Archive for Marketing & Selling Your Book

Other the past few months, many authors have been writing to me all in a fluster over a controversy that apparently has arisen between Amazon and Lightning Source. I wanted to address this controversy because, frankly, I think a lot of people are having a knee-jerk reaction to what I think is basically an ethical issue, and I would like to show what I think might be a more ‘holistic’ response to it.

First of all, you need to know a bit about the parties involved and what is going on. Before we do that, let’s take a quick look at the flow that is involved in the production of any product, including your book:

1) It starts with the creator
2) It goes to the publisher
3) Then it goes to the manufacturer
4) Then to the distributor
5) Then to the retailer
6) Then to the consumer

STEPS 1 & 2: When you are truly self-publishing a book, YOU are also the publisher (so steps 1 and 2 are combined). But if you are going through a subsidiary press (such as iUniverse, Balboa Press or Create Space), you are not 100% ‘self published.’ On the one hand, you ARE self-published in that you don’t need a publishing deal and you retain all rights to your work. On the other hand, you are NOT self-published in that your subsidiary publisher is entitled to (usually) around 50% of your royalties as long as you print through them.

STEP 3: In printing, the ‘manufacturer’ is the printer. The publisher (even if that means you) then sends the book to the printer. Either we get a quantity of books printed in advance, or we use a “print on demand” (POD) service. Back when I first started out in the published world (and also when I ran a record company), you typically have to order 1000-2000 copies of your book (or record/CD) in order to get a decent price. Then, you always ran the risk of your publication sitting around collecting dust because you couldn’t move 2000 copies. Since the rise of POD in the publishing industry, that risk and investment has been removed for self-publishing authors. Lightning Source is one such POD service, certainly the most known in the world, and the one I use and recommend to my clients. Instead of having to buy 2000 copies of your book and the ship them to distributors, they print them ONLY when you have a customer for them (whether wholesale or retail), so you only pay for what you know you are going to sell.

STEP 4: The next step is to send the books to a distributor who then sells the books to retail shops. Of course, this saves the publisher a heck of a lot of time and energy, so the distributor is one of the most important pieces of the sales puzzle. Distributors typically buy your product between 50-60% off the retail price (55% is the most common), so they can sell it on to retails shops, and the retail shops can make a profit. That means if your book is selling for $10, they will pay around $4.50 for your book. From that price, you deduct your printing costs (I spoke about this in another article – Click HERE if you’d like to read it), and that is your profit.

Now what is so cool about Lightning Source is that they will also distribute your book for you via Ingram Book Company. Mind you, that does NOT mean that retail shops will necessarily BUY your book. It just means that they can supply them with your book if they order it.

STEP 5: The next step is the retailer. The retailer is the ‘shop’, whether online or on the ground, that sells your book to the customer. Typically, in my experience, retailers in the book and record industry buy your product for between 35-45% off the retail price. That means they will pay about $6.00 for a $10 book, which means the distributor makes about $1.50 per book sold, and the retailer makes about $4.00. However, as we all know, retailers like to be able to have a good profit margin so they can LOWER the price, to be able to entice customers to buy your product OR to get RID of a product that isn’t selling (let’s hope that doesn’t happen to OUR books!). Back when I was a retailer, I often had to sell “dead stock” at cost or even BELOW the price I paid for it. It’s the only way to keep cash flow going. So retailers take a risk every time they buy something. They want to know they can sell it.

STEP 6: The last step, of course, is the customer. The customer likes to get a good deal on a product. That’s why, if you give your distributor a good discount in the first place, the retailer will have the freedom to lower his price and get more people to buy your book.

SO WHAT’S WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?

The thing that confuses me is how Amazon fits into this picture. Now I have a close connection to Amazon in that much of my business depends upon it, as I work with authors. And as a customer, I have also found them to be both reliable and convenient. Authors love to see their books on Amazon because they can reach a wider audience much more quickly than they could by going only through traditional distribution routes to retail shops. All in all, Amazon is a great asset for us authors.

But here’s where things are a bit hazy. According to their entry on Wikipedia, they are it is often called the world’s largest online retailer. Most of us associate Amazon with books, but they have really expanded and now sell just about everything.

So Amazon is a ‘retailer’ (Step 5 in the model above) BUT for some strange reason, when it comes to purchasing power, they are not paying the same price for the books they sell as other retailers. In fact, they are paying the price that wholesalers/distributors pay for your book (Step 4). That means they are buying books at an average of 15% LESS than other retailers. This means they have a tremendous advantage in that they can seriously undercut your High Street book shop.

But wait… there’s more…

As many of you know, Amazon also now has a subsidiary press called Create Space. This means they are also now operating at Step 2 of the model above (I’m not sure who their printer is). This means they are now getting that extra 50% of your end profits when you publish through them. Now, fair enough, I can fully understand that Amazon saw the opportunity to profit from the self-publishing boon. It’s called free enterprise. I have no argument with that, as it totally makes sense.

However, here’s the problem…

Recently, word on the street is that Amazon is started a new policy of listing books that come from Lightning Source and other POD suppliers as being “Out of Stock” with sometimes an estimated 1-3 week delivery status! Lightning Source are aware of this, and say that they are ‘continuing to look into the issue and are evaluation our options to address it.”

Of course, this makes no sense whatsoever because when you use a POD service there’s no such THING as being ‘out of stock’. Your digital file is always ready to be printed and is in fact printed as soon as the POD service gets the order.

Some authors have been writing to me in a panic over this, and asking my opinion if I think they should switch from being 100% self-published to going with Create Space, because then they would be assured to be listed as “in stock” (as Amazon will ONLY guarantee this status for their own subsidiary press).

Here’s my answer:

Absolutely NOT!

Why? Partially from a practical level, and partially from an ethical one.

The practical argument: First of all, in my experience, authors who publish through Create Space appear ONLY on the US Amazon site (Amazon dot com) until they reach a certain sales status. I learned this the HARD way when a client of mine launched last year with me, and a couple of weeks before launch we realised she did not appear on the Canadian or UK sites. Now let me assure you, the Canadian and UK mind-body-spirit markets are nothing to ignore! Many of my clients sell as many books in Canada as they do in America, taking them rapidly up to #1 in Canada as Canada has 10% of the population of the US. These are very important markets for spiritual and self-help authors.

The ethical argument: Secondly, I have major issues about the ethics of this situation. Amazon is trying to wear 3 different ‘hats’ here: the publisher (Step 2), the distributor (Step 4) and the retailer (Step 5) in the sales chain. Each of these ‘steps’ has ethical obligation to be equitable to their customers, whoever they may be. And the break in this system is the conflict of interest they have between Step 2 and Step 4, which gives them an unfair advantage at Step 5. First of all, I have no idea how Amazon managed to gain the status of a distributor in the first place when they are not distributing to anyone; they are retailing directly to the public. But that aside, if Amazon are playing the role of a distributor to other publishers, it seems incredible that they would treat these publishers—who are their customers—any differently from their OWN publishing company. The two hats have to remain separate; otherwise, what we are verging on is a violation of anti-monopoly trade laws. In fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we hear about a litigation in the near future.

So what do we do?

One blogger’s suggestion was to go with BOTH Create Space and Lightning Source, so as to ensure your book is shown as ‘in stock’ on Amazon all the time. Well, I’m sorry, but I refuse to succumb to the bullying.

My personal solution is two-fold:

1) Use your power of the pen to write about this in as many places as you can so Amazon starts to feel the heat and
2) Education your audience about the situation. In other words, when you do a launch or publicise your book TELL your readers that it might say ‘out of stock’ on Amazon, and that it is simply not true.

Authors should be able to set up their own publishing companies and be treated like any other company. I am a believer in FREE enterprise, which means that big businesses must not be allowed to bully the small business owner out of their own enterprise. Small business owners are the life-blood of the world, and nearly all of our current economy AND environmental problems are due to our current dependency upon big businesses in general.

I love Amazon and I have no desire to ‘take them down’. But as consumers, and self-publishers, let’s at least hold them accountable for their behaviour by not reacting to such unethical bullying strategies.

All power to the self-published author!


Lynn Serafinn, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach and teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and bestselling author. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. In her work as a promotional manager she has produced a long list of bestselling mind-body-spirit authors. She is also the creator of Spirit Authors, which offers training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring. Passionate about re-establishing our connection with the Earth, she supports the work of the Transition Town network in her hometown of Bedford, England.

Lynn’s Books

The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self (2009)

The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell Coming December 2011.

To contact Lynn for coaching, campaign management or media appearances, please fill in the form at http://spiritauthors.com/contact.

Sign up for Lynn’s 2x monthly newsletter “Creative Spirit”, exclusively for AND about mind-body-spirit authors, and receive two free audios on personal transformation

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As a book promotion expert and book campaign manager, I receive a LOT of requests for consultations from authors who are preparing to publish their books. Some are experienced authors who have published in the past, either self-published or through a royalty publisher. Others are first-time (and usually self-published) authors. During our initial consultation, I tend to hear many of the same questions again and again. As these questions are so key to authors before they decide whether or not to do a full-blown “bestseller launch” for their book, I thought it might be a good idea to pull together my “Top 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions” I am asked by authors on almost a daily basis.

Q1: How many books will I sell during my online book launch?

First of all, let’s define “the launch” as a 24-48 hour period of time in which we will be driving traffic to buy your book. Asking how many books you will sell during that time is really like asking “How long is a piece of string?” It depends upon so many factors that we can only, at best, give a very broad figure. I have had clients who sell as few as 50 books during a launch and others who have sold around 1000. The average self-published author tends to sell between 300 and 500 books during a launch. Those with major publishers might sell twice that amount, not necessarily because the publisher helps with your promotion, but more because people recognise the “brand identity” of the publisher and are more willing to take a chance on the title. And of course, if you are not a first-time author you will probably sell more books if people know your name already. The key to selling more books is to devote a fair amount of time well before your launch to cultivate and grow your audience. That’s why I spend the first two months of work with my clients developing strategies and systems to build their platform and mailing list before anything else.

Q2: How do I become an Amazon bestseller?

If your book sales are amongst the Top 100 in any category on Amazon, you are technically a “bestseller.” You don’t have to be in the Top 100 of all books. There are dozens of categories and sub-categories on Amazon, and if you achieve a sales ranking in the Top 100 in any of these, you can say you are a bestseller. Of course, it is always nice to hit the “Top 20” or the “Top 5” or (best of all) the #1 sales rank in one or more categories.

Q3: How many books do I need to sell to be an Amazon bestseller?

Again, this is not a question I can answer definitively because being an “Amazon bestseller” is a relative title, and it depends upon: 1) how well other books in your categories are selling on your launch day and 2) how competitive your categories are. Some categories like “Religion and Spirituality” or “Business and Investing” are extremely competitive with thousands of titles up against many famous authors for the top position on the list. Other categories, such as “channelling” or “alternative medicine” are less competitive.

Q4: How can I choose the category I will be in on Amazon?

