How To Sell More Books and Create Loyal Fans.

Writer’s Weekly Insider from Chris Syme
Welcome to the weekly newsletter designed with one goal in mind: to give every author the info and tools to successfully navigate social media to sell more books and create loyal fans.We had one whole week of spring this week in Bozeman. It was enough to get me out in the yard. Spring rituals. What are yours?
This week we are going to tackle the holy trinity of book marketing–what every self-published author needs to sell their own books successfully. There’s a big difference between just having a website, an email list, and a Facebook page and having them optimized and built for selling books. Are your big three set up for selling more books?
Top 5 Tips For Authors This Week [Apr. 24]
1. Optimizing your social media channels for selling. This pdf download shows you six quick tips for optimizing your social media pages for selling books.
2. Especially helpful for nonfiction: How to sell books and products directly from your website (from authorpreneur Joanna Penn).  Building a direct channel for sales is one option to grow an income stream that has no intermediary except a buy button.
3. Why authors need a personal profile and a business page on Facebook. Authors should be thinking about building connections and selling more books. It’s not one or the other on Facebook.
4. Why you don’t need to produce a newsletter to build an email list. from David Gaughran. A viable option for authors who don’t want to produce a newsletter.
5. Email marketing 101 for authors (from Tim Grahl). If you’d like to get off on the right foot building your email list, this post is for you.
Why Connecting Without Selling is Only
Half the Equation on Social Media
Working with authors, I’ve found they usually have one of three goals for using social media:
1. Build reader loyalty and connection with fans.
2. Selling books.
3. Building connections and selling books.
Goals number one and two are only half the equation. To be successful in selling books on social media, authors need to take approach number three.
In the world of marketing, there are best practices, or successful strategies, that apply to selling any kind of product online whether it is books, appliances, or wedding invitations. Books are not in a world of their own despite what some book marketers would try and tell you. Data from large online research companies like Nielsen, AOL, and HubSpot tell us the same thing: social media selling works. Successful authors connect and sell, in that order.
The one-two punch of social media selling is developing word-of-mouth connections and then using that depth of relationship to sell books we know those valued fans will enjoy. Yelling “buy my book” will fall on deaf ears for the most part, especially if the author is unknown to the reader. But equally as frustrating for authors will be trying to sell books by “osmosis.” This is the method where we believe if we connect and make ourselves available on social media people will automatically buy our books without being asked.
The bulk of authors I talk to have no idea how to approach selling. They try throwing different promotions against the wall to see if they stick, looking for that silver bullet. In reality, selling is a science with proven tactics that is built on cultural norms. Fifteen years ago readers relied on publishers to tell them what to buy. We had no social media, no word of mouth. Today that tide has shifted. Readers now do their own research and seek the opinion of their friends in forums and book clubs. They build relationships directly with authors online and don’t have to rely on the bookstores and publishers to tell them what is good. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising (Forbes). The first step to giving a reader value is building friendships on social media.
The second step is giving those valued connections opportunities to buy your books. It’s about optimizing your social media channels with the tools and apps that are available to sell books. It’s about putting together the types of content proven to build connections. It’s about taking a long view approach and not relying on a stop and start “book launch or bust” mentality.
The art of selling books online begins with connection, is propelled by valuable content, and is sealed with opportunities to buy your books, both through content and through highly visible embedded calls-to-action on your social media pages.
To learn more about social selling for authors, be sure and follow my blog at Be sure and reply to this email if you have any questions. See you next week!
Free Books for Review Team Members 
I am looking for readers who would like to receive free books in exchange for writing a review on Amazon and Goodreads.Review team members who review books will also receive opportunities for discounts on classes and my new monthly webinar series coming in May.
Right now I have several free audio copies of my book SMART Social Media For Authors (normally $14.95) to give away if you’d like to become part of my advance reader team–get one before they are gone. If you’re interested in getting free advanced copies of books and class discounts, email me at

Grammatical Pet Peeves

Short and sweet this morning, grammatical pet peeves that drive me crazy.  I’m sure you have yours. We authors have a hard time turning off our editor brains when we read for enjoyment. I’ve learned to live with it, but there are a few things that jerk me out of story so fast and here they are.

