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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Reach More Readers

My contemporary romance novels are now bestsellers at Amazon. I love it, and smile every time I look at these bestseller lists. Instead of trying to hide my joy and play blaze, I will share with you the tips that helped me. But first let me introduce my three 99 cent ebooks.

NO MORE LIES http://tinyurl.com/79r88wp

A lie that brings a smile... or the truth that draws tears?
Dr. Olivia Crane lives a quiet life. When the visiting physician from France strolls into her office, with open arms and a confident smile, her perfect control is about to crumble. He’s Dr. Luc George, the man she loved ten years ago. Should she return his scorching kisses, or should she lock her door before he digs into her many secrets?

RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN, http://tinyurl.com/85o4wg7

What’s a girl to do when she whispers another man’s name in her fiancĂ©’s arms? To be able to marry her fiancĂ© without reservations, Mary-Beth needs to confront her past and flies to France for a summer training program in surgery with Yves. Will Mary-Beth let her heart decide who’s her right man? Will Yves break his no-strings-attached rule to offer love and commitment?

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN http://tinyurl.com/6mcd6e3

When a tragic accident transforms the carefree playboy she loved years ago into a dedicated, but novice father to his nephew, Holly gives in to her maternal instincts and turns her structured life upside down for the orphaned preemie. But can she learn to trust Marc again and believe in true love?

After reading so many books and articles about how to promote a new book, I found The Seven Secrets To Ebook Publishing Success by Mark Coker, Founder of Smashwords, to be the most useful. He teaches serious writers how to reach more readers.

Secret #1-- Write a great book.
Ninety percent of your book’s success is determined by its quality. The other ten percent is marketing and luck. If your book is poorly edited or poorly conceived, readers will reject it. If you write a great book that satisfies readers, they will reward you with their word-of-mouth. Don’t rush your book before it’s ready to be read. A good cover image adds to the reader’s enjoyment of the book.

Secret #2-- Write another great book. Each new book gives the author an opportunity to reach new readers and earn their trust. At the end of each book, add a section titled, “other books by this author”. Think of each book as a fish hook in the ocean. Each book is an advertisement for the others.
Series writers are among the most successful. Once a reader becomes emotionally invested in a series, they’ll want to read the complete series.

Secret #3-- Maximize distribution. If your book is not broadly distributed, it’s not discoverable and purchasable. With ebooks, never choose one retailer over another. Choose them all.

Secret #4-- Give some of your books for free.  Free books receive 20-30 times more hits than paid books. If you have a series, offer the first title of the series for free. Hook the reader.

Secret #5-- Patience is a virtue. Ebooks never go out of print. Sometimes a book starts poorly for months, and then suddenly takes off. Give your book time to develop a solid base of reviews.
Give readers the option to shop where they like, and offer direct link to each retailer.

Secret # 6-- Trust your partners and readers. Writers often worry about things that don’t exist. Control the urge. Don’t be afraid of piracy. Let your readers share your ebooks with their friends. Trust your readers. Some bestselling authors consider piracy as a form of marketing.

Secret #7-- Marketing starts yesterday. If you wait until your book launch to start marketing your book, you’re too late. The moment you start writing a book, you should start marketing yourself, the author.

Cultivate your social network. The idea is not to attract thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook so you can spam them with solicitations for your book. Instead, contribute to the success of fellow authors. They are your partners, not your competitors. Enlist them as members of your volunteer work force.

Books are a word of mouth business, and always will be.


  1. Mona,
    This is a useful post with great info. Once I got my Kindle, I downloaded free books, and cheap books. I have about 92 to read now. I hesitate buying an umknown author if the ebook is over three dollars. A known author I will fork out the money for.:)

  2. Mona, very good advice. Those authors who spam twitter with tweets about their book guarantee that I will NOT ever buy that author's work.

  3. Hi Morgan, like you I continuously buy free or cheap books or friends' books. I have now 75 ebooks waiting to be transferred to the Kindle Fire I ordered and haven't received yet.

  4. Hi Caroline, I recently learned to use Twitter and got hooked to it. I daily check the links given or the books advertised, and I retwitt {Sp?}anyone I know.

