Crazy Profitable Ebook Title Sells Thousands Of Books!

I’ve found that the one thing that has contributed most to successful ebook sales is the title. I write non-fiction, so that is primarily what I’m talking about here, but adding hot button words into your title, or writing eye-catching titles that attract curious browsers can mean a lot more sales. I have one ebook that has outsold others on the same topic by thousands of copies – using a title that is more provocative than the others.

it’s been shown that some of the main things that sell your ebook are the title, the book cover design, and your description on Amazon. The content isn’t even in the top three! (Although, of course good content gets good reviews!) But choosing a hot-selling title should be a high priority when considering not just the writing but also the marketing of your ebook.

For example, when writing on personal finance topics, titles with the words “get rich” or “riches” attract more curious readers than just “personal financial planning”. Using “sales” words can bring in readers – which means buyers – so it can be helpful to learn what those are and test. I once had a blog post that started with the word “Wow!” and that consistently got the most clicks of any other page on my blog. No reason the same idea can’t work for ebook titles!

words that sell

Find Eye-Catching Words

(There’s a great book titled Word That Sell, available in various editions, in libraries or new or used for pretty cheap price. It’s worth picking up a copy and reading it for ideas.)

You might try brainstorming titles, making a long list of just off the top of your head ideas. Don’t hesitate to get really wild with your ideas, because when you’re brainstorming it doesn’t matter how silly your titles sound. You might find something that surprisingly clicks. You can use blog posts or even tweets and other social media to test headings, titles, captions and other phrases to see what gets attention. You could run a list past your closest friends or family or fellow writers and ask them, which would they want to read the most? Which would they click on first?

If you self publish for Kindle or other ebook formats, you can certainly re-publish your book with a different title (the ratings etc won’t carry over however, so consider this as well).

If you’re writing ebooks, fiction or no-fiction, drop a line to tell us how you come up with titles, and how you came up with your best selling title.

Promoting Your Kindle Novel Online

For any self published author, getting the word out is the biggest and most important challenge, even more that writing the book itself.  Ideally, you want to build a marketing plan that begins even before your book goes live on Amazon or other eBook publishing site.  Sending out review copies, posting to your blog to create advance notice and other ideas can start before your book is online.  But no matter what you do pre-publication, creating a buzz for your novel should start in earnest immediately after you’ve uploaded it. In order to have successful sales, others have to know about your book and where they can find it.

When you’re using Kindle for your novel, you are the promotion manager and the one person who will control whether your book is read or not. People can’t buy your book if they don’t know about it.  You want to take advantage of all of the tools you can to help your book become a success.

Take Advantage of the KDP Select Free Days

One of those tools is Amazon’s KDP (or Kindle Direct Publishing) Select. This program helps you, as a new author, get your book in front of the people who didn’t know about it. But it can also help established authors get a book in front of new fans.

When you place your book with KDP, you’ll have to agree that your book will only be available through Kindle Direct Publishing. If anyone wants your book, they’ll have to go to Amazon to get it.

At first glance, selling your book using only this program might seem restrictive, but there’s a reason why it’s a good idea to use this program. Any author that uses this tool gains Amazon’s promotional strength.

Amazon flexes some pretty big muscle in the book publishing world – muscle that’s big enough to put your book on the site next to very successful authors like Stephen King, for example.

Amazon will promote your book in ways that you, as an independent author can’t compete with – at least not without a marketing budget of several thousand dollars. You can be boosted as a free book for 5 of your 90-day term!

Do you know how many people use Kindle? Millions. That means your book goes before millions of eager readers. Sometimes people browse through Kindle not really knowing what they want to read.

If you’re part of the program, your book is advertised and gets in front of those people who are looking for something new to read. Not only do you get Amazon’s promotional power to a wide audience, but your book can also become part of the Kindle Lending Library.

This can be a source of income for you because even though the book won’t be purchased through the lending agreement, whenever it is borrowed, you still earn money.

Another way that this promotional tool benefits independent authors is through free book give-away days. You might wonder how you can make money if you’re giving your book away for free.

Here’s how: sometimes people want to get a book but they’re just stretched so tight financially, they can’t afford it. Or they don’t want to take a chance on an author they don’t know.

By giving away the book for free for a limited time, your book gets read by more people. Then what happens is that when these people love your book, they tell a friend about it or leave a positive review.

That friend, who missed the free days, goes online and purchases your book. So you gain free word of mouth exposure among an audience you might not ordinarily reach.

Using Amazon’s Select free days can do a lot for your book. It can create interest, spark reviews, spread the word and bring in paying customers. KDP has launched the careers of many first time authors and one of those authors could be you.

Amazon also helps create a buzz for you by giving you the ability to build an Author Page on their site and they’ll even help walk you through it.  But what if you try KDP and discover it’s not for you?

Using KDP, you’re not tied to the program for the long term.  Each time you join the program, it runs for just 3 months. After the three months is up, you can decide whether or not you want to renew it or take your eBook and publish it elsewhere, such as SmashWords or Nook.

