This blog will be made up of posts that are of benefit to aspiring or published horse book authors. There will be a collection of how to’s as well as advice from already established authors.
This blog will be made up of posts that are of benefit to aspiring or published horse book authors. There will be a collection of how to’s as well as advice from already established authors.
There are many ways in which giving your book away to readers can help you build up your email list, gain credibility, and expand your reach:
To do this successfully, you need to make it as easy as possible for your readers to access your book, in a way that doesn’t cost you time. Bookfunnel is a fantastic resource and tool for streamlined, hassle-free book delivery suitable for EVERY format on EVERY device.
Here’s what Bookfunnel say:
You write, we deliver
Stop doing tech support for your readers. You’re a writer, so go write. Leave the book delivery and support to us.
The first time I sent out my ARC to my Launch Team ‘Pre-Bookfunnel’, I received dozens of emails from readers asking me how they could download the file onto their Kindle, or tablet or Nook—a pain point for both authors and readers.
So not only does Bookfunnel solve your readers’ pain point by easy delivery, they also solve yours, knowing that all you have to do is upload your book, and Bookfunnel will do the rest. You can see Bookfunnel in action and experience what your readers will see with this demo below.
See Bookfunnel in Action
Your Books, Your Readers
What I really love about Bookfunnel is that they offer a genuine service without keeping your subscribers’ emails for themselves. This means your readers won’t get bombarded by sales emails which is worth its weight in gold—and talking about money…
Bookfunnel offers very competitive price plans for authors, starting for as little as $20 per year:
Note: This is a great starting point for authors wanting to give away books to their existing subscribers, advanced reader copies and free books to book bloggers. But the basic plan DOES NOT collect emails or work with email integration. Using the Bookfunnel service to GAIN subscribers, you’ll want the Mid List Author Plan
MID LIST AUTHOR:
Note: This package is great for authors wanting to expand their mailing list. I use the Bookfunnel link on my website’s landing page and in the back of my Ebooks to gain subscribers. It’s integrated with my mailing list provider so my welcome email sequence is automatically activated. Also with this package, you can get involved in Bookfunnel’s JOINT AUTHOR PROMOTIONS – A brilliant way to increase your email list with authors writing in your own genre. You can also get involved with their BETA BUNDLES program. I’ll be testing these out soon and am looking forward to reporting the results.
NOTE: A tool for authors well on their way with a large and established mailing list.
For me personally, the MID LIST AUTHOR package is perfect. Time, especially for an indie author, is a precious commodity. I find Bookfunnel saves me not only time but also tech related headaches, and more importantly, offers my readers a professional, easy and clean way to get hold of my free books.
In my next post, I’ll be running through a step-by-step process for uploading your book to Bookfunnel’s dashboard to offer your ARC. Until then, Bookfunnel can answer all of your questions here!
Angharad Thompson Rees is the author of the Magical Adventures & Pony Tales children’s book series. She writes comic scripts for a popular European pony magazine, and her short stories are published in young adult literary journals. A dabbling poet, Angharad won the judge’s pick in an international spoken word competition and is working on a children’s fantasy novel-in-verse.
Social Media Links:
So recently I was made aware of BundleRabbit. This is a service for authors, specifically focused on bundling various books together into one electronic file for sale. It could be that a group of authors each have a horse book they want to sell in bulk together – they make their individual book files available on such a system as BundleRabbit, and the files are collated into one new file.
So what would the benefit of this be? Each author is suddenly reaching potential new buyers for their other books. This happens as each author promotes the bundle to their reader base. Chances are there’ll be some overlaps, but most should benefit from new readers for their story in the bundle!
Now currently I have been looking at bundling books in a particular series and selling them at a cheaper rate. After all, who can ignore buying in bulk if it will save them money?
An example? My Thoroughbred Breeders series books retail at $2.99USD each on Amazon. I have just put the first 3 books in the series together as an eBook and plan to sell this at $6.99USD, which is a saving of just under $2.00. If you were interested in all the books in a series, wouldn’t you consider this purchase option?
I have had days where someone has bought all 6 books in my Free Rein series and so plan to bundle these in lots of 3, too. In fact, the first three books are available in a bundle already. I hope this will generate more sales and therefore result in more ratings/reviews for books in a series. An added bonus is that this is technically a new book that I am publishing. This will greatly benefit me when you consider the Amazon Algorithm!