If you were to ask this question of some of the top publishers (I have), the common answer you will receive is this: “You can’t.”However, I have found this not to be 100% true. Let me explain.

First of all, when you submit a book for publication through Lightning Source (for example), you choose 2 “BIC” (Book Industry Communication) categories, which are standard categories that are used by all publishers and distributors. Now the problem lies in how retailers interpret these categories. Think of the last time you went to look for a book in the shops. Sometimes it might be in the “self help” category, while other times it might be in the “spirituality” section, etc.

Amazon “interprets” your BIC categories according to their “virtual” bookshelf. To make things even MORE confusing, Amazon UK, Canada and US might not interpret your book at all in the same way. Even major publishers have told me they have no real control over this. Some authors find their books placed in very strange categories. BUT here’s the big secret I have found: I your book is not ranking in the right category, you CAN get Amazon to change it via Author Central in the US and the UK. Just write to them and ask them to recategorise your book. My book The 7 Graces of Marketing was placed in the “accounting” category at first (NOT!!). When I wrote to Author Central, they very quickly and painlessly put the book into the cateogries I requested: business ethics and marketing/sales.

If you are unsure of what categories to choose, your best bet to get your book in the RIGHT category is to do some market research to find out which categories other titles appear that you feel are the closest in content or message to your own book. Don’t go for a “top level” category like “Business and Finance” or “Health and Wellness””. Go for a sub, or even sub-sub category. Get it as precise as possible. That will not only help you increase your likelihood of reaching the top of the ranks (as it will be less competitvie) bit it will also increase the likelihood of people who are looking for your book will find it, because Amazon’s system will group it together with similar books.

Then, make triple sure you get placed correctly, do two more things: 1) make sure your title, subtitle, back cover copy and description use keywords that help point the folks at Amazon in the right direction AND 2) start putting some TAGS on your book page that help people find your book.

PLEASE NOTE: All of the above is mainly with respect to PRINT books. For Kindle, you can actually SPECIFY two categories via Kindle Direct. These bypass the BIC settings altogether, as Kindle is an Amazon proprietory format.

Q5: Why don’t I see my book listed in a category on my Amazon listing?

You won’t see your book listed in a category unless it is in the Top 100 of that category. Until that time, all you will see is its overall sales rank, which changes every hour. Amazon US and Canada tend change just past the top of the hour, while Amazon UK tends to change at 40 minutes past the hour.

Q6: How can I find out in which categories Amazon will place my book?

It’s not always 100% reliable, but the best way to “guess” which categories you will appear is to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen until you see the words, “Look for Similar Items by Category.” There you will see several suggested categories that are likely to be where your book will be placed when ranked. If these categories look range or irrelevant, refer to Q4 above.

Q7: How can I track my rankings?

So far, Amazon does not have any legacy tracking system for rankings, which means you basically have to watch the rankings yourself like a hawk during the launch, as they change every hour. Typically, my clients and I stay up for the full 24 hour period in shifts, in constant communication on Skype, to watch the rankings. The only way I have found so far to “log” your success is to take screen shots. I use the program “Jing Pro” for this. There is a free version, but the Pro version is very reasonable, and has many worthwhile features. You can download it at http://www.techsmith.com/jing/. DO take screenshots of EVERY stage of your rankings. They make great images to add to your promotions when you are sharing the success of your book with readers, media and event managers. To track your rankings for OVERALL book sales, see Q8 below.

Q8: How can I track my actual sales?

Tracking sales is another matter altogether. Of course, the most reliable method is when you receive your royalty report and payment from your publisher or printer. However, these can some to you months after your launch. There are two ways I have discovered that can give you ball-park figure of your sales during a launch. Once is to use your Amazon Associates link on your purchase page, in which case you will see the sales appear within a few days in your Associates account. Another is to use an online tracker such as Novel Rank at http://novelrank.com, which can show sales on a daily and monthly basis. They also show, in numbers and in graph format, your overall sales rankings (not category rankings) over a given period. Bear in mind, to get the best from this service, you need to start tracking your book on their site several weeks in advance of your launch.

Another option is to sign up for Amazon Advantage, although as far as I can tell, you can only sign up for this if you will be directly supplying Amazon with inventory. If a company such as Lightning Source will be printing your books on demand or you will be using a subsidiary publisher, you will need to speak to them about whether or not you can use Amazon Advantage, as they will be fulfilling the sales and sending you the payments and sales reports (of course they will also have some sort of reporting system for your sales as well, which will tell you your overall sales, not just to Amazon).

Kindle sales are updated once a week in Kindle Direct.

Q9: How much money will I make on book sales during my launch?

This depends completely upon:

  1. How many books you sell
  2. The retail price of your book
  3. The cost of printing your book
  4. What your royalty arrangement is with your publisher (if you have one)
  5. Whether or not you use your Associates account for sales.

Let’s say you have a 250 page book that sells for $15 and you sell 500 books on your launch day. That is a gross intake of $7500. Amazon pays you according to whatever wholesale “discount” you have agreed to sell your books to them. Let’s say you have agreed to sell your book to them for a 55% discount off the retail price (a fairly common figure, although this can vary). That means they will pay your publisher 45% of gross, which is $3375. If you are the publisher, you will receive that money from Amazon.

From that amount, you need to deduct your printing costs. The cost of printing a 250 page book through a company like Lightning Source is around $4.15 ($0.90 per unit and then $0.013 per page), which means 500 books would cost $2075. Deduct that from what Amazon will pay you, and that leaves a net profit of around $1300.

If you are going 100% self-published, you will make the whole $1300. But if you are receiving a percentage of net from your publisher, you would take the percentage from this amount. Many subsidiary presses take 50% of net, which means you would make $650on 500 books. If you are working with a royalty publisher who pays you a given percentage of retail or net, you will have to calculate it accordingly.

If you use your Amazon Associates link during your launch, you can earn between 4% and 7% of your retail sales as a commission. In other words, if Amazon were to sell 500 books at $15 (although they will tend to sell it at a lower price), you would make an extra $0.60 – $1.05 per unit. You ALSO make a commission if your buyers happen to buy other products at the same time. It all adds up, so it’s worth making sure your links are in place during a launch.

Please note that these figures are accurate as of this edit (July 26th, 2011).

UPDATE DEC 2011: I’ll be writng another article in the New Year about chosing the right royalty structure for your publication and different ways to use eBooks/Kindle to drive traffic to your print book. Be sure to subscribe to this blog to stay on top of new info articles.

Q10: What’s the real benefit of doing an Amazon bestseller launch?

I’ll be honest with you: it costs a heck of a lot more to run a bestseller launch than you will receive in immediate monetary returns. I think you have probably already deduced that doing an Amazon bestseller launch is NOT going to make you lots of money selling books. So it does beg the question why people bother to do them at all, and why people like me are continually booked months in advance to do these launches.

So here are some of the real advantages of doing an Amazon launch:

  1. It builds your online platform significantly, which ultimately leads to more business for you
  2. It establishes long-term relationships with dozens of networking partners
  3. It raises your credibility as a professional, which has an impact upon your income
  4. It establishes you as a leading expert in your field, making you a sought-after media guest and keynote speaker
  5. It just plain feels great to say you’re a bestselling (especially a #1 selling) author

Deciding to do a bestseller campaign should not be an impulsive decision, nor should it be entered with rose-coloured glasses. My most successful clients are those who entered our work relationship with this level of understanding. They did not have unrealistic expectations, and they took the “kudos” of their bestseller status to build stronger and more viable businesses that could only have come about as a result of their Amazon bestseller campaign. I think most of these would tell you their decision to do a launch made a positive difference in their business.

I hope this article is useful to any of you who are currently preparing to publish a book in the coming year. Please do leave comments below and feel free to contact me via the contact form at http://spiritauthors.com/contact if you have any questions about this content, or you wish to discuss an upcoming launch.

And, as always, don’t forget to subscribe to the Spirit Authors blog for regular tips for authors, both established and aspiring.


Lynn Serafinn is a transformation coach, book promotion coach, radio host and bestselling author of the book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self, as well as the upcoming book The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell. She also works as a campaign manager for mind-body-spirit authors and has produced several #1-selling book campaigns. She is the founder/creator of Spirit Authors, a virtual learning environment and community that offers training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring. As part of her work with spiritual and self-help authors, she also regularly hosts large-scale online virtual events (usually free of charge) with world-class speakers on a range of mind-body-spirit topics. Subscribe to her Spirit Authors blog at http://spiritauthors.com/category/news/ so you can receive more useful tips and news about upcoming online events. While you are there, do check out the excellent and affordable online courses for authors available.

If you are an author seeking 1-to-1 support or campaign managment for your upcoming book launch, you are also invited to request a free consultation by filling in a contact form at http://spiritauthors.com/contact. Please note that full service campaigns require a 6 to 8 month lead-in time, so be sure to contact Lynn well in advance of publishing your book.

HeadphonesAuthor, book promotion coach Lynn Serafinn shares her tips on building your list by giving away great audio to your social media network.

Authors are always looking for ways to promote their books online. However, many are under the mistaken impression that promoting your book means you need to put excerpts on your blog or give away free chapters for download. And while giving away parts of your book might seem to make a lot of sense, it’s not necessarily the most effective way to promote your book online. The Internet is flooded with information. Even free content has got to kick some serious butt to make an impression on readers these days, who probably have a backlog of things on their “to read” list.

So instead of running the risk of becoming yet another unread masterpiece, I’d like to suggest authors put down the pen (or their keyboard) for a little while and start recording their voice instead.

Yes, I’m talking about giving away audio instead of all your precious writing. Why audio? Well, for one thing, if you follow some of the tips below, you don’t have to do much to produce the content. Secondly, audio has a higher perceived value than simple text. And lastly, audio get your audience closer to you. Speaking to your audience directly, and letting them get to know the sound of your voice, is both powerful and intimate.

What kind of audio can authors give to their readers?

Here are some ideas:

  1. Get yourself booked on some Internet radio shows and then give away the recordings of some of your interviews (ask the host if it’s ok first, of course). Make sure the interviews are content-rich and interesting to the listener. If they are just “pitches” about your book, no one will be interested in them. In a future article, I’ll give you some tips about getting booked on shows.
  2. If you don’t have any interviews in the coffers, set up a webinar on your topic (or a series of them), use the recordings of those. Not only will it be a good promotional activity on the day, but you can reuse the audio as an ongoing give-away gift.
  3. You can also do a live reading of the most powerful part of your book in front of a small audience and record that, or record it directly into your PC if you don’t happen to have an audience on hand.

Use your imagination, but make sure you give away at least 15 minutes of audio as your free gift. Some of my giveaways have as many as 8 hours of audio, depending upon the subject matter.

How good must the quality be?