Take Advantage of Free Promotional Sites

There are other places that can help you promote your book and some of these sites are allowed even if you’re using Amazon’s KDP tool. Some of these places are free or low-cost and some do cost a little more.

Why should you promote your book on additional sites? Because what you gain in spreading the word about your book turns into income. You can look at Addicted to eBooks at http://addictedtoebooks.com/submission to see if your book qualifies under their submission policy.

At the http://bargainebookhunter.com/feature-your-book/, if your book is going to be listed on Amazon’s KDP, then you can get the word out here to gain even more exposure for your novel.

The site at http://digitalbooktoday.com/join-our-team/ offers a promotional platform for your Kindle book and http://www.goodkindles.net/p/why-should-i-submit-my-book-here.html allows you to place your book on the site and you can also get your book listed in their newsletter.

Your book can garner exposure at Free Book Dude – though some restrictions apply. You can check those out at http://www.freebookdude.com/p/list-your-free-book.html.

Another site that can help promote your book is the site at eReader Perks. You can access that site here http://www.freebookdude.com/p/list-your-free-book.html – and don’t forget to make sure your book is listed on overseas sites such as the one at http://freekindlefiction.blogspot.co.uk.

Those are just a few of the many sites you’ll find that will gladly list your book for you. You want to make sure that you’re keeping up with all of the places where your book is listed. Keep all of your promotional sites listed in a notebook or in a folder on your computer. You’ll want to access this list when you have other books to promote.

Take Advantage of Social Media to Promoted Your Kindle Novel

Social media has exploded – and with it, so has the promotional opportunities it offers. Everywhere you interact with people online is a potential advertising venture for you.

But you need to be proactive and stay on top of your social media output. Have a day set aside just for promoting your book on all of your chosen sites. You probably already know that you should have an author fan page on Facebook.

If you don’t, then you need to set one up. You can do that by starting here https://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php.  You would choose the one that’s labeled ‘Artist, Band or Public Figure’ and when you do that, hit the drop down arrow and go all the way down to where ‘writer’ is listed.

When you set up your page, you can add the URL to your author website as well as links to your social media sites. You can list your writing, any special deals you have – and engage with your audience. This is also where you can announce your Kindle give away if you’re using Amazon’s KDP tool.

Keep active on Twitter – even if all you do is hop on a few times a day and put a thought or two out there or talk about your book. It doesn’t take much time – and you only have to use 140 characters.

You want to have a presence in the blogosphere as well. Blogs don’t exist on an island. Rather, they’re tightly knit groups of online communities that benefit from each other.

Being part of a blog group offers networking opportunities in the area of both friendship and business. You can set up a blog tour simply by asking those you know in your writing circles to host you on their blog for a specified time.

When you do a blog tour, what you’re doing is visiting a number of blogs usually throughout a couple of weeks or a month. Some blogs will host an author for a day event and some will host an author for a week.

Think of it as a virtual book tour – but a lot easier than traveling to a strange city and setting up a table. You want to do a blog tour because it creates exposure. Exposure creates buyers.

Buyers tell other people who then become buyers. There are several tips that can help you have a successful blog tour to promote your Kindle book.  First, choose blogs that have an active community.

These are blogs that have a steady readership. You can tell if a blog has a steady readership by the amount of comments that viewers leave. A blog with no comments doesn’t have a lot of traffic.

Second, give away swag. You want to give away a free copy of your book, but you can also give away a pen, some chocolate – whatever you think of that fits your budget.

Third, tell everyone where you’ll be. Tell your family, tell your friends, tell your social media sites, tell your Yahoo groups and ask them to stop by and show you some blog love by leaving a comment. Fourth, interact with the people who leave a comment. Even if all you say is, “Thanks for stopping by!”

Finally, the content on your blog tour is important. What some blog hosts will do is create an interview and you simply send them the answered questions that they’ll post.

But you can also do a guest post where you talk about whatever you’d like that usually relates to writing. Whatever format gets used, make sure the content is interesting. Make it stand out to the people that stop by the blog.

Not sure you can put together a blog tour on your own? There are sites such as http://www.blogtour.org that will help you get connected. Your online groups are another way that you want to promote your Kindle book.

What many groups do, especially some Yahoo writing groups, is have promotion days. On those days, you’re allowed to promote your book to the entire group. Some of these groups have thousands of members – so that’s good exposure.

But don’t wait until your Kindle is out to join a group just so you can promote it. That doesn’t go over so well. Instead, join a group and form relationships before your Kindle is released. Interact with your groups and join in the conversations.

You can find a list of groups for self-published authors here http://www.goodreads.com/group/show_tag/self-published-authors

Take Advantage of Review Sites to Gain Exposure for Your Book

Getting a good review on your Kindle book is something that you can use to promote your work. You can add a review to your author website, to your Amazon page and more. Having your book reviewed by family and friends won’t carry much weight, because both sources love you and are going to be biased.

