Q&A with Matt Hofeld: Are You Ready for Some (Sooner) Football?

Creator of the website Crimson and Cream Machine, Matt Hofeld is a true University of Oklahoma fan. And his book, 2012 Sooner Kickoff, is uniting fellow fans around the world. We asked Hofeld about the story behind his book and learned about the Sooners’ passionate fan base.

How long have you been a Sooner football fan?

My whole life. Growing up in Oklahoma you are either a Sooner or a Cowboy, and my family was OU all the way. The games were on at my house every Saturday; it was a family tradition to gather around and watch. I attended my first game in person in 1984, and as a 10-year-old, I became hooked for life.

When did your website, Cream and Crimson Machine, launch?

We launched Crimson and Cream Machine in August of 2006. The idea was to create a website for Sooner fans, by Sooner fans. In addition to the information that we post on a daily basis, there is opportunity for fans to create their own posts, display photos and link to articles that they find interesting. In the next few weeks we’ll surpass the 3 million visitor mark. Continue reading

Five Easy Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Fan Page

Creating a Facebook fan page for your book is a no-brainer. It’s an easy (and free) way to reach an audience; plus, millions of people spend an average of 8 hours on Facebook per month.

But, it can be overwhelming to build and maintain an active community of fans. Here, we break down five easy steps you should follow in order to optimize your Facebook outreach: Continue reading

Announcing New E-book Publishing Packages: Socializer & Eye Catcher

Since starting this blog back in April, we’ve discussed a wide variety of issues on the topic of e-book publishing. But we keep coming back to two key aspects that seem intrinsically important to publishing in the digital space: online marketing and e-book design.

As we’ve come to fully realize the importance of these topics, we’ve developed innovative enhancements to our online cover design platform, and we’ve added some unique e-book marketing services to help our authors create better-looking e-books and share them more efficiently with the world. Now, we’ve taken things a step further and created two new publishing packages that are designed to help authors meet their e-book publishing goals in these areas.

Introducing the Socializer package

Social media offers one of the most exciting opportunities for online book marketers; but it can also be one of the most daunting. There’s a lot to know and learn about the Continue reading

Is E-book Marketing Different than Print Book Marketing?

Marketing is marketing, right? Yes. The goal behind marketing a new book, regardless of the medium, is the same. You want to position a book so people will find it, buy it and read it. However, because of their format, there is a fundamental difference in the approach you should take for marketing e-books.

Your e-book is electronic, so people won’t be looking for it at the corner Barnes & Noble. But they will be looking for it online. Thus, the Internet is where you should focus e-book marketing.

While you may know how to write an e-book, marketing it online can be tricky unless you have a plan. Luckily, planning can be as simple as one, two, three.

One: Start with a Creative Brief

This is the starting point for any successful marketing plan. A creative brief helps you define several key points of your marketing strategy. Continue reading

What is more important than knowing how to price an e-book? Word-of-mouth.

Word of Mouth Marketing

If you’re like most authors, you’ve found yourself wondering how to price an e-book as you prepare to launch yours to the world. Over the last six months, there has been substantial debate regarding whether $0.99 was the right price for an e-book or not.  One thing that most successful authors and publishing professionals can agree upon is that word-of-mouth is a crucial part of a successful platform. And, when it comes to a reader recommending a book to a friend, the price of the book is rarely an issue. 

Think about the last book that you really loved reading.  Did you hand a physical copy to a friend or family member and say, “You’ve got to read this!” with exuberance?  How does that work with an e-book? It doesn’t seem practical to hand over your iPad or Kobo and say, “Take this home with you and give it back to me when you’re done with it.”

Here are ways to make your e-book tangible in a virtual world in order to promote recommendations of your book.  Continue reading

Overcome Writer’s Block with Seven Writing Prompts

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” – Charles Bukowski

It could be the flashing cursor on an empty white page of your word processor. Or, it could be a crinkled sheet of lined paper that you overhand throw into a waste basket. No matter what it looks like, we all know what it means: writer’s block. Luckily there is a cure, and all you have to do is write.

Here are some writing prompts to get your brain in the write place.

1. Copycat

Take a story that you love, and add onto it. Love “Modern Family”?  Write a short story about the Dunphys going to the zoo. Love The Shining? Write about the next caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. Continue reading

Extra, Extra, Read all about…my book! Tips for interacting with Media

Hot off the presses, you have your book freshly published with Booktango.  But, no one knows about it sans family and friends. One of the most cost-effective ways to get your book in the hands of readers is to reach out to journalists and bloggers.  Although the work is not easy and may feel like a long and grueling process, the potential reward of having a book review, story or any coverage for your book is great.

Remember, getting access to journalists and bloggers is not advertising. They are doing you a service by providing free coverage for your book. But, how exactly do you contact the media?

Start with a ripple effect. The ripple effect is best because it starts with people you know. It may seem like an easy start if you’re from a small town, but it can seem daunting if you’re from a larger town or a city. Think of your network as a pool. Local churches, associations and even your company can be helpful networks in gaining access to media contacts in your community.

Remember to be personable. As you gain access to new journalists and bloggers, begin researching those in neighboring counties and cities. Share the first story with the new journalist.

When talking with journalists and bloggers here are some things to remember: Continue reading

7 Traits of a Great E-book Design

You already know Booktango makes it easy for you to publish your e-book. But, not all e-readers are created equal, so it’s always nice to have little reminders of what universally works before you upload your manuscript. Make sure to follow these seven traits of a great e-book design, which came straight from our e-book design experts:

  1. High resolution cover. Professional-looking covers need to be high-resolution – at least 200 ppi (pixels per inch)
  2. Consistent style. Make sure your style flows throughout the book. You don’t want your readers to feel like they’re in a different book with each flip of a page that has a new layout, random pictures or different font type. Continue reading

Websites for Authors: Do You Need One?

Websites for Authors

Even in today’s undeniably techno-centric world, many writers resist the idea that they need to have an author website. After all, they have an Amazon page, a Facebook page and a few book reviews floating around on blogs. Isn’t that enough?

We don’t think so.

Imagine for a moment that you’ve overheard something about a great new Thai restaurant in town. You love Thai food. Your interest is piqued. So, you Google the place. Now, imagine there’s no website to be found. Maybe you track down a few Yelp reviews and a Twitter page that tweets daily specials … but you can’t find their hours, their full menu or their prices. Even though you — as a lover of Thai food — were genuinely interested in their business, you give up on the restaurant for now because you couldn’t easily access the information you wanted.

You don’t want that happening to potential readers who can’t find the information they want about you and your book online. Continue reading

And the Survey says … Design Your Book Cover with Confidence

Feature Release: Side-by-Side Book Cover Compare and Social Media Sharing

A few months ago I wrote a post about three valuable elements of great book cover design. Those elements included:

  1. Create a title that evokes curiosity
  2. Create a compelling visual
  3. Design with the reduced visibility of your cover in mind

Sometimes as authors we can get so close to crafting our book that we forget we’re not the audience for our book. For example, we might design our book cover based on the colors and visual elements we like instead of thinking about what our audience might like. In a former life as an ad executive for JWT, I found we often needed to remind our clients, “It’s not about you; it’s about your customers.” In your case, as an author, sometimes you need to remember, “It’s not about you; it’s about the people who will read your book and tell their friends about it.”

There are times when you know in your gut what your audience wants in a book cover. There are other times when it would be ideal if you could solicit feedback from prospective readers and allow their feedback to guide your design.  Continue reading