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Thursday, September 30, 2021

Three Techniques That Authors Can Use to Create an Effective Sales Funnel Online

    It’s very tough for a new author to enter into the self-publishing world and selling that first book consistently is nearly impossible. However, there are three methods that I use that are highly effective in selling books online. I’ve used these techniques over the years to build a sales funnel that earns me on average $500 per month in supplemental income. Now that’s not a whole lot of money, but it’s taken me a significant amount of time to sell more than a handful of books annually on Amazon.

    Create a Blog.

    My first reason for creating this blog was to share my knowledge that I gained over the years through trial and error with authors who subscribe to it. However, I soon discovered that as the site begins to gain more traction, the potential to gain new followers piqued my interest. An email list of eager readers of any genre of fiction is a goldmine for anyone who can build it. An author can then write content that’s beneficial to readers as well as promote books simultaneously and can link the blog to the Author Central page on Amazon.

    Showcase Free Short Stories on Blog.

    Another way that an author can gain followers and sell books is to feature free short stories on a blog. A short story is like a sample of an author’s work―it can be anywhere from 750 to 2000 words, and it gives readers a taste of what kind of writer the author is and whether they like this particular author enough to buy his or her books. A direct link to the Amazon sales page of a book can then be placed on the blog for customers to buy.

Sales Funnel

    Create a Book Series.

    The last and most effective tool that I use to create a sales funnel is to write a fiction series. The first book of the series can either be priced at a discount or free to draw readers in. I personally prefer to discount the first book as opposed to making it permanently free because I’ve worked too hard on my books to just give them away to customers who may or may not like my genre but downloaded them anyway because they were free. However, there’s nothing wrong with an author offering a free five-day promotion on Amazon KDP Select because of the opportunity to showcase a new book to thousands of readers. A little trick that I use to garner book reviews quickly is to ask readers to write an honest review on Amazon at the end of each of my books, and I leave readers my email address just in case they have questions or want to reach out to me directly about the book.

    The number one goal for a new author should be to bring awareness to one’s brand via a blog or free promotion of books and short stories. Hopefully, readers will be interested enough in subscribing to the blog and making a purchase online.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Authors Can Use the Editor and Read Aloud Features on Office 365 for Books

    There are millions of self-published books featured on Amazon by hundreds of thousands of independent authors. Competition for authors to get on Amazon’s bestseller’s list is fierce, and it’s also very difficult to gain some type of edge over other authors in today’s climate. A book filled with typos will kill book sales, so it’s extremely important for an author to present a polished body of work to the reading public. While hiring a proofreader may be essential, depending upon a author’s grammatical skill level in writing, it won’t guarantee that a book will be error-free.

    One affordable solution to this problem for about $100 is to buy a yearly subscription to Microsoft Office 365, and this software has many elements to help authors proofread their work. The two most notable components that I use under the Review section of Office 365 are the Editor and Read Aloud features, and these are great tools that writers can use to bring their manuscripts as close to perfection as humanly possible.


    Editor Link.

    Click on the Review link in the toolbar, and then click on the Editor link so that the editing options will pop up to the right of the page. It will show the Editor’s Score in percentages at the top of the page, and underneath the score is the option to choose Formal, Professional, or Casual writing. I always choose the Casual writing option because I’m a crime and urban fiction author and blogger whose audience isn’t the academia or business world, and I also feel that formal or professional writing are for nonfiction books or corporate websites, for example. Below the Editor Score box are the Corrections and Refinements boxes, which calculate errors such as spelling, grammar, clarity, and conciseness automatically in order to achieve 100%.

    Read Aloud Feature.

    Go to the first chapter of the book and click on the Read Aloud feature so that the Play/Pause, Forward/Backward, Reading Speed, and Voice Selection options pop up. Once the reading speed and voice selection are set up, press the play button. This feature helps to catch the errors that proofreading eyes might miss. It’s easier to listen for words or phrases that don’t sound correct as opposed to looking for typos, missing commas, or incorrect homonyms.

    It’s better to present a manuscript that’s 99.99% accurate to a proofreader or editor because it’s virtually impossible to correct a book riddled with grammatical errors. There’s nothing more frustrating than to publish a book that was supposedly edited by a freelance proofreader only to unpublish it because of more typos being discovered.

Five Ways Authors Can Perfect Their Craft in Writing

     The only experience that I had in writing before I wrote my first book was a creative writing course taken in my first year of college ...