Archives for May 2013

Ebook Marketing: How I’ve Used These 2 Simple Social Media Tips to Increase Ebook Sales

As I’ve said a million times here, as a self-publisher, writing is not the hard part. It’s the marketing of your ebook that will kick your patootie because it’s never-ending. And, if it’s not done right, it can all be for naught. …

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Freelancing in the Digital Age: 5 Skills Worth Learning if You’re a Web Writer

The following is an editorial by Glori Urban from SkilledUp.com.

Writing for the web is different from other forms of writing in many ways. In the online writing world, you will not only be writing for different audiences, but using a completely different medium to get your message across. Hence, reaching these readers requires web writers to be well-versed in other crucial skills. …

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Self-Publishing Profits: How Amazon’s Algorithm Can Help You Sell More Ebooks

Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading on ebook marketing because I wrote my first contemporary romance novel. As it’s a new genre for me, it’s kinda like starting my self-publishing career all over again.

While conducting this research, I probably read over 50 posts. I concentrated on those authors who had managed to sell 1,000 or more ebooks per month via major outlets like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Why this criteria?

Well, take Amazon for example. If you price your ebook at $2.99 on Amazon, you net 70 percent of the sales price, which works out to about $2.09 per copy in pure profit. So, if you’re selling 1,000 ebooks per month via this outlet, you’re pocketing almost $2,100 per month from that outlet alone.

Note: I still sell the vast majority of my ebooks – which are in mostly the non-fiction, how-to sector — from this website. But being on megasites like Amazon and Barnes & Noble has definitely increased my exposure. I’m interested to see if this trend continues as I self-publish more fiction titles.

Have You Ever Heard of Amazon’s Algorithm and How It Can Help You Sell More Ebooks?

One of the interesting things I learned in my reading is that apparently Amazon’s algorithm kicks in when certain parts of your ebook marketing strategy is working, eg, you get a certain number of reviews or you sell a certain number of copies.

What does this mean?

Basically that Amazon starts to help you sell your ebook — thanks to its algorithm.

For example, take my new ebook – which can be classified as an African American Contemporary Romance. If it was selling 1,000 copies per month (from my lips to the creator’s ears!), then when readers bought in that genre, my ebook might be one of the “recommendations” the algorithm makes because it’s in the Top 50 ebooks in that genre. FYI, I only use these numbers as an example; so don’t put any stock into the figures I mentioned.

Note: Prices on some of Inkwell Editorial’s ebooks will increase on June 1st.

The Amazon Algorithm: 5 Ebook Selling “Secrets” Revealed

Amazon Self-Publishing Algorithm Tips to Help You Sell More EbooksNow, following are some facts and figures you can put some stock into. Here are some good discussions I ran across in my research regarding Amazon’s algorithm that can help you sell more ebooks.

1. How many ebooks do you need to sell to crack Amazon’s bester-seller list?

According to a recent study by Publishers Weekly, you need to sell approximately 300 print books on Amazon in a single day to crack the top 5 bestsellers (fun fact–Amazon guards their secret algorithm with the same staff that protects Google and the recipe for Coca Cola–jk). [Source: How Many Sales to Amazon Bestseller?]

2. Is it worth it to enroll your ebook in Amazon’s Kindle Select program?

Here’s a rundown of how it the program generally works …

These free downloads impact the Amazon sales algorithm in a number of powerful ways and often boost future sales after the free download day(s) have accrued. …

Over time the sales and free downloads of ebooks available on Amazon compound the sales strength of a particular book, the Amazon algorithm see’s activity (again in the form of free downloads and purchases) and pushes these books out to even more customers, which in turn results in more purchases and a great selling book. [Source: Sell More eBooks on Amazon Now! With Kindle Select]

Here’s some more recent insight into how Amazon’s algorithm accounts for free downloads.

Amazon recently changed its algorithms to reduce the boost in rankings authors get by giving away books for free. . . “Free books used to be equal to paid books when Amazon decided popularity ratings, but these days it’s about 10%,” Robertson said. “So ten free books equal one paid book. The volume you need to move the needle is a lot higher than it used to be.” [Source: Indie Published Writers Start to Shun Amazon’s KDP Select]

3. How important is an ebook cover to Amazon’s algorithm, and does it impact sales?

The whole point of the algorithm is to bring two people together (author/reader) — to a book they’ll enjoy.

To accomplish this, your every action (non-action) is  “measured, turned into a number, and plugged into a mathematical formula (the algorithm) that is very good at predicting your future behavior. And this is how/why the site can recommend certain books to you.

