How To Capitalise On A Book Contest Win

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HOW TO CAPITALISE ON A BOOK CONTEST WIN
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Trophies

Trophies by Brad. K

Congratulations! You have just won a book award!

What now?

My self-published book, A Brand New Day, a children’s picture book about divorce, recently won the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Awards in the divorce category.

This was the first competition I had ever entered my book in and it never occurred to me that I would win. I was therefore extremely ill prepared and I wasn’t able to capitalise on this accolade at an opportune time. Whilst I was busy trying to see what I could do to spread the word about the win, Purple Dragonfly Awards awarded A Brand New Day a second place winner in the Family Matters category. Aaarggh!!! Yay but help! I just wasn’t ready and I am still kicking myself for not being prepared.

Therefore, to ensure you don’t make the same rookie mistake as I did, here are some learnings:

PRESS RELEASE
If entering competitions is going to be a regular part of your book marketing repertoire, get a press release template ready. Include all the relevant information you would normally include and just change the paragraph about the actual award you have won.

Make a list of media outlets you would want to send the press release to, as you would no doubt be using the same contact list on numerous occasions. This should include local newspapers, magazines, book reviewers, news desks, TV,  bloggers, radio, to name a few.

BE PREPARED
Should any of your press releases be successful, you will be contacted asking for different types of information. You will have a small window of opportunity to respond whilst it is still news worthy. Make sure you have all your pertinent details at hand e.g. book cover image, author bio, illustrator bio, synopsis of the book etc….

UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE AND/OR BLOG
First and foremost, write a post about it. Then download the seals and make it a permanent fixture on your site for all to see, much like the gold or silver seals on the sides of wine bottles. You just can’t help but give it a go. If you have won several awards, create a dedicated page for your accolades and show them off!

SHARE IT
Share your updates over as many social media outlets as possible. Share it aggressively within 24 hours of its public announcement and milk it for all its worth. You deserve the win and you will be surprised how much support you will receive in return.

CHANGE YOUR DETAILS
You are now an award-winning author. Make permanent changes through your digital life e.g. email signature, social media profiles, pages headers etc…

Congratulations once again! Now, go celebrate!

Importance of Book Contests For Self-Published Authors

A.S ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

IMPORTANCE OF BOOK CONTESTS FOR SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHORS
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The Polar Express

5 Star Trip (Caldecott Medal) – Worth the Travel! by Carol VanHook.

I don’t believe that self-published authors understand the true benefits of winning a book contest. Apart from the fact that someone is telling you that you have written a great book, the knock on effect from a marketing point of view is substantial. Let’s explore some of these advantages.

RECOGNITION AND CREDIBILITY
It is an excellent medium to gain some recognition for your work. Being an award winning author immediately improves the perception of you as an author and a reader’s willingness to read your book. Continual accolades lend credibility that can be hard to ignore. It naturally spikes curiosity and could lead to increase in sales.

A WELL WRITTEN BOOK
In the first instance, getting good reviews from family and friends about your book isn’t necessarily unbiased or valuable. Entering a book competition means you are confident your book is worthy of the contest whilst winning an award cements what you had always thought along, you’re a great writer! It is important to know you have in fact written a good book.

RE-VISITING REVIEW REQUESTS
With your increased credibility, it may assist you in gaining more reviews about your book. Requests which may have been ignored previously may be worthwhile exploring again. Reviewers may re-consider reading your award winning book.

CREATES PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL
Winning a contest gives you something to talk about and enables you to create promotional material for marketing purposes. You can send out press releases to various different mediums and also have fodder for your blogging, website and social media.

The creators of the competition would also be sending out their press releases and creating a marketing buzz on your behalf. A renowned competition can command a large audience that matters to you and your book. Award seals are also a great promotional tool for your books at the point of sale.

PRIZES AND CONTRACTS
Most book contests offer some lucrative prizes. Monetary rewards, no matter the amount, would at least cover the costs of the entering the competition in the first place. Additional funds may be utilised to enter further contests for newly published books for the following year or ease any other expenses you may incur in the future.

Some contests offer audience with literary agents or traditional publishing houses. This poses a great opportunity for all indie authors trying to get that publishing contract.

FEEDBACK
Some book competitions offer feedback. This is a most useful service that should be embraced. You would gain unbiased and productive comments about how to improve your book.

The next important step is to identify which book competitions are worth entering. There are many out there in the marketplace but only really a handful which will bring you good marketing dollars and wide spread recognition. Find ones that suit you best and be strategic about your selections. Competitions are spread out throughout the year so make a comprehensive list as you will no doubt need it all again for the next book. Good luck with your entries!

