Self-publishing authors should utilize their amazon author page in order to increase sales

Welcome to the 3rd segment of Utilizing Your Amazon Author Page!

Your Amazon Author Page is a great resource for all authors, but especially for self-publishers who has chosen a different route than traditional publishing.  Selling books through Amazon has become one of the top resources for self-publishers so utilizing this page correctly can be a big plus for book sales.

In part 1, we discussed the advantages of customer reviews and how it logs the comments that were written for your book.  Reviews can be persuasive and convince the customer to BUY IT NOW!  In part 2, we covered the product details section which provides specific information including the age range, the page count, and the dimensions of your book.

Today, we will address the purpose of a book description (also known as a blurb).

The description is a vital component to your Amazon Author Page because it immediately pitches the story to your customers plus it helps them understand the main idea and plot to your book.  A catchy description might lead to more sales whereas a poorly written one will cause the customer to search for something else.  Take a look at the description for Little Kids, Big Voices Math Workbook, Grades 1-3.  See below.

This description covers all of the major components that are needed in just 4-6 sentences.  It’s not too long plus it identifies its target age, its goal or purpose, and it gives a little background on the qualifications of the writer.  Very long descriptions can become a burden to read especially when you’ve read through at least 20 of them.  Try to keep your descriptions catchy, but short and concise!

Please, DO NOT rush through writing your description.  Take the time to edit it and rewrite it as many times as needed.  If you can, join a writing group and share it with them.  You’ll be pleased in the end! Visit Author Central to revise and edit your account.


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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Ways to publish your book

As an author, it is imperative that you understand the different routes of publishing and how they can benefit or limit your writing career.  If you want creative control, flexibility, and to keep all of the profits from your book, then self-publishing might be a better route for you.  If you want to sell tons of books and gain popularity fairly quickly, then traditional publishing might be a better choice for you.  We will discuss the different options that are currently available for new authors.  Before attempting any of the below, develop your author platform way in advance to publishing.

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TRADITIONAL PUBLISHING

Traditional publishing is when the publisher offers the author a contract in order to print, publish, and distribute their book to wholesalers, bookstores, and libraries.  The publisher purchases the rights to sell your book and in turn you receive an advance and a royalty check for each book sale.  The larger the publisher, the greater the advance.  Keep in mind, traditional publishers aren’t as flexible with their contract terms and you may lose some of the creative control over your book.  On a positive note, you will gain popularity quickly, you will sell tons of books, and your book will be displayed on various bookshelves and stores across the world.  LASTLY, THE AUTHOR PAYS NOTHING!

If you are interested in traditional publishing, it is almost mandatory that you find a literary agent.  The best resource to find agents in your particular genre can be found here.  Before you solicit agents, make sure that you draft your query letter and synopsis as part of your submission packet.  Your query letter should include your pitch, a brief summary of your book, and a description of yourself.  Query letters are normally one page long and can become a task within itself.  Condensing your 50+page manuscript into a refined one page query, is no easy task. Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript is one of the many guides that are out there to help.


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INDEPENDENT AND SMALL PRESS PUBLISHING (also known as indie publishing)

Independent publishing is similar to traditional publishing, but just on a smaller scale.  They are not considered one of the five large conglomerates or multinational corporations such as: Random House, HarperCollins, etc and they usually specialize in one or two genres or small markets.  They offer contracts and royalties, but depending on the size of the company, an advance might be out of the question.  The good thing is… it is easier to get signed with an indie publisher rather than a traditional publisher, but the downside is… that their distribution channels or marketing campaigns aren’t as great plus you won’t have access to the top-notch staff members that the big five have access to.  The publisher purchases the rights to sell your book and in turn you receive a royalty check for each book sale.  They are more flexible with their contract terms and you don’t lose as much creative control as you would with traditional publishing. BUT AGAIN, THE AUTHOR PAYS NOTHING!

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SELF-PUBLISHING

Under self-publishing there are four models which include: self-publishing, print-on-demand, vanity press, and subsidy press.  Please take the time to understand which option is best for you.  Even though these options are becoming more popular everyday, libraries and bookstores are skeptical in carrying books that have been self-published.  KEEP IN MIND, THE AUTHOR IS RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING A FEE – EITHER MOST OF IT OR ALL OF IT!

1. Self-publishing – Self-publishers pay for everything – editing, printing, distribution, marketing, etc.  With this route, you have the option of using print-on-demand services OR off-set printing.  You can hire a book designer to design the cover and layout of your book, and then send it to a printer for binding and printing.  You are then responsible for distributing and marketing your book to either online bookstores like Amazon.com or BN.com or selling your book at book fairs.  If you choose POD printing, then places like Createspace and Lightning Source will distribute your book to Amazon.com or BN.com for an additional fee.  If you want your book in indie bookstores, then you would need to market and network on your own.  Keep in mind, that popular bookstores like Target, Barnes and Noble, Costco, Walmart, etc rarely carry self-published books.  With this route, you won’t sell as many books right away, but you obtain creative control.  YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING!

