“You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.”
- Hi, my name is Elena Nikitina. A few years ago, I wrote my first book - Girl, Taken. I self-published the book and promoted it to the media using my own system – System of Actions. It worked out pretty well for me: Girl, Taken became a bestseller and won a literary award.
Girl, Taken was featured on pages of magazines, talked about on TV, and discussed on radio shows. On my blog I share tips for writers and discuss book marketing tips. I talk about my own experience in book writing, publishing and marketing. I want to share with you everything that worked for me. If you want to learn my System of Actions and move your book to a bestselling list, then simply follow my blog or purchase this self-help guide - From Zero to Self-published Hero. (More info about Girl, Taken and From Zero to Self-published Hero can be found in the bestselling author store) or on my YouTube Channel
The blog post below is dedicated to the following topics:
Pre-order option. Title. Description. ISBN.
The day I decided to be a self-published author began the most exciting, unpredictable and wonderful time in my life. It has been an experience that I could never imagine I would encounter. If you are like me and decide to choose the independent route of self-publishing, get ready for a thrilling roller-coaster ride. The actual journey starts weeks before your literary masterpiece gets in the hands of readers.
Get prepared to start promoting your book a few months before the release day. This means your manuscript should be nearly completed, formatted and uploaded to self-publishing platforms (check out the previous blog) with a future release day. You will need to create a remarkable book cover and write an intriguing book description. You will still have time to get your manuscript perfected during the pre-order time, before your book will be available for the public’s purchase.
A pre-order is an order placed for a book that will be released in the future. During this time until the date of the release, you will be utilizing different marketing strategies that may help to sell your literary work quickly and successfully. Your goal is to create an effective buzz and sense of interest around your book right before the big day. Choose the release date wisely, so you have plenty of time for book promotion.
If your plan is to make the New York Times bestseller list, you will have to sell thousands of copies within a specific time after the release day. Pre-ordered books are applied towards the count of sales in the first week.
But before you present your masterpiece to the world for the first time and start using marketing tactics, you will have to undertake numerous important steps.
Have you already chosen a great title for your book to complement the wonderful cover you have in mind? For me, it’s one of the most difficult missions. I would always vote for a short title for a book over a long one. Short titles are easier to fit in URLs, hashtags and tweets. They are simpler to remember.
There are many ways to name a book. One of them is to choose words that convey the essence of the book without fully revealing the quintessence, yet still keeping the intrigue. To find an original, memorable and intriguing word or short phrase suitable with the book’s theme, think about keywords that describe the main idea.
We are well aware that we can use a name, profession, or a nickname of the main character as a title, like Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. We can indicate the place of action or a time by using numbers, like 1984 by George Orwell.
In contrast, we can choose something unexpected or even shocking, like a statement or a question. Even using an odd word or phrase will raise the readers’ interest and intention to keep reading and find out what it means. A Book About Absolutely Nothing by I.M. Nobody looks pretty cool in my opinion. You can include the definition of the genre in the name of the book, such as Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie.
There is a notion that nonfiction books are much easier to name because you can just include the main idea of the book right in the title. I agree because, with some books, you don’t need to create intrigue in the title and can be as straightforward as possible. For example, if the book is an instructional guide or a how-to book, you want to portray it in the title. Later on, that direct title will certainly help the book be visible in the search on the Internet.
Choose several options for the title and create a list. Check online if some of those titles already exist. One-word book titles are more likely to already be taken. You always have a stretch to play for two-word titles. You can slightly change both words, or just one of them if the combination you choose is already taken.
When you are down to just a couple of options, it’s time to ask for the opinion of others – friends and family or fellow writers within groups on Facebook.
•Enter a description for your book
After the book cover, a short description is the second thing that catches the reader’s attention. It’s a marketing tool for the product you would like to sell. The cover and the description serve as an ad for your book. No need to say that the description should be intriguing enough without revealing too much. A delightful short description should raise several questions in the reader’s mind, so they won’t see another choice, but to buy your book.
Start your description with one or two sentences that are the most compelling, as Amazon shows just a few first words to the customer before the description is interrupted by the Read More button. The first impression should trigger the wish to click on it. Book descriptions are always written in third person even if the book is written in first person.
Chasing your ideal description, check examples on how to write beautiful and short resumes for books on Amazon, or film descriptions on Netflix or IMDb. Look at the description style of best-selling books in your genre or category on Amazon. Go to the Amazon website and type Kindle Books in the search. Then choose the department from the left side of the page – similar or the same as your book’s genre and discover some riveting examples of bestsellers’ book descriptions.
•Obtain an International Standard Book Number
Every book has to have an ISBN that only will be used as a reference. ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It’s a 13-digit code that is used to identify and track a book. Amazon, Smashwords, and other self-publishing sites will provide one for you, so you can publish your book without an ISBN. Only the ASIN number will appear on the detail page of your e-book. The print edition and electronic version of the same book have to have their own unique ISBNs. You can use a free ISBN, or one that you can purchase from multiple sources on the Internet.
Next blog: How to choose categories when publishing a book.
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As always, thank you for your time, and stay awesome!