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Ellen's 5 Top Questions & Answers

Q1. I have a book that I want to launch. How do I start?

A1. No matter where authors are in the process I always have them do a Crushing Kindle Marketing and Visibility Study first. (I explained the steps in last week's newsletter). Sometimes, even when a book has already been completed, it still needs tweaking. Going forward, I always suggest doing the marketing research first. Then, you'll have to decide if you want to do a free launch or a discounted launch. I like doing a free launch for two to three days first, and then giving incentives on the paid book for about another week.

The reason I like the free ones is that there are a lot of announcement sites that will announce it for you and they have huge lists. So, it's great for authors with small or non-existent lists. But, it's also good for established authors because you reach a lot of people. When we do them for clients, we usually get 500-1,000 downloads for new authors. I did one last week that got almost 2,500 downloads and I don't even know the paid results yet. (I think they are selling about 20 books a day.) But, they had a following from their podcast. The great thing is the more books you publish, each time you launch, you start selling the other books too!

Q2. I was curious about doing a free + shipping offer to get the message out there, what are your thoughts?

A2. You can do free + shipping-that is done from your own website. You have to have a very large reach or be willing to spend serious money to make it work. Also, it depends on who your market is. My market doesn't like free + shipping because they know it isn't really free. Usually the shipping covers it. You can also do buy the book and get free shipping, and it's more honest.

Q3. Can you outsource the whole (book writing) process and be successful?

A3. I don't know. I once was in a mastermind where someone asked for a recommendation and I mentioned an author I had read. The leader said to be careful buying his books because he didn't write them all himself, and some of the ones he didn't write weren't very good. That doesn't bode well. Plus, now, authenticity is so important that I think it should be in your voice. Why hire someone to try to figure out what you already know? I prefer to work with experts, so it's a hybrid. I can figure out the marketing research and title in a 90-minute call with them. Then, interview them. And then, we can do the editing, book cover and formatting, and help them publish it. But, I'm sure there are others who would disagree with me.

Q4. What is the best way to format a book? The text, positioning, numbering etc. Would doing it on Word be sufficient?

A4. In my experience, doing it in Word has never worked for me. My belief is that this is a technical skill few authors can do well and would be better off leaving it to professionals. However, there are some tools that you can use if you want to try it or are two of them. There are also templates that you can buy ( ), and we do it as well.

Font size is usually 12-point Times Roman, but doesn't have to be. And there should be a space between paragraphs, so it's easy to read. Also, be careful in your numbering. Numbers start at the introduction, before that, it's Roman Numerals. Also, note that the worst thing you can do is try to design it, and then decide you want a professional to take over because, then, it has to be stripped first and is much more expensive.

Q5. How do I publish my book on Amazon?

A5. You go to and follow the prompts. You can publish there in epub (digital) and PDF (publishing on demand) If your formatting isn't right, it will not accept it. When you download it, it will run a spell check, and then you'll have to sign off on those or make changes if it needs it. But, the places that trips people up in publishing are whether or not to use DRM (Digital Rights Management). If you want people to be able to share your book, then you want to choose "No". If you don't want it shared then "Yes" Also, be sure to check out the pricing tool. It will tell you the sweet spot for pricing based on the algorithms. But, this is only for Kindle books.

Most paperbacks by self-published authors are around $14.97 You also have to decide if you are going to put your book in KDP Select or not. You get a 70% royalty rate in most countries when you go into KDP. Otherwise you only get 35%. (Amazon wants you to publish with them only) You have to put it in there to use their launch tools. But, it does require a 90-day exclusive to Amazon. If you decide to use it, you must price your book at least for $2.99. I don't put it in right away. I make it .99 while getting reviews, and then go into KDP when I am ready to for the formal launch.

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