the following books for just a click:

Pet Whisperer…er…rrr by Carolyn McCray & Ben Hopkin

Play Fling by Amber Scott

Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles

The Mancode: Exposed by Rachel Thompson

Every time you pick up a free read in Bestseller for a Day you’re eligible for an entry into a drawing for a Kindle. That’s five chances to win a Kindle!

This Indie Book Collective event is designed to push indie authors to the top of the Kindle charts! Readers get great books at great prices (this time FREE), and authors get the promotional push to be successful. And we all know what successful authors do—they write MORE books to feed your need to read.

Here’s your to-do list on February 2: grab 8 Hearts Beat as One at the free promotional price; send a friend who you know would love finding a fun, fast-paced read for free; and also get the 4 free bonus reads that are the perfect companion to this Valentine’s Day sigh-out-loud anthology. Then hop over to BESTSELLER FOR A DAY and fill out the entry form (located at the top of the right hand column) for 5 entries to win a Kindle!

Still want more free reads? Head over to our Free Par-Tay! It’s going to be quite a day. You better rest up.

Come to FREE PAR-TAY February 2-4

In the beginning of January, we asked a select group of authors: Are you interested in spending the next three weeks working on a promotion that can change your writing career? We followed up with this bold statement. If so, Free Par- Tay is for you!

Anyone associated with book publishing knows the impact Amazon and KDP Select had on the pre- and post-Christmas sales season.  It sent seismic quakes through the industry.

The Lending Library and glut of free books churned up a firestorm of reaction—but true to IBC’s entrepreneurial spirit, we saw the opportunity inherent within KDP Select and have discovered ways to capitalize on the new opportunity to control our “Free” promotions.

Thus was born Free Par-Tay!

During the Christmas season we designed a series of highly successful experiments to leverage KDP Select and the Free option. As a result, we marched nine titles into the top 100 Free Kindle books that went on to port over to the 100 TOP PAID Kindle books. That’s right, you read that correctly. TOP 100 PAID.

As of this writing, many of the books are STILL in the Top 1,000 PAID lists.

Add to that the fact that Carolyn McCray and Amber Scott, founders of Indie Book Collective, were among the top ten Kindle Owner’s Lending Library authors for December and featured in a nationwide Amazon press release, we are pretty stoked about our newest promotion Free Par-Tay!

Free Par-Tay is a groundbreaking venture to build on the power of KDP Select’s Free option and the first program to capitalize on the possibilities our prescient leaders foresaw in the KDP initiative.

On February 2-4, a carefully selected group of authors will work together to cross-promote each other’s books, and we hope raise them into the upper reaches of the bestselling lists. What’s in it for you? Come join us and get over 40 titles for FREE. 

Our goal? We want to help lift the entire event’s average FREE ranking to <1,000 and PAID ranking (within 72 hours of coming off free) to <2,000.

KDP Select and the FREE Option is turning e-book publishing on its head!

Here at IBC, the Free Par-Tay is our response. We hope to rock the publishing world and make a few seismic quakes of our own!

Interested in participating in Bestseller for a Day as a Bonus Buy book? We’re always on the lookout for great indie books to include in our promotions! What’s required? You must be available in eBook format, be on Twitter, and have a blog. Want more info? Contact us at indiebookibc@gmail.com for more information!

WHAT YOU CAN DO RIGHT NOW TO BECOME A BESTSELLER IN 2012

January 30, 2012

1. EMBRACE SOCIAL MEDIA: Many authors have a somewhat apathetic relationship with their author platform. They’ve heard the term. They’ve set up accounts on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads; maybe even started a blog because they read in an article that they are supposed to even though they don’t know what the heck to write about. They anemically reach out to a few fellow authors and check in weekly when they remember.

Well, sorry but that will just not do! Social media and blogging regularly is your golden ticket to building a profoundly active and dedicated fan base. Remember the basics of marketing is knowing your brand. Like it or not, you are a brand, and you need to sell a product: you. Even if you book isn’t out yet, blogging regularly and interacting on Twitter and Facebook with a targeted message is critical to building a loyal group that will eventually purchase your books.

