On The Bookshelf: Boost Your eBook Sales Success By Marquita Herald

On The Bookshelf: Boost Your eBook Sales Success By Marquita Herald
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I had the pleasure of meeting Marquita recently in a Google+ community and when she asked for advance readers of her new eBook about using Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) program, I jumped at the opportunity.

The thing is (by way of true confessions) I have no idea how to use Amazon’s Kindle publishing platform. So if anyone was going to give Marquita honest feedback about how helpful her eBook was, it was going to be me!

So let’s start this review by saying that not only do I now have a pretty good grasp on how Amazon’s program works but it sounds like something I’m ready to try with my own book coming soon (new year’s resolutions and all). But more than that, I’ve got a super comprehensive resource of websites, groups, platforms and ideas for promoting any eBook, no matter how it’s published.

If you’re wondering where the heck to start and want to take your eBook for a spin, Marquita has you covered. And trust me, you don’t have to care one little fig for Kindle to use this book. You could ignore the Kindle section completely and still get a ridiculous amount of value out of the promotional ideas and resources in this book, even if you’re just selling yours in PDF format off your website or blog.

Warning: Do Not Attempt To Read While Watching TV, Listening To Podcasts, Feeding The Baby Or Doing Anything Other Than Reading!

This book is a resource.

You’re going to want to highlight, make notes and start putting together your to-do list the second you start reading.

In fact, grab a few tools now, like some mindmapping software and a task management system so you can be prepared. As Marquita so eloquently states in her book, writing the book is the easy part. It’s once you’re done with the book that the real work begins. Fortunately for all of us, she’s lending a helping hand.

The first half of the book is full of advice about putting together your marketing plan (yes, you do need one) and a laundry list of FAQs that might have been pulled right out of my brain.

Here’s just a tiny glimpse into what you’ll learn:

  • How to identify and reach your audience. This is solid advice, and arguably “identify” is something you should have done before writing, but “reach” is absolutely something you need to figure out how to do now that you’re ready to promote.
  • How to identify your competition. Check reviews, do some Google searching and borrow liberally from what works for others.
  • Pricing suggestions. Did you know you can pick a price… then change your mind? And change it again? It’s all about starting with a baseline and finding what works.
  • Ideas for setting goals and measuring results. Sales, earnings, reviews, interviews… along with making a plan for promoting your book, this is some of the best advice you’ll get. It’s vital to know what you’re aiming for so you can work towards it and see whether your methods are working.

The “Tips” Section Almost Does The Work For You

Marquita-Herald

Marquita wearing her signature Lei-Po’o – a Hawaiian crown of fresh flowers. In addition to being a successful author, Marquita has been known for dancing a mean hula.

There isn’t an ounce of fluff in this book.

A dozen pages in you’ll get what amounts to Marquita’s own marketing plan. When I read this section I felt like I was getting a truly behind-the-scenes look at exactly how a successful author promotes a book.

You know all those books and blog posts that promise you a “secret”? The ones I constantly complain about because there are no secrets, just gimmicks?

This section is as close to a secret as you can get without calling it secret. There’s a treasure of valuable “I tried it myself” tips and ideas that you can use to get started without getting overwhelmed.

If you’re smart about planning, goal-setting and measuring, you can follow Marquita’s roadmap and adjust as you go.

Here’s a sneak peek into a few of the tidbits you’ll pick up:

  • Don’t wait for reviews. You may want a few five-stars before promoting, but you could be losing sales in the meantime.
  • Choose promotion days wisely. Mondays stink. So do 5-day-long promotions. There are better ways and times to promote.
  • Play with pricing. Remember how I said you can change your mind about pricing? Doing it strategically within your promotion cycle can boost your sales.
  • Don’t sweat a downward trend in sales. You may be tempted to run multiple promotions to keep sales up, but that could backfire. There’s a great section on how to stagger and run promotions.
  • Monitor results. Amazon gives you plenty of tools to do so, if you know where to look and what to look for.

And Then There’s The Promotion…

The second half of the book is devoted to pages upon pages of glorious resources for you to use to list and promote your book. Marquita goes through the effort of providing a really useful key that tells you which promotional sites are free, which are paid, which require membership, which you can submit to now and which require you to plan your submissions weeks ahead.

Top that off with a list of author support sites, review groups, social networks and forums and you’ve got yourself a self-publishing dream. Each listing comes with advice, pros, cons and the “good to know” stuff you usually only find out after the fact and wished you knew.

Plus the great thing about having this in eBook format is that all the links to websites, forums and resources are “hot” – just click through from right within the book. How much easier does it get?

Seriously, I know how much effort it takes to sift through the incredible amount of junk on the internet and find even a few useful sites and groups, let alone a list this thorough. I guarantee you’ll be referencing this section repeatedly as you promote your book.

What This Book Is… And Isn’t

This book is meant to help you promote your eBook, with a guide for using Amazon’s KDP program.

If you want to know how to get your book printed or where to get an ISBN (which, incidentally, you don’t need for this program) then you’ll need an additional resource.

But even if you ignore everything about the KDP program, you still get a ton of useful and worthwhile advice for promoting your book. This book is full of resources you can use as an author, and anyone can use the promotional tactics for social media.

This book is not a dummies guide… if you don’t understand how to use Facebook, Twitter or social networking in general then you’ll want to get acquainted with those first. If you jump in and start spamming links out to your books without following the “rules of engagement” and good marketing practices then no amount of advice is going to help you make a sale!

