Monday, April 18, 2011

How to Title Your Book for Best Sales and Marketing Success

While a catchy book title will attract the eye of a potential buyer, for non-fiction it may not be your books’ strongest selling asset. The words themselves may hold more than you may realize.

According to Google, more than fifty percent of all books are now sold over the Internet. sales accounted for 5.96 billion dollars of those sales last year; these numbers are expected to rise in the upcoming years. Although this may be bad news for the traditional brick and mortar book stores, it’s good news for online sellers. Knowing how to have your book found through search inquiries on sites such as Google and Yahoo has become crucial to selling books. Online visibility begins with your book’s title.

Title Search
When a person is looking for specific information on the World Wide Web, they enter words related to their interests in the search box online. Each word they type in is called a “keyword” or “key phrase.” The Search Engines use these words or phrases to find the most relevant list of related Websites. These sites are then displayed for the user.

When deciding on your books title, one important thing to consider is the incorporation of good keywords. For instance, if you’re writing a book on golf tips for beginners, a title such as Golf Is Fun may not return as many Search Engine results for your book as the title Golf Tips for the Beginner.

Before you write your book title, make a list of all related keywords and perform a search on Google to see what comes up in the results. Also, when you do your search, the first page shown should have a short list of other suggested keywords or phrases (usually at the very top or bottom of the page). Incorporating as many of these words into your book title as is possible will help your book be seen better in the future.

Fiction books may not be as specifically searchable online as non-fiction, but fiction book writers can benefit from good keyword titles as well. One or two related words in a title can make a big improvement in Search Engine results. Again, what will end users be looking for when they search for a book like yours?

The Letter A
Once again, most books are sold online; making your online presence and visibility very important to selling your books. It’s likely, as a writer, you will be networking with others online.

As silly as it may sound, books with titles beginning with the letter “A” may be more visible than a book which begins with the letter “Z.” Many Websites and Blogs have sidebar lists of the books they enjoy or recommend to their Website visitors. Some of these create their lists in alphabetical order; placing your book which begins with the letter A at the top of the list. Top listings receive 17% more hits than lower placed listings.

These same Website and Blog editors often “swap” URL links with the editors of other related sites and list those links on their Web page. If and when you create your own Website and/or Blog, you might consider doing the same with your site’s title, that is, begin the title with the letter A. These link lists are also posted by Blogger automatically in alphabetical order as well.

Keep in mind; starting with the letter A is not mandatory for higher placements in listings online. For instance, starting with the letter D is good, C is better, B is great, but A is the best. Also, numbers generally precede letters in Web listings. 101 Ways to Learn the Game of Golf would be listed before An Easy Way to Learn the Game of Golf.

As always, I respect and appreciate reader’s comments to this post.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Co-Authoring a Book - For The Love of My Son

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Robert Lynch, co-author of Daniel’s Dream. Robert has just released the book written by himself and Charles Riley as a team effort. Our discussion will include not only the ins and outs of two writers working jointly, but some details about this inspiring true story.

Carol Denbow: Greeting Robert, and thank you for agreeing to do this interview. Your book, Daniel’s Dream is an emotional detail of your son, his death, and you and your lovely wife Marian’s quest to establish a non-profit foundation in honor of your late son, Daniel.
Please start by telling us a little about your son Daniel.

Robert Lynch: To start to learn and understand Daniel, I must start at the beginning. My wife Marian and I had a complete and full family. Vicki our oldest daughter age 23, Mark our son age 21, and Bonnie the youngest age 19 when we learned another child was on the way. So, the fact that we were going to have another child at our age was more than shocking. It took some time and effort to accept the fact that another soul was joining the family.

Daniel was born on May 24th 1982. As with most babies, the first years can be challenging and demanding. But, I can say, that from Daniel's birth until his death he had a wonderful disposition and there was always a smile on his face! Rather than being a challenge in those early years, he added so much to everyone in the family that it's impossible to relate. The older children now had a young brother and they treated him with such love—they were all so happy. I could never imagine that this addition to our family could bring such meaning to our lives. By age two, it was very evident to me that Daniel possessed a superior personality and he learned things quickly and in detail. We were surprised at the things he was able to comprehend.

