Articles tagged "author success"

The Price of Success: Not as High as You Think

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We now know that devoting as little as five hours a week to your marketing plan can result in much higher sales. That seems like a minimal investment in time, but how much will it cost? We asked 4000 of our bestselling authors how much they spent marketing their books.

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Not as much as you thought, right? 65% spent less than $500. If you add the authors who spent nothing (7%), the total number of authors who spent less than $500 in marketing is 72%. In other words, nearly three out of four best-selling authors spent less than $500 promoting their book.

How best-selling authors spent their marketing budgets

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As you can see, authors spent the most on advertising. Website and purchasing promotional copies of their book come in second and third, respectively. Below is a detailed breakout of how authors spent their advertising budgets.

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Key Takeaways

$500 or less is enough to promote a book. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars.

Most authors spent 28% of their overall budget on advertising, 15% on their websites and 14% on buying promotional copies as well as copies they sell direct to readers.

Action Items

Determine a marketing budget for promoting your book based on how many copies you think you will sell. Take into consideration annual fluctuations in sells as well as any upcoming holidays.

Examine previous promotional spending and determine what worked and what didn’t. Adjust your marketing plan to more accurately target your intended audience.

Additional Information

What Authors Say Is Most Important for Sales

Driving Online Traffic and Book Sales

Need Some Help Marketing? Ask a Friend

5-Star Reviews Are Actually Better

Need Some Help with Marketing? Ask a Friend

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The last question we asked our authors was where they turned for marketing assistance. While it’s easy to imagine bestselling authors employing a team of marketing experts, the truth is,  most of them did it alone.

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It’s refreshing to see that 58% of authors had no help and an additional 21% had only unpaid help from friends and family. Only 21% – about one in five – paid for marketing support with just 2% hiring a marketing team. That’s one in fifty authors with a marketing team, versus six in ten doing marketing all on their own.

If you need help, phone a friend

While most authors did their own marketing, don’t hesitate to get help if you need it. Whether it’s hiring a designer to make a new cover (something many of our authors recommend) or recruiting a family member to stuff envelopes for a promotional mailing, there are plenty of ways to get the support you need. Here are a few ideas that we heard from the authors who responded to our survey:

  1. If you don’t have a big budget, offer to trade services. For example, write something for the graphic designer who you want to redo your book cover or website.
  2. Engage your fans, followers and subscribers. One of the best ways to get noticed on social media is to ask for your readers feedback or suggestions. Ask your audience which new book cover they like best or which email service provider they recommend.
  3. Hold a contest and give away signed copies of your book to the winners.
  4. Check out Fiverr.com. You can get a lot of marketing tasks done for cheap on this website. Be sure to select someone with at least ten reviews of 4.5 stars or better and test them out with something small before dedicating a large portion of your marketing budget to them.

Action Item

If you could get help with just two tasks on your book marketing plan, what would they be? Identify and reach out to people with those skills.

Key Takeaway

58% of best-selling authors had no help with marketing. Only one in five paid for marketing help.

Five Hours to Success: Sell More Books

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You will spends months, maybe years writing, editing, and rewriting your book. When all of that is done, you can release your work into the world with just a few clicks on Lulu.com.  For some authors the work stops there, but successful authors know that’s when the real work begins. How will you make your book visible in a marketplace full of books? How will you get your book onto the bestseller lists? Where will you find the time and the money to market your book to your audience?

For most authors, marketing a new book will likely be more challenging than writing it.  To help you focus your efforts, we asked 4000 of our bestselling authors how many hours a week they spend marketing their books.

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The majority of best selling authors (61%) dedicated five hours or less to book marketing each week. 16% — about one out of every six — said they spent 5-10 hours a week on marketing tasks. Only 25% of these authors said they spend more than ten hours a week marketing their book to their audience.

How much time can you invest?

Let’s face it, authors would rather be writing than marketing. It’s what you are good at, but without a marketing plan, your book will simply gather digital dust on some online bookshelf.

