Survive the Summer Sales Slump

Industry folks from all sides will argue as to whether or not a summer sales slump occurs, particularly in the eBook space. We at AOAD don’t have specific numbers to prove this, but anecdotal evidence, personal experience, and the fact that many publishers take chunks of time off during the summer when sales are lower seem to be good indicators that it happens to some extent.

The question is, if or when the summer sales slump hits, what can you do about it? Let’s talk about some ways to deal with these slower months. We don’t guarantee sales, but we do think you’ll have a productive summer if you try these out!

Hold a Sale
Hold a price drop on one (or more) of your books. As simple as that. Price drops tend to boost sales units. You may see less $, but at the same time, you may see more $ than if you hadn’t done the sale.

Release a Boxed Set
If you have a series completed, consider releasing a box set of the series during the summer. Don’t have a completed series without a box? Try an anthology with several other authors.

Promote, Promote, Promote
Rather than back off on your promotions, step up. Many authors take the summer off. Many publishers take a portion of the summer off. Take advantage of potentially having less voices to compete with and do more promoting in the summer.

Release a New Book
Releasing a new book during traditional slump months can help you get through the slump and bolster your numbers. Two things to consider… If you release in June, try releasing a summer-themed book to take advantage of those beach readers. Also, think about releasing in August which has the potential to kick start your fall sales.

Try A Social Media Refresh
Take advantages of these months when readers are paying less attention and refresh your social media. Give your brand a face lift, launch a new website, get started on a new platform (never tried Instagram? Try now), and so forth.

Summerize Your Incentives
Any giveaways, sales, releases, promotions, etc. that you do, try to make them summer themed. Combine them with other summer incentives. Think beaches, BBQ, pools, snow cones & ice cream…you get it.  Just remember, if you do this, to time your events earlier in the summer. You know…when it’s still summer for a while.

Hook Up with Other Authors
Use the power of cross-promotion. In the summer try to do events like Facebook parties, Twitter parties, Newsletter visits, blog visits or blasts, and so on, with other authors.

Get Ready for Fall
Take these slower months to get ready for the uptick in the fall. Hold off on those promotions and sales and hit them hard at the end of August, September/October. After taking a break and hearing less over the summer, readers may be more ready to take advantage. (Yes, we know this contradicts our earlier suggestion about promoting in the summer. Lol. Pick one and try it out. See what works for you.)

Learn
Take advantage of a slow down and use all that extra time in your life to beef up your skills. Take workshops, go to a conference, take an online or local college course, try writing exercises, join a writing group, and anything else you can think of.

Read
Take a break and read over the summer. Reading is a huge part of being an author. Keep up with how the market it changing in your genre. Enjoy other authors’ work. Rekindle your passion.

Write, Write, Write
Take the summer to write your heart out. Get words on the page so that when the industry returns to full steam in the fall, you can jump right in. Or get a head start on a project so that you can take it easier in the fall.

No matter which of our suggestions you try, definitely try the last one! We wish you luck heading into the summer and would love to hear what works for you. Do you see the slump? What have you tried?

DOs & DON’Ts for a Street Team

DOs&DON'TsA street team is a group of fans who come together to support a you as an author or in support of a specific book or series of books you’ve written. They’re all about creating buzz for your books and sharing that passion for your stories with you.

When establishing an official street team–however that looks for you–it is always a good idea to establish a basic set of DOs and DON’Ts for the team members. Below we’ve collected a general set for you to consider and to help get you started.

 

DOs

Do…feel free to post on the street team board any time. Please keep posts clean and PG.

Do…stay active and engaged. I love interacting with my Street Team!

Do…help me promote in any way you feel comfortable with (creating your own posts, sharing my posts, leaving reviews, telling your friends, tweeting to the world, etc.).

Do…share your thoughts on my books with the team and me. We all have this in common, and so we can enjoy discussing together.

Do…invite your friends to events like Facebook parties.

Do…know how much I appreciate you! I put my heart and soul into my books, and anyone who loves them and is happy to join me in that passion is a friend indeed!

Do…have fun!

 

DON’Ts

Don’t…use this forum to sell or promote yourself, other authors, or other items.

Don’t…join only for the freebies. Part of the fun of this group is a shared passion!

Don’t…bash other authors or leave dishonest reviews about their work in an attempt to pump up my brand. We love other authors!

Don’t…share anything I’ve specified as either exclusive content OR as a sneak peek or preview. I’ll let you know when things are ready to go live to the public!

Don’t…share anything that might hurt my brand. Think about how people might react to a given post and make sure it’s appropriate.

Don’t…do anything that makes you uncomfortable. The point of a street team is a shared passion and getting the word out, but not when you don’t have fun!

9 Tools for Creating Social Media Images

Wooden toolbox on the tableEvery marketing professional out there will tell you that when it comes to marketing, people are drawn to images. This is true on TV, on billboards, in magazines, and…on social media. Authors, this means you need to get comfortable creating images to use in your social media on a regular basis. Here are 9 tools to help you do that!

Get Images

Part of the trouble with social media images is having to pay for the rights and do the appropriate attribution. Check out these sites for beautiful, free images.

Pexels 

Free stock images for both personal and commercial use without attribution.

https://www.pexels.com

Unsplash

Free stock images for both personal and commercial use without attribution.

https://unsplash.com/

 

Manipulate Images

If you’re not a Photoshop expert and don’t want to pay the $ for the tools, try these easy-to-use tools to help you put together your social media images.

