Saturday, March 24, 2012

Update of IBPA and chillin with Amazon!

Amazon and the future of books and authors!

A few weeks ago I was asked by amazon to come and speak at the IBPA show in SanFran or as my friend calls it,(The City). I was not sure what to expect and by the time I got home I found out that this trip will change my life and my business forever.

First, the Amazon peeps were super cool, we had dinners, conversation and joked and laughed so hard that tummy's hurt and tears were shown. I was glad to find out that just like you or I, they are people too and just trying to do the best job they can.

Second, I met three amazing authors that are killing it in eBook land! Bella Andre is a rock-star, I mean not only is she way cool, but she makes some crazy cash! She knows her stuff and we have some exciting plans in the future. Stay tuned...

How will this all filter into your world? Well, the first thing is next month, StoneHouse University will be hosting Amazon for a one-of-a-kind webinar. Yeah, you heard it right. Real people from Amazon are going to join us, and you can ask them questions and learn from THEM, (Not some rumor-mill) what they are up too and what they have planned looking forward. This is...(Sorry Ashley) EPIC! Yes, I hate the word Epic, yet in this case there is just no other word.

I am so honored to have Amazon come and hang with us at the University. At what other time can you have a chat and hear from them direct? Unless you fly to a Con and pay hotel and flight etc... I am way stoked about this class, and if you want to get in on it keep a look out for the dates and times.

Here are some things I learned.
Amazon wants B&N to do well. Why you might ask? Because the government will step in if they get to far out front. It can be looked at as a monopoly. So a lot of things that Amazon wants to do, try and gain ground in are on hold because they are waiting for B&N to catch up. This is crazy to me, I mean, Amazon is holding back, keeping from growing to fast because their competition is #lame! They are going to win the race, in fact, they already have but they just need it to LOOK close.

The other thing is that Amazon wants authors like me and Bella and you to do well. The more I make and the better I do the more they will bend over backward to help. It is good for them and for their image to have authors and small publishers do well.

As to some of my questions. The advertizing they tried in the past but because they did not feel like it was bringing in the return compared to the money it cost for the authors they pulled it. Again, they were looking at how much the author was getting out of it and did not want to cheat them. They are open to more options but only if the cost of the advertizing and the return is worth it for both parties.

The reviews are being tightened up, in fact a lot more quality control is going on all fronts. Some of it is annoying but that is better than a free for all!

The legal contracts are not going to change, they have so many bases to cover it just has to be like it is. But what is a law if not enforced?

As to more human interaction...well this webinar is step one. They do want to reach out to their authors and this is part of that.

It is a big company so things just move slow but they are moving. I look forward to more good things from Amazon in the future.

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guest Post by Lisa L Wiedmeier. Amazon Promotion, Gone RIGHT!

Lisa L Wiedmeier, Author of Cheyenne, A Timeless Series Novel, Book One

Who am I? I’m just another indie author who took StoneHouse University's, Learn how to ‘Work’ the system, webinar and had huge success.

Of course this isn’t always the norm, however, for whatever reason I was able to use this as a platform to propel my YA book to #98 overall on Amazon.

Now, I hadn’t just been sitting around before I took this course. I was marketing myself to death trying to get anyone to take a peek at Cheyenne, my novel. It’s not that it wasn’t good enough; its just that it wasn’t getting the exposure to take it to the heights it deserved.

There are four platforms that StoneHouse suggests in the webinar and I was doing three out of the four fairly well, but it just wasn’t enough. What I was missing was the fourth, the Amazon connection. There’s a lot more than just listing your book on Amazon and watching it fall where it may. A whole lot more than I knew.

I’d had Cheyenne on Amazon since July 2011 and had sold about 500+ books. Not too bad since I’m unknown, but not enough to quit my day job either. My best ranking ever since listing Cheyenne was about 9,300.

