Digital Marketing

Digital Book Marketing Service

Cambria Publishing can now offer its authors ‘Book2Look’ the most advanced digital marketing tool for publishers providing “look inside” functionality to bring your books to life. 

Nielsen Book2Look is a state of the art digital marketing tool which enables your books’ promotional material to be shared digitally. Promote your titles via social media and across the web, allowing a whole new audience to discover your books. Each Book2Look biblet is a streamlined digital presentation of the book which includes features such as readable excerpts, unlimited audio and video clips, multi-format shop links, reviews, book description and much more.

Check out the slide show below that explains its many features.

Contact us if you want to know more about or take advantage of this service.

Reader behaviour during lockdown

Print is facing significant challenges, but online sales are growing.

The widespread closures of bookstores, libraries, and schools have led to deflated print sales in recent weeks.

These challenges impacting print sales (and the bookstores, authors, and publishers who depend on those sales) are likely to continue while businesses remain closed. But while in-person print sales have dropped, many readers are placing orders online instead. There’s also been significant growth in online print sales from independent bookstores.

Readers are turning to ebooks

This shift toward purchasing books online has also impacted digital book sales. Publishers Weekly say that the ebook and audiobook retailer is seeing a spike in new account sign-ups and purchases similar to what they’d see around the holidays. An ebook distributor for self-published authors, reported increased ebook purchases across all platforms: “While we did see ebook sales slow down during the first couple of weeks following the ‘safer at home’ directive, things have recovered very well. All retailers are up by an average of 25%, and libraries are up by over 130%.”

Authors and publishers are also reporting increased digital sales. Quercus, an imprint of Hachette UK, shared with The Bookseller that, “like the rest of Hachette, we’re seeing big double-digit growth in the baseline of our digital sales — both ebook and audio — year-on-year for the corresponding weeks.” This sentiment has been echoed by many of our publisher partners recently. And when we reached out to a handful of our author partners, many of them shared that they’ve been seeing steady or increased ebook sales during this period. Results for individual authors are varying significantly based on their genres, book prices, and marketing budgets and strategies, but in aggregate author ebook sales appear to be up right now.

Readers are using books to cope in different ways

The coronavirus crisis has impacted the kinds of books readers, and particularly parents, are seeking out. It’s been widely reported that sales of books for kids, and especially nonfiction and learning books, have skyrocketed in response to school closures. Religious holidays in early April contributed to this even further — in the week ending April 11, juvenile nonfiction print sales rose 16% over the previous week, and juvenile fiction rose 26%, both driven by increases in the “holidays/festivals/religion” book categories.

The trends for adult readers are less obvious, but there are a few genres that are standing out. Some adult readers seem to be tackling books that may have been languishing on their “to be read” lists. One of Barnes & Noble’s top trending categories right now is “40 Books You Always Meant to Read,” and Chirp’s Classics category has seen one of the largest percent increases in sales during this time, perhaps because listeners are catching up on seminal works they’ve been meaning to pick up for years.

Others are looking for books to bring them comfort. “11 Feel-Good Books to Read Right Now” is one of the most popular recent articles on BookBub, and Barnes & Noble’s “Feel Good Fiction” list, which includes similar lighthearted, uplifting novels, is also trending. Google searches for topics like “uplifting books” and “happy books” have increased.

There has been consistent interest and online searches for Bios & Memoirs, Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Christian Nonfiction, YA Fiction, and Science Fiction categories.

Readers are looking for affordable books, but still buying full price too

In a time of economic uncertainty, it’s no surprise that readers would be seeking out more affordable books. Google searches for “free books” have been trending since the beginning of March. However, discriminating readers are still purchasing books at full price if it is something they really want.

In summary…

This is a turbulent time for the publishing industry. Many bookstores, publishers, and authors are facing significant challenges due to the impact on their print sales from store closures. However, one thing that seems clear is that people are still seeking out books to help them learn, escape, find solace, and cope at this time.

