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What's Your Biggest Challenge with Your Book?

I'd be interested to learn what authors/publishers on this network think their biggest challenges are with their book. I wonder if there's any common, pervasive challenge we all face.

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How is cover design satisfaction impacted by the author's understanding of who the target audience for the book is? Are the authors most concerned about your cover design dialed into what their potential readers want (expect) to see? If the author has done a good book proposal and truly understands who the target market is, it would make cover design decisions easier.

Many publishers are "outsourcing" the book's marketing research to the author. The expectation is that the author will have a solid understanding of who wants/needs the book. I don't know if this is true for Oak Tree Press but, if it is, author input is vital to the correct cover design. On the other hand, based on your story about the author flip flopping on cover design, I infer that the author was not too certain of who the target reader is.
I'm told I need to have a blog. I'm told I need to market. I have a website, but all this online marketing stuff is eating up every minute. How long will it take me to learn this. If I read and write all this, I have no time to work on two books I have underway. What in the ____ is a tag? Some one needs to write a book on this for those of us who are new comers. the time a helpful book would come out, it would be obsolete! However, you are right...there is a lot of stuff and it certainly can eat up a chunk of the day. Karen Syed of Echelon Press keeps a chart which spreads the tasks over a month. I have been allocating the first hour of each morning to internet marketing tasks...but I do really like the chart idea.
Hello Fairlee,

The books that would most readily address the needs of a newcomer is likely in eBook format. The greatest challenge, even for those of us who have been doing online marketing for years, is prioritizing and determining the best strategies for our personal and professional goals. Something you may be interested in is a free eBook I have that addresses Internet marketing issues most people have. It is called, The Truth about Making Money on the Internet. You can access it at my blog at

My best
Kathleen Gage
Others have addressed the issue of time needed for online marketing. There is little I can add there, except that I am a proponent of blogging. It raises your visibility on the search engines (such as Google).

Tags are a critical part of online marketing. Think of tags as the key words, or phrases, by which you want others to think of your book. I completed a key word project for a client over the weekend. I was looking for ten key words to describe an author's book. I prepared the list manually. To get ten key words, I prepared a list of 129 possible key words and whittled it down to ten.

To automate a key word search, use a product like Overture ( Overture is now owned by Yahoo. Overture can create a list of key words based on what resonates with Internet users.
Have some patience...THis marketing is a long range program...Do something everyday.. and try not to feel is online and offline marketing and being tenacious. SOme things work and some do not..And some things work for a while and need to release ......and try something else...I personally find it is a little blogging, commenting, writing articles, networking with others...that seems to be working. I know there is more but my internet navigation and understanding is limited..But I am working on it..My book is finally released and on Amazon ...For Kids 59.99 and Over.
“Two Angel Wings" is the story of a my journey through Harrington Rod surgery for severe scoliosis. The book was written by my mother, Arlene Webster and is dedicated to my best friend Stephanie Stanich.

I was fortunate enough have the book published before my mom passed away from Alzheimer’s. I placed it in her hands and she knew that it was finally in print. My intent at the time was to publish it for her, but now that friends and family have read it and have told me how much they enjoyed it, I would like to start sharing it with others.

My challenge is how to promote when my mom is no longer with us.
What a wonderful thing that you published your book before your mother passed away. It must have been gratifying for both you and your mother on the day she saw the book in print for the first time.

While your mother may have written the book, promoting it may be easier for you because the book is about your journey with scoliosis. Nobody knows better than you what you went through with the Harrington Rod surgery.

To make marketing easier, you may want to contact national and regional scoliosis foundations to determine if they want to purchase your book for their constituents. You may also want to give seminars at local bookstores on scoliosis to promote your book.
BOOK REVIEWS - it is easy to suggest "have your book reviewed by Library Journal"... however, as a professional librarian I recognize that only about 40% of ALL published books even get a review! Anyone who has tried to get a review knows that you may send the book to review but that does not guarantee a review for a busy-over-worked review editor. Try getting endorsements for PR from professionals in the field of the book.....or use a free review soruce that promises professional work and criteria.
I agree with Marilyn. Getting a book reviewed, especially when you're with a small publisher is very difficult. However, I have to ask everyone, do you read the reviews in the book, then make the decision to purchase it? Or does it have any effect on you at all?

For me, being an artist well before I was a writer, reviews are just one person's opinion. The fact that a reviewer can make or break a career to me is ludicrous. Certainly a good review is always welcome, but why do we put so much stock in what someone else thinks?

Make the decision for yourself.
Book reviews are the least expensive and best way to market your book. A good review helps sell books. A colleague of mine wrote a book and received one positive review from Library Journal that helped her sell three thousand books her first year.

Book reviews do influence buyers. I know I am influenced to buy a book if it has a review from a person I respect or a member of an organization I support.

Studies have shown that book buyers exhibit similar patterns when looking at books. Most books are show "spine out" in the bookstores. A buyer will take the book off the shelf, spend five to seven seconds looking at the front, and nine to twelve seconds looking at the back of the book. Typically, a buyer will read the benefit statement at the top of the back cover and move to the reviews. If there is a review from someone they know of or respect, it causes the buyer to stop to consider buying the book.

In a time starved world, if there is a review on the back of a book from an author or person known to the buyer, it accelerates the buying process. A good recommendation takes some of the guess work out of choosing a book. In book super stores that stock between 80,000-125,000 books, a good review separates one book from the others that don't have such a review. It's nearly impossible to know whether or not a book will be good or not before reading it. A good review minimizes the risk of buying a book that you won't enjoy. With the myriad of choices a consumer has to spend money on entertainment, a good review may be the determining factor that causes the potential buyer to buy the book.
And the best way to get reviews..??? I know sending copies to reviewers is a long and arduous task..and not always productive. ANy suggestions???


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