Through following Aaron's extremely useful tips and advice, I began working on the Amazon connection. Now I’m not going to go into details here, as you need to take the course to get all your ‘duck in a row’ so to speak. But with following a few of his suggestions in the month of February I began seeing some small results.

Now there’s a bigger picture to all of this and it’s all in the seminar, but one of them was making sure that your book cover truly meets the audience. What I mean by that is make sure if you’re a YA book to have a YA cover. Now, I’d thought I’d done a good job with my cover, I was going for the retro look, but I missed it by a long shot. Yeah, here’s the before and here’s the after….
So the old cover wasn’t bad, but yet it wasn’t good either. I needed the new design to help catch attention and that’s exactly what it did… it caught readers attention.

So with a new cover in hand and being enrolled in the KDP program with Amazon, I decided to follow another one of StoneHouse’s webinar suggestions, offer my book for free.

I picked a Tuesday/Wednesday for the free promo after consulting with Aaron and began, Tweeting, Facebook and messaging just about everyone I knew to get the word out. My friends in turn began promoting it on their side as well. With that said, by the Wednesday afternoon of my free promo, I’d reached the ranking of #4 on Amazon’s ‘Free’ listing.

Shocked? I was! I’d never expected to see this sort of success and yet I did by offering my novel, Cheyenne, for free for two days. I had over twenty two thousand free downloads!

Next came the scary part, well scary for me in that I’d never done this before. I once again ran to Aaron and went over the after free promo pricing. Should I go with the .99 cent price point, or stick with the $2.99 that I’d been at previously… I kept the $2.99 price point and was in for a surprise.

So, let me run this down for you…. The month of February didn’t show me much love, I had a paid ranking of about 66,000. Not horrible considering there are over a million plus eBooks on Amazon. But by the time the free promo was over and I looked at my paid ranking on Thursday morning, I was at #3,900. Not bad you say? I was ecstatic, but it gets even better.

As the day progressed I gained even more ground, 2,000, then 952, then 458 and yeah my paid ranking kept going up! By Saturday I’d made it to #98!

As we speak I’m holding good steady ranking. Am I done yet? Not even close… What’s on the list next is the 10 Steps to a successful Blog tour #2. Took the first one and loved it, the second one is this week—you should join in!

The most impressive part of StoneHouse Ink’s webinars is that the data is all rolled up into a nice compact package that’s easy to understand and practice. Will it bring you success like I had? Who knows, but it’s worth a shot. I’m glad I took the course and I'd recommend it to every indie author I know.

You can follow Lisa on Twitter @lisawiedmeier
Or on Facebook
And on her Website HERE

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

Monday, March 12, 2012

WEBINAR March 14th! How to get reviewers to come to you! (StoneHouse University)

Guest post by K.C. Neal

As an author, you have a product to sell. Not published yet? That's no excuse - you always have something to sell, even if it's just yourself! Before I published Pyxis last November, I had a product I had to sell to a very specific market. I needed to "sell" the ARC of Pyxis to reviewers.

The more reviews written up right when the book released, the better. Reviews are extremely important for buyer confidence, and book bloggers can give a book great exposure when they blog their reviews.

But as a nobody, unpublished, first-time author, how could I get reviewers interested in reading in reviewing my book? Well, I thought about it a lot, and I had a couple of revelations.  

And those revelations led to over 130 reviewer requests 
for an ARC of Pyxis - a debut, unknown book - over 3 weeks. 

Those were REQUESTS - reviewers coming to me. I didn't have to solicit, email, beg, or plead. I actually ended up closing to requests earlier than I'd planned because I didn't want to hand out a bazillion ARCs.

I applied the same principles when I started recruiting bloggers for my blog tour. And I ended up with three or four times as many book bloggers volunteering to host tour stops than I'd planned for. What a nice problem to have! :)

Guess what? Next Wednesday I'm giving away alllll my secrets about how to get reviewers interested in your book and get more blog tour hosts than you know what to do with. And how to do it with minimal effort on your part - by getting THEM to come to YOU.

