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Saturday, December 11, 2021

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 twenty years prior. Most authors major in journalism, communications, or English in college―so I knew I had an uphill battle in order to be worthy of being on the same playing field with these more seasoned authors. There are five techniques I used and still use that fundamentally helped me become the best writer I can possibly be.

 Jot Down Ideas.

    When I was in the infancy stages of my writing career, my mind would constantly be flooded with random thoughts on what details I could add to my stories, and it had gotten to the point that I’d become restless and couldn’t sleep some nights. I tried to remember those tidbits of information after finally winding down and falling asleep, but I forgot them the majority of the time after I woke up. Writers should utilize the Notes app on their iPhones or Notepad app on their Android phones the moment an idea comes to mind so that it won’t be forgotten.

 Build Vocabulary.

    The era of the computer, smart phone, Kindle, and other similar devices have made it much easier to look up the definitions of words that are unfamiliar, and the online dictionary is the author’s best friend. I have consistently looked up words that I wasn’t sure of the meaning while reading or writing, and it’s become second nature to me because I never want to use a word out of context on my blog or in my novels.

 Sharpen Grammar.

    The correct or incorrect usage of grammar is a direct reflection on the writer, so it’s imperative that the sentence structure and the spelling of words are on point when writing a novel or blog. The Editor and Read Aloud features in Microsoft Word are great tools that can be used to proofread a blog post or book, but they’re not foolproof. My biggest Achilles heel in the past was using the correct homonym when writing. For example, knowing when to properly use discreet or discrete and eminent or imminent in a sentence presented problems for me, so I made it a point to look up the meanings of these homonyms and others like them in order to make sure that I had a clear understanding of how to use these words properly in a sentence.

Research Topics.

    It’s good for fiction authors to make their stories as realistic as possible―especially if writing about a person, place, or thing that’s foreign to them. I like to incorporate places that I’ve visited into my storyline, and I research the specific details about a particular city such as a landmark or a street name to give readers the feeling that they’ve been there as well. It’s the details that make a story interesting, but there’s also a fine line between vivid storytelling and being bogged down with too much descriptive language.

Read Books from Other Authors.

    The final method writers can use to hone their skills is read material from other authors, and in doing this, it gave me the confidence to incorporate my writing style into my own works. Reading books from my competitors showed me that it was okay to have a different voice, and in turn, I discovered there was more than one way to convey a story.

    Perfecting one’s craft in writing is an ongoing process that doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve been writing novels and short stories for over fifteen years, and I’m still learning how to become a better writer each time that I publish something. An author can apply these five methods that I’ve used through trial and error to also become the best writer that he or she can be.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

How to Choose the Right Keywords and Bid for Amazon Ads

    After an author knows what genre to right in, picking the right keywords and setting the correct bid for each ad on Amazon’s pay-per-click advertising platform play an important role in gaining exposure and selling books. Once these two main steps are established, an author will maintain consistent sales each month.

 Choosing the Right Keywords.

    Amazon has a search bar at the top of the web page where customers type in keywords in order to find the merchandise that they’re looking for. Authors have the upper hand by learning what keywords are the most popular, and this can be done by typing a particular word in the search bar. For example, when you click on the Books icon and type in the keyword ‘crime,’ ten of the most popular keywords under crime will pop up such as crime novels, crime books, and crime books best sellers. Authors can add these keywords to their respective lists when creating an advertising campaign, and the same holds true for other keywords like romance, suspense, or urban fiction.

 Selecting the Correct Bid.

    Indie authors make anywhere between $1.50 to $3.00 per sale on average on Amazon depending on the price and length of the book―Amazon earns 40% of that sale and charges the author a fixed cost for each book printed on demand. The bid selected by an author is arguably the most important aspect of book marketing because the profit margin is also based on how high or low the bid is. For example, let’s say that the author’s daily budget is set for $10, and the maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC) is $0.50. The author’s average CPC for this particular day is $0.44, and the book ad receives a total of 23 clicks before reaching the spending limit. Out of those 23 clicks, the author sells six books for a 25% conversion rate. If the author charges $6.95 and makes a $2.00 profit off of each sale after the printing cost and Amazon’s 40% split is subtracted, a net profit of $2 is earned for the day once an additional $10 advertising cost is factored in [(six books times two dollars net profit) minus ten dollars advertising cost equals two dollars] ― [(6 x $2) - $10 = $2]. Any bid over $0.50 per click will potentially put an author in the red each day.

    There’s so much more to being an indie author than just writing books―marketing also plays a key factor in sales. Selecting the correct keywords and proper bidding are two important steps that are necessary to be a successful writer on Amazon, and failure is imminent if this knowledge isn’t properly applied in this given situation.

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 ...