Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Track Your Author Website Effectiveness

Just because you have a website doesn’t mean that it’s effective. Fortunately, there are easy ways to track if your website is helping to build your author platform.

First, you can monitor tangible outcomes, such as tracking new subscribers to your newsletter, speaking engagement inquiries, media interview requests, or book sales from your website. If you send visitors to or Barnes & (which I don’t recommend) you can check your book’s ranking and see if it improves. Use to gauge your book's Amazon ranking over time.

Another good tracking tool is to analyze your website statistics. If your web designer or hosting company doesn’t provide this information, you can set it up for free with Google Analytic ( After you create a free account, Google will provide you with special computer code that you embed into your website’s individual pages. Once you do this, then Google will track all of your website data for you.

When you examine your website statistics, however, make sure you concentrate on the right information. For example, basing your site’s effectiveness on how many “hits” or “pageviews” you get is a flawed notion. These are inflated figures that don’t give you accurate information about your web traffic. A better guide is to track how many “Unique Visitors” your site receives. This number reflects how many different people actually visited your site, which is a better reflection of your real platform.

If you notice a decline in visitors, sales, signups, or other factors, it could mean that people are bored with your website. So, take time each month to assess where you can add new content that provides value to your readers. If you run out of ideas, bring in guests with a similar message. People will appreciate your desire to help them, and they’ll show it by returning to your website on a regular basis. And, the more often people return, the more likely they will buy your books.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

May Comparison of ECPA Publishers

Check out the May Amazon rankings for the Top 15 ECPA Publishers. This research lets you see both the overall CBA industry rankings, plus each publisher's individual top 20 bestselling book list.

Why is this information helpful to you? This is one of the few ways that authors, agents, and publishers can simultaneously see how a publisher's best books stack up against their peers. For example, Neilsen BookScan doesn't let other publishers see the competition's sales numbers (only bestseller lists). But, WildFire's free research gives publishers a way to see which titles are selling well on Amazon at 14 other houses. This data is also helpful to see which authors, topics, and genres are dominating Amazon sales trends.

Items of Interest this Month:

a. Top-Selling Overall Titles by Amazon Ranking:
- Book: The Love Dare at # 27 from B&H Publishing.
- Bible: English Standard Version at # 45 from CrossWay.
** Rankings exclude the self-published title, The Shack, at # 9.

b. Biggest Publisher Moves:
Charisma House jumps from # 14 to # 11 this month.
David C. Cook pushes Barbour off the list at # 15.
Harvest House falls from # 7 last month to # 9 this month.

Note: Amazon rankings do not reflect accurate sales figures and only account for a small percentage of a book's total sales. However, they can help determine how specific publishers or book titles perform over time versue their peers.

Click here for an Excel spreadsheet of the April 2, 2009 rankings.

For all previous month rankings, click here.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Author Empowerment University

It's time for a new kind of "summer school." Rob Eagar is offering an affordable, group-based coaching service called the Author Empowerment University. Here's the details:

What is the Author Empowerment University?
  • 3 months of advanced book marketing instruction taught by Rob Eagar.
  • Group coaching with a minimum of 5 authors and a maximum size of 8.
  • Weekly instruction via group teleconference calls.
  • All teaching sessions will be recorded for students who miss calls or want to listen again.
  • Students will have individual follow-up access to Rob via phone and email.
  • Specialized tutorials and teaching guides provided by Rob.
  • Students will enjoy encouragement and accountability by learning together as a small group.
What subjects are covered during the teaching sessions?
  • Teach author how to make their website capture readers and market books better.
  • Learn how to acquire more media interviews and increase book sales on the air.
  • Discover how to obtain more speaking engagements and craft powerful keynote speeches.
  • Create resources and pass-on tools that help spread word-of-mouth.
  • Establish a unique brand and differentiate a book's message in a crowded marketplace.
  • Utilize newsletters and social networking to build ongoing relationships with readers and leaders.
What result can students expect? (figures based on the success of Rob's previous coaching participants):
  • Increased author book sales by 15 - 25%.
  • Doubled author website and blog traffic.
  • Newsletter growth of over 100 new subscribers per month.
  • 30% increase in annual speaking events.
  • Speaking fees increased by 30%.
  • Contact with over 250 new targeted leaders.
  • Ability to secure an extra 5 - 15 media interviews with press releases.
The fee to enroll in a group is only $2,500 per author for the 3-month program. Most authors can easily recoup this fee by landing a couple of new speaking engagement or boosting their website sales. This is the best deal available to get focused, weekly instruction at the advanced-level with Rob Eagar.

Space is limited on a first-come, first-serve basis. A new group will start as soon as five people register by May 15th.

If you would like to sign-up or get more information about the Author Empowerment University, please call 1-800-267-2045 or email:

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Reality of a NY Times Bestseller

Thanks to literary agent, Chip MacGregor, for passing along this great author interview with novelist, Lynn Viehl. I highly recommend that every author read Lynn's recap of how she made the NY Times fiction best-seller list - and how little money she actually made. Her account will give you a healthy dose of reality about the publishing business.

Also, when Lynn says that she did little to market her novel, keep in mind that she has already had over 40 novels published. So, she's a very experienced author with a decent platform.

I really appreciate Lynn's transparency and willingness to help other authors understand the reality of this profession. The good news is that there are many new ways for authors to make income besides just relying on publisher royalties. Multiple streams of income are available for those willing to take their books and turn them into speaking engagements, audio and video products, movie and theater scripts, coaching and consulting projects, etc.

To survive financially as an author, it's crucial to "think outside the book."