Hat Tip! Adapted from an article by Carlyn Robertson of BookBub.

If you are an author and are looking for a publisher or need the services of a professional and experienced editor for your work get in touch and we will do our best to help you.

Editing

Editing your Writing

Writing is hard, but don’t overlook the difficulty — and the importance — of editing your work before letting others (or us!) see it.

The secret to good writing is good editing. It’s what separates hastily written, randomly punctuated, incoherent rants from learned polemics and op-eds, and cringe-worthy fan fiction from a critically acclaimed novel.

If you think you need the services of a professional and experienced editor for your work get in touch and we will do our best to help you.

It doesn’t matter how good you think you are as a writer — the first words you put on the page are a first draft. Writing is thinking: It’s rare that you’ll know exactly what you’re going to say before you say it. At the end, you need, at the very least, to go back through the draft, tidy everything up and make sure the introduction you wrote at the start matches what you eventually said.

The time you put into editing, reworking and refining turns your first draft into a second — and then into a third and, if you keep at it, eventually something great. The biggest mistake you can make as a writer is to assume that what you wrote the first time through was good enough.

Common errors

Most writing mistakes are depressingly common; good writers just get better at catching them before they hit the page. Some of the things to watch for are:

  • Overuse of jargon and business speak. Horrible jargon like “utilise,” “endeavor” or “communicate” — instead of “use,” “try” or “chat” — creep in when people are trying to sound smart. All this sort of writing does is obscure the point you want to make behind false intellectualism. As Orwell said, “Never use a long word when a short one will do.”
  • Clichés. If you’re not sure whether something is a cliché, it’s better to just avoid it. Clichés are stale phrases that have lost their impact and novelty through overuse. At some point, “The grass is always greener on the other side” was a witty observation, but it’s a cliché now. Again, Orwell said it well: “Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.”
  • The passive voice. In most cases, the subject of the sentence should be the person or thing taking action, not the thing being acted on. For example, “This article was written by George” is written in the passive voice because the subject (“this article”) is the thing being acted on. The equivalent active construction would be: “George wrote this article.” Prose written in the passive voice tends to have an aloofness and passivity to it, which is why it’s generally better to write an active sentence.
  • Rambling. When you’re not quite sure what you want to say, it’s easy to ramble around a point, phrasing it in three or four different ways and then, instead of cutting them down to a single concise sentence, slapping all four together into a clunky, unclear paragraph. A single direct sentence is almost always better than four that tease around a point.

When you write something, you get very close to it. It’s almost impossible to have the distance to edit properly straight away. Instead, you need to step away and come back later with fresh eyes. The longer you can leave a draft before editing it, the better. For most things somewhere from half an hour to two days is enough of a break that you can then edit well.

And when you sit down to edit, read your work out loud. By forcing yourself to speak the words, rather than just scanning them on a computer screen, you’ll catch more problems and get a better feel for how everything flows. If you stumble over something, your reader will probably stumble over it, too. Some writers even print out their drafts and make edits with a pen while they read them aloud.

Overwriting is a bigger problem than underwriting. It’s much more likely you’ve written too much than too little. It’s a lot easier to throw words at a problem than to take the time to find the right ones. As Blaise Pascal, a 17th-century writer and scientist wrote in a letter, “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.”

The rule for most writers is, “If in doubt, cut it.” Novelist Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch exhorted a version of the oft-repeated phrase, “In writing you must kill all your darlings.” This is true at every level: If a word isn’t necessary in a sentence, cut it; if a sentence isn’t necessary in a paragraph, cut it; and if a paragraph isn’t necessary, cut it, too.

Go through what you’ve written and look for the bits you can cut without affecting the whole — and cut them. It will tighten the work and make everything you’re trying to say clearer.

The beginning of anything you write is the most important part. If you can’t catch someone’s attention at the start, you won’t have a chance to hold it later. You should spend a disproportionate amount of time working on the first few sentences, paragraphs or pages. A lot of problems that can be glossed over in the middle are your undoing at the start.