If you are recording at home, be sure your audio is recorded and mixed down to MP3 format at a sample rate of 44.1kHz at 16 bits. If your recording is from an Internet broadcast, it will be compressed and the audio quality will be much lower resolution, but for a free gift, that is usually acceptable. Some conference line recordings, however, are at set to such a low fidelity they are really not usable. Do a test run first and listen back to it. If there’s a lot of noise (indicating low bit rate) or it sounds like you have a lisp every time you say the letter “s” (indicating the sample rate it too low), it might not be a wise choice.

MP3 PlayerHOW do you deliver your free audio gift?

Be sure you have created a way for people to DOWNLOAD the audio, rather than use an online player (such as Audio Acrobat). Remember that people like to play MP3s on their iPod or other portable player while driving in their car or commuting on the train to and from work.

Secondly, don’t deliver your audios all at once. Spread them out over a few days or send one audio per week. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is to allow your audience to take their time “consuming” your content. People might be speed readers, but there is no such thing as a “speed listener.” An hour of audio takes an hour to listen to it. When you deliver too much audio all at once, people are LESS likely to listen to any of it (I still have a couple of my offers set up like this, and keep meaning to change them). But the other reason why it is a good idea to spread out your delivery of audios is this: when you deliver four audios over a period of four weeks, it allows you to build a stronger relationship with your audience.

Make your “squeeze page” (the page where they enter their name and email to get your audio) as MINIMAL as possible. Don’t confuse the reader with other offers or links on your page. Make the audio the-one-and-only offer on the page, and resist the urge to link out to other pages of your website.

On your download page (the page people go to after they sign up for your audio) make sure you have a “call to action”, which should comprise of a picture of your book, a quote from a great endorsement, and a link to buy your book online (don’t forget to use your affiliate link if you have one!). Also put this same call to action at the end of any follow-up emails you might send them. If you are delivering a new audio every week, your readers will see this call to action every time they go to retrieve their new audio.

WHERE do you offer these free audios?

Ok, so here’s where the magic comes in. Here are some of my favourite uses. And the nice thing about them is that once you have them set up, you just walk away from them and let them do their magic:

  1. As a ‘thank you’ gift when they subscribe to your ezine/ newsletter (this is probably the most common way people use them)
  2. As a ‘welcome gift’ when they “like” your fan page on Facebook
  3. As a ‘bonus gift’ on a JV campaign for another author’s book launch
  4. As a ‘Thanks for Following Me’ gift to new Twitter followers using Social Oomph
  5. As a ‘random gift’ on Twitter or Facebook. Every now and then when you tweet, just tell people you’ve got a free audio for them. You can use Twaitter to schedule them to go out 1x a day, 1x week, or whatever you like.

And here’s a Bonus Tip:

*** Give your audio as a totally ‘unexpected gift’ in your bio at the end of an article… like the one you see below. 😉

I myself have numerous audio offers going out on a regular basis throughout the year, which add hundreds of new names to my list without my even trying. I hope these ideas spark your creative juices and help you build your own list and social media following with lots and lots of wonderful new people.

I love to know whether or not you found this article to be helpful. Please DO leave a comment below to let me know, or to write to me at http://spiritauthors.com/contact ask any questions you may have about this information.

Happy recording!

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Did you know that a lot of nice people hate marketing?

Artists, authors and holistic business owners are some of the most common. Maybe YOU are one of these people? Find out about the relationship between marketing, business owners, and the future of our planet in this 10-page eBook and 18 minute audio book “Why Nice People HATE Marketing” at http://spiritauthors.com/pages/bonus/why-nice-people-hate-marketing-request.html which is a sneak peek at just a handful of the cutting-edge ideas presented in the upcoming book The 7 Graces of Marketing: how to heal humanity and the planet by changing the way we sell by Lynn Serafinn coming at September 2011. You can pre-order the book now on Amazon.

Photo from 123RF

When authors have a book launch, they very often gather together a group of network partners to support the launch by offering a bonus gift. Offering a bonus gift for someone else’s launch can be a great way to find new targeted subscribers for your mailing list (see more information about why you might wish to join a campaign at the end of this article).

I manage many book launches every year, and every time I do it’s necessary for me to give some guidance to network partners about what makes a good, appropriate and effective bonus gift. If you are going to be offering a bonus gift for a book launch, it is essential you choose the right kind of bonus gift AND present it properly. Otherwise, you are likely to be very disappointed with the results of all your efforts.

I thought I’d share this information with my blog readers because it is not only relevant to bonus gifts for book launches, but pretty much to any kind of special offer you might use for leads generation. These guidelines are based upon years of experience in what works and doesn’t work in YOUR best interest, and hopefully increase the probability of opt ins for you.

What IS a good bonus gift?

  1. It must be 100% FREE
  2. It must be DOWNLOADABLE
  3. It should be something special that is NOT routinely and easily accessible via your website (especially your home page!).
  4. It must be in a format accessible to most (PDF, MP3, MP4 are all recommended formats).
  5. Suggested gifts include eBook, special report, audio course, eCourse, templates, video series, etc.

What is NOT a good bonus gift?

  1. An offer of a discount for something they must buy.
  2. An offer of free coaching or consulting (see more below).
  3. An offer of a free place on a live course on a specific date.
  4. Something you would have to send to people via snail mail.
  5. Something which would cost YOU money to give (such as a printed book).
  6. Something in a non-universal format (e.g., an eBook in MS Word doc format would not be acceptable).
  7. Something anyone could easily find by visting your website.

What is an “opt in page” and why do I need it?

Your opt in page is the place where people will come to REQUEST (not receive) your bonus gift. It should include a sign up form where they are required to enter their name and email (I suggest you do NOT ask for any other information).

How do I get a sign up form?

Any email delivery or autoresponder system such as AWeber, GetResponse, Constant Contact or Mail Chimp will allow you to create a sign up form. If you don’t have any of these services, I recommend you get one. Mail Chimp is free for the first few hundred subscribers.

What should my “opt in page” look like?

It should be VERY basic with no distractions, such as outbound links, adverts, etc. It should ONLY show your bonus gift and the opt in form. It should be on a special stand-alone page that is NOT on the home page of your website.

What happens after people sign up?

The opt in form will have a function where you can tell it where to send people after they sign up. They should be taken DIRECTLY to a download page. THEN, you should also set up an automated follow up message that says something like, “Thanks for downloading my bonus gift (Title of Gift). Just in case you didn’t get the chance to download it, here’s the link to the download page again: (link to the page).

But I’m looking to get clients. Why can’t I offer free coaching (or whatever it is you do)?

Frankly, because you never will be able to fulfill the requests you will receive.What if you receive 100 requests? Are you prepared to give away 100 precious hours of your time? You shouldn’t be. If people are asking for free coaching and have no intention of hiring you, you are simply wasting both their time and yours.

Instead, give people a free downloadable gift (eBook, MP3, etc) that costs you no time to deliver, and then, if you want, put a message at the end of the eBook that you will offer a free consultation to the first 10 requests, or something along those lines.

But I want people to visit my website so they can check out my products and services. Why can’t the opt in page have info about these?

Please remember, on these launches people will be clicking to receive DOZENS of free gifts. They are not interested in checking out anyone’s site while they are doing this. It’s overwhelming enough for them (yes, it’s actually overwhelming for people to have so much choice). If you overwhelm them further with “information overload”, or it looks like you are trying to sell them something, they will CLICK AWAY from your page. Trust me, I have had many a JVP not follow my advice, and not receive but a handful of opt ins during a campaign.

Personally, I typically get hundreds of opt ins on my bonus gifts BECAUSE I make simple, not distracting pages that do not attempt to “sell” people anything. Remember: once people are on your list, you can send follow up messages with information on how to take the content further. You can also put this information IN the product itself (in fact, you should).

~ EXAMPLE ~

If you want to see an example of a bonus page that receives LOTS of downloads every week,
so you can try to model your page after it, have a look at this one:
http://spiritauthors.com/pages/bonus/why-nice-people-hate-marketing-request.html

~ JOIN A CAMPAIGN ~

If you would like to be a partner on a book launch, check out the latest campaign I am running HERE:
http://spiritauthors.com/latest-book-launches

~ NOT SURE WHY YOU WOULD WANT TO BE A PARTNER? ~
Find out 7 reasons why you would want to partner on someone else’s book launch NOW in an article I wrote:
http://spiritauthors.com/news/7-reasons-to-partner-on-someone-elses-book-launch-now/

I hope you have found this information helpful! And do check out my upcoming book launches, and come join us if you like.

Until next time, I send you warm wishes,

Lynn Serafinn


About Lynn Serafinn, Creator of Spirit Authors

Lynn Serafinn

Lynn Serafinn is a transformation coach, book promotion coach, radio host and bestselling author of the book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self.

Her upcoming book, The 7 Graces of Marketing, is coming in June 2011.

She also works as a campaign manager for mind-body-spirit authors and has produced a long list of top-10 book campaigns, including many #1-sellers. She created Spirit Authors to offer training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring. Contact Lynn about YOUR book project at at http://spiritauthors.com/contact.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for regular book writing and promotion tips (just fill in form at right of your screen).

Sign up for Lynn’s bi-monthly newsletter Creative Spirit (fill in form below) packed with inspirational articles, self-promotion tips, broadcast guide to her radio show, and news about upcoming spiritual author book releases.

Throughout the year, Lynn also hosts large-scale telesummits with world-class speakers on a range of mind-body-spirit topics. Your subscription to Creative Spirit will ensure you’ll be the first to know how to attend these free events.


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Book promotion expert Lynn Serafinn from Spirit Authors shares her tips on what every first-time author should know about royalties, retail price and printing costs before they self-publish a book.


Recently, in one of my LinkedIn Groups, a new author asked, “Does anybody have experience with self-publishing companies and the way they pay royalty fees?” I thought the answer to this question was something many new authors would like to know, so I thought I would share my response with my Spirit Authors readers. Below is a copy of the post I made on December 15th, 2010.

Hi there LinkedIn,

Here’s a breakdown of how most self-publishing royalties work:

By self-publishing companies, I assume you mean “publishers” such as iUniverse (probably the most known, but really only one of many) who set up your book to be distributed via print-on-demand (POD). The company I used for my first book is a small company called Authors Online – http://authorsonline.co.uk. I chose them because they are a small friends-and-family run company who take good care of their clients.

The POD press most often used is a company called Lightning Source. There are 2 major Lightning Source plants (when I last checked), one in Kentucky and one over here in England in Milton Keynes.

These kinds of companies don’t generally get your books into shops, but rather focus on Amazon, B&N, etc. The self-publishing publisher sets up your ISBN and arranges for your book to appear on all these online retailers. But be SURE you read the fine print. I had a scenario not very long ago when one of my clients went with Create Space (Amazon’s own print-on-demand publishing company) and they did NOT place the book on all 6 (now 7) Amazon sites throughout the world, cutting down SIGNIFICANTLY on my client’s sales. So be sure you ask if the company GUARANTEES you will be on all Amazon sites… but (if your book is in English), most especially Amazon US, Canada and UK.

