Blog to Book Project — Back Up Your Manuscript

I know this step seems like a no-brainer, but today we are going to spend just a few minutes talking about why you should back up your manuscript, even after you’ve uploaded it to the publishing site. 

Let’s start with the book template Pressbooks which allows you to access your completed manuscript, edit it, and download it to your computer. Pressbooks, as amazing as it is, might run into technical issues or be hacked. All your hard work will be lost, unless you have a backup version. This could happen no matter which online book template you use.

Saving to your computer isn’t enough. Be sure to save your manuscript to an external memory device like a USB stick and to a cloud storage platform. Computer can suddenly die. USB sticks can become corrupted. Cloud storage can disappear. However, if you save to all three, odds are that at least one copy of your manuscript can be salvaged. 

Now, let’s talk about Amazon. Although Amazon insists that you retain all rights to your work, that isn’t completely true. When you use the Kindle Create program, your .kpf file can only be used on Amazon. If you decide to move your book to another publishing site, you’ll need to start from scratch. Incidentally, this is another reason to use a seperate book template site like Pressbooks rather than Kindle Create.

Amazon may also remove your book and close your account if it believes you have violated one of its ever-changing policies. If this happens, you can publish your manuscript to another platform only IF you have a copy of your manuscript someplace on file. 

Inexpensive or remote server backup options include:

Even if you are only planning on getting one copy of your book for personal enjoyment, having a backup copy will also make it easier should you wish to run a second printing to give as gifts. 

Assignment: Back up your manuscript.

Blog to Book Project — Titles

Coming up with the perfect title isn’t easy. Even the best writers have had some duds before deciding on a winning name.

F. Scott Fitzgerald went through a number of possibilities before deciding on The Great Gatsby. Some rejects included The High-Bouncing Lover, Among Ash-Heaps and Millionaires; On the Road to West Egg; Under the Red, White, and Blue; Gold-Hatted Gatsby; and Trimalchio in West Egg.

John Steinbeck considered Something That Happened before settling on Of Mice and Men. The original title of War and Peace was the phrase “All’s Well That Ends Well” from Leo Tolstoy. The author of Lord of the Flies, William Golding, wanted to call his book Strangers from Within

So know you are in good company if the perfect title of your book is being elusive. 

Your title should be short, easy to pronounce, simple to remember, and descriptive. It could be funny or indicative of the book’s genre. Is there any doubt about the theme of these books by Annabel Chase?

Consider these questions when creating a title:

  • What is your book about?
  • What problem does your book solve?
  • Who is your intended audience?
  • Are there lines, themes, or phrases that repeat?
  • Is the story told from a unique perspective?
  • Do you have an epigraph that would work as a title?

Some books reference a well-known title or phrase but with a twist. Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler is a variation of Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, a popular coming-of-age story by Judy Blume. Or what about Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, the upside-down phrase based on the local meteorologist’s weather prediction. For the book, In the Midst of Winter: A Novel by Isabel Allende, the author takes the title from a quote by Albert Camus which in turn is the epigraph for her book.

Scroll through Wikipedia’s list of best-selling books and Goodreads’ Best Book Titles. See which titles jump out at you and why. Are they funny? Dramatic? Surprising?

To help you think outside the box, play around with a random title generator. Reedsy has one that you can find here.

Try these catchy phrases for your potential title:

  • The Art of…
  • Confessions of …
  • How to…
  • The Myth of …
  • Where the…
  • The End of …

Non-fiction books these days also have subtitles which tend to clarify the main title. A subtitle may identify your book’s central idea, who the book is for and what problem it solves. Take a look at these intriguing titles. 

Would you buy them based on the title alone? Why or why not? 

A catchy title is one of the most important determiners whether your book gets read or not, so take some time to find the right one.

Assignment: Come up with several working titles for your book. 

Blog to Book Project — Kindle Instant Previews

Amazon has a fabulous preview option that you should take advantage of. As long as you are an Amazon Associate, each book detail page will give you a way to either embed or share a link to a preview of your book. 

Go to your book’s detail page on Amazon. Over on the right side, there are some social media icons that you can use to share the page. After the last symbol, you’ll see <Embed>. Click on that. 

A pop-up window will open. Here your Amazon Associate ID and Tracking number will appear. You’ll want to double check those because any book purchased through the preview option earns you a commission. You use either the link or click on the embed option.

The embed option gives you code that you can insert in the text (HTML) section of your book’s landing page on your website. You did set up a website and create a landing page right?

For some reason you aren’t able to embed the code, there is still a way to add the preview link to the landing page. Upload the cover of your book and under Display Settings choose Link to: Custom URL. Here you can add the LINK (not the embed code) to the image. Make sure you caption the image letting people know that it is clickable and will provide a preview of the book.

