Five Tips to Increase Online Book Sales

December 15, 2006

Book It seems like just about everyone who has written a book is pitching it on the web.  Even me!   Marketing sense tells us that the web needs to be part of any author’s strategy today.

Here are some easy and smart ways to juice your online sales.

  1. Create a blog on the same topic as your book.  I know I am probably preaching to the choir here, but it is worth saying.  Blogging is a place where birds of a feather gather together.   Gather your birds in your own nest!
  2. On your book’s/author website (or blog) include a calendar that outlines your public appearances, book signings and presentations/readings. And provide a place for people to request an appearance too!
  3. Post a sample chapter that can either be read or downloaded so they can get a taste of your style and how you approach the topic.
  4. Give the buyers lots of choices.  Don’t only have your book available on your site.  List it on Amazon,, 800CEORead, etc. as well.
  5. Identify some other authors who write in your same subject area.  rather than seeing them as competition, make them a co-conspirator!  Promote each other’s books, do some mutual giveaways and take advantage of each other’s fan base.

Rocket science?  Not really.  But you’d be amazed at how many authors think those books will sell themselves!  If you’re an author, give a couple of these a try and let me know how they work.  If you’re a reader…reward some of those authors and pick up a book or two for the holidays.

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Blogtipping — December ’06

December 1, 2006

Blogtipping_1 I am joining with my fellow bloggers in celebrating some new blogs that I discovered this past month.  As is the blogtipping tradition, (created by Easton Ellsworth) I’ll offer a few reasons why I like the blog and one suggestion for improvement.

The Ripple Effect: Maximum Ripple is Steve Harper’s reminder to us all that our lives are intertwined and we can create the professional and personal lives we hunger for.

Things I love:

  • Your questions and musings make me slow down and think.  Thank you.
  • I respect and appreciate how much of yourself you share in your posts.
  • I think your weekly "features" are a great idea.


  • Add some visuals to break up your copy.

Do You Q? is Mitch Matthews addictive blog of thought-provoking questions.

Things I love:

  • The randomness of the questions — sometimes silly, sometimes profound.
  • Reading your readers’ comments is almost as much fun as answering your questions.
  • Your visuals are right on the money for your questions.


  • Post more often and find a way to link your readers to game sales (a contest maybe or helping a charity?)

Slow Leadership is an inspiring, resource rich study on leadership.

Things I love:

  • Incredible content.  Very current and thought provoking.
  • The quick summary feature.  At a glance, I can tell if the post is something I want to read.
  • There’s lots of meat in every post.  I am not left wanting for more.


  • Include a bio and tell us a little about who you are and what you’re all about.  (If there is such info available on the site, I couldn’t find it.  If it’s there — make it easier to find!)

There you have it discerning readers…until next month’s blogtipping adventure!

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Who are you calling an SOB?

November 12, 2006

Those of you who know me won’t be all that surprised that I got called an SOB today.  But in this case, it was actually a compliment!Sobbutton3

Liz Strauss of Successful Blog recognizes a few blogs every week that, in her words…

"They take the conversation to their readers, contribute great ideas, challenge us, make us better, and make our businesses stronger.  I thank every one of our SOBs for thinking what we say is worth passing on.  Good conversations shared can only improve the blogging community."

I’m honored to be included among Liz’s very esteemed list of bloggers who have something of note to say.   Check out this week’s list and Liz’s past honorees in her Hall of Fame links.

Thanks for the nod Liz…I will do my best to live up to your moniker SOB!


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Fortune 500 Corporate Blog Review Series: Apple

November 11, 2006

Image representing Apple Inc. as depicted in C...Image via CrunchBase

When I read on Easton Ellsworth’s blog about the Fortune 500 Corporate Blog Project, I decided I wanted to participate.  The premise is simple…volunteer bloggers choose one or more of the Fortune 500 companies and do a little legwork to see if the company has an official blog.  Post it wiki style and voila, together we have created some pretty impressive knowledge.

I chose one of my favorite companies, #159 Apple. (AAPL) I have to admit, I made the assumption that of course they’d have a corporate blog.  I mean, come on…it’s Apple.

Typical of Apple, they aren’t doing it like most others.  Instead, on their homepage is a link to what they call Hot News with an RSS feed.  But the Hot News is a blend of internal news and links to outside sources, like O’Reilly Digital Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

There are no opportunities to comment or trackback.  So not exactly a blog, but more than a website. 

There are plenty of unofficial blogs focusing on Apple, their products, et al as you might imagine.  Technorati lists over 4,300 of them.

If you haven’t grabbed a company to research — grab one soon.  I’m off to add my 2 cents to the wiki.

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Listen up! (How all companies should use blogs)

November 11, 2006

Images1_2 Despite a bazillion new blogs being started every day, business blogging still seems to be in its infancy.  Many companies are still wondering why they would need a blog.  And maybe they don’t.  Creating and maintaining a blog is not for everyone or every organization.  But that doesn’t mean blogging isn’t an important business tool.

You should use blogs to listen to your customers.  You’ll be amazed at what they’re saying.  Here are a couple links that say it better than I can.  Mike’s post tells you how to do it.  Tom’s two-parter will give you a remarkable example of how a company turned a rant into a rave…all by listening to blogs.

