Archive for LinkedIn

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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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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