A picture is worth a thousand words here because what is returned in these “suggested” or “also bought” sections? Thumbnails of your ebook cover, right? NOT the full, glorious size, but a thumbnail. And if that ain’t interesting enough – like a photo of a person on a dating site – your ebook is probably not going to get clicked on.

This is discussed in grave detail in the post, My Online Date with the Almighty Amazon Algorithm (Part 3 of 3): Beauty Is Only Thumb(nail)-Deep, where the author of the post writes:

When designing an e-book cover, you MUST assume that every potential reader will see it first as a thumbnail on a suggestive selling ribbon and not as a full-sized graphic. … [Remember] at any given moment, your title is in hand-to-hand combat with at least six other thumbnails on the “Customer Who Bought This Title Also Bought” ribbon—all dying to be noticed. Put a “blah” thumbnail in a lineup with six other better covers, and it practically disappears.

Is the thumbnail of your ebook as enticing as the full-sized image?

4. Does the way Amazon’s algorithm rank a book have anything to do with actual sale numbers?

Following are some rough guidelines.

8-12k… 10-15 / day? Daily fluctuations still have a big effect on rank this high up tho

5-8k steady = I dunno, 20/day, plus or minus a few books? Not many books are steady / sticky at these ranks though; stuff seems to stabilize at 3-4k or better?

Better than 3,500, sticky, you’re probably selling at least 1000/month. Rank of 800-1k is probably 90-100 copies per day? Pus or minus some?

After that it probably gets kinda wild

In general, I’d say this is an excellent way to evaluate an ebook only publisher [Source: Amazon Sales Rank vs. Author Earnings, Comments section; specific commenter – Genevieve, June 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm]

5. Does feedback (ie, reviews) really have an impact on Amazon’s algorithm? If so, does it mean more sales?

It definitely does, as I discussed a bit above. Here’s a better explanation of just how feedback impacts Amazon’s algorithm.

Selling on Amazon is like a positive feedback loop. When you make enough sales, your book starts to gain steam in Amazon’s algorithms, which will then suggest your book to consumers in the “Customers Also Bought” section of their site, among other places. The free advertising through algorithms gains you new sales, which in turn boosts your standing in the algorithms, so that you get more exposure, netting more sales.. [Source: 7 Tips for Selling Your Ebook in a Global Market]

I hope these insights help. Learn more about how Amazon’s algorithm works to help you sell more ebooks here.

Share Your Amazon Self-Publishing Insight

Know anything about how Amazon’s algorithm works? Did you know any of the above, or is it all “news” to you? Have any other Amazon ebook selling tips – what worked or what didn’t work? Please share in the comments section below.

Hope you’re having a great start to the work week, and for my American friends, are looking forward to the upcoming holiday weekend.


P.S.: Get 4 Ebooks for One Low Price — The Ultimate Self-Publishing Package!

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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3 Weeks ’til Forever: A Contemporary Romance Novel

“Everybody wants to be loved.” This is the enduring theme of all romance novels. We all want to be loved and accepted for exactly who and what we are. And that’s the beauty of love – it keeps the hope alive in each of us that there is someone out there, somewhere, who will love what is unique about us.

And that’s what keeps me reading romance, after romance, after romance. I’ve been a reader of romance novels since I was about 12 years old. I’ve read hundreds of them. Knowing this made me realize why this is such a profitable niche — and come to understand how to make my mark in it as a self-published author.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Here’s the site’s affiliate disclosure policy for full details.

About Me

I’ve been a freelance writer – in the business sector – since 1993. More about my businesses can be found here. This is my first romance novel.

I decided to give romance writing a try because of the success my sister had with her first romance novella. And when the title for it popped into my head one day, it just wouldn’t let go. Before I sat down to write a word, the characters were talking to me; hence, I had to write this book. Janey and Redmond – the main characters – just wouldn’t shut up!

And you know what, to my great surprise, this book practically wrote itself. I was amazed at how the characters truly took over once I sat down to write. Half the time, I didn’t even know what they were going to do – truly.

I hope you enjoy their journey to love as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you. I’m not so much the ‘author’ of this work, as the ‘conduit’ through which it flowed.

Following is an excerpt — the first two chapters.

Black Romance Novel; Contemporary Romance Novel

Chapter 1: The First Time

He slid his hand down into the most private part of her, parting her flesh there and deftly swirling his fingers back and forth over her most sensitive part until she could barely breathe.

Janey closed her eyes and rolled her head from side to side on the crisp white pillow. How did it get this far? She knew that if she didn’t stop him now, there was no turning back. Her hand shook as she put pressure on his in an effort to push it away from her very center.

