book marketing

Adobe spark collage. brass slipper collage

Creating Adobe Spark images and videos

Do you create images for your social media? I’ve used Canva in the past, (read my review here) adding a writing quote to an image (with my web address at the bottom) and posting to Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/Pinterest each morning.  I’ve now switched over to Adobe Spark, a FREE program that integrates the professionalism of the Adobe look with an easy-to-use interface.

Sign up at Spark.Adobe.com for free using your Facebook or Google ID, email, or create an Adobe account. A free account includes:

  • Create stunning graphics, web pages, and video stories
  • Available on desktop, iPhone and iPad
  • Sync projects across devices

The $9.99 USD per month plan adds:

  • Replace the Adobe Spark logo with your own
  • Add your brand to Spark graphics, web pages, and video stories
  • Select colors and fonts that reflect your brand
  • Leverage personalized branded templates
  • Manage your brand in one place
  • Update branding across templates in one click
  • Live phone and chat support

And the $19.99 USD plan adds:

  • Company ownership of user licenses
  • Consolidated billing for all licenses on the account
  • Web-based license management tool with ability to reassign licenses
  • Dedicated 24/7 technical phone support, email, chat and forums

I’m all for free, and my business isn’t big enough (nor is my budget) to need the perks of the other features.

The 3 things you can make with Adobe Spark

1.Post

I’ve used this numerous times to make my “morning images”. Adobe Spark offers so many sizes—Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, Pinterest, blog post, YouTube, and poster sizes. They also offer different categories—food, school, lifestyle, seasonal, collages, and travel, all with nifty graphics.

Of course, you’re treated to the Adobe pallet, with professional color matching. In addition, they’ve thrown in features like contrast, darken, lighten, greyscale, matte, colorize and multiply, and scaling and rotating sliders.

Adobe Spark imageAdobe Spark ImageAdobe Spark imageAdobe spark

Collage:

I especially like the collage layout. Here’s what I did for my upcoming Cinderella re-telling, The Brass Slipper:

Adobe spark collage. brass slipper collage

 

2. Page

I have not used Adobe Spark to create a page. From what I’ve read, it creates a static page only, not a web page. The article I found says it’s great for creating a magazine type page.

3. Video

I used this to promote my AtoZChallenge book, Twilight, Arizona. It was fairly easy. The only problem I ran across is the template didn’t give me enough time on each frame for the average viewer to read the caption. I solved that by holding down the record button but didn’t say anything. Here’s the result:

(Twilight, Arizona is a fictional retirement village, the setting of twenty-six supernatural short stories. I wrote them as part of 2018’s AtoZChallenge.)
Purchase the collection for 99¢ at Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/yb3u6ahm

Now that I know what I’m doing, I could probably, and will, make a new video in a few minutes.

There you go! Alternate, professional looking images and videos courtesy of Adobe Spark.

This is my blog post for May’s AuthorToolBoxBlogHop.

Blogging every day #Authortoolboxbloghop

The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! To join, visit Raimey Gallant’s website or follow the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop hashtag on Twitter.

Be a Sterling Reader! Join my mailing list to receive free books, updates, book release details and other valuable information.

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Kindle Select. Amazon author's page for Cheryl Sterling is live

It’s Thursday and we’re in the wayback machine, recycling a blog from 2017’s AtoZChallenge:

For today’s AtoZChallenge, the letter “K” is for Kindle Select

Kindle Select offers advantages and disadvantages to self-published authors. Explore more at http://www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

Kindle Select offers advantages and disadvantages to self-published authors.

Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited (K.U.) in July, 2014. The subscription program (currently $9.99 a month) allows readers unlimited access to a large selection of free ebooks (only ten at a time can be taken out. It’s like a Netflix for books). Amazon gives authors the option of enrolling their books in Kindle Select, the writing side of the program that feeds K.U.

Is Kindle Select the right program for you?

Let’s look at the pros and cons, then I’ll tell you of my experience and where I stand on the issue.

Pros:

The advantages of Kindle Select. Learn more at http://www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

The pros about Kindle Select.

  • Your book will automatically be available to K.U. subscribers.
  • Your book will automatically be available to be lent to other readers under the KOLL program (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library).
  • You can offer your book as a free promotion for 5 days out of the 90 day Kindle Select enrollment period for non-K.U. subscribers. The days do not have to be taken concurrently.
  • You can participate in the Kindle Countdown Deal, where you can run a limited sale, complete with a countdown clock, making a buy an urgency for your readers. Amazon has devoted a separate page to countdown deals, allowing alert buyers a way to check in for deals.
  • Earn a share of KDP’s Select Global Fund, a big pot of money ($16.8M this month) distributed among authors enrolled in Kindle Select. The allotment is based on number of pages downloaded and read more than 10%, plus books borrowed from the Lending Library.
  • Not having to format your book to different guidelines issued by distributors then individually upload them (I’m looking at you ibooks, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble).
  • You can offer print books at other sites, just not a digital version.
  • If you have multiple books out, offering an older title for free through Kindle Unlimited can generate interest  in your backlog.