There are plenty of sites that will review your book, but you want to go ahead and get your best-polished Kindle work to them now. One of the sites that does reviews is http://www.theindieview.com/indie-reviewers – and if you scroll toward the bottom of the page, you can see the reviewers listed and what they’re looking to review.

You can also have your book reviewed at http://www.blueinkreview.com/about. Think that some of the big book reviewers won’t review independently published novels?

Think again. Publisher’s Weekly reviews self-published novels and here’s the link where you can find more information about that: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/diy/index.html.

Take Advantage of Other Promotional Tools

One of the most often overlooked ways to promote your book is one that you use numerous times a day almost every day of the week. That’s your personal email account.

In your personal email account, you can add a signature line that gives not only a link to your book, but can include one or two- sentence blurbs as well. It’s a smart, free way to advertise.

Those banner ads that you see on fiction book club sites are paid advertising that can help you promote your book. Some of these ads can be expensive, but worth the cost in the exposure that you’ll gain for your book.

You can find one site here at http://www.blueinkreview.com/about Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the ‘advertise’ link for more information. They’ll even help you with the ad design if you need them to.

Another book site you can run banner ads on is http://freshfiction.com/banners.php. This site has over a quarter of a million subscribers and you can see examples of banner ad space that you can rent on their site.

Overall, spending the time to find promotional sites and post about your book will more than pay off in traffic and sales.

Start Your Kindle Fiction Book Today

There are a lot of first time authors using Kindle to launch their novel.  They decide that they’re going the Kindle publishing route first, because traditional publishing is difficult to break into.

There are a lot of people trying to publish a book. They have great stories to tell and they write well. Yet, their manuscripts often end up at the bottom of the slush pile and never grab an editor’s attention.

Why is that? Because when you try to get published the traditional way, you’re trying to get a foot in the door at the same time as many thousands of other people.

So the competition is pretty fierce. Not only that, editors can drop the ball. They bypass manuscripts that end up becoming best-selling novels because they make the wrong judgment call about the manuscript.

Many authors who have been overlooked with traditional publishing have found a great deal of success on Kindle – plus, the money is better. With traditional publishing, you only get a small portion of the proceeds.

The general amount of the cover price the author will see from a mass market paperback is determined by percentage – and that percentage depends on the publishing company that buys your book.

You would first have to earn out any advance that you’re paid before you see royalties. The truth is that traditional publishing doesn’t pay that well. Another truth is that some of these publishing companies are not open to first time authors without an agent.

If you do land an agent, that agent then gets about 15% of your earnings right off the top. The payouts all go to the agent first and then you get paid. By publishing through Kindle, you get to keep more of the profits that belong to you.

But thinking about doing it won’t get it done. If you want to see your words in print and you want to earn money with your writing work, then you need to get started now.

Which Genre Should You Write?

When you’ve been in the writing world awhile, you’ll hear other writers talk about writing what you love. You can figure out how to write what you love by understanding what you enjoy reading.

If you like reading romance, that’s what you should write. But if you like reading science fiction, that’s what you should write. It’s okay to write in more than one genre – and plenty of authors do that.

However, whatever you write is what your readers will come to expect. You build a loyal following. So you don’t want to write sweet romance and then an erotica novel under the same name.

While as the author, you’re free to write whatever you want, you do want to keep your readers in mind. You can write what you enjoy reading and you can write what you care about, but you have to keep in mind that just like anything else, publishing is a job.

You want to pay attention to what’s selling in the market. So look at what’s selling well on Kindle.  The funny thing about what sells and what doesn’t is that it comes in cycles.

Then everyone jumps on that bandwagon, the market gets too many of the same thing and suddenly you can’t give away another book in that genre- much less sell it.

Vampire and werewolf stories were the rage. Now they’re not. Historicals once ruled – but now they don’t. However, they will cycle back around. So what you want to do is to pay attention to what’s going on in the market.

Never write what you can’t stand to write just because it’s selling. You’ll be miserable. Keep in mind that just because something has never been written before – doesn’t mean it can’t be.

Choosing a Voice for Your Story

Each writer has a unique voice. It’s simply the way that you write based on all the things that made you who you are. However, novels are written in first person, third person, or second person – and it’s your character’s voice that’s telling the story.

You want to write how your character would speak.  In first person writing, you’re writing the book in your character’s voice by using ‘I’. For example, if your character walked into a library, you would write, “I walked into the library.”

Second person point of view is more narrative and is not commonly used. An example of second person voice is “You walked into the library.”

Using the same sentence as an example, third person voice would phrase it like this: “She walked into the library.”

There are pros and cons with all three voices. The most commonly used voice for romantic fiction, suspense and mainstream novels – is third person. First person is used often in young adult and chick lit writing. Second person is what you would use for a very different novel and it would be risky as a new writer because second person is not as widely read.

How do you know which voice to use?  There are two things to keep in mind when deciding. One is the main characters in your story and the second is the genre.

You can test which voice would work best for your characters by writing out a scene in first person and then trying it in third person. If you use multiple points of view, you would still keep each point of view (or POV) in the same voice.

