15 Tactics to Sell More Books

The biggest complaint I hear from authors is this: it’s so hard to sell books!

And while marketing and selling books can sometimes be a challenge, it doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, you can actually have fun with marketing.

Hold up! Did I just say “fun” and “marketing” in the same sentence?

Yep. Because as my Kindle coach so wisely says, marketing and selling is just teaching people the value of something.

Looking at it from that perspective, it makes marketing seem much more doable, doesn’t it? And I feel like it gives it a purpose, other than making money (even though that’s a big part of it). Because when you realize that when you’re marketing your books, all you’re doing is trying to show someone the value of why they need to read it.

It has definitely made me feel different about my book marketing efforts, that’s for sure. Now I see that it’s my responsibility to get my books out there and in the hands of writers and reader who need them. And it’s doing my audience a disservice to not market my books to them so that they know they exist.

Reframing things is a great way to shift your mindset around the parts of being an author that you don’t enjoy as much. 

I get emails on a weekly basis from people who follow me, asking me to teach more stuff about marketing. A lot of people tell me I’m a natural marketer. And while that may seem like it’s true, this isn’t a skill I was born with. I spent 7+ years doing online marketing for publications and corporations. Which means I learned how to do it.

And if I can learn how to do it, so can you.

I’ve put together an audio training + workbook on 15 Tactics to Help You Sell More Books. These are some of the best tactics out there for making more book sales.

Some are simple and others take more work. All of them will help you sell more books.

>> Grab the FREE audio training + workbook here 

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Which of the 15 tactics will you implement first? 

Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Ep. 7: An Interview with Author and Story Coach, Devlin Blake

Listen on  iTunes or Stitcher

Guest Bio:

Devlin Blake believes that craft matters and that great stories need structure and rhythm. Learning structure early in her publishing career changed everything for her. And now she coaches emerging horror and suspense writers on everything from craft to pacing to doing away with writers guilt. Devlin is able to write four books a year thanks to the systems she’s created in her writing life. Get free access to her best systems for writing your novel in between work, life and family here.

Show Notes:

I randomly met Devlin Blake one day while I was hanging out in a Facebook group. We bonded over the fact that we’re both story coaches who had our lives and writing careers changed by finding story structure, and now we help other emerging authors with the same thing.

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • You can “write” your books faster if you speak them–until I interviewed Devlin I never even considered dictation software, but her success with it has inspired me to give it a try.
  • Your first draft should tell, not show–I loved this advice, because when I write a first draft, it’s often the bare-bones story and not much else. She says that’s a good thing and she believes your first draft should be just the bones of the story, and then when you revise you find places to turn telling into showing.
  • Finding balance with writing, working full-time and having a life–even though I no longer work a traditional day job, this was advice I’d wish I had back when I was still working a job and trying to figure out how to write books and not become a social hermit.

Devlin also runs a free Facebook group for emerging horror and suspense authors. You can join her group here.

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What’s your biggest takeaway? Share in the comments. 

And if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, and share it using the links below.

2016 Year In Review

I seriously still can’t believe it’s the end of the year. Where the hell did 2016 go?!

That being said, it was an INCREDIBLE year for me. My best so far. I’m finishing the year not only having completed so many of the goals I had, but feeling SO damn proud of myself for how much I stepped up this year and kicked ass.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know the kind of year I just had!

But it’s always good to do a check in and really take inventory of what you managed to do this year (and what you didn’t). So here’s my 2016 Year In Review:

What I Accomplished

  • Wrote 9 books–published 7 of them (5 on Amazon, 1 as a freebie eBook on my website, 1 as a long blog post).
  • Hit #1 on Amazon 3 times with 2 different books
  • Fully replaced the income I used to make at my day job with my business income (first year I’ve done this!!)
  • Participated in my first multiple day live event (with Larry Brooks!)
  • Guest posted for Copyblogger
  • Sold 2,300+ books in 31 days
  • Was the first American guest on the U.K. podcast, Self-Publishing Journeys
  • Connected with big-name people in the writing industry
  • Launched my first podcast, The Pro Writer Mindset
  • Up-leveled my mindset and created a new reality for myself
  • Created supportive writing habits that stuck
  • Continued changing writers lives through my books, workshops, digital products, free content, and my 1-1 coaching
  • Kept up with my daily mindset practice and have now taken it into overdrive
  • Attended a live event in the writing industry (TRIBE Writers!)
  • Signed on to work with two of my dream mentors
  • Took massive leaps in my business and in my writing career
  • Stepped up to be the writer and author I’ve always wanted to be
  • Learned A SHIT TON!
  • Began trusting the Universe to show up for me and keep showing up for me
  • Launched my membership site, the Bestselling Author Mastermind
  • Changed my thinking BIG TIME
  • Wrote 20+ emails a month to my community
  • Continued to grow the membership of my free Facebook group, the 1% Writers Club