10 Ways To Improve SEO Ranking

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

10 WAYS TO IMPROVE SEO RANKINGS
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SEO Keyboard

How to Search Engine Optimization by SEOPlanter

In yesterday’s blog post, I defined what a search engine was and the importance of Search Engine Optimisation. Today, I would like to highlight how we, as indie authors, can improve our SEO ranking.

1) CONTENT
Content is key. This does not mean however that mentioning the words “children’s picture book” a million times is enough to get to page 1. I can assure you, that is not the case. New, relevant and fresh content on a regular basis is the key driver. Ensure the content is original, free of errors and well organised.

2) URL
Ensure your prime product or keyword is in your URL. E.g. http://www.books.com/childrens-picture-books.

3) SOCIAL MEDIA
Ensure you have social media sharing buttons on your website or blog. The more places the book you have written appears on the Internet, the better. Sharing also means you and those kind enough to share, are spruiking the same message and thus inevitably using the same keywords.

4) TITLE TAGS
Create effective title tags that include your keywords. Hence all of my posting begin with “Online Book Marketing Tips”. These words will consistently appear on URLs.

5) CORRECT TARGET
When creating new content, write for your followers and readers, not for search engines. Otherwise, you won’t be naturally creating the kind of content search engines are looking for.

6) JOIN GOOGLE
Google rewards those who are part of the family. Join Google+ to get a shot at improving your rankings. Listing your business on Google Maps makes a difference too!

7) SITE MAPS
Create a site map for your website so one can see where everything on your website is located. You would be surprised how many people actually use site maps and search engines seem to like this extra piece of information.

8) HEADERS
Use your headers! Write a description under your website name.

9) BACKLINKS
Getting other websites or blogs to produce a link back to your own website is one of the best ways to increase ranking. It shows credibility and is to be encouraged. Be careful however not to spam other blogs by providing your own back link through comments. Google frowns upon this and can be more detrimental than anything else.

10) RESEARCH
Google autofills the most popular search terms. Find out what they are and incorporate those phrases onto your pages. Do it every so often to see what is trending.

Don’t underestimate what SEO can do for you! Its an imperative part of online marketing for any product or service. Some of the strategies above are not to difficult execute and with enough practise, will become a natural part of your work. Now, go get ’em!

How Do Search Engines Work And What Is SEO?

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HOW DO SEARCH ENGINES WORK AND WHAT IS SEO?
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SEO Scrabble

SEO Scrabble by Jonathan Rolande

HOW DO SEARCH ENGINES WORK?
A search engine is a system that indexes information on the World Wide Web to allow everyday users find the data they are looking for.

Let’s think about this for a minute. Imagine the amount of information available on the Internet. If you were charged with the task of producing the most accurate data whenever anybody is looking for something, how would you do it? Where would you start? Which article, document or page would you grab first and why would you do that?

If I were the gate-keeper and you were looking for 4 inch stiletto heels made of patent leather, I wouldn’t be retrieving contact details for a plumber. For this not to happen however, some very clever people created algorithms that help to succinctly compartmentalise information. Common sense would prevail that these search engines would be looking for key words such as stiletto heels or patent leather. The next task they have to do is filter which pieces of information containing those keywords they should show you first. I would imagine that the one page that mentions stiletto heels 50 times would appear before the page that only mentions it 5 times. I just typed in stiletto heels and Google returned approximately 2,450,000 returns. Where would you be amongst that massive amount of data?

We take search engines for granted. You don’t even have to type your query into Google anymore! Just ask, literally! Google is as synonymous with search engines as Coca Cola is with soda. If I don’t know the answer to something, my 7 year old daughter tells me to “Google it”. The Internet and search engines have made our world so much smaller and if you want people to buy your books, you have capitalise on this online phenomenon.

WHAT IS SEO?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. It refers to the activity in which we engage in to try and organically improve our page rankings. How do I move from page 125 to page 1?

SEO is an essential part of ensuring your book is duly ranked when readers are looking to buy. It is about how we communicate to the web so that they can recommend you. The key word here is relevance. How relevant is your website/blog to the end user and what they are searching for?

Relevance is determined by the content of your website and search engines decide if it has suitable pages, titles and descriptions. It also looks at the performance of your website in terms of speed and ease of navigation. The number of link backs or citations is another big contributing factor to relevance, whilst retention rate of readers certainly also improves page rank.

