Category Archives: self-publishing

Short Fiction Secrets: Sell More Novels With Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: Sell More Novels With Short Stories

I’ve written about using short stories for marketing before, but since “can I really sell short stories?” is a question which keeps coming up, here are three more tips which will help. They may inspire you to make the most of short fiction; few authors do, so there’s a real opportunity here.

Something to keep in mind too — short stories help you to take advantage of the holidays to sell fiction. Christmas stories always sell. Consider that you can write a short story in a few hours, so short fiction is an excellent way to boost your sales.

In addition to Christmas, other holidays, like Halloween (spooky stories) and St. Valentine’s Day (romances) offer wonderful opportunities for you to sell more books.

Short stores are short: focus on the emotion

The big reason I love short stories is that you’ll learn things which you can apply to all your fiction. Such as:

  • Emotion is everything: deliver an experience;
  • Stop explaining, it weakens the story;
  • Tighten up: choose one word rather than ten.

“One word rather than ten” is a challenge for me. I tend to wordiness.

Here are the tips.

1. Use short stories to preview your current novel in progress

“I want to write faster…” There’s a trend at the moment with authors complaining about how slowly they write. The other side of the coin is authors bragging that they finished their novel in a week.

If you’re a slow writer, that’s perfectly fine. You write the way you write a particular novel. You may write your next novel in ten days, it doesn’t matter.

Short stories give you a simple and easy way to boost the sales of all your fiction. If you’re in the slow writer camp, consider writing a couple of stories to prequel your novel. Not only will that prime readers to expect your novel, they can pre-order it if you’re offering pre-orders.

2. Use short stories to test a new genre

I’m a ghostwriter. Occasionally someone will offer me money to write something in a genre that’s completely new to me. Unless I have an instinctive reaction like — no way, not with a gun to my head — I ask the client to give me a chance to test whether I can write in that genre.

If I find that I don’t like reading in the genre, and can’t come up with a mile of ideas after reading a couple of books, my investigation stops.

On the other hand, if I enjoy the genre, I try writing a short story of around 10,000 words. I can do that in a couple of days, and I’ll know whether I want to accept the ghostwriting commission.

3. Write short stories for collaboration marketing with other authors

Bundles of short stories sell well in various fiction genres, as well as in sub-genres of major  categories like romance.

Recently on Facebook, groups for author marketing collaborations with bundles have seen an uptick in members. I haven’t researched, but I imagine that if these groups are popular, there are assuredly others on Facebook, as well as on venues like forums and LinkedIn.

When you join a group, you’ll hear about bundles which are calling for submissions, and you can send off a story for inclusion.

Although I haven’t joined any of these groups yet, I’ve got it on my task list. Come October, I start writing Christmas short stories, for my pen names, as well as for clients.

Several authors I respect have told me that joining other authors in a bundle of short stories has worked well for them. They’ve gained subscribers, traffic, and sales.

How many ways could you use short stories in your self-publishing venture?

I hope I’ve inspired you to think of short stories as useful, and if you haven’t tried writing a story or two — write one today. 🙂

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

Short Fiction Secrets: How To Write And Sell Short Stories

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Want to write short stories? If you answered yes, that's excellent… Here's why. Today, you can make money writing short fiction. More info →
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How To Sell More Books: 3 Tips To Help You To Sell

How To Sell More Books: 3 Tips To Help You To Sell

You’re an author, and self-publisher. You want to sell more books. You know that READERS are everything to your business. Perhaps you’ve spent time and money getting traffic to your website, and on promoting your books in various ways.

You’re disappointed at the results.

You suspect that there’s something missing in your book marketing and sales strategy.

There may well be, especially if you’re not completely focused your readers.

Want to sell more books? Know your readers

If you want to sell more books, your best bet is to sell them to people who know and love your work. In other words… get a mailing list. You need a way of getting in touch with your readers when you release a new book: a mailing list is the single surest (and free, almost) way of doing that.

Doing that already? Well done.

The next step is to clone your readers — in a sense.

Yes, we’re all individuals. However, readers of a fiction genre like mysteries, or a nonfiction category like self-help, are more similar than they’re different. When you know what those readers like in a book, that knowledge will help you to write books which appeal to them.

So let’s see how you can sell more books.

1. Focus on one reader at a time: every reader is ONE person, an individual

I’m on lots of mailing lists, for everything from recipes to yoga wear. I grind my teeth when I read: “hi everyone,” or “hi guys…” Or when I watch a video, and hear the presenter address his viewers as “everyone.”

Heh. I’m not everyone, and neither are you. Every single person on your mailing list is an individual, who is sitting at a desktop computer, or lounging on a sofa with his tablet, or reading your messages on his phone.

Each time you think about your mailing list, blog readers, or social media followers as a group, you distance yourself from them. It’s subtle, but your readers recognize this, and you’re pushing them away.

Moreover, this “everyone” attitude affects everything you do when you’re marketing and selling your books.

So please address your readers as “you”, and think of each and every reader as an individual.

