Author Archives: Ruth Ann Nordin

About Ruth Ann Nordin

Ruth Ann Nordin mainly writes historical western romances and Regencies. From time to time, she branches out to contemporaries romances and other genres (such as science fiction thrillers). For more information, please go to or check out

Promoting A Pre-order

This is not an exhaustive list on things you can do to promote your pre-order, should you choose to do one.  These are a couple of ideas I’m using.  If you have any ideas you can add, please share them in the comments.  The more ideas we have, the better. :)

pre-order promotion blog post

ID 37497865 © Melpomenem |

Make a Page For the Pre-Order Book

This can be through a Book Launch page or a page on your blog or website.  The idea is to have the cover image, the description, and links where someone can buy the pre-order.  If you can add something unique or fun to the page, even better.  This page can be the central hub to direct people to your upcoming book.

Here’s an example of one of mine if you want to get a better idea of what I’m talking about.

Like I said, you can do this on your blog or website just as easily.  If, however, you would like to sign up for a book launch account, here’s the link.  (I love this tool a lot because it simplifies all the information I need to post about my book.  Plus, it will allow for a video and an email sign up if you want to use those features.  I don’t do those, but some people do.)

Use the Back Matter of Your Already Published Book to Advertise the Pre-Ordered One

This is especially powerful in a series.  If you have Book 1 out, you can do a link to the pre-order for Book 2 at the end of the Book 1.  There are several ways you can do this.  One, you can link to your book launch page (or a page on your blog or website) where you have the book info, cover, and links to pre-order the book.  Or you can do a direct link right there to each of the places the book is on pre-order.

The reason I like to direct people to the book launch page is because I have the characters chime in on that page to say what they did or didn’t like about doing the pre-ordered book.  So even if the reader decides not to click the pre-order button, they might still enjoy looking at the page.

But you do what’s in your style.  We all have our own unique approach to how we can make something interesting.  Maybe you want to do a video talking about your book or a special scene to give them a preview of the book.  Get creative and see what works best for you.  Even if they don’t pre-order the book, maybe they’ll remember it and pass along the information to someone else.

As a quick side note, when I was at a writer’s conference, a couple of readers told me they love seeing a book cover for the book that is next in the series.  There is something about seeing the cover that makes them want to click the link to check it out.  So when you’re linking to the pre-order, I suggest having the book cover image with it, if you know how to put one in.  If not, then your link will take them to it anyway.

When On Social Media, Use Fun Posts to Talk About the Upcoming Book

My favorite form of social media is blogging.  I asked my readers half a year ago what kind of posts they enjoyed, and a lot of them enjoyed updates on what I’m working on.  I thought for sure this bored them, but some actually like it.  So once in a while, go ahead and mention how your current work in progress is coming along.  Then, while you’re doing that, add the link to the pre-order page or give the direct link they can pre-order the book.  I like to do this will the book cover to stamp the visual cue in their mind.  So when they see the cover, they’ll automatically know, “Oh yeah, that’s the book with Character X in it … or That’s the book where X happens.” This is why I like to have the book cover before I even start writing it.  Because then when I mention it on Facebook, Twitter, or my blog, I can attach the cover with it.  (Don’t worry.  You can always update a cover.  Nothing has to be set in stone.  Just let people know it’s a new cover reveal.  I have yet to have anyone jump on me about this.)

Other fun things you can do to promote your pre-order books are….

  1.  Letting Your Characters Tell The Reader What They Think of the Book They’re In (This is my example if you care to check it out  Note I use the book cover image with the caption under it to let people know if they click the link, they can go to the pre-order page.)  This is where a character can write a letter to you or the reader.
  2. Character Interviews.  This is an off-shoot of the above, but it will be a place to get your characters to reveal something fun and interesting about the book that the reader might not otherwise know about.  In this one, you can also use multiple characters and let them banter back and forth between each other.  It’s always fun when characters don’t get along.
  3. Inspiration for the Book.  This is where you share how you got the story idea, came up with character names, how you decided on setting, etc.  It can be anything you want.
  4. What you Learned While Writing the Book.  Maybe your audience really enjoys something specific about history, and you want to share some new tidbit of information you found while researching it.
  5. Video Where You Share Something Special about the Book.  You can always do a video and upload it to You Tube and share it on all the social media places you belong to.  It can be inspiration for the story or something you learned while writing it.  Or, if you’re inclined, you can dress up as the character and tell the reader what you’re thinking of the author or the story or the other characters you’re stuck with.
  6. Share some pictures of what the characters look like, where they live, or some object that is important to the story.  I could see this being big on places like Pinterest or Instagram.

Ideas 1-6 can be done on any social media platform.  I like to make the blog post and link that to Facebook and Twitter so it goes out to all my main social media platforms.  You can do it this way or link it directly to the social media platform of your choice.