The sound of her own passion roaring in her ears told her it was a lost cause.

Was that her breath catching in her throat?

Her tongue licking at the pulse of his strong, corded neck?

Her moans escaping a heaving, sweat-soaked chest?

It had to be, as there were only the two of them engulfed in this sea of passion in this tiny, rustic cabin.

Redmond’s lips found hers, gently at first – matching the rhythm of his kiss to the stroking of his fingers between her legs. He deepened the kiss, thrusting his tongue further and further into the warm cavern of her mouth.

The hand on the most intimate part of her followed suit, thrusting deeper and deeper into her. Janey writhed against him, unable to stand the twin assaults on her mouth and her womanhood.

The last vestiges of the wall she’d built to protect herself from wanting him escaped her and she gave in to the passion, begging him to become one with her. She longed to feel the thickness of him inside her, to fulfill the promise of what his lips and hands had awakened within her.

Then he stopped – everything – the kiss, the swirling of fingers between her legs.

For a second, Janey was confused. Her doe-shaped eyes, which had been fused shut by the swell of passion, popped open. And there – before her – was Redmond. Her entire vision was filled with him.

Locked in a desire-filled stare, she took in the sheen of perspiration on his forehead, the pulse beating at the side of his temple, the moistness of his lips – and most visibly – the craving in his eyes.

It was as if this was what he wanted. He wanted her to open her eyes and see how much he wanted her – and for her to acknowledge how much she wanted him.

Holding her gaze – and without saying a word, Redmond lowered his head to take her lips once again. Softly, slowly, masterfully.

The fingers between her legs started their sensuous assault again and he gently lowered his body to cover hers. He withdrew his hand from her center and slowly climbed on top of her, parting her legs as he continued to stare intently at her.

Janey sensed his restraint as he slowly slid his manhood into the opening of her moist womanhood. She tensed at first, unaccustomed to the size of him. He sensed her momentary discomfort and cradled the back of her head with one hand while sliding the other under her right buttock.

Whispering in his native language in her left ear, the sound of his deep, melodic voice soothed her, while he slid his length slowly and steadily into her. In and out, out and in he slid into the damp depth of her.

Janey felt her body relax and close around him, snugly pulling every inch of him deep inside her – taking everything he had to give. With his hand pressing powerfully into her buttock, she moved her hips. Up and down she strained against him, reaching for the summit she knew was there.

With her body responding so perfectly and sinuously to his, Redmond could no longer control his strokes. He drove into her again and again, taking everything she had to give – and wanting more.

The throbbing throughout her body begged for release and sensing she was near passion’s peak, Redmond drove fully into her one last time. Janey tightened around him, as he whispered in her ear and drew her tightly to him.

Although she didn’t understand a word of what he said, she knew they were words he’d never repeat to her in English. They felt too personal, too raw – too exposed.

And for all the passion their physical selves had just shared, Janey instinctively felt that there were parts of him he’d never share.

Chapter 2: The Struggle to Forget

How apropos, Janey thought, that the memory of the first time they made love also shone a bright light on why their relationship would never work. Shaking her head, she pondered, How can something be so perfect and so wrong at the same time?

Janey had been back home in Manhattan for a week. Her every waking thought was of Redmond.

She found it hard to concentrate on work; her only relief from thoughts of him coming when she was on long runs – part of the training for her first triathlon, a baby one she’d decided to give a shot after years of just running marathons.

Redmond had called only twice since she came back from Sol y Besos, the tiny Caribbean island known for “sun and kisses;” hence, the name. He’d left one voice mail, which she’d listened to over and over again before deleting in a fit of anger one afternoon.

Janey, I came by your hotel later that evening on the day we came back from Hill Country. They told me that you had checked out. Can you please call me? We really need to talk.

Even though every fiber of her being wanted to reach out to him, there was something in her that just wouldn’t allow her to pick up the phone and make the call. And every day that went by without him calling again solidified that she was doing the right thing.

After all, if he really wanted to talk to her, really cared about her, he would have called more than twice since she’d been back.

Maybe he was working things out with his wife.

Maybe he was a gigolo after all and had met someone else.

Whatever the reason, she reminded herself that even though she was hurting now, it was better this than to have wasted a year, two or three on this relationship. And, she sought solace in the advice friends and family had given her when she’d told them about Redmond.

He can’t do anything for you girl!” the sarcasm of her girlfriend’s expression popped before her strained eyes as she tried to edit an article one afternoon.