You can tell which voice you find most comfortable to write in by looking at what you like to read. If you don’t like to read books written in first person, then you’re probably not going to like writing in it and you won’t feel comfortable.

Deciding on the Perfect Plot

You have to know how your story is going to work out. That doesn’t mean that you have to know everything there is to know about your plot before you begin to write.

But you have to know how the story progresses, how it’s going to hold together and when to reveal what drives the plot. If you don’t have something that drives the plot, you won’t have readers turning pages.

A plot is like a map to get you to your destination and along the way, you’ll have plot points.  One thing that will turn readers away is a plot that calls for the reader to suspend belief so much that it comes across as too stupid to be real.

Another thing is inconsistent plot points. If killers are after your hero and you need him to confront the killers, having your hero enter a dark basement without a weapon after he hears footsteps isn’t going to sit well with readers.

The plot is the backbone of your novel and every book has one. Sometimes books are plot driven – and sometimes they’re character driven. Plot driven books tend to be faster paced.

If you watch enough television or read enough books, you’ll see that there are seven basic plots and those seven basic plots are used as foundation to flesh out your plot.

The seven basic plots are man (or woman) against self, supernatural, nature, environment, religion, technology or person against person. You flesh out the plot by choosing one and giving it details.

For example, if you were doing a basic person against person plot, you can flesh that out by choosing murder, adultery, revenge, family discord or kidnapping. You can learn how to flesh a plot out simply by looking at the news. You’ll often find examples of every single story plot in the news.

Man against nature (fighting to survive while lost in the woods) or person against person (woman fights to escape kidnapper). If you were choose the plot of man or woman versus self, that can be something like coming to terms with the death of a loved one or some internal struggle that acts as a catalyst to change your character.

If you do enough reading, you’ll see that almost every single plot under the sun has not only been done, but it’s been done quite often. So the trick to writing a novel that sells well is to make sure that your plot is unique. You can use the same basic plot, but give yours a twist that so that it stands out in a reader’s mind.

How to Develop Good Characters

In a book, there are two types of characters – the main character(s) and the supporting or secondary characters. Here, we’ll take a look at how to develop both so that they help you to create unforgettable books.

With any main character, the worst thing in the world you can do is to make that character perfect. Remember that characters are loosely based on real people. Since there aren’t any perfect people, there shouldn’t be perfect characters.  He or she must have flaws, but the flaws have to be ones that readers can identify with.

No one wants to read about the female character that is beautiful, talented, had a perfect childhood – and her worse nightmare is breaking a nail. Not only is that boring, but readers can’t identify with a character like that.

Your character should have a background – where he came from, what he does, what he’s afraid of – and it should be real. For example, look at Indiana Jones: larger than life, a very lovable character, and he’s afraid of snakes. And who can’t relate to that fear of slithering snakes?

You want to create complete backgrounds on all of your characters – know them inside and out. The more you know about your character, the easier it will be for you to find what motivates him. Put your characters through situations that real people face.

If you have a female character and she’s the lead in a homicide investigation, you know she’s going to be a tough character. She’s seen the uglier side of life and that tends to jade people.

To help that character connect with readers, you would present her soft side. Working with sick children or she’s experienced a crushing loss that compels her to fight for justice for others.

You want to create emotional ties with the reader even if your character is extremely tough. You want to give the reader a way to connect and understand and sympathize with that character.

In other words, you want your reader to care. Look at the character of Agent Gibbs on NCIS. His character is tough and can at first come across as uncaring. But then you learn his backstory and that changes the viewers’ outlook toward that agent.

Suddenly, instead of seeing his tough exterior, we’re given a glimpse into a man who has a broken heart and hides it. It’s the same with book characters. You can create your character however you choose – as long as you give something that will connect him to readers and make them love him.

Supporting characters can be tricky to write. You have to be careful that your secondary character doesn’t overshadow your main character. You want to give them enough detail to make them interesting and believable.

But you don’t want to give them so much detail that your reader would rather your secondary character be the lead. Keep in mind that supporting characters are there to support your main characters.

They’re the ones that your characters interact with. But if the supporting character has a minor appearance – like a waitress at a coffee shop, then you wouldn’t give that waitress a lot of space. You wouldn’t give her a background or anything that sticks out unless she’s an important part of the story.

Setting the Scene for Your Story

Setting is important to your story and is one of the tools you can use to make your novel stand out. Setting is where your story exists. It’s the time, location and place that gives reality to your story.

Setting shows the way that your character lives. It’s the environment and what’s going on around your character. A rainy fall day evokes a very different mental image than a hot, sun-filled summer day.

A barefoot, dirty kid scrounging for food on the streets of 1930 London gives a different mental picture than a modern day heiress dining out in a fine establishment.

You want to get setting right because it literally sets the mood and the tone for your story. Not only does setting cover the range of seasons, but it also covers day or night and morning or noon.