SEO is highly complex and indie authors like you and me will never understand its full potential. We do however at a minimum need to understand what it means and how it works so that we can at least try to produce information that is SEO friendly.

In the next instalment, I will talk about how to improve your SEO.

The What, The How And The Benefits Of Guest Posting

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

THE WHAT, THE HOW AND THE BENEFITS OF GUEST POSTING
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Poggyback

Piggyback by Vany Photography

WHAT IS GUEST POSTING?
Guest posting is when you submit a post onto someone else’s blog as a guest. It could be a recurring posting, perhaps every month or just a one off invitation.

HOW TO GUEST POST ON SOMEONE ELSE’S BLOG
Many writers and bloggers have highlighted that some social media platforms such as LinkedIn, writer’s groups on Facebook and even blogging, does not attract readers and only appeals to industry peers. I have always maintained that as a self-published author, I need the support of online colleagues for multi-faceted reasons. One of the benefits of forging these relationships is the possibility of being invited to guest post on their blog.

Some blogs and websites have submission pages soliciting guest blogs. This is one way for the blogs to consistently have content without paying for writers, such as the Huffington Post. Therefore, you should spend some time going through some related blogs to see if they may be accepting guest writers. Try your luck on a variety of different sites. For example, if you write children’s picture books about multiracial families, approach blogs that are dedicated to this topic, blogs that write about multiracial books or fellow indie authors who maintain a blog and approach them about interviews.

If neither of the above is available to you, just ask! Sometimes bloggers don’t think of doing guest posts themselves. Get to know their blog and their content, write to them and send them a pitch of how you could help each other. There are hundreds of blogs out there! Give it a go!

BENEFITS OF GUEST POSTING
This is the perfect way to piggyback onto someone else’s blog. Especially useful if you don’t have one yourself but feel that you should probably have some presence in the blogging world. You are then taking advantage of their followers and you’re casting a wider net onto potential readers which you would have otherwise not had access to.

Blogging is usually works of non-fiction. Hopefully it will entail a post about your book. This way readers will get to know more about you, your book, what made your write the book and perhaps even about the characters in book. It humanises your work of fiction.

Should your post draw great attention to the blog, you may stumble across another financial avenue and actually be paid for your blog posts. Doesn’t hurt to earn money to subsidise your self-published book marketing adventures!

Guest posting is an excellent means of improving your SEO optimisation strategies. Your back link from the article to your main website helps to improve your ranking on search engines.

 

12 Reasons Every Author Should Consider Using Hootsuite

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

12 REASONS EVERY AUTHOR SHOULD CONSIDER USING HOOTSUITE
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Wooden Owls

Wooden Owls Jodel Cuasay

As we become heavier and bigger users of our social media platforms as part of our book marketing strategy, we are also becoming busier and more consumed by them! As I flit between Facebook, Twitter, my blog and other platforms plus the need to try and engage throughout the day, I am sometimes left with very little time to do much else. And I thought I was here to write children’s books ….. right …. somehow that seems to have been pushed aside for the time being. I am too busy trying to sell the books I currently have in the marketplace.

Therefore, its time to take action and consider using Hootsuite to consolidate my extracurricular activities I perform online!

WHAT IS HOOTSUITE?
Hootsuite is a social media management tool.

It is a website where you can manage all your social media in one place without having to log into several platforms and go back and forth between them on your screen. It is a tool which allows you to amalgamate your platforms in one space. So for example, you can use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, WordPress and LinkedIn all at the same time.

Hootsuite does offer a FREE plan. This is however limited to 3 platforms but for most indie authors, this is probably enough. You can pay for upgrades should you think this is warranted.

WHY SHOULD YOU GET HOOTSUITE?

1) TIME SAVING
This is by far the greatest advantage of Hootsuite. You can post one update that will automatically autofill across your social media platforms.

2) SCHEDULING
You are able to schedule your updates. This is particularly helpful if Your target market is in a different time zone. This way, you can appear on their news feed at peak times. This is also useful should you wish to update your status on a regular basis e.g. every 2 hours. So instead of logging on every 2 hours, you schedule it do so on your behalf.

3) MULTIPLE PROFILE MANAGEMENT
If you upgrade to the pro plan, you can manage multiple profiles. Therefore if you have 5 Twitter profiles and 5 Facebook profiles, you can manage all of them from one dashboard.

4) REPORTS AND ANALYTICS
Hootsuite provides comprehensive analytics across all platforms selected. This is a great way to see how you’re tracking all in one space.

