Tuesday, August 30, 2011

MindStir Media Author Paula Wiseman's Contingency Wins Award

MindStir Media author Paula Wiseman -- Congrats! Paula's debut novel Contingency: Book One: Covenant of Trust Series just captured the 2011 Readers Favorite Gold Award in Christian Fiction.

Author, Where's Your Email Address?

So you have a website for your author brand... Your book covers are visible. You've got the social media icons proudly displayed. You even have ordering information, plus links to Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc. Good job! But what about your e-mail address? Is it there, too? It should be!

I'm amazed at the amount of author sites that don't list an e-mail address. I understand why some big brand name authors don't list an e-mail (they'd be deluged with mail), but come on--if you're an independent author or mid-list author, you need to have your e-mail address somewhere on the website, preferably within a CONTACT section. Believe it or not, plenty of readers enjoy e-mailing authors instead of/in addition to interacting via blog and Facebook comments and tweets.

Remember, your "author brand" needs to be accessible. That's good customer service. Your author brand, like any brand, must practice good customer service or ... out of business you shall go!

List. Your. E-mail. Address. Period.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

MindStir Media Will Provide eBook Publishing Packages

I'm sure you're aware that eBook publishing has become extremely popular lately. Most of you have probably heard numerous author success stories surrounding eBooks... As the CEO & President of MindStir Media, I continue to hear from writers who want to publish their work solely in the eBook format. These writers generally stay away from do-it-yourself (DIY) self-publishing because they would rather spend their time writing and marketing books than studying and learning formatting, design, distribution, etc. That's when a self-publishing services company--MindStir Media, for instance--comes in handy.

When writers like the ones mentioned above contact me, I try to steer them toward publishing in multiple formats. I believe readers want choices. To publish in only one format (I've "preached" this before) will limit sales most of the time. However, these authors--hearing the success stories of Amanda Hocking, etc.--usually have their hearts set on eBook-only publishing... My official response as of this moment: Well, if you insist. Soon I'll make it easy for you....

Forthcoming eBook Publishing Packages from MindStir Media will include:
  • Custom cover design (no templates used)
  • Expert eBook design/conversion 
  • eBook distribution
  • Readability on the Amazon Kindle, B&N Nook, Apple iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, PC, and Mac.
  • MindStir Media bookstore inclusion
  • Advertising/marketing
  • And more
Details will be posted at the MindStir Media official Web site very soon. If you're on Twitter (@mindstirmedia) or Facebook, you might want to follow/like MindStir Media, as the launch of these eBook Publishing Packages will be announced on FB and Twitter as well.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

MindStir Media Celebrates Award Finalist

Hey, folks...just want to share this exciting piece of news from a press release distributed today:


HAMPTON, NH - Aug 18, 2011 - Paula Wiseman's Contingency (MindStir Media; ISBN 9780981964829), which has spent time on Amazon.com Christian Fiction bestseller lists (paperback and Kindle), can now add "2011 Readers Favorite Award Finalist in Christian - General Fiction" to its impressive list of achievements, including two National Indie Excellence Awards in May 2011.

To view Contingency's placement--and the full list of finalists--visit the Readers Favorite Web site: http://readersfavorite.com/2011-award-contest-winners.htm. Winners will be announced September 1, 2011. 

Author bio:

After working several years as research chemist, Paula Wiseman was blessed with the opportunity to stay home with her children and follow the writer’s path. Contingency: Book One: Covenant of Trust Series, her debut novel, frequents Amazon.com bestseller lists. Indemnity Book Two: Covenant of Trust Series, which has also landed on bestseller lists, is her second novel. Official Web site and blog: http://www.paulawiseman.com.