He was small as a youngster and always the smallest in his class. This bothered him because children can be mean and tend to keep the “runts” at arms length; not including them in activities. But he had an ability to excel in some way at every thing he applied himself to. If it was something he liked, he would really excel. If it was something he wasn't particularly fond of, he would meet the challenge and never give up. Athletics was one area that he didn't necessary like, but in school when he would have to participate in a sport, he would do his best and hold his own. It became very apparent he would keep this attitude through his life.

Carol Denbow: I got to know Daniel through reading the book—I think I would have really liked this young man. If you are able, please tell us how you lost Daniel.

Robert Lynch: While attending college in San Francisico, Daniel was working at the Triton Hotel in the same city to help with the cost of his education. He had just moved over to Oakland, California because rents were much cheaper there. One morning Daniel was on the way to the BART train station to go to school and he was attacked and shot to death. It was ruled as a “mistaken identity” case. The killer was in a gang and thought that Daniel was someone he had been in a fight with the previous week. It was a senseless loss of life of a beautiful person who lived just the opposite of the gang member.

Carol Denbow: Daniel was an amazing young man whose life clearly had purpose. I understand from reading the book that following Daniel’s tragic death, you and Marian set out to establish a non-profit art foundation to help other struggling art students achieve a degree by providing much needed supplies as well as college scholarship funds. Tell us how it made you feel once you accomplished this task.

Robert Lynch: We wanted something positive to come out of this terrible tragedy. In Daniel's honor and memory, we desired to set up a program that would help other art students achieve their dream to pursue an education in the field of art. The journey in establishing the Daniel Robert Lynch Art Education and Scholarship Program was quite an effort, but it has become a blessing in many ways. Within the past four years, six art students have received scholarships, giving them the opportunity for an education in the art field. In order to win the scholarship, these students had to meet certain requirements. All of these students were from low income families who could not have provided a higher education for their children. Each student had amazing scholastic achievements and art portfolios, and were very deserving of a scholarship.

The Cache Education Foundation accepted this program into their foundation as a non-profit entity. This foundation is outstanding in helping education through grants and donations to the school system. The DRL Art Program is a small entity, but specializes in strengthening art in the school program through grants to art teachers for programs and equipment. We are very proud of Daniel's art program and what it is doing to strengthen art education and provide scholarships.

Carol Denbow: Now that our readers know a little about your story, can you please tell us when you decided to write Daniel’s Dream and what that meant to you and your family?

Robert Lynch: We had recently moved to Coarsegold, California from Logan, Utah to be closer to our other children. I visited a coffee shop that co-author Charles Riley owned and we immediately became friends. During various visits, Charley and I talked about my son Daniel and his death. Charley is an author and I had the pleasure of reading the draft manuscript of a story he was writing, “The Boys From Arlin.” I was so impressed; it was such a gripping story. Charlie's book will be published this year and I predict the readers will find it very enjoyable. Charlie and I continued talking and discussing Daniel's life, the fact that Daniel is being referred to and remembered as “the student that got murdered in Oakland” really bothered me. He was so much more and deserved to be known and remembered for who he was. I'm told by people that it doesn't matter what other people think or say, it's how you remember him that counts. But people just can't imagine the hurt and failure you feel that such a talented and dedicated young person's life is over, and society will never know about this young man. Charlie was the person who suggested that I write a book about Daniel. The more we talked and the more he persuaded, I finally decided to ask about him writing the book with me. He's the writer, and a good one, so we made the decision to do it.

Carol Denbow: Robert, having lost a son myself, I know it is sometimes difficult to “re-live” the loss. Did publishing this book hurt or help heal your suffering?

Robert Lynch: It's almost been 5 years since Daniel's death, and I can’t honestly say that I had to relive the loss. I think of Daniel ALL the time, every day. I go to sleep at night thinking about him. I've had to start
taking sleeping pills to even get to sleep. Five years is a long time, and when I wake up in the morning Daniel is on my mind. So I haven't had to re-live it, it has always been there.

Carol Denbow: Your co-author is Charles Riley. How did you meet and decide to co-write the book rather than do it alone?