The preview can be accessed through any Kindle device or anyone with the Kindle reading app on any device.

At the end of the sample, readers are encouraged to purchase the book on Amazon. There’s a good chance that if they made it that far, they’ll be interested in buying!

Assignment: Embed the preview on your book’s landing page. Share the preview link wherever you want.

Blog to Book Project — Free Book Promotion

Make sure to scroll down to see which eBook is FREE for you to download from Amazon today!

A great way to get reviews is to offer your book free every so often. When your title is enrolled in KDP Select, you can give your book away for up to 5 days every 90-day term. If you have already done a Kindle Countdown Deal during a period of enrollment, your book won’t be eligible for a Free Book Promotion.

To set up a free book promotion click on the Promote and Advertise button next to the title on your KDP Bookshelf.

On the Promote your book on Amazon page, make sure the Free Book Promotion is selected and click on the yellow Create a new Free Book Promotion button.

Choose a start and end date. You can choose all five days at once, or run multiple free book promotions during the 90-day period. Once the dates are entered, select the yellow Save Changes button. 

You can edit or delete a free promotion at any time, including during an ongoing promotional period. While the book is free, it won’t be included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). You also don’t receive any royalties for any free books that are purchased during the promotional period. 

While your book is free, it is eligible for ranking on the Top 100 Free page in the Kindle Store. Once the promotional period ends, it reverts back to ranking on the Top 100 Paid page.  

Don’t forget to blast your social media networks with the news! Everybody loves FREE books!

Assignment: Set up a Free Book Promotion.

I’ve set up a free book promotion for my latest that you can pick up for FREE until April 8, 2020. A Woman’s Survival Guide to Disasters in Rural Mexico eBook version is FREE–so go on and pick it up!

Blog to Book Project — Kindle Countdown Deals

The Kindle Countdown Deal is available to books enrolled in KDP Select. It is a sale on your book that you can run on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.  When your book is part of a countdown deal, potential buyers can see the regular price and the promotional price on the detail page along with a countdown clock.

You’ll receive your regular royalty rate for each sale during the promotion. Furthermore, your book will be listed on the Kindle Countdown Deal page.

To set up a Kindle Countdown Deal, select the Promote and Advertise button by your book in your KDP Bookshelf. 

That will take you to a page entitled “Promote your book on Amazon.” On this page, make sure the Kindle Countdown Deal option is selected and click on the yellow Create a new Kindle Countdown Deal button. 

On the following page called “Create a new Kindle Countdown Deal” first choose whether you wish to run your sale on Amazon or Amazon UK. Then choose what 7-day period you want to run the sale. You can choose to run the deal for fewer days, but you only get one countdown deal per each 90-day enrollment period, so you might as well use the maximum number of days. 

Decide how many increments you want the sale price to have, from one to five. Then decide on the starting price of your book from .99 to $1 less than the full price. 

When you continue, you will see the proposed promotional schedule including date, duration of that price point, price and the discount percentage. You can edit as you wish before confirming by selecting the yellow Add Promotion button at the bottom of the page. 

In order to qualify for this sale, the digital price of your book can not have changed 30 days prior to the sale or 14 days after. The book must have been enrolled in KDP select for at least 30 days.

The book can’t have had a free promotion during the same KDP Select term. You can choose either one type of promotion or the other, not both. If your book is not exclusive to KDP Select and Amazon finds out about it, you lose your KDP privileges and any promotions are cancelled. You also can’t cancel the promotion once it has begun. 

Make sure to advertise your Kindle Countdown Deal on all your social media accounts!

Assignment: Set up a Kindle Countdown Deal.

Blog to Book Project — Cover Design

You have an incredible opportunity to convince someone to buy your book if you have the right cover. If it is bland or if it doesn’t accurately represent the contents of your book, then prospective readers will move on. 

If you have the artistic ability, then, by all means, take a crack at designing your own cover. I am not fortunate enough to have that talent, so I ask my artist friend, Clau Guzes, to create images that I can use for my cover using Cover Create at KDP and in my books.

If you don’t have an artistic friend, then you can search for one on a variety of freelance platforms. Upwork, BookDesignTemplates, Reedsy, 99designs, and Fiverr all have oodles of designers in every price range and ability. 

Do-it-yourself options include Canva, Pixlr, DIYBookCovers, and GIMP.

Whichever option you choose, your cover should entice readers to pick up your book and page through it, whether literally or virtually, depending on the format. 