Hootsuite Analysis

Hootsuite Analysis

5) ADDITIONAL APPLICATIONS
There are some other social media platforms that are not offered in Hootsuite however you are able to download apps so that you are able to manage those as well and this includes the likes of Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube and many others. Currently, there are 141 additional apps one can get, of which 75 of them are free. So don’t fret if you don’t see your most important medium!

6) MESSAGING
You can send out specific messages to targeted groups via your dashboard. This is a great tool as sometimes, some updates may not be so suited for all platforms.

7) CONTACTS
Hootsuite enables you to look at your contacts via your different platforms. E.g. if you select Twitter, it brings up all your followers of which you can see information about them. I was particularly interested to see how many tweets they posted a day and how that correlated to their number of followers.

Hootsuite Twitter Feed

Hootsuite Twitter Feed

8) WEB-BASED
This tool is web-based so you don’t have to download software or programmes and you can login anywhere.

9) URL SHORTERNER
They have their own URL shorterner, Ow.ly so you don’t have to worry about getting preferences for that. All ready to go!

10) HOOTLET
Hootlet is the little browser plugin that adds a button to your bookmark toolbar. This will enable you to share content from anywhere on the web which also means you don’t have to even go to the website.

11) CUSTOMISATION
You can customize your dashboard to suit your needs. This was you can get yourself organized and prioritise your platforms.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite Home Page

12) ADDITIONAL USERS
Should you be fortunate enough to have someone that helps you with your book marketing promotions, you can add them as a team member so they have access to your dashboard and do some of the work for you.

There are several other social media management tools you can select from but this is by far the biggest player in the market. You can sign up for free and give it a go. This may suit your needs and reduce the amount of time you spend online.

How To Write An Effective Twitter Bio

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HOW TO WRITE AN EFFECTIVE TWITTER BIO
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Twitter Sand Sculpture

Twitter Sand Sculpture by Rosaura Ochoa

If Twitter is an important part of your social media marketing, it is imperative you introduce yourself to the world via an effective bio. I am constantly surprised by how many indie authors out there either don’t have a bio at all or don’t utilise the allotted space to their advantage. For me, that means they don’t take themselves or their books seriously and therefore, I won’t reward them with my attention.

When doing a search for yourself via search engines, your Twitter bio will allow you, in most cases, to appear on the first page.  It also lends credibility to you as an author and the message you are trying to convey.

TWITTER BIO PARTICULARS
You only have 160 characters to work with. Not a lot of characters to succinctly tell your life story and certainly does not provide anyone with the excuse of not filling up the given requirements.

Over and above the 160 characters, you can also add your location as well as a link to your website. Please add a backlink. It makes absolutely no business sense not to do so.

In your bio, you are permitted to add hashtags and @usernames.

Please add an image to your bio. The dreaded egg doesn’t do much for anyone.

SO HOW DO YOU WRITE AN EFFECTIVE BIO?
Be concise and accurate. Tell people exactly who and what you are. Use words that best describe you and your product. Tell the world you are an expert in what your do. Describe your niche.

Promote yourself so you can gain the right followers. Let them know what you have to offer them and flatter yourself!

Take advantage of hashtags in your bio. They are an excellent means of helping people find you and what you have to offer them.

List your speciality first before moving onto other facts that add that humanistic part of your bio. They first and foremost want to follow you for what you do best. This could include accomplishments that your followers could identify with.

Do some research of your peers and competitors. Look at the bios of people you yourself are following and look at what prompted you to follow them in the first place.

Be honest, unusual, funny and/or controversial!  Easier said than done I know, especially if you have a serious agenda to spruik.

Maintain your focus on what you are promoting. Keep the message consistent throughout your campaign.

If you don’t want to just mention what you are, you can mention what you will be tweeting about.

You don’t have to write your bio in sentences. Use punctuation to define your roles.

The most important thing to remember is that your bio is not set in stone when initially created. I have tweaked and re-tweaked my bio over numerous occasions. I have found that as I evolve over time, I gain a clearer perspective of who I am and what information is important.  Good luck!

Book Review Requests: Checklist Of What You Will Need

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

BOOK REVIEW REQUESTS: CHECKLIST OF WHAT YOU WILL NEED
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Good Reviews = Sales.

So how do we go about getting them? In my short experience so far, I can attest to the fact that it’s very hard work and requires some back bone in soliciting them. I am not great at this process and I still continuously trawl through the internet requesting for them. This is not to say that I haven’t received any and am proud to say the reviews have been flattering. I have also learnt a thing or two about requesting for reviews and wished I had a simple checklist of what I would need to get me started.