By breaking marketing tasks into small steps, you can make them more manageable, regardless of your time constraints. If you only have five hours a week, work in blocks of one to two hours. Keep plugging away until every item on the list below has been researched and completed:

  1. Define your audience
    • If you aren’t familiar with your audience and their shopping habits, research them to gain that understanding
    • Write a one-paragraph description of your target audience – what they like, where they shop, etc.
    • Find those people and get your book in front of them
  2. Write your book’s elevator pitch
  3. Create a website
    • Write a detailed author biography page and include a head shot
    • Set up an email opt-in to create a mailing list (see below)
    • Add a page for editors and bloggers to request review copies of your book
    • Add new articles, transcripts of recent interviews, and reprints of book reviews
    • Add a blog to your site. Update it at least weekly. Twice a week is even better
    • Add a page with contact information for interviews, events and public speaking opportunities
    • Add a page for your coaching or consulting services (if that makes sense for your business and market)
  4. Get a Facebook business page for your book
    • Update your page at least weekly
    • Add a way to sign up for your email list (see below)
    • Like and follow other Facebook pages in your niche and comment on their pages to expand your audience
    • Use Shopify to sell your books directly from your Facebook page.
  5. Set up an email list with a free email service provider such as mailchimp.com
    • Send an email update at least every two weeks
    • Use content from your blog or update your readers on your marketing efforts or how your next book is coming along
    • Include Lulu coupon codes for reader discounts in your email messaging to encourage shopping
  6. Identify 20 influential people to whom you can send your book
    • Create a promotion package
    • Mail the promotion package to those 20 people
  7. Secure 3-5 speaking gigs
    • Bring copies of your book to speaking events for audience members to purchase
    • Be on the lookout for other authors targeting the same audience. You can build a relationship with them and cross-promote each other’s books to build audiences and drive sales
  8. Research 1-2 conferences or book fairs to attend or to sponsor for a booth
  9. Find 3-5 niche websites where you could advertise or write a guest blog post
  10. Make your printed book look as good as possible. Does it need a new cover? Better typesetting?
  11. List your book on eBay
  12. List your book on Goodreads
  13. List your book in “Shameless Promotions” in the Lulu forums
  14. On an ongoing basis, spend one hour on each major bookselling site polishing up your book’s description and appearance
  15. Reach out to potential reviewers on the big bookselling sites. Aim for at least 20-30 reviews for your book
  16. Don’t give up. As one author said about marketing, “It’s hard work! But it’s also essential for the author to relentlessly promote a new book for at least 18 months after publication.”

 

phew giphyPhew! … Sounds like a lot or work, right? Well, put in just five hours a week and you’ll be further along than you’d think. And – here’s the best part – you’ll also be closer to making enough sales to brag about on your Facebook page.

 

Action item

Schedule one hour every weekday to promote your book.

Key takeaway

Once you have everything set up, marketing shouldn’t require as much of your time. The majority of successful independent authors spend 5 hours or less per week on marketing.

Make More Money: Include Lulu Discounts in Your Email Marketing

Summer Reading

What’s missing from this picture? Your book, of course.

Sizzling Summer Savings!
The Hottest Deals of the Season!
Best Book Ever Written, Get It Now and Save!

The words you choose to promote your books and new releases are all yours, but you should also be taking advantage of Lulu.com’s weekly sales and special offers. To help you with your marketing, our site discounts are now being offered for up to one week making it easier than ever to share them with your readers.

Why should you be using email promotion? For starters, email marketing works. Social media may seem like the savvier approach, but email is roughly six times more effective at bringing in new buyers than Facebook and Twitter. Email also gives you a great platform for sharing special offers and introducing new books, without your carefully crafted message getting lost in the endless scroll of tweets, status updates, and ever-changing social media display algorithms.

 

Here’s a sample email template you can adapt for your use:

Email Subject Line:
Save XX% on the Summer’s Hottest Book: <insert book title>

Email Body:
Be the first of your friends to read the book everyone will soon be talking about. <Placeholder for title and one line / elevator pitch book description>

Order today from Lulu.com and save <discount> with coupon code <insert Code here> thru <expiration date>.

To place your order, simply click this link: <Placeholder for link to book>, then click Add to Cart and apply the code at checkout.

This discount is for a limited time, so don’t wait.

Order today and save!

<Link to book>
<Author name>

**Don’t forget, coupon codes are case-sensitive.

 

See? Simple. You highlight the current savings, briefly describe the book, and provide easy instructions. It’s low-pressure, informative and brief. You can even provide a link right to your book’s product page and save your readers from searching. If you have multiple titles, include a link to your Author Spotlight page to encourage shoppers to browse your catalog. Everyone wins when your readers shop in the Lulu bookstore. They save money and you earn higher revenues.

