Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What To Look For In Self-Publishing Packages

There are many self-publishing companies out there and most of them include self-publishing packages of some sort. Unfortunately, some packages are really low-quality. Authors think they're getting a great deal with those cheap packages but those packages will actually harm a book's chance at success in the long run because they're using cheap template-based cover and interior designs, making the book look amateurish. If you don't have at least $1000 to $1500, you probably shouldn't be self-publishing in the first place. I know that might sound radical but the truth is this: It takes money to produce a high-quality book.

So here's what you should look for in self-publishing packages -- the packages that could actually help you produce a high-quality book that people want to buy:

  • The best self-publishing package will most definitely include a custom book cover design. This means no templates are used in the design. The design is unique and eye-catching. 
  • A great package will also include a custom interior layout. Basically, the interior will be hand-formatted, focusing on hyphenation, chapter headers, scene breaks, etc. The interior's font should also match the font(s) used on the cover design. 
  • Editing is an essential too! I've never seen a manuscript that doesn't require some level of editing. Even the most seasoned writers (e.g. J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Stephen King) rely on professional editors to polish their manuscripts. The public should never see a first draft!
  • Your book publishing package must have distribution as well, and not just availability on Sure, Amazon is the #1 online retailer in the world, but there are thousands of other retailers and booksellers in the world. Purchase a self-publishing package that offers worldwide distribution, preferably through a legit wholesale distributor such as Ingram.
  • Ongoing support needs to be provided. You should be able to pick up the phone and get through to an actual living, breathing person. And that person should understand publishing and be able to answer your questions throughout the publishing process. Make sure you don't end up working with a self-publishing company that only works through email. There aren't many things more frustrating than working with a company that hides behind generic email messages when you're simply trying to get clear answers to your questions.
  • Marketing assistance ought to be included. The best self-publishing companies will at least market your book through social media and their own bookstore. 
  • Fair and affordable book printing prices are key. Do your research before buying a package. Try your best to understand how much you'll be paying for each copy of your book when you buy direct from the publisher.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Your Author Website Needs Proper SEO

If you want your author website to be a book-selling machine, you have a couple options. You can pay for website traffic via pay-per-click methods (expensive) such as Adwords, BingAds, Facebook Ads, etc or you can optimize your website so that it attracts organic traffic (less expensive). Or you can utilize both paid and organic traffic options. Here's what you don't want to do, though: sit back and wait for people to find your website. That just doesn't happen. You need to be proactive. Here are five very basic search engine optimization tips for your author website, sponsored by PAGE SEO COMPANY, a premier NH SEO company:
  1. Perform keyword research. Find keywords that relate to your book(s). For instance, maybe your book is Christian Fiction. You would want to add the term "Christian Fiction" in your website's homepage title tag. It would read "Your Name - Christian Fiction Author". The title of your website is probably the single most important onsite SEO factor. Search engines see the title of your website and use that info to help determine the topic of your website.
  2. Once you've decided on your keywords and sprinkled them in the website's title, it's time to update the meta description. This too should include your keywords. Also update your meta keywords. 
  3. Next, you should include content -- text and images -- on your website that contain your keywords. It's important that you use your keywords in the text sparingly. Don't go overboard and "stuff" as many keywords in your text as possible. "Keyword stuffing" isn't appreciated by Google and your site could get penalized.... How in the world do you add keywords to an image? Easy. You add alt tags
  4. Each page on your website will have its own URL. A URL is basically the address of a page. So you might create a URL for your about page as follows: That isn't a very search engine friendly URL. Instead, consider creating URLs that contain the keywords and possibly match the title. For example, 
  5. You should also focus on quality link building. Google counts backlinks as votes of popularity, so quantity matters but quality is much more important these days. You should only pursue high-quality backlinks. With enough high-quality backlinks your website should start appearing in Google search engine results pages for your keywords. 
Obviously, this is an incredibly basic primer on SEO. There are actually around 200 Google ranking factors to keep in mind for your author website. Search engine optimization is an extremely effective method of promoting your website, but it can also be annoyingly complicated and time-consuming. If you'd rather spend more time on writing than doing SEO, I highly recommend you hire a professional SEO services company.  As the #1 NH SEO agency, Page SEO Company can handle all of the onsite and offsite SEO for you, so you can get back to writing.