Can’t you find a nice man who doesn’t have such complicated life Janey,” her aunt’s soft pleadings rang in her ears when they’d had lunch one afternoon.

When you’re from two different cultures; that’s just asking for trouble. Stick to your own kind,” the words from her long-deceased grandmother came to her during one of her crying spells.

Everyone important to her – dead and alive – she thought sardonically, had warned her about a relationship with Redmond. And consciously, she knew they were probably right.

So why couldn’t she forget him? Why did he dominate her every waking hour?

Why could she still feel the softness of his lips on the smoothness of her forehead, his preferred spot for playful kisses?

Why could she still see with perfect clarity the whiteness of his teeth as he laughed out loud at something she said?

Why could she still feel the strength of his arms as he held her tight against the surf to receive his kiss in the warm waters of the Caribbean sea?

Why could she still feel the vibration of his voice in her ear as he spoke to her while she lay on his chest before they drifted off to sleep?


It all seemed so right.

So what made it so wrong?

Instead of fighting the thoughts, for the first time since she’d been back, Janey decided to give herself over to them; to allow herself to fully relive the dream of what she and Redmond had shared – because she knew she was going to have to find a way to accept that it could never be a reality.

Add to Cart$2.99; (84 pages; 28,657 words); Get it on Amazon here.


P.S.: Want to Self-Publish Your Book? Get the Ultimate Self-Publishing Package — 4 Ebooks for One Low Price!

P.P.S.: Want to start a successful career where you have the mobility to live and work where you please? Visit our freelance writing bookstore for a ton of opportunities (freelance writing and internet marketing) to get you started.

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How I’m Using My “Slow Time” as a Freelance Writer

In today’s post over on SeoWritingJobs.com, this site’s sister site, we discussed slow  times as a freelance writer. In that post, there are ……

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InkwellEditorial.com Review / Yuwanda Black Review: She’s a scam artist y’all! She steals your money and runs off to Jamaica.

Just another Nigerian 419 Scam by Yuwanda Black

YuwandainJamaica-Feb2011a Nigerian Scam Artist Yuwanda Black trying to pose as an American,

Learn more about why you should be glad when you are accused of being a scam artist and/or receive other “bad” publicity online.

If you see other articles, comments, etc., accusing me/my businesses of unethical behavior, please send the link so it can get posted here. Thanks in advance, and be careful doing business on the web.

Yuwanda Black, Editor/Publisher

P.S.: Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, feedback, etc. via the contact link found on every page of the site.

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How to Find Freelance Writing Jobs without a Website: 3 Things You Can Do TODAY

A student in the SEO copywriter training class I taught recently sent in the following question, which got me to thinking about ways to land freelance writing jobs without having a website. First, I’ll share my thoughts on this, then outline three methods you can start using – today – to find freelance writing jobs. And, they’re all free!

If Hi Yuwanda,

Thank you for the feedback. Oh my…I was slipping in some areas but I found your feedback extremely informative and helpful. Now I do have a few questions….1) Is it absolutely necessary to have a website to start..I see the need for one but I have little time or money right now..2) You said you knew someone who did them inexpensively..what is his information? Thanks

Freelance Writers: Why I Think It’s Absolutely Necessary to Have a Website

It’s simple, it’s your home on the web – where you list everything from your freelance writing rates to your writing samples. And, I’ve said this a million times before but it bears repeating – times have progressed to the point where clients expect you to have one. It is simply unprofessional NOT to have one.

With all of that being said, following are three ways to start finding freelance writing jobs without a website – today.

Get Busy Finding Freelance Writing Jobs Today with These 3 Tips

I. Facebook: It’s very easy to set up a Facebook account and set up a page for your business on it. A couple of freelancers have told me that they found it very easy to land writing gigs via Facebook.

Facebook Marketing Tip: One thing I’d advise is to use the search feature on Facebook to find prospects. For example, let’s say you want to specialize in writing content for bankruptcy lawyers. Who would you be looking for? These types of lawyers, right? So, I did a search for “bankruptcy attorneys” and following is some of what popped up.

bankruptcy-attorneysThen, it’s just a matter of going to their page, which probably has their contact info somewhere, and sending them a message about the type of writing you do. If you make enough contacts – and have good writing samples – I’m willing to be dollars to doughnuts that you’ll eventually start landing clients.

II. Go Local: So many of us as freelance writers concentrate our efforts online when looking for writing gigs.

But there are tons of businesses right in your local community who need your services. So get out the good ole Yellow Pages (you remember, that big, thick yellow book that many of us used to rely on to find everything from dentists to plumbers) and start contacting them.

