• Writing Tips

    The advantages of publishing on Kindle

    E-books are good news for authors as, for the first time, you can get a reasonable level of royalty per book sold, which is difficult through print distribution.

    E-bookThe numbers add up

    • It’s a very fast and efficient way of getting your book in front of literally millions of readers all round the world.
    • There are no setup fees to start selling a book on Kindle.
    • There is no printed item therefore, no print cost.
    • There is no delivery cost – Amazon will deliver the book to the customer for you.
    • As long as you’re willing to charge at least $2.99 for each book sold, you will receive a royalty of 70% from Amazon.


    A ready-made worldwide audience

    • Amazon has millions of customers all searching on their website for   books.
    • You are not restricted geographically to selling your books – the world is your oyster.
    • You can publish in multiple languages: English, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Japanese.


    Publishing made easy

    Publishing your book on Amazon is quick and easy, and your book will appear within 24 hours. You can make changes to your book and republish it on Kindle at any time and at no cost! The new version will be available very quickly. For example, you might want to change your contact details or update a particular section of a non-fiction book that has become out of date. You can promote additional books in your Kindle book with links – when someone gets to the end of a book, if they have enjoyed it, they will be very open to finding out about other books you have written. Particularly with fiction, once a reader is hooked on an author they are likely to want to read more.

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  • Writing Tips

    How do you research ideas for your non-fiction book?

    Okay, so you want to write a non-ficton book and you know you need to do some research first, but how do you go about it?

    First of all look at what genre you are going to write in

    You may already know which genre you want to write in, but it is worth having a look at how Amazon categorise books.Amazon Categories for Books

    This table on the right shows all the different genres on Amazon at the time of writing, and how many books are in each one so you can see how popular your field is:

    In some ways this shows you how accepted your type of book might be. However, it also shows which genres are highly competitive, i.e. already have very many books written on the subject.

    Whatever you do, it is better to write for a niche market than trying to write a book which will have mass-market appeal.

    There are many books written on diet and fitness, for example, and another book on this subject would meet with a lot of competition and you would struggle to make it work.  However, if you wrote a book, which was aimed at women over 50 wanting to improve their fitness, you would have a greater chance of success, because your book will resonate with that particular target audience.

    There are three important things to consider when choosing your subject:

    1. What do you feel passionate about? What do you have a strong desire to write about?
    2. What do you have a broad knowledge of?
    3. What will there will be a demand for?


    Choosing your subject

    • Firstly, think about what you know most about.
    • What are your strengths?
    • What qualifications do you have?
    • What do people tend to ask you for advice on?

    Also, think about what your friends and relatives know about; the expertise that one of them has, that you could draw on for your book. For example, you might want to write a book on the health of women over 50 and you may know someone who is an expert on the menopause.  Your friend could contribute their expertise to your book as the menopause might be one aspect you wanted to cover of the health of women over 50. You can then credit, your friend in the book so that you are highlighting their expertise and therefore helping them to promote what they do.

    Okay, so you’ve got your idea now you want to know if there’s a demand for it

    Google has a Keywords tool which will tell you what keywords (around your subject) people are searching for and how many searches there are each month for a particular keyword or phrase. It will also tell you how competitive that keyword is.

    To use the tool you need to open a Google Adwords account which is easy to do especially if you already have a login for Google e.g. Gmail. It doesn’t cost anything to open an account and use the tool. Only if you start setting up Adwords campaigns would you pay anything and you don’t have to do that.

    When you are in your Google Adwords account go to the Tools tab and then select:

    Search for new keyword and adgroup ideas

    Type your keywords in the ‘Your product or service box

    You can leave the rest of the boxes blank. If you wish, you can change the locations you are targeting from the whole world to UK only or you can leave it worldwide if that’s appropriate

    Click on ‘Get Ideas’

    When the results come up choose the Keywords ideas tab at the top and click on:

    Average Monthly Searches

    This will sort the keywords from those with the most number of searches per month down to those with the least.


    When I type in:  How to write and get published

    The highest number of searches is for:

    Keyword / phrase Avg. monthly searches Competition

    how to write a book
    49,500 Medium

    creative writing
    33,100 Medium

    how to write a novel
    18,100 Low

    So, if I were to write a book entitled, how to write a novel, the number of searches would be lower, but the competition is low, and so I am more likely to come at the top of the searchHow many readers will your book have?
    result. This demonstrates how being more specific can pay off.

    Finally, to really know how much competition there is for your subject go to Amazon and type your title/keywords into the search box (having selected Books) and see what comes up.

    If there are lots of books on your subject, see if you can come up with a unique angle or work out a niche group for which you tailor the subject and aim it at your smaller selected audience.

    Now you should have a great idea for your book, a title and enough excitement to start writing! Let me know how you get on. Email: words@gillbuchanan.co.uk

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  • Writing Tips

    Maximise your book sales on Amazon

    Attract readers for your book

    When you have your book on Amazon there are a number of things you can do on your sales page to increase your chances of sales. Some of these need to be thought about well before you start publishing.

    1. Choose the right title for your book

    The best titles are the ones that come up top in people’s searches on Google and Amazon.

    So, for example, for my non-fiction book, I could use one of the following:

    • How to write and get published in the UK
    • How to write and get published: A Guide for new writers
    • How to write and get published:  The Ultimate Guide UK

    All three of these titles start the same way, i.e. with the phrase that potential customers are likely to type into a search box.