  5. Mona--I've downloaded and deleted quite a few free books. It's a good thing they were free! On the other hand, I have discovered a few really good authors I didn't know about.
    I read Mark's advice, and I liked the hint that "part of the secret is luck." You can say that again. But like you, I have discovered when you get a book on a Top 100 list, then the book almost sells itself. I have one on such a list, and the other two are inching up. To get all three on there would be quite a thrill! You're doing great--we all are, and I'm so pleased.

  6. Great advice, Mona! I'm sure many see your success and want to be you, including me! It's heartwarming that you've navigated through all the sharks and killer whales in publishing to emerge on top. Best wishes for continued success. Maggie

  7. Hi Mona,

    A 99 cent ebook may reach more readers, but are you making more money?

    I think it's a crime for any author to sell a full-length novel for less than the amount that will give her the highest royalty, or even worse, to give it away. You sweated blood to write those books and you have a right to be paid a fair amount for them.

    I also think a higher-priced book is a good strategy because then you can have sales. Everyone loves a sale. When you plaster "SALE" all over the web, the sale mentality kicks in. People may buy just because the book's on sale. Sales are also limited in time, but you can have them over and over.

    If you train people to consider your books cheap, your books will always be cheap.

    Don't cheat the reader, but don't cheat yourself, either.

    All that said, I don't have any indie published books or anything at 99 cents. My sales are also dismal. But if I ever do indie publish, I'm not about to give my work away.

    But if you're happy, go to it.

  8. Thanks for sharing the tips. The patience one is what I'm working on now!

    Morgan Mandel

  9. Always good advice to write good books, and more good books. Another, is for authors to promote other authors especially on the social networks. I love promo-ing authors I read and like. I also review their work and post on my blogs. Thanks for an excellent post.

  10. Mona, simple but true. Those are great ways to get you and your book out there. Thanks.

  11. You are absolutely correct, Mona. Thanks for sharing your excellent and oh-so-sensible tips.

  12. Mona! This is invaluable and I'm printing this out. Congratulations on your success but then I realized quite a while ago you were someone to take notice of as a powerful resource and example.

    Thank you for this!

  13. Lots of great advice here. Thanks for posting.

  14. Hi Celia--Yes it's luck, and also perseverance. I was that close to giving up in December. We did so many things to promote, continuously tried, finally one worked. Which one? I have no idea. It's like someone up there took pity on us. LOL

  15. Hi Maggie-you make me blush.But as you say, we navigated through all the sharks and killer whales in publishing to emerge on top. All of us. You are a fantastic author. I'm reading your book now and love every line. One of the best suspense and so funny.

  16. Great post! So much to do, so little time... Happy writing. :)

  17. Linda, I tried for 5 years, blogging every day, advertising, entering and winning contests, getting great reviews, participating in live chats, and still my sales sucked. Granted, 99cent is nothing. Less than a loaf of bread, or a chewing gum for my grandkids, especially when I only get 35 cents out of the 99. But heck, it works better than anything else. If 99cent is the price to bestseller, who am I to protest!

    1. Looks like I'm not the only one whose promo doesn't work. I've come to the conclusion that either I have to spend all my time promoing or I have to pay someone big bucks to do it for me. Neither option is acceptable.

      I'm glad what you're doing works for you.

  18. Morgan, patience is definitely the most important quality for a writer, + a good book.

  19. Yes Gerrie, promoting and helping fellow authors is essential. We are the monkies in a jungle. Scratch my back, and I scratch yours.LOL

  20. Hi Clover, these are the tips I heard from Mark Coker at the Ninc(Novelists Conference). He is the founder and president of Smashwords, and a very nice man. He went through the hell we crossed and had the guts to do something about it. And now he's sharing how he overcame many obstacles to fame.

  21. Hi Jill, I think you are already following these tips and doing great, my friend.

  22. Hi Josie, I hope to read your books soon on Amazon :)

  23. Oh Karen you're so sweet. I haven't forgotten our critiquing time at the FTH Critique loop where we learned so much about the craft.

  24. Hi Linda, I'm sure Mark Coker's advice can help every writer.

  25. Hi Sophie, that's the problem. Not enough time in 24 hours, so we need to creat the time for the right thing. Good luck.

  26. Thank you Patsy. I have to change the one of RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN 3 times until I was satisfied.

  27. Thanks for sharing those tips Mona, I see so much value in all of them! Can't wait to try them out for myself!

    Nicola w/a Nikki Weston