StoneHouse University is hosting this webinar, and here are the things I'll be talking about:

• How to get bloggers to come to YOU for an ARC of your book

• Where to find blogs for your tour

• How to make your blog tour stand out from all the others

• More book blogger survey results - what book bloggers really want from authors

• What makes bloggers bump a book to the top of their TBR piles

• How to build great relationships with bloggers

• Helpful tools and widgets for promoting your tour and doing giveaways

• Detailed sample timelines for planning through follow-up

• The 1 thing that will make bloggers drop everything to help you (hint: it has nothing to do with your book)

• The 2 philosophies we use that get bloggers excited to work with us (regardless of whether they love the book we’re touring)

Here are the details - space is limited, so if you're interested don't wait to sign up!

Book Blog Tours Part 2: Advanced Tips and Tricks

Location: Online - just need an internet connection to attend

Format: Interactive webinar - you can live chat and ask questions during the presentation

Date and Time: Wednesday March 14 10:00 a.m. to noon (Mountain Time, MST)

Cost: US$50 for interactive live class, US$45 for video recording of the class

Topics We Will Cover: See list above

Register Here

If you missed Part 1, 10 Steps to a Successful Book Blog Tour (the webinar above is Part 2), you can purchase a recording of it for $45 - just email Aaron at Part 1 is a great foundation for understanding how to plan, structure, and carry out a book blog tour. Here's what one attendee had to say about Part 1:

Feedback from Book Blog Tours Part 1: 10 Steps to a Successful Tour

“Just finished attending the Blog Tour webinar with
Aaron Patterson and K.C. Neal presented by StoneHouse University.
Sooooo worth the price of the ticket. Check it out at
and link to their SH University page for future offerings. In this brave
new world of digital EVERYthing, authors can’t afford to miss
opportunities to learn from those more experienced in cybermarketing.
Just plain brilliant.

Thanks, so much.”

—Sally J. Smith, Writer

Learn more about StoneHouse University

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

IBPA Publishing University (Amazon, Bella, and Me!)

Next week I will be going to SanFran as a guest of Just saying this sounds a little weird as a year ago just being able to have a email contact with the book giant was super cool! Now I get to go speak with them as well as an amazing author like Bella Andre!

I will be talking about eBooks, marketing, and social media. I am amazed to see the relevance of this conference. From speakers like Mark Coker of Smashwords to the publisher of Publishers Weekly, and Google.

What does all this mean?

It means that the new publishing world is starting with the small presses like StoneHouse Ink and working up. In time the big boyz will be hooked in and time will tell what will come out the other side. But going to other conferences where there was not a single class on eBooks to this is a breath of fresh air.

Oh, I almost forgot, the CEO of Goodreads is even going to be there! how cool is that!

Some things I would like to see or at least talk about with Amazon are as follows:

1. Will we Indies ever get the same benefits as the Big 6? Such as Free sales, not just in Select, pre-order listings for eBooks, cool author pages and book listings with video and all the same things the Big 6 now have.

2. More human interaction. A 24 hour notice on problems without the "I will delete your account" threats. I know, your legal team is the one who writes all that junk, but come on!

3. Better wording on legal contracts and less control in the Select program. i.e. Make it okay to give away free eBooks on a blog or site, be open to blog tours and giveaways so we can market and push them to you etc...

4. Better control on Createspace. Link books faster, better cover color, or use the Kindle image, maybe even a upload front cover area for the product page. More options for covers and things like that.

5. Can we have better reports? A per day option?

6. Better review control. Must read the book, some reviews the person even says that they did not finish. Take off reviews from people that are just there to make trouble, maybe a higher level reviewer has more power so their review makes your stars jump more...not sure, just not so lax.

7. More advertizing options.

This is just a few things that have been on my mind, but I am sure more will come up. If you have anything you might want to say, leave a comment and I will see what I can do.

If you are in the area, come on out to the conference, it would be great to meet you!

Author Aaron Patterson: Blog: The Worst Book Ever.