It covers the decade, too. Setting covers what’s going on in the world as well, such as political unrest or the moral fabric of society. But remember – when you choose a setting, you have to know why you’ve chosen that setting – how the setting has affected or will affect your characters.

Draft to Final Copy

Not even bestselling authors write a perfect first draft. There’s no such animal. But you don’t want to fall into the trap of trying to edit perfectly as you write. That stifles the creative process.

You have to turn off your internal editor as you write and get the story down. That’s what keeps many writers from ever completing a novel. They spend too much time trying to get down the perfect story so that it takes too long to get the book written.

Just write. Then edit. Once you have the novel written, the revision process takes place. To revise a novel, you look for holes in the plot – anything that doesn’t make sense.

Check that your characters are acting like themselves and that you haven’t given characters unbelievable traits. Check to make sure your pacing is even. You can often catch pacing that’s off when you see long, unbroken chunks of dialogue or internal thinking.

You might want to revise your novel by starting on the last page and then working your way backward! When you read straight from page one, it can be too easy to miss issues you should fix.

Some writers also use beta readers to read over their work – and having a second set of eyes can often catch things the writer misses. When you’re ready to post your book, go ahead. It’s okay if you’re still learning. You can get your work out there and you’ll get feedback that will help you continually improve your work.

How to Write a Kindle Fiction Book

There are a lot of first time authors using Kindle to launch their novel.  They decide that they’re going the Kindle publishing route first, because traditional publishing is difficult to break into.

There are a lot of people trying to publish a book. They have great stories to tell and they write well. Yet, their manuscripts often end up at the bottom of the slush pile and never grab an editor’s attention.

Why is that? Because when you try to get published the traditional way, you’re trying to get a foot in the door at the same time as many thousands of other people.

So the competition is pretty fierce. Not only that, editors can drop the ball. They bypass manuscripts that end up becoming best-selling novels because they make the wrong judgment call about the manuscript.

Many authors who have been overlooked with traditional publishing have found a great deal of success on Kindle – plus, the money is better. With traditional publishing, you only get a small portion of the proceeds.

The general amount of the cover price the author will see from a mass market paperback is determined by percentage – and that percentage depends on the publishing company that buys your book.

You would first have to earn out any advance that you’re paid before you see royalties. The truth is that traditional publishing doesn’t pay that well. Another truth is that some of these publishing companies are not open to first time authors without an agent.

If you do land an agent, that agent then gets about 15% of your earnings right off the top. The payouts all go to the agent first and then you get paid. By publishing through Kindle, you get to keep more of the profits that belong to you.

But thinking about doing it won’t get it done. If you want to see your words in print and you want to earn money with your writing work, then you need to get started now.

Which Genre Should You Write?

When you’ve been in the writing world awhile, you’ll hear other writers talk about writing what you love. You can figure out how to write what you love by understanding what you enjoy reading.

If you like reading romance, that’s what you should write. But if you like reading science fiction, that’s what you should write. It’s okay to write in more than one genre – and plenty of authors do that.

However, whatever you write is what your readers will come to expect. You build a loyal following. So you don’t want to write sweet romance and then an erotica novel under the same name.

While as the author, you’re free to write whatever you want, you do want to keep your readers in mind. You can write what you enjoy reading and you can write what you care about, but you have to keep in mind that just like anything else, publishing is a job.

You want to pay attention to what’s selling in the market. So look at what’s selling well on Kindle.  The funny thing about what sells and what doesn’t is that it comes in cycles.

Then everyone jumps on that bandwagon, the market gets too many of the same thing and suddenly you can’t give away another book in that genre- much less sell it.

Vampire and werewolf stories were the rage. Now they’re not. Historicals once ruled – but now they don’t. However, they will cycle back around. So what you want to do is to pay attention to what’s going on in the market.

Never write what you can’t stand to write just because it’s selling. You’ll be miserable. Keep in mind that just because something has never been written before – doesn’t mean it can’t be.

Choosing a Voice for Your Story

Each writer has a unique voice. It’s simply the way that you write based on all the things that made you who you are. However, novels are written in first person, third person, or second person – and it’s your character’s voice that’s telling the story.

You want to write how your character would speak.  In first person writing, you’re writing the book in your character’s voice by using ‘I’. For example, if your character walked into a library, you would write, “I walked into the library.”

Second person point of view is more narrative and is not commonly used. An example of second person voice is “You walked into the library.”

Using the same sentence as an example, third person voice would phrase it like this: “She walked into the library.”

There are pros and cons with all three voices. The most commonly used voice for romantic fiction, suspense and mainstream novels – is third person. First person is used often in young adult and chick lit writing. Second person is what you would use for a very different novel and it would be risky as a new writer because second person is not as widely read.

How do you know which voice to use?  There are two things to keep in mind when deciding. One is the main characters in your story and the second is the genre.

You can test which voice would work best for your characters by writing out a scene in first person and then trying it in third person. If you use multiple points of view, you would still keep each point of view (or POV) in the same voice.