So how do you do it?
If you are writing a series or similar themed horse books, why not consider creating a horse book bundle for every 3 books that are released? Perhaps you are aiming to release 1 book a season, well now you effectively have 5 for the year (the individual four, and a combination of books 1-3), instead of 4!
You can use bundles to create new releases more regularly and boost your profile on Amazon. Win/win!
Hi all, Christine asked me to be a guest blogger on her site and I agreed instantly – what a privilege and an honour! I’m certainly no expert at this indie publishing business but I’m happy to share my journey so far.
As a designer, developer and producer of educational material I wasn’t new to commercial writing but I had a burning desire to write fiction that featured horses in some shape or form, so I wrote three books in three different genres in between my day job and two uni writing courses.
My YA novel Team Up had been completed and assessed as pretty good by those in the know apparently, so I had it professionally edited and hawked it around to a couple of local publishers. Their feedback was consistent – they already had one contracted YA horse fiction author and that Team Up was too niche. I totally understood that, as publishers they had no real investment in whether the horses were wearing snaffles or pelhams, dressage or jumping saddles, or if the show jumps were verticals or boxes. But I did, then I realised if I wanted to see my work published I’d have to do it another way.
So fast forward to the last couple of months when I made the decision to become an indie publisher. Writers need to research this thoroughly as it’s a very personal journey. As independant writers and publishers, you are responsible for writing, publishing and marketing your novel because without a marketing plan you are not likely to sell any – I firmly believe now, the easiest bit is writing the story!
For me it all seemed relatively simple. There are millions of books for sale on all the ebook sites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble etc, so if your work is to stand out, it has to be a good read with a good cover. That said, the main choices are around where you want your ebook published I think. There are a lot of options and you need to explore them all.
I chose to publish on Smashwords because Smashwords distributes to all major ebook stores (but not Amazon unless you have sales of over $2000 due to the high volume of uploads from their own site I guess). Once I made the choice, I sat down and formatted my novel as Smashwords stipulated, you only need a basic working knowledge of Word and formatting, and I paid a friend to create a funky front page.
That done, I opened an account at Smashwords which was pretty similar to Amazon, but I liked Smashwords ability to use your PayPal account for payments whereas Amazon wants your bank details and both require your Tax File No. The only dollar costs I had included editing, and having a front cover created in the relevant size as a jpeg. The rest was just my time – quadzillion hours of blood, sweat and tears, right?!
After setting up a Smashwords account and getting into the upload page, I needed to write a short blurb and a longer blurb, decide the amount I wanted to sell the book for and request an ISBN number. Then I uploaded my novel to Smashwords and uploaded the front page as directed. It’s an easy lock step process.
A few days later, I received an email saying that my novel Team Up had been accepted into their Premium Catalogue which seems it would be sent out to the widest variety of sellers due to its specific formatting. When I realised that Amazon would not accept Team Up via Smashwords, I uploaded Team Up to Amazon and found the process even easier, their software will even help design your book cover.
At this point in time, possibly due to my inexperience, I’m happy with having my ebook on as many sites as possible and I have no preference between Smashwords and Amazon and I found both processes relatively easy. If I find that my books sell better on one site, I will factor that into any future publishing decisions I make.
So the haze of achievement was incredible but short lived because I now want sales – to prove to myself that there is a dedicated riding audience out there who is also interested in accurate horse details as well as a good fun story – and this is where the marketing plan is necessary. There’s lots of great info on the Internet about how to market your novel, all of which is valuable but the most valuable I think is an acknowledgement that;
That said, there are some basic marketing requirements like writer specific websites, good author bios, email subscriptions, library readings, Facebook and LinkedIn sites, offering your first novel for free, blogging and being a regular and helpful contributor to forums, … the list goes on. But again, thinking as a reader, my own discovery of certain writers was in some cases years in the making, yet as a writer I’m expecting to be found and read immediately!
It follows for me, that in tandem with marketing yourself and your work, you really need to keep on writing and get as many great books out there as you can, have them well edited with relevant front covers and see where that leads you moving forward. That is not for the fainted hearted but as riders, we are determined, focused people and undoubtedly up for the challenge! May you enjoy the journey as much as I have.
