Tag Archives: ebooks

Ebook Covers: Create Low Cost Covers To Attract Readers

Ebook Covers: Create Low Cost Covers To Attract Readers

Our first short story class is well underway, and is huge fun. One of the most popular questions I receive is about ebook covers. When you’re publishing a short story, paying $100 for a premade cover can be a tad challenging, particularly if you need a lot of them in a short period.

A mini digression. Yes, I’m aware you can get a cover for $5 or $10. Caveat emptor. If you get an inexpensive cover, make sure you know the image’s source. Horror stories abound.

One student decided that she wanted to write two short stories a week for the next two months; this means quite the investment in covers. She set out to do her covers herself, and kudos to her.

I wrote about Canva and Picmonkey in this article last year, and said:

If you’re publishing a couple of short stories a month, payments to designers add up fast. In addition to money, time is a concern too. Good designers are booked up months in advance…

The solution? It’s time to take courage, and learn how to create your own covers.

Ebook covers: the DIY solution

Canva ebook cover templates
Easy Canva templates for non-designers

Without any doubt, the easiest way to create an ebook cover quickly, without any design experience, is by using Canva.com. The app works in any web browser, you don’t need to download anything.

You’ll find many templates for ebook categories, and genres. For example, here are some examples of the “Love” templates for romance fiction.

“Love” templates for romance fiction
“Love” templates: ebook covers for romance fiction

Tips to help you to design great ebook covers

Let’s look at some tips for what you might consider when creating your own ebook covers.

  1. Remember emotion: what emotion does the cover arouse in you? Chances are your readers will feel what you want them to feel.
  2. Arouse interest — vital. Over the past year, I’ve noticed that many covers, particular in some genres of fiction (and nonfiction too) seem to have a cookie-cutter, “me too” quality. Remember that it’s your name on the book. You don’t have to create a cover which is similar to every other cover in your genre, sub-genre, or category.
    You know what feelings you want to evoke in readers. Your designer and editor, with all the good will imaginable, can’t read your mind — have the courage to trust your creative self.
  3. I seem to be gushing over Canva, sorry, but one of the benefits of using Canva is that you don’t need to worry about typefaces or font choices — Canva chooses fonts for you. Of course you can change them if you wish.
  4. Pay for royalty free-images, and keep a record of the license information. With so many stock image libraries online, you can get a great image for your cover for a dollar, sometimes less.
    Sourcing dubious “free” images online, when you have no real idea of the images’ provenance, is a foolish economy.
  5. Accept that you’ll become better at creating covers the more you practice. When you’re 100% better in a year or two, you can redo your covers, or hire a designer.

Good luck with your ebook covers. 🙂

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

Blurbs Sell Your Books: Craft Irresistible Blurbs, And Sell More Fiction And Nonfiction Today

eBook: $5.99
You can, when you discover the secrets of writing blurbs (book descriptions) which sell. More info →
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Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

Heart To Heart: Romance Writing For Beginners

eBook: $5.99
Author:
Series: Romance Writing, Book 1
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
Love makes the world go round, and of all the genres in fiction, romance, with its many sub-genres, is the most popular. More info →
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Ebook Publishing: Kindle Unlimited, Yes Or No?

Ebook Publishing: Kindle Unlimited, Yes Or No?

If you’re into ebook publishing, you’re wondering about KDP Select, and Kindle Unlimited (KU). Several authors asked me whether or not they “should” enroll their books in Select, and thus make them free to KU subscribers.

My answer? It depends.

Please keep this in mind: no one really KNOWS. We’re all just guessing, and tinkering with our books, hoping to increase sales.

Ebook publishing in 2017, same as 2016: still the right strategy for me with new novels

In this post, Kindle Unlimited: Back In, Sales Jump, I said:

Last week, I checked the sales on the new ebooks. They seemed slow. With established pen names, you have an audience, so I couldn’t work out why the slowdown occurred. With one ebook, I was entering a new genre. The pen name was completely new. Three weeks after publishing that ebook… crickets. Not a single sale for that ebook. How was that even possible?

That was last August. That’s still the process I’m following:

  • Enroll new fiction under pen names in KDP Select for the first three months, then take them out and go wide with them (publish to several of the most popular ebook retailers);
  • Already published ebooks: fiction and nonfiction, all wide. Of course, the ebooks sell more copies on Amazon than elsewhere, but for me, KU seemed to be cannibalizing sales — your mileage may vary.

The “perfect” strategy?

I’ve spoken with authors who are all-in with Amazon, and they’re selling huge numbers of their ebooks, as well as having a high KENPC (pages read.)

From what I can tell, these are authors who write novels in series, and publish regularly — either once a month, or once every couple of months, with shorter novels or short stories published intermittently. New ebooks experience a bump from Amazon’s “new” listings, and that bump helps you to make sales of older ebooks too. However, the bump lasts just a couple of weeks — it used to last a month, but not recently.