Though we are currently in the middle of the summer reading season, this strategy works year-round. At Lulu.com, we’re always looking for ways to help you promote and sell your books. Whenever we have a sale — seasonal or otherwise — send out an email blast letting everyone know. After all, it’s always the season for reading!

Current discounts, coupon codes, and expiration dates are always listed on the Lulu home page: www.lulu.com/home

Additional References:

Make More Money by Selling on Lulu

Publish More, Sell More

The Art of the Short Description

Developing Your Distribution Strategy

 

A Busy Queen Bee’s Journey to Self-Publishing Success

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Author: Claire Boscq-Scott

On completing catering school I pursued a career in the hospitality industry, which required me to leave my beautiful France. I traveled quite a lot, working in both England and America. Sixteen years ago, I returned to the Channel Islands and settled in Jersey.

During my travels, I encountered and worked with incredible people. I learned so much and had so many ideas and stories I wanted to tell. Then I thought if I was to write a book, not only could I easily reference the information myself, but I could also share what I had learned with others.

Three people encouraged me to start the book: My business coach, who basically kicked me in the backside and said let go of your fear of failure, your fear of writing and get on with it. Second was my business consultant who told me if he could publish a book on Lulu.com, so could I. And lastly a friend who taught me some “techie” tips and tricks.

As I finished up the writing, I began working with a marketing agency to help with the book title, the cover illustrations and the synopsis. Since I wanted to sell the book, I knew all of this had to be done professionally. We looked at things such as catchy titles and bright covers that could be seen in the middle of 100’s of other books. Being French and writing in English, professional editing of the book was also a must. I was very lucky to have the support of an editor who had the task to read and edit 418 pages.

I also thought it would be a great idea to try to get celebrity endorsements. Again, I was very lucky to get recommendations from two customer service experts. Once this was done and pricing structures for the print and eBooks had been worked out, it was time to upload the final version of the manuscript. Then I pressed the publish button… it was a scary and thrilling experience. Incredibly, two days later, the books were delivered and I felt like a kid opening a Christmas present. Wow, the book was so big and so bright. It was such an amazing feeling to hold my very own book.

But the journey didn’t stop there, I visited local retailers and managed to get Thrive with the Hive on WHSmith’s and Waterstones’ shelves. The Chamber of Commerce and a local coffee shop also agreed to sell copies. You can now also find it at the Jersey Library. I have found that marketing is an on going effort that has be constantly managed with press releases, social media, radio and newspaper interviews.

The book has now been sold in 13 different countries and I am about to sign an agreement for Thrive with the Hive to be translated and published in Korea. All of this is just amazing!!

Now I see that my publishing journey is only just starting. My book is now my big business card and has inspired me to create a new online course: “Deliver Exceptional Customer Service.” I am also developing a speaking program to help businesses thrive by delivering buzz worthy customer service.

So, I tell you what, if I can do it, so can you… what are you waiting for??


Thrive with the Hive bookcover

About the Author

Originally from France, Claire Boscq-Scott has lived in Jersey, Channel Islands, since 2000. Capitalizing on her experience gained in the hospitality industry, she founded, The Busy Queen Bee in 2009. To learn more, visit her site at: www.thebusyqueenbee.com.

Thrive with the Hive is her very own view for delivering customer excellence. Her book focuses on 10 “buzzes” to deliver consistently exceptional customer service resulting in an unforgettable experience for every customer who walks through your doors.

Finding Myself Among The Wolves

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Book CoverRecently, I published my first novel Wolves of the Shadowlands with Lulu.com. Although it hasn’t been the most commercially successful piece of writing ever, the experience taught me a lot about writing and about myself.

I am 17-years old and a junior in high school.  I have been motivated to tell stories since the 4th grade. In elementary school, I would always be writing short narratives in my English journal. They were nothing fancy, complex, or necessarily logical. I was just a kid with a wild imagination.

Fortunately, that wild imagination evolved into something much more complicated and versatile through writing. Before I finished middle school, my drive to tell stories brought me into film making, a path I have been following ever since. But even then, telling cinematic stories was not enough to satisfy my imagination and to calm the myriad ideas bouncing around in my head. I had to do more.

