You’ll often see reviews and testimonials on the front page of a book or on the cover. It could be a few words, one line or even a paragraph about how great your book is.

Reviews and testimonials are ‘social proof’ that your book is worth a read. It’s much more powerful for others to say your work is good than it is for you to say it yourself.

But how do those reviews get there before the book is even published?

There are two ways a non-fiction author can do this, so read on!

How to get reviews

  1. Sending out your manuscript for review

Only do this if you have trusted contacts to send the manuscript to. This could be to peers in your industry, clients who love your work or people who are familiar with your concepts and ideas.

If you are asking for reviews, you’ll have to provide a copy of the manuscript. I would suggest you ask first then send the written work if they agree. This avoids unnecessary copies of your manuscript floating around town before you publish.

Ask the writer to talk about the specific results or benefits they received from your book. This will have more impact for your readers than a general acknowledgement of your fabulousness. Then give a date you need the review by to avoid holding up the publishing process.

  1. Reusing current reviews

If your book is about what you are currently offering in your business, you may already have reviews and testimonials for the content of your book. Those reviews will need to be carefully curated to ensure they match the content of your book exactly. If you find some reviews you can reuse, get written permission from the client to reuse them in your book.

Referencing your reviews

Consider how you will say who wrote the review. This will depend on how private you need to be with client names. Will you give initials? Or a first name? Of course, if you have some high profile names in there, you will want to let everyone know, so you’ll need to use a system that takes this into account…

Will you add their location? A book is an international product, so a broad spectrum of locations helps more readers identify with you.

Consider if it’s relevant to collect their website or a profile photo, so you can use these when you put the reviews on your web-based platforms.

How many reviews to use

If you have a bunch of testimonials we’ll only use the best ones. Less is often more in these things. If the reader sees three pages of testimonials, they won’t read them all. If the reader sees three absolutely knockout testimonials they can personally relate to, they will be more likely to be influenced by them.

We’d usually put the testimonials on the first page you see as you open the book and a great ‘sound bite’ style one (or one from a high profile name) on the cover. If you only have one or two testimonials, we could put them on the cover for maximum exposure.

Ideally, we’d choose the ones that say something unique, have a different slant or area of service, or fill a different client need. You can imagine then that the collection we publish will give a broad idea of the variety of issues you help with and the variety of people you help.

Don’t throw any of the others out though! All the reviews you gather can still be used on your website, your social media and other platforms. The same goes for testimonials that are on video or audio format – these are fabulous on your website and socials.

It can be hard to approach people to ask for reviews. Asking people to tell you how wonderful you are isn’t on everyone’s favourite activity list. If you need a hand, at Author Support Services we do offer our clients a service where we collect your book reviews for you. Just pop over to our Marketing Services and check out what’s available.

 Reviews and testimonials create rapport with prospective clients and readers. You never know who is reading or what they are looking for, so showing them other people’s points of view is gold.

Alex Fullerton

About Alex and Author Support Services

Alex Fullerton is an author's consultant and self-publishing specialist at Author Support Services, based on a pineapple farm in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Australia. She has spent the last fourteen years working with business people to create concise, compelling, and comprehensive books that complement their businesses and increase their professional standing. Alex is supported by a dedicated team who provide a full self-publishing service, from planning to printing and promotion.

Is it time to share your story? Don’t wait another day. Get in touch for a free consultation to discuss your ideas now.

www.authorsupportservices.com

Now your book has gone to print and you have taken a breath, it’s the perfect time to look at how you, the publisher, can ensure your book is available in the places your reader likes to visit.

When you self publish your book with Author Support Services it will go out through our distribution service to wholesalers and retailers, so most of the online and bricks and mortar retailers, like Amazon, Book Depository and most bookshops and libraries will stock your book.

Independent bookshops can usually order your book through their wholesaler, however gift shops or specialty shops that are specific to your industry might not have access to our distribution network. These are important outlets though as your reader is visiting these places, so you want to ensure your book is available where it is needed.

This is where you are called to step up into your role as a publisher. When this happens, you become the wholesaler!

Your first step is to make a list of shops where you would love to see your book being displayed and sold. Think outside the box – where is that little patch of sunshine your reader goes where they might be looking for your book?