There’s probably SO MUCH MORE that I’m not even thinking of (because I honestly did a fuck load of stuff this year!). But this is the bulk of it. Whew!

And I’m not even tired! I’m energized and ready to keep going!!

What I Left Undone

With everything that does get done, there are always things that don’t get done. It’s what sacrifice is all about. And every choice you make has one.

For me, these are the biggest things that got left undone this year:

  • Didn’t achieve any of my fitness and health goals
  • Didn’t publish my second novel
  • Dishes… oh so many dishes 🙂

While I’m not happy about the things left undone, I realize that it’s OK. Because a whole lot of other things did get done. And way more than I left undone.

Looking Into 2017

As usual, I have some MASSIVE goals for the New Year–stuff I’m really, really excited about. And while I’ll have lots of little goals for the year, I like to choose 3-5 BIG goals for the year. My big goals for 2017 are:

  • Publish novel #2
  • Write a screenplay
  • Get healthy (fitness and food goals mixed into this one)
  • Write a memoir
  • Double my income from 2016

I’m taking on some stuff this year that’s totally outside my comfort zone. It’s going to be another year of massive achievement and massive growth. I’m looking forward to it.

I don’t know about you, but this is the first year where I’m ending December feeling like I killed it!! Like I seriously kicked ass and like I took advantage of every minute I could.

I know there are things I could’ve done better (’cause aren’t there always?) but overall, I’m insanely proud of myself and of how hard I worked this year, how far out of my comfort zone I pushed myself, and how much I leaned on the Universe for support.

I know 2017 is going to be an even more amazing year thanks to the momentum I built up this year.

How’d your year go? Are you landing where you wanted to? Or are you finding yourself feeling disappointed for another year gone by without achieving what you wanted to?

Wherever you’re at is the perfect place–there’s never any reason to judge or berate yourself. Your life is unfolding in perfect timing.

But it never hurts to get some clarity and self-awareness around what’s working and what’s not. So you know exactly what to focus on in the coming year.

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What did you accomplish this year that you’re most proud of? Share in the comments.

 

The FREE “Story Engineering” by Larry Brooks Read and Discuss Event Series

The new year is upon us, and with it a refreshing sense of what’s possible. A whole new 365 days to do with whatever we desire.

And one of the things I like to do every year, is re-read my favorite craft book, Story Engineering, by Larry Brooks.

But this year, I wanted to do something different. This year, I’m inviting you to JOIN ME.

I hosted a 7-day livestream series where we read and then discussed the sections of Story Engineering. (Video replays below) 

Why did I choose this book? Because the information in it changed my life. It took me from writing in circles to writing actual stories that were cohesive and worth publishing. It helped me get my debut novel, SoundCheck, out into the world.

It’s the only craft book that ever spoke to me and that finally made me really understand story structure and how to use it. (I was lucky enough to have found Story Engineering back when it was an eBook on Larry’s site called, Story Structure–Demystified.)

Not to mention it’s a best-seller, and Signature recently named it #3 Best Books on Writing.

And if you are following along, I highly recommend you also do the following:

1. Buy (or borrow) a copy of Story Engineering by Larry Brooks (it’s available on Kindle and in print)

2. Download the Story Engineering Reading Guide that I created to go with this event

The Story Engineering Read and Discuss Series

Additional trust-building content (will add the rest as I go, since I’m doing it live on my business Facebook page–and then sharing the replay into my free FB group):

Day 1 Livestream: Part 1 and 2 in Story Engineering 

Day 2 Livestream: Part 3 in Story Engineering 

Day 3 Livestream: Part 4 in Story Engineering 

Day 4 Livestream: Part 5 in Story Engineering up to “Foreshadowing”