You can tell which voice you find most comfortable to write in by looking at what you like to read. If you don’t like to read books written in first person, then you’re probably not going to like writing in it and you won’t feel comfortable.

Deciding on the Perfect Plot

You have to know how your story is going to work out. That doesn’t mean that you have to know everything there is to know about your plot before you begin to write.

But you have to know how the story progresses, how it’s going to hold together and when to reveal what drives the plot. If you don’t have something that drives the plot, you won’t have readers turning pages.

A plot is like a map to get you to your destination and along the way, you’ll have plot points.  One thing that will turn readers away is a plot that calls for the reader to suspend belief so much that it comes across as too stupid to be real.

Another thing is inconsistent plot points. If killers are after your hero and you need him to confront the killers, having your hero enter a dark basement without a weapon after he hears footsteps isn’t going to sit well with readers.

The plot is the backbone of your novel and every book has one. Sometimes books are plot driven – and sometimes they’re character driven. Plot driven books tend to be faster paced.

If you watch enough television or read enough books, you’ll see that there are seven basic plots and those seven basic plots are used as foundation to flesh out your plot.

The seven basic plots are man (or woman) against self, supernatural, nature, environment, religion, technology or person against person. You flesh out the plot by choosing one and giving it details.

For example, if you were doing a basic person against person plot, you can flesh that out by choosing murder, adultery, revenge, family discord or kidnapping. You can learn how to flesh a plot out simply by looking at the news. You’ll often find examples of every single story plot in the news.

Man against nature (fighting to survive while lost in the woods) or person against person (woman fights to escape kidnapper). If you were choose the plot of man or woman versus self, that can be something like coming to terms with the death of a loved one or some internal struggle that acts as a catalyst to change your character.

If you do enough reading, you’ll see that almost every single plot under the sun has not only been done, but it’s been done quite often. So the trick to writing a novel that sells well is to make sure that your plot is unique. You can use the same basic plot, but give yours a twist that so that it stands out in a reader’s mind.

How to Develop Good Characters

In a book, there are two types of characters – the main character(s) and the supporting or secondary characters. Here, we’ll take a look at how to develop both so that they help you to create unforgettable books.

With any main character, the worst thing in the world you can do is to make that character perfect. Remember that characters are loosely based on real people. Since there aren’t any perfect people, there shouldn’t be perfect characters.  He or she must have flaws, but the flaws have to be ones that readers can identify with.

No one wants to read about the female character that is beautiful, talented, had a perfect childhood – and her worse nightmare is breaking a nail. Not only is that boring, but readers can’t identify with a character like that.

Your character should have a background – where he came from, what he does, what he’s afraid of – and it should be real. For example, look at Indiana Jones: larger than life, a very lovable character, and he’s afraid of snakes. And who can’t relate to that fear of slithering snakes?

You want to create complete backgrounds on all of your characters – know them inside and out. The more you know about your character, the easier it will be for you to find what motivates him. Put your characters through situations that real people face.

If you have a female character and she’s the lead in a homicide investigation, you know she’s going to be a tough character. She’s seen the uglier side of life and that tends to jade people.

To help that character connect with readers, you would present her soft side. Working with sick children or she’s experienced a crushing loss that compels her to fight for justice for others.

You want to create emotional ties with the reader even if your character is extremely tough. You want to give the reader a way to connect and understand and sympathize with that character.

In other words, you want your reader to care. Look at the character of Agent Gibbs on NCIS. His character is tough and can at first come across as uncaring. But then you learn his backstory and that changes the viewers’ outlook toward that agent.

Suddenly, instead of seeing his tough exterior, we’re given a glimpse into a man who has a broken heart and hides it. It’s the same with book characters. You can create your character however you choose – as long as you give something that will connect him to readers and make them love him.

Supporting characters can be tricky to write. You have to be careful that your secondary character doesn’t overshadow your main character. You want to give them enough detail to make them interesting and believable.

But you don’t want to give them so much detail that your reader would rather your secondary character be the lead. Keep in mind that supporting characters are there to support your main characters.

They’re the ones that your characters interact with. But if the supporting character has a minor appearance – like a waitress at a coffee shop, then you wouldn’t give that waitress a lot of space. You wouldn’t give her a background or anything that sticks out unless she’s an important part of the story.

Setting the Scene for Your Story

Setting is important to your story and is one of the tools you can use to make your novel stand out. Setting is where your story exists. It’s the time, location and place that gives reality to your story.

Setting shows the way that your character lives. It’s the environment and what’s going on around your character. A rainy fall day evokes a very different mental image than a hot, sun-filled summer day.

A barefoot, dirty kid scrounging for food on the streets of 1930 London gives a different mental picture than a modern day heiress dining out in a fine establishment.

You want to get setting right because it literally sets the mood and the tone for your story. Not only does setting cover the range of seasons, but it also covers day or night and morning or noon.

It covers the decade, too. Setting covers what’s going on in the world as well, such as political unrest or the moral fabric of society. But remember – when you choose a setting, you have to know why you’ve chosen that setting – how the setting has affected or will affect your characters.

