Authors Don’t Shoot Yourself In The Foot


Think MARKETING from A-Z

You’ve spent a lot of time writing your book. You’ve edited, and edited, and now it’s time to get that story out in front of the public and let the sales begin!


Hopeful Book Sales – Graphic by The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce


A new story begins

The story that I’m about to tell you.

The Story of Marketing

Several days ago my wife was sitting at her computer. She called out to me and asked me to come over to her. She said, that she had something to show me. As I approached, I saw her Kindle lying on her desk. Amazon was open on her computer’s desktop, and I knew she was hunting for books.

“Look at this,” she said. I leaned over her shoulder and stared at the screen. It was a book description. What I read shocked me (you’ll know why in a minute). “Now look at this,” she said. She scrolled up to the cover of the book. “It’s beautiful isn’t it?”

“Yes,” I replied. The cover was very nice.

My wife then scrolled down to the price of the book; it was free. She glanced up at me, acquiring this look in her eye, a look that says she is about to make a very important point.

“I was about to download this book,” she said. “Until I read that.” She pointed at the book’s description. It’s a shame,” she continued, “someone spent a lot of money on that cover. But if that description is any indication of the writing style… I don’t want it, even if it is free. It looks like a teenager wrote that! Don’t you agree?” She raised an eyebrow.

The truth was, I did agree. The cover indicated a beautiful romance novel. It looked like a period story, set perhaps in the 1940’s. The setting was rural, like a ranch, or a farm. All this information was conveyed to us visually (marketing) through the cover of the book.

And then there was the book’s description


Lost Sales – Graphic by

A book’s description is in a three-way tie for the front-end marketing strategy of your book.


In order to protect the author’s anonymity (the book my wife shared with me) I’m not going to say their name. I’m not going to say the name of their book. I’m not even going to completely show the entire book description.

I am going to pull a couple of lines from that description; just to give you a taste of what I’m talking about –


Image by

Quote – “Paul had been a decent kid with two younger brothers, a loving mother, and an asshole abusive father.”

Quote – “But Paul stayed and took the abuse until his youngest brother was old enough to get the hell out.”

That’s enough to make my point. It doesn’t matter how well the book was written, how much editing effort went into it, or, even that it has a fancy (professionally produced) cover; the sale was lost because of a poorly written description.

It didn’t fit the feel of the cover.

Here is another example

Several months back, I was looking at my Twitter feed. There is an author there on Twitter who posts constantly all day long. On this particular day, they had posted the title of one of their books. The title sounded interesting, so, I clicked the link, and it took me to Amazon. The cover looked fine, and the title had already grabbed me; I began to read the book’s description.

I was flabbergasted at the poor punctuation, and grammar, in that description.

This particular author has a large presence on Twitter. I wrote them a “direct message,” to keep it private, and told them just what I told you. They wrote me back and told me to mind my own business.

Another lost sale!

The author did well on their front-end marketing with a great title and a decent cover. But, they failed on the back-end marketing; the did not provide a cohesive, well written, and applicable book description, and, they ignored direct feedback from a potential customer.

(Just out of curiosity), I went back and checked the book’s description while writing this article; it’s exactly the same. The author has, however, pumped out three more books in just a couple of months… “Sigh”


Pumping out the books. Graphic by

Everything you put out in public becomes marketing

Authors, I know many of us don’t know much about marketing and advertising. I know the bit that I do from running my business for many years. Plant these seeds in your head and let them grow!

  • Everything that goes in front of the public eye is marketing – good or bad
  • 98% of the population will notice what you did wrong and only 2% will notice what you did right. Reach for perfection in every aspect of your book, from the largest, and most obvious, to the minuscule.
  • You are authors. You need to carefully edit everything that gets published; even if it’s a Tweet, make it understandable and professional.
  • Pay attention to all aspects of your book: writing it, editing it, writing a synopsis, writing a tagline, producing a cover, writing your book description, doing a written interview or writing a guest blog about it; if you fail on any of these points, it will cost you readers. And…

 You’ll NEVER KNOW how many READERS you LOST

Readers just like my wife

Everybody here at wants you to succeed. We want you to write great stories, with great editing, and great marketing. We look forward to reading your best efforts!

I am very opinionated about the craft of writing, and life in general. But… I am well-tempered with an enthusiasm for debate. Please leave comments, even the ugly ones, I dare you.

You can follow me at

Facebook     Twitter     LinkedIn     Pinterest     Amazon

I’m also an avid reader. If you desire success in your writing career, you should be too.

I’m currently reading, “The Stories of Eva Luna”, by Isabel Allende

All my best on a beautiful day in South Carolina.



The Great Return Debate

Today is a topic with a big question I’d love for our readers to answer…

How long do you think a customer should have to return an eBook?

Apparently, Amazon has a seven day return policy on eBooks. Some thoughts I have heard while surfing around the ‘net include:

1. Is seven days too long? Someone can easily read a book in that time and the return means the Author has to give the money from that sale back.

2. Since customers can usually preview the first 10% of the book, should there be a return policy at all? They get the opportunity to know if they’ll like it before they buy it.

3. Can we really compare it to an actual store with a paperback? The customer returns it – either for cash or store credit – and the store has the product back to sell. The eBooks do not work that way, as it directly impacts the Author per #1.

Here is my personal opinion:

You shouldn’t be able to return an eBook under certain conditions. With Amazon, you get to preview the book most of the time. I have come across a few times I’ve not been able to look, but that’s very rare.

In the cases of books you can’t preview, I think it should be allowed for 24 to 48 hours. Otherwise? No – unless the book is so riddled with errors that you cannot possibly read it or the description was misleading and/or the book was in the wrong category. Again, 24 to 48 hours. Seven days is, in my opinion, entirely too long.

I read pretty fast. At nearly 600 words a minute, way faster than most people I know. I can read a 400 page romance novel in one hour if I am uninterrupted. The actual timing is not exact but that is to give you an idea. For me, I could buy books, return them and basically use Amazon as a library service.

Is this right? No. It’s not nice, either. It allows blatant abuse of the eBook system and while I wouldn’t dare do such a thing, being an Author myself…some people are not so scrupulous.

There has even been a petition started in hopes of sending to Amazon and convincing them to change their policy.

So tell me – what do you think the limit should be? Do you think Amazon should have one at all – such as in cases of the inability to preview a book?

Have you had people return your eBooks – two, three, four, seven days later?

I look forward to reading your thoughts below.
*Please note that this is my opinion and in no way is the opinion of Novelnook. But since this is an eBook site where you sell your books (or read the books of others) I figured it was the perfect audience to pitch such a question to. Thank you!*



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