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Numbers versus Words in Online Publishing


If you are anything like me, then in the numbers versus words battle, words will always win. It isn't a matter of competence or capability – words speak to me and numbers don't. So what's a writer to do when in order to get a proverbial foot in the door of online publishing, one needs to first take on the number olympics?

If you want your publication to be found, here are some of hurdles you will need to surmount; get ready to warm up those arithmetic muscles:

Carefully choose your keywords. Keywords are the meta data that are associated with your publication. Ultimately, these words should – with the highest probability – lead your target reader to your door. It sounds like a words game, but it isn't. Keywords represent statistical patterns that, when chosen well, will increase the possibility of your target audience reaching your product. In this game you will need to find both the common denominator between your books and others of its kind, as well as the unique differentiators that will lead your reader to your book and not to someone else's.

Increase traffic to you and your publication via every possible means. The most common means of increasing traffic is by utilising your own social media outlets (email campaigns, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)– or if that proves to be inadequate – by other marketing agents and means. The social media network is marketing fuel. The more fuel, the farther and wider your publication can reach. If your fuel is limited to your friends and family, the chances of your publication reaching other circles is slim. Controversial statement in 3... 2... 1... self publishing a book and not doing any marketing around it, is like leaving a completed manuscript in your desk drawer – if people can't find your book, it doesn't exist.

Craft a pricing campaign that draws readers. Pricing should not be too cheap and it should not be too expensive. It should take advantage of the algorithms in place on platforms like Amazon. There is a science behind these pricing algorithms, and there are those who claim that by taking advantage of these algorithms alone you will be able to increase sales to your publication. You can invest time in cracking the algorithm code, or you can invest money in letting someone else do it for you.

Consider the fact that each one of these aforementioned points need to be handled in order for the reader to find your book. They are not guarantees that once it is found your book will generate enough interest to be bought. You can bring a reader to a book, but you can't make him or her read it!

Finally, if you are lucky enough that someone has chosen to purchase your book, and that they enjoyed it enough to provide a review, then here the number olympics continues, because reviews are also fuel for publications to be found. (I want to interject here and thank BackToFiction, for their recent review of my first novel!)

So you see, in the world of online publishing, particularly in the early days of a writer who is just starting to build up his or her name, writing a great book is seldom enough. Numbers need to be acknowledged and factored in to your publication campaign.

A very last word from me, in keeping with the numbers versus words theme – but a shameless request nevertheless. Stop reading right now if you are sensitive to self-promotion! Have you heard of Kindle Scout? Amazon call it 'reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books'. I currently have a campaign running for my yet-to-be-published second novel. If you nominate me, perhaps my novel will be selected. How many nominations do I need? Who knows? Some number games are transparent, and others are invisible. If my novel is selected, you will get a free copy once it is available!

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