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Category : Tips & Tricks

Tips & Tricks

Editing Process: Traditional vs. Assisted Self-Publishing

Completing the writing process of your book is a huge and exciting feat! Now you can carry on to the editing stage, which is extremely important as you will receive valuable insight from an unbiased professional. Some writers may feel like they want to opt out of editing; however, we highly recommend that everyone invest in the editing process. This process is crucial, as it can turn a good book into a GREAT book! Having someone else’s eyes on your writing allows you to receive feedback that you may have overlooked.

As a self-published author, when considering editing services it is important to understand the differences in the process between traditional and assisted self-publishing.

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Tips & Tricks

How to use Christmas to bring your book sales back to life!

It’s that time of year again where Christmas decorations are going up and people are getting in the holiday spirit. Malls are packed as people are shopping for their loved ones. As an author, you may think that this will be a profitable time for book sales, however, it can be challenging.

There are so many promotions on various items and books that are being marketed, therefore, your book may go unnoticed in the storm. Although difficult, there is the potential to make the most of the Christmas season and be extremely successful. You could even bring your book sales back to life! You may find the perfect holiday niche market, network, and/or promoting outlet that becomes a great source to boost your book. You know that it would make an amazing gift, so why not persuade others of that too!

Giant Christmas tree in shopping mall

Use these tips to crush your Christmas sales:

  • Use your network to push your book sales. Your friends and family are your biggest supporting base, therefore, why not get them to help you? If your friends have events that they are going to ask if you can attend to promote your book. If silent auctions are going on, ask to place your book in it. Of course, you don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or be that person that “only talks about their book.”
  • Offer holiday promotions to increase sales traction. Take a look at these tips to see how to effectively launch an online book giveaway. Consider investing in some online advertising as well, to increase your book’s visibility as people are shopping for gifts. For more on advertising options, check out these Tellwell tips.
  • Social media is your friend! Use it as much as you can to get your book out there. Find hashtags that gain followers and likes. Once you have found these, keep using them on every post. It also helps to tie your book into the Christmas season, by posting about how it makes a great holiday read, or adding visuals that tie your book into a Christmas setting.
  • Take advantage of events! Christmas is a time where people are constantly socializing and going to events. Try to go to as many events as you can to increase your networking opportunities. You never know who you are going to meet. Consider craft fairs and other community-related opportunities to optimize in-person sales.
  • Start early! Don’t wait until mid-December to promote your book. Start as early as you can. Keep in mind, bookstores finalize their events and inventory as early as September, so while it may seem ridiculous, consider developing an initial plan late summer, and begin liaising with literary contacts early fall. Proper planning will help you execute great promotion and marketing tactics.
  • Be easy on yourself! If you don’t reach your goals for Christmas sales, just remember that it is a really tough time and competition is high. Everything will settle down in the New Year and you will be able to get back to longer term marketing strategies.

Christmas is a wonderful season to reconnect with old friends and family, therefore, you may find the holiday season to be a better time to revise your plans, focus on writing, and get ready to pursue more marketing tactics in January. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your holidays and take some time to revitalize and cultivate new relationships that can carry forward into the new year.

Happy Holidays from everyone at Tellwell!

 

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Tips & Tricks

How to run an online book giveaway

How do you get people to buy your book? You give it to them for free. Hosting an online giveaway is one tactic that will provide a bit of extra publicity for your book. Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon have functions on their sites that give writers the opportunity to organize their very own book giveaways. The question is: which platform is best for you?

Facebook

Fortunately, running a Facebook giveaway is as easy as writing a Facebook status! However, once your contest is up and running that doesn’t necessarily mean people will be willing to participate. These steps will help ensure that your giveaway runs as smoothly as possible.

1) Determine how you want participants to enter your contest

On Facebook, there are several different ways participants can enter an online giveaway. You can ask users to tag a friend, like a post, like your Facebook page, share a post, or fill out an online form. It is best to choose a method that helps promote your page while also being easy to enter. Contests that require too much work from participants may discourage users from participating.