Ok, so here are 7 facts about self-publishing and typical royalty structures:

1) Amazon buys your book for 45% of the retail price. That means, if you book retails for $10, Amazon pays your publisher $4.50 (not you… unless you actually START a publishing company and are selling the books directly to Amazon).

2) From that $4.50, your publisher subtracts their printing costs. Not sure of what they are in the US, but here in the UK, the costs are typically 1p (let’s say 2 cents) per page, plus 70p (let’s say $1.25) for the cover. So a 100 page book would cost $3.25 to print (don’t quote me on the exact figures; these were current as of 18 months ago in the UK. DO ask your publisher these questions).

3) If the book costs $3.25 to print, and you have received $4.50 from Amazon, it means your NET is $1.25.

4) Most self-publishers do a 50/50 split of the net, or in that ball park. That would mean your royalty per book sold is a whopping $0.67. Most payouts are quarterly, starting 4-6 months after publication.

5) Of course, you could also set the retail price higher to ensure you get a higher royalty. The best thing to do is to go online and check out similar books in the same niche, and check out their page count, and see how much their retail price is. Bear in mind, that Amazon will normally sell you book for LESS than retail, but you will still receive 45% of retail unless you tell them you are willing to take less in order to drive up sales (not recommended for first-time author, frankly!).

6) If you go FULLY self-published (i.e., set up your own ISBN, deal with Lightning Press, etc), then your royalty is 45% of retail. Subtract your printing costs from that, and that is your net profit per book. That is what I am doing with my next book.

7) Last option: getting the books printed in bulk (most do this overseas) can drive the cost per book WAY down, but you have a massive front-loaded investment at high risk because the minimum run is usually 1000 books or more to get a good price. PLUS you have the set-up costs, as it is not the same as digital POD. Any time I have seen new authors do this, they end up with a house full of hundreds of unsold books, and feel very discouraged. I don’t recommend it unless you have a solid promotional platform and good distribution set up. ALSO, bear in mind that if you go this route, book distributors tend to take the books on consignment and they don’t pay anything if the books don’t sell. And who do you think is responsible for the marketing? You guessed it – you. Furthermore, they might take 300 books from you when they first come out, but they can RETURN every book that hasn’t sold (or worse–been returned to the retail shops!) after a certain period of time.

BTW, I help self-published mind-body-spirit authors via my site Spirit Authors at http://spiritauthors.com. I’m re-opening Module 3 on self-publishing in February 2011. The course for writing your book (Module 1) and building your online platform (Module 2) are already available. You can take a 7-day test drive of those courses for only $1.

I also do full-service Amazon book launches at http://spiritauthorscoach.com. Drop me a line if you would like to chat.

Warm wishes,

Lynn Serafinn


About Lynn Serafinn, Creator of Spirit Authors

Lynn Serafinn

Lynn Serafinn is a transformation coach, book promotion coach, radio host and bestselling author of the book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self.

Her upcoming book, The 7 Graces of Marketing, is coming in June 2011.

She also works as a campaign manager for mind-body-spirit authors and has produced several top-10 book campaigns, including FOUR #1-sellers, in 2010 alone. She created Spirit Authors to offer training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring. Contact Lynn about YOUR book project at at http://spiritauthors.com/contact.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for regular book writing and promotion tips (just fill in form at right of your screen).

Sign up for Lynn’s bi-monthly newsletter Creative Spirit (fill in form below) packed with inspirational articles, self-promotion tips, broadcast guide to her radio show, and news about upcoming spiritual author book releases.

Throughout the year, Lynn also hosts large-scale telesummits with world-class speakers on a range of mind-body-spirit topics. Your subscription to Creative Spirit will ensure you’ll be the first to know how to attend these free events.


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Finding Your Readers

Lynn Serafinn, promotion manager for #1 seller mind-body-spirit authors, on how to understand your relationship with marketing, identify your target audience and find your potential readers.

Many authors come to me for marketing advice just as their books are getting ready for publication. You will, however, note that I have placed this module BEFORE the module on preparing for publication. That is because, quite frankly, if you do not start your marketing long before your book is even finished being written, then you are apt to have a book come out and be extremely disappointed in the sales results. You might ask, “How can I market a book that isn’t even written yet.” The answer is simple. You aren’t. You are marketing YOU. That is what this lesson is about. It will really get you thinking about your personal relationship with all those wonderful people in the world who will be reading your book in the not-so-distant future. It will give you some strategies to identify them, know them, find them and reach them in an authentic, spirit-based way. If you find yourself resisting any of the material in the lesson (and I have had many a client and colleague for whom some of these ideas pushed them to their “edge”), slow down and take as much time as you need to understand why you are resisting. To understand this resistance fully, we will be exploring what I consider to be the key factors that influence how we approach the subject of self-promotion and online marketing

  1. Our relationship with money/selling
  2. Our relationship with technology
  3. Our relationship with other people
  4. Our relationship with ourselves (and I mean our TRUE Selves)

And after that self-examination, you’ll be ready to embark on a journey exploring how these factors will impact the success of your book, as you take the first step towards building your promotional platform — identifying, finding and reaching your targeted readers.

The above introduction is from Lesson 1 of Spirit Authors Module 2:
Pre-Publication Marketing Musts (aka “100 Days to Build Your Online Promotional Platform).

In that lesson, you will:

  1. Explore your relationship with money, marketing and selling
  2. Learn how to identify your target audience and why this is important
  3. Learn the two key goals of early marketing
  4. Outline the infrastructure you need for finding your audience online
  5. Create a plan for reaching your audience

For more information about the complete 10-week course, which includes audio downloads, full transcripts, weekly workbooks, access to member forum and monthly members-only calls, see http://spiritauthors.com/module-2/mod-2-overview. You can take the course for a 7-day “test drive” for only $1, and get some great free bonus gifts just for checking us out.


About Lynn Serafinn, Creator of Spirit Authors

Lynn Serafinn

Lynn Serafinn is a transformation coach, book promotion coach, radio host and bestselling author of the book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self. She also works as a campaign manager for mind-body-spirit authors and has produced several top-10 book campaigns, including FOUR #1-sellers, in 2010 alone. She created Spirit Authors to offer training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring. Contact Lynn about YOUR book project at at http://spiritauthors.com/contact.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for regular book writing and promotion tips (just fill in form at right of your screen).

Sign up for Lynn’s bi-monthly newsletter Creative Spirit (fill in form below) packed with inspirational articles, self-promotion tips, broadcast guide to her radio show, and news about upcoming spiritual author book releases.

Throughout the year, Lynn also hosts large-scale telesummits with world-class speakers on a range of mind-body-spirit topics. Your subscription to Creative Spirit will ensure you’ll be the first to know how to attend these free events.


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Categories : News, Platform Building
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Book Promotion expert and Founder of Spirit Authors, Lynn Serafinn, shares a morsel from her 10-week course Module 2: “Pre-Publication Marketing Musts” (subtitle “100 Days to Build Your Online Promotional Platform”).

LinkedIn is perhaps the most elusive of online tools for many new social networkers. Many people first come to it and cannot understand how it can possibly help them with business and network building, but that is simply because, on the surface, LinkedIn appears to be starkly formal with little opportunity for interaction compared to the colourful interface Facebook provides, and the face-paced exchanges found in Twitter.

But while LinkedIn is definitely more of a professional network than it is a social network, when you explore all it has to offer you will find it to be not only a place where you can thrive and establish your renown as a professional (including a professional author), but also where you can find a virtually endless supply of information and referrals, as well as have access to thousands of people in your target audience.

While there are so many aspects to explore in LinkedIn, today I just want to share 1 very quick tip with you that can help you make LinkedIn work for you as you build your online platform, either for your book promotion or other business.

What’s the tip?

To establish yourself as an expert.

How do you do that? You do this by answering questions others post in the LinkedIn Q&A. You can access the Q&A by clicking “more” in your LinkedIn profile, and then selecting “Question”. When you are prompted, select “answer questions.”

When people post questions on LinkedIn, they have to put them in at least one category and/or subcategory. I recommend searching for a topic that is closely related to your specific area of expertise. I frequently answer questions on writing/editing, technology, internet marketing, etc. Have a look around for subjects that match your expertise most.

When you find a question you think is “juicy”, and which you feel confident about providing information, read over the replies received so far and then give an answer that gives added value to the person who asked the question. BE GENEROUS in your reply. Share from your expertise and experience. Give links to outside sources you believe would help the person. The key to this process is to focus on what you can GIVE the other person. There is nothing more irritating to me when I go on LinkedIn and read replies to questions that are obvious spam or simply attempts to gain attention. Invariably it backfires on the person. But if you are generous with your wisdom and your professional knowledge, people really appreciate it.

After a question has been online for some time (usually 7 days), it closes unless the person who asked the question keeps it open. After it closes, LinkedIn sends a request to the person who asked the question asking them to rank who gave the best answer to the question. If your response to the question is selected as the “best”, you then are ranked as an “expert” in that particular subject. Your expert status is then a permanent part of your LinkedIn profile. Every time your answers are selected as the best, you gain another accolade as an expert.

Establishing yourself as an expert on LinkedIn helps others to see that you are knowledgeable on specific subject areas AND that you are a generous and helpful person. People can also click your expert status and see exactly what kind of knowledge and information you are sharing, which further establishes your credibility.

The long-term benefit of this is that people will come to trust you both as a professional and as a person. If you think that will not have a positive impact upon your business (and even your book sales) think again. Because LinkedIn is a professional network, as opposed to a social network, it does indeed have limitations on how you can market yourself compared to Twitter or Facebook, for instance. But in helping you establish your professional credibility, LinkedIn becomes a great balance to the other components of your online platform.

There’s a lot more to LinkedIn, what to speak of blogging, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many other components on online promotion. I cover these in GREAT detail in my course Spirit Authors Module 2: “Pre-Publication Marketing Musts” (or “80 Days to Build Your Online Promotional Platform”).

This 10-week online course is open to new members, and you can sample the first week for only $1.

At the end of your $1 test-drive, if you choose to complete the course, it’s only $197 for 10 lessons, with access to the site for a full 12 weeks.

  • Lessons include audio, video, written transcripts and workbooks.
  • You receive 1 lesson per week, and all materials are fully downloadable and yours to keep.
  • The lessons are SUBSTANTIAL. The audio lessons average 90 minutes in length.
  • You do NOT have to attend live classes, and can download the material in your own time.
  • While you are enrolled on the course, you are invited to attend the monthly Spirit Authors member calls.
  • You also have access to the member forum, to share ideas and establish connections with others
  • PLUS: lots of bonus gifts when you join (2 bonuses when you take the test drive, and more when you sign up for the complete course)
  • AND: Access to a members-only resource area
  • This course is also suitable for holistic business owners who want to develop their online presence.

To take the course for a $1 test drive (or to read more about it), go to:
http://spiritauthors.com/register-module-2

You will be charged only $1 for the first 7 days

Then, if you choose to continue, pay only $197 for this 10-lesson course (please note: the cost of this course WILL be going up in 2011).