Other authors are going wide, with all ebooks, publishing everywhere they can, and are seeing good results too. By the way, if you haven’t read the self-publishing survey, read it.

There’s no perfect strategy for ebook publishing, there’s only what works for you.

By the way — consider pricing too.

Pricing affects sales, but no one’s sure how

One thing’s for sure, “free” ebooks, as your sole marketing strategy, is dead. Super-low prices — 99 cents — are dead too, IF you make every ebook in your catalogue 99 cents.

Readers won’t flinch if you start your pricing at $2.99. Indeed, you may sell more at that price.

Conclusion: in ebook publishing, KU is a very useful marketing tool

From what I can tell, KU can be very useful. You can use it as I do, to lift the visibility of new novels. I don’t use it for nonfiction, because it doesn’t work for my categories — it may work for yours, test, and see.

Alternatively, you can go all-in with Amazon, and enroll everything you publish in Select, so that it’s in KU. Amazon’s cracking down on scammers, so that helps with your KENPC income too.

Either way, it’s your choice. 🙂

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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →

Book Marketing Made Easy: 3 Secrets You Can Use Today

Book Marketing Made Easy: 3 Secrets You Can Use Today

Confused about book marketing? You’ve written a book, and tried to market it, without notable success. You’re blogging. You post to your social media accounts, and you’ve built up your Facebook author page, but sales are slow.

The biggest mistake I see both new authors and beginners make is this: they consider that building a mailing list is optional — they never see their mailing list as the essential marketing tool that it is.

Does this sound like you? If so, relax. You can change that today.

For powerful book marketing, your mailing list is ESSENTIAL

Many authors forgo mailing lists. Creating a list seems complicated, and your life is complicated enough. I know, I know… 🙂 However, consider that if you invest a small amount of time and energy now, it will impact your book sales forever.

Even a small list gives you guaranteed sales on publication day. These early sales mean that Amazon will promote your book too. Moreover, your list is a prime source for reviews. As your list grows, so will your book publishing business. You can go from one or two sales a day, to several hundred (or even thousand) sales a day, as your mailing list grows.

Here are three book marketing secrets.

1. Freebie subscribers are nice; buyers are better

Many of your mailing list subscribers will come from freebies you offer in exchange for an email address. That freebie is usually a free ebook. Unfortunately, some of the readers who get onto your list via a freebie never read the ebook. They’re rarely engaged enough to buy a book, or to leave a review.

Your best subscribers are always those who’ve paid for a book, even if it’s on special, for 99 cents. This means that you need to promote your mailing list subscriber page in every book. Make sure the link is in both the front matter and back matter of your books.

2. Develop a content and social media calendar, so you can promote each book well before you publish it

Marketing becomes a hassle when you need to think about it too much. If you don’t have a content and social media calendar, you’re always having to think about what you’ll post next. Inevitably, you’ll skip posting to your blog and social media accounts when you get busy.

I use CoSchedule on my blogs; it’s the best content calendar available. My content starts out in my (paper) planner, then once I’ve brainstormed campaigns and themes, I add the posts to CoSchedule. You may be thinking: “oh no — now I need to plan, too?” be assured that planning, then scheduling content, saves time — it builds your mailing list, and leads to book sales.

You’re never left wondering: “what did I post last week?” You won’t get into a panic either: “I’ve got no idea what to post this week!”

When you plan and schedule your content, you can match your promotions to ebooks/ books you’re publishing. You know that you’re publishing an ebook next month, so you can start planning and scheduling content for the release today.

3. Reward your loyal readers: offer Advance Reading Copies to kickstart your reviews

Loyal readers on your mailing list are your people. Reward them. Offer them glimpses into the life of an author. On the mailing list for one of my fiction pen names, I offer snippets of chapter drafts, character bios, research I’ve done, and images I use for inspiration.

I want my readers to be part of what I do, and I want them to feel special. When I have a new release, I offer printable notecards, and sticky notes. Yes, I pay a designer to create my printables, BUT the results are worth the effort. Not only do I get mailing list subscribers, my readers post reviews, and they share my posts.

Additionally, when I’m editing an upcoming release, I offer free Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) in PDF form to anyone on my list who asks. Reader feedback is wonderful. And sometimes shocking too. 🙂

Use these three secrets for book marketing; you’ll love the results

Book marketing needn’t be complicated. Start by creating a mailing list, and then build your list.

Building your mailing list takes time.

I always tell my students that your first ten subscribers take longest. Once you have ten, they become 100, and then 1,000.

Some years ago, a study revealed that you can make a nice living from just 400 engaged subscribers on a mailing list. I wish I could find the research study, because it shows that you don’t need thousands of subscribers. Please remember that each subscriber is a person. Be grateful to everyone who subscribes. You readers can take you from few sales, to hundreds of sales within months.

Your mailing list subscribers are important in another way too — they hold you accountable. On days you just don’t feel like writing, you’ll remember that you’ve promised your readers that you’re sending out ARCs next week, and you’ll sit down at your desk, and write. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

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

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing
How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. More info →
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