There’s also a nice section on setting up Pinterest to promote your book, which can be a real boon for authors who can pin their book covers and share links and reviews.

And there are no “rules” in this book. That happens to be one of the things I loved about it. Marquita and I share a philosophy here: there are guidelines, there’s “what’s worked for me” and there are places to start and best practices to test.

But there is nothing that substitutes for your experience, your efforts and your results.

Follow the roadmap… but get off the pavement and see what’s out there in the weeds.

If I may borrow a quote from Marquita’s book:

“Half my life is an act of revision.” -John Irving

Plan, try, revise. That’s your roadmap to success.

The 10-Second Wrapup

This book is well worth your time. It’s the antidote to every vague, motivational-but-not-so-practical book you’ve read about becoming a profitable author.

If you’ve never considered Amazon’s KDP program, you’ll find some good reasons to try it out plus detailed advice on how to do it. And even if you never go down that road, the promotional ideas and resources are well worth the price of admission.

Finally, Marquita adds pages of author- and writing-centric quotes at the end, a sort of “inspirational manifesto”. These were a lot of fun to read, and you’ll probably see a few of them show up in my Facebook and Twitter stream. If you like to share quotes, you’ll love this added perk!

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Carol Lynn Rivera

Carol Lynn Rivera

Carol Lynn is a content creator and marketer who has been in the business of digital marketing since 1999. Along with her husband and business partner Ralph, she owns and operates both {Web.Search.Social}, a consulting and marketing services business, and Rahvalor Interactive, a web and creative services production studio. On any given day Carol Lynn will wear the hat of project manager, consultant, social media manager and content marketer. Her true passion is writing, whether it’s web content, a blog post, email campaign or social status update. When she's not writing for customers, {Web.Search.Social}, or her own blog, she's planning her early retirement to Barcelona as a famous and wealthy novelist.
Carol Lynn Rivera
Carol Lynn Rivera
  • http://www.donnamerrilltribe.com/ Donna Merrill

    Hi Carol!

    What a pleasure it is to see Marquita on your blog. I know her well and she has been an inspiration to me over the years.
    Marquita’s book looks sensational. She has been writing books for a long time so she “knows the deal.”
    Before one writes a book, one needs a marketing plan. It’s not about the book itself, more than it is about the marketing. I’ve dabbled a bit on this subject and it gave me a headache.

    This book looks like a great guideline for those of us who want to publish a book correctly. The marketing strategy mentioned above is a snippet of what is so important before you write that book!
    I think I’ll jump in and get my copy.

    Donna

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      Donna, I loved the book! It had so much great advice and the resources were ridiculous. I don’t know how someone does that much work and sells something so inexpensively. It’s worth it just to have her list of places to promote your book. And I know what you mean – there is sooo much information, and so much of it useless that it can rally give you a headache. Seriously, this was great and I would totally recommend it. Heck, I’d even buy it for you :)

  • Marquita Herald

    Hi Carol, I just wanted to stop by and say mahalo nui loa (thank you so much!) for your encouragement and for such a complimentary review of my book! I’ve been writing about personal growth for a few years, but this marked my return to why I started on this journey in the first place – helping those with an entrepreneural spirit. It was just such a fun project, I’m already buzzing with ideas for future editions!

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      Thank you for sharing it, Marquita. It’s a fantastic resource and I hope everyone on the planet who wants to publish an eBook will buy it :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nancy-Newnan/100000164901849 Nancy Newnan

    I’ve known Marquita for many years and am thrilled about this book. What a boon to writers of all genres. An answer to many New Year’s resolutions!

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      Ah, then you have a pretty good idea of how awesome this book is! Love it, can’t say enough good things about it.

  • http://twitter.com/LifeCoachingPro Sylviane Nuccio

    Wow, that’s excellent.

    Thank you Carol for bringing Marquita’s book to our attention. As you know I am intending to write a recipe book on Kindle (if they let me :) and this is just what I will need.

    Great job Marquita and congratulation on this very interesting looking Kindle book .

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      If you want a ton of places to promote your book then this is a good investment. There are lots of great ideas in here, even if you don’t do a Kindle book. I hope it’s helpful to you!

  • Adrienne

    Hey Carol,

    That looks like one I may need to read since you know I’ll be going that direction soon.

    I have one on how to find ideas to write about and with that there is a lot of research on the topic that I found so very helpful. Lot’s of resources as well and then another blogging friend sent me their Kindle book on how to format it. Looks like if I add this one to my arsenal then I might actually be ready to go.

    Thank you so much for sharing your review with us and thanks to Marty for creating this gem.

    You ladies rock!

    ~Adrienne

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      Can’t wait to read your book, Adrienne! Sounds like you’ve got a good start to your library. Marquita also has a branding book to go along with it which might be a good resource to have too. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck with your book!

  • Hale

    Very Nice Carol,

    For me right now Kindle is a “Bright Shiny Thing”, but you sure gave me a resource to go to when I (finally) decide that i’ve got to get into publishing.

    Thanks for the GREAT review.
    Oh Hale Yes!

    • http://twitter.com/CarolLynnRivera Carol Lynn Rivera

      This is also a great book even if you don’t publish to Kindle. The number of promotional ideas and sites is huge. Even if you’re selling a PDF off your website it’s good to have!