SlingWords Post – Indie Authors: Better Keywords Sell More Books

I was honored to be guest poster today on a great blog called SlingWords. You can read the brief post (500 words) on learning to use keywords more wisely, especially designed for Indie authors who want to sell ebooks.

http://slingwords.blogspot.com/2011/05/indie-authors-better-keywords-sell-more.html

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Smart Keyword Research Comes First

Excerpt from the book, Get On Google Front Page

keyword researchKeywords are essential to help search engines link your sites and books to certain words, terms or phrases. Keywords can be individual words like “diet” or “weight loss,” a set of words like “healthy weight loss,” or even phrases containing many words such as “eat all you want and still lose weight.” This is also the difference between short-tail and long-tail keywords, or the difference between targeting broad markets under heavy competition with other advertisers versus niche markets with less competition. It’s best to add keywords (both short-tail and long) to every site, blog, URL, title, article and location that has boxes for them, keywords that describe the content of what your site is about. But before we get into the details of how and where to insert keywords, we’re going to discuss at length how to discover which are your very best keywords.

Your very best keywords describe your website (and book’s) content and are being searched by lots of people with relatively low competition.

Okay, that was a mouthful but true. Certain keywords will only help if people are actually searching for them, and your site is relevant to that subject, and (hopefully) there is not a ton of competition. If the competition is low, then you’re golden and the climb to the front page can be quick. If the competition is high, you can still get to the top but it will take great SEO habits and more time.

Read the free Authonomy chapter here on this subject.

Read the first several chapters of this book’s free sample.

Get On Google Front PageAmazon US paperback and ebookPDF version handy with links for your computer

Amazon UK paperbackUK ebook

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XinXii for Indie Authors to Publish-Sell Ebooks

XinXii logoXinXii is a German outfit that promotes Indie authors and helps them sell ebooks. What exactly is it? From their website:

XinXii is Europe’s leading online marketplace for all kind of written works. The platform empowers everyone to market his works in his own XinXii eStore: At XinXii, every author can upload and sell his texts, documents or books (ebook or audiobook version) on the web – that means any kind of written works such as recipes and manuals to novels, Diploma Theses or Excel spreadsheets.

XinXii acts as most other ebook stores, allowing authors to upload and sell through them while they handle the transactions and take a fairly standard cut of the sale. They give 70% royalties to authors with books priced at $2.49 and above, 40% for those priced between the minimum $1.49 to $2.48. They also accept all the major file type formats for upload like pdf, word doc, rich text, epub and many more, but they don’t make conversions as outfits like Smashwords.

Of course, the company does not currently produce an e-reading device, like a Kindle/Nook/iPad etc, so sales here could be slow. But in my experience, the more places to promote your written words, the better. Sometimes a reader will sample a book at a place like this, Scribd, YouPublish, etc, and then buy the actual ebook at their preferred retailer. And sometimes they buy from the venue where it was found.

I’ve just uploaded 5 of my own titles which can be seen at my XinXii author page (which I could only find with a site search, could be my newbie error). I found the upload process to be very simple and professional. Actually, it seems like a great company. Will my ebooks sell there? Not sure. If any readers have experiences with this company, please leave a comment.

By the way, don’t ask me how to pronounce it. Like Zin-Zee, perhaps?

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#SellEbooks Twitter Hash-Tag

twitter bird hash tagsFor writers who want to sell ebooks, it comes as no surprise that social media is a helpful, if not mandatory, tool for self-promotion. I believe Facebook to be fairly straightforward to learn by anyone while Twitter is an often misunderstood entity. In all honesty, I don’t use Twitter anywhere near its potential which is something that needs to be addressed.

In a small effort, I’ve just started a Twitter hash tag for #sellebooks or #SellEbooks. The case isn’t sensitive to search engines, but it does help people recognize the words.

For those unfamiliar with hash tags, they are used to designate a category that can easily be searched and found by others interested in updates. Reportedly, the whole revolution began in 2007 with reports of the San Diego fire by someone adding the phrase #sandiegofire to their Twitter posts. Word spread that was the way to get updates and share updates on the event, and the phenomenon grew from there.

Twitter doesn’t regulate the hash tag community. Because Twitter’s search engine sees everything as individual words (or symbols), the phrase March Madness compared to #marchmadness will result in entirely different results depending on the phrasing of the search. Because the Twitter community is now thoroughly aware of hash tags for finding specific Tweets, it’s just a wise thing to do.

Anyway, if you’re into this whole ebook business, self-publishing, Indie author thing… please use #SellEbooks to accompany any Tweets that have to do with those subjects. It could start a forum of like-minded people as well as help your own self-promotion.

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Typos in Amazon Kindle Ebooks!

Typos in Amazon Kindle EbooksJust read an old favorite on Amazon Kindle, Dan Millman’s WAY OF THE PEACEFUL WARRIOR: A Book That Changes Lives.

What a great book to re-visit, but holy cow, there were a ton of typos. We’re not talking a few but dozens and dozens of glaring ones. How can a former international bestseller, a professionally agented, edited and published book have so many typos? Mind-scratcher.

For all the indie author self-publishers out there, this is the number one complaint from Kindle readers: typos. And it’s clearly not limited to the small guys. Big publishers also make mistakes or have conversion issues from print to electronic document, so don’t fall into the same traps.

What to do? It’s really hard to see them all yourself especially on the computer screen. For some reason, it’s much easier to see them in print or in someone else’s work. Even English majors can read the same paragraph over and over and miss their own glaring typos, so if a professional editor isn’t in the budget you must have at least a half-dozen people (hopefully brutally honest strangers from solid critique groups) read your manuscript. If any of the readers are friends and family, let them know they will only be doing you a favor by pointing out anything and everything they find, even if they don’t like certain parts or the book in general. Writers need thick skin to make books better. Get rid of the typos (and other issues) so yours will be way ahead of the average indie book.

  • Use spell check, even if it means spending a whole day going through the manuscript and ignoring things like fragmented sentences spell check so annoyingly points out. (Can that be turned off?) It’s incredible that some indie authors don’t pay attention to basic spell check.
  • Get involved with good critique groups like at Goodreads, RedRoom, Authonomy, Yahoo Critique groups or elsewhere. Savvy readers can typically identify problems in the first chapters that are likely to be repeating patterns throughout your book. Fix the problems early on and apply the lessons from there.
  • Hire a pro-editor if you can. It’s amazing what a good one can do. The forums listed above are good places to ask around. Get recommendations from other writers too.

Once you do finally upload to Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook, remember that there is a Preview option to see what it looks like before publication. Might as well read at least ten pages checking for any typos or odd conversion glitches. If you don’t find any after ten pages, chances are you won’t have dozens of them the rest of the way.

Your thoughts or comments?


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