Only Bluntly Come Out with your Pre-Order Announcement Once In Awhile

Don’t spam with the pre-order info.  Yes, I do think when you first get the pre-order up, you should announce it.  Maybe do it a couple of times in case someone missed it at first, but space this out so it’s not coming up all the time.

After a while, though, it’ll be ineffective and people will block it out.  I suggest using the pre-order link that will go directly to your pre-order page or the link where the book is on pre-order at.  That’s another reason why I love the pre-order book page.  You can use multiple retailer links on those.  That means you just have to link the book cover to one place, and people can go to the retailer of their choice from there.

You can be discreet with the pre-order page by using the following techniques:

Use the book cover as a widget to the side of your blog and link that widget to the pre-order page.  (To see what I mean, you can check out my blog.  Look at the right side to see the book covers.  If you click on one, you’ll go to the book launch page I set up for it.)

When you make a blog post, have the cover of your book at the top of your post (when you are mentioning your book) and have the cover link to the pre-order page.  Use the caption under the book cover image to let people know they can click the link to find the page.  (I just used this technique in this blog post.  I also linked to this above when I posted #1 under fun things you can do to promote pre-order books.  So check the book cover image and see what I wrote under it.)

Have a pre-order page on your blog or website for all your pre-orders, so people can go to it if they want.  In addition to this other stuff, I do have such a page on my blog and website.

It’s okay to use multiple avenues to promote the pre-order.  I think the key is not to mention it all the time in your Twitter, Facebook, or blog post feeds.  Just as you wouldn’t want to keep saying, “I have this book for sale.  Check it out” all the time, you don’t want to do this with pre-orders.

Categories: Uncategorized | 17 Comments

So You Want to Publish a Book (Post 4): Links to Help You Get Your Book Ready, Published, and Promoted

Up to now in this series, I’ve discussed whether or not your book is ready to be published, being realistic about your sales expectations and saving for taxes, and pursuing the best publishing path for you.

Let’s say you decide to publish the books yourself.  On this blog, we have articles already written dedicated to the “How To” of getting your book out there.  

Where to Publish (if you self-publish) by Ruth Ann Nordin and Janet Syas Nitsick

Some Handy Formatting Tricks (for ebooks) by Joleene Naylor

Making a Paperback Interior Book File for CreateSpace by Ruth Ann Nordin

How to Get a Cheap Book Cover (This is a book Joleene Naylor wrote on making book covers or tips on finding a good cover artist.)

If you want a list of people who can format your book or make your cover without breaking your budget, there’s a list on Smashwords you can check out.

Okay, so you got your book formatted and the cover ready.  Now what?

How to Publish with KDP by Joleene Naylor

How to Publish on Smashwords by Joleene Naylor

How to Publish on CreateSpace by Joleene Naylor

How to Use Cover Creator on CreateSpace by Joleene Naylor

There is also the Smashwords Style Guide by Mark Coker

I think that is all the how-to articles we have for actually publishing your book.  The other sites (Nook Press, Kobo Writing Life, etc) will be similar.  If you can publish on the sites above, you can publish directly anywhere.  Personally, I’ve decided it’s easiest to publish on KDP to get into Amazon and then publish on Smashwords to distribute everywhere else.

After publishing directly to Nook Press (Barnes & Noble) and Kobo, I realized it is difficult to balance a lot of books in all those places.  If I have to make a change to the book (say someone found a typo), or if I want to change the description or book cover, it is a real pain to go to multiple sites to do this.  I currently have 58 books (almost 50 of which are romances), and it is a lot easier to keep them all at two places instead of four.  So recently, I’ve gone back and de-listed everything on Kobo and Nook Press so I could use Smashwords to distribute them to those channels for me.  I know that is a little off-topic, but when you are a new author and thinking of where to publish, something to consider is how you best want to use your time.  If I could go back in time, I would have just kept everything simple by uploading to KDP and Smashwords.  I would never have gone direct to Kobo and Nook Press.  So I’m passing that along in case it can be useful to anyone reading this.  You will increase your chances of success if you simplify your life.  Simplifying your life allows you to focus in on writing more books.

Okay, not that I’ve rambled on about that, I have some advice on marketing and promotion:

We pretty much do promotional ideas on a regular basis on this blog, so I won’t bog everyone down links to all of those.  What I will do, however, is point anyone interested to two free books Mark Coker has written on the topic.  These are, in my opinion, the best resources on book promotion out there, and better yet, they are straight forward and to the point.

Smashwords Book Marketing Guide by Mark Coker

The Secrets to Ebook Publishing Success by Mark Coker

Categories: Uncategorized | 3 Comments

So You Want To Publish a Book (Post 3): How Should You Publish Your Book?

