Monday, December 24, 2007

Book Cover Coaching: The Book-Marketing Holiday Quiz

The Book-Marketing Holiday Quiz:
Test your book-marketing know-how.
Can you answer these 10 questions?

By Susan Kendrick

It's officially the holiday! I hope all your stockings are hung and you are relaxing either by a cozy fire or on a lawn chair, depending on where you live.

Now for some fun. Here's a way to keep your book marketing savvy sharp, even as you take much-needed time to reflect and recharge.

It's our First Annual Book-Marketing Holiday Quiz!

First, go to www.Amazon. Search "Books" then click on the "Bestsellers" link at the top of the page. Each of the questions below is from the first 25 books on that list:

1.) About which book and author did Oprah say, "I've been counting down the days to this show!"?
HINT: This show aired in September 2007.

2.) Which two books have the shortest back cover copy, but speak right to the heart and identify their target audience in the process?
HINT: Would you dare to go to this extreme of less-is-more on your back cover?

3.) Which books are part of a series of FIVE or more books?
HINT: There are three of them.

4.) Which book title is an example of a "neologism"?
HINT: "Neologism" means a new word or expression and is the book marketing secret behind such bestselling phenomenons as Freakonomics.

5.) Which non-fiction books use their subtitles to describe specific benefits or solutions to the reader?
HINT: I count four.

6.) Which books use their subtitles to make memoir or personal experience more relevant to the reader, which by the way is one of the most challenging aspects of creating covers for these kinds of books. Do you think the ones here succeed?
HINT: I count four of these books as well.

7.) Which book uses the front cover to promote the author's TV and nationally syndicated radio shows?
HINT: This much copy could be a real mouthful on a front cover, but this book still has a clean, lean, billboard appeal.

8.) Which two book covers use quotes by other bestselling authors to help market them?
HINT: One is fiction and one is non-fiction.

9.) How many book title strategies do you see represented by the books there?
HINT: There are at least 10 -- some are included as articles on this blog.

10.) Which book title is part of a poem that is found in the book itself?
HINT: This book has just been made into a movie

Bonus Round!

11.) Now look at the top 50 Amazon Bestsellers. Which book made it to this list . . . and hasn't even been released yet?
HINT: This book is available right now as a "pre-order" only. But this author is already making money on this book. Not bad! How will you use your cover to pre-sell your book?

How did you do?

If you absolutely can't find the answers, hang in there. I'll post them next time. But, right now it's time to enjoy the snow and my family. Best wishes to all of you for a relaxed and inspired holiday with those you love.


© Copyright 2007, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Book Cover Coaching: Price Your Book to Sell

How to Price Your Book:
Use These 3 Factors to Help You Decide

By Susan Kendrick

Pricing is one of the most important decisions you will make for your book, and one of the final decisions in the book cover process. You can determine the price based on three factors: competition, page count, and printing cost. Think of these as the three C's. Ideally, all three of these factors work together to help you arrive at a price that's best for your book.

Pricing is just one component of your book's back cover. For a complete 10-Step guide to creating your entire back cover "elevator speech" for your book, please download a complimentary copy of our easy-to-use 17-page report, "From Back Cover to Bestseller."

If your book will be shoulder to shoulder with other books on Amazon, in bookstores, catalogues, book clubs, etc., one way to decide on price is to do some comparison shopping. What is the price range for other books on your topic, for a similar audience, and of similar length? Determine the low and high end of that range, and then either price your book comfortably in the middle or slightly higher.

Price and perception of quality are closely linked, so if you charge too little, you risk undermining your book's credibility. In other words, if your book is one of the cheapest on your topic, it may be assumed that your book doesn't have as much to offer as other, competing titles. On the other hand, if you price your book at the highest end of the price range, depending on your target audience, you risk losing buyers who may not be ready to spend that much. Of course, some authors and publishers will intentionally price their books high to enhance the perception of value and exclusivity of certain titles. Knowing your competition and the buying habits of your target audience will help you find your best price fit for your market.

Page Count
The following calculations come from the website of
Morgan James Publishing, whose author-friendly Entrepreneurial Publishing™ model is a great resource for self-publishing authors looking for the book marketing perks of working with a publisher. Here is the MJ breakdown of how to calculate the price of your book based on both manuscript word count and page count. They note that the price is determined in part by competing titles, and that you can increase or decrease the price of your book for competitive reasons.

