Tag Archives: writing tips

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. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

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

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 →
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
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Buy from Inktera
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New NaNoWriMo Author? 3 Tips To Avoid Anxiety And Stress

New NaNoWriMo Author? 3 Tips To Avoid Anxiety And Stress

Happy days: you’ve decided to join the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) madness on November 1. You’re excited, eager, and not a little overwhelmed at the thought of plunging into writing some 1,600 words every day for 30 days.

(NaNoWriMo newbie? You’ll find NaNoWriMo details, and sign up info here.)

Perhaps you’re wondering whether you’re setting yourself up for stress in November, and are feeling anxious already. That’s completely normal. Here’s all you need to remember: take it day by day, and word by word, AND start preparing NOW.

Meeting your NaNoWriMo challenge: word by word, sentence by sentence

To help you to prepare, I’m creating daily “NaNoWriMo secrets” on Fab Freelance Writing’s new Facebook page until the end of the month. Be sure to Like the page, so that you receive the tips.

Now let’s look at some tips which will help you to avoid overwhelm.

1. Avoid focusing on words — focus on FEELINGS

As I said in this Facebook post, forget the words, focus on the feelings:

Your challenge while writing your novel is staying IN your novel: feeling the feelings you want to arouse in your reader. Keeping your inspiration, if you like. For each and every novel you write, the “feeling-state” will be different. When you lose that feeling-state it’s almost impossible to get it back.

Read the post, and create a mood board to help you to easily access your inspiration for your novel.

You’ll discover that when you put EMOTION first, your writing automatically improves. Keep reminding yourself that fiction is entertainment, so it’s all about the feelings, rather than the words.

Please be aware that if you don’t focus on feelings, rather than words, your novels just won’t sell.

2. Focus on real-time, right here, write now, writing — that is, write in SCENES

As I said in this post on writing in scenes (showing, rather than telling):

Over the past couple of years, I’ve received hundreds of questions about fiction from authors. Surprisingly enough, few of those questions concerned scenes, because few fiction authors (new or established) pay in sufficient attention to scenes.

When you do start paying attention, you’ll know that scenes turbo-charge your fiction. Write great scenes, and you’ll write excellent novels, novellas, and short stories of which you’re proud, and which readers love.

Please write in scenes. You must engage your readers, and “real time” writing is the only way to do that.

3. Use a book journal to keep track of your novel, and make revision notes for later drafts (after NaNoWriMo)

I’m a huge fan of book journals, simply because I’m usually writing at least two novels at any one time. As soon as I get an idea for a novel, I start a book journal for it.

Here’s an excellent article on book journals:

To write, you need to put your rear end in a chair, and stay there. On some days, this is difficult. On any day, you can find a dozen things you should be doing, rather than writing.

Journaling your book helps you to stay in your chair. Before you start writing, write a journal entry. Talk to yourself about the book. Ask questions (more on a questions below.)

Create your book journal today. It’s the most important thing you can do for your novel.

How to avoid anxiety when writing a novel

Vital: have FUN with NaNoWriMo and writing your novel

For writers, fun is serious business. Your enjoyment determines a reader’s enjoyment. Bored? Your readers will be too, and they won’t keep reading.

All professional writers know that if you’re not having fun with a book, your book needs help. Writing fiction is huge fun — if you allow it to be. Decide that you’ll have fun with your book, and your creativity will blossom.

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

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

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 →
Buy from Apple iBooks
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Inktera
Buy from Amazon Kindle

Writing Fiction Made Easier: Get Out Of Backstory Hell

Writing Fiction Made Easier: Get Out Of Backstory Hell

I’ve just looked at this blog’s stats for the past 12 months, and this post on backstory (kill it) is by far the most popular post. I’m not surprised. When you’re writing fiction, backstory is a challenge for new authors.

To reiterate from that post:

Resist the Impulse to Explain

New writers start off great. They get the woman in the trunk of the car (or create some other hot action which starts things off.) Then they feel they need to explain who the woman is, and how she landed in the trunk of a car. They go on for pages and pages. RESIST! Please do not do this.

How to manage backstory: remove it when you’re editing

Important… Don’t worry about backstory in your first draft. Just write.

Remove ALL backstory when you’re editing.

You can add backstory into your novel/ novella/ short story, very carefully after your “slash and burn” editing fury. Restrain yourself. Only a sentence or two at a time. And only if you must add it for the story to make sense.

Here’s what a new author’s backstory hell looks like

I work with lots of writing students, so I may be more sensitive to backstory hell than most.

Here’s a common problem I see — messed-up scenes.

Not only does the new author cram backstory into a scene until the scene’s mangled beyond repair… he crams yet more backstory into the backstory.

Here’s what that looks like:

  • the scene starts. You settle down for an enjoyable scene between two characters, then the author inserts…
  • backstory 1, of one of the characters…
  • in the middle of backstory 1, you get backstory 2, the backstory of the other character…
  • Finally the author remembers he’s writing a scene. So you get a snippet of the scene (by this time the reader’s head is spinning like a top). After just a few paragraphs of the scene, the author inserts…
  • something or other, which may be backstory, or maybe it’s a flashback, who knows?

Sadly, readers have long-since stopped reading.

Forget backstory, PLEASE

Just kill it wherever you find it.

Keep your story moving forward.

Write in scenes, remembering that a scene happens in the present moment, just like a movie scene. There’s no room for backstory in a scene.

I blame advice like “write a character bio” for backstory hell. As I said in Kill Your Backstory:

If you’ve been happily creating character bios, and other junk, stop it. Who cares what flavor of ice cream your main character prefers?

The best way to create character bios is to do it while you’re writing. Yes, you need to remember that your main character’s eyes are brown, not blue, and that he lives with his Uncle Jake, who’s going out with Selma from the diner.

I copy and paste all this must-remember material into a single “characters” document in Scrivener. Then I open that document in Quick Ref while I’m writing the novel.

If you’ve been creating lengthy character bios before you start writing, STOP IT. Otherwise you’ll be tempted to insert all this junky material as backstory while you’re writing.

The benefit of killing backstory: a plot, and more fun writing

I’m convinced that authors cram in backstory because they’re nervous. They’re writing a scene, there’s conflict, so the author wants to explain that conflict. Stop explaining. Just write the scene.

Not only will you end up with a PLOT, and a story which readers enjoy, you’ll enjoy writing it. too. 😉

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

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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