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What Self-published Authors Should Do About a Bad Review



A bad book review is not uncommon and it will not be your last!

There is one truism that all self-published authors must accept -- not everyone is going to like what you write. The good news is a bad review at least means someone is reading your book. Book marketing is a big part of the self-publishing world, so how you choose to handle a bad review matters. Let’s look at what one writer did the wrong when responding to a bad review and the backlash that ensued and then consider some more positive approaches.

Bad book review

What Not to Do

Kiri Blakeley, contributing writer to Forbes, tells the story of one self-published author who went on the defensive when someone posted a bad review about her book. The poster stated that the book was full of typos and grammatical errors, making it difficult to read.

In the author’s defense, the reviewer was less than kind when pointing this out. The comment was full of words one doesn’t usually hear in polite conversation. The author went on the attack by insisting the writing was fine and demanding the reviewer delete the post.

By the time it was all over, there were over 300 comments, most of them bad, about the book and the author’s lack of professionalism. The outburst even ended up repeated on Twitter.

How Should You Handle a Bad Review?

Author Isaac Asimov once said that writers fall into two groups: the ones that bleed visibly with every bad review and those who bleed secretly. Your goal is to be the latter, because there will always be someone that hates your self-published book. You can’t control what your readers say; only how you react to it.

Instead of giving in to that urge to strike back, consider some holistic ways to handle the problem.

1. Look at the Stats of a Bestseller

That is the beauty of online sites like Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can easily look up a book title and see the review statistics. Mockingjay, the final book in the Hunger Games series, has over 900 one star reviews.  

2. Put it in Prospective

A self-published book with only glowing reviews looks suspicious. A bad review every once in a while keeps it honest, while keeping you humble at the same time.

3. Categorize the Review

There are two types of bad reviews, a troll comment meant to insight and one that offers constructive criticism. Once you get past the angry stage, read the review again and put it in one of those categories.

  • If it is a troll review, ignore it and move on with your life.

  • If the reviewer makes legitimate points, then dissect the information and learn from it. 

The best way to offset a bad review is with a good one, so when you are out doing book marketing, encourage the people you meet to offer up a review. If you do respond to the comment, make sure to limit your response to a thank you. Anything else sounds defensive and puts you in a bad light. 

Now... that review doesn't sound so bad...does it?

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!

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How to Throw a Book Launch Party for Sales Out of the Gate


Whether you're an independent self published author or you go the traditional route, a big part of your writing job is going to be marketing your book after it's published. Word of mouth is crucial for any book's success, and one of the best ways to get the word spread around is by creating buzz before the book even hits the best seller list. A launch party on Facebook helps your book to hit the ground running, building sales and growing the excitement and anticipation with your fans.

Facebook party

A Launch Party?

A launch party is an online celebration of the birth of your book. Readers, fans, and even the curious can join in the fun and get enough information about your book to make them want to buy it. There are giveaways, live chats, virtual and actual prizes, and ways for you to keep in touch with the reader after the party is over. If done well, a launch party can propel your book right onto the bestseller lists.

Where to Hold It

Your Facebook author page is the ideal place for your book's launch party. Facebook already has the mechanisms installed for all the party facets you need. If you don't have an author page there, that's your first order of business. Start the page and spread the word, signing up as many fans as possible. 

Planning the Party

Set everything up ahead of time to allow you to enjoy the party along with your guests. Look on the top left corner of your Facebook page and click on "Events". This will take you to a page where you can set up an invitation and reminder that will notify every fan from your page. You can also spread the word on other forums and in your newsletter, giving them the page address.

Decide on some prizes for contests. Most authors give away .pdf copies of their book to give the lucky winners a sneak peek before anyone else. Others can win advance chapters of your next book, Amazon or Starbucks gift cards, or naming a character in your next book. Set up a Rafflecopter contest and let it run for a few weeks before the party to allow the maximum number of entrants.

Party Day

Have some fun activities, hints about the book, quizzes, and jokes ready before the beginning of the party. Drop in every hour or two to see how the party's going, and to post on all the threads. Start a new topic every few hours, just to get the conversation flowing. Ask for ideas for your next book, give tough little quizzes, post as your main character, or host an "Ask the Author" thread. Interact with as many readers as possible to turn them into fans. Pull the Rafflecopter prizes in the early evening, and email the winners to congratulate them.

This is something all authors can do even those of you who are just getting started with social media. Have some fun with this...50% of getting to success is simply being there, so go for it!

Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!

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How to Create a Winnng Formula in Your Non-Fiction Niche


Readers usually search for non-fiction books because they're looking to solve a problem or answer a question. They search for their books by keyword: growing vegetables, puppy training, sailboat building. Unlike fiction authors, people who write non-fiction books aren't usually lucky enough to find readers through casual browsing. They have to specifically target their marketing so that it's easy for readers to find their work. This type of marketing can actually easier to manage with a well defined audience.

Specialized broccoli

The first key to selling non-fiction books is to stand out from the crowd. Imagine doing a search for growing vegetables. You'd find a long string of books on the subject, each of them similar to the others. There's virtually no difference between them, and no way to choose. Your task is to make your work stand out and grab the reader's eye by writing about the same topics in a completely different way.

Narrowing the Niche

You probably write about a topic because you know a lot about it, and you have a passion for the subject. Your large amount of knowledge can allow you to write a thorough work filled with good, useful information, but it will likely end up a small fish in a big ocean of similar books. The way to transform your book into a bigger fish is by narrowing down the niche.

Start by breaking down the topic into at least ten smaller topics. If you write about gardening, break it into growing tomatoes, growing peppers, growing squash, and the like. Or go in a different direction and choose upside down gardening, square-foot gardening, creative container gardening, and similar topics. You may have already broken this list down when you chose your chapter headings in your big book.

Establish Your Expertise

Imagine doing that same search for growing vegetables. Instead of a long list of mixed titles, you find some general books plus a series of books or eBooks, all by the same author. This author starts to look like a real expert in the field, doesn't she? Even if you put the exact same information into the detailed titles as you would in the larger work, the fact that there are multiple book covers on the list, all with your name and brand, helps to establish you as the person who knows her stuff when it comes to vegetables gardening.

Writing the Work

The tighter titles don't have to be as long or elaborate as your general book -- in fact, they shouldn't be. Write smaller pieces of 50 to 100 pages, filled with useful information. Trim all the fat and fluff and make the book as helpful and full of new tips and tricks as you can. Pack as much new information in as possible, to give the reader the most amount of perceived value. Do this with every one of your sub-titles, publishing one every month or so, and you'll be one of the go-to names in your niche within a year's time.

The next step is optimization for findability which we will cover in one of our next few blogs. 


Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!


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4 Ways to Ring in the Holiday Season with a Book Marketing Strategy


‘Tis the season ... That’s right, it might still be warm outside, but the holiday shopping season is approaching fast. Savvy self-published authors know this is the time to craft your strategy and begin to put your book in the spotlight. Retailers report the holiday season makes up anywhere from 20 to 40 percent of their annual sales, according to Daily Finance.

Holiday Book Planning

If you are a book marketer looking to promote, then you better be ready to jump aboard the holiday express. Consider some ways you can make this season count with a successful holiday marketing plan.

Give Them Away

It’s called sales, but it is really about the promotion. The more exposure your book gets the better the promotion. One fast and dirty way to get readers to pay attention is to give a few copies away. You can offer a Facebook promotion, the first five friends that post their favorite book quote to your page gets a free, signed copy, for example.

If the word “free” makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck, try a discounted price for the holidays. The Independent Book Publishers Association points out, this is an effective strategy if you are distributing direct through the mainstream retailers like Amazon or Barnes and Noble.  

You can also design a coupon or provide a discount code, so all readers have to do is pay for the shipping.

Hit the Craft Fairs

They will be popping up all over the place in a few months. Invest in a table or two at some of the trendy craft fairs and get your name out there. This is about building your brand, as much as selling your wares. Have promotional goodies on hand to help visitors remember your name.

  • Business cards

  • Bookmarks

  • Magnets

If you are promoting one book, focus on the title and your name. For instance, the magnet might be your book cover. If you have self-published multiple books, then promote them all to build your brand.

Host a Holiday Book Signing Party 

Local coffee shops love this type of a holiday promotion. All it costs them is a little bit of space and some advertising. Set up a festive table near the front of the cafe and give the customers something to look at when they are buying coffee.

This concept works in other venues, too. Local bookstores, an art gallery, bar or restaurant might partner with you to create a holiday event. You can offer to split some of the book sale proceeds with your host to defer the cost of book marketing.

