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Archives: Technology

Amazon Ads versus Facebook: A Case Study

Amazon Ads versus Facebook: A Case Study

Last weekend my father-in-law’s book launched. We got advanced readers to pile their reviews on day one, bumping us up to about 20,000 overall in the paid store before sinking back down. Within the genres we got MUCH higher. For this launch we budgeted $100 in Facebook ads and $100 in Amazon ads. Here’s what happened.

Shoestring Book Trailers

Shoestring Book Trailers

booktrailer

Last year I talked about how we could make better book trailers, focusing on action and refraining from spoilers. I don’t claim to be the queen of book trailers by any means. I have taken one film class at the college level: I am not an expert. Still, I am quite good at making book trailers on the cheap.

This one cost $150.

And this one cost $100

I have another in the can right now that cost $60. I’m just waiting for a book cover to insert. I didn’t rely on still images, and I edited them together with free iMovie software. So what did I do?

3 Steps to Fight Author-Targeted SPAM With Me

3 Steps to Fight Author-Targeted SPAM With Me

If you’re an indie author, you’re probably no stranger to getting bulk-blast emails to “Dear Author” offering publicity services for one small payment of $250-$500. I got one ten minutes ago from Shelf Media Group (hey, Shelf, if I popped up on your Google alerts, good. I hoped you’d see this.)

shelfmedia

This is not only a really sketchy and annoying business practice, it’s also ILLEGAL. If you get something like this, here are three things you can do right now to burn the sender.

SCAM ALERT: The hunter becomes the hunted

SCAM ALERT: The hunter becomes the hunted

I want to alert you all to a new scam. I’m not entirely 100% sure what the end game of it is, but it’s popping up a lot in my writer groups, and my books have been targeted too.

The center of this scam is the appearance of online piracy. A few years ago, I set up Google alerts for my name and a few of my books. Whenever I release a new book, I put up a new alert. I do this because I want to find reviews and discussions to share on social media. It also has, occasionally, found a pirate.

Normally when I get pirates, I politely ask them to take down the offending content. Sometimes I move to DMCA takedown notices. I don’t stress too much because regular back-room piracy doesn’t really concern me. It’s not really a problem if a few teenagers who cannot afford books borrow a digital copy from an online friend half-way across the world. I’m just happy they’re reading, generally. Still, I’m a business. It is a problem if one of these search results makes it to the top of Google. It is a problem if it’s just as easy for people with money to pirate my book as it is to pay for it.

The Setup

The Free Plugin That Helps Me Sell Books on WordPress with Paypal

The Free Plugin That Helps Me Sell Books on WordPress with Paypal

Are you a WordPress users who can’t stand having to embed Paypal buttons on your site? If you haven’t tried it yet, don’t bother. It’s a mess. You have to insert the button code in the Text editor of the WordPress page, and as soon as you switch back to the Visual editor, crucial pieces of code will be stripped out that will ruin your button. And it’s not so easy to avoid the Visual editor: if you close another page or post on the Visual editor and then open the post with the code on it to edit, it will automatically open to the Visual editor and strip your code. What a pain in the butt!

wpsimpleThat’s why you need WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart. I don’t know if it’s available for WordPress.com hosted blogs (someone please comment and tell me either way), but it’s free for WordPress installs on personal hosting space.

Matter Deep began using this plugin after Christmas last year when we started having problems with the traditional Paypal buttons. “Buy Now” buttons are manageable, but when you’re trying to give people the option to buy more than one book with “Add to Cart,” WordPress runs into problems. Specifically, WordPress creates errors with the “View Cart” buttons from Paypal.

5 Christmas Gifts for Aspiring Writers

5 Christmas Gifts for Aspiring Writers

We’re coming up on that time of year when we madly Google listicles for gift ideas. You’re probably here because you know a writer and you just can’t figure out what to get them for Christmas or their birthday. There are tons of books on writing that you could buy them, sure, but how do you know before reading them which books are actually helpful?

