Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pat's Conventions Note #29 of 100 things I learned from attending LITERARY CONFERENCES

#29. Street Teams Part II From an Expert

I met reader and street team captain Priscilla “Book Maniac” Johnson for the first time years ago at a Romance Slam Jam conference. I was always impressed by her support of my friend, author A.C. Artist. I thought to myself, “Wow. What I wouldn’t give to have that type of support system.” At this year’s RSJ in Dallas, I sat in on a workshop conducted by Priscilla aka Cilla. Since she gave away so much valuable information, a simple recap wouldn’t do justice to anyone reading this post, so I asked Cilla to share her tips for starting a street team on my blog, so here you go.

What are Street Teams?
“I want to be on a street team”.  “Should I have street team?”
More and more readers are asking to be a part of street teams and authors are questioning how do I start a street team. Yet, no one really knows what a street team does or how do they works. 
Here’s a little history.  Street teams originated in the late 1980’s with rock and roll bands.  Band members and producers would give records and tapes to fans to take to radio stations and record stores in exchange for concert tickets.  Groups like Nirvana became overnight success.  This was a great marketing tool because the music went directly to the fans.  It also eliminated the high cost associated with advertisers, radio and television promotors.
As more authors enter the realm of self-publishing and eBooks, street teams are becoming more popular.   Authors use street teams to announce up-coming releases, introduce their books to new readers, increase written book reviews and get their work in book stores and libraries.    Street teams are extremely instrumental on social media sites, such as Face Book, Twitter, and Good Reads in letting readers know what is hot and on the verge of hitting the literary street.  It also allows the author to spend time writing instead of promoting and marketing for themselves.
Keep in mind that members of any street team are VOLUNTEERS who are passionate about the work of an author and they are willing and eager to talk about how wonderful and great the author stories are.  Members have read every book by an author and can usually recite the characters better than the author.   And what does the team get in return?  Some authors reward members with Advance Reader Copies (ARC) of new releases, in-side information on releases, swag, gift cards or other unique gifts. 
Being on a street team is a lot of work. But it is also lots of fun and very rewarding. I have had the pleasure of being on several teams and the experience has been rewarding.  You build lasting friendships with readers and authors.  Who could ask for anything more?  

Priscilla C. Johnson aka ‘Cilla

Monday, June 15, 2015

Pat's Convention Note #28 (Buy Links) of 100 things I learned from attending LITERARY CONFERENCES

#28. Buy Links on our websites.
For the past week, I have been doing what Christine from Kobo suggested to help boost sales; add Kobo buy links to my website. I’m still not finished. I already had buy links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks, and I dreaded adding yet another one.

Messy, huh? So Christine recommended some authors’ websites, so I could see how they added buy links for their books.

In each of the examples, it appeared each book had its own page. I GROANED loudly, then gave myself a pep talk, “At least I don’t have as many series as some of them.” Yeah, right. That would be a great problem to have. So I began the task of creating separate pages for each series with links to each book. Here’s an example of my cleaner look and the page it links to:

 Now when visitors want to purchase a book, they will click on BUY THE BOOKS and get the page below:

The bottom line is simple. If we want to make money on all platforms, we need to have their buy links on our website.

Get busy.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pat's Convention Note #27 of 100 things I learned from attending LITERARY CONFERENCES

#27. Are You Connected? I mean really?

While attending a mixer hosted by Draft2Digital at the annual RT Booklovers Convention in Dallas this year (2015), I approached Ian with Apple and asked him why my books weren’t selling as well in iBooks as those on KDP, even though I had the Apple buy links on my website.

Ian: “Do you have a series?”
Me: Yes
“Do you have them linked?”
Me: “Of course.”

However, when Ian searched for one book in my Guilty series on his iPhone, I was shocked that they weren’t, despite me marking them as such: Guilty of Love (Book I), Not Guilty of Love (Book II), Still Guilty (Book IV) and The Acquittal (Book V).
Ian said sometimes the problem is on their end. When the “problem” wasn’t corrected a few weeks after returning from RT, I emailed Ian and within a day, my series books were linked.
This is how my Guilty series books now look in the Apple store.

This lesson got me to thinking how my books were packaged on other platforms. Recently, Amazon started packing series. When I searched for STOPPING TRAFFIC, I noticed how on the left side Amazon has all four books in my Love at the Crossroads series were lumped together.  Again, this is a visual reminder to the reader that my books are in a series. The “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” doesn’t indicate if books are in a series, especially if the covers don’t indicate it.

Below is from the KOBO website—problem.  THE ACQUITTAL isn’t listed in a series and the other books aren’t even recommended. Two books in the Guilty series are listed only as “People Who Read This Also Enjoyed.” One thing I discovered with KOBO is it gives the author an option to number the books in the series when uploading. This shouldn’t be an option. Plug in those numbers. I contacted the KOBO rep who I also met at the Draft2Digital mixer about this. See her response below the picture.

Hi Pat,

Here are some tips that I think will help get things on a better track at Kobo:
  1. Add Kobo links to your website and social media.
  2.  -- follow these tips for your series. You need to be very careful about matching metadata across every series to be sure links all of these books correctly. For example, use "Guilty Series" for all titles instead of "The Guilty Series" for some and not others (see attached). Keep an eye on our blog for lots of KWL-specific advice.
  3. Manually adjust pricing for every title for all English-speaking countries, instead of relying on the auto-converter. That tool creates strange prices in our main markets (such as Canada — see how your prices appear to Canadian customers in the screenshot). Make sure all countries reflect the $x.99 that customers are accustomed to seeing.
I hope that's a helpful starting point. Let me know if you have any additional questions.
Christine Munroe

I thanked her, now I have to apply her suggestions. After that, I’ll tackle Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.  
I'm sure there will be a part 2 to this note. 
Thanks for reading.