Tag Archive | updating

Getting the Courage to Change your Bookcovers

This has been a very big week for me. I changed the covers for my Kelsey Porter series right before Book #5 is going to come out in the next month or so. The first novel, THE HUNT FOR XANADU, was published in 2013. I worked with Laura LaRoche from LLPix to create it. With a series that oozed Buddhist spiritual mysteries, but was a thriller, we wanted the cover to include those aspects. With each subsequent novel, we wanted to keep the same theme that we did with the book before it. A cool image on the top focusing on the locale of the book (such as the mountains of Tibet or the pyramids of Egypt), a relevant background (such as a sand mandala or a sun dial) and then some objects that were relevant to the story (such as a phurba dagger, herbs, a gun).

Top Row New Covers
Bottom Row Old Covers

But I’ve been told by numerous people that the old book covers don’t scream thriller. That you can’t really tell what genre they are. I did a ton of focus groups and talked to a bunch of authors and PR folks and to be honest, the consensus was 50/50 to change them. Some folks liked them just fine, others wanted me to completely scrap them and others felt they just needed some tweaking.

So I tweaked. We kept the same artwork and played with the fonts to make them more eye-catching. Laura darkened the covers as well to give them more of a thriller feel. I think she did a fantastic job and this week I put the new covers up on Amazon, my website and on my facebook author page.What do you think? Would you pick these books up more now if you were scrolling through Amazon versus before? Love to hear!

I Still Make “Newb” Mistakes… Simple, yet Obvious Publishing Game Changers

homerUGH!!! I’ve been publishing actively since 2011 and I STILL make newbie mistakes where I just want to smack myself upside the head. So, I’m going to offer a few little tips (obvious to most, but probably not to everyone) that may make your social media life a bit easier.

#1… Your blog has a dedicated URL. I have been publishing my blog posts to Google+, Facebook and Twitter for years. I write the title and then write “check it out at http://www.elysesalpeter.wordpress.com.” Do you see the problem? This is the general blog post URL. If anyone searches my topic and finds the post, they will click the link and it will NOT take them to the blog they want, but the most RECENT blog post I wrote. I may have just lost a person who actively searched for me. So, do this. Each blog you write has a dedicated URL. Click the title and then look at the top and you’ll see a dedicated URL. Paste that one to all your posts. You can make it prettier and shorter by going to bitly.com and shortening it there. This morning I just updated 44 posts on Google+ with the correct blog post URL links.

Example: “Yes, I Lived in a Haunted House” click http://www.elysesalpeter.wordpress.com

WRONG!!! – This will take you to the blog I just wrote, this one. BUT, put the correct URL in and you will see it like this:

“Yes, I Lived in a Haunted House” https://elysesalpeter.wordpress.com/?s=i+lived+in+a+haunted+house


#2… Use Bitly.com (I mentioned it above). It’s integral when you post and copy a long URL because it sometimes gets screwed up in the translation… the phrase “it will get truncated in ellipses” is used. Think of it like the game telephone – it’s just too much at once to get it right in the end. Not to mention that it looks unsightly with this huge amazon link, or url taking up all the space on a post. Go to bitly, copy past the long url into their shorten link box, click and then copy THAT link to your post. Game changer.

Here’s an example to my book link on Amazon for THE HUNT FOR XANADU:

Long Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Hunt-Xanadu-Kelsey-Porter-Book-ebook/dp/B00H6TM1MI/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1431960166

Shortened Bitly Link: http://amzn.to/1ESPbRa


#3… Another Google+ trick. Please make sure all your posts are going to the right people. For a year I only had it going to my private groups, not even realizing I could click public. I didn’t know I had to click the box and select public in the scroll down menu. Game changer with the amount of views I got. Though you open yourselves up now to comments from people who will discuss your hair, who will hit on you, who will amazingly self promote on your post, or who will simply write ridiculous or blasphemous comments. Monitor them, delete, spam or report them.

#4… Don’t thank everyone for commenting or retweeting your tweet (unless you’re having a conversation). A “thank you” every time someone comments will just clog up your feed, and theirs. Step it up a notch and instead go to their page, see if they have a pinned post and tweet that. Or even better, go to their page and join in a conversation they’re having. That’s like a whole other thank you right there. And follow them too – they were kind enough to comment? They check out your blog? Go check out theirs. Take 10 minutes every day to return the favors.

#5… Update your web page. I went back to mine recently and read the “about” page and realized I was two books behind. THEN I went to my amazon bio page, my goodreads bio page and all the other bio pages I have out there and they were ALL old… update them. Right now.

#6… Not including a link to your next book on your kindle editions. Seriously, someone just read your book and enjoyed it. Add a section… “Want to read more by Elyse Salpeter? Check out her novel The Mannequins here…” and offer the link there, and then give the first chapter and then offer the link with all your other books listed at the back. Give them a way to stay with you after they’ve read the book. If you are self published and haven’t done this – it’s a simple add and re-upload.

#7… Your book’s key words on Amazon. You have to do this. On KDP when you are uploading your books, you are given an area to tag the book. Consider that a way for people to search for your books easily. You have a chicken wing recipe book? Then “Chicken Wings” are in that key word box. Make sure your key words are good and specific to your book. You want someone to type something about your book in the search box and you want to pop up on at least the first three pages of the search. For instance, you type in Buddhist Thriller, my novel THE HUNT FOR XANADU pops right up there on page 1. You type in Egyptian Star Gods and THE QUEST OF THE EMPTY TOMB shows up on page 1. You type in “living dolls” and THE MANNEQUINS pops up on page 2. Find key words so that when people search for very specific things, your book pops up.

#8… This is a good one. Check your amazon author page and SEE what it looks like. Do you have your blog or twitter linked to it? I was shocked that my twitter feed was linked to that page because now my fans searching for me saw all the random ridiculous conversations I was having on twitter. My advice? Get rid of twitter on there. Go to your settings on your page and edit it out. That’s a personal recommendation, but once I did, my amazon author page looked a whole lot better. Now it’s just my books, my blogs (which are general enough for the masses) and not the random, untargeted conversations that happen on twitter.

Ok, I could do five thousand tips here because I figure I’ve made all the mistakes and I still continue to do so. Sometimes I’m floored that I’ve missed something so crucial and feel like I’ve wasted all my time and effort, but I have to be kind to myself. I don’t have a team of people doing any of this for me (a publishing house, an agent, a PR person, an assistant). It’s just me, learning like everyone else. So, if you’ve made a mistake, fix it. Easy peasy.

Now, if someone will teach me Scrivener. I just can’t do it and I’ve heard it’s a game changer. For me, not so much… yet.