About MindStir Media:

MindStir Media provides unique Mind-Stirring Publishing Solutions that help authors successfully self-publish, distribute, and market books. J.J. Hebert, bestselling author of Unconventional and founder of MindStir Media, works closely with MindStir authors in order to supply unparalleled self-publishing mentoring and one-on-one support. MindStir focuses on paperback book, e-book, and downloadable unabridged audiobook formats. Authors retain all rights and receive royalties up to 100%. Web site: http://www.mindstirmedia.com.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MindStir Media Launches Tumblr Blog

MindStir Media, custom self-publishing company, just launched a new Tumblr blog, which will feature MindStir Media news, book release information, author posts, and self-publishing & book marketing tips. Please follow the blog and/or bookmark it.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Release A Free Podcast Novel With Podiobooks.com

Ever hear of a "podcast novel"? It's basically an audiobook and podcast combined. Also known as a "Podiobook," it's usually read and recorded by the author and then released to the public as serialized audio downloads (each "episode" represents a certain number of chapters). The concept is about 6 years old, I believe. Evo Terra, Chris Miller, and Tee Morris -- co-founders of Podiobooks.com -- created a Web site where (mainly science fiction) authors can share free podiobooks with the site's 81,000+ members.

Back in 2009, TIME even published an article entitled "Podcasting Your Novel: Publishing's Next Wave?" in which they mentioned Podiobooks.com and some of the site's hugely successful authors, including Scott Sigler and J.C. Hutchins. Sigler is now a NY Times bestselling author with Crown Publishing. Hutchins is with St. Martin's Griffin. Both authors attribute much of their success to their free Podiobooks and the thousands of fans who downloaded them. Building a fan base is one of the toughest parts of being an indie author, but Podiobooks.com makes is pretty easy to grow an author brand. I even released a free Podiobook version of Unconventional. It's a Christian novel, so the audience on Podiobooks.com was limited (compared to the science fiction titles), but the Podiobook still attracted thousands of downloads (and appeared on the Podiobooks.com charts), helping me create a fan base. Unconventional has been the #1 Inspirational Book in the Kindle Store (it peaked at #102 overall in the Kindle Store) numerous times and the paperback has landed on several Amazon.com bestseller lists as well. I owe a great deal of this success to Podiobooks.com for helping me form a fan base early on. Mark Jeffrey's Max Quick: The Pocket and the Pendant first reached an audience as a free Podiobook which was downloaded over 2.4 million times. HarperCollins noticed the success and decided to sign Jeffrey. Max Quick is now available in bookstores nationwide, thanks to the deal with HC.

So why not consider releasing a free Podiobook version of your book? I know the word "free" scares some authors, but the concept works. Just ask any of the authors mentioned above.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Kindlegraph Helps Authors Digitally Autograph Kindle eBooks

Kindlegraph, created by software developer and entrepreneur Evan Jacobs, is quickly becoming the place for readers to obtain inscriptions and digital autographs from their favorite authors. As of now, Kindlegraph is just shy of 1,000 authors and 5,000 books, according to the official @kindlegraph Twitter. Speaking of Twitter, it seems to be exploding with tweets regarding Kindlegraph. Twitterers all over have a lot to say about this innovative idea of digital inscriptions and autographs.

Kindlegraph is expected to continue to grow at a rapid rate, especially since "it took two months to get the first 2000 [books] and one week for the next 2000." If they remain at this pace, 2,000 eBooks added to Kindlegraph each week, they'll have around 45,000 books listed by January 2012. That's some huge growth!

Paula Wiseman, Amazon.com bestselling author of Contingency and Indemnity (published by MindStir Media), didn't waste any time getting on board. Both her books are listed on Kindlegraph.

How exactly does Kindlegraph work? Evan Jacobs created an easy to understand video right here. It's free to sign up at Kindlegraph.com and you sign in with your Twitter account.

So what do you think? If you're an author, will you sign up? If you're an eBook lover, will you start requesting digital inscriptions and autographs? I welcome your comments. Top Self Publishing Company

Monday, August 8, 2011

What Are People Saying About You?