Early Bird Promotion

If you write a blog or send out a newsletter, start reminding people early to buy your book as gifts. Put a holiday countdown on your website or tuck one into the top corner of an email promotion. The point is to get them thinking about you and your work well before the holiday shopping season starts.

It will be here before you know it. Don’t wait until that last minute to create your holiday book marketing strategy. What are your sales goals this holiday season? 

Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!

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4 Tips On Using Instagram to Motivate Book Purchasers


What Does Your Instagram Account Say About You? 

Lifestyle shots are just part of creating a persona on Instagram. Fans love to see what an author's life is like, but are you posting photos that actually motivate your fans to purchase your book? Want to get followers to stop on your posts as they scroll through their ever-revolving feed- try our tips to stand out. 

Instagram motivates 1. Tell a story with Instagram.

Do this by posting photos that leave readers with an "I can't live without knowing more" feeling. 

  • Edit text directly onto a photo: 

    • Get into your favorite editor (Adobe Illustrator or even as simple as Picasa)

    • Save photos from your book?

    • If you're a novelist, channel your inner Jackie Collins to type out a short, tantalizing one or two liner that motivates to buy. 

  • Post a pic and tell a story whether it's a how-to or a novel:

    • Recipe and how-to books:

      • post a pic and write a short 3-liner below about how your recipe was brought down through a family tradition- play on reader's sentimental sides. 

      • if it's a novel, post a photo that keeps readers wondering. Give a one or two line excerpt then ask a leading question that can only be answered by purchasing your book.

2. Promote social-media cross-linking instantly with FB/Twitter/Tumblr.

  • Did you know when you post an Instagram photo you can automatically link it to your other social media networks? This not only saves time marketing, but now Instagram handles convert to Twitter handles. Chances are you'll get a retweet or a mention if you continually link over here. 

3. Promote guest posts, blog tours and live events in your feed.

Instagram is becoming one of the most well-received marketing forums for authors online today. It's quick, easy and people say they feel like they're genuinely connected to their follower base with authentic interactions. 

  • Screen shot your feature from the web, use relevant hashtags and handle tag related users: 

    • Upcoming events and book signings

    • Interviews

    • Guest posts

    • Online retail locations you're newly featured in 

4. Host a giveaway to gain traction.

This also offers an opportunity to recruit other social media avenues. 

  • Feature a photo of a friend holding your book doing something quirky, yet related. 

  • Position the giveaway something like, "whoever posts a photo of themselves doing something exceptionally X (creative, quirky, innovative...) with the book, gets a signed copy for a friend. Most unique wins. 

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!

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It’s An Even More Amazing Time To Be a Published Author!


 Audio listen AudioBlog

It is now been almost four years since I said “What an amazing  time to become a published Author”. And you know what, today it’s even better!

Global Marketing AuthorTree Border

The power you now have to share your work on global scale is truly amazing. The potential to enhance people’s lives by entertaining and educating through fiction and non-fiction writing is almost limitless. And as it was then, the power that you and every author have to change the trajectory of your writing or business career has never been greater. I get really passionate about this, in fact it gives me goose bumps to think about that Crazy!

It is, as I said… still an amazing time to be an Author, not only do you have the ability to publish without a traditional publisher but I would say you also have the power to create your own marketing destiny through writing!

The irony is, that although writers like you own the most powerful talent in marketing today, the ability to write great content, most have not yet discovered how to leverage this skill to sell more books.

 After four years of working with hundreds of authors and publishing thousands of titles the core challenge we continue to hear is still simply “how can I sell more books?” During this time we have been writing about marketing strategies in the Blog and have been working on a marketing formula for authors called “The AuthorTree” Formula.

The AuthorTree Formula puts you in control and on an accelerated track to sell more books. Like any formula there is no free lunch, it requires discipline, time and most of all perseverance. It’s based on one of the latest techniques in marketing and works for the aspiring or experienced author.

We want to thank those that have assisted us in our quest. We are launching the AuthorTree Formula but we would like to ask you to take a few minutes and tell us what your top two marketing questions or challenges are … be sure we don’t miss anything. Click Here For Marketing Survey.

Have a Great and Relaxing Labor Day!

Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!



5 Things Outlander Teaches Authors About Persevering


When it was first published in 1991, Outlander became a worldwide best seller. This romantic tale of a woman who fell through time and the Scotsman she falls in love with is filled with authentic details of 18th century Highland life. Fans have followed the pair and their lives for well over 20 years, devouring each new book in the series as it's published.