Course content:

  • Lesson 1: Your readers: knowing, finding and reaching them
  • Lesson 2: Your pre-launch essential checklist and action plan
  • Lesson 3: Integrating and leveraging blogs and RSS
  • Lesson 4: Using autoresponders, newsletters and giveaways
  • Lesson 5: Unlocking the secret powers of Twitter
  • Lesson 6: Unlocking the secret powers of Facebook
  • Lesson 7: Unlocking the secret powers of LinkedIn
  • Lesson 8: Multimedia platforms (YouTube, BlogTalkRadio)
  • Lesson 9: Choosing and using forums to expand your influence
  • Lesson 10: Tricks for staying sane, saving time and keeping it real

OR… if you’re just starting a book project, you might be interested in my 8-week Spirit Authors Module 1: “Starting and Writing Your Book.” Read more at http://spiritauthors.com/register-module-1.


About Lynn Serafinn, Creator of Spirit Authors

Lynn Serafinn

Lynn Serafinn is a transformation coach, book promotion coach, radio host and bestselling author of the book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self. She also works as a campaign manager for mind-body-spirit authors and has produced several top-10 book campaigns, including FOUR #1-sellers, in 2010 alone. She created Spirit Authors to offer training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring. Contact Lynn about YOUR book project at at http://spiritauthors.com/contact.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for regular book writing and promotion tips (just fill in form at right of your screen).

Sign up for Lynn’s bi-monthly newsletter Creative Spirit (fill in form below) packed with inspirational articles, self-promotion tips, broadcast guide to her radio show, and news about upcoming spiritual author book releases.

Throughout the year, Lynn also hosts large-scale telesummits with world-class speakers on a range of mind-body-spirit topics. Your subscription to Creative Spirit will ensure you’ll be the first to know how to attend these free events.


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Book promotion coach and campaign manager Lynn Serafinn from Spirit Authors shares her tips on what authors should NEVER say to new online network connections.

Recently I received a private message from a new connection on LinkedIn that I thought was so exemplary of everything one should NOT say in a first contact letter, I thought it would make an excellent article for my readers.

Below is a paraphrase of what I received:

Hi Lynn,

My name is Fred Flintstone and I am inviting you to view a few chapters of a soon to be released classic. It’s a controversial memoir about being a Stone Age man in a modern world. Please let me know what you think via the Guest Book at www.fredflintstonetheauthor.com. Please forward the link to someone else who may benefit from it.

Fred

(Please note: Of course, this is NOT the actual letter I received, and did tell the real author I would be sharing this example with my readers)

Let me ask you this: If ‘Fred Flintstone’ were actually a real person and this were a real letter from someone with whom you had just connected (and had not yet even exchanged any messages), what would be your reaction? Be honest.

Well, my first reaction was quite dismissive, if you want to know the truth. I was almost ready to archive it without replying. But then I thought, What was this person really thinking and feeling when he wrote this? I imagined that he thought this letter made him sound confident. After all, our culture is always talking about people needing to embrace self-belief and have a feeling of self-worth. So was this letter a display of genuine confidence or was it from someone who was trying to appear to be confident according to some guidance he learned somewhere?

While my instincts told me this was the latter, I felt it wasn’t fair of me to dismiss the letter simply on the grounds of how authentic I deemed it to be. However, I knew full well that many other people on LinkedIn were likely to dismiss Fred’s letter, not giving it a second thought. And then, what would have been to point of the poor author’s efforts, trying to reach out to his connections?

… Connections! I thought. Ah, yes, that was the real problem.

Fred was not connecting with me. He was talking ‘to’ me, not ‘with’ me. He was not engaging. He was telling me what I should think about his book (that it was a classic) and, furthermore, was asking me to forward it to others ‘who may benefit.’ The words take the ‘high ground’. When you are on high ground, you cannot connect with your reader.

I decided to check out Fred’s profile. Now what was SO interesting is that he worked in the marketing industry. And frankly, to me, the letter showed it. Most of traditional (or what I call ‘Old School’) marketing does not, as a rule, embrace connection as one of its strategies (or values). Furthermore, ‘Old School’ marketing (hey, should I spell it ‘Old Skool’, you think?!) has no qualms about telling us what we should think about their products. Old Skool Marketing (oops, there I did spell it that way) is, in my view, disconnecting and disempowering to its customers. That is precisely why I don’t use it. Still, the old methods are taught in so many marketing training programs even today.

This got me started thinking about my own values and how I believe in empowering people. If I simply deleted Fred’s message, ‘rejecting’ and judging him in my mind, how would I be honouring my life purpose and all I stand for?

I wouldn’t be.

So do you know what I did?

I decided to write Fred back, telling him honetly about my reaction, and giving him a suggestion of what he might have written. It was exactly the same kind of feedback I would have given one of my own clients. Here’s what I wrote back:

Hi there Fred,

Hmm… as one marketing person to another, may I be so bold as to advise that possibly the worst thing you could EVER do in your first communication with someone is to say, “I am inviting you to view a few chapters of a soon to be released classic”?

You might think it sounds confident, but it actually does not impact the reader that way. It comes across as bragging, as we do not know each other at all yet. What’s more, LinkedIn has a very different ethos from other networks, and messages like this are generally not seen as good form.

I’m not writing this to criticise you, but rather to advise you so you don’t end up alienating people on LinkedIn or your other social networks. In social networking, the first rule of thumb is to connect at a personal level and to be generous with your advice and personality.

Here’s an example of an alternative “hello” letter you might have sent:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Lynn,
My name is Fred Flintstone. When I read your profile I wanted to connect because I see you are a fellow author and that you work with other authors.

I’d love to hear more about your book, your message and what you do to help authors. Drop me a line and tell me more when you get the chance.

I just published a memoir about being a Stone Age man in a modern world at www.fredflintstonetheauthor.com. As you are experienced with promoting authors, I’d be most pleased if you visited it sometime.

Looking forward to connecting,

Fred

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Can you see the difference, Fred? In your letter, it’s all about you. Furthermore, you are asking me to help promote you without even bothering to talk to me as an individual. In the one I just wrote, you show that you have looked at my profile and considered me as a human being. Then, you are inviting me to tell you more about myself. THEN when you ask me to visit your site, it is humble and appreciative and not “you should read my book because it is a future classic”. That will never win people over to you.

BTW, this is the sort of stuff I teach people all the time. I help authors build their platform, which means building relationships. I have produced 6 top-10 authors this year alone, 4 of them have gone to #1. So trust my advice and it will help ensure your book has a chance at becoming a classic. :-)

Warm wishes,
Lynn

Ok, I have to admit, when I hit ‘send’, my heart did a little flip-flop and I asked myself if I wasn’t been rather BOLD in sending this letter. But then I thought, I’ve got nothing to win or lose here. My intentions are actually to HELP this person succeed in his project. He can reject it completely if he wants. He can write back to me and tell me I’m an arrogant jerk who should mind her own business. I was prepared for whatever happened.

As it turns out, Fred did write back a few days later.

He wrote:

Hi Lynn

Thanks for your letter. It was… enlightening.

What do you charge for your services?

Fred

I SWEAR to you, this is a true story!

ALWAYS REMEMBER: Your contacts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc., are real people. They have hearts and souls and desires and talents just like you. Connect first. Find out to WHOM you are writing. READ their profiles. Ask questions. You don’t need to sell ANYTHING if people like you.

Connect! Connect! Connect!

I hope you found this real-life example useful. AND I want to thank Fred, who is a GREAT sport for letting me paraphrase his message, for giving me some great content for my readers. I know it will help many people.

Fred, I really do hope your book becomes a classic.


About Lynn Serafinn, Creator of Spirit Authors

Lynn Serafinn

Lynn Serafinn is a transformation coach, book promotion coach, radio host and bestselling author of the book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self. She also works as a campaign manager for mind-body-spirit authors and has produced several top-10 book campaigns, including FOUR #1-sellers, in 2010 alone. She created Spirit Authors to offer training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring. Contact Lynn about YOUR book project at at http://spiritauthors.com/contact.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for regular book writing and promotion tips (just fill in form at right of your screen).

Sign up for Lynn’s bi-monthly newsletter Creative Spirit (fill in form below) packed with inspirational articles, self-promotion tips, broadcast guide to her radio show, and news about upcoming spiritual author book releases.

Throughout the year, Lynn also hosts large-scale telesummits with world-class speakers on a range of mind-body-spirit topics. Your subscription to Creative Spirit will ensure you’ll be the first to know how to attend these free events.


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Blog Ahead!Lynn Serafinn, book marketer, coach, campaign manager for #1 bestselling authors, explains all about Virtual Blog Tours, their many benefits and how to run one.

When I organise a book launch campaign for my author clients, I always include a Virtual Blog Tour. Every time I start a new campaign I am invariably asked, both by my clients and by their Joint Venture Partners (JVPs), “What exactly is a Virtual Blog Tour?” I thought it would be a good idea to write an article explaining what it is, and why it is a great promotional tool when properly organised.

What is a VBT?

A Virtual Blog Tour (VBT) is an online “event” wherein an author “visits” a different blog each day during a specified period of time, generally 2-4 weeks in duration. For instance, if your VBT were 2 weeks long, there would be 14 blogs, and each blogger would be assigned a specific day on the tour. In selecting blogs on which to appear, the author would seek out bloggers who have good traffic aimed at specific target audience(s) congruent with the topic of the book.

Technically, the author doesn’t “visit” these blogs. Rather, on the assigned tour day, the blogger would post a blog about the author’s book. Some blog platforms (such as WordPress) allow you to schedule a post in advance, making it more convenient for the blogger by automating the process.

The content of the blog could be an article about the author, a book review or an interview. When I organise a VBT, I generally prefer to use interviews, which are organised in advance between the blogger and author.

Organising a VBT

The way I organise the interview is to provide a good selection (10-20) of sample topics or story angles on which the author could answer questions. Then, each blogger provides (well in advance) 3 original questions he/she would like to ask the author, aimed at their particular reading audience.

Recently I designed a VBT for a book on the topic of OCD. Here are some of the sample topics I provided my bloggers:

  1. What OCD is and what it is not
  2. What doctors know or don’t know about OCD
  3. What parents need to know about OCD
  4. What teachers need to know about OCD
  5. Being a parent with OCD
  6. OCD in personal relationships
  7. Having OCD in a work environment
  8. OCD and health issues…

And so on.

When I send the sample topics to the VBT bloggers, I ask them to formulate 3 questions based upon a topic (or topics) they feel would be of greatest interest to their readers. The questions are sent to the author several weeks in advance of the tour. The author provides written answers to the bloggers’ questions, and together we assemble the “virtual interview” into a structured format, so the bloggers can more or less copy and paste it into their blogs (of course, they can edit it as they choose).

The format we provide the bloggers goes something like this:

“Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 4 of the Virtual Blog Tour for The Super Duper Book by author Mary Jones. Yesterday, Mary visited John Smith’s blog at [link to John’s blog]. Below is the great interview I did with Mary about how to be super-duper.