Mike Sansone’s How To Listen In post.

Tom Vander Well’s Real Life Example posts.  Part one.  And…part two.

Read…and learn.  And start to listen.

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Our glass was WAY past full this morning!

November 10, 2006

Did you feel it?  About 8:30 central time (US)? A slight rumble underfoot?  An eerie aura or sense that it was no ordinary day?

Me too.  Because here in Des Moines, IA (the blogging capital of the world) we had a gathering.  And a guest.

Starbucker of Ramblings From a Glass Half Full was in KC for business and decided he had to come up and see what the blogging mecca of Des Moines was all about.  As you can see, he had dinner with Tim Johnson of Carpe Factum last night and then got some good rest so he was ready for “DSM Goes a Blogging”  (no, not clogging Tom VW) this morning.

What ensued was quite a bit of raucous laughter at Panera, as we online friends put faces and voices to the thoughts and ideas we’ve been sharing together for months.  It was tough, after more than 90 minutes, to drag myself away and actually get to the day job.  But I have no doubt we’ll get together again.

Here’s a snapshot of the motley crew.  In order, from left to right (or as I like to think of it…most handsome to….)

Sandy Renshaw of Purple Wren
Tom Vander Well of QAQNA
Tim Johnson of Carpe Factum
Mike Sansone of Converstations
Starbucker the guest of honor (gotta love a guy who only uses one name!) of Glass Half Full
Mike Wagner of Own Your Brand


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October 30, 2006

Images_5 Do you still think of your cellular phone as a way to call home to see if you need to pick up milk?  Probably not.  It’s a way to keep track of phone numbers, your calendar and surf the web, right?


It is also one of the latest marketing mediums to surface.  Text message marketing is just the beginning.  Want to be reminded of your favorite show’s start time?  Odds are, if you go to the show’s official website, you can make that happen.

Want to know when you favorite bar has live music?  Yup, that’s available too.

Right now the technology has largely been adopted by consumer products — beer and soft drink companies, couponable transactions, destinations.  But, can the B to B applications be far behind?

Lenveno, a computer company that acquired IBM’s personal computing division last year is saying no.  This summer they ran a mobile promotion aimed at small business decision makers.  Their goal, to build awareness for the ThinkPad PC brand.

The campaign achieved a 188% increase in aided brand awareness and 156% in product recall.

Impressive, eh?  And we’re just beginning to see this tactic.  Want to read more about it?  Check out what they have to say over at the spillover effect.

Ask yourself this — if your current customers gave you their cell phone number — how could you add value, increase loyalty and create incremental sales?

Interesting question.

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Do you sound stupid?

October 28, 2006

Images2 Okay, right off the bat I need to admit I am annoyed.  So if there’s a sharpness to the tone, you know why.  It’s not you.  But out of my annoyance comes a great marketing tip.

I have decided I need (not want) a smart phone.  I’m tired of not having my calendar and contact lists with me at all times.  I’m content to pay for the upgrade, knowing it will make me more productive.

I am an ideal customer.  I am ready to buy.  I have money to spend.

So…with that mindset, I enter the Verizon store.  Before I can buy, I need some help.  You see, like the rest of the world will someday be…I am a Mac guy.  (more on this later) I ask them which smart phone is most compatible with Macs.  Here’s what tech support guy and sales woman both say.

"Oh, you can’t use a Mac with them.  It’s Windows technology."

I say…."are you sure?  Seems to me that with all the Macs out there, someone would have figured that out."

"Yeah, well, when they were designing the phones, Mac didn’t have a computer so they didn’t take that into account." 


To which the other adds, "actually, with Mac declining, Verizon is really not going to be worrying about that platform."


Here’s the marketing tip.  If you are ignorant, for the Love of Pete, admit it.  Clearly both of these professionals are under educated about their product.  And technology in general.  Which is a shame.  But, if you find yourself in that same boat, just admit you don’t know.  Consumers are much more forgiving of ignorance than they are of stupidity.   Be authentic.  Just say you don’t know.

The other downside of sounding stupid as opposed to admitting ignorance is that you are not inclined to go find out.  Admitting you don’t know is often the first step in finding the answer.  Aral Balkan actually proposed an "I don’t know day" which is an interesting concept.

By the way, for the rest of your forward thinking technology users, here’s the information from ZDNet on which smart phone works best with the Mac.

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Don’t let your technology embarrass you!

September 26, 2006

As a blogger on TypePad, I access my account by going to their home page and entering my userID and password.  Simple and efficient.  The TypePad home page is clean and well organized.  It has plenty of links and concise bits of information.  All what you would expect from people who use technology to make a living.


Here’s the odd thing.  Every time I go to their home page, the exact same quote appears.  Now, wouldn’t you think someone as sophisticated as the TypePad folks would use the power of their own technology and have quotes rotate?  If that was the case, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed.

Although it isn’t really fair, we consumers tend to notice things that seem deficient or out of place.  Don’t let your use of technology suggest that perhaps you haven’t thought it through, or even worse yet, don’t quite have a handle on it.

What does your technology say about you?

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