If you have written a: Your reader might want to see your book at:
* natural healing book

* pet ownership book

* local interest book

*children’s book

esoteric stores, organic cafes, health food stores

vets, puppy schools, pet supply shops

gift shops, hotels, tourist information, cafes

baby shops, child care fundraisers, local attractions

 

Your next step is to pick up the phone or call in to each store and let them know all about your book. A face to face meeting is always better – you are creating a relationship with another small business owner, so trust and partnership are paramount.

Here are some helpful tips to be prepared:

  • Sit down and work out how much you want to sell the book for at a wholesale price to this retailer. You have to pay the print price plus delivery to you. Plus you have had the cost of publishing. They have to sell at the retail price. How will you share the amount that is left?
  • Make it worth their while to buy more books to save you both time in handling stock. Work out a price per book if they purchase one, five or ten books (or more). The books will get cheaper the more they buy. Have your prices ready and typed up professionally on your letterhead.
  • Some shops will only want to take the books on commission and not pay you until they have sold the books, with a right to return unsold books to you. So think about whether that is okay for you.
  • Work out how often you will go in to collect money and deliver new stock.
  • Keep it simple – if the shop is local to you, you can deliver a stack of books, take payment from the shop and they can then sell the books and keep the profit.
  • Think about how you will record sales and set up a system to do so.
  • Come up with some ideas to promote the shop you are targeting and add to their sales. Write this into your proposal. Promoting the shop will be a win/win and make them keen to stock your book. Some ideas include:
    • provide advertising signs for the shop to put with your books
    • have book signings at the store
    • offer promotions of their store on social media.

Once you have organised for your book to be stocked in various independent stores, keep an eye on how sales are going and the type of setup that is working best. Perhaps put together a schedule to contact a certain number of stores each week or each month so that your book is available for sale in new areas and receiving continual exposure in new markets.

Getting your book out there is the key to making sales! Enjoy the journey and making new relationships along the way.

Alex Fullerton

About Alex and Author Support Services

Alex Fullerton is an author's consultant and self-publishing specialist at Author Support Services, based on a pineapple farm in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Australia. She has spent the last fourteen years working with business people to create concise, compelling, and comprehensive books that complement their businesses and increase their professional standing. Alex is supported by a dedicated team who provide a full self-publishing service, from planning to printing and promotion.

Is it time to share your story? Don’t wait another day. Get in touch for a free consultation to discuss your ideas now.

www.authorsupportservices.com

Hooray, you have written your book and successfully self published! The first box of books has arrived, and you feel satisfied. Then the realisation sinks in: “I need to sell some books!”

It can be overwhelming working out where to start when marketing your book, and maybe even more so during the current COVID-19 pandemic. A good place to start is working out the best places to stock your book. Ask yourself why you wrote the book in the first place and the audience you are wanting to reach, then think about where these types of people will be going and visiting after the pandemic is over.

You have written a book, so a good place to have your book stocked is in bookshops! One piece of information I was told early on is that traditional bookshops won’t stock your books if you are a self published author – and this is NOT TRUE! I have mine stocked in many bookshops.

Apart from bookshops think of other outlets that would suit your book. My books are travel guides for children and therefore tourist outlets like gift shops and information centres have worked well for me.

When approaching potential stockists, have a sales pitch prepared in your mind and include costings (as they will want to know the recommended retail and wholesale prices). Normally, I would suggest meeting with the business owner face to face for a better success rate, however given the current COVID-19 situation we need to adapt and you can take the opportunity to discuss your book with potential stockists over the phone or by email. Even if their physical store may have closed, many bookshops are still offering online sales.

You can send the business owner a demo copy of your book by post while you are self-isolating (or drop it off while following social distancing protocols) and then follow up with a meeting in person once restrictions have lifted. People are less likely to make a decision on the spot, so ensure that you give them all your sales information and the chance to flip through a copy of your book in their own time to help them make a decision.

When you self publish, your book title will automatically make its way into the online platforms such as Amazon, Book Depository, Booktopia, etc. Get on the coattails of the online market and create your own website where you can sell your books direct to the public.

Once you have your books stocked, whether in traditional bookshops, gift shops or online, you then need to be persistent with marketing. Social media like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn are all very cost-effective and have proven high reach to potential buyers, and likely even more so at this time with people spending more time at home.