Draft to Final Copy

Not even bestselling authors write a perfect first draft. There’s no such animal. But you don’t want to fall into the trap of trying to edit perfectly as you write. That stifles the creative process.

You have to turn off your internal editor as you write and get the story down. That’s what keeps many writers from ever completing a novel. They spend too much time trying to get down the perfect story so that it takes too long to get the book written.

Just write. Then edit. Once you have the novel written, the revision process takes place. To revise a novel, you look for holes in the plot – anything that doesn’t make sense.

Check that your characters are acting like themselves and that you haven’t given characters unbelievable traits. Check to make sure your pacing is even. You can often catch pacing that’s off when you see long, unbroken chunks of dialogue or internal thinking.

You might want to revise your novel by starting on the last page and then working your way backward! When you read straight from page one, it can be too easy to miss issues you should fix.

Some writers also use beta readers to read over their work – and having a second set of eyes can often catch things the writer misses. When you’re ready to post your book, go ahead. It’s okay if you’re still learning. You can get your work out there and you’ll get feedback that will help you continually improve your work.

Promoting Your Kindle Book

After spending the time to write your eBook, and all the work of formatting and publishing your book on Amazon’s free Kindle platform, nothing hurts more than having your book go live and seeing zero sales day after day.  After all, the idea is to sell books!

Yet many writers spend so much time learning the ins and outs of Kindle publishing, that they completely forget about PROMOTING their book once it’s live!  You won’t have a traditional publishing house with a team of promo experts at your disposal – it will all rest on your shoulders.  ror anyone with an eBook out there that is languishing, here are five tips to help you spread the word about your Kindle books:

Tip #1 – Set Up Your Own Blog

A blog for your author name (either your real name or a pen name) or the book name is a good idea. If your goal is to put out a series of books, then you can link the readers to your blog where an opt in form resides and capture their name and email address so they can be notified of the upcoming releases.

Tip #2 – Tweet About It

Even if you’re not an avid Twitter user, you should make it a point to get an account for your author name and Tweet about your Kindle release, as well as free promo days if you have them. Twitter still makes the news and the community makes things go viral, so you want to have a piece of that marketing opportunity. You can use a free Twitter tool like Hoot Suite to set up automatic tweets, and also manage your other social media outreach like Facebook, Google + and more.

Tip #3 – Create a Facebook Fan Page

Create a Facebook fan page for your book, or for your author name. This gives people a way to communicate with you, but since many people love to share things on Facebook, it gives them a quick and easy way to share your book’s link (with a thumbnail and commentary) with their own friends and family.

Tip #4 – Find Free Sites To Tell About Your Book

There are hundreds of review sites now that cover Kindle and other eBooks.  A simple search of the Internet will bring up blogs, Facebook pages and other websites looking for books to review.  A good starting place is Author Marketing Club, where you can get free access to notification services to promote your eBook.

Tip #5 – Join a Blog Book Tour

In traditional publishing, authors go from bookstore to bookstore around the country to promote their book and interact with fans. On a blog book tour, the author makes a stop at someone’s blog to get interviewed (sometimes it’s a live webinar type interview). Sometimes they are given a set of questions to answer in advance from the blogger’s audience. And they may give away a few copies to lucky readers. All of this helps keep the buzz going about the author and his or her books.

You’ll want to explore things like using the KDP Select program at Amazon as well,which offers multiple promotion ideas for authors.  We’ll post more about the KDP program and additional marketing ideas in the next few posts.

 

Write An Ebook Today

Are you considering getting on the ebook or Kindle bandwagon, by publishing your own ebook?

I’m in the process of compiling a detailed review page with a number of free and paid resources, so you can find the exact resource you need to either get started, build momentum for your finished product, hire outsourcers and much more.

In them mean time, let me know what topic or resource YOU need, or would like to see, as  you work your way through writing an ebook.

How You Can Earn Money Writing Online

When you think of ways to make money using the Internet, writing is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. However, you’d be amazed by how many people are earning a living by doing just that. And before you say, “Oh, I’m not a good writer, I could never be truly profitable.” — think again. You need almost no experience to get started. As long as you can coherently string sentences together with decent grammar and punctuation, you can earn money writing online.

So, how do you get started? Well, most people tend to recommend getting your feet wet by applying at sites like Textbroker or The Content Authority. These sites regularly hire newbie web writers as Independent Contractors to supply articles for their clients. The topics you might write about vary greatly, and both sites have a system in place where you can simply log in and select the articles that you find most appealing to write — provided these articles are available to you based on your quality level. Yes, that’s right — you will be assigned a quality level. When you read most Textbroker reviews, you’ll learn that if your writing is on the poor side, they’ll put you at level two, which is the lowest level. This also means the least money. At The Content Authority, everyone starts off at level two and must work their way up as they gain experience and get better. You can also advance in level at Textbroker as you get more practice writing for the web. However, if you’re already good, Textbroker might start you off at level three or four. Level five is the highest writing level available at both sites, and the money you can earn at this tier is pretty serious. However, your writing needs to be near magazine quality to ever hope of attaining this level.

