Saturday, March 31, 2012

Indie Author Contest Starts April 1st ~ And That's No Joke!

When I started blogging a couple of years ago, all I could think about is how I could benefit. Sometimes I still do, but not always. 

Now I'm on a more important mission. 

Today, I not only want to sell more of my books, but I want the indie author movement to grow and gain credibility. I want to prove to the world that independent authors are writing excellent books, and worthy of recognition. I want readers to begin taking a chance, not only on my books, but on yours, too. Why? Because many of you write excellent novels, and if you can prove to even one staunch "trad pub reader" that your work is top notch, then maybe they will read another indie book, and then another, until finally they read mine.

This is the crux of cross promotion. We must look at the big picture, and understand that we are all in this together. This is why I established The Kindle Book Review.

Well guess what? The Kindle Book Review is hosting what is sure to become the BIGGEST grassroots Indie Author Awards ever! We are giving away cash prizes, free publicity packages, free ebooks to readers, and a Kindle Fire. Not only can authors win cash, but they can win credibility, and bragging rights, two very important elements to an author's marketing efforts.

I've hosted two other contests at The Kindle Book Review. We had a good time, gave away some free books and prizes. Later, several of those authors became bestsellers: Robert Bidinotto, Richard Bard, Cheryl Kaye Tardiff and Monique D. Mensah, and others. They proved that indie authors can write excellent books and sell better than many traditionally published authors.

So are you up for the challenge? Are you ready to see how your work stacks up? GOOD! You should. We are planning for a really exciting event. Everyone gets a shot. Almost everyone will be recognized. No review requirements. No rating requirements.

We are simply looking for the very best of the best. And when we find them, we will tell as many readers as we can.

Interested? Click here for details and to register.

Jeff Bennington is the best-selling author of Reunion, Twisted Vengeance, and The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe.

Monday, March 26, 2012

What is Your Author Talent Class?

Okay. So it's 4:00 a.m in the morning and I'm attempting to write a blog post. This may turn out to be a stupid idea, but it's Monday and this is the best day to publish a blog post so here I go.

I've been looking forward to this post for a few days. The topic is dear to my heart and was first initiated after reading John Locke's book on how he sold a million books. What he said really struck me. He was one of the first authors I've heard admit that he may not be the best, nor will he ever be the best writer.

Amazing. I love the humility and the honesty.

I got to thinking about that in a guest post I wrote the other day and wanted to expand on this concept of author talent class. And yes, I'm referring to talent in the same way we refer to social classes in economics. It is my belief that there are three author classes and I wanted to open this up for discussion. I wanted to bring this up because the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it was important to understand in order for me to move up the social, or talent ladder.

Here's what I think. As the founder of The Kindle Book Review, I have found, and correct me or add if needed, that there are essentially three talent classes: upper, middle, poverty. Are there classes in between? Yes. But I believe that indie authors in particular need to examine where they fit in this scale because your placement can have a huge impact not only in sales, but also in the perception that readers have of the rest of us. (Having said that, remember that if you see any typos, it is 4:22 a.m. ~ grace accepted).

The first class is The Upper Class Author ~ I don't mean to make this class sound uppity or snobbish. I did want to align them with a higher crust because that's what they are; skilled, and trained literary artisans. They have or soon will get the recognition they deserve. They have spent years writing, working with editors, studying the craft, writing books that they never published and have now broke into the indie author field. They are true professionals who have honed their craft. Most of us are not in this category. If you are a newer author, do not deceive yourself. These authors are few and far between.

The second tier is The Middle Class Author ~ The middle class author is the up and coming author. They are the authors who have put out a couple of books, taken their lumps, are learning from their mistakes and putting out creative and entertaining reads. They are growing their platform and their audience. But, they are not true masters. They are good, but not great, I include myself in this crowd. We are by far the largest group in the indie author talent pool, and we are the masses who are beginning to turn the heads of readers. With such large numbers, readers can't help to notice that indie authors are a force to be reckoned with. What's really encouraging is, many of us will move into the upper class over time. Some will make deals and step into the trad pub zone, and some will quit because life happens. But we are many and we are good, maybe better than good in some cases.