When requesting for a review, you will come across reviewers of all shapes and sizes. They all have different requirements and it is much easier to have everything ready prior to starting the process. Typically, these are some of the recurring requirements I have encountered so far.

Reading with books on head

Reading Can Be Difficult by Alexandre Dulaunoy

BOOK INFORMATION
Title of the book
Name of the series (if applicable)
ISBN
ASIN
Number of pages
Word count
Synopsis of the book

AUTHOR INFORMATION
Author bio – have a short and long version. Some have character restrictions
Illustrator bio – have a short and long version

WEBSITES
Author/book website/blog address
Website links of where to purchase your book – have at least 3 of the main players
Social media links

ATTACHMENTS
Book in PDF, ePub and mobi formats
Image of the book cover
Images of a couple of pieces of artwork from the book if it’s a picture book
Images of some extracts from the book if it’s a picture book
Sample chapter or extracts
Professional image of yourself

TEMPLATES
Cover letter to accompany print edition reviews
Cover email for all online requests
Create a follow up email template.
Create a thank you email template should you receive a review

I cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring you read all submission guidelines properly. Every reviewer has different requirements, down to the heading of the email you are sending. If you must, print the requirements and check each one off one by one. All it takes is one small deviation and you end up in the trash folder. These reviewers literally get hundreds or thousands of requests. This is their way of filtering through the slush pile and deciding what they wish to read. They don’t have the time to be chasing for the information they need from you.

And my last piece of advice is, don’t underestimate how much time and effort this will take. Be organised and pay attention! Good luck!

Should Every Author Blog As Part of Book Marketing?

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

SHOULD EVERY AUTHOR BLOG AS PART OF BOOK MARKETING?
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Blogging Dice

Blogging by Literatis.net

I just entered “why blogging is important to your book” in Google and I got 9,850,000 results in 0.25 seconds.  I then typed “why blogging your book is a waste of time” and I got 1,760,000 results in 0.37 seconds. Common sense would prevail from this simplistic experiment that perhaps all indie authors should at some point think about blogging as part of their book marketing plan.

Having read a myriad of pros and cons of blogging, I don’t believe it adequately helps you, as a self-publishing author, decide if you should blog or not. It is important to decide if this is something that is viable for you and if it is platform that you believe will yield positive results and eventually translate to book sales.

I would therefore like to share some of my personal view points that may help you in making this decision.

OPPORTUNITY COST
Blogging is an opportunity cost to your writing. The more you blog, the less time you have to write. It can also be all consuming and you may continually feel pressured to create regular posts. I think it is extremely important to set a target you can work with. Don’t place unnecessary goals for yourself or you will just stop blogging all together. It is also important to be organised. For all my different segments on my blog, I have draft posts ready to go for the next couple of weeks. So I am always ahead of the game.

TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE
I believe that all self-publishing authors MUST have a website. The market needs to be able to find you. I didn’t want to pay for a website and also maintain it so I chose the blogging route and killed two birds with one stone.

ONE STOP SHOP
My blogging provides me with a one stop shop for all things related to me and my books. I have my reviews, press, Q&As and feature posts, all in one space.

CHEAP
Blogging is cheap.   My WordPress.com blog and personalised domain name costed me USD$34.00. It has given me a level of exposure that far exceeds the monetary expense.

CREATIVITY AND STYLE
You must be creative in your blogging and you must have a style that can attract a market that is important to you. I am no professional but I am very happy with my blog and how it has grown over time. I believe sometimes we over think things. I certainly didn’t have in my mind some of the things that I currently blog about over a year ago when I started. It has naturally evolved over time and I ensure it blends in with the overall theme well.

SOCIAL MEDIA
It gives me fodder for my social media. I need something to talk about!

LOVE
I naturally love blogging. If you don’t, please don’t start. It truly will be a complete waste of time.

DON’T WORRY TOO MUCH
Don’t worry too much about the aesthetics and the back end requirements of a blog. If you spend too much time worrying about how it should look and worry about HTML coding, plugins, CSS, RSS etc… it will put you off blogging entirely. Start nice and easy. I knew nothing about blogging when I started and am amazed how much I have learnt over time.