The structure is what your writing hangs on. It doesn’t matter how perfectly the individual sentences are phrased if the whole thing is a nonsensical mess. A series of long, unrelenting paragraphs will discourage people from reading.

For novels, structure is something you’ll need to put a lot of work into. Stream of consciousness writing rarely reads well. Narratives need to flow and arguments need to build. You have to think about what you’re trying to say in each chapter, section or paragraph, and consider whether it’s working — or if that part would be better placed elsewhere. It’s normal (and even desirable) that the structure of your work will change drastically between drafts; it’s a sign that you’re developing the piece as a whole, rather than just fixing the small problems.

A lot of the time when something you’ve written “just doesn’t work” for people, the structure is to blame. They might not be able to put the problems into words, but they can feel something’s off.

While you might not have access to an editor, there are services that can help.

Grammarly is a writing assistant that flags common writing, spelling and grammatical errors; it’s great for catching simple mistakes and cleaning up drafts of your work. A good thesaurus (or even Thesaurus.com) is also essential for finding just the right word. And don’t neglect a second pair of eyes: Ask relatives and friends to read over your work. They might catch some things you missed and can tell you when something is amiss.

Editing your work is at least as important as writing it in the first place. The tweaking, revisiting and revising is what takes something that could be good — and makes it good. Don’t neglect it.

This article is adapted from and hat tip to Harry Guinness. NYTimes

If you think you need the services of a professional and experienced editor for your work get in touch and we will do our best to help you.

Book reviews

The importance of book reviews

Reader reviews

Authors often pay too much attention to reviews, at the expense of what really matters: sales. Reviews are an instrument that help encourage sales, but they should never be viewed as an end goal per se.

Reviews alone don’t sell books. Even if you got the most glowing customer review on Amazon, that review in and of itself would not bring more readers to your book page. It would only increase the likelihood that new readers you send to your book page end up purchasing it.

In marketing jargon, customer reviews affect your conversion, but don’t drive traffic.

That’s not to downplay the importance of reviews. But don’t think that a good review will make your book magically start to sell.

Editorial reviews

So far, I’ve been referring mostly to consumer reviews — i.e. reviews from random readers who buy your book.

But a customer review isn’t the only kind of review out there. There are also what we call “editorial reviews,” which are authored by professional or semi-professional reviewers. These are posted on blogs or websites other than Goodreads, Amazon, or other e-retailers.

The most popular examples of editorial reviews are the ones you’ll find in newspapers or online magazines like The Guardian, The New York Review of Books, Times Literary supplement etc. See the latest review on Nation.Cymru for The Cave of Shadows by Cambria author Martyn Rhys Vaughan. Cambria authors have also often been reviewed or interviewed in most of the local and national newspapers (Western Mail) in Wales such as they are.

This kind of an editorial review is the dream of many an author — but its actual value is doubtful, and certainly not worth alot of effort or expense. So are all editorial reviews worthless? Definitely not.

Firstly, there are countless book bloggers who have strong and engaged audiences in niche genres — and many of them are open to reviewing books. Of course, it’ll require a bit of work on your part to get your book reviewed: you need to research each book blog in-depth, pitch your book elegantly (and well in advance), follow up, etc.

Whether that’s worth your time is up for you to decide, but it’s certainly an avenue worth considering, especially if you don’t have an established readership already. But here’s what’s even more important: even if an editorial review doesn’t yield you direct sales, it’s a fantastic tool to use for your other marketing efforts.

Editorial reviews tend to be written much better than your average random customer review, making them a lot more “quotable.” You can re-use such quotes in your book description, back cover copy, or advertising copy .

A quote from a recognised source in your genre will carry a lot more weight in the eyes of readers than one from “Anonymous Amazon Customer.”

Use a Kindle to read eBooks? Read them all for free!