2) Create the online book giveaway post

Review Facebook’s rules for online contests before you create your giveaway post. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, create your post! Be sure to include some sort of attention-grabbing photo that also contains relevant information regarding the contest. It is also a good idea to pin the post to the top of your page during the duration of the giveaway. This will ensure that all visitors will see it.

3) Promote, promote, promote!

To help the contest gain traction, share it across social media platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and your own personal website. Having contestants tag their friends in the post will allow the post to appear in more newsfeeds. You can also use a custom hashtag to encourage online engagement for your book.

4) Choose a winner

Once the giveaway comes to an end, it is time to choose a winner. The Good Luck Fairy tool is possibly one of the most efficient way to choose a random winner for Facebook competitions. In fact, the tool can give you several winners based on different criteria such as identifying winners who liked, commented, and/or shared a post.

5) Follow up

Reach out to the winner immediately. Tag the lucky reader in a congratulatory post so that others are aware that the giveaway has come to an end. Then, communicate with the winner privately and ship them their prize. There have been times where people have left negative reviews on products and company pages because shipping took way too long. To prevent this from happening to you, ship the book in a timely manner and provide the winner with a tentative arrival date.

 

Before you get started on your Facebook contest, don’t forget to read through Facebook’s guidelines regarding contests.

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Tips & Tricks

10 Steps to Write an Effective Author Bio

Writing your biography can be an intimidating task. Sometimes, it may seem even more daunting than writing your book! However, it is a crucial part of your book that can engage readers and increase sales. This being said, many author bios are too long as they provide extensive and unimportant information which loses the reader’s interest. Use these 10 quick tips to help write your author bio or edit your current one.

  1.  Write in third person. To avoid constantly using pronouns, use your name interchangeably.
  2.  Only include pertinent information that the reader will actually find interesting. It may seem easy to write about all your achievements and experiences however, others may find this dull.
  3.  Include relevant credentials such as previous published pieces, degrees, and awards.
  4.  Keep the writing as concise as possible. Remember, less is more!
  5.  Try to have multiple versions of biographies that are different lengths and geared towards different platforms. For example, an author bio you might send to a bookstore to arrange an event might be longer and more detailed than the author bio found on the back cover of your book.
  6.  Update your bio frequently, especially when you have newly published books and/or awards.
  7.  Try to write for a target audience. Remember, this is a marketing component that will contribute to target readers deciding whether or not to buy your book. Keep them in mind, and think about what they would want to know about you.
  8.  Read your bio out loud. This will help gauge if there is flow and if the information is succinct.
  9.   Have a professional headshot taken to include with your bio. For more tips on the author headshot, check out these tips.
  10.  Have someone else look over your final bio. Feedback will go a long way to create your ideal piece!

Have fun writing your bio! Writing in third person might feel strange at the beginning, and it may feel like bragging, but that’s okay! Someone is reading it because they are interested in your writing, so give them something worth reading!

 

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Tellwell News Tips & Tricks

Take a Number: Understanding Tellwell’s Production Queues

Unlike the majority of New Yorkers, your Average Andy doesn’t love waiting in line. Rarely does a person wake up, stretch, rollover and think, “I know, I’m going to wait in line for something today.”

Waiting in line — or “queueing” as our tea loving friends across the pond so fondly refer to it as — is no one’s favourite part of their day, and yet we do it. Constantly. Every day.

And while we know you’re not always thrilled about it, it’s an integral part of our process here at Tellwell. It’s how we keep ourselves organized, manage workloads and make sure our services are provided to authors in a fair and timely manner.

The queue system is applied to services from illustrations and editing through to design and distribution.

Nearly every member of our production team has a queue that project managers use to assign projects and it’s important that we have every element in place before we add authors to a queue. If a project manager throws an author into design before they have all their images selected or haven’t completed their design questionnaire, it adds a lot of unnecessary time to the designers’ workload. One missed piece of the puzzle can hold up the whole process, and the more often this happens, the more likely our turnaround times are to be negatively affected.

