While it is from January 2007, it's worth a look. One quote: "The more content we put up on our website, the more content that we gave away, the more books we sold."
Monday Book Reviews are a new part of the SmallPress Blog. I hope to showcase a variety of books that I believe self and independent publishers should own. The reviews will have two parts, where possible. The first part is the actual review. This will be no longer than one paragraph. Yes, I realize that is limiting (and that is the point). One thing that you should realize is that I will only be choosing a precious few parts of the book to showcase. All of these books will offer so much more and, yes, you should buy these books.
The second part will be the backstory of the book. Who designed it? Who did the cover? Why was it written? I fully understand with this part that some writers will be more forthcoming than others and that is fine. By the way, if you think you might like to have your book reviewed (and it is on self publishing, book marketing, or very related subjects), you can send it to PO Box 19021, Fresno, CA 93790.
Monday Book Review: Plug Your Book!
Plug Your Book!: Online Book Marketing for Authors is a solid introduction for writers wishing to market their books on the Internet, but not sure where they should start. If you have ever looked at the great expanse of the Internet and not known where to start plugging your book, Weber provides the map for you. To my thinking, this is the book that you buy first, and then you decide what else you need to learn. The book touches on several tools with which all book marketers should become familiar. It discusses the importance to an author of having a blog (to create interactive relationships with readers) and why amateur book reviewers have more credibility (and how to get the top Amazon.com reviewers to take a look at your book). Weber also focuses on going to where the readers are and not waiting for them to come to you. He supports being active on MySpace as one way to market to the public and shows you exactly how to do that. And, importantly, Weber also teaches you all the tricks to increase your footprint on Amazon.com.
Backstory from the author, Steve Weber
My editor for "Plug Your Book" was a former colleague from my newspaper reporting days, Julie Bird, who lives in Charlotte, NC now. We did all the work via email using Microsoft Word's "track changes" feature. After the content editing, I hired a copy-editor and a proofreader. I was especially happy with the proofreader who I found by searching the directory of the Editorial Freelancers Association.
The cover was a real challenge. I I hired a cover designer with great credentials and had seven design concepts done. I was unhappy with all of them. Part of the problem was that I was still working with a weak title: "Internet Book Publicity." That's what the book is about, but it's not a snappy title and nothing that people would search for. To get the cover done, I decided to search for stock photography that might work for the cover. I spent a solid week looking at every Internet-related photo at all the stock photography sites I could find. Finally, I came across the image I used on the cover, the face with ethernet dreadlocks, and the title, Plug Your Book!" occurred to me.
I laid out the cover myself using Microsoft Publisher, and did the interior myself using Microsoft Word.
When I started down the independent publishing path, I had a book in mind. You can even look back on this blog and see that I got fairly far down the path with that book before life intervened.
Loyal readers are, I believe, aware of my other ventures, including ThomasNixon.com. That site quite suddenly this past week ended up getting greatly increased traffic. It usually does reasonably well because I write quite a few online and off-line articles and use that URL. However, traffic more than doubled.
I pointed the URL for that old book to my writer's homepage. The topic, cheap college degrees, is a popular one and I own a bunch of that real estate (See this Google search). This means people head in my direction after looking for that topic.
This traffic is validation for the book and a solid reminder that I need to finish the book because there are people out there who want to buy it.
And this, gentlepeople, is why you need to track where your traffic comes from. I know this traffic is coming from here and here. It is also coming from this article that I wrote for the Adult Education site at About.com.
I also decided that, since those people are going to that site looking for information on cheap degrees, I had better provide some. Beginning on Tuesday, I will be providing a post a week on that topic over there. I have already announced that I will be doing just that. I want those people to keep coming back.
Yes, in part, this is a publishing decision that is coming from the masses, but, you may recall, it is the masses who will be buying your (and my) books.
For the first time, the Braille version of a Harry Potter book was available on the same day as the regular version. I happened to get some information on what exactly that looks like given that I know two things:
1. J.K. Rowling never met a sentence that she didn't want to put into a book, so they are long; and
2. Books published in Braille are much longer than regular print version.
Here is a snippet from an email I received:
Some trivia regarding the braille edition: National Braille Press's version of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows will run approximately 1,100 braille pages; be packaged in ten volumes standing more than a foot high; occupy 15 inches of shelf space; and weigh approximately 12 pounds. To transcribe, proof, emboss, collate, and ship the braille edition will take approximately three weeks.
I am now pleased to offer you, courtesy of Feedburner, a subscription service for this blog. All that you need to do is put your email address in the box in the upper left hand corner of this page. Easy! Then you never miss posts here again.
I tend to read a wide variety of blogs including, as of late, Daily Kos. Regardless of whether or not you go in his decidedly progressive direction, wouldn't you like some of the traffic to his website brought on by Bill O'Reilly's attack?
Which is to say that controversy sells. Controversy draws people into your website like a magnet. One can only imagine the traffic generated by O'Reilly's on-going mentions of the site as well as Steven Colbert's O'Reilly parody from last night's Colbert Report.
Please, Bill, can you send a little hatred my way?
I like book covers. I think, if done right, they are art. I do not know who designed this cover for The Adoption Network, but it absolutely works for this title. The joined hands, the pictures of little and not-so-little potential adoptees, and a title that is large enough to be read.
By the way, I happen to know that this book will be announced on Self Pub News on Friday morning.
I knew I would get some and I still did it. On July 17, I made a request for books on publishing/marketing/etc. to review for my new Monday Book Reviews.
And I knew that there would be people who would not read carefully enough and I would get books on ornamental horticulture, basketweaving, and creating the perfect strawberry daiquiri.
And I did.
Well, not those topics (because the goal of this post is not to embarrass anyone), but certainly equally unrelated to what was requested.
Here's a secret: It helps to read the entire post.
Here's another secret: I have no interest or desire in reviewing any books not specifically about publishing, self-publishing, book marketing, or related topics. If you are not sure, please send me an email. That goes equally for Self Pub News. Yes, we do book announcements over there, but we do not (and, importantly, will not) do book reviews. It's not what the site does.
Yes, it's really an ad for Google Book Search, but it's worth taking a look at how successful it has been for this particular publishing company. And, yes, Degree Press, my company, submits to Google Book Search.
Ning.com is fast becoming one of the premier social networking sites on the Internet. The power of such sites lies in being able to attract many people who you can then befriend. Now this whole "friend" thing is interesting. Would I go back to that site if I weren't checking to see if I have new friend requests and whether there are any comments on my blog? I don't know, but I do go back.
Ning is set up by customers into interest areas, or networks, that attract people interested in that topic. This attraction results in people of like mind coming together on the same topic. It provides space for you to blog, but there are also forums related to your topic.
Here's the interesting thing: Reserve your cool network name now. You don't actually have to turn it on yet, but once you have reserved the name, others can't get it. I have reserved two such networks. The first will go live next week and the second in perhaps a month. I reserved them both months ago knowing that I might want to use them to attract people interested in my books and/or services.
In terms of which name to choose, I would not choose the name of your book (unless it is well-known) unless it is so generic as to attract attention. Likewise, I would not choose your name (unless you are well-known). Choose a topic, like Distance Learning or Online High Schools, that reflects your book's content.