I had a several- thousand fan base on both Twitter and Facebook before I released my first book A Walk In The Snark. and that helped immensely when it came to finding beta readers, reviewers, and getting my book liked and tagged. Your buyers may not come from social media (though undoubtedly some will via your loyal following and word of mouth), but they will help get the word out about your book.

2. JOIN A CRITIQUE GROUP: Do you sit at your desk and figure, hey, this book looks as good as the stuff out there in Amazonland, I’ll just load it up and see what happens?

Well, hold up there boys and girls. Lots of people make that mistake and it’s a big one. Putting yourself out there as a writer is a risk. You will be criticized. Learning how to take that criticism is part of becoming a better writer and a critique group is the ideal learning environment. If getting together in your local area isn’t feasible, find one online or via telephone.

That’s what I did (with my fabulous Indie Book Collective folks) and it was enormously helpful in helping me find my voice with my second book, The Mancode: Exposed. It also helps you read different styles and genres of other writers and learn different techniques, which makes you an innately better writer as well.

3. USE PROFESSIONAL SERVICES: When I decided to put out my first book, I really had no idea how to organize my thoughts into a cohesive manner that made sense as a product. That’s where paying a professional editor comes in. We highly recommend you hire for content and copy edits. We here at the IBC can refer you to plenty of terrific people who edit for a living. Not simply proofread for grammar and spelling mistakes (which we also recommend!), but help you organize your work.

Formatting – to me, it’s like math (ergo, writer here), so I pay someone awesome to do it for me. However, our amazing cofounder Amber Scott formats books , and teaches our Formatting 101 webinar. She’s terrific and is even for hire.

4. CREATE A BACKLIST: You’ve written that first book. Poured your heart and soul, many years, sweat and pounds. Congratulations. Now write another. Haven’t written another yet? Hook up with an author in your genre who you can cross promote, creating a virtual backlist.

‘What is the best way to promote your book? Write another.’

~ Ryne Douglas Pearson, screenwriter of KNOWING

Our founder, Carolyn McCray, coaches all of us to balance our marketing time with our writing time. Writing always comes first. Of course, you have to let people know about you book (more on that below), but establishing a body of work is what helps you become known. Set aside time to write every single day and have a marketing plan, a goal. This is your career, right? Treat it as such!

5. NETWORK: As mentioned above, social media is the best way to get the word out about your product (which remember, is you), as well as your book. Overall, that is called your brand. How will people get to know your brand? Networking.

Choose six to nine keywords that describe who you are, your book, your overall brand. That’s the message you want to convey in every interaction, whether it’s content (no link) or promotional (with a link). Even if it’s a thank you – be sure it’s branded. For example, I’ll leave a tweet that contains the hashtag #Mancode and even my reply will contain that. It’s funny (I’m primarily a humorist), it’s branded (#Mancode), and people know what to expect.

Remember to also be aware that networking means interaction, not blast. You should have a ratio of three to five content messages for every one promotional. If this is all Greek to you, take the free social media webinar I teach for the IBC – the first Tuesday of every month.

6. EDUCATE YOURSELF: What is KDP Select? What is a beta-reviewer? What’s an ARC? What is Smashwords? How do I get reviewers to review my books? Do I need a paperback version? How do I find a good graphic artist? Do I even need one? What’s an epub? What’s a Twitter list? What are tags?

These are all questions you need to find out the answers to. How?

Read the IBC blog – we’ve got over a year’s worth. Read the articles on our website. Follow our daily Twitter stream for insider tips. Take our webinars. Google stuff. Ask self-published friends you respect. Buy books on the subject. Hire someone who knows. Ask us!

7. SELF-PROMOTION IS YOUR FRIEND: We hear frequently from new authors that they’re uncomfortable with the process of promoting their own books. The “if you build it, they will come” syndrome. In our book Dollars & Sense: The Definitive Guide to Self-Publishing Success, we discuss this in depth. Basically, you need to realize that nobody knows your book as well as you do. Even traditionally published authors need to promote their own books. So if you’re thinking that going the traditional route means it will save you from the horrors of self-promotion, think again. In our experience, this fear comes from inexperience with the promotional tools available.

