Guest Posts

Guest Post by Author Amber Benge ~ From One Indie Writer to Another

Amber BengeEighteen months ago, I wrote an eBook about my own journey with a difficult medical condition.  It started out as a last ditch effort at my pie dream of being an author. I never dreamed where I would end up, making $600/month in eBook sales and then being offered thousands for my website.

It never even occurred to me that someone would pay for the work I’d poured into this little enterprise, but they did. It happened for me… and it can happen for you.

When Savannah Mae asked if I would like to guest post here, I thought long and hard about what to share with her amazing readers. Most of you are already prolific writers and you are at least dabbling in the Indie writing scene.

This isn’t a post about how to make millions online (although if you discover a method that isn’t a scam, would you let me know?!). I just wanted to share a couple of lessons I learned along the way.

Maybe it will help another writer reach their dreams. Perhaps it will give you inspiration to keep plugging along, building your own writing empire, one tedious paragraph at a time. So here are some tips, from one formerly starving writer to another. 😉

Not Just Any Website Will Work

When you are designing a website to promote your book, resist the urge to throw a few pages on Blogger and call it done. If you want to get traffic, you’ve got to go further than that. You need to optimize your website using the right keywords, meta-tags, and even domain name.

Every post needs to be designed with care, inserting keywords naturally in all the right places to attract attention from search engines. Even your photos should be tagged with keywords.

Your website also needs to be user-friendly. That means you can’t make it overly complicated and it needs to be visually appealing. Add a sales page that is easy to locate and make sure you deliver a clear call to action.

Sales copy isn’t just for Internet marketers… it’s for Indie writers too. You’ve got to sell your book and that means you need to learn the basics of copywriting or hire someone to help you.

Content is Always King

From the content of your book to the content of your website, there is simply no substitute for amazing writing. If you use poor grammar and you neglect proper proofreading, it will come back to bite you.

I learned this the hard way. When I self-published my first book, I did my own editing. Let me tell you… BIG MISTAKE. It was rusty, to put it gently. If you want your book to sounds like a professional writer wrote it, get a professional writer to proofread it. Not only will your book be a lot higher quality, but you will also become a better writer as you note the mistakes you make most frequently.

Find the Perfect Price Point

Before you get consistent sales, you have to experiment with the price. For any book I self-publish either on Amazon or through my private websites, I change the price at least five or six times. I experiment to see what price results in the most sales.

Surprisingly, I seem to sell more books if I set the price a little higher. Don’t underestimate your work. If you have valuable information or a killer storyline that will be helpful or entertaining to a reader, it’s worth a few extra dollars. Don’t sell yourself short.

Expect the Unexpected

When I first set up my website, I never even entertained the thought of selling it. For 18 months, I stocked it with a steady stream of keyword-rich content that was actually reader friendly and helpful. I published a new blog post at least three times a month and used social networks to gain readers.

But honestly, I just wanted to sell my book. I wanted to connect with people who had the same medical condition and I prayed that my book would be a valuable resource to help them. Plus, let’s just be honest. I wanted to make some money for all my hard work.

So you can imagine my complete shock when out of nowhere, a medical company asked if I would be willing to sell my website. What?! At first, I thought I was being punked.

Luckily, it was no joke and these people were serious. They were offering me real money for my little old website! It was unexpected, but it was a turning point! Now I knew how the process worked and I could replicate it over and over in different niches.

Ultimately, you just have to expect the unexpected when you are an Indie writer. You never know what could happen, but you’ve got to stick with it in order to find out!

Enlist Some Help

If you have an amazing book, but you have no clue how to build a website, it’s time to call in the professionals. Whether you need help with web design, keyword research, or proofreading, don’t be afraid to reach out.

Now here comes the part where I do some shameless self-promotion. Forgive me writer friends, will you? I’m offering to help any of Savannah Mae’s lovely readers at a discount. You can check out my services (web design, proofreading, and more!) by clicking here.

Then shoot me an email and tell me what you’re looking for. Be sure to mention that you’re one of Savannah Mae’s peeps and you will get 20% off your first order!

Bio: Amber Benge is a copy editor from Hickory, NC. When she isn’t writing, she’s playing outside with her two kids or sipping lemonade on the porch swing with her husband, Josh.

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