It might seem like we’re being nit-picky, but we do it to every authors, so please don’t feel like you’re being singled out. Each project manager goes over their authors’ project assets to makes sure everything is accounted for. Things like editor and design questionnaires give our team insight into you as an author, what your goals are, and how we can best help you produce an amazing finished product.

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Tips & Tricks

Tellwell’s Tips for Launching your Book

After months of preparation, you’ve reached the end of the self-publishing journey. You do a quick Google search and there it is – your book listing on Amazon, Chapters, and Barnes and Noble. Excitement turns to panic as you wonder, “What do I do now?! How am I going to launch my book?”

Launching your book doesn’t have to be a grand event, and it doesn’t have to happen the second your book is released. Many authors wait months to line up events or signings, and focus instead on spreading the word via social media. Others plan a book tour, involving readings and book signings at multiple venues over the course of several weeks.

Remember, the purpose of launching your book is getting the word out, whether that be online, over the phone, or through in-person engagements. Regardless of which approach you take, here are Tellwell’s top 10 tips to launch your book when it becomes available:

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  1. Have promotional materials prepared: While your book is being designed, you’ll want to start thinking about materials you can put together to give to people who ask about your book. Examples include a bookmark or business card to hand out in person, an email signature with links to your author website or social media profiles, or a poster of the book cover to take to in-person events.
  2. Build an email/mailing list: When your book is available, you’ll want to have people to tell. So, while you’re working through the production process, start building a contacts list complete with names and email addresses. That way when the book is available, you can send out an email blast to all interested contacts with links to where they can buy the book.
  3. Know your target market inside and out: While it may be tempting to say anyone would take interest in your book, it can be a lot easier to promote your book to smaller, niche markets. Ask yourself – “Who is the type of person most likely to buy my book?” Once you’ve figured that out, determine where you might find them, where they buy their books, and what they look for when adding a new book to their collection so you can tailor your content and keywords to their interests.
  4. Get social: In a digital age, it’s nearly impossible to avoid social media when trying to get the word out. Whether you’re a social media guru, or you’re just getting started, try to engage with readers on at least one social media platform.
  5. Keep your audience engaged as your book is nearing completion: Use your social media platforms, or your mailing list, to share updates with your audience before the book comes out. This creates some pre-launch buzz that will kickstart your promotion efforts.
  6. Network, network network! As a one-person operation, it’s extremely difficult to generate buzz around your book. That’s why it’s critical to build valuable relationships with individuals and organizations who can help you get the word out about your book. Whether it be a local business who is willing to host you for events, or a charity you partner with and donate a portion of your book proceeds to, get networking!
  7. Get Reviews: We know you feel passionately about your book, but having others praise it will help to attract new readers. Like any product, getting customer feedback will help others to decide whether they should buy your book.
  8. Invest in book giveaways: Whether it be organized directly through your website, or through another source like Amazon or Goodreads, give away some free copies of your book to build momentum. Incentivize your audience to keep your book on their mind.
  9. Use clear call to actions: When approaching people about the book, be very clear about what you want from them. Are you requesting a review for your book? Do you want people to subscribe to the blog on your website? Keep your prompts clear, concise and genuine.
  10. Take it one step at a time: Marketing takes time and consistent engagement, so be sure to break down your goals into tangible steps, and don’t forget to celebrate all the small victories!

 

 

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Tips & Tricks

The Key to Standing out as a Self-Published Author: Book Marketing

You’ve finally done it – your copy has been meticulously edited, you’ve spent too many hours tweaking the design of your book jacket, and now your book is ready for distribution – you’ve published your book.

But just when you’re about to get that freshly-printed, new book in your hands, someone says it. It creeps up on you, making the hair on the back of your neck stand up, your stomach tightens and a wave of uncertainty hits you; then someone asks you the question: “How are you going to market your book?”

Abstract book store blurred background with colour bokeh in shopping mall book store.

It’s okay, breathe.

It’s a long, labour of love getting your book published. It’s a monetary and time commitment. So why then, after going through the editing process, the tedious design process, and setting up distribution, do you need marketing for your book?