Elizabeth Alexander is a keen rider, breeder, competitor, trainer and coach in various horse sports. Along with writing experience in different disciplines, this has helped her combine her two passions into novels with a genuine equine understanding.
Elizabeth writes serial equine fiction in the three genres of Young Adult/Teen, ChicLit/Comic Crime and Epic/Historical Fantasy to keep things interesting and fun. You could say she’s not quite the “road less travelled” sort of writer but more of a “Warning – unmapped road ahead!” type of novelist. It’s an ambitious venture but one she’s enjoying immensely.
So I wanted to put together a piece on 5 Reasons you Need an Equine Author Mailing List, but honestly, I think it all comes down to one reason! At the end of the day, this is a list that belongs to you. It’s one tool that you can use over time as you develop your writing career. No one can take it away from you and you can consistently promote your new works to eager fans and readers.
You can provide sneak peaks to those on your email list – offering them firsts of many things. Be it covers for new books, a blurb or even the first few chapters. Either way, you can reward them for being on your list and devoted readers of your books. You can even offer freebies in exchange for a review!
Below are some little tricks you can use to consistently grow your mailing list. Let’s think of these as residual workers for you – you do this once right now and it will continue to reap the benefits for you over time.
For myself, the question should be “Why not write a horse book?”. For the best part of my life horses have filled my thoughts, dreams and aspirations. I learned to ride at the tender age of 4, competed at horse shows, studied to become a British Horse society riding instructor, even judged at horse shows. So there is certainly no shortage of subject material.
For the past 15 years I have earned my living as an equine photographer, covering horse shows, events and hundreds of private equine photo shoots. So there is certainly no shortage of images to use in a book.
Now I do not consider myself to be anything special, I never rode at the Olympics or photographed the queen’s horses in the Royal Mews.
But I do like to think of myself as “extremely inquisitive” others have a less than flattering name for this character trait. Nosey Parker is one that immediately comes to mind. However I choose to take that as a compliment and it was exactly the kind of quality needed for the creation of my latest book The Humans of Horse Racing.
The premise for the book was simple enough, photograph all the people who are involved in horse racing at Northlands Park and tell their story. How hard can that be?
Horse Racing Alberta issued me with an all access license to the back stretch and a couple of introductions to a trainer and the head “out rider” and after that I was pretty much on my own.
I figured the best way to get to know the people, what they do and how they work was to spend lots of time at the track. Not just on special race days but every day starting at 6 am, which is when most of the people at the track show up for work (some start even earlier).
Even at this early hour the barns are buzzing with activity, horses are being tacked up and led out to the track for their early morning gallops, others are tied to the horse walkers to stretch their legs and move their muscles – similar to doing 20 mins on a tread mill. Grooms are mucking out stalls, filling water buckets and hay nets. Trainers are lined up against the track to keep a watchful eye on their equine prospects. The out rider is primed and ready for action as he watches the young horses, he is looking for signs of possible run away’s or jockeys in trouble. The tack store is open for business and the farrier is gathering his tools for the start of his rounds. The office and support staff start a little later.
It quickly became apparent that horse racing is like a very elegant jigsaw puzzle and it requires ALL the pieces to create the finished picture.
The perfect recipe for a book that gives readers a glimpse into the private – behind the scenes look at horse racing.
I don’t want to mislead you into thinking writing a book is easy. But if you are an equestrian you have all the qualities needed to complete this task:
So you have everything needed to become a writer. The Humans of Horse Racing is my fourth book and I know I have at least two more books inside me just waiting to get out.
I hope you feel inspired to take your knowledge and unique experiences and write a horse book.
Born in rural England Linda spent her youth competing and teaching horse riding following the classical guidelines set out by the British Horse Society. When she emigrated to Canada with her husband Tom and daughter Katy in 1997, she saw this change in country as an opportunity to change her career path, so went back to school to learn the science of photography. Her goal was to become the official photographer at horse shows. For the past 17 years she has been doing just that and much more. Her passion to capture all aspects of horsemanship has taken her all over Canada photographing every aspect of horsemanship from rodeo’s to the race-track and everything in-between.
Linda is author of several books including “The Horse Watcher” answers to questions you never knew you had. This book proved so popular that she went on to develop “The Horse Watcher Equine Behaviour Program”: a series of lessons and workshops that are changing the way people view equine behaviour and communication. Her solid research and down to earth way of unraveling how humans and horses can successfully interact and communicate is both refreshing and inspiring.