You can call them, or print up some flyers and actually walk into their business and hand it to them. Many will be glad to know a “local writer,” because I’m willing to bet that NO other freelance writer has used this method.

Also post flyers on local boards. When I used to live in New York City, for example, there was a board in my local laundry mat; Chinese food restaurant; all-in-one copy, fax and shipping center; and the local diner where anyone could post flyers for everything from apartments to puppies for sale.

So stick your flyer up there offering your blogging, social media, freelance writing, etc. services.

Make sure you tout how you can make these businesses start getting more traffic and leads from their websites and blogs. Why? Because a lot of local businesses don’t know anything about how to market online.

So once you get in front of them, explain to them the concept of content marketing and how it helps to generate leads and sales (ie, get customers in the door). Create a sample page for their site (or recreate an existing one that’s poorly done). Do it for free for their review. Once they actually see the clear difference, you have a good shot of landing them as a client – if the price is right.

cover-medUsing this method, before you know it, you could be the local “web writing genius!”

III. Ask Friends and Family: Many times, we don’t use the resources that are right at our fingertips. I know I’m guilty of this.

Normally, I don’t like to mix business with pleasure (ie, friends and family). I don’t think I’ve ever asked a family member to refer clients or really told them about my business. Most of the time, they ask me, “What is it you do again? I know it’s something on the internet with writing, but what exactly is it again?

Nowadays though, I see many of my friends and family on Facebook, for example, have hundreds – sometimes a few thousand — “friends;” especially the younger ones.

If I were starting out from scratch as a freelance writer today, this would be a network I’d seriously consider taking advantage of. All you have to do is post a note telling everyone that you’re starting your freelance writing career and that if they know anyone who needs blog posts, social media account management for their business, web content, etc., to please refer you.

Even if you have just a few contacts – ostensibly because they know and literally already “Like” you (Facebook pun fully intended) – I’ll bet some referrals will come your way.

The Ways of Finding Freelance Writing Jobs Is Only Limited by Your Imagination

There are so many ways to find freelance writing jobs it’s ridiculous. I’m constantly amazed when people tell me that they’re struggling to find work. Yeah, we all have dry spells, but these can be so much shorter if you ACTIVELY market all the time. And I find that a lot of us (I so include myself in this), get lazy. We simply don’t want to do what it takes to succeed.

The Opportunities in Freelance Writing are There – Especially in Certain Niches

If there’s one type of work that’s readily available today, it’s online writing jobs. Proof? According to the U.S. Department of Labor website:

Employment of writers and authors is projected to grow 6 percent from 2010 to 2020 . . . online publications and services are growing in number and sophistication, spurring demand for writers and authors with Web and multimedia experience (emphasis added). . . .

Writers and authors who have adapted to online media and are comfortable writing for and working with a variety of electronic and digital tools (emphasis added) should have an advantage in finding work. The declining costs of self-publishing, the growing popularity of electronic books, and the increasing number of readers of electronic books will allow many freelancer writers to get their work published.

But again, you must be proactive about finding these jobs — whether you use online or offline methods.

Finally, I can’t stress enough how important I think it is to eventually get a website if you want to be taken seriously as a freelance writer (aka a BUSINESS owner). But if you have $0, it doesn’t mean you have to wait to start – as these tips show.

And FYI, I specifically listed these three ways of finding freelance writing jobs because they are routes that others aren’t taking – so it means little to no competition for you. This increases your chance of landing writing gigs that much sooner.

I hope this insight helps and FYI, once you do get your freelance writing website up, here’s what to put on it to attract clients.

P.S.: How would you like to earn $100, $150, $200/day or more working from home as a freelance writer, editor and/or copy editor? Thousands are — and you can too in Inkwell Editorial’s freelance writing e-course, which teaches you everything you need to know about how to become a freelance writer.

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Yuwanda Black: Scam Artist of InkwellEditorial.com, SeoWritingJobs.com, FreeAdsSell.info, NewMediaWords.biz and SeoRealEstateWriter.com

One thing my mom used to say is, “The more successful you become, the more people will try to tear you down.” Hence, the following is kind of funny to me. I’m posting this so that if it ever happens to you, you’ll know how to deal with it, and why you should really rejoice in it, especially as it’s amazing how easy the web makes it for people to try and harm your reputation. …

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Self-Publishing Profits: How to Sell Instantly Downloadable Ebooks from Your Own Website

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know that I’ve been writing and selling ebooks online – from my own website — since 2002 (I’ve erroneously said 2004 for years, so forgive this if you run across this date in further readings). However, they weren’t always instant digital downloads. …

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