Here are five ideas for writerly Christmas gifts that are NOT books on writing or fancy notebooks (like they probably have dozens of).

The New Rules of Marketing and PR

514260BTshL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_This is the best marketing book out there. It’s a must-read for anyone trying to establish themselves as a brand online. David Meerman Scott has put out several editions of this book because the web is a quickly-changing environment. He teaches readers how to promote themselves by creating content and engaging in meaningful discussion. His method is a great start for any aspiring author looking to built an audience online.

Build a Better Book Trailer

Build a Better Book Trailer

At UtopYA 2014, Carly Strickland and I attended a panel on book trailers. We got to hear a lot of interesting ideas for promoting with book trailers and how to make a proto-trailer on a budget. We heard about some elaborately produced book trailers with budgets well over a thousand dollars. Most importantly, it started a conversation for us about book trailers at Matter Deep Publishing and what we’d like to see from them.

I love movie trailers. I don’t want to fast-forward the Redbox DVD to get to the menu because I like to get a little taste of what I might watch next. My husband is different. If he knows he wants to see a movie, he doesn’t even want to see a trailer. But even I can’t stand watching a bad movie trailer. Inspired by our discussion at UtopYA, I started considering what made a good trailer and what made a bad trailer.

BAD TRAILERS ARE:

  • Slow-paced
  • Full of spoilers
  • Quick to move past the inciting incident to show every plot arch
  • Inappropriate for tone of the movie/book
  • Filled with too many talking heads

Too many trailers fall into the trap of showing too much. Like with a good book blurb, I only need to hear the premise to know if I want to read the book. Tell me much more and I’m either overwhelmed, bored, or annoyed that you gave away half the novel.

GOOD TRAILERS ARE:

Facebook Just Hobbled Author Pages

Facebook Just Hobbled Author Pages

A recent update from the Rafflecopter blog highlights a big change to Facebook’s policy. In November 2014, new apps will no longer be allowed to “Fangate” content. This explicitly includes requiring people to Like a Facebook page in order to enter a giveaway. What does that mean? Rafflecopter, Gleam, and other third-party contest widgets have three months to remove features that include “Like My Page” as a method of entry.

Organic Reach is Dying

Now I don’t know about you, but I found giveaways to be one of the best ways to grow my Facebook page followers. An article I posted earlier this year shared exactly why you should never pay Facebook for Likes, and other bloggers have outlined how Facebook’s algorithm has been slowly changing to mean that less and less of your legitimate fans are seeing the updates they asked to receive. 

How NOT to Fulfill a Kickstarter

How NOT to Fulfill a Kickstarter

I’ve backed 34 Kickstarters since summer 2012. I’ve also run a successful campaign as well as a failure. By no means does that make me the expert on Kickstarter, but it does give me more experience than many, and today I’d like to continue my series of articles on Kickstarter with a little cautionary advice. Usually I give advice on what to do: how to plan a backer video, where to promote your project, how to optimize your project for mobile. Today I’m going to give you some advice about what NOT to do once you’ve funded and begun to fill your backer rewards. This is, sadly, based on experience as a backer.

Kindle News: The Democratization of the Preorders

Kindle News: The Democratization of the Preorders

What was a pretty stressful day just turned into the best day ever! Hyperbole aside, the news is a game-changer for independent authors. Kindle Direct Publishing has just started sending out news to its authors that preordering has arrived for all! This moment, which I will from now on refer to the Democratization of the Preorders, has taken a HUGE step to level the playing field between traditionally published authors and independents.

Yes, Nook and Kobo had this feature, but most indie authors will tell you that more than 90% of their sales come from Kindle. I’ve been signing petitions asking Amazon to do this for years, and they’ve finally heard the cry of indies. Why now? I wouldn’t be surprised if it has something to do with the Hachette dispute and the Bezos’s desire to see a world filled with cheap eBooks.