Day 5 Livestream: The rest of Part 5 in Story Engineering 

Day 6 Livestream: Part 6 in Story Engineering 

Day 7 Livestream: Parts 7 and 8 in Story Engineering 

BONUS Live Call

Larry Brooks and I did a live Q&A call, to wrap up the Story Engineering series (Note: I forgot to hit record for the first few minutes of the call so it starts right into the content with Larry)

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Ready to find your story? Grab my FREE story development training + workbook, ‘From “Eh” to “Awesome!”‘ here

The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Ep. 6: An Interview with Memoirist Marion Roach Smith

Listen on  iTunes or Stitcher

Guest Bio:

Marion Roach Smith believes that everyone has a story to tell. The author of four books, all of which contain a large degree of memoir, her most recent book is The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing—and Life, an irreverent, quirky, provocative product of the countless memoir classes she has taught for more than a decade.

Under the name Marion Roach, she is the author of The Roots of Desire: The Myth, Meaning and Sexual Power of Red Hair; the co-author with famed forensic pathologist Michael Baden, M.D., of Dead Reckoning; and of Another Name for Madness. A former staff member of The New York Times, she has written for The New York Times Magazine, Prevention, The Daily News, Vogue, Newsday, Good Housekeeping, Martha Stewart Living, Discover, and The Los Angeles Times. Since 1998, she has taught classes in writing memoir and now does so both in person and online. She can be found at MarionRoach.com.

Show Notes:

I had the pleasure of not only hearing Marion speak on memoir writing at the 2016 TRIBE Writers Conference, but I also was lucky enough to sit at a table with her for three days. She is FANTASTIC and has so many incredible insights about writing memoir.

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • Memoir is about moments of transition and transcendence–this is one of my favorite pieces of memoir-writing advice Marion shared. I’ve always thought memoir was a genre I’d never touch, and now she has me thinking about writing a memoir (listen to the episode to hear the topic I’m considering!)
  • Write from a place of phobia–I loved hearing her say this, because I’m someone who overcomes fears by facing them head-on.
  • Read above you–rather than reading at the level you’re used to, if you want to learn how to write better, you must read above you, by finding authors who are better writers and studying what they do.

Be sure to check out Marion’s book–The Memoir Project: A Thoroughly Non-Standardized Text for Writing and Life, available now! 

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What’s your biggest takeaway? Share in the comments. 

And if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, and share it using the links below.

The Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor For You

Finding and hiring an editor for your book is a pretty big deal. Not only is it an investment time-wise and financially, but it’s also an investment in the future success of your book.

On top of that, choosing a good editor can be the difference between a polished, professionally self-published book (that rivals the books published by traditional publishers) that finds a readership, and shot-in-the-dark self-published book that gets no traction. 

Which is why it’s important to do your research and know what you’re getting into.

And to make it even easier for you, the great people over at Kindlepreneur just released The Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor. It contains everything you need to know about choosing an editor, including:

  • Deciding on the right kind of editor
  • Learning how to compare one editor to another
  • How to reach out and contact an editor

And more.

Did you know that there are four main categories of editors? A snippet from the article:

Here is a rundown of common terms for editing services as well as some other terms editors may use to describe them. These are arranged from heaviest editing to lightest editing.

  • Developmental editing (may also be called structural or content) – looks at the book’s big picture and overall structure in nonfiction or plot and characters in fiction. Developmental editors may assess a book idea, outline, or early draft to tell authors what works and what could be better. The big picture questions need to be answered first before an editor ensures your words are polished and used correctly.
  • Line editing (may also be called substantive or stylistic) – goes through each line refining the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences and smooth-transitioning paragraphs. This helps the book “sound good” by polishing the language used to communicate your story.
  • Copyediting – corrects grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Copyediting also includes correcting commonly confused words (e.g., affect and effect) as well as checking for internal consistency of facts and consistency with capitalization, hyphenation, and numerals.
    • Important note: Sometimes Copyediting and Line Editing are the same thing…just depends on that editor’s interpretation.  In our list of book editors below, we combined them as “LE and CE” and just made it one.
  • Proofreading – a final check before publication to find missed typos, missing words, repeated words, spacing and formatting consistency. Proofreading should be the very last level of editing.

>> Check out the complete Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor 

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How did you find your book editor? 

———–

And if you’re in need of a content editor–someone to look at your draft for structure, character arc, opposition, and all the most important parts of writing a kick-ass story–check out my Read and Feedback service and then contact me if you wanna chat.