It makes all the difference, and your attitude will help you to sell more books.

2. Do some easy research: read reader reviews on Amazon, and on social media

Ah Amazon, what would we do without you? 🙂

I love Amazon for the reader reviews; I spend a lot of time there, reading the reviews of bestsellers, and of books which sell few copies too.

The reviewers are telling you what they like, and what they don’t like. When you read reviews of books, over time you’ll internalize reader attitudes of whatever genre/ category you’re writing.

Again, please remember: each reviewer is an individual. He or she has an opinion. You may agree with the reviewer’s opinion, or not — what’s important is that you’re aware of those opinions.

And no, I’m not suggesting that you keep the opinions in mind when you write, but I do know that getting to know readers, even if only via their reviews, is important to help you to sell.

3. Selling fiction and nonfiction: what do readers WANT?

When they buy fiction, they want entertainment: emotion, and escape from their daily lives.

When they buy nonfiction: they’re buying information, knowledge, and ideas.

If you keep what readers want in mind while you’re writing, your attitude changes. You’ll read a scene in your novel, and you’ll ask yourself how to make the scene more entertaining. You’ll go the extra mile with your nonfiction, so that your books are truly helpful.

You CAN sell more books: you have millions of readers (potentially)

Selling more books starts with you. Over the past few months, since many authors’ sales slumped last year, some authors have contacted me looking for a magic bullet to increase their sales.

Here’s the simplest way to sell more books: start with your attitude to your readers, and get to know them as much as you can.

In business marketing, companies use “personas”, representations of their ideal customers. You can do that too. Write for one person. Imagine that person clearly — give him or her a name, if you like.

You’ve got the potential to have millions of readers, so… happy writing. We authors have never had it so good. 🙂

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Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

Map It: For Writing Success — Fiction And Nonfiction Outlines Made Easy

eBook: $5.99
I developed the tactics and strategies in this book to help myself. My students have found them essential to producing both fiction and nonfiction almost effortlessly. More info →
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Self-Publishing Professional: How To Sell Your Services

Self-Publishing Professional: How To Sell Your Services

Learning self-publishing is a challenge, but once you’ve learned how to publish your own books, you have an excellent skill which can earn income for you. New self-publishers, and even experienced ones, welcome help in many different areas of the self-publishing process.

Self-publishing pro: how do you get started?

A year ago, one of my writing students quit her day job, and then promptly became blocked. She decided that she had to go back to work. While she was job hunting, I suggested that she post on a self-publishers’ forum that she was ready to help others to publish their books. She managed to get some editing work right away.

Within a month, she had so much editing work that she had to stop advertising. When I last heard from her, she was back to full-time self-publishing, and doing a little editing on the side.

You can try a similar strategy to get your first clients; no need for a website unless you already have one. Investigate the various Facebook forums for self-publishers, as well as other online forums. However — this is important — do make a few posts to establish who you are first, so that people get to know you. Then by all means ask whether anyone needs help with self-publishing.

Now let’s look at some publishing areas in which you might consider offering services.

Self-publishing areas in which you can offer help

  • Research services. Bestselling authors have always hired researchers, now self-publishing authors need help too.
  • Covers. Not necessarily designing covers (but if you have the skills, go for it), consider offering help sourcing images, buying premade images, and commissioning designers.
  • Editing: always a challenge for self-publishing authors. There are several different kinds of edits. Choose the one in which you feel most confident — whether that’s developmental editing or copyediting.
  • Proofreading: always necessary.
  • Formatting for print, and for ebooks. Many authors get hung up over this. They’ll love it if you can offer files which are ready to upload to Amazon KDP, Amazon Createspace, and elsewhere.
  • Marketing help. This is a challenge for authors, always. You can offer basic help, as well as more extensive help. Basic help would include things like setting up a Facebook page and mailing list. More extensive help could include setting up Amazon ads, Facebook ads, etc.

Getting paid for self-publishing help

All creatives (writers, designers, photographers) are paid up-front. Obviously, this makes a lot of sense. You have a micro business, so you can’t afford to chase people who owe you money.

When you’re starting out, you can generate PayPal invoices so that people who want your help can pay you.

As your business builds, ecommerce solutions like Shopify make it simple for you to get paid for your self-publishing services, as well as to keep records for tax. Selz is a another option — it’s also simple and easy to use.

Selling services is a little different from selling goods, and Selz advises you:

To build your service business on Selz, you must be able to prove you have provided the service. This can be very easy. You could collect an email receipt from each of your buyers as proof. If you are delivering the service in person, you could collect a physically signed receipt.

With hundreds of thousands of authors who self-publish, your self-publishing services will be welcomed by your clients.

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Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out our ebooks for writers.

Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

Nonfiction Ebooks Goldmine: Write and Sell Nonfiction Ebooks In 24 Hours Or Less

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 5
Genre: Writing
You're a writer. You need to make money from your words. What if you could create AND sell a nonfiction book in just a day? More info →
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