an exhausting list of author marketing tools

40+ Free Tools for Authors

The Self Publishing Review site has produced an exhaustive list of resources for promoting your ebooks.

The richness of the tools are sorted as follows:

Writing and editing – tools, which can help you better write and edit your book
Design – how to easily prepare a cover of a book; it’s actually easier than you think
Formats and conversion – tools to convert and prepare books in desired file formats
Publishing – a list of the most popular self-publishing platforms
Online presence – what you need to effectively promote and sell your books
Reader engagement – tools to engage your readers in your books and writing
Analytics – analyze effectiveness of your online activity

Maybe spend an hour on each category and prioritize your top three tools. Once you focus on those, you can return to the list to teach yourself more about the other items.


Helen Gallagher


IndieReader hypes Top Ten list

IndieReader now promoting self-published bestsellers.

Use it as a way to size up the competition, and look up some of the authors to see how they have been marketing to reach best-seller status. Also note, although we always say non-fiction sells best when self-published, the top seller is fiction:

“Writer John Locke claims the #1 spot on this week’s list with his novel Saving Vegas. Here’s more from the site: “Three of the books on the List were written by the same author, John Locke.  Locke’s book, Saving Rachel, was the first Indie book in history to hit #1 on Amazon/Kindle. In total, he has sold more than 875,000 downloads since January.”

So, your Saturday morning homework is to go figure out how he did that!!

Your book’s back cover

From Jan B. King’s blog comes this tidy summary of the components of your books’ back cover.

Most back covers have four elements to them (not in this order):

1. First, on the bottom left, there is a beautiful picture of you – a picture that says wow, she really knows her stuff, but she’s a lot of fun, too. If you aren’t the person you want to be pictured on your cover, then do the work you want to become that person now.

2. Beside the picture, there is a short to-the-point bio of three to five sentences – just enough to establish your best credentials for you as an expert in your subject. So if you’ve got work to do to establish those credentials, this is the time to do it.

3. Across the top are as many important, inspiring testimonials as you can fit in, from important, influential, and name-recognized people. If you don’t have those now from clients or friends, start thinking about who you know and who can connect you with the people you need to know. Network and get to know the people who you can help and who can help you.

Actually write the testimonials you’d like to read and the name of the person you’d like to have write them. If you know that a testimo-nial from a particular person would be powerful, do everything you can to meet that person. As you network, tell your new friends and business associates who you need testimonials from and find out if they have any friends and associates who can help you do that.

4. In the middle of the page there is a synopsis of the critical not-to-be-missed core message of your book.

Tell us in 50 words or less what we need to know – much like an elevator speech you might give as you network for your business, but this time for your book. Focusing on these elements you can begin to see how everything surrounding your book must come together to result in a successful publication: you, your message, and your audience must come together to create success.

As Jan says, there is an art to book covers and the back cover is especially important for in-person sales.

Have fun contemplating the best cover you can create.

Helen Gallagher

Best books for self-publishing

A random survey of the self-publishing industry continues to show that practical non-fiction books sell best, among all types of books.

Most difficult to sell, self-published, are fiction and children’s books. Why? Because it is difficult to reach that market without in-store promotions, marketing budgets, national exposure, and a full-time publicity campaign.

You may be surprised by the following recommendation to use ebooks for fiction and children’s publishing. It comes from Aaron Shepard, a long-time self-publishing pro:

“Mainly because they solve the single biggest problem remaining in self publishing: what to do with fiction and other discretionary books. POD simply doesn’t work well for self-published fiction, because at the typical price of a printed book, few readers will take a chance on an unknown quantity. So, the self-published novelist can seldom compete.

Ebooks, though, change the equation, giving the self-published author one huge advantage. Big publishers have to price their ebooks fairly high in order to support their establishments. Self publishers don’t. They can price their books low enough that readers are willing to take that chance on them.

So, even though I probably won’t write much about ebooks, I do believe they are the way to go if you publish fiction, children’s books, or any other kind of book for which readers have a wide choice. ”

I will be discussing this topic at length in my May 5, 2011 presentation for Off-Campus Writers Workshop in Winnetka, IL. Non-members are welcome to attend. More info at

Self-publishing: the right option for you?

A Saturday morning pep talk for those who keep writing, yet wonder how they will ever attract an agent and publisher in today’s cash-strapped publishing economy. Remember the dichotomy of getting a job: You can’t get a job without experience, and you can’t get experience without a job.

Publishing is the same – Publishers do not want to financially invest in your book unless they are able to see profit potential. If you are a first-time/unknown author, your book has to be extraordinary, or at least the right book, for that publisher, at that time, via the right agent.

With over 58 percent of all books in print now self-published, according to Bowker, Inc., remember that you can release your writing, with self-publishing, despite the following HUMOR from Garrison Keillor on the subject. This is HUMOR, remember?

“…18 million authors in America, each with an average of 14 readers, eight of whom are blood relatives. Average annual earnings: $1.75.

The upside of self-publishing is that you can write whatever you wish, utter freedom, and that also is the downside. You can write whatever you wish and everyone in the world can exercise their right to read the first three sentences and delete the rest.”

— Garrison Keillor

So keep writing, attending workshops, and building your platform, and you will thrive as a successful author.