This week I talk to Nancy Hendrikson, a non-fiction author and expert on selling more books, about how to write an ebook that does well financially. Nancy has a vast amount of experience when it comes to writing, from a start in writing for magazines to later self-publishing her own books. We talk about how to how to write an ebook that will be a winner, what sort of promotion you can do for your book, how to write quickly, and much much more.
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Sell More Books: 55 Free Promotions That Work – A new book with some great and modern ideas on how someone indie publishing can get the word out about their book for free.
Amazon Profile – Nancy’s profile on Amazon.
Website – Nancy’s home on the web!
Slideshare – Fancy, non-corporate, slideshows that authors can use a promotional tool. Good for non-fiction authors to build interest and then have the final page with the call to action (i.e. buy the book, or sign up to my mailing list). Used by S.J. Scott found here
FIverr – Loads of services for sale for $5. Nancy has used this to hire a spokesperson to talk about her books. Perfect for those who are not comfortable in front of the camera.
ACX – The Audiobook Creation Exchange.
Let me Google that for you – An amusing site.
Nancy started her writing career freelancing for magazines on a lot of different subjects. History was something she particularly enjoyed writing and later decided to repurpose a lot of her historical articles into Kindle books (back when she wrote the articles, the publishers weren’t asking for digital rights).
Writing a Book Quickly
Nancy began writing very slowly and eventually took a freelance job that forced her to do research and write quickly. She realised that she would need to do this if she wanted to support herself from her book sales.
– How long you want it to be.
– What you want it to cover.
From there you can create a detailed outline, write the headers and subheads and work out how much you want in each section. From there it’s just filling out those sections and sticking to the plan.
Nancy wrote a book about how to write a non-fiction book in 72 hours (http://amzn.to/1mRanEB). The book is not going to be very long, but the Kindle audience tend to prefer shorter form content – just dealing with one topic at a time.
Strangely Nancy has had success with short form audiobooks. Audible sell one of her books for around $7 and she sells more of that than she does the (cheaper) ebook. ACX generally recommend people doing longer form books due to the subscription model where each book is a very similar price.
Researching Topics on Amazon (how to write an ebook people already want)
(For non-fiction) Look on Amazon and see what the top books in your area are writing about. Look to see what keywords they are targeting. If they are doing well there is a reason for it. (Keywords are the words or a few words strung together that the author uses in their title and regularly in the description).
Testing with Blogging
Nancy writes blog posts on her website and then looks at what is working and what is popular and then will expand those into short books. A great way to make sure that what you write is at least going to sell a bit. Indie publishing does have an element of risk, but testing the waters with a blog post before hand can significantly reduce this.
Nancy spends about a third to a half of her time marketing, the rest writing.
Nancy was also at Bryan Cohen’s indie publishing books event and she saw a boost in sales for a month afterwards. Compared to her normal promotional tools, which normally give a boost for a week, this was a great success and she sees a strong future in online events for authors.
“If you’re not willing to do some form of promotion, you have a very high likelihood of selling very few books”
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