Showing posts from January, 2014

Book Trailers: 4 Tips to Turn Them Into a Successful Marketing Tool

To turn a book trailer into a successful marketing tool, you need to make it jump through many loopholes and overcome some serious challenges. 

Think of it as a steeple chase. 

I'm assuming you've done your research and know all about making book trailers. If you haven't, here's an excellent introduction to book trailer production, it dates back to 2010, but it's still totally relevant:

However, to boost your sales with your book trailer, you need to pay attention to four essential principles: 

1. Make it short. The CEO of Bookmovies.TV  recently mentions 20 seconds in his interesting article on Publishing Perspectives that explains how book trailers help in book discovery (to read, click here). That might be a little too short, though some people even speak of 6 seconds videos (see first article below, using the Vine app). Take a look:

It's humorous and super short. Still, in my opinion, 50 seconds would be about right.

2. Make it fun to watch. Easier said than done…

Author Interview on Smashwords: A Cool Marketing Tool

Smashwords is probably the friendliest site for writers seeking to publish their books, with all sorts of goodies, including automatic upload of your book to all major platforms (except the Kindle Store - that one you need to do yourself) and a coupon functionality that allows you to easily gift books to reviewers. And I just discovered there's another cool marketing tool available: the author interview!

When you upload your books to Smashwords, you can respond to a Smashwords' generated interview, with dozens of questions that you can choose to respond to or pass up. Once you've answered 10 questions, they publish the interview instantly, letting you make any corrections you need. It looks very professional, you can read mine here. Note the way they list all the books below the interview, clever!

And this is what the interview page looks like to me when I log into their site - as you can see, I can edit it and share it as needed, very useful:

I decided to answer 10 of their …

How Come Used Books Fetch Such High Prices on Amazon?

Having just uploaded Crimson Clouds on Amazon, I keep my book page site under close observation these days, and I noticed something really odd: the printed book version sells for $10.80 and there's a "used" version that sells for...$169.98! See my screenshot (for 25 January):

By the way, that $10.80 is not for the printed version of Crimson Clouds, it's the price for the first edition of the book called A Hook in the Sky and it's not available anymore. I retired it from publication the moment I put up Crimson Clouds on Create Space. I had set up the price at $18 for that printed version, but Amazon has already slashed the price down to $14.99, see here and here's the screenshot:

But wait! The price slashing on Amazon doesn't stop there: within an hour, I noticed yet another change, the price for the printed version had dropped to...$13.18! See the screenshot:

To sum up: you can get a brand new edition of the latest, revised text for some $14 yet some people …

Best Advice from Amazon on Marketing Your Book

Amazon is famous for its marketing savvy and it is generously sharing it with writers if only you know where to look for it. Yes, because it's where you wouldn't think of looking, on their CreateSpace platform. I recently stumbled upon it as I was uploading files for my newly released Luna Rising, the Full Saga. And they have one surprising tip...

Before I get to it, take a look at their "marketing central" page here:

Tons of articles and videos, you could spend a whole week roaming in there! 

And now let me get to the one piece of advice that floored me: use your book's dedication to target your readers

Usually we think of dedicating our books to family or friends, that's the accepted, standard form. But Amazon - don't we know it? - loves to break all the rules. And their advice is to dedicate your book to the people who should be interested in reading your book!


That's exactly what one Amazon-published author, Maria Murnane, did and she repo…

Home, Tough Home...When an Artist Sets Out to Change the Meaning of Home

I love to read obituaries as, I am sure, many fiction writers do, and I'm particularly fond of the New York Times' obituaries that are often remarkable snapshots of a person's achievements in life. Recently I came across one of an artist I remember meeting when we were both starry-eyed college kids (see NYT article below). I was moved to write a non-fiction piece that cannot be considered (I think) an obituary - it is something else...I'm not sure what, you be the judge! 

It's very short, a two minute read, published on ReadWave: click here to read.

...I hope you enjoy it, and please remember to click that "heart" button if you "liked" it (that's the way "likes" are done on ReadWave - incidentally an excellent site that links writers and readers, lots of good stuff there!) When you come back, I'll tell you more about Madeline.

To start with, let me show you a good picture of the "Bioscleave House" on Long Island, NY …

The 12 Most Important Rules for Writing a Bestseller

Bestselling author Libby Fischer Hellmann has recently put together in two-minute videos the 12 rules you should follow for crafting best-selling page-turners that will grip your reader - 12 videos, that last a total of some thirty-five minutes yet cover the main points of a three month course.

 The 12 rules (and corresponding video):

1. Suspense: it works only if you describe a threat and you don't resolve it for as long as you can, leaving your reader biting his nails;

2. Opening sentence: craft it so the reader wants to read the next sentence. Example from Ken Follett: "The small boys came early to the hanging." (from Pillars of the Earth);

3.Raise the stakes: create complications,dangers and challenges for your characters;

4. Closing sentence: it should be a "sting" or "cliffhanger"; you leave the action in media res, i.e. incomplete or unresolved, so your reader is moved to start on the next chapter to find out "what happens next";

5. Charac…

Unusual Monument to Nelson Mandela Plays with Light

This most unusual monument, an intricate play of metal and light, is in South Africa, in the Natal midlands.

This is what it looks like when you approach it, a suggestive bunch of metal rods:

 See anything? Here it is up close:
 Still nothing? There's a special spot from where you can see Mandela, so you need to move away:

 And when you stand on that sweet spot, here is what you see:

A beautiful tribute that draws light from the sky!

The artist, South African Marco Cianfanelli born in Johannesburg in 1970, did this in 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary since Mandela was captured by apartheid police in 1962; it is made of one steel rod per year, each rod measuring between 6.5 and 9.5 meters (21 and 30 feet). For more details, see here.

( source: my thanks to a friend of a friend who's drawn my attention to it)