Canva

You can use the free features or pay for custom image usage. Either way, this is an easy to use tool which produces graphics the right size and type for any social media platform.

https://www.canva.com/

Pic Monkey

For a small monthly fee, you have access to a very easy to use tool which allows you to take your pictures to the next level.

https://www.picmonkey.com

 

 

 

Professional Images

If you’re already a whiz with Photoshop or some other graphics tool, here are some tools to step up your game.

Dafont

Download ton of fantastic fonts. Even try out your words in the font first. Just remember to look for licensing rules for each individual font.

http://www.dafont.com/

Adobe Color CC

A free color picker which helps you find the right combination of colors.

https://color.adobe.com/

2017 Social Media Image Size Cheat Sheet

Recommended sizes for any and all social media options. Each works best with different sized images.

https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-image-sizes-cheat-sheet/

 

Other

If you want to try making other types of more complicated visuals for your social media, try these:

Pictochart

To create infographics, either from scratch or with their templates

https://piktochart.com/

Recite

Create images for quotes by typing in your quote, picking the layout, and that’s it.

http://www.recitethis.com/

 

 

Choose the Right Excerpt for Your Book

Cindy &Alexander.pngWriting your book might be the easiest part of your job as an author. Everything that comes after, the publishing and marketing of the book, are often where authors struggle the most. One of the steps in that time is to select an excerpt or two of your book.

The purpose of the excerpt is to give prospective readers a taste of your writing. Even more important, the purpose of an excerpt is to hook those prospective readers into your story so they want to buy and read it.

To help you select these important passages, here are a few tips to consider:

1. Hook the Reader

Choose a passage where, at the end of reading it, the reader will immediately want to find out what happens next. This may mean ending in the middle of the passage. But make sure the excerpt ends in a way that people say, “What happens next?”

2. Make the Excerpt “Exclusive”

Don’t select an excerpt that either highlights what the reader can already glean from the book blurb, or is a passage they can get in the “Look Inside” feature.

3. Choose an Active Passage

Active means something is happening. Don’t select an excerpt which is a long description of the setting or a character thinking. Select one that has something happening. Interactions between characters or a minor pivot point in the story are good places to start.

5. Demonstrate the Genre

Highlight the type of book you wrote. Is it a mystery? Make the excerpt highlight that aspect. Is it a romance? Maybe think about showing how the couple meets or how they interact? Is it non-fiction, include one of the interesting facts.

4. Avoid Context Needs

Try to pick an excerpt that doesn’t need context to understand what is happening in the scene.

5. Cut & Trim As Needed

You don’t have to copy/paste your excerpt word-for-word. You can trim and cut as needed so that the excerpt is relevant, not confusing, and enticing. The reader will get anything you cut when they buy the book

6. Think About Length

Most new readers will not spend time reading a long excerpt. They want to know quickly if your writing will interest them. Try to keep your excerpt on the shorter side. 500-1000 words is a good rule of thumb.

Cindy &Alexander.png

Authors: How to Create a Media Kit

authortoolbox-mediakitMedia kits. Authors, you need one for each book you release, and sometimes for a full series when you’ve released all the books in that series. Many authors have no idea what these are or how to use them. The good news is media kits are very easy to put together, and they can save you a lot of time when it comes to marketing your books.

What is a media kit?

A media kit is a basic document containing information about your latest book being released.

Why do I need a media kit?

Media kits are primarily used as a package of information for reviewers, bloggers, journalists, and other marketing folks to help them write about and market your book.

For indie authors, media kits are particularly helpful when setting up blog tours and requesting reviews. You will be asked for the same information over and over again. The media kit provides that information, saving you time and energy rather than reinventing the wheel every time.

How do I make a media kit?

  1. Open a Word document and save it as TitleOfBook_MediaKit.docx
  2. At the top of the document, type in the
    • Title of the Book
    • Subtitle (if any)
    • Series Name & # (if any)
    • by Your Pen Name
  3. Provide the following book information:
    • Book Blurb
    • Book Cover (insert the image)
    • Buy Links (to anywhere the book is sold)
    • Tagline (a one line phrase which captures your book)
  4. Provide the technical info about the book, including:
    • Publisher:
      Author:
      Cover Artist:
      Page Count:
      Word Count:
      ISBN (Digital):
      ISBN (Print):
      Release Date:
  5. Include a “praise” section which are positive reviews (with quotes) either about the book or about the series. Make sure to give credit to the reviewer or review website and link to the actual review.
  6. Include an “Additional Media” section with links to:
    • Book Page on your website
    • Book or Series Pinterest Board
    • Book Trailer on YouTube
    • Any other fun related links (did you make a quiz? did you do an FAQ about the series? did you do any character interviews?)
  7. Include 3 different excerpts in the following lengths:
    • Under 200 words
    • 500-600 words
    • 700-1000 words
  8. Wrap it up with information about the author including
    • Author Bio
    • Social Media Links
    • Author Picture (insert the image)
  9. Edit for typos and format to make it look professional, but simple.
  10. Save the document as a PDF
  11. When sending, attach the book cover and author picture images separately, so they have a hi-res version and not just what’s embedded in your media kit.

 

To help get you started, we’ve included a FREE MEDIA KIT TEMPLATE as a Word document to this. It is very basic. Feel free to add your own formatting and flare as desired. Best of luck getting the word out about your latest release!!!