GOAL
Before you start your blog, have a very clear vision of what you wish to gain from it. If you don’t, it will just be a mishmash of information and you won’t be able to retain followers. I am not blogging for blogging sake. I am blogging to create exposure and for SEO optimisation. Therefore I have to create information that is worth reading whilst also trying to gain readership of my children’s books.

I hope my blogging experience, albeit still in its infancy compared to the big players in the market, is helpful. So far, I have enjoyed the process and find it useful for me. The important thing to note here is that you don’t have to blog if you know for a fact you can’t maintain it. If it’s just an information page, just get a simple, user-friendly website to house pertinent information and that should suffice. Don’t feel pressured into creating something that is doomed to fail anyway!

How To Use Amazon Giveaways

A.S. ChungPosted by A.S. Chung.
Award-wining author of children’s picture books A Brand New Day: about divorce and Wishful Wedding: about LGBT equality and same gender families. Creator of Pigeonhole Books and blogs about self-publishing, writing, online book marketing, peer bloggers and illustrators.

HOW TO USE AMAZON GIVEAWAYS
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Amazon Warehouse

Amazon Warehouse by Scott Lewis

In February 2015, Amazon introduced Amazon Giveaway, giving indie authors yet another means of promoting their books.

WHAT IS AMAZON GIVEAWAY?
Amazon Giveaway is a self-service tool available via Amazon.com to host a giveaway of any product available on the website. Hence, it is a great opportunity to run a sweepstake on your self-published book that is available on Amazon. Currently, this tool is solely accessible for print editions of your book and is only applicable in the US.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
The giveaway is at the retail cost of your book on Amazon, including postage and handling. The actual set up and running of the giveaway is free. You will have to pre-pay the cost of your giveaway. Any unused giveaways when the competition concludes, you will be given a refund.

HOW DOES IT WORK?
The process is actually quite simply and only takes a couple of minutes of your time.

Step One – Select Your Book

  • Go to your book on Amazon. Make sure it’s the print edition
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Set Up Giveaway”
Amazon Giveaway Set Up

Amazon Giveaway Set Up

Step Two – Select Your Giveaway Type

  • You have 2 options to select from
  • “Lucky Number” option. Example, every 100th person wins a book. This is perhaps the better option for authors as it enables the giveaway to last longer and also you are able to gain more followers. Don’t underestimate how many people will enter so stretch it out. I did every 75 entrants for 10 books and it only took a couple of days!
  • “First Come, First Served” option. This creates a greater sense of urgency but it would mean your giveaway would end extremely quickly!
  • Once you have decided which type, decide how many giveaways you are putting up for the sweepstake. So, if you select every 100th entrant for 10 books, you would attract 1000 entrants in total
Amazon Giveaway Type

Amazon Giveaway Type

Amazon Giveaway Rules

Amazon Giveaway Rules

Step Three – Grow Your Audience
This was the clincher for me when deciding if I should spend money on this giveaway. Every entrant must follow you on Twitter before they are permitted to enter the competition.  My Twitter account made excellent headway and I gained a few hundred followers in a couple of days.

Important to note however that followers DO NOT translate to an audience. It is merely a prerequisite for the entrants so expect at least a 25% drop off in the subsequent days. It did however increase my follower count and I don’t care what anyone says but it creates the perception of a valuable Twitter account. 1000 followers sure looks better than 56!

Make sure your Amazon account has your right Twitter handle.

Step Four – Design Your Giveaway Page

  • Here you get to design a simplistic giveaway page
  • Add a giveaway title
  • Add a welcome page when users are contemplating entry
  • Create a win message for the lucky winners
  • Create a lose message for unlucky entrants
Amazon Giveaway Welcome Page

Amazon Giveaway Welcome Page

Step Five – What Happens Next

  • Once the above is completed, proceed to checkout
  • You will receive an email stating that your giveaway is now live
  • You will receive a link to your giveaway
  • The email also contains pre-written share options on Twitter, Facebook and via email. Just click the large icon and it automatically goes to your social media
  • The email also gives you a suggestion of what exactly to write for marketing purposes
  • The email also comes with a “View Giveaway” button where you will be taken to the page to see how your giveaway is tracking
Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway is Now Live!

Step Six – Market Your Giveaway
#AmazonGiveaway is all you need on Twitter. Check it out for yourself and see how many competitions are running at one single time! As you only have a short period of time, make sure you marketing it consistently to capitalise on the competition.

Well, there you have it. This is a very simplistic look of what it is and how to use this tool. If you have entered an Amazon Giveaway, I would love to hear your experiences! I am sure it warrants further analysis and discussion but that’s a post for another time!