Robert Lynch: I touched on that before. I've never written a book and wouldn't try to do so myself. To have someone like Charlie offer to help write the book, I'd been very foolish not to take Charley up on it, since he was willing and available.

Carol Denbow: How did you and Charles work together on this project? In other words, you spoke, he wrote, or possibly you wrote and he re-wrote? Or is he an active part of the story?

Robert Lynch: I wrote the basic facts of the book, and turned it over to Charlie. He wrote the draft in his own writing style and gave it to me to read, then we discussed it. He took my comments and fine-tuned them until I was satisfied with what he had written.

Carol Denbow: After all is said and done, would you recommend to our readers who are considering this path to co-author a book rather than tackle the project on their own? Was it helpful to have a partner writer?

Robert Lynch: Yes. With my experience, I'd recommend a co-author, if available. But I feel writers should be cautious about it. As Charlie pointed out to me, most authors are individuals that have a strong conviction on their writing style. As he noted up front, if you give your book in draft form to ten people to read, you'd receive ten different suggestions on how to make it better. The one thing we agreed to up front was that this was to be MY story. He'd make suggestions but I had the final say. So the question about if I would recommend doing a book with a co-author or not? Yes, but it would depend upon the attitude of the author. Two people agreeing an anything is rare in today's society. So I think the ground rules should be set upfront, and if you don't like something, speak your mind, but remember your agreement.

Carol Denbow: The past few years have certainly been trying for you and your family. Please accept my condolences for your enormous loss and suffering. We all hope Daniel’s Dream is successful so students such as Daniel have the opportunity to fulfill their dreams in the future. Thank you for sharing your incredible story with us and for telling our writers “how it is” to co-author a book.

Daniel’s Dream is available through, the Lynch’s Website at, in Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook Book format, and wherever fine books are sold.

Please learn more about the Daniel Robert Lynch Art Education and Scholarship Program by visiting All donations, no matter how small, are appreciated.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Kindle: The Results

I recently posted about an experiment I did with my books listed on Kindle. You may recall that I lowered my Kindle books to .99 cents each for one month. Well that month is over now and I have some interesting conclusions regarding the whole experiment.

In that previous post, I told you I had my books regularly listed at up to $4.99 and was selling about 20 books a month (some of my titles were actually only listed at $2.99). The experiment was to see if it would be better to list the books at .99 and sell more copies than at the higher price and sell less. So here’s what happened…

One noticeable conclusion came immediately when I saw the sales count for the month-long experiment. I sold 90 copies at .99; again, the previous month was only 20.

At $4.99 a book (actually, any price over $2.99), Kindle offers the author/publisher a 70 percent royalty. But if you lower your list price to under $2.99, they only give you a 30 percent royalty. So whereas I previously made an average of 2.44 a copy in royalties (all my titles with combined pricing), at the .99 listing price I was only making .30 per copy. So my profit before the experiment selling 20 books was $48.80, and during the month-long experiment I sold 90 copies at .99 each and profited only $27.00. But hold on, there’s more to know…

During the experimental period, I did not actively promote my books. So I sold 90 Kindle copies without effort. And… more than 40 of those were sold in the very last week of the experiment—why? I believe that happened because with more sales on record, my books ratings went up. The more you sell, the more popular the book becomes in “Amazons” eyes.

Even more interesting to this experiment was that my paperback copy sales increased as well and made up for the difference in profits for the Kindle version. Why did this happen? Likely because of the increased ratings. The more sales you have with Amazon, the higher they list your book in its category. So there just might be a real benefit to selling cheaper Kindle books, particularly if you have another format listed with them, i.e., paperback.

The conclusion:
Here’s my conclusion. I’m satisfied that a lower list price may generate more sales. But more so, I believe the lower price attracted a few additional readers, who may not have otherwise purchased the Kindle book at the previously listed price of $4.99, and because they did, the books ratings went up, and because they went up, more people saw the book and purchased it. Therefore, I fully intend to continue this experiment for at least one more full month to see if sales continue to climb at a faster rate. What do I think I’ll confirm with extending the experiment? Higher ratings sell more books with This might be old news, but the question may have always been, “How do I get my book listed higher in search results with if I haven’t sold any copies?” The answer may be Kindle bargains. I will keep you updated!