[Interview]

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Mary Jones and that you’ll check out The Super Duper Book by Mary Jones coming to Amazon on [date]. You can receive a collection of great gifts when you buy her book on the day of her launch, including one from me: [name of blogger’s gift]. To find out how to buy Mary’s book and receive these gifts, go to [link to author’s sales page].

Be sure to follow Mary tomorrow when the next stop on her Virtual Blog Tour is Charlie Brown’s blog at [link to Charlie’s blog].”

Promoting a VBT

When I organise a VBT, I create a “Tweet” for every stop on the tour, and give them to all bloggers and JVPs well in advance, asking them to post at least one update per blogger. That means, on their designated day on the tour, dozens of people would be sending out updates with a link to Mary’s blog post to potentially hundreds of thousands of people on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. (depending upon the size of your campaign team).

Additionally, the author would post the tour calendar, with all the links, on his/her own blog.

Being a blogger on a VBT has many benefits:
  1. It provides bloggers with easy, original content for their readers.
  2. Because an organised team of networkers is sending out updates for each stop on the tour, it has the potential to drive 1000s of new readers to each blog.
  3. It helps increase search engine rankings for the blogs, as the blog is linked to, both forwards and backwards, the other blogs on the tour.
  4. Bloggers on the tour get to connect with new bloggers who share common interests and speak to similar audiences.
Of course, for authors, a VBT is wonderful because:
  1. There is a diversity of content going out about their book during a concentrated period of time.
  2. The content is easy to create.
  3. It expands their network.
  4. They get their book promoted to 1000s of people every day for the duration of the tour.
  5. The content you have created could be reused for other purposes.

And don’t forget, if a blog post is particularly interesting, both the author and the blogger can “reTweet” about it every now and then after the tour.

I hope you found this information useful. Please do feel free to leave your questions or comments below. And if you would like to discuss setting up a book launch or VBT for your book, feel free to contact me via the contact form at http://spiritauthors.com/contact and tell me about your book project.


About Lynn Serafinn, Creator of Spirit Authors

Lynn Serafinn

LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She was recently named one of the Top 100 marketing authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was selected as a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. Her eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Through her company Spirit Authors, her marketing campaigns have  produced a long list of bestselling self-help and mind-body-spirit authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project, a budding social enterprise whose aim is to help grow a new generation of passionate entrepreneurs who want to serve both people and planet through innovative, ethical, independent enterprise.

Twitter:
@LynnSerafinn @SpiritAuthors @7GracesMarketng @GardenOfTheSoul

Facebook:

LynnSerafinn SpiritAuthors 7GracesOfMarketing 7 Graces Global Garden (group)

Spiritual author and book promotion coach Lynn Serafinn from Spirit Authors gives top tips on how, when and why to tag people, fan pages and groups on Facebook. As always, your comments and feedback are most welcome below!

I get some of the best ideas for blog posts from questions friends ask me on Facebook. Tonight, my one of my friends asked me how you “tag” people in Facebook. I realised in my written explanation to her that there was actually a lot of detail and subtlety involved, so I thought it would make a great blog post to share with other authors, and people who want to know more about developing their online platform.

“Tagging” is one of the most powerful tools on Facebook. A “tag” is basically a link you create to a person, page or group on Facebook that you place within your wall posts, photos or notes. When you “tag” a person in a wall post Facebook, your post will automatically appear on their wall as well as on your own. If you tag them in a photo or note, it will appear in their updates.

Here are some guidelines of HOW you put tags in a Facebook post:

  1. When you type an “@” sign into a wall post, Facebook recognises that as a signal you want to tag someone. Let’s say you wanted to tag me in your post. My first name is Lynn, so you would type “@Ly” (important: do not put a space after the @ sign) and then WAIT a second or two. Facebook will open up a window with everyone in your friends list whose names have “Ly” in them. When you see my name, CLICK on my picture, and I will be tagged. You will know the tag is activated because my name will turn blue, and it will turn into a link that takes you to my profile page.
  2. You can tag a maximum of 6 names in a single wall post.
  3. You can also tag PAGES or GROUPS. Just follow exactly the same steps as above.
  4. As mentioned above, when you tag a person, page or group in a post, your post will appear on THEIR wall automatically. This is a great way to spread messages virally and it also means that the parties you are talking to or about will see your message without checking their updates.
  5. The other advantage to tagging is that NEW people will see you who might not have seen you before, especially if you are tagging to a page or a group. Anyone who checks out the group or fan page will see your post.
  6. You can also tag people in a note or a photo. There is a section on the right side of the note that lets you create tags exactly the same way as above. You can tag more people in a note or photo than in a wall post (the current limit is 30).
  7. NOTE: You cannot put a tag in a comment. You can, however, put a web link in a comment.

Now here’s the obvious question: WHY would you want to tag someone?

One way to use tagging is to tag people, groups or fan pages to say something nice about them or to help spread some news that would be of interest to the people (or members of the page/group) being tagged. Here are a couple of examples of when you might use tagging to a page or group:

  1. If you want to share some news about the page or group to you profile page (such as a new blog post, event, book, video, radio show or other news item THEY have posted). In this case, you might post the news to your personal Facebook profile, but tag the page/group in the post. That way, it will appear on their wall, and they will see you are helping to spread the word about their good work.
  2. If you see or create a news item, tip, video, event, etc., you think would be of interest to the members of the group or fans of the page, but you also want your own friends to see it, you might post the news to your wall, and then tag the page or group. For instance, if I wanted to bring a post to the attention of Spirit Authors, I might say, “Spirit Authors, you might find this useful” (Spirit Authors would be tagged).

Below is an example of a post I made on Facebook recently about a new page I had found by one of my networking friends. I “shared” the page use the “share” link, and then I wrote this tagged post to accompany it:

Just discovered my good friend Dana Lynn Smith‘s new page The Savvy Book Marketer. She is a wealth of information. Spirit Authors and Next Top Author folks, check her out and “Like” her page for great tips. Dana is also a member of the Virtual Faculty at the Spirit Authors membership site, btw. :-))

Note there are four tags in the post: 1) Dana Lynn Smith’s personal page, 2) Dana’s business page “The Savvy Book Marketer”, 3) the “Spirit Authors” business page and 4) the “Next Top Author” group. That means that, altogether, this single post was (on the day I posted it) visible to over 5000 people, just about all of them authors. I noticed that within a few minutes of posting this, Dana’s fan page increased by 5 members, and if people start “liking” or commenting on the post, it is likely to generate more interest. Not bad for a post that took a few seconds to compose.

In this post, I am not only helping Dana Lynn by sharing her page and saying something nice about her, but I am also helping the people I have tagged in the post (Spirit Authors page and Next Top Author group), because they are a targeted group of authors, all hungry for new information about book promotion. Furthermore, as I “shared” The Savvy Book Marketer page, people will see the logo and description of the page, which makes the post far more visible and attractive, and makes people far more likely to check it out than if it were a simple link.

But the beauty of this is that I am also gaining from this. How?

Because I am being seen as someone who likes to give value to others. And because of this, people enjoy staying connected to me. Furthermore, because the tags make the post appear on Dana’s pages, new people might see me on either Dana’s personal page or on her business page. If they perceive me as being someone who can offer good value to them, they are likely to seek me out as a connection. They also might see the Spirit Authors link and check that out too. Believe, me, I have more Facebook invitations these days than I can keep up with.

IMPORTANT TAGGING NETIQUETTE:

  1. NEVER abuse tagging to SPAM your Facebook friends or Facebook pages. Spamming means that you just tag people for the sake of them paying attention to a promotion you are doing. Do NOT do this. If you want to invite people to a promotion, create an event, business page or group and invite them to join voluntarily. If you are running a promotion, go ahead and post it in your updates, but don’t tag people in the updates unless they have something to do with the promotion OR you know them very well personally, and they would wish to know what’s happening (e.g., if you are launching your book, and close  friends and family would like to be informed).
  2. Don’t be a Facebook “squatter” or “poacher” on other people’s pages. By “squatter” I mean someone who uses tags or hangs out on someone else’s business page ONLY to promote themselves. By “poacher” I mean someone who joins pages solely to find people to invite to their own pages. For instance, if I had gone to Dana Lynn’s page and said, “Hey all you Savvy Book Marketers! I’m the best thing since sliced bread. Come on over to my page,” that would be pretty tacky. Now, if DANA said such a thing about me to her own group, that would be completely different.

What I am showing you here are some of the fundamentals of social networking, and indeed what I call “spirit-based” marketing. Social networking is the cornerstone of my business and of all the promotional platforms I help authors create for their books. But even though it is a powerful tool for your book promotion, always remember that the key to spirit-based social networking is to help others, and to gain a reputation as someone who willingly and joyfully helps others, trusting that there is enough business and prosperity in the world for all of us.

Tags in Facebook are very powerful if you use them correctly. Use them with sincerity, creativity and generosity, and over time you will see your network grow and your business flourish. Besides… I think they’re FUN.


About Lynn Serafinn, Creator of Spirit Authors

Lynn Serafinn

Lynn Serafinn is a transformation coach, book promotion coach, radio host and bestselling author of the book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self. She also works as a campaign manager for mind-body-spirit authors and has produced two #1-selling book campaigns, and another #2-selling campaign, in just the past 4 months. She created Spirit Authors to offer training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for regular book writing and promotion tips (just fill in form at right of your screen).

Sign up for Lynn’s bi-monthly  newsletter Creative Spirit (fill in form below) packed with inspirational articles, broadcast guide to her radio show, and news about upcoming spiritual author book releases.

Throughout the year, Lynn also hosts large-scale telesummits with world-class speakers on a range of mind-body-spirit topics. Coming up over the next few months:

  • 3-day summit on Evolution of Consciousness
  • 3-day summit on Cellular Memory Release
  • 4-day summit on Healing the Corporate World
  • Your subscription to Creative Spirit will ensure you’ll be the first to know how to attend these free events.

[mlb/]

Many of you have probably seen online promotional campaigns where people have partnered up to help launch a new book or product. Perhaps you’ve wondered why people would bother to get involved in another person’s book campaign, and what they could possibly gain from it. It’s easy to understand how a collaborative campaign benefits the author whose book is being launched. While being #1 on Amazon doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be raking in the “big bucks”, the kudos of being a #1 seller is worth many times its weight in cyber-gold when seeking gigs as a public speaker or media guest. Furthermore, if you are a self-published author who later wishes to approach a publisher, being able to prove your ability to promote yourself successfully will be highly influential in their decision of whether or not to pick you up as one of their own.

But when it comes to being a PARTNER on such campaigns, many people ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” They wonder things like:

  • “By promoting someone else in the same field as mine, am I not just handing a sale over to my competitors? Isn’t that totally against all business logic?”
  • “Doesn’t promoting someone else take the limelight off me and shine it on the other person, leaving me in the dark?”
  • “Won’t people be less inclined to buy MY book when it comes out if they have already bought the other author’s book?”
  • “I’m still writing my book. Shouldn’t I wait until my own book is finished before I consider partnering on someone else’s book campaign?”