It wasn’t until I tackled the incredible experience of writing a novel that ideas truly began to flow from my head. Before I began writing Wolves, my writing had always been written by me, for me. Now I was telling a story – a real story to a real audience. I locked myself in and began channeling my idea onto paper. An idea that, over the course of about a year and a half, became a story of friendship, understanding, sacrifice, and much more.

It wasn’t until I had completed the draft of Wolves and I was going back through the manuscript to edit and polish it, that I realized the story wasn’t just about a boy, a wolf, or forbidden friendships. Through the process of writing, I had interjected elements of my own personality and experiences that I have had in my own life into the characters themselves. When writing, I was so engaged in telling the story that when I took a step back and actually looked at it from a different perspective, I saw my own reflection in the words that had once only existed in the void of my mind.

Imagination is more than just problem-solution or beginning-middle-end. It’s making characters and events unfold in a universe of your own creation and, to varying extents, injecting your own experiences and personality into it. The hardest part to overcome is making the decision to lock yourself in for the ride.

May you all find happiness in telling your stories!

Headshot_M_Manyak_JPGAbout the Author

Matthew Manyak is a 17 year-old filmmaker, photographer, digital artist, and narrative author. Wolves of the Shadowlands is his first published novel. He currently pursues a career of creativity and imagination at a school of the arts in northern Florida.


 

Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer?
Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors?
Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your story pitch to PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

Guidelines for guest posting.

– See more at: http://www.lulu.com/blog/#sthash.ffP9myzv.dpuf

Tell Your Story: My Last Birthday Wish

On January 9, 2016, a doctor told me: “This will be your last Birthday”

You see, I Vortexwoke up January 5, 2016 and I was totally blind. I called another doctor when the first told me I was diabetic. He said, “I have been around a long time and I know Diabetic retinopathy when I see it.” A blood test was ordered. They found I had High cholesterol, high blood pressure, the starting of kidney disease, and blood sugar of 183. “I told you so” said the doctor.

My brother and Uncle died just two weeks earlier so I advised my family and began getting my affairs in order. While doing so, I stumbled over something I wrote in high school. Forty years earlier, when I graduated high school, my father told me to put childish things aside, but now seemed like the time to resurrect that long forgotten story. A friend staked his journalistic career to help me out.

I began working on my book. As it neared completion, I contacted Lulu and spoke with Thomas. During our conversation, it came out that I wasn’t in good shape and would not likely see my book published. Friends set up a book signing event and funded an order of my books. Time was short, and I worried I might not get the books in time for the signing. Once again, I contacted Lulu to see when they would arrive, and if any accommodations could be made for shipping them more quickly. Thomas agreed to look into it and do what he could.

On my birthday, March 8, 2016, I called for his supervisor (her name is Rachel), and told her how exceptional he was over the last few days. Just to hear his voice lifted my spirits. I was afraid that I might have been a pain and wanted her to know what he did for a stranger and I didn’t want to get him trouble for looking into upgrading my shipping. I needed her to know that he was one hell of a representative for Lulu.

I got the books at 10:00 AM the next day!

I planned this to be my last Hurrah. And because of Lulu and Thomas’ personal assistance, I could achieve it.

That’s not even the end of the story; I told Thomas that someone else would probably complete the series, now it seems he may have to put up with me from time to time; at least for a while! I met with my Doctor this past Monday, she began by saying that on my first visit she needed me to know how serious the problems were and she needed to “scare the hell” out of me if I did not take action.

She sat with me and went through all the frightening signs the initial round of blood tests reveals; my weight, my blood sugar, my blood pressure. And after a month and a half, the improvements were tremendous. I told her that I did what she and the nutritionist told me to do. Cut out sodas, eat fruits and vegetables, cut starch, and eat appropriate servings.

I went through the scariest part of my life in the past month and half, not knowing if I would even see tomorrow, much less see the book published. Now it may be the first of many!

I am very happy to have worked with Lulu to achieve my dream.

Michael DeFranco

The Vortex at Thompson Park

Calling All Lulu Authors

Do you have a story to tell about realizing your dream as a writer?
Do you have self-publishing knowledge or expertise to share with other authors?
Want to expand your digital reach?

If so, we are looking for authors like you to share your story with our blog audience. Email your 250-500 word story to PR@lulu.com. Include a brief biography and a link to your published work. We will do the rest.

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