The third tier is The Poverty Class ~ This group is the group of authors who think they know how to write. They think they know how to structure a novel length story. they think they know how to create lovable characters and develop them. They think they can self-edit their work and put out a quality product when in fact, they cannot. This class is talent deficient and doing readers as well as the rest of their indie author peers great harm. This class is either delusional or deceptive in regards to the quality of the product they are selling. Can they grow? Can they change and move up the ranks? Can this class pick themselves up from their bootstraps? Yes. Many of them can. Some just may not be creative enough or have the determination to continue, but I believe anyone can be taught to at least step up to the middle class.

Anyway, I wanted to throw that out there and gather some opinions. Maybe I'm being to harsh? Maybe you are thinking about this for the first time. If so, that's good. What do you think?

Jeff Bennington is the best-selling author of Reunion, Twisted Vengeance, and The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five Ways to Meet New Readers. #Supernatural #Ghosthunter

Want more readers? If you're a novelist, author, self-pubber or writing enthusiast in search of more readers, I'd like to suggest a few things that are making a huge dent in my newly acquired readership. And when I say newly acquired, I'm talking about the last few weeks. Here are some great ways to reach out to new readers.
  • Tweet the things you write about. Lately I've been tweeting more about ghosts and supernatural events, like "Have you seen a ghost? I have. What was your experience?" I've even started collecting ghost and supernatural experiences from my readers and friends. This has made for some very interesting, and scary conversations.
  • Freebies. This isn't new around here but giving your book away is another tool to grow your reader cult. There is a really simple way to do this… KDP Select. But there are other ways. Some use coupon codes. I like to hand sell, walking around facebook and twitter and calling readers in my genre. "Anyone want to read an edge of your seat supernatural thriller? FREE to the first 10 who respond." Try it. You just might get a few extra reviews and you don't have to use a KDP "free promo".
  • Being nice. If you're on twitter, how about "Mentioning" and "Retweeting" bibliophiles, avid readers, and/or other writers in your genre. This is a form of cross promotion and general niceness. Helping readers and writers grow there twitter following will come back to you. 
  • For many of you, this is already part of your tool chest, but there are those of you who have never heard of Hootsuite. This tool allows you to schedule tweets and manage all of your social media sites (Twitter and Facebook) from one page. Very handy. Only costs $5 a month and the first month is free to try.
  • The number one thing that has helped me grow my audience in the last two weeks is Tweetadder. offers an amazing tool for anyone interested in growing their twitter base, targeting an exact audience. With Tweetadder, I can piggy back off of popular authors in my genre. I can also meet readers who mention that they read about ghosts, the supernatural, or suspense thrillers in my genre. And it does so much more. This really is an amazing tool. It costs $74; a one time charge, including a lifetime of free updates. Very much worth the cost.
Speaking of free, TWISTED VENGEANCE and REUNION and KILLING THE GIANTS are free today. If you enjoy supernatural thrillers, I'd urge you to get a copy, read and review one or both of these books. I recently started writing book two of the Twisted series, so if you like it, there will be a follow up soon. And if you need help marketing your book or in general need help getting a handle on this indie author gig, get a copy of The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe; you won't regret it.

Jeff Bennington is the best-selling author of Reunion, Twisted Vengeance,  The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe and other thrillers.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe is GRATIS Today (Mar.17th)

Hi, Writer Friends.
I don't have a new post today, but I wanted you to know that I have decided to offer The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe for #FREE today (Mar. 17) in the Kindle store. I'm doing this hoping that many of you will write a review when you are finished or maybe even pick up one of my other books.

I talk about giving, and recommend offering up your book(s) as a means of promotion and readership building. I'm just practicing what I preach. While you're here, why don't you peruse my author services and sign up by email so you get all my posts and helpful tips!

Here's the link in the US: The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe (US)

Here's the link (UK): The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe (UK)

Here's the link (DE): The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe (DE)

You can get The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe in print here.

Wherever you get it, please leave a review. Thanks!

Jeff Bennington is the best-selling author of Reunion, Twisted Vengeance,  The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe and other thrillers.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

eBook Marketing Gem Recovered in Email

Hey Writers and Publishers, Do I have a special treat for you today. Cutting straight to the chase, here's a copy of an email I recently sent to one of my clients seeking advice in making his next step towards marketing his book. I'm cutting and pasting, so excuse the raw nature of this post… oh, and grab paper and pencil, you may want to take some notes. I'm addressing this to "Author X" for confidentiality purposes.

Before I begin, please commit to sharing this after you've read it. It has some good stuff. Here ya go...