The answer to ALL these questions is the same – Absolutely NOT!

Here are 7 good reasons why you should become a partner on someone else’s book launch campaign, and why you should do it NOW rather than later:

  1. List Building. I mention “list building” first only because most people think this is the primary reason why you would join a collaborative campaign. It is indeed true that such campaigns give you the opportunity to grow your mailing list, but your success will be contingent upon how attractive and relevant your message and your bonus offer is to the target audience of the campaign. Be sure you join campaigns that appeal to your target audience and take time to create bonuses that are likely to attract people who will stay with you. And while wanting to build your list is one good reason to join a campaign, it is NOT the primary reason. Read on…
  2. Friendship/business relationships. In my opinion, this is the top reason why you want to join a campaign. When you work on a campaign of this kind, you are not just working with the author; you are also working with the other partners, increasing your network of excellent business associates. I cannot tell you how many creative alliances were made between partners I introduced to each other on my book campaigns. The alliances you form can have a big impact on your business growth in the long term. Remember-if you have enthusiastically and authentically helped someone else succeed, they will remember you and are likely to support you when you go to launch your own book… for no other reason than the fact that they like you.
  3. Visibility and Brand Recognition. The campaigns I design reach hundreds of thousands of people. Even if people do not opt into your list, every time someone goes to the book launch page, they see your face, brand name and product. Think about it: this is free promotion for you. Dozens of other partners on the campaign are helping to get your name out by driving people to the launch page. Even if your own book is only in its early stages, you can (and should) create a bonus that gives a “sneak peek” at who you are and what you are about. State the name of your book and the date it will be coming out (or a close estimate). Start building your brand recognition NOW.
  4. Association in the public eye. When you appear on someone else’s page, people associate you with that person. They assume you have something in common and that you have some sort of personal connection. If you are part of a campaign with people who have high profiles, it can raise your own profile in a very positive way. I had a new partner approach me a few months ago who said, “My list isn’t that big, but I’m a good networker and I just want to ‘play’ with you guys.” In other words, she wanted to be associated with the other partners on the campaign, which is great. I took her on as a partner right away, and she became one of the most reliable partners on my list. Be sure to select a campaign that creates the RIGHT association in the public eye. That way, when your book does come out, people will already associate you with similar books and be inclined to check you out.
  5. Learning the ropes. Being on someone else’s campaign is the BEST way to learn what works and what doesn’t work in a book launch… but you’ve got to study it and pay attention to detail. One of my networking partners recently told me that she had been studying how I ran my campaigns and was going to have her team implement my strategies in her own upcoming book launch. As a result of her highly-organised campaign, her book hit #1 in two Amazon categories in both the US and Canada. Being on the inside of campaign and receiving all the communication from the project manager is the very best way to learn how campaigns work.
  6. Empowerment and satisfaction. When we work together as a team and help a new author reach the #1 rank, there is a genuine feeling of empowerment and satisfaction of having achieved something together. It isn’t about “sales”; it’s about working together to reach people’s hearts. By telling others about this wonderful book, you have spread good will and added value in the world. And knowing you have the ability to inspire others to buy a great book will boost your self-confidence when you get ready to release your own book (or teleseminar, course, workshop, etc.) in the future.
  7. Practicing the Law of Abundance. The old era of marketing was based upon fear, scarcity and competition. Now, we are entering a new era of spiritual marketing is founded upon mutual support, collaboration and a belief in abundance. This new era can only evolve if we come to trust that the Universe has enough for all of us, and that the more we allow energy to flow by giving to others, the more will come to us in return. While our wish to receive should not be our motivation for giving, our faith that we will be taken care of should be at the very foundation of our trust. If you wish to flourish, become a partner on a campaign. It will help you shift from scarcity mentality to a feeling of expansion and abundance.

I hope this article has helped you see the many advantages of partnering on a campaign. Remember: it’s not just about selling books and list building. There is much more to it than that. Every campaign I do gives me a rush!

And if this article has enticed you to expand your networking, and you would like to become a partner on an upcoming book launch, here’s your chance, I am currently seeking partners for several upcoming book launches.

~ JOIN A CAMPAIGN ~

If you would like to be a partner on a book launch, check out the latest campaign I am running HERE:
http://spiritauthors.com/latest-book-launches

I look forward to hearing from you!

Warm wishes,

Lynn


About Lynn Serafinn, Creator of Spirit Authors

Lynn Serafinn

Lynn Serafinn is a transformation coach, book promotion coach, radio host and bestselling author of the book The Garden of the Soul: lessons from four flowers that unearth the Self. She also works as a campaign manager for mind-body-spirit authors and has produced several top-10 book campaigns, including FOUR #1-sellers, in 2010 alone. She created Spirit Authors to offer training, coaching, business-building and inspiration for mind-body-spirit authors, whether established or aspiring. Contact Lynn about YOUR book project at at http://spiritauthors.com/contact.

Be sure to subscribe to this blog for regular book writing and promotion tips (just fill in form at right of your screen).

Sign up for Lynn’s bi-monthly newsletter Creative Spirit (fill in form below) packed with inspirational articles, self-promotion tips, broadcast guide to her radio show, and news about upcoming spiritual author book releases.

Throughout the year, Lynn also hosts large-scale telesummits with world-class speakers on a range of mind-body-spirit topics. Your subscription to Creative Spirit will ensure you’ll be the first to know how to attend these free events.


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Comments (3)

Champagne CelebrationMany people hire me to create and manage their Amazon book campaigns, or to support them as a book promotion coach/consultant. In either case, I have noticed many of my clients experience a steep learning curve at the beginning of their campaigns, as they try to get their heads around all the components and how they work together.

For that reason, I thought it might be a good idea to write a short article giving an overview of the initial steps I use when I put together an Amazon campaign, so you can become an Amazon bestseller like my clients.

The basic concept of an Amazon book campaign is to drive people to a special page you will create that tells them about your book, and to get them to return to that page to buy your book on the specified day of your launch. The reason why you want them to come on a specified day is to drive up your Amazon sales rank. The reason why people will want to return to your page (as opposed to just going to Amazon to buy your book) is that after they buy your book, they can come back to your page to claim some great bonus gifts.

Who is offering the gifts? A group of “JVPs”, or “Joint Venture Partners” you have brought together. Finding and choosing JVPs is a topic I cover in the first week of Module 4 at Spirit Authors. For now, let’s assume you already have a good selection of JVPs who have confirmed their participation in your launch, and let’s move on to our 5 steps to get your campaign going.

Step 1: Design the Timeline and Components of Your Campaign
First off, you will need to choose the components of your campaign, and construct a timeline showing when all these components will occur. Here are a few examples of components that go into a typical Amazon campaign:

  • Bonus gift offers from JVPs
  • Email/ezine blasts
  • Twitter campaign
  • A Contest
  • Virtual Blog Tour

There are different strategies, technical aspects and creative elements to each of these components, which would take too long to discuss here. For now, let’s say that you decided you were going to utilise all of them in some way.

Step 2: Coordinate Your JVP Materials
Assuming you have already determined the level of commitment promised from your JVPs, your next step would be to gather relevant materials from them, such as headshot, bio, and bonus material information, including a link to the opt in page where people will sign up to receive their gift.

A word of advice: It is highly likely you will need to guide many of your JVPs as to what is an appropriate bonus gift. A good bonus gift should be a downloadable entry-level gift. A not-so-good gift is one that requires the customer to buy something else to receive it, or requires them to travel to specific geographic location. The bonus should also not be an offer of free or discounted coaching or consultation, because if they have a high number of requests, they might find it impossible to honour them all. You, as the manager of your campaign, need to guide your JVPs to choosing the right kind of gift.

As you collect this information from your JVPs, make sure you use some sort of tracking system to cross check you have received all the info. I use an Excel spreadsheet for tracking.

Step 3: Creating Your Pre-Launch Page and Follow-Ups
Next, you will need to assemble all your JVP information, along with key info about you and your book, onto a webpage we are going to call your “pre-launch page.” On this page, people will find out about you, your book, the date of the launch, and the bonus gift offerings. Make sure you standardise the format in which you will publish the JVP content on the web, so everyone’s entry looks similar.

Apart from the JVP information, the key ingredient on this page is a sign up form, where they will sign up to receive a reminder about the book launch. This sign up form should be connected to an auto-responder that sends them a follow up message saying something to the effect of, “Thanks for your interest in my book. I’ll be sending you a reminder the day before it comes out so you can get those great bonus gifts you read about. Be sure to mark your diary.”

Step 4: Create Promo Copy
The next thing you will need to do is create some great promotional copy for your JVPs to use for your campaign. There are basically 3 types of promo copy you will prepare for your JVPs:

  1. Newsletter/ezine articles
  2. “Tweets” (for Twitter)
  3. “Virtual interviews” (if you are planning to do a Virtual Blog Tour)

I usually make two contrasting pieces of ezine copy for my JVPs per month, to give them diversity and choice (they are likely to send only one per month).

I usually make 50-100 Tweets for my JVPs—and I try to make them 120 characters or less. It’s really not as complex as it might sound, and it can make your campaign vibrant, fun and very effective.

A “Virtual Interview” is when your blog tour hosts send you a few questions in advance before the date of their “stop” on your tour.

I cover the details of how to create all these types of copy on Module 4 at Spirit Authors. In fact, I dedicate an entire week to EACH of these types of copy.

Step 5: Create Clear Instructions for Your JVPs
The last step to getting your campaign off the ground is to create a set of clear, written instructions for your JVPs. I always include a timeline, a description of the components, and a break down of how everything will run. I write it in such a way that it is visually easy to read, and convert it into a PDF document. I give them tips on how to use the materials, and how to increase traffic to their bonus.

Follow a Real Live Launch
As I am currently the project leader for the upcoming Amazon campaign for Patrick Ryan’s book Awakened Wisdom: A Guide to Reclaiming Your Brilliance, the easiest thing you can do to understand the things I have been describing would be to look at the page we have put together for that launch at http://www.awakenedwisdom.com/Public/Amazon/booklaunch/index.cfm. As of this writing, we are still finalising some details on it (and there are a few more JVPs coming along). Of course, I also hope you’ll check out Patrick’s book and sign up for a launch reminder while you’re on that page (I made the video, by the way. Do you like it?).

And if you are on Twitter, follow me at http://twitter.com/LynnSerafinn and you can see some of the Tweets I’m sending out about the book. Hopefully they will give you ideas of how to make your own. Most everything I have learned about online promotion is the result of watching others who know what they are doing, so now it’s my pleasure to invite you to do the same (hopefully I know what I’m doing!).