Author Outlander Persevere

The story of Claire and Jamie is one of perseverance. As a modern woman and a distinctly traditional man, they aren't exactly a perfect match. But their love is stronger than any forces that may stand in the way of their happiness. Whatever life throws at them, Jamie and Claire never give up, stubbornly standing until they reach their goals. Writers have a lot to learn from Claire and Jamie, and some of the most important lessons have to do with sticking to their goals, or perseverance.

Hit the Ground Running

You've got a goal, so gather yourself up and start strong. Claire lands on the ground in the middle of a battle, and literally is running for her life within two minutes. You may not be in danger of being shot by a Redcoat, but a strong start will give your day energy that can help push you closer to your goal.

Accept the Inevitable

The only way Claire can escape the clutches of the evil Black Jack Randall is by marrying Jamie, so she accepts her fate and deals with it. When your job changes and you have fewer hours to write, when your children get out of school for summer, when something happens to your writing situation that you simply can't change, accept the inevitable. And then do what you can to adjust your work around it.

Use Your Knowledge

Claire finds herself living in a castle and has to do something to prove herself useful. She uses her hobby of learning about plants to transform herself into an herb women: someone who can doctor people with medicinal herbs. Use your own knowledge when you need to get through tough parts of your book. Is your character being chased? Does she have a difficult decision to make? Add a scene or two that only you could write with your own particular knowledge. You'll add a touch of authenticity to the book, as well as getting through a tough scene that was stuck in place.

Learn to Adapt

Claire learns to live 200 years in the past by adjusting and adapting her actions to fit in. She uses her knowledge and skills in ways that would seem natural in the 18th century, and she learns to enjoy the life she's created. You can adapt your lifestyle to accommodate working toward your goal by changing your schedule, changing your favorite hobby from television watching to writing, and even taking advantage of small breaks to get in 100 words at a time.

Never Give Up Your Goal

Claire falls back through time at the end of the first book and comes back to modern life. The second book opens 20 years later with her putting her plans into place to go back to find Jamie again. In the years between the two books, she's given birth and raised Jamie's daughter. She waited until the daughter was grown before acting, but she never gave up her goal of moving back through time and reuniting with her one true love. Keep your determination just as strong. If you have to write your book 100 words at a time, that's what you have to do. Life is never perfect, and every project gets hit with at least one or two bumps. Keep your goal in mind every day and you'll eventually reach the finish line, those lovely words: The End.

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!


4 Tips On Alter Ego Marketing to Bring Your Character to Life


Imagine going online and finding Katniss Everdeen's tweets, Hermione Grainger's Pinterest boards, or T.S. Garp's Facebook posts. If you're a fan of their stories, you'd follow along, adding them to your favorites lists and perhaps sharing particularly good posts or tweets with other people on your list. This is one of the benefits of having a memorable character; she comes to life in your readers' minds so much that they react to her as if she were real.

Alter Ego Marketing Publishing

Why Do It?

Like any other real person, your character can get better known online by opening social media accounts and participating in them each day. Posting as your character will perpetuate the idea that she lives on past the events of the book, and creates interest in her life that readers pass on to friends. In social media terms, this means reposting and retweeting your words, sometimes thousands of times a day. You can't buy publicity like that. Well, you can, but it would cost a lot of money.

Where to Start?

Every social media site asks for an email account, so set one up for your character. GMail is quick and simple, and there's nothing in their TOS that prohibits you from having multiple accounts. Get a user name as close to your character's name as possible, for name recognition. Use this account everywhere your character has to sign up to an individual account.

Places to Join

Facebook can still be a powerful marketing tool, as long as it's used correctly. It's against their rules to have accounts under more than one name, but you can set up alternate sections called Pages. Make a page in your character's full name and post from that page to send messages to your fans' walls. Sign up for a Twitter account using the GMail account, as well as setting up a Pinterest board.

How to Post

The main point of social media hinges on the word "social." You have to commit to posting on a regular basis as your character, at least once a day for the best results. The idea is not to push your books but to turn thousands of people into fans of your character, making them care about what happens to her. You've lived with this character long enough, you know what she's like as a person. Imagine how she would post on social media sites, and take on that personality when you post. Stay in character, but switch up posts between funny, poignant, useful, and friendly, just like live people do. Make sure you add your character's social media account names into the back matter in your book, giving your readers the chance to discover and follow along as a fan or as a friend.

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!