Cons:

The disadvantages to self-published authors to use Kindle Select. Read more at http://www.cherylsterlingbooks.com

The cons about Kindle Select.

  • Amazon exclusivity for 100% of your book. You can not offer it anywhere else, and no more than 10% from your website. So, if you’ve been releasing a chapter a month and now decide to publish the entire work on Amazon, Kindle Select is not available.
  • You’re locked in for 90 days. Be aware: Kindle Select will automatically renew for another 90 days if you do not manually uncheck its box in your KDP bookshelf.
  • Owners of reading devices other than Kindle will not be able to download your book. Of course, they can always download the free Kindle reading app, but still. (I do 90% of my digital reading on my laptop).
  • You are at Amazon’s whim, which is powerful.
  • You are dependent on a single revenue stream.
  • The money earned per copy will not equal that of a non-Kindle Select (non-Kindle Unlimited) book.

My experience and opinion

In 2016, I and my writing partner published The Plot Thickens:21 Ways to Plot Your Novel through Kindle Select. We sold approx. 2100 copies to Kindle Unlimited users. Our income from those copies amounted to less than $50. Why? I can only guess that our 100 page book rode at the bottom of the Global Fund and/or readers did not go to the end of the book and/or saved it in their library for later (proven when we received small amount of monies months after we opted out of the program).

We are much happier, and a little richer, by keeping The Plot Thickens out of Kindle Select and offering it wide through other sellers.

Your mileage may vary. It’s a tough decision every author has to make. The good thing is, you can experiment for 90 days. Just be sure to unselect Select before the 90 days expires, because you’ll be automatically enrolled for another three months.

Have you tried Kindle Select? What’s been your experience?

Blessings,

Cheryl

If you’d like to continue reading my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.

If you know of someone who would like to know about Kindle Select, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

 

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Use Goodreads to market your book and connect with passionate readers. Goodreads is a great book marketing tool.

It’s #ThrowbackThursday. Join me as we look back at a blog post from April, 2017:

Goodreads is a great book marketing tool

Goodreads is a great book marketing tool.

Use Goodreads to market your book and connect with passionate readers.

Goodreads is a great book marketing tool for writers. Who would you rather target? Someone on Twitter or Facebook who might be interested in reading your book, or an avid reader? An avid reader, of course. Fifty-five million of them. Bing, bing, bing, we have a winner!

Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of this FREE site to market your books?

Connect with passionate, influential readers who can discuss, share, and promote your books. Join groups, find new authors to read, conduct a poll and host a giveaway—it’s a virtual party!

How to get started:

  • Go to Goodreads.com and create an account. If you have an existing reader account, search for one of your published books and click on your author name, listed below the title of your book.
  • You will be redirected to your basic author profile page. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on “Is this you? Let us know” to send a request to join the Goodreads Author Program.
  • You will receive an email confirmation in a few days. The Goodreads librarians will merge your member page with your author page.

What you can do on your author page

  • Fill out your bio, including a call to action to visit your website. Your bios should be consistent across all social media platforms.
  • Add a current photo. This should be a photo of you, so your readers can make a connection.
  • Add your website and blog URL.
  • Link your blog to Goodreads. Once linked, Goodreads will automatically import your newest post.
  • Pose a few questions to yourself and answer them in the “Ask the Author” section. This is a great way to get a head start on connecting to your readers.
  • Embed a video. Add book trailers or a video from your YouTube channel.
  • Add an event. Do you have a booksigning or talk scheduled? Add it to the events calendar.
  • Post quotes from your books.
  • Add your books! Rate them. Review them. Get the party started!
  • Add at least 20 other books to your bookshelf. Don’t worry, Amazon (owner of Goodreads) can help. Every time you purchase a book on Amazon, it will appear in your To-Be-Read section of your bookshelf.
  • List a giveaway to get free exposure to your book.
  • Conduct a poll.
  • Connect the Goodreads app to your Facebook page.
  • Add a free book excerpt (.pdf)

How can you promote your books?

  • Be active
  • Join a group or groups and participate
  • Write a review
  • Comment on existing reviews
  • Respond to friend requests
  • Host a giveaway
  • Conduct a poll
  • Update your writing progress on a book you’re reading
  • Vote on a list
  • Click “want to read” on a book
  • Run a Goodreads ad to promote more readers
  • Add an excerpt of one of your books

Goodreads is a great book marketing tool

Do you have your Goodreads Author Page set up? What’s stopping you?

Did I miss a tip? What’s been your experience with the Goodreads Author Program?

Why not use it to promote your books?

Blessings,

Cheryl

If you’d like to receive my blog posts, please use the entry form to the right. Also sign up for my newsletter, and you’ll receive a FREE copy of my short story, Mr. Right, Mr. Wrong, Mr. Alien.

If you know of someone who would enjoy learning more about Goodreads, use the buttons on the left to share this post. Thank you.

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