Friday, 30 April 2021

Back Matter in books and marketing


Back matter these days shoud always contain a hook in the form a enticing sample of one of your other books. Such a pity I’ve only given a list of the other titles – I never thought of giving a sample. That should be rectified as soons as I can.

Keywords and categories can help too and not just in setting up your new book on KDP. Take every chance you can to put hooks out to catch an unsuspecting reader.

Hooks are everywhere. A blog should have hooks to attract new readers Every piece of marketing you do should have hooks. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken a catchy phrase or sentence to help create interest in my books. Huge embarrassment binds my tongue and I shrug and pass on to the next topic of conversation. How many potential sales have I ruined? Word of mouth recommendations are the most successful and the devil to come by so instead I should have had a lovely strapline to use in such situations.

So should you!


Sunday, 25 April 2021

Look Inside


Amazon provides a Look Inside feature. Many customers use it before deciding to buy or to choose another title in preference to yours. The first chapter should be so good that no one walks away at this point!

In the argument about whether to place glossaries and such like at the front or the back of the book, I suggest it might be wise to let the customer get at the first chapter without distraction. Other Book titles, glossaries and possibly even maps, should go at the back where they don’t get in the way of this first, all-important read.

The opening line of the chapter is like the first line of your blurb. It should arouse curiosity and engage interest, needs to be so good that the customer will decide right away to buy.

Like the title and cover, the first lines must reassure that the customer is in the right place; that the genre is the one he thought it was and likes to read. Check your first lines and remove anything that might prevent a sale. This is not the place for back story, poor spelling, stilted language, or poor formatting. Concentrate on the things that will help the reader make a good decision – suspense, curiosity, personality, language that flows smoothly, ideas that link to one another without a distracting jerk. Take time to get it right.

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

More about Blurbs


I’m really getting into Bryan Cohen’s advice on Amazon Ads and reading around on the merits of various things to improve sales.

A book blurb is a great big hook. It should arouse curiosity in any potential buyer. The title and cover create expectations and you need to reinforce these early in the blurb.

A good blurb needs engaging content. Think about the features that will sell your book and use them. Cut out the material that customers don’t need to know. Does the customer really need to know the names of multiple characters when checking the book out in the bookstore? Don’t give away the ending or important plot twists - the customer should remain curious. Regard Curiosity and Suspense as sales tools.

(The pic? Blackthorn in flower)

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Revamping book covers


Most authors would prefer that 1 in every 10 potential customers bought their book. The thought of the ratio being 1 in 10,000 gives them the shivers.

So how can they help themselves? The cover is the first hook to get that customer to buy.

Did you know a book title can be a hook? I didn’t, so I listed the main hooks to remind myself next time I am busy revamping some of my own covers:

1) a catchy title

2) the genre must be explicit

3) keywords in the title, subtitle, or series should be *genre* relevant. (that word was transposed into gender by my pc, but I caught it in time!)

4) Always remember that in fiction, shorter titles sell better.

The cover offers opportunity for more hooks than you might think. Perhaps the most important is being able to tell in a 3 second glance what the book is about. Colours, font and making keywords stand out in a thumbnail ~ it all matters. I shall never look at a cover in such a simple way ever again.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

That Cover!


What thoughts run through your head when you look at a book cover?


Some covers you like, some you don’t. But do you ever stop to analyse why? Probably not. I know my first cover was a blurry photograph of a beautiful beach.

It could be that it was a nice picture, but it didn’t tell you what the book was about.

Maybe the image was inappropriate for the story.


Nowadays I think much more carefully about a cover. You could say I am eagle-eyed now!

If a model is used, I ask ifs the expression implies the right mood? Is the costume correct for the time period of the novel?

Does it look amateurish?


Some things look plain wrong. The perspective might be incorrect, with sunlight coming from the wrong place or, worse, two places at once. Red-eye can easily be corrected these days, but not blurriness - better to choose another image.


I try to avoid a run-of-the-mill image that bores the observer.

Too many competing images are distracting for the reader and there may be technical issues due to untrained use of software that are spoiling the result.

Sometimes the image may become skewed or distorted.

A cover can be too sexy for its target audience, colours may clash and there may be too much text on the cover. A spelling mistake is a disaster. Fortunately, I never made the mistake of using the word “by” followed by the author’s name. If I have, my memory has air-brushed it out of my mind!


I try to remember its always easier when one main image with a clear message is used.

Lost dog!

Sunday 8 th May Slow start to a sunny day with a promise of high temperatures. Bill took Perla out at 7.30 as he has done all this month ...