2. Vanity press – also known as a book manufacturer, will publish your book for a fee.  They will print, publish, and sometimes distribute your book for you, but rarely do they offer any editing or marketing services.  Some authors complain that their fees are expensive, also that they don’t offer the assistance that the author needs, and that their work is sub-par.  With this route, you are able to obtain all rights to your book and keep the profits from each sale.  YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING!

3. Subsidy press – as with a vanity press, they will publish your book for a fee.   They will print, publish, and distribute your book for you, and will assist with editing and marketing as well.  Some authors complain that their fees are expensive and that their work is sub-par.  If you decide on a subsidy press, remember, that they own the rights to your book plus you are paid a royalty as the book sells.  YOU PAY FOR SOME!

4. Print-on-demand – POD publishers pretty much take everyone who has the money to pay.  They primarily deal with the binding and printing of the book, but for an additional fee, they can assist with the book design and layout.  They only print books as customers purchase them (due to high technology printers), which helps new authors save money.  The cost per book is more expensive than off-set printing (which requires you to purchase a lot of books all at once), but at least you won’t have a garage full of books that you are unable to sell.  Check out Createspace, IngramSpark, LuLu, and Lightning Source for more information.  Keep in mind, this route is similar to self-publishingit is more about which style of printing your prefer.  YOU PAY FOR EVERYTHING!

Need more information, check out the Writer’s Market.


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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Building Voices CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva at Encino Charter Elementary

The goal of every publisher is to make sales, but what happens to the desire to inspire people and better our communities? Often, this goal is lost and buried due to the ups and downs and stringent demands of running a successful business.

Broccoli Chronicles

Building Voices currently doesn’t have the box office sales that we were hoping for, but we do have 13 positive Amazon reviews, several invitations to attend school events, and tons of happy customers to prove that our community supports our efforts. The positive feedback from followers on Facebook and Twitter and also parents and children from various book signing events has been remarkable.

Our first book, Broccoli Chronicles, sold more copies than the other books we’ve published. It’s something about Myrtle’s quirky smile and her love of broccoli that draws people in. Broccoli Chronicles has been selected as a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ 2014 ‪‎INDIEFAB‬ Book of the Year Awards! This was such an accomplishment for our company as well as for me and my career.

Building Voices CEO Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva at Encino Charter Elementary

I know you’re probably wondering why we are gaining so much love and support. Well, it’s the message that we are sending to parents, teachers, librarians, and educational officials that the voice of children matter. Our goal is to educate one mind and build one voice at a time. We believe our books will entertain, inspire, and build the future voices of this world. Kids love Broccoli Chronicles

This article was published in the July 2015 issue of the IBPA’s Independent Magazine.


Self-publishing authors should utilize their amazon author page in order to increase sales

There are many features to utilize on your Amazon Author Page that can attract customers and ultimately increase sales.

RELATED ARTICLE: Self-Publishing: Utilizing Your Amazon Author Page Part 1

Items such as: product details and more about the author sections allow you to provide in-depth information about you and your book.  Let’s take a look at the customer review section for Broccoli Chronicles.

Amazon customer review 1

This sections allows you to see how many people have created reviews for your book.  As of June 23, 2015, Broccoli Chronicles has a total of 14 reviews, in which all 14 customers gave the book a 5 star review!  It took about 7 months for me to obtain the 14 reviews and it is projected that the reviews will double by the end of the year.  See below some of the comments made by a few of my customers.

Amazon customer review 3

Self-publishers don’t have the marketing campaigns and bookstore displays that traditional publishers can supply for their authors.  Therefore, authors need to utilize every aspect of advertising that is available to them, especially by gaining positive reviews for their book.  Reviews should be a top priority in the self-publishing field although they don’t directly increase sales.  Reviews actually help sway indecisive customers into buying your book which indirectly increases your sales.  Since you don’t have the popularity behind your book, having a ton of positive reviews from teachers, parents, librarians, and community members will inform and persuade customers to give your book a chance.  Start getting more reviews asap!!


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Need more?  Stay tuned for…Self-Publishing: Utilize Your Amazon Author Page Part 3

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Self-publishing authors should utilize their amazon author page in order to increase sales

Utilizing your Amazon Author Page is one major benefit for self-publishers.

Items such as: product details, more about the author, and customer review sections allow you to provide in-depth information about you and your book.  Let’s take a look at the product details section for Broccoli Chronicles.

Amazon Product Details

Keep in mind, this is an old caption and therefore this section has been recently updated.

This section allows you to see the page count, the publisher, the dimensions of the book, and more.  Unfortunately, it’s not shown in this picture, but I later added the age range for my book which lets parents know whether or not the book is appropriate for their child.  If their child is 3 years old and is still reading picture books, then a chapter book designed for ages 7 – 12 is not appropriate for them.

You are also able to see how many customer reviews there are plus my best sellers ranking which informs you of which position my book is at compared to the 8 million plus books that are on Amazon.

Check out this link to an Amazon Author Page Q & A.  If you still have questions, check out this list of product detail page rules created by Amazon.

