Sunday, November 27, 2011

Happy Cyber Monday!

Simple Promo Tips in an Increasingly Complex Electronic World

Many authors (including me) are using independent distribution sites like Amazon and Smashwords to sell their books (either brand new titles, titles that weren’t picked up by traditional publishers or titles that were once published elsewhere but are no longer in print) in order to find a new audience in this wonderful Kindle, KOBO, Nook, and tablet-happy electronic world we now inhabit. It’s tough to be an indie author, but there are ways to make it easier. Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful:
Converting books for Amazon’s Kindle and Smashwords can be a chore, especially for first-timers. Here is a list I’ve found and I refer to it closely when I have to upload a new book. It’s worked wonders and saved me a ton of time. It also helps to have a new computer and a new version of Microsoft Word.

* “Save As” to create Kindle file copy
* Insert cover image on first page
* Remove blank pages
* Remove headers
* Remove footers
* Set margins to 1” all around, remove gutter
* Replace section breaks with page breaks
* Set two carriage returns before each pg break and one after each
* Insert page breaks before each chapter heading, if necessary
* Replace double spaces with single space between sentences
* Standardize body text style
* Turn off auto-hyphenate (Tools > Language > Hyphenation)
* Remove any tab or space bar indents, replace w/ ruler indents as needed
* Set line spacing to 1.5, max 6pt spacing after paragraphs
* Standardize chapter headings
* Standardize section headings
* Remove/replace special characters
* Reformat graphics as needed to 300dpi resolution & optimal size (4×6” or smaller)
* Verify images are “in line” with text
* Insert page breaks before and after full-page images
* Modify copyright page to reflect Kindle edition verbiage
* Add correct ISBN to copyright page
* Insert hyperlinked TOC (From The Indie Author Guide by April Hamilton)

Other great resources: Taleist (, Kindle Boards Author Tag Exchange and Kindle’s Direct Publishing Newsletter. Also, where you can list new releases as well as Hope Clark’s Funds for Writers at, Sandra Beckwith’s Build Book Buzz, and Dana Lynn Smith’s The Savvy Book Marketer are also wonderful resources.

Books: The Newbie’s Guide to Publishing by J.A. Konrath and Smart Self-Publishing: Becoming an Indie Author by Zoe Winters

Join the following groups for great writing and promo tips: Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors and Writing; New Image Writer’s International Network; Reader’s Entertainment; Books and Writers; and Romantic Fiction, all on Linked In.

Post at: Long and Short Romance Reviews, Coffee Time Romance, Love Romance Café, All Romance Reviews (Put their banner on your website and get a free headline ad each month), and Twitter and Facebook, of course.

Happy Cyber Monday and I hope your sales skyrocket!

What’s your favorite free promotional tool?
Next week: How to Creatively Promote while on Vacation and during the Holidays

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What Sells Books?

Simple question: what makes books sell the MOST?
1. Plots
2. Characters
3. Title
4. Cover
5. Good Cover Blurb/Plot Synopsis
6. Price
7. Good Reviews
8. Word of Mouth
9. Established Author with multiple titles
10. Facebook/Twitter/Other Social Media
11. Successful Blog with large number of Blog Followers
12. Popularity of Genre (Vampires, Shapeshifters, Werewolves)
13. Good Publicity/Promotion Plan
14. Paid Advertising

What do you think? Personally, I think good reviews and word of mouth help the most as well as being an author with multiple titles and a good track record. What do you think?

Next Week: Help for Indie Authors

Sunday, November 6, 2011

What is Your Favorite Type of Romantic Hero to Read or Write About?

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy…an Internet poll says these are the most popular professions of romantic heroes: (not in any particular order)

1. Doctor
2. Cowboy
3. Boss
4. Prince
5. Rancher
6. Knight
7. Surgeon
8. King
9. Bodyguard
10. Sheriff
11. Police Officer
12. Detective
13. Spy
14. Pirate

So how many have they left off the list? Vampire and shapeshifter comes to mind. How about a soldier? Another heroic possibility. Are there any others you can think of? And what’s your favorite type of romantic hero? Since I’m also fascinated with anything mysterious, I vote for spy. You never know what the guy is up to or what side he’s on. Sounds appealing. Keeps me guessing and turning the pages. James Bond…Jason Bourne, especially Jason Bourne because he doesn’t really know who he is and why everybody is chasing after him. The amnesiac spy. Even better. Bodyguard is another one of my favorites. Creates all kinds of romantic possibilities. He’s got a reason to hang around and he can’t leave the heroine’s side and when he does, all kinds of trouble follow him.

Detective also ranks high with me. Another mysterious brooding guy with a lot of psychological problems that usually get peeled off layer by layer within the book. Makes for an interesting character study. They haven’t included FBI/government official which I suppose sort of goes hand in glove with the spy category. Another they haven’t included is politician—traditionally the handsome senator or Presidential candidate in trouble, being stalked by some crazed supporter. How about reporter? A guy digging for the truth can get my vote for best hero too. Anyway, it sets your mind spinning when you start to write, which exciting romantic type to choose. That’s half the fun. But I’m sure every writer has their favorite.

What’s yours?

Next Week: What sells books?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yes Party at The Romance Reviews

Visit the Romance Reviews site today and answer the questions for a chance to win over 200 prizes (including the Grand Prize of a $100 gift card). Other prizes include: gift cards, e-books, print books) Join in the fun! PS, Mine is Question 13 today!

The Objective!
Match up all the book covers in the Matching Covers Game you'll find at The Romance Reviews. If you complete it, that’s 1 chance. Play and complete the Matching Covers Game everyday, and that will give you a maximum of 30 chances to win any of the major prizes. Each player starts the game with 10 clicks (number of times to open the covers). Get More Clicks (chances)! Each correct Q&A you answer gives you 2 additional clicks. The more Q&A you answer, the more clicks you have to match all the covers.

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.
Click on the “Reset” button, and the number of clicks you earned will be restored and you can try again to complete a new Matching Covers Game.

Here's the link: Don't miss out! And go to my website to find the answer to question 13 today for a chance to win an e-copy of "The Montezuma Secret!" Five Stars on Amazon and Goodreads!

Alison Chambers