Hi Author X,
Here's the deal: Everything I tell you is subject to change. The book promotion business is changing rapidly and I'm very serious about that. KDP Select has been working wonders for newer and seasoned authors, but its effectiveness and results are changing with each new author who joins.

With that said, I'll give you the best advice I can give.

1) GENERAL INFO: To begin with, the best marketing is usually free and KDP Select is the prime choice at the moment. As we previously discussed, I'd recommend scheduling a "Free" promo with them asap. Fridays have been my best day for one day promotions. You will find that you'll give thousands of copies of your book away, but doing so will come back in additional reviews and exposure. After the free day, your sales will pick up, potentially matching your ranking in the free store, but not guaranteed. 

2) LATEST TRENDS: I am currently giving my books away in three day increments, rotating each book in the 3 day cycle, but you might want to do a 2 day promtion after your initial one day promo. My one day promotions have not been as effective, but I'm in experimental mode to see if giving away a different book every 3 days increases overall traffic with a consistent stream of book buyers instead of the "Big Bang" that often comes with the KDP Select "after shock". 

3) SCHEDULING: I'd suggest laying out a calender and plotting your coming free days. You have 90 days and 5 free days goes quickly with one title. And as my dad would say, don't blow your wad all at once. Spread out these precious promotional days. With one title in the select program, you will burn through them and quickly become addicted to the treasures they bring… especially with a cover like yours, which is sure to stir up interest. With this in mind, if your one day promo does well, you might consider using your other 4 days individually; if not, stiick with two promotions.

4) TWEETING: Once you have plotted your promotional days, begin the layering process. One of your promos will revolve around your KND Sponsorship, but you can't pay for that kind of promotion every day. Not worth it. So here are a few additional ideas to fill the gaps…

 ~ Join The "Tweet Teams". You will have to register for this site, but the tweet teams is very much worth it. When you enter the site, you'll find several boxes on the right side. Look for the one that says "Tweet Teams". Click on the box and follow the tweeting instructions to a "T". The tweeting format they suggest is very effective. Only thing is, you have to reciprocate the RT's. 

*** Suggestion: I pay my 16-year old son $20 a week to do this for me every day. He saves me a lot of time. All I do is post my tweets and he RT's all the other tweets for me. I also pay my 14-year old son to "Share" all of my Triberr posts. Again saves me a lot of time. If you have someone who can do that for you, I'd use them. If not, I'm sure my son would do it. 

***When it comes to promoting your books prior to the "free" day(s), I suggest contacting Anthony Wessel at Tell him I sent you. He will add your book to his squidoo page that features a top 100 free ebooks. He does this every day and gets a ton of traffic. 

***Another trick I use is tweeting several folks who feature free books. I do this the day before or day of my free day. Here are the twitter handles for those folks: @DigitalBkToday @kindleebooks @Kindlestuff @KindleEbooksUK @KindleBookKing @KindleFreeBook @free_kindle @FreeReadFeed @4FreeKindleBook @FreeKindleStuff @KindleUpdates

I highly suggest you read this post. It is full of GREAT information.

5) NEWS FLASH: Tell everyone in your circle when you have a free day. Give your book away like crazy on those days ONLY. When you give, give big. Any other day, you should get paid. So before you start your free day this Friday, you should tell your Facebook friends, write a blog post, schedule tweets etc. And yes, you should do this every time you run a free promotion. Do this knowing that the more successful your free days are, the more successful your follow up days will be.

6) DEFINITION OF SUCCESS: A successful free day is 5-10,000 downloads. A successful 2 day freebie is 10-15,000 downloads (FREE). A successful post free day is the top 500 ranking or better. Hitting the top 100 is huge. That will mean anywhere from 500-1500+ sales per day.

7) TWEETADDER: If you are not using I STRONGLY suggest you do. Tweetadder will grow your twitter following like nobody's business. I paid $74 for this (one time) and I have grown my twitter followers by 50% in the last 2 weeks… and they are all targeted followers. Go to this site and watch one of their videos on what tweetadder can do. It is amazing. I am having conversations with NEW READERS almost every day thanks to this KILLER program. You can basically run your twitter account on auto pilot, except for your personal interaction. This tools definitely drives sales. You can actually pull followers from other authors in your genre.