Stay tuned for…Self-Publishing: Utilize Your Amazon Author Page Part 2

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Should you self-publish or not?

Before you decide whether or not self-publishing is right for you, take a look at the following question.

5. Are you willing to pay a vanity or subsidy press a large sum of money to do the leg work for you?

I’ve never worked with a vanity or subsidy press so I cannot give you any firsthand knowledge, but I have read a few articles that are in favor and against their practices.  Vanity and subsidy presses have been given a bad name because they often ask for upfront money in order to publish your book.  I’ve read that sometimes they do not deliver on what they promise and require that you purchase your books from them using their offset shipping methods.  Many self-publishers prefer POD shipping so that they’re not inundated with tons of books that they are not able to sell right away.

It is up to you whether you want to give a vanity or subsidy press a chance or not, but make sure that you negotiate on the price and do not buy too many books unless you already have purchase orders on hand.  Also, make sure that they deliver on everything that they promise you.  If they promise to promote your book or provide you with 100 free copies, then make sure that you get your monies worth.  Hope this helps!

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Is Self-Publishing Right For You? Question #1
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5 Good Reasons to Self-Publish

For more information on POD and offset printing, check out this article from Publisher’s Weekly.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Reasons to self-publish

Before you begin looking for publishers you should ask yourself, is self-publishing right for you?

TAKE A LOOK AT THE 4TH QUESTION TO THIS SERIES.

4. Are you limited with marketing, publishing, and technology skills and would prefer someone to represent you?

Self-publishing demands that you wear multiple hats.  You are responsible for writing, marketing, publishing, sometimes editing, graphic design, and a list of other stuff.  As a self-publisher, you don’t have the luxury of just writing.  If you prefer to just write and never deal with the marketing or publishing side of the business, then maybe traditional publishing is a better route for you.


TheReadingRoom

Self-publishers are multi-taskers who have a diverse skill set.  It’s becoming more popular to see that the author and the illustrator are the same person. In addition, many are learning how to to design their own websites and promotional materials.  Even more so, authors are now becoming publishers who bind and print their own books.

Traditional publishing is great route to take especially if your publisher has a solid marketing plan and can guarantee to sell at least 100,000 copies, but if you prefer to be your own boss, then self-publishing might be a better option.

You owe it to yourself to really investigate the pros and cons of self-publishing and whether you have the stomach to digest everything that it entails. Don’t short change yourself!

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About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Self-published authors should attend book fairs, book signings, book readings, and book events

Events especially book readings and signings can help build your platform as a self-publishing author. This should be concurrent with selling your books online or to local bookstores. These events give you the opportunity to read samples of your book to your customers and then sign a copy of it, if they decide to purchase one.  This process can be very rewarding in many ways.  It’s a great way to personally interact with your customers plus it can be very lucrative.

As a self-publisher, it is our responsibility to think outside of the box. We shouldn’t be afraid of trying new and exciting things, especially if it increases sales and makes ours customers happy!

This year, I have attended various book events ranging from the Books and Breakfast at Encino Charter Elementary to the California Authors Segment at the Merced County Fair. At both events, the parents were very supportive, the children were eager to meet the authors, and more importantly, everyone wanted a signed copy of my book.

For a list of my events, click here.

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


5 Reasons to self-publish your book

Below are 5 good reasons why you should self-publish your novel instead of going with a traditional publisher.  Make sure that you do your research before making any hasty decision and remember to believe in yourself no matter what!

1. Creative Control – Never allow someone else to control or dictate your creativity.  They might not understand the creative force that drives your vision and ideas.

2. Compensation – Never allow so many hands to dig into the pockets of your book.  Make sure that there’s enough profit for you.

3. The Long Haul – Never limit yourself to a particular moment in time.  Think bigger and higher and longer.

4. Pricing – Never over price or under price your book unless you are comfortable with it.

5. Flexibility – Never allow rigidness to hinder the success of your novel.  Try to think outside of the box.

RELATED ARTICLE:
5 Reasons to self-publish

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


Why should you self-publish your book?

Is Self-Publishing Right For You? Find out today!

3. Do you want to see your book sitting on the shelves of Target, Wal-Mart, and/or Barnes and Noble?

Every author desires to see their book carried by the top retailers in the world, but they must keep in mind that shelf space is not free and therefore it drastically cuts into their profits. Yes, it’s a great accomplishment to see your book displayed among a million other books, but when it’s all said and done, how much money do you really make?


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Many self-publishers prefer to work with Amazon, Indie Bound, BN.com, and a few others because you are able to offer a slightly lower wholesale discount in exchange for their distribution.  That doesn’t mean that you become sedentary and expect for your book to sell itself, it just means that you are able to get a larger slice of the pie.

I will ask the million dollar question again… is self-publishing right for you?  This is a question that only you can answer.  It is a growing route for new and upcoming authors and has proven to be a very lucrative profession for many people.  With anything, you still must work hard and believe in yourself.

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Is Self-Publishing Right For You? Question #1
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Is Self-Publishing Right For You? Question #4

About 

Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.


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