Manuscript . . . . Page Count . . . . Recommended
Word Count . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Price Range
20,000 (or less) . . . . . 75 (or less) . . . . . . $ 8.95 - $10.95
40,000 . . . . . . . . . . . 120 . . . . . . . . . . . . $10.95 - $13.95
60,000 . . . . . . . . . . . 180 . . . . . . . . . . . . $13.95 - $16.95
80,000 . . . . . . . . . . . 240 . . . . . . . . . . . . $15.95 - $19.95
100,000 . . . . . . . . . . 300 . . . . . . . . . . . . $17.95 - $21.95
120,000 . . . . . . . . . . 360 . . . . . . . . . . . . $20.95 - $23.95
140,000 . . . . . . . . . . 420 . . . . . . . . . . . . $22.95 - $26.95
160,000 . . . . . . . . . . 580 . . . . . . . . . . . . $25.95 - $29.95
180,000 . . . . . . . . . . 540 . . . . . . . . . . . . $27.95 - $31.95
200,000 . . . . . . . . . . 600 . . . . . . . . . . . . $29.95

Printing Cost
The following section on estimated printing costs is from Dan Poynter's website:

But what does it cost to publish? Let's compare prices for traditional ink-press printing, PQN (Print Quantity Needed) and POD (Print-On-Demand, one book at a time such as DocuTech). We will compare a softcover (perfect bound) 144 page 5.5 x 8.5 book with black text and a four-color cover. Press (ink on paper): $1.55 each but you have to print at least 3,000 to get a price this low. So, your print bill will be $4,650. See below. Digital printer (short run): 500 copies for $2.80 each or a print bill of $1,400, or 100 copies for $5.17 each and a print bill of $517. POD (single copies): May run $6 to $10 and are often bundled with other services. Print-On-Demand is a good option when a book has run its course, your inventory is exhausted and you still receive orders for a couple of copies a month. Rather than invest in inventory, you can have books made one-at-a-time as needed.

Dan notes that for hardcover books, printing traditional hard or "case" binding runs about $1.00 extra per book.

Like so much else about your book cover, pricing is also about positioning and perception of quality. And, as you can see above, book pricing also needs to take into account production costs and other profit-loss calculations. Use the three pricing factors above to confidently decide what's right for you and your book.

Do you have questions about the book cover for your book?
Please give us a call at 715-634-4120 or email

© Copyright 2007, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Book Cover Coaching: 5 Places to Send Online Press Releases Right Now

Get the Word Out!
5 Places to Send Online Press Releases Right Now

By Susan Kendrick

(See the 5 websites and link to Entrepreneur Magazine how-to's, below.)

Sending out press releases online is just one more way to rev up your book marketing efforts, even if your book hasn't been released yet. This is because press releases are not just announcements about your book or product. Ideally they show how your message, approach, technique, process, etc. relates to currently newsworthy topics and trends.

The real goal of your press releases

The real goal of your press releases is to position yourself as an expert resource, someone with vast experience and knowledge of a particular issue or topic. You want to be someone that journalists, TV producers, and radio show hosts confidently turn to for background info, a comment, or full interview. When you describe yourself as the author of a "forthcoming book" (another good reason to finalize your book title as early as possible), you further enhance your expert status.

The thing to remember is that your press releases are not about you--they are a way to make your expertise available in a way that helps media professionals do their jobs better. This is just one more way that helping others is the best way to help yourself.

Entering the daily flow of online press release distribution should become a consistent part of your book marketing efforts, whether your book has already been released, or is still in the development stage. And, like everything you do to promote your book, view your press releases as another good way to reach out and create relationships, this time with the large number of media professionals who are always looking for reliable sources of great information.

Here are 5 ways to get out there and be seen by decision-makers online!

See a recent article in Entrepreneur magazine for tips on using each of these services. Go to

(Scroll halfway down the page to the "Spread the Word" article.)

Questions? Please give us a call at 715-634-4120 or email

© Copyright 2007, Susan Kendrick, Write to Your Market, Inc. All Rights Reserved.