The great thing about writing for sites like Textbroker and The Content Authority is that they’ll actually help you get better at writing. All of your work will be reviewed and graded by editors who really know their stuff, and they’ll tell you where you need to improve and point out any general mistakes you’ve made. Try not to get offended by this feedback. After all, it’s in place to help you become a better writer, and if you follow the advice you are given, you will most definitely become a better writer with time. The better you get at writing, the more money you can potentially earn.

Simple Steps to Create a Good Personal Brand Online

 Branding is very important in our age of technology and internet, and many people are focusing on creating a good online profile in order to get themselves to the next career step on the corporate ladder. Good work performance and networking can be effective to get you a promotion or a new job, but many people are finding that they can also use social media in order to make a move with their career.

Why Online Image Matters

When recruiters or potential employers are looking at your application or resume, often they will also look up your online information in order to gather more details about your life. Through social media websites and other free online tools, you can create a personal brand that shows you as a happy, motivated person.

Many people are surprised to learn that they can create any type of online reputation; and a simple process of removing negative information and increasing positive information online will help you to shape the reputation that you desire.

How To Create an Online Profile

The best way to create a positive image of yourself is to begin sharing information about something that you love. Find a topic of passion, and begin blogging about the topic on a free blogging platform. When this positive, happy information is linked to your name, employers will be able to see that you are a pleasant person that you are willing to take the extra step to make yourself visible.

It is also a good idea to use reputation management services if you don’t have the time or knowledge to create a good online brand. These services can effectively remove unwanted information, and fill the search engines with positive information about the person that you are. This positive image can be a great way to show off your best features to recruiters, which in turn can help you to get the job of your dreams.

What is Dedicated Server Hosting?

Most small businesses and up-and-coming artists and professionals understand the importance of a website. A website can skyrocket any company’s business and can help to attract the target audience in the most efficient manner possible. However, without dedicated server hosting, none of this can be possible.

A dedicated hosting service is a type of internet hosting in which the client leases an entire server, as opposed to using a shared server, for hosting. The hosting company will generally offer generous bandwidth allocations and a number of different operating systems to choose from. Many hosting companies will also offer user-friendly hosting control panels so that website owners can easily manage their server.

It is important to find reliable and secure dedicated servers for your hosting needs. Some web development companies will include the cost of hosting in the price of developing your website. This is ideal because it will allow you to use that web developer’s technical support team for any problems that you may have with the site and / or hosting. However, if you are looking for the most affordable hosting option available, this may not be it.

Most professional dedicated server hosting companies can offer customized plans to best meet your business’s unique needs. These plans will vary between a number of different monthly price ranges that are designed to fit your company’s hosting and storage needs. There is usually also a significant setup charge involved.

Your dedicated server hosting company of choice should offer reliable support so that if you ever have a problem, they can quickly address it. For instance, some web hosting companies offer live chat support so that your problem can be fixed in no time at all. If your hosting company of choice does not offer reliable technical support 24 / 7, it may be time to look for a new hosting company that can meet your needs.

SEO and Web Page Titles

Titles are a cornerstone of search engine optimization. Without a good title, your articles won’t be able to attract visitors like you want them to. But creating good titles isn’t as simple as entering text between the <TITLE> tags of your web pages. Remember a few rules with each title you make.

The title must contain your keywords.
Without keywords, it is unlikely that your target will ever find your site.  Keywords are what people use to look for information they need with search engines; in turn, search engines scan your pages for keywords to determine if they are relevant to these searches.  For instance, a search about Facebook smileys would require keywords like “emoticons on Facebook” or “smiley on Facebook” to appear in the title. You can find the right keywords for your niche topic by researching it. The better you know the topic, the better you can pick the right keywords.

The title must contain a phrase that people are likely to use in their searches. Search engines will look for titles that match a search query as closely as possible. If you can anticipate what these search phrases will be, you put yourself in a better position to rank for these searches.  Don’t use expert language unless you target experts on your niche topic. And don’t use titles that make sense only internally, such as “Chapter 3: What’s Next.” Such non-descriptive titles tell search engines nothing about the pages’ content.

The title must be neither too long nor too short. Each web page title can have no more than 64 letters, numbers and/or other characters in it. Any longer and search engines will cut off the rest of the title. But don’t make your titles too short either. Shorter titles have stronger competition to deal with. Also, put your keywords near the beginning. People read from left to right, top to bottom when scanning search results.

The title must be inviting. Last but not least, your web page title must be inviting. The title must promise something good to the reader, so it gets clicked.  And more importantly, the article must deliver.  If you write about herbal remedies for hair loss, the title should say so and the article must help the reader deal with this problem.

One cannot over-emphasize the importance of good titles. You can make or break your chances of success just from effective titling. Research your topic and learn to implement the right keywords.  With practice and experience, you will find how to best phrase your titles to get the most traffic.