Pithy digital publishing tips from the Novelists, Inc. (NINC) conference!
· 1) Covers--in addition to making sure you’ve got a cover that pops, make sure it looks good in black and white postage stamp-size. Make sure the title is clear, and make the author’s name BIG. Make sure the message that’s relayed by the cover is “This is a real book.” What that means is that it is polished. Also, people have already used a browser to find your book, so they have an idea of what it’s about, etc. The cover hopefully closes the deal.
· 2) Make the inside of your book polished, too. Some authors use three proofers to go over their books! Some prefer to have backlist titles typed in, rather than scanned, because scanning results in too many errors that proofers might not catch. A good typist doesn’t make nearly as many errors.
On raising your profile:
1) In general, it gets easier to raise your profile if you have more than one book out there.
·2) Pay attention to the keywords you use, because they can really draw people to your work. Use settings, situations, character names...
· 3) Newsletter: Make it more interesting with factoids and pictures. Gear it toward your readers, using the word “you”; make it about them rather than just yourself. Do giveaways or swag. In a word, engage* them!
· 4) If you use Goodreads, don’t go on there to promote to death. Go on because you are a true reader. J
· BTW, Goodreads is planning to host e-book giveaways within 6-9 months.
· 1) Make the most out of the “back of the book”: include your backlist as well as hyperlinks to them. Always put your site there.
· 2) If you don’t want to “go free” with your books, consider pricing them down to $.99. This puts the book into a different “world” than giving them away for free, because it attracts a customer who’ll be willing to pay a little more.
· When your sales briefly spike because of the value offer, make the most of it--maybe you could have an excerpt from an upcoming book in the value book with a pre-buy link, or at the very least, include your site/Twitter/FB/newsletter info. But since we live in an instant world, the pre-buy link would be the best. Also, raise your price shortly after the promo to take advantage of the spike.
· 3) It’s smart to have a digital release every 6-7 months, even if you just put out a short story to remind your readers that you’re still out there.
On expanding your reach:
· 1) If you’re going to do a foreign edition of your book, your cover needs to reflect the culture of the country.
· 2) Think about doing a manga version of your book for Japan. Big sales. Lots of work, though. If you’re thinking of getting your book translated, keep in mind that this works best if you have a large backlist and good sales.
· 3) Think of encouraging readers to give e-books as holiday gifts.
· It seems that backlist digital releases are doing better than originals.
· Historical romance is doing well in the $2.99-$3.99 price range.
· Rumor has it that romantic comedy is making a comeback!