Well, the reality is, when you decide to self-publish, you’re involuntarily signing up to be your own publicist (unless of course you actually hire a publicist). Much like the term suggests, being a self-published author means a good portion of your book sales are going to be dependent on the effort you put into book marketing.

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Tips & Tricks

September is the perfect month to hit the shelves as students hit the books

With summer drawing to a close and students heading back to school, we think it’s time to share some information for authors who wish to see their titles on the shelves of public libraries.

Demand for titles has been increasing and waitlists for books have been lengthening at libraries across North America, the most popular categories being children’s picture books, general fiction, mystery/thrillers, cookbooks, and memoirs/biographies. This is great news for both readers and writers as library budgets are growing to facilitate this.

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Here in Victoria, BC, the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) encourages the community to make recommendations for additions to its collections as libraries aim to provide desired and relevant content for its patrons. Recommendations can be made on the GVPL website at https://www.gvpl.ca/suggest-a-title/. Librarians make selections based largely on the credibility or relevance of a book. Once a book is in a library’s collection and reports on checkout rates are viewed, other libraries will often order the same books. As well, library users can request books be circulated from one branch to another.

Alternatively, the GVPL accepts donations which “enhance its collections.” Book donations must be suitable in subject and style for its intended audience, relevant to community needs and interests, and representative of notable trends, genres, and cultures. Many libraries are currently seeking additions to their e-book collections which are increasingly made available online. Find out more here.

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Tips & Tricks

An Image-Based App for a Text-Centric Industry

Marketing your book requires branding.  Putting aside that nearly 70% of brands are using Instagram as a marketing tool and that it boasts an impressive worldwide user count of 700 million, humans are 90% visual beings able to process images 60,000 times faster than text.

 

new-instagram-text-logo

But we’re in the business of books and you’ve recently published a book that may be more than a little too word-heavy to be considered a “picture book”. So, how can an image-based app like Instagram be useful to you as an author?

Social media gurus would say, if you’re not active on social media, you don’t exist. Active social media doesn’t just mean hosting a website or having a Facebook account. Today, being active online means posting content often and engaging with other users on all major platforms – the big three being Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Let’s focus on how authors can best utilize a picture-driven platform like Instagram.

Instagram is fun! It offers the opportunity for you as an author to give readers and fellow writers an insight into who you are as an individual, your process, your life beyond the cover of a book and a brief description of yourself. While Instagram certainly can be an enjoyable app with many cool features, like the rules of writing, you’ve got to know them in order to break them.

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Tips & Tricks

Why authors should have a media kit

Whether you’re looking to gain some media attention, attract book reviewers, pique the interest of bookstores, or develop relationships with key figures and organizations from your niche market, having professional materials to outline your project will be an essential asset to your pitch.

These materials can take many forms, depending on how best to showcase your work, but in the publishing industry, the package you put together will commonly be referred to as a media kit. At Tellwell, we call this package a Book Backgrounder, because it can and should be used to pitch your project to more than just media contacts. In fact, these promotive materials should be attached to every email you send out to inform someone about your book, and you should have copies printed and ready to bring with you for any in-person networking.

What makes up a media kit?

Think of a media kit as a 2-5-page portfolio that outlines your project and what sets it apart from the rest. Much like a resume, the most important information should be featured up front, and in many cases, the kit can be kept to 2 pages in length.

Here are some components to consider adding when putting together your media kit:

  • A fact sheet which would include the book synopsis and cover image, your author bio and headshot, and other details about the book, including ISBN’s, the genre, your publisher and retail information.

Why it’s useful: This component is crucial if you plan to use this kit to get your book into physical bookstores. The store managers will benefit from having both the product details and a description of the book, to determine if they think it will sell well in their store. These elements are also commonly requested from book reviewers when considering review requests from authors and publishers.

Tellwell Tip: Even though the fact sheet will display the contents of the front and back cover of your book, it still helps to bring in a sample copy of the book for the store manager to review.

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