Her groundbreaking work coupled with fine art photography has earned her recognition from the Queen of England. To learn more about “horse watching” and how you can hone your understanding of equine behaviour and body language visit: http://www.thehorsewatcher.com
Whether you’ve published one horse book or many, you should have a mailing list as an author. In fact, every author should establish a mailing list!
Why? Because this is one tool that you can use over time as you develop your writing career. No one can take this list away from you and it can become your best marketing tool. I want to encourage you to set up a mailing list today if you haven’t already. Convinced already? Head along to MailChimp. You can use their services for free for your first 2,000 subscribers.
You may argue that you have a blog and a Facebook page, that you sell your books from. Why would you need a mailing list? At the end of the day, people can unlike your page or they may choose to steer away from Facebook for awhile and forget about you! Or they stop visiting your website. With a mailing list, you can contact them when you have exciting author news to share and it goes straight to their inbox! Most people keep email accounts, even when they ditch other things online after awhile.
But can’t they unsubscribe from my list? Yes, they can. But in short, if they’re not interested in your emails anymore, then you aren’t inclined to benefit from emailing them! But if they don’t unsubscribe, then they will receive every email you send them – about freebies, competitions, cover reveals, new releases, etc!
Your list can also grow and change over time. As your writing career develops, you can adjust what you send out to fans and find out from them what they enjoy reading! You can also find a loyal base of followers that will happily be beta readers, provide reviews in exchange for a free copy and more. It’s your one place to go to sell your books and receive feedback from loyal followers!
Now let’s do a little math and set you a challenge. I recently read from entrepreneur Melyssa Griffin that 1 – 3% of an email list is likely to buy the product that you’re promoting. Let’s average this to 2%.
Now if 2% of your email list is likely to buy your next release, how many people would this be? How many would you like it to be?
An email list with 1,000 subscribers would mean sales of 20 copies of your next release in response to an email you send them. Want to make 50 sales? Aim for 2,500 people in your list. Have a think about how many books you would love to sell if you told your subscribers about it and then aim to get the number of subscribers that would result in this figure. It gives you something to aim for! If you have a higher sale percentage than this, then congratulations!
You can only grow your email list if you first create one. Then be sure to add details on how people can sign up to your site, Facebook page and other social media! Your mailing list becomes your sale list and your direct contact with reading fans. Don’t waste it!
Although you may write horse books because you love it, chances are it feels good when you earn from it, too! As you provide your books for sale, consider the ways you can earn the best possible return.
Let’s take a look at an example. An electronic form of a horse book that is less than 35,000 words may sell for $2.99 USD on Amazon.
If you are selling across various retailers, then you will no doubt be earning a 35% royalty on this $2.99. So for each book that is sold, you receive about $1.05. Shop around for the various retailers and find out what terms they are offering.
So how can you earn more than $1.05 for each book? One way is to make your books exclusive. I know that Amazon offer higher royalties for authors who are willing to make their books exclusive to Amazon. Your royalties will spike to 70% of the sale price if you choose this option. Of course, that means that you cannot make your book available for sale elsewhere.
You can start out by placing your book everywhere you can get it! If you find however that 50% or more of your sales come from Amazon, then it would be worth considering making your books exclusive to Amazon. In this way, you can cash in on the 70% royalties. If the majority of your sales are coming from other places, then this wouldn’t be worth pursuing.
So if we look at 70% of $2.99, we’re now looking at a figure of $2.09 or thereabouts. Great, we’ve doubled our royalties! Is that enough? Well that’s really up to you… but what if you could make it more? You would, wouldn’t you?
Amazon has an affiliates program where you can earn 4% commission on books. Now this is for all books that you encourage someone to purchase, through one of your affiliate links.
So as an author, why not sign up as an Amazon affiliate? Then whenever you promote your books, new releases, etc, people will be directed to buy via your affiliation link. When this happens, you receive 4% of the purchase price as a commission.
So! You release a new book at $2.99USD on Amazon. You make it exclusive and opt in to the 70% royalties option. Then you promote the book across your networks and people purchase it – score! On top of the 70% commission you earn through the sales, you also earn another 4% from people who clicked on your affiliate link.