10 Steps to Making Shit Happen (aka: The “I Don’t Know How” Guide)

For a long time I dreamed of seeing my book at #1 on Amazon; of more readers finding my books and transforming their lives, because the books is at #1 and actually has a chance at being shown to potential readers.

Problem was, I had no idea HOW I was going to make this happen. I didn’t know anyone who’d done it. And I had never done it before, so the steps were unknown to me.

So because I didn’t know HOW I was going to get my book to #1 on Amazon, I didn’t allow myself to want it. I just pretended that I didn’t care and that it didn’t really matter to me.

I even recall making fun of authors who called themselves “best selling authors” just from hitting #1 on Amazon. (And now I do it–ha!)

The point being, I did everything I could think of to downplay the fact that I really wanted to hit #1 on Amazon. Just because I didn’t know HOW to do it.

Thankfully this year, I finally accepted the lesson that was given to me over and over again for years… the HOW is NOT up to you.

What that means: HOW you do something isn’t what matters. It’s DOING SOMETHING that matters.

My Story

In February I came across an author who has published 47 eBooks–46 of which were best sellers on Amazon. It finally made me realize that if she could do it that many times, I could do it at least once.

Suddenly my fear of not knowing HOW I was going to do it shifted to a belief that I could do it.

At that point, the specifics of HOW didn’t really matter, because I was finally to a place where I not only wanted it, but I believed I could have it. It finally felt possible for me to be #1 on Amazon.

So I started writing in my journal every day that, “I am a best selling author” and “I am #1 on Amazon.” And then I started talking about wanting to hit #1. I even told my accountability buddy about it.

And then I made a decision: I would hit #1 on Amazon in 2016.

(Still at this point had no idea HOW I’d do it.)

Not long after, I got an email about a tool called Bestseller Ranking Pro. Out of no way, a HOW had shown up.

I could use this tool to find the right category to put my book in, so people can actually find it. And that will help me get to #1. Boom! I bought the software.

After looking through the BRP categories and info, I decided I was going to write an eBook about the structure of love stories. The “craft” category was a good fit for this book.

I wasn’t totally thrilled with that book idea, but it was an idea to get me started. Thankfully, right after that I got another idea–what if I took the 30-day challenge I just did to help me revamp my writing habits and turned it into an eBook?

That idea really inspired me, so I decided to put that book together and publish it first, and then go back and write the structure of love stories one.

The more practical side of me also had a thought: if I’m going to hit #1, I need to write and publish more books.

So I announced that I was going to write and publish 9 books in 2016. And then I got inspired to invite people to watch me as I wrote and published these books and turned one of them into a best seller.

(Still no real idea HOW I’d do this. Just some nudges and ideas.)

I published “Align Your Writing Habits to Success” in May and two days after it went live it hit #1 on Amazon. (And then my book, “The 15-Minute Writer”hit #1 in multiple categories two months after!)

I had achieved the goal of hitting #1 and being a best selling author on Amazon.

Looking back, I never had any idea HOW I’d do it. I just took whatever actions I could think of.

And that’s the whole point.

It’s NOT about the specific actions that you take. You can take actions that seem random and if you’re still moving in the direction of your desired outcome, the right HOW will eventually show up and you’ll get there.

My story is the perfect example–I was planning on a totally different book hitting #1 by me using the BRP tool and writing a book for a specific category; and a book I never even expected to have hit #1 did, multiple times. (Pretty much shuts up the “you need to know HOW” argument, right?)

How I achieved a #1 best seller on Amazon didn’t happen because of any one thing I did. It happened because of ALL the things I did–this year and all the years leading up to this one.

The HOW that gets you to your desired end result can only be found by creating momentum. And you create momentum by taking action–any actions–that move you in the direction you want to go.

The actions can be simple, easy things and still be powerful enough for the Universe to meet you half-way.

Because the Universe doesn’t care what actions you take. Big or small. Super risky or playing it safe. It just cares that you’re DOING SOMETHING. (Although the bigger, bolder actions always pay off more than staying in your comfort zone.)

Want to become a published author? Write a book. Show up every day and put words on the page. Learn the steps in the self-publishing process. Do your research.

The specific HOW that gets you to the desired end result of being a published author will show up as a result of you doing all those other things.