If you are writing for children, as I am, when social distancing restrictions have eased you could also approach bookshops and libraries to offer your time to do story time. You could also get involved with your community through other book-related activities such as book week, reading programs, markets and reading challenges. You can leverage off these activities to spread the word and promote your book. For example, ‘The Reading Hour’ is on every year, so you could approach your local library or school and donate a book to be included in the reading hour challenge.

The last tip for you is to enjoy the road you’re on! You’ve written a book, which is a huge achievement, so remember to be positive, believe in your product, create opportunities and then be persistent.

megan carige

Megan Carige has successfully published the Happy Day Out book series and has been fortunate to have all three books stocked in many bookshops throughout Queensland.

Megan spent her earlier childhood growing up in Fiji before her family moved to live in a small city in Queensland called Toowoomba. Megan has spent most of her adult life living and working in Brisbane and overseas, and recently moved back to live in Toowoomba with her two young sons.

She enjoys creating stories, drawing on her interest of travelling with her children and experiencing life together. As well as her children’s books, Megan also has a travel blog.

www.happydayout.com.au

 

Books are great, don’t get me wrong (I have to say that on a book writing website), but what comes next?

What if they love your book, your content and your concepts, but they want to learn more?
What if they are looking for a deeper experience?

A companion course could be the perfect way to offer your readers more depth to subjects they are interested in learning. It also gives you the opportunity to encourage implementation and support them along the way.

Plus it’s a great way to add an additional stream of revenue to your business, without diluting your message.

So, how do you go about creating a course to go with your book?

Start with the learning outcome
Starting with the end in mind keeps you on track during the writing process and guides the content you decide to include in your course.

So after they’ve taken your course:

  • What will they know?
  • What will they be able to do?
  • How will they feel?

Remember, a course is a much more hands on experience than your book.  It will enable you to give depth to content which you might not have had the time or space for originally.

Example:

A nutritionist who had a book about whole foods might say

“By the end of the course I want people to have a passion for choosing whole foods that fuel their body and is good for their soul. They will feel confident identifying options and be able to plan their meals.”

Think about the tangible outcomes, and what they will achieve by implementing the information you are teaching them.

Map the content from your book.
Work chapter by chapter and decide which bits can be expanded into a course, and which bits can be left out. You will need to leave some bits out in order to really focus on the content which drives them towards your specific outcome.

Sometimes this process is hard to do yourself. You’re a little biased when it comes to your own written material. You can ask a friend to go through it with you, or outsource the process and get someone to create a course outline that maps to your book.

As a general rule:

  • Introductory chapters might be left out. They can be used as the basis of webinars, blog posts, or even as part of your pre-course content and sales process.
  • The middle chapters which cover the ‘how’ can be expanded and broken down into small chunks.
  • The final chapters might be included in the course, but might make for good bonus content, or used to create a ’next steps’ section.
  • Each book is different, but you are looking for the bits of your book which are actionable.

Don’t fall into the trap of taking your book and putting the content word for word into a course platform. It won’t get you or your participants the results you are looking for.

Create course material in bite sized pieces.

When creating a course, break content down into modules and lessons/chunks.
You may find that your chapters map approximately to modules although I’ve often grouped several chapters together to form a module for authors.

While chapters are a great way to break down a book, they are too big for your course, which is why we then break each piece down into bite sized lessons.

Make sure each lesson is consumable in one sitting. Each audience is different, but as a general rule, keep your videos and lesson under ten minutes each.

Ensure that you create a range of content to cover all learning preferences, such as videos, audios and downloadable written pieces.

And for everything you teach them, make sure you ask them to take action.

Think about the tech

In short, there are two ways to get your course online.

1. Self-hosted on your own website.
By using a course plugin, you can create a username and password protected area on your website which allows your students to access their content. Some examples of these are Learndash or Memberpress.

2. On a course platform
If you don’t want to, or don’t know how to create a course on your own site, you can use an externally hosted course platform. Some great examples of these are MemberVault or Teachable

Thing about your budget, your technical skill, and future plans when deciding on a plugin or platform which is right for you.

A course can be a great addition to your book, giving you a platform to showcase your content in more depth, and creating bigger and better outcomes for your readers.

202002 Course Creation Sam Winch profile photo

Sam Winch helps writers and creators turn their content into courses.

With over 16 years’ experience, creating course outlines from your book is jam in her sandwich.