Self Publishing Success: 3 Key Actions To Find Your Readers


Every writer has dreams of being the next Stephen King, or at least the next Hugh Howey, but there are no guarantees what book is going to become a raging success and which one will sit on the shelves. You may not be able to find the golden key that opens up the door to unlimited sales, but you can tweak the odds a little bit in the way you market your book. The key is to make it easy for your readers to find your work. Until you've got multiple best-sellers under your belt, your readers won't want to search around to find your latest book. Giving your readers the opportunity to easily buy your work won't guarantee bestseller status, but without taking these steps, you're stacking the odds against you. You need to find the key and open the gates!

Open gates reader

Sell in Multiple Formats

Putting a eBook up on Amazon is a great way to put your work up in front of millions of people. So is publishing a hardcover or recording an audiobook. Each method has its own set of fans who regularly shop for their reading material in their stores, and they rarely cross genres. Why pick and choose between eBook lovers, those who adore paper in their hands, and people who listen to books on their commute? Give your readers the chance to experience your work in any format they choose. Sell eBooks, of course, but also sell audiobooks, paperbacks, hardcovers, and even digital copies on flash drives if you find a venue. The more, the better.

Sell on Multiple Outlets

It's accepted almost everywhere that Amazon is the big dog when it comes to selling books now. You'd be foolish to ignore its size and strength, but there are other venues that have their fans, and these fans won't touch an Amazon book. Place your book for sale everywhere that you can, from Barnes & Noble and Apple to Google and others. Put your book in as many stores as possible, to reach the highest number of potential buyers. Look for niche stores that may cater to your reader.

Market to Your Audience

Every writer has to market their book today, whether they're published by a big commercial firm or they do it themselves with the indie route. Your time is better spent writing your next book, but you have to spend time marketing every day. It makes sense to make the most of that time directing the work where it will do the most good.

Who is your ideal reader? Spend time figuring out exactly who this is, and find out where they hang out online. Post in garden forums, create a Pinterest page, put up amusing Tweets, or whatever works for your fan base. Don't waste time with general advertising that hits people who don't care about your genre. Narrow your niche and hit it hard.

The above are a few basic actions you take to catch your reader and keep him. See our new AuthorTree Marketing Program may be exactly what you have been looking for to open the gates!

Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!


Is Crowdfunding the Right Move for Authors?


Virginia Woolf had it right: in order to do the best fiction work, one needs a modest sum of money and a room of one's own. The argument about the perfect writing environment can go on for years, but one thing is certain: in order to be able to write, you have to have some way to pay the bills. Most writers have other jobs, at least when beginning their career, but some are discovering an alternate source of income that might provide enough to live on while finishing up a novel or nonfiction book. It's called crowdfunding, and it's the newest way to raise money to allow you to use your creativity without tying up your day making a living.

Crowdfunding Authors

What is Crowdfunding?

It all began with crowdsourcing, a concept unique to the internet. If enough people do a small amount of tiny jobs, together they can achieve massive results. This was first proven on a popular scale with the SETI@Home project, which uses home computers in screensaver mode to do complicated computations. Companies soon popped up to take advantage of crowdsourcing. Offering pennies a task, they broke down massive data entry jobs and other digital tasks into small bits. Workers did tiny bits of almost brainless work for pocket change, and clients got very large tasks done relatively quickly.

Crowdfunding took this concept and turned it on its head. What if enough people believed in your project, enough so they'd be willing to pitch in five or ten dollars to help? Creative people across the globe are creating crowdfunding campaigns, raising money for creative efforts such as making indie movies, building inventions, and, yes, taking time off to write books.

How to Crowdfund?

If you've decided to try your hand at raising money this way, keep in mind that the initial setup takes a lot of time and effort. Choose a crowdfunding spot such as PubSlush, which is specifically for writers, or Kickstarter, probably the best-known of them all. Each site has its own pros and cons, and you'll need to sample several to find your best fit.

Research the site to find the best methods of creating your presentation. You'll need to make a video about your project, come up with a convincing essay, and create viable gifts for larger supporters. Ask for a reasonable amount to get you through your project. You don't want people to think you're taking advantage of them. Be honest and direct, and add a touch of humor if you can. Market your campaign everywhere you can, and ask all your fans to do the same. Keep in touch with your supporters if your campaign is successful, and promptly send out all the promised swag in a timely manner.

We have considered starting our own crowdfunding site for authors and would love to hear your thoughts?

Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!


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