What you don’t want to do is decide you want something and then sit on your ass thinking it’s just going to show up one day. ‘Cause it doesn’t work like that, sorry.

10 Steps to Making Shit Happen

If you’re been feeling stuck or frozen because you don’t know HOW you’re going to achieve something, or because you’re overwhelmed by HOW much there is to learn and know and do… I’m gonna simplify it for you in 10 basic steps:

  1. Take a deep breath and relax–it’s not that serious.
  2. Remind yourself that you’re in the right place, exactly where you are right now.
  3. Write down your desired end result (one or more).
  4. For each end result you want, make a list of all the things you can think of right now that you could do to move in that direction. It doesn’t matter if the steps are out of order, totally random, or make no practical sense; just write everything down that comes to you.
  5. Choose one of the steps/actions you listed and do it right now.
  6. When that action is done, do the next one. (Whichever one pops out to you as the one to do next.)
  7. Repeat steps 5-6.
  8. Add any new inspired actions and ideas to the list as you go.
  9. Act on as many of the actions and ideas from your list as you can.
  10. Trust that any specific HOW you need to get you to that final end result will show up as a result of you doing steps 5-9.

And there you have it–get the hell out of the HOWS and stay focused on the end result.

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What have YOU been holding off or playing small on because you don’t know HOW you’ll make it happen? Share in the comments!

The Pro Writer Mindset Podcast, Episode 5: An Interview With Best Selling Author Chandler Bolt

Listen on  iTunes or Stitcher

Guest Bio:

screen-shot-2016-12-04-at-4-06-03-pmChandler Bolt is the author of 5 best selling books including “Book Launch” and his most recent book, “Published.” He’s also the founder & CEO of Self-Publishing School, the #1 online resource for writing your first book. Through his books, training videos, and Self-Publishing School, he’s helped thousands of people on their journey to writing their first book.

Show Notes:

I’m not gonna lie–I was geeking out a bit when Chandler agreed to be a guest on my podcast. I’ve been following his work for a while now and I’m a huge fan of him and what he’s created in the world (not to mention he has some pretty good travel hacks 😉 ).

Here are some of my takeaways from the interview:

  • Don’t take your old book down, even if you write an updated version of it–this was something I was actually thinking about doing because I’m in the process of updating some of my eBooks. Until I heard Chandler’s reasoning for why you shouldn’t do this.
  • Meditation app recommendation: Headspace
  • Book recommendation: The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Be sure to check out Chandler’s new book, Published, it’s available now!

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What’s your biggest takeaway? Share in the comments. 

And if you enjoyed this episode, be sure to subscribe on iTunes and Stitcher, and share it using the links below.

Do You Have A Nonfiction Book In You? Here’s How To Tell

I believe that most writers have a nonfiction book in them–they’re just not always sure how to pull it out. In situations like this, I share two of my favorite exercises:

  1. Uncovering your book idea
  2. Finding your angle

If you’re not sure that you have a nonfiction book in you, here’s an exercise you can do to find a potential topic you could write about.

The “Uncovering your nonfiction book idea” exercise:

  • Grab your notebook or a piece of paper
  • Draw a line down the center of the page, dividing it into two parts
  • At the top of the left column, write “Skills I have/things I know how to do really well”
  • At the top of the right column, write “Transformations I’ve made/experiences I’ve had”
  • Make lists in each column based on the prompt at the top—now you’ll have two lists of potential topics you could write a nonfiction book about
  • Go through the lists and circle the topics or ideas that most interest you
  • Narrow down the topic/idea and choose one

Once you’ve done this exercise, then complete the exercise below.

The “Find your angle” exercise:

The following exercise will help you find a unique and/or interesting angle for your book topic:

  • Grab your notebook or a piece of paper
  • At the top of the page, write your book topic (or idea)
  • Brainstorm 30 (or more) different angles or approaches you can take on this specific topic
  • Go back through the list and circle anything that pops out as something worth writing
  • Narrow down your circled choices to one (or combine several if it works)

From doing both of these exercises, you should have a bunch of nonfiction book ideas. You don’t have to write all of them, of course. In fact, most you probably won’t write at all.

But you’ve got a whole bunch of ideas to choose from now. And maybe you’ve even proven to yourself that you do actually have a nonfiction book in you.

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What potential topic are you considering for a nonfiction book?