Number one–the word till. Till is a verb. It means to plow, turnover the ground, etc.. It does not mean, up to a time or event, but not afterward.  That is, until, a preposition,  or if you want to shorten it use, ’til.

Number two, the word, that. It is a filler word. Yes, sometimes we need it, but there are many times when it is excess baggage, like cellulose in graded cheese. Cellulose is supposedly added to make the cheese flow. The word, that, doesn’t seem to work in the same way.  The same with the words, just and very.  If the word isn’t needed, then don’t include it.

Number three, excess exclamation marks.  If your sentence or dialogue shows action, you don’t need to end it with an exclamation mark. Trust your reader to get it.

Number four, why is it necessary to add a question mark to dialogue if you already say, she asked? To me it’s overkill. Why not.  “Hey, is everybody awake out there,” she asked.  or  “Hey, is everybody awake out there?” Susan shouted out the window.

Okay that’s my rant for this morning. What about you?  Do yo have some grammatical pet peeves. List them here in the comments and tell me why they drive you crazy.



April’s No Limits Blog Talk Radio show.

One of the many good things I’ve found with hosting my monthly Blog Talk Radio show, No Limits, is meeting new authors.  I love discovering someone new to read. I always ask for a copy of the book they want to talk about ahead of time, and the majority of them have been a joy. Like any individual, there have been those I’ve enjoyed more than others, but I’ve yet to come across one that I’ve hated. An even bigger thrill is when they have more than one book that I can delight myself with.

My April show is no different. My two guests are Kait Carson and Richard Paolinelli.  Both authors are new to me.  I’ll learn more about each of them on No Limits. That’s what my show is about, discovering how an author creates, what works for them, if there is anything they have to have before they can write, or what they did to celebrate when they signed that book contract.

For my blog today I am giving you quick reviews of their latest books.

Kait Carson’s latest book, Death by Sunken Treasure, is a Hayden Kent mystery.  I like Hayden Kent. When something doesn’t set well with her, she has to find out why. Hayden is a paralegal and an avid scuba diver. When Mike, the son of a woman she considers a second mother, is found dead in full scuba gear Hayden is devastated. When his death is judged a suicide, she is full of disbelief. The way the man died just isn’t logical for a diver.

Mike had been in her office only days before signing his will. He had left everything to his infant son. Nothing to raise an alarm, until another will surfaces, this one very different.

The more Hayden digs, the more questions surface. There is sunken treasure involved, gold doubloons among it that seem to bring out the worst in people.

Hayden’s suspicions rise even more when she receives notes and emails telling her to back off and accept the suicide verdict. Of course she doesn’t, or we wouldn’t have story. She sees it through to the end, a course of action that will alter her life in a very big way.

I’m not a scuba diver. I don’t even like to be in water above my head, but Kait Carson’s descriptive style, made me feel as if I was there. There is another book in the Hayden Kent series, Death by Blue Water. It has joined my list of books that I just have to read. Pick up a copy of Death by Sunken Treasure and lose yourself in deep sea mystery. You won’t be disappointed.


Richard Paolinelli’s  latest book, Reservations, couldn’t be more different. Richard takes us to the desert of New Mexico, into the world of Navajo, Hopi and Zuni.   Reservations starts off with a murder. The victim knows his killer, and is sad he will die before he can identify the person. Even more devastating to him is knowing more people will die and he can do nothing to prevent it.

I’m a big fan of the late Tony Hillerman, and a new fan of his daughter, Ann. I’m also an avid read of Craig Johnson’s Longmire series. Reservations has the same feel.

One of the main characters,  Ben Yazzie, who is the President of the Navajo Nation, knows more than he wants to share about the murders and calls for help from an old friend, Baker Collins, the Deputy Director of the FBI.

Baker sends his best agent, Jack Del Rio, to Gallup, New Mexico to catch the brazen murderer.  Jack is met with hostility, they don’t need a fed to catch their killer, they can do so themselves.

I loved the twist and turns of this mystery and the interaction between the characters, most with their own agendas that hinder Del Rio’s objective.

I am happy to know that Richard Paolinelli has another novel due out this year. I’m looking forward to reading it.

So, there’s some hints about two great mysteries.  If you’d like to learn more about the authors, the join me for No Limits.  Here is the link to the show:

kait carson OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA No Limits copy




A Perfect Murder.