I personally love the interaction of social media, blogging, and interaction with friends and fans on Twitter and Facebook. Carolyn looks at it differently. She’s the first to tell you finds Twitter and blogging works for her because she can riff on a topic (say, lasagna) and still be interactive while still staying branded.

Promotion is what you make it. You simply have to understand the tools.

8. GUEST BLOG: It’s quite easy to begin your own blog. Open up WordPress, Blogger, or other platform and in an hour, you’re good to go. But will anyone know you’re there? Probably not. A critical part of getting your brand aka your product out there is guest blogging for other authors with established blogs. How do you find out about these authors? Twitter or Facebook!

It’s important to build up your Twitter in a targeted way (following readers, bloggers, reviewers, authors) so start following all their blogs as well. Leave comments. Retweet them. Caution: don’t be that guy at the party who constantly talks about their own book or blog and hits people up with links. That’s called spamming and is frowned upon.

You can also ask other people to come guest on your blog. If you’re just starting out and have little to no following, this is a bit of a challenge but not impossible. Pay attention to Twitter memes (rhymes with themes) like #MentionMonday and #TagItTuesday to help gain followers and give back to others. You will quickly gain a healthy blog following and people will want to co-promote with you. Which brings us to…

9. CO-PROMOTION: No one is an island, to paraphrase John Donne. A perfect example of this is when I signed up for Amazon’s KDP Select program and took my book A Walk In The Snark free for five days in December, right before Christmas. I had over 10k downloads. Awesome, right? But wait.

When I co-promoted my second book, The Mancode: Exposed in early January as Bestseller For a Day, with five terrific authors (Carolyn McCray, Amber Scott, Ann Charles, Taylor Lee, and DeeDee Robson), I had over 22k downloads in only TWO days. And, when I ported back over to paid, I ended up in the Amazon Top 100 paid list.

Will this happen for everyone who co-promotes? No. I’ve established my fan base over the course of two years, my first book had already hit Number One on the Motherhood list multiple times, and the amazing authors I co-promoted with are bestsellers already – the planets aligned.

Could this happen for you? Absolutely. How? Get involved in our amazing promotions like Indie Book Blowout, Free Par-Tay (only open to KDP Select authors), Blog Tour de Force, Bestseller For a Day, and more. Our promotions are all about co-promoting each other to bring attention to you and other authors to raise us all up!

10. JOIN A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION LIKE THE INDIE BOOK COLLECTIVE!

Announcing full Indie Book Collective membership, coming in February 2012! For $25 a year, get discounts on classes, a monthly meeting with a board member, network with other authors on meta-message and marketing, plus so much more. Stay tuned for details.

Whether joining IBC or another writing organization, by networking with peers, we can all learn, cross promote and get that much needed support that sometimes only other authors can provide.

 ~ ~ ~

RACHEL THOMPSON BIO

Rachel Thompson (aka RachelintheOC) is the author of the consistently 5/5 star reviewed humorous and at times, poignant, collection of essays, A Walk In The Snark (released 1/2011), which hit #1 on the Amazon Motherhood Kindle list (beating out the likes of Jenny McCarthy and Tori Spelling!) in September, 2011!

Her second release, The Mancode: Exposed hit the Amazon Top 100 Paid within the first month of release, thanks to IBC programs and strategies.

You can find Rachel most days on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, giving daily tips on the IndieBookIBC Twitter stream, contributing posts to the IBC blog or her own popular blog, giving free social media workshops through IBC for writers, promoting her current book or working on her next book, Chickspeak: Uncovered due in May. Rachel also has her own social media consulting business.

She lives in the OC, aka Orange County, CA (home of Disneyland). Somewhere in there, this redhead in a sea of blondes fits in being a full-time wife and mom to her two young children and just one husband. She loves coffee, dirty martinis, and sleep.

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