Look at other book covers written by other authors in your niche or genre. Are there similarities in the cover design or image choice? You’ll want to mimic them. 

When you’ve narrowed it down, you could make a poll and ask your readers which they prefer. Polls create an excellent opportunity for you to connect with your fans.

The image and design that you ultimately go with should portray the main idea of your book. Take a look at these cover designs gathered by Reedsy for some cover design inspiration. 

Assignment: Choose or design an image you want to use on your cover.

Blog to Book Project — Proof Copies

Proof copies are great to send Beta readers, proofreaders, copy editors or to do a final check yourself. A proof copy is what your book would look like before it gets the final quality review at Amazon. 

You can only order proof copies when your book is in the draft category. You will get the opportunity to order proofs when you reach the Paperback Rights & Pricing tab in the uploading process. Click on the link in the box above the yellow Publish Your Paperback Book button that says “Request Printed Proofs of this book that you can order from the Amazon cart.” 

Clicking on that link will take you to a page where you can place your order. You can order up to five copies at a time. You can ship to multiple addresses by placing separate orders.

After you order your proof, you can publish your book immediately or wait until you’ve had a chance to look over your book. Remember, if you do find errors, you can upload a new manuscript with corrections. 

You will receive an email from Amazon KDP with a link to complete the order for your proofs. You must complete the transaction within 24 hours of receiving the email, otherwise you’ll have to make the request again. 

Proofs are a little different from regular copies of the book. Across the cover there is a “Not for Resale” watermark and no ISBN although there is a bar code. Other than that, the text and image formatting is the same, so if there is something that you want to change after seeing your book in print, do it.

Assignment: Order your proof copy.

Blog to Book Project — Look Inside the Book

Look Inside is a tool you can use to your advantage on Amazon. It allows readers to actually look inside (hence the name) your book. It’s actually a piece of cake to get it set up because Amazon does it for you! 

When you publish through KDP, your book is automatically enrolled in the program. Within a week of your book being available on Amazon, you will be able to see the Look Inside arrow on your book’s landing page on Amazon.

Readers can see a preview of both your ebook and print book. It’s a limited number of pages, so don’t worry about giving too much away. The ebook preview shows the cover and several of the first pages, not usually more than 10 or so. At the end of the preview, there is a prompt to encourage previewers to purchase the book. 

On the left, there’s an option to order a sample of the book for free delivered to your Kindle. Again, it’s not a huge amount of material, but it might be enough to prompt someone to buy. 

The print preview shows the front and back covers, copyright, table of contents, first few pages and a “Surprise Me!” option which takes previewers to a random section of the book.

There is also a search option. You can’t actually go to those pages in the preview, but it does list the sentence and page number of each occurrence of the words you searched for. It also helps readers find your book in any search on Amazon. So if a reader wants to find a book about “La Yacata” and searches for those keywords, my books have a higher probability of appearing before his or her wondering eyes even if “La Yacata” is not in the title.

As an author, you can capitalize on this feature by making sure you have no grammatical or orthographical errors in the preview. Nothing turns a reader off faster than mistakes. You could also be creative with your front matter placement to draw the reader in.

Assignment: Check out some books via the Look Inside option on Amazon. How can you capitalize on this feature as an author?

Blog to Book Project — Facebook Author Page

Despite regular policy and algorithm changes, Facebook is where it is at. You would be remiss if you didn’t take advantage of this free way to get some publicity. 

Facebook allows you to Like and Comment on other pages using your author profile. Your news feed is separate from your personal page. You won’t be penalized by Facebook when you share your awesome book. Facebook also gives you a way to analyze post engagement, which you don’t have with your personal profile. 

First, you need to have a personal Facebook account. Once you have that all setup, you’ll have the option Create at the top. Click on that.

You’ll be given two options, Business or Brand and Community or Public Figure. As an author, you are a public figure, so choose that one.  If you offer writing services, then you might want to pick the Business profile. 

Type in your name, or pen name, and Author as the category. Add a profile and cover photo. Use your author headshot as your profile picture. Design something interesting with Canva for your cover photo that includes the cover of your book.   

Facebook Post Templates Landing Page on Canva

Invite people to like your page. Check out Facebook’s tips. Take a look at the settings and add what you need to. You can connect your Instagram account and author website too.

So what should you post? Anything you want! Try for a good variety of types of posts, images, articles, links to book reviews, author interviews and so on. Remember, the idea is to provide content interesting enough for people to follow and engage with you. Then, throw in a self-promotion post every so often. 

Facebook has a paid ads option which will be useful once you’ve established a good social media base, so keep that in mind for future marketing sessions. 

Assignment: Set up your Facebook Author Page