Now in essence, Amazon Affiliates pay separately to Amazon for book royalties. But technically, you can earn up to 74% on your book sales, 4% of this being commission and paid out separately once you reach $100 worth of commissions. At the end of the day, you work hard to create your book and have it as a purchasable product. Don’t you owe it to yourself to earn as much from it as possible?
As an author, you may be struggling to write when you have time. Or perhaps only when ideas hit you, rather than a consistent amount of writing on a regular basis. As an author, you should plan to time your releases to fit in with what works best for making sales.
There are many articles out there that refer to the Amazon algorithm. It seems that search results for varying books or genres are influenced by their release date. There are references to new releases within the past 90 days and books within the past 30 days. In short: the more recent your release, the more likely it is to show up in search results for it’s associated genre/s.
So as an author, what can you do? Many would sum it up as release as often as possible! As you write a book in a series, it is important to be planning what follows on from this. You may even be able to have a few books on the go at one time. Try to organise your publishing in such a way, that you can scatter your releases over a 12 month period.
For example, you may be planning to release four books in a year. It may benefit you best to release these seasonally, each around 90 day’s apart. Or you may feel it is better to release them all early in the year, only 30 days apart. Either way, you’re still releasing 4 books, but you’re having a say on when they are available to the public. In this way, you can make use of the way Amazon – or other book selling platforms – run their search results.
To generate early sales, you can make books available for pre-order, too. Having finished 4 books is an incredible achievement! Try to be smart about when you release them to give your books the most possible exposure. Be sure to consider what you can do to raise awareness around its release, too!
As an author, it is important to have your own place online – a website. This is something that you can control yourself. You can determine exactly what you want on there. Although a few things are recommended:
Once you have a website set up, there are two places where you are going to want to make your RSS feed available. The RSS feed for this site is https://equineauthorsblog.wordpress.com/feed/. An RSS feed helps websites to identify current posts in your blog. Don’t know how to find this? Watch this 60 second video or read on here.
So what benefit is this to you? Entering the RSS feed onto these two sites means that anyone looking at your author pages also gets glimpses of the most recent posts on your blog/website. How cool! You don’t need to do anything – except post to your blog! As soon as you publish a post on your blog, the RSS is automatically updated on both your Amazon and Goodreads author pages – nice!
This is a handy way you can keep fans up to date without having to do more than post to your site.
Have I convinced you now? Today, find out what your RSS Feed URL is and head along to both Amazon Central and Goodreads to update your author pages :)
Do you have an author website? If so, you may be paying for hosting and a .com address, or maybe you are utilising a free service such as WordPress or Wix. Either way, there will probably be restrictions on how much data you have on the website.
This can be described as the amount of information on your site in kilobytes or megabytes. You may be aware that images take up many more kilobytes of space than text does. This is first done by uploading the image to your site. Let’s consider an example:
This website is free on WordPress. As a free hosted site, it is allowed to use about 3000 megabytes worth of space. Now one megabyte is equivalent to 1000 kilobytes. This space can quickly be used up by all of the Pin-able images that are added to the site. For each blog post, I create an image to include, so that it easily identifies what the post is about.
Rather than take up lots of space by uploading these images to this site, I store them instead on Flickr. Flickr is a free image storing tool that allows you one terabyte (a lot!) of space for images. If you head along to this link you’ll see the many, many photos I have stored here for various projects. And just to give you an idea, I haven’t yet used 1% of the limit Flickr offers!
After I create an image on my computer, I go to Flickr and upload it. Flickr automatically makes it into various sizes. I click on the newly uploaded image and choose view all sizes. I am then able to choose the size image I want to use. Often I choose the small image. Once I am viewing this image, I then right click with the mouse and choose to copy image location.
Once you have this website address, you can then go back to your website and choose to insert an image / add media. In the url section, you paste in the image address and click ok. This automatically references your image from Flickr, making it show up on your website / in a blog post. Cool!
In this way, you can be sure to include an image or two in each page/post (images help to keep things visual for readers). You’re keeping readers engaged, but you’re not using up all your webspace – great! If you don’t have one yet, I encourage you to head along to Flickr to create an account and make use of it for images for your various websites/blogs. This is one account that you know you can go to from anywhere around the world and have access to all of your photos in one spot for promoting yourself as a horse book author. And of course, the fact that it is free is awesome, too ;)