Using Vellum and Text Expander to Sell More Books
I know a lot of authors, and if they have one thing in common it’s that they are always trying to find a way to sell more books. And that’s not an easy task. It’s not like selling lemonade; you can’t just open up a book stand on your front lawn and anticipate business because it’s a hot day.
So How Do You Sell More Books?
The tried and true methods are almost countless and are used all the tim.
- Write a series.
- Give the first book in the series away as a starter.
- Run big promotions.
- Write more books.
And many others. But all of those options have one thing in common—they’re meant to draw attention to your other books and get people interested. Following the “write more books” vein of thought, I presumed it would be nice to have a “catalog” of books so people could see what I had available in the hopes that would sell more books.
So I set out to do this, planning on what the book should contain and how it should be laid out. Before long, I settled on a simple approach—adult fiction and nonfiction, and children fiction and nonfiction. Within each general category, I would separate books by genre.
Below is a screenshot of the table of contents from the ePub.
For example, in my book, I have mysteries listed first under the adult fiction category and have each series listed separately. Mystery is followed by fantasy and science fiction. And under each book, regardless of genre, is a description of the book, and whether it contains foul language or graphic violence.
Below is a screenshot from the mystery listing.
As you can see from the screenshot, each listing includes the title, which series it is a part of, what the recommendations are for a reading order, and a description of the book. This gives readers enough information to make a decision (ideally to purchase a book), but it’s not enough information to bore them.
Below is a screenshot of what the cover looks like. If I’m right, this will help sell more books.
After adult fiction comes adult nonfiction, which consists of similar listings, citing books on careers, grammar, publishing, etc. And the book finishes up with the listings on the soon-to-be children books.
I have this listed on all retailers as a free book, which I can do with no trouble using Pronoun, who allows you to list books free even on Amazon, and you can do it any time you want. You’re not restricted to once a quarter. For other benefits of using Pronoun, read eBook Distribution which goes into detail on who should and should not use them as a distributor.
It’s worthwhile to note that I decided to do this one night at dinner, and I had it written and formatted before the night was over. How? You might ask.
Easy. I used Text Expander™ to write the book. Using the magnificent qualities of Text Expander™, it didn’t take me long, as all book descriptions and all book cover images were simply a matter of typing an easy-to-remember abbreviation that consisted of a few letters that were tied to the book’s name. I wrote a book about how to save time and money using Text Expander, and you can see how here.
I’m going to write the description of the book by typing a simple abbreviation “wsdesc” which is an shortcut for Writing Shortcuts (title of book) and “description.”
Everybody loves shortcuts. Don’t deny it; I know you do. Think of how many times you’ve been driving somewhere with a buddy, and you hit a traffic jam. How great did it feel when you could say, “Take a right at the next road. I know a shortcut.”
This is a shortcut for every-day life. If you use a keyboard to type, this book will save you time, lots of time.
You may have tried a text expansion app before, and maybe you didn’t have much luck, but this book isn’t about any particular app, it’s about a process. A process anyone can learn, and more importantly, anyone can remember.
I’m not going to call you an idiot if you don’t use it…well, maybe I will. So just pick up the book and use it. It only cost a few cups of coffee.
As you can see, those six letters produced four paragraphs of information, and I didn’t have to search for the original text and use copy and paste.
The cover image was no different. For that (and all others). I simply type “wscover” and it expands to the image below.
And it’s not only sized properly, but center aligned, and with links built in so that when someone clicks on it, it takes them to my website.
And I have this done for all of my books, so at any time, I could insert a book description, cover image, or almost anything else within seconds.
If that weren’t enough, Vellum made it so easy to format, that I formatted the book and produced specific versions for Apple, B&N, Kobo, Google, and Kindle within minutes. If you don’t use Vellum (MAC only) you should. It not only saves time, but it produces beautiful books for both print and digital. If you don’t have a MAC, check out my formatting services. They’re inexpensive, and they’re guaranteed.
Now that the sales pitch is over with, I’ll once again, I’ll make use of Text Expander’s app, and type “hfecover” to produce the cover image below. (The “hfecover” stands for How to Format an eBook + cover).
Now for the big question…
How Will This Help To Sell More Books?
- Some customers will skip over what you sell, no matter how impossible that seems. (I received an email from someone who said, I didn’t know you wrote grammar books. And yet, those books are on the same website, under the same name.)
- You can Tweet the book and give it away free to people on Twitter or Facebook, etc. And you don’t have to give a book away.
- You can use it on Instfareebie or Bookfunnel. If you integrate those services with your mailing list, it can be very beneficial.
Will it sell more books? Who knows? But it can’t hurt. And if nothing else, it will draw attention to your books. If you can succeed at that, the remainder of the selling is up to you.
For a free copy of my GG book, go here, then click on whichever retailer you want to download it from. Or simply click on any of the book covers to be taken to the distributor’s page, which has links.
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Giacomo Giammatteo is the author of gritty crime dramas about murder, mystery, and family. And he also writes nonfiction books including the No Mistakes Careers series as well as books about grammar and publishing.
When Giacomo isn’t writing, he’s helping his wife take care of the animals on their sanctuary. At last count they had forty animals—seven dogs, one horse, six cats, and twenty-five pigs.
Oh, and one crazy—and very large—wild boar, who takes walks with Giacomo every day and happens to also be his best buddy.
He lives in Texas where he and his wife have an animal sanctuary with forty-five loving “friends.