As your author brand continues to grow, more articles, blog posts, etc. will appear on the Internet. This is great but can become a bit overwhelming... How in the world will you keep track of it all? Two words: Google Alerts. Google Alerts will email you every time your name is mentioned on the Internet. This will allow you to closely monitor what people are saying about you.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

How To Get Book Reviews On Amazon

Many self-published authors will tell you that one of the most difficult aspects of self-publishing is trying to get their book reviewed. If you pay close attention, you'll notice that the average self-published book has fewer than 5 customer reviews on Amazon.com. That doesn't need to be the case with your book! I've mentioned giveaways via Goodreads and LibraryThing, using those tools to get your book reviewed, but here are some other proven methods to get your book reviewed on Amazon.com and stand out among the crowd:
  • Hold a contest on Facebook: Use your Facebook page (not your profile) to post an offer of free copies to fans who answer a question that you posted. Let the fans know when you plan to select a winner. You'll need to contact the winners directly to obtain their addresses (or they can email you). At that time, kindly encourage them to post reviews on Amazon.com after they've read your book. Don't be pushy, but do tell them that every review helps you tremendously.
  • Hold a contest on Twitter: People love free stuff on Twitter more than anywhere else, I'm convinced. I don't know why. Here's what you need to do: Devise another contest similar to your Facebook contest and post the contest and its rules on your blog. Maybe the entrants have to tweet an answer to a question you ask? After you've blogged about the contest, tweet the post's link and a very brief description of the contest. Your followers will notice the contest and hopefully start tweeting entries.
  • Contact book bloggers: Search for book blog directories and directly contact book blog owners. Politely ask them to review and/or feature your book on the blog. Of course, you'll probably have to provide free review copies. That's standard... Most book bloggers will post their review on Amazon as well as their blog. If they don't automatically end up posting the review on Amazon, just ask them nicely and I bet they'll do it.
  • Contact Amazon.com reviewers: Why not contact Amazon.com reviewers as well? They are listed here and most of them can be reached by email.
Have you used any of these methods? Will you? What has worked for you? I welcome your comment(s).

Good luck!

Friday, August 5, 2011

More Free Book Marketing Tools For Authors

At the beginning of last month, I posted the Top 5 Online Marketing Tools for Authors. Today, via MindStirMedia.com (home of MindStir Media, self-publishing and book marketing company), I'd like to share several more free book marketing tools (some mentioned on this blog before, some not) proven to help authors increase book sales without spending more money:

  • LinkedIn: This professional social network can help you connect with other authors, publishing professionals, reviewers, etc. Networking is definitely a form of book marketing. There are plenty of author/publishing groups you can join on LinkedIn as well.
  • Author Central: Amazon.com offers this free book marketing service to all types of authors. Use Author Central to “share the most up-to-date information about yourself and your works with millions of readers.” Author Central gives you your own author page, and via that page you’re able to add your biography, photos, blog, video, tour events, Twitter. Need more info? Learn all about Author Central.
  • MailChimp: This free service enables you to store up to 2,000 email addresses from your opt-in subscribers. Reach all of your subscribers with an e-newsletter or occasional email updates. A perfect email marketing service for authors on a budget! No book marketing campaign is complete without email marketing.
  • Readers Favorite: Many authors find it challenging to obtain book reviews. Readers Favorite will review your book for free within 10-12 weeks. The review will be posted at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and ReadersFavorite.com. If you’d rather not wait 10-12 weeks for your review, Readers Favorite does offer an Express Review in 2 weeks for $40.
  • IndieBound: Market your book to local readers and booksellers by using IndieBound. If your book is listed at Amazon.com, it’s most likely listed at IndieBound. Contingency by Paula Wiseman, for example, has its own page on IndieBound. From that page readers can buy the book online from an indie bookstore, supporting local business and independent booksellers instead of large chain stores.
  • Kindle Boards: A fantastic place to engage with Kindle/e-book lovers and market the e-book version of your book for free. Check out Nook Boards as well.