8) HOOTSUITE: This is my homebase for ALL of my social media. This is a must have tool. cost $5 a month (first is free to try) and this is where I schedule ALL my tweets. One tweet can go to all my twitter accounts and facebook accounts, simultaneously. Hootsuite and tweetadder make a perfect international marketing tool that I can no longer live without. I count tweetadder and hootsuite as free promotion because tweetadder is a one time fee, but sooo worth it, and hootsuite is only $5 a month, big deal.

9) CROSS PROMOTION: Start promoting other authors in your genre. You'll be amazed at how many return the favor. Doing so will drive their readers to your books. This is especially easy to do, on auto pilot with tweetadder.

10) PAID PROMOTION: When you schedule your free days for the next 90 days. Build a few paid promotions around that. Here's what I suggest for April (assuming you have one paid promotion that month). 

~ Pay $50 for your a featured month ad spot with the They host 99¢-$3.99 books. Pay $15 for a 99-cent-network news spot. This will make your book a featured book in their weekly (Fri) newsletter. This will be your "background" or static ad.

~Spend $25 at for a "FREE" day promotion.

~ Schedule a Social Media Buzz with,, and Plan ahead. All three of these sites fill up these spots very quickly. They cost $35 for worldliterarycafe and $40 for digitalboktoday and However, running all three spots on the day AFTER your free day is proving very effective because all three of us use Triberr as one of our tweeting tools. These 3 promos, when scheduled close together, make for a huge social media shout; much better than a static ad. Please re-read the chapter in The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe "The Ultimate Promotion".

11) MONTH OF APRIL: So here's what April could potentially look like for you… You schedule one or two "free" days on the 26th and or 27th. You have a KND Sponsorship scheduled for April 28th. You also schedule a "Social Media Buzz" on or around the 28th. This will strengthen your sales on the "day after free" and increase your shot into the TOP 100 paid. That is the goal. That is the only reason to promote heavily like this. It may or may not work. The more quality reviews you have by then, the better off you'll be. Reviews are huge. We'll talk more about that later. But what about the rest of the month you ask? The rest of the month is pure preparation for your "big show" on the 28th. This is where the actual work comes into play.

~ You must start soliciting reviews through March and April. Tweet free giveaways to readers who read in your genre, and hand your book to kindle readers until you get 10 reviews. That is the requirement at both kindlebookreview and digitalbooktoday. You must have several good reviews for your KDP promo to blast off. Watch the top freebies. Most have great reviews with either lots of good reviews or a few great reviews. The indies who make it to the top 100 paid (See Cheryl Kaye Tardif) have masses of great reviews that they've accumulated over several months. You have very few. 

~ Start running tweetadder and hootsuite immediately. Build your twitter audience so you have more people who will respond to your forthcoming promotions. Use this time to really bulk up your platform and social media. 

~ Start retweeting the above mentioned twitter sites that promote freebies. Let them get to know you and appreciate your Retweets and mentions. I know that just sounds silly, but it is a game that works. Schedule daily retweets of some of the bigger indie authors in your genre. Don't know who they are? Go to Amazon's top 100 categories. Look up their amazon author pages, follow them on twitter and start promoting their books. You'll be amazed how willing they are to return the favor when you need them to tweet for you (April 26-28). Generosity really is a means to sales, believe it or not.

~ Schedule a Contest on your blog. Giveaway a digital copy of ALL your books to one lucky commenter. It doesn't matter what you write about, just get readers talking about your book(s). Build excitement. I'm doing this with my "every third day giveaway". I'm getting more feedback, more twitter mentions and more activity on my facebook wall. Also, blog more if needed.

~ Don't forget, through this you will post tweets every day at worldliterarycafe tweet teams. 

*** If you do all of this, April will be a very busy month for you and you will have started generating buzz that may have a significant impact on your April 28 promotion. Do what you can in March, and consider scheduling another free day in early April (Fri). 

If this is not what you expected, I wouldn't be surprised. Authors like Scott Nicholson and myself are using almost 100% free promotions. This obviously works better when you have a whole list of books that you can rotate in and out of the free store. But this will happen for you in time as you transfer your other titles into the KDP Select stream, so to speak. 

I know you will have questions. Biggest thing is to start twetadder and hootsuite. I'm serious about that. If you miss this, your social media will suffer and this will all be more difficult and a steeper climb. Keep in mind, this will become your second job, potentially filling every free minute you have.

If you want to learn more, get a copy of The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe in Kindle and/or Print.

Jeff Bennington is the best-selling author of Reunion, Twisted Vengeance, and The Indie Author's Guide to the Universe.