    Any one of these titles should give you top billing for a search on Amazon or Google and other search engines as they all closely match the phrase that someone might type in.

    Also, the titles are easy to understand and tell the customer exactly what the book is about and what it will do for them.

    If you are not sure which phrases potential customers might put in to find your book, you can use the Google keyword planner to find out which relevant phrase is searched for by the most number of people.


    1.  Front cover design

    Think about what your customers would want to see. Remember the cover will appear in a small icon when it shows up in searches so the image of the front cover needs to stand out and you need to be able to clearly see what the title is.

    Keep the cover simple, and make it look like a quality book.


    1.  Book description

    The most important thing to include in your book description is: what is the main theme of the book.

    You may want to include your chapter titles which are, after all, a summary of what is in your book so this might prove very useful to any potential buyers.

    Write the description in the third person, present tense and write it as if you are talking to the reader.

    The ideal length for the description is between 150 and 200 words.  When people are searching online for something to buy, they don’t want to spend ages reading lots of information. They want, the key facts and quickly.  They may well look at some of your reviews as well, which may well be more important to them than reading your description.

    For search engine optimisation, it is good to repeat the title of the book at least two times, maybe three.

    It is also helpful to use emotive words, at around 5 to 10 per description.

    Some examples of emotive words that might work well for a non-fiction book are:

    Amazing, belief, bravery, cheer, courage, defiance, delight, excited, eye-opening, fearless, happy, heart, magic, mind blowing, spectacular, spirit, surprising, uplifting, wonderful.

    Write the description as if you are the publisher, not the author.  This might help you to sell the book and blow your own trumpet!


    1.  Book reviews, and Amazon verified purchases

    Book reviews will have a big impact on the number of books you sell.  So it is very important that you write and publish a book that deserves good reviews.  As long as you have a high quality book, you will get positive reviews. It is far better to have genuine reviews than using any underhand means. I would recommend encouraging all your readers to leave a review on Amazon (and your own website) to increase the total number that you get.

    Each review, you receive will state that it is by an Amazon verified purchaser, when the customer has bought their book on Amazon or Kindle. The more Amazon verified purchaser (APV) reviews you get the better.


    1. Your book’s ranking.

    Your ranking will not have any impact on the conversion rate, (i.e., whether or not somebody buys it) as most customers are not aware of it.

    However, as an author, book ranking is very important as, if you manage to reach the top 100 of any category on Amazon, you are automatically a bestseller in their eyes. You can use this bestseller status to boost sales of your book.

    The way Amazon rank books is quite complicated and ever-changing, and I’m not going to go into it in detail here.  Suffice as to say that it is worth trying to get into the top 100!


    1. Frequently bought together (FBT)

    On any sales page for the book on Amazon they have other titles that are ‘frequently bought together’ with this particular book.  Usually there are three other books and a special price for buying all three. The more times your book is listed with another book in the FBT area, the better.  Once you’ve achieved this, sales will increase significantly.  And if you manage to get your book listed on the FBT section with another bestseller, you should see a big increase in sales.


    1. Customers who bought this also bought

    This section comes under the FBT section on the sales page and is a long row of books that have been bought by customers, who also got the book on the sales page. Obviously, it is an advantage to appear in this section, but as there are numerous books, it might be difficult for yours to stand out. When your book has been chosen from this section a number of times, it will move up to the FBT section, which is the best place to be.


    1. Your Amazon author page

    As an author, you are missing a trick if you don’t create your Amazon author page as this is free to do and can only be of benefit.

    To create an author profile, go to: https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk

    The benefits of an author page are:

    • it will help you build trust with your customers and readers
    • the customer can see the real person behind the book and so are more likely to buy
    • you can add a photograph, a biography, even a video, and also link your Twitter account (so that your tweets appear on your Amazon author profile).
    • all the books that you have written will automatically appear on this page and you will be able to see any relevant statistics.

    If you find my novel, Unlikely Neighbours, on Amazon you will see a link on my name, Gill Buchanan, which takes you to my author profile. Here you will see how I have created my author profile, and this is the biography that I have on there:


    My name is Gill Buchanan and I discovered my love of creative writing in my forties. I was lucky enough to have been inspired and encouraged by a local writers’ group in the early days, who wrote short stories and novels whilst eating cake and drinking coffee. Fuelled by many lattes, l have so far published one novel and written two more which will be published soon! My stories tackle modern-day dilemmas with a gentle humour that resonates with many women and somewhat surprisingly, quite a few men.

    I also write a blog as I love helping others to write and get published by sharing my own experience. The blog (at www.gillbuchanan.co.uk) includes my journey to writing a non-fiction book and the resulting book will be published in 2015. This is to help any self-employed entrepreneurs who might find showcasing their experience in a book both rewarding and valuable.

    I live in rural Kent with my husband, Tony, and my cat, Gracie. A favourite pastime is sitting in a good café and scribbling away to create my next novel – but then you’ve guessed that!



    Note that the biography is relatively short at 184 words; anything between 150 and 200 words is good.  It is written as if I am talking to the person reading it which makes it more friendly.

    I’ve included, who I am; a bit of background; how I came to writing; and the aim of my blog.

     As a non-fiction author, it is important that you include:

    • something personal about yourself so the reader feels they are getting to know you
    • any experience qualifications or background that is relevant to your subject
    • how your books will be of benefit to the reader

    You can always look up other non-fiction authors that you admire, perhaps one in the same genre as yourself, to see what they have on their author profile and to get ideas.


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