A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary and entrepreneurial advocate. She is the founder and owner of YolandaMJohnson, Literary Wonders! and Bryant Consulting. She is a columnist for Examiner.com, RAW Sistaz Literary Services and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women) and Toastmasters. She also conducts workshops and classes on writing and entrepreneurship and is also a member of several reading and writing groups.
’Tis the Season...to Sell Books!
Fa la la la la! Yes, that is indeed a Christmas carol, and this means only one thing—the holiday season is upon us. What do you suppose is the best gift anyone could ever receive for Christmas? Well, except for a million dollars. A book! Better yet, your book. If you haven’t started your hustle, now is the time.
If you’re like me and don’t like having lots of books on hand, I suggest making an exception for this time of year. Order around twenty-five to fifty books. Holiday parties are in full swing, offering opportunities for book signings, library events, conferences, or other social and networking events. You and your friends will attend numerous holiday celebrations, sharing and spreading holiday cheer. Nothing goes better with spiked or un-spiked eggnog and holiday snacks like a great book. And nothing strikes up a great conversation like a great book.
Many authors think that the holiday season is the worst time of year to try to sell their work, but that’s simply not true. I’ve had authors tell me that they don’t attempt to market or sell their books during the holiday season because consumers are spending their money on Christmas gifts and the last thing they want to do is buy a book. Hello?! Holiday shopping + book = gift! If you are one of those authors who think this is not the time to sell books, please, get that notion out of your head.
With our current down economy and with electronics being on everyone’s wish list, a book makes a great gift and it doesn’t cost that much. And if your book is good, the buzz will last a long time.
As I said, most people wish for electronics—this includes tablets and e-readers. If you are a self-published author and your book is not available in ebook format, shame on you! Let’s look at three ways you can convert your book to ebook formats.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
Start by directing your browser to the Kindle Direct Publishing Website. Once there, you will find a wealth of information on how to get started. One of the good things about Kindle Direct Publishing is that you don’t have to have an ISBN number. Instead, Amazon will assign your title an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). You have no upfront costs with publishing through Amazon, with the exception of your editing and your book cover.
The tools on this page will help you with registering your title, formatting it, and uploading it to the Amazon website. Please note that there are various ebook variations (EPUB, PDF, Mobi, PRC, AZW, HTLM and so on). Also note that there are several ebook converters that are available, and most are free. Software such as Calibre and MobiPocket Creator will help you convert your Word document into a specified ebook format.
The resources on this page will also give you directions on how to upload your author contribution information, your cover, and the proper format your book needs to be in. Another of the great things about Kindle Direct Publishing is that if your formatting is a little off, which can happen until you get the hang of it, you can see how the formatting looks on a reader and make necessary corrections. Even after you’ve published your book through Kindle Direct Publishing, if you find a mistake or discover that the formatting is incorrect, you can submit a correction. Isn’t that cool? What’s even cooler is that once you’ve uploaded your book to Kindle Direct Publishing, your book is usually available for sale within twenty-four to seventy-two hours.
Barnes & Noble PubIt!
Barnes & Noble PubIt! platform is simple as well. Point your browser to PubIt! Click on the PubIt! FAQs, then Marketing Toolkit on the left side of the page. Here you’ll find resources to guide you in formatting your book, uploading it, and marketing. Barnes & Noble claims your book will be available for sale within twenty-four to seventy-two hours. The marketing toolkit gives you tips on how to write a great novel description and bio and how to garner reviews.
Although I am an avid Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing fan, I have to give Smashwords kudos. Smashwords will take your Word document and format it for you in about five to eight different publishing formats, including Kindle, Nook and iPad. It will also prepare your book for print publication. I think that’s pretty darn neat.
Some portions of Smashwords requires an ISBN, but prefers you use one simply because it gives you the option to publish your book in physical form. You can obtain a free ISBN number through Smashwords; however, if you do this, although you retain the rights to your work, Smashwords will be listed as your publisher, not you. If that doesn’t suit you, you can purchase an ISBN number from Smashwords for under $10, and you will be listed as your publisher.
Each of the above resources can help you publish your ebook at little to no upfront cost to you. Each has an easy way for receiving payments when your ebooks sell. After you’ve published your ebook, it’s up to you to market it. I always tell my clients, or anyone who asks, to always utilize social media, especially while it is free. You can’t beat free. I can guarantee you that these services will not always be free, so use them while you can.
It is often said that it’s better to give than to receive. Why not do both? You’ve heard me talk about promotional items. This is the time of year when those items come in handy. You can opt for selling your book for a reduced price, or offer a bookmark, a coffee cup with the cover of your book on it, or a nice pen imprinted with your book’s title. Some authors include a raffle ticket with the purchase of a book. At the end of the promotion, the winner wins a gift basket full of goodies.
Ensure that your Website is visitor friendly and that viewers know where to purchase your book immediately upon landing on your web page. This is a good time to utilize Facebook Fan Pages and Landing pages. Send out a request to all your friends to join your fan page.
Start a blog if you haven’t already done so. You can invoke attention to your book, direct blog posts toward your book, write on a topic related to that of your book and start a conversation. This will get people interested and excited about your book.
Well, Mrs. P.R. Clause’s work here is done. I’ve given you a few tools and tips on how to use the holiday season to create attention and sales for your book. The rest is up to you. My gift to you this holiday season is links to some very useful and free ebooks.
Happy Holidays to all, and to all great sales!
Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, That Literary Lady!