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Giving back via technology

Giving back via technology

Giving back: cloud-based library lending and literacy programs My post a few weeks ago about “Giving Back” within the author community received a few nice messages. I thought I’d share one with you all:

Hi Steven,

I just read your wonderful article on the Book Baby Blog.

You are correct in your assessment in that there are many ways authors can give back. We have incredible author ambassadors that do a lot of good to promote our work. One of our authors recently donated all of her royalties to our work and ensured the publisher added details of our work to the dust jacket which has given us great exposure.

I was wondering if you could make special mention of the fact that as a digital library they no longer need to go to the expense of providing hard copies. They can simply donate their digital book files and we protect them and distribute to our readers across the developing world.

People are so used to donating physical books that it’s not something they think too much about yet.

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Marketing your book on Goodreads

Marketing your book on Goodreads

Goodreads 'Ask the Author' programAt Smith Publicity we’ve promoted thousands of books since 1997 and therefore, we understand the importance of social media when marketing your book. For authors, Goodreads is an excellent platform to interact with readers and fellow authors. Our friend, Cynthia Shannon, the Author Marketing Coordinator at Goodreads, shared essential tips for authors to make the most of their Goodreads account:

“Go where the readers are” is the standard advice for authors contemplating how to best market their books. With more than 30 million members, Goodreads is the world’s largest community of readers. Even better, Goodreads’ mission is to help readers find and share books they love. For authors, it provides a platform to interact with readers in a way not possible just a few years ago.

Here are some ways to effectively integrate Goodreads into your marketing campaign, whether you’re a debut author or an established one, traditionally published or self-published:

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Ursula K. Le Guin on what the world really needs from its imaginative writers of today and tomorrow

Ursula K. Le Guin on what the world really needs from its imaginative writers of today and tomorrow

On November 19th, 2014, the brilliant Ursula K. Le Guin accepted the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards. She thanks her family, her agent, her editors, and then…

Well, check out the video above. It’s moving, frightening, and best of all, inspiring.

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The 3 things you need in order to build your author platform on a firm foundation

The 3 things you need in order to build your author platform on a firm foundation

How to build an author platform on a sturdy foundationYou’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of building an author platform.

According to publishing expert Jane Friedman, when editors and agents say they’re looking to work with authors who have an existing platform, what they really mean is they’re searching for a writer “with visibility and authority who has proven reach to a target audience.”

But before you get all excited and try to build a taller, wider, shinier platform than the next writer in your genre, consider this: all your platform-building efforts will be a waste of time if you’re not starting off on solid ground.

So what is a solid author foundation?

A sturdy foundation for a writer’s platform is comprised of three things.

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Have your say – the DBW Writer’s Survey

Have your say – the DBW Writer’s Survey

Want to know how authors are coping in today’s changing publishing landscape? Yeah, so do we! So that’s why we’re inviting BookBaby authors to have their say in the annual Author Survey.

Conducted each year by our friends at Digital Book World, the survey has helped discover and explore some of the new emerging trends and patterns in both traditional and self publishing.

You can click HERE to start the survey.

It’s about 65 questions long and takes 15 minutes or so to complete. (Psst — Be sure to list the BookBaby Blog as how you found out about it!)

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Navigating the authors services industry

Navigating the authors services industry

[This article was written by guest contributor Nancy L. Baumann, CEO of Bookarma.]

Now that the Independent Publishing market is strong and vibrant, a whole slew of Author Service Providers have emerged, and authors can feel confused about where to turn to for help. You need help. You need to turn your manuscript into a professional product and get it in the hands of readers.

In the traditional publishing model, it was all about the publisher. They not only controlled the process, but they controlled all aspects of the product. They chose the book title, the cover, controlled the editing, release dates, and the distribution channels. They also controlled the purse strings, and shared only a small return with you. And yet, if you wanted your book to be successful, you had to jump into the marketing and bear those expenses.

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Leaving BookBaby was the best decision she could ever make.

Leaving BookBaby was the best decision she could ever make.

Shannon McLay was a BookBaby author. Not anymore. She’s gone, outta here, an ex-customer. Adios, au revoir, see you later. And get this: leaving BookBaby has made all the difference for Shannon’s writing career. Personally I’m glad to see her go.

Not exactly what you expected to read on the BookBaby blog, eh? Well, get used to it – I hope! If I had my druthers, I’d be blogging about people like Shannon all day long. In fact, dear reader, I hope you’re next.

Thoroughly confused now? OK, I’ve got some explaining to do. Shannon did indeed launch her writing career with BookBaby over a year ago. She’s a financial planner who left a big name financial services firm to start her own company, NextGen Financial, because, as she put it to me: “I was much more interested in helping people who were in the wealth generation time of their financial lives rather than wealth management.”

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How to promote your writing with author “merch”

How to promote your writing with author “merch”

Merch ideas for authors

8 merch ideas for writers

It’s common practice for musicians to sell non-music-related merchandise at shows or on their websites.

It’s not so common for authors, and I’ve never really understood why.

Why would you, as a writer, want to offer “merch” to your readers?

* you give your diehard fans another chance to financially support your work and demonstrate their “brand loyalty”

* you create a new connection point between you and your audience

* you turn avid readers into a marketing team who’ll help spread your name (often without saying a word) when they sport your “merch” out there in the world

* you have something more than just your book to attract people to your table after a reading, helping you earn more money per engagement and build your email list

* you’ll have plenty of extra content to share via your blog, newsletter, and social media accounts, because your readers will want to hear about the brainstorming, design, production, and launch of any new merch items

So, what kind of merchandise can YOU offer at readings, book fairs, and online?

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Sell your eBook online in time for the Holidays

Sell your eBook online in time for the Holidays

Holiday eBook publication deadlinesFrom now until the end of the year, sales of books, eBooks, and eReaders (including tablets and smartphones) will soar. If you’re about to publish a book, make sure it’s available in time for the Holiday boom — which (for the publishing industry) includes the weeks following Christmas when people are redeeming all those Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble gift cards!

Here are our Holiday delivery deadlines for eBooks

For BookBaby Standard and Premium (where we provide ePub conversion): Order by November 28th
For BookBaby Free (where you supply the ePub file): Order by December 8th

These dates will give your eBook the best chance of becoming available for sale online before the big retailers go on holiday break and stop processing new titles.

We cannot promise publication dates on behalf of our retail partners (iBooks, Amazon, Kobo, etc.), but these deadlines are targets that should help you get your book up for sale in time for the holidays. Of course we always suggest you get it signed up with BookBaby as soon as possible to make sure you’re capturing the most sales during the holiday season.

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Giving back: how you can help your community, fellow writers, and beyond

Giving back: how you can help your community, fellow writers, and beyond

Charitable writers giving back to communityA list of ways writers can put their skills to extra-good use this holiday season

Self publishing continues to grow and evolve at a rapid pace. Yet even as new trends or topics pop up on an almost daily basis, we’re starting to gain some understanding about this very young industry and the way it works. Some of these discoveries are not all that surprising (for example: authors’ increasing need for book marketing and promotional help). Other truths were not so predictable, like this news item: as of July 2014, self-published authors are now earning nearly 40% of all eBook royalties on the Kindle store, per the Author Earnings Report.

One of the nicest surprises for me has been learning about the makeup of the people in this fascinating industry. As a whole, the people I’ve met or corresponded with are literate (given!), smart, interesting and ambitious. But there’s another shared trait that stands out. In a word, the writing community is generous. The need to give back is strong amongst writers, publishers and everyone else in our industry.

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