When she’s not busy creating courses, or making terrible sandwich puns about her name, she’s got her hands full wrangling 4 kids.

You have a very good opportunity at the end of your non-fiction book to include a sales page of some kind.

“A sales page?!” I hear you shout.  “How dare you!  I can’t force sales on my reader!  What a terrible thought! I am a decent person!  I am a writer!” Before you hang me out to dry with the solar panel salesperson who called last week, hear me out.

Think about it from your reader’s point of view.  Yes your reader.  In order to reach this proposed sales page, which is at the end of your book, the very end, they must have read your book to the very end.  Which means they have read all the way to the end of the book.  Do you know what kind of dedication that takes?  That is a serious fan you have there! Hours of reading!  Of YOUR words!  Not wandering off willy nilly with another author part way through, but sticking with YOU all the way to the end!

And you know what it’s like when you have loved an author enough to get to the end of their book. There’s that little sad moment, when you realise it’s all over.  The author is going, leaving your life.

In this context, seeing you are that author, do you think that it might be okay to let your reader know that there are in fact opportunities to stay in touch with you?  That you do have other  services, courses and offerings?  Of course it is! This reader is a fan!  This is your time to showcase who you are and what you can offer, after the book has been read from cover to cover. You are not a solar panel salesperson! You are a trusted advisor!

Say you are a cat services professional, writing a book about cats, by cat owners, for cat lovers.  Having a page dedicated to your cat business is totally expected in this context.  So, let’s get a wriggle on, and learn how to make it happen.

There are two main types of sales pages, depending on your personal writing style.

Conversational

Write in full paragraphs, in a chatty style. Talk about your professional persona, your business and its services rather than focussing on your personal background.  This type of sales page is perfect if you are all about feelings and connections. Share some ideas with your reader about the ways you could stay in touch, and the kinds of things you might be able to help them with.   Let them know about your services, your consultations, your group work, your courses.  All the places you can make them feel supported. At the end of the page, include your contact details.  Spice it up a bit with a logo for your business, or some photos; of you doing your thing, your work space or your happy clients.

Traditional

A traditional sales page essentially contains the same information, but looks more like an advert than a conversation.  List the services your reader might be looking for, and how to find them.  Add interest with graphics, colours and dot points with touch points and details.  This type of sales page works well if you want to showcase your features and benefits.

Remember the purpose of the sales page is to give your readers the information they are looking for.  You aren’t trying to push kitty litter on an unsuspecting audience; you are making it easier for cat lovers to get the services and products they want for their beloved felines.

  • Try to cover all your services on your sales page, not just the project you are focussing on right now in the book
    • Other written products
    • Consultations
    • Workshops
    • One to one consults
    • Group services
    • Online services
    • Face to face services
  • Include contact details for all your online and offline access points
    • Website
    • Email
    • Phone
    • Shopfront
    • Facebook
    • Instagram
    • Other social media
  • Keep it timeless – if I read this page in five years, will it still be relevant? Think about this when you are writing about your services. Keep it broad; try not to include too many specific details, as these are the parts that can change.
    • Perhaps offer an incentive to go to your website and
    • signup to the newsletter
    • receive a series of emails with relevant content
    • leave a review of your book, either on your website or perhaps on the Amazon review page, Facebook or Google
      • Tip: If you have written an ebook or web page rather than in a printed book, make sure you offer short urls to the review pages.

What could you offer as an incentive? The choices are endless. Perhaps

      • an extra chapter of material
      • a deeper resource related to your book’s content
      • sneak peeks of your next book

Check out this study on the effectiveness of sales promotions tools including coupons, samples and price discounts that can entice your reader.

What are you going to do to maximise your book’s moment in the sun?

Still not sure? Get in contact with me to help ease you through to the next stage.

Alex Fullerton

About Alex and Author Support Services

Alex Fullerton is an author's consultant and self-publishing specialist at Author Support Services, based on a pineapple farm in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Australia. She has spent the last fourteen years working with business people to create concise, compelling, and comprehensive books that complement their businesses and increase their professional standing. Alex is supported by a dedicated team who provide a full self-publishing service, from planning to printing and promotion.

Is it time to share your story? Don’t wait another day. Get in touch for a free consultation to discuss your ideas now.

www.authorsupportservices.com