This article has been a very brief overview of the 5 steps needed to put together your Amazon book campaign. If you’d like to know more about creating, running and benefiting from an Amazon book campaign for your upcoming book, have a look at my 8-week course on the Spirit Authors website: Module 4: Your Book Launch – Designing and Delivering. For a limited time, you can take a 14-day test drive for only $1, and receive some special bonus gifts that are yours to keep just for trying it out.

If you feel you need a more personal touch, fill in a contact form on the Spirit Authors site to request a 1-to-1 consultation.  Please be aware that I only take on a limited amount of book launch clients throughout the year, and that we will require 4-6 months to work on your launch, depending upon the strength of your online platform.

I hope you found this whistle-stop tour useful. Drop me a comment below to let me know what you think.
[mlb /]

Mar
07

How Twitter Changed My Life

Posted by: | Comments (17)

Ok, now you are probably going to think I’ve lost the plot.

Twitter changed my life. Let me tell you how.

AND I am going to attempt to tell this story in lines of 140 characters or less.

It all started when I launched my book “The Garden of the Soul” in April 2009.

After a year of mastering this “thing” called social networking, I created an Amazon book campaign.

I found many JVPs (joint venture partners), mainly from Twitter.

Some who helped were @InspiredSheila @SuzieCheel @KSchulweis @BrendaAdelman @RuthHegarty @JoeRumbolo @LolaFayemi (see next)

AND @HeidiRichards @AwakenedWisdom @LindaClairePuig @jenngivler @audaciouseditor @GailSussMill @Gloreebe @jessicamcgj @SpiritCoach #ff

Also ran a Virtual Blog Tour with peeps like @MoonPoppy @DuncanBrodie and many others.

Also ran a Twitter contest. @JulieAnnTurner won a signed copy of my book.

Anyway…

Long story short, my self-published book became an Amazon bestseller in #spirituality #mind-body-spirit and #self-help.

When “The Garden of the Soul” made bestseller, Tweets and RTs went viral. #gots

I think it was June when @SouthsideBroadc contacted me to be on their radio show. I soon became a regular guest.

Thru @SouthsideBroadc I met @SpiritusShelagh who has since become one of my closest friends.

July 2009: blogger/editor @BookEditorLM wrote me on Twitter wanting to do a blog piece on me: http://bit.ly/c8hbCa

Aug 2009: @BookEditorLM asked @tonyeldridge if he would repost that article. He asked me to write a new one.

Oct 2009: @tonyeldridge published my new article “Pre-Natal Care for Your Book” http://bit.ly/bWCmQA

Same month @AllisonMaslan (whom I didn’t know) read that article. Sent me DM asking me to coach her 4 Amazon launch.

I put together Amazon campaign for @AllisonMaslan ‘s new #book #BlastOff!

Nov 2009: I asked @writersinthesky (whom I had met on Ning) to come and help us put the campaign together.

We put together another great team of JVPs.

If I named all the Tweeple who helped us on #BlastOff! I think I’d need another day to write this.

Meanwhile lots of people were asking me for book advice. I decided to start a new site called Spirit Authors. http://spiritauthors.com

Dec 20 2009: I set up Twitter profile @SpiritAuthors and Facebook fan page. http://facebook.com/SpiritAuthors

Started Twitter/FB campaign to drive people to fan page. By Christmas day there were 100 fans.

Jan 2010: Did another campaign to get 500 fans by my 55th birthday end of Jan. I got 600+

Jan 19, 2010: Allison’s book launched. Twitter & FB went viral. “Blast Off” reached #1 in US/Canada. http://bit.ly/RXpQu

RT @AllisonMaslan’s “Blast Off” reached #1 in US/Canada. http://bit.ly/RXpQu

Jan 21, 2010: Success of launch attracted attention of @AllisonMaslan ’s literary agent @wgtwelve. He’s also @EckhartTolle ‘s agent

As an author, I am now represented by @wgtwelve.

More and more #mind-body-spirit #authors come to me to create campaigns for them.

New Amazon campaigns: @AwakenedWisdom (April 20), @NeuroBooks (May 11) and @wgtwelve (Nov).

From Twitter contacts, I quickly assembled team of 18 VIP experts for Spirit Authors Grand Opening http://bit.ly/9pfpJV

VIPS: @wordywoman @BookMarketer @CaronGoode @DayaDeviDoolin @inspiredwriter @docmarion @AlanSeale plus many already mentioned.

Nearly 500 people registered 4 the #Spirit #Authors Grand Opening http://bit.ly/9pfpJV

My good friend @SpiritusShelagh was my co-host for the event. What a source of strength she is.

Oz Tweep @charlyjl was a wellspring of technical support in getting the site ready. Couldn’t have done it without her.

April 20, 2010: @AwakenedWisdom ALSO becomes #1 #spirituality #book thx 2 Twitter! #AWEbook

GR8 expectations 4 @NeuroBooks May 11. #OCDbook

1000+ peeps on Facebook page. http://facebook.com/SpiritAuthors

NOW: @SpiritAuthors open and I have long waiting list of #book campaign clients. On #Spirit #Authors I teach new authors how to set use #Twitter to build a promotional platform and #Amazon launch… as well as many other things (Oops! That’s more than 140 characters!)

Ok… enough with the Twitterspeak!!!

I am quite serious when I say Twitter has changed my life. Yes, my own book would never have become a bestseller without Twitter. Yes, I could never have helped Allison become a number-1 seller. Yes, I would not have gotten some fab new clients and an amazing literary agent. And yes, I would never have thought to create Spirit Authors and now have a blossoming new business as a result.

But it isn’t REALLY about business at all.

Have a look at all the Twitter links above. These are not just links. These are all REAL people whom I have come to know, respect and care about over the past year. Even though some of us are separated by tens of thousands of miles, we have all shared many a heart-felt conversation over the phone, and have been there for each other through the highs and lows.

And really, there are just so many other wonderful people I have met from Twitter (as well as Facebook, Ning and LinkedIn, in that order), I cannot count them.

When many people first come to Twitter, they don’t “get it”. How can you possibly communicate in 140 characters? How can you possibly make friends with people? How can you possibly build a business from it? WHY would you WANT to do this????

And I’m telling you now—it’s because of the PEOPLE!

I have made more close friends from networking on Twitter than any other form of networking I have ever tried… even more than “live” networks in my home town! While I do love Facebook as well, there is nothing (yet) that can beat Twitter for ideas going viral, and for meeting lots of people who share your interests within a very short period of time.

But as I said, it’s not just about the business. The friends I have met through Twitter are some of the most inspiring, supportive, positive and powerful light-workers I have ever met. That is why I have linked to EVERY one of them above.

So, if you are on Twitter, you should follow them. These are wonderful, beautiful people—get to KNOW them.

As always, your comments below are MOST welcome!

Lynn Serafinn

Warm wishes,

Lynn Serafinn

@LynnSerafinn

@SpiritAuthors

P. S.: This article was inspired by a Twitter conversation I had a new friend on Twitter @WendyMWarden. Many thanks, Wendy. This was fun to write!

P. P. S.: Knowing HOW to make Twitter (and social networking in general) work for you, both on a business level and on a deeply fulfilling personal level, is something of an art form. This is why I teach it on the Spirit Authors course:

  • In Module 2, I teach the fundamental principles of spirit-based promotion so you can create a fertile promotional platform for selling your book online using social networking.
  • In Module 4, I teach the “how to’s” of creating an Amazon Book Launch.
  • And, of course, there are 3 other modules on starting and writing your book, preparing for publication, and creating a brand and sustainable business from your book.

It’s my hope that by teaching authors (and authors-to-be) the techno-art of Twitter, they will not only find professional fulfilment, but they will also expand their world by connecting to others who understand them and wish to help them grow.

If this sounds like something you would like to explore, I offer a 7-day “Test Drive” on any Spirit Authors learning module for only $1. Visit the site at http://spiritauthors.com and check out the introductory audios and module overviews to see if there is something at Spirit Authors that can help you achieve your writing goals. And if you have any questions, please just fill out a contact form on the site and I promise I will reply personally.

Would you buy from this man?

Would you buy from this man?

Well, ok, the word “sell” does have four letters, but you know what I mean.

What is it about this photograph that creates a negative reaction in so many of us? Is this the mental image we have attached to the word “selling”? How many of us unconsciously believe selling to be something sleazy, insincere and unpalatable? If we do, why? And what are the ramifications of our aversion to this four-letter word?

I am a spirit author, but I’m also a coach. The majority of my clients are holistic healers, coaches, authors (especially in the mind-body-spirit genre), teachers, and artists in general. What do all these people have in common? Well, for one thing, they tend to be highly sensitive, creative, spiritually focussed and caring individuals. They are also very devoted to their craft, and have a strong desire to help and inspire others. They sound like lovely people, don’t they? They are.

But these people also tend to have another thing in common—they have a strong tendency to cringe at the mere mention of the word “selling”. This is nothing new. After all, the notion of the Bohemian “starving artist” has been with us for centuries. Art and money have always seemed to be antithetical forces in our minds, whether consciously or not. I was a professional musician for decades and used to hang out with the “arty” crowd, and I always found it amazing how many artistic people maintained the notion that getting paid well for their art was tantamount to “selling out”.

Similarly, we seem to create the same divide when it comes to healing professions or anything to do with the heart and soul. I cannot tell you how many people I know in these areas who have the unspoken (and sometimes spoken) belief that asking for money for their work renders them insincere. As a result, they don’t ask for what they deserve. Sadly, I have watched all too many of them go out of business over a short period of time.

So, we have a dilemma.

On the one hand, from a practical perspective, if all the sensitive, soul-based, caring, healing and creative people in the world do not get paid adequately for the wonderful things they do, it means that the world will no longer be blessed with wonderful healers, writers, artists, musicians, coaches, teachers, etc. And that would be a real tragedy.

On the other hand, if all heart-based people in the world suddenly became hardened sales people, like the grinning fellow in this photograph, they would lose the wonderful quality that makes them who they are. If money became the sole focus of their mind-body-spirit work, it would take the soul out of what they do.

Clearly a balance must be found between the two extremes.

This balance was the primary focus I had when I wrote “Module 2: Pre-Publication Marketing Musts” of the Spirit Authors course. “Selling” in the mind-body-spirit genre is very different to other markets. We cannot embrace the same formulae taught by many other marketing schools and expect to reach our target audience in a positive way. After all, the people who read your mind-body-spirit books are just as sensitive as you are, and they cringe just as much at the word “selling” as you do. The mind-body-spirit market is a giving one, based upon long-term relationships. Module 2 of the Spirit Authors course is aimed at showing you how to build your promotional platform in a way that is authentic, guilt-free, friendly and fun.

Helping you to learn how to “sell” your wonderful mind-body-spirit book without this four-letter word getting in your way is a big part of what Spirit Authors is all about. We’ve got a fantastic Grand Opening going on throughout the week of 22-26 February 2010, with over a dozen industry experts coming on board to enlighten, inform and inspire you. 

18 VIP Guests for the Spirit Authors Grand Opening


Time left to the Spirit Authors Grand Opening:

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