So you’ve taken the time to make sure your book is well-edited.  Now you have to make a tough decision.  Do you find an agent, submit directly to a publisher, or self-publish?  I’m not here to tell you what to do.  That’s not my job.  But what I am going to do is give you some guidance.  Below I provide some main points to help lead you in the right direction to you.

paths in publishing

The most important thing you can do is follow your dream.

I’m dead serious when I say this.  Too many times we let other people live our lives for us.  If you follow your own dream, you are much less likely to have regrets in the long run.  If your dream is to find an agent who might find a big publisher who can get your book into bookstores, Walmart, the grocery store, etc, then pursue it.  Try to find the agent.  If your dream is to find a small publisher who will take the burden of having to upload your book yourself, design the cover, provide editing services, etc, then submit to a small publisher.  If your dream is to self-publish because you want full control, then self-publish.

Early on (2009) when I got serious about self-publishing, I had a lot of people who argued with me over my decision.  This ranged from family to friends to strangers who sent me emails.  So I know what it’s like to feel the pressure when other people don’t agree with your choice.  But in the end, I wanted full control.  I didn’t want some publisher telling me what I could or could not include in my book.  I wanted to write my story my way.

Sometimes I see authors on forums arguing with a new author who tells them he wants to go with a traditional publisher.  So it’s not just those who want to self-publish that deal with the negativity.  This comes from all sides.  Be prepared to have to disappoint someone, whether they are close or someone who happens to email you out of the blue.

If you want to seek advice, ask questions from others.  Gather as much information as you can.  Do your homework.  Then make the decision that is best for you.  I know it takes courage to go against the tide and to do your own thing, but I also think the rewards are so much better if you pursue your dreams.   Things we often regret are the chances we didn’t take.

This doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to be successful.  You might not be.  But isn’t it better to take the risk and find out than to never know?

Rules of Thumb If You Choose To Look for an Agent or Publisher

This is not an exhaustive list, but they are guidelines to help you get on the right path

1. Money flows to the author.  If an agent or publisher wants money in order to represent you or publish you, run away.

2. Do your homework on the agent and/or publisher.  What other authors do they represent?  What is the quality of those books?  Do those books seem to sell well on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, etc?  What marketing does the publisher do for the authors?  Does the publisher pay the author on time?  Feel free to email the authors the agent or publisher represents.  They might not respond to your email, but it never hurts to send a message.  Asking questions is how I came to learn most traditionally published authors aren’t earning a living at writing.  (The average self-published author isn’t making a living either, by the way.  From what I’ve researched, it’s still not the norm.)

3. Realize small publishers might not be able to do as much marketing for you as large publishers will.  Regardless of the agent or publisher you get, prepare to market your own books.  Don’t expect someone to hold your hand through everything.

Rules of Thumb if You Choose to Self-Publish

1. Be willing to invest time and money into your product.  Tell a compelling story.  Get a good quality editor.  Get a good cover artist (unless you have the skill for this already).  Take time to learn how to format a clean manuscript or pay someone to do it.  I know it’s a huge pain to put the money into the book, but you are competing with a lot of high quality, low-priced books.  I’m surprised at how many authors skimp on this area.  Why should a reader invest in your book if you aren’t willing to?

2.  This is not a golden ticket to the easy life.  You’ve probably heard the stories about a few authors who self-published and made a killing in sales.  Keep in mind, these are outliers, not the experience of the average self-published author.  Can you make money?  Yes.  How much?  You won’t know until you put books out there.  But I promise you sales are up and down and often unpredictable.  Your mileage will vary depending on your genre, what the market wants, and other forces outside your control.  So embrace the fact that your journey is a huge question mark when you start it.  (The same is true for traditional publishing, by the way.)

3.  Do it because you love writing.  If you think sales is going to make you happy, you’re wrong.  Money, sales rank, and recognition are an illusion of happiness.  They might provide a temporary high, but the high doesn’t last.  There’s always someone more successful than you.  There’s always someone who hates your work, and they might even hate you because you had the nerve to write it.  Sales don’t always go up.  There’s a point when they go down.  Someone might steal your book and try to make money off your hard work, and Amazon isn’t always willing to remove the stolen book.

There are a ton of reasons why this is a hard path.  Lasting happiness comes from doing what you love most and focusing on it.  When I stopped worrying about all the external factors, I got my joy back.  Now, regardless of highs or lows in sales, I’m happy.  The reason I’m happy is because I’m enjoying the process of writing.  So my last piece of guidance is to focus on what you can control and let go of the things you can’t.  It’s not easy, but it makes a world of difference in how your emotional health.

Categories: Publishing Basics | 12 Comments

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