A perfect murder, is there such a thing? I’ve killed people in many different ways, after all I write books.  It’s not only my thrillers, I’ve killed many folks and out of this world creatures, in my fantasy and science fiction stories. I’ve used a knife, poison, guns, dark magic and even quantum physics.

Some years back there was a television show, I can’t remember the title now, but a man was found dead and police were investigating. Of course the wife was their number one suspect.  I remember the woman inviting the detectives for dinner and serving them lamb from a gorgeous roast.  I don’t remember how the audience finds out, but the leg of lamb was the murder weapon and she got away with murder.

I wonder if that would work in this modern day?

So all of you readers, what’s your favorite murder? For all of my crime fiction author friends, how have you killed people in your books?

Me?  I think an airplane crash would have to be my favorite, although that is a pretty knife.


Meet Word Wizard, Jay Dismas

I’ve got a book inside me. It has been there for years. Nobody has written it.

I have attempted to contact movie producers: the Weinstein brothers, Spielberg, well-known actors DiCaprio, Brad and Angie, starting at the top and working my way down, to name a few. None of them were interested in my story. Those pursuits have gotten me nowhere. So, I am writing it myself.

It is through the help of the local writers group, the Word Wizards, that my book is coming together. It has been nearly five years since I joined the group and since then the book has seen many revisions. I am beginning to see a professionally written copy of Letters to Tami.


Wonderful Poetry.


         Like mystical knights from a time long since past,

         These three surviving warriors are back at last.

A golden god wailing tunes that echo through our minds,

With emotion to his audience, a performer so fine.

From a magical guitarist born back in time,

Plays a bow on the strings like a wizard casts a spell.

On his Organ he plays sounds like they were made up in heaven,

Also a guitar would be another weapon.

Together a power none dreamed of before,

A masterpiece of song never seen on a stage floor.

Missing from them, one fallen warrior whose hammering

On his drums shook the ground like thunder,

They called him Bonzo, now a spirit in a new world of wonder.

From England they were born some time ago,

Their music lives on forever you know.

Robert Plant, Jimmy…

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I thought this was beautiful.


I thought i’d call to you and talk awhile,

I’m sitting here alone, I’ve been thinking.

What can i do to make this world a better place,

Let go of anger and sometimes terrible thoughts.

Do not waste this time that I’ve been given,

Smile and say hello to a passerby.

Lend a hand to a less fortunate soul,

Put a little trust in man, this I’ve been told.

Do not take a life, be there for a friend,

Teach a child right from wrong.

Love as much as you can, hate is not a gift in hand,

Do not steal or act in violence,

I’ve been thinking god, I just needed you to listen.

Keith Garrett

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Meet Word Wizard Maggie Pucillo

The Word Wizards and Me

 We introduced ourselves at the pool. “Maggie here, morning.

“Good morning to you, I’m Barbara Hodges.”

After the workout we chatted. “I’m a writer,” she said.

 “So am I,” I blurted, and it’s been a fun ride ever since.
My writing up to that day was full on non-fiction. Writing essays and presentations; working on projects for the degree and teaching credential, completing individual and group work for continuing ed units.It was working writing. I hadn’t written a page of fiction for years, then I found a small writer group and sat with them for a year or so back in the Pasadena years. We focused on creativity and worked with writing prompts-some of them linger in my mind today. We scribbled away then read aloud to one another. Not a hint of critique from anyone. The point was to get words on paper, however they landed.
I met with the Word Wizards ten or more years when all four founding Wizards still sat with us; all of them published, sure of themselves and ready and willing to help a newbie.
It was a steep learning curve from day one.
This was a critique group. Of course the art of writing and the fun with characters and dialog were discussed; my challenge was to learn how to take critique and use it to improve my pages. I treasured my words. The characters were fully realized, their dialog all it should be-blah-blah-blah. Like many beginners before me I defended every point and tried to win it. Not the preferred response, I soon learned.
   I dare say, without the valuable skills (see above) I learned over time, this little essay itself would be poorly punctuated and the narrative would likely be bullet point style. Sitting with the Word Wizards has been busy and demanding and at the same time an experience learning from peers and having discussions that matter about the crafts of writing. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. At times the group is like a family, at times like a group of asylum escapees-but never dull or boring.
   Thanks, fellow Wizards, for still letting me in the door.