Thursday, June 14, 2018

595 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer

Looking for a quick way to give your writing more punch?

Maybe a little personality or pizzazz – that extra little “oomph” that makes the reader pay attention?

Well, good news:

“Power words” are the answer, and you can wake up put them in place in a matter of minutes. This post gives you areference lists of power words, examples of power words being used — everything you need to hit the ground running.

Let’s jump in.

What Is a “Power Word,” Exactly?


Rather than describe what I mean, let’s deconstruct an example from the great Winston Churchill:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Inspiring, right?

Well, there was a lot on the line. Under attack from Germany, Britain was fighting for its survival, and somehow, someway, Churchill had to find a way to inspire his countrymen to greatness.

He chose words. Or, to be more accurate, power words.

Let’s take a look at the passage again, this time with all the power words underlined:

We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.

Each underlined word makes the audience feel something. In this case, Churchill intermixes words that cause fear, such as “struggle,” “tyranny,” and “terror,” with words that cause hope, such as “strength,” “God,” and “victory.” The last, in particular, is repeated over and over, practically drilling the emotion into the minds of the audience.

It’s no accident. Smart speakers, as well as their speechwriters, sprinkle their speeches with carefully-chosen power words, drawing the audience from one emotion to another as skillfully as any novelist or screenwriter.

Granted, that’s not all they do. The best writers use an entire tool chest of techniques to create emotion, and power words are only one such tool.

But there’s good news.

For beginning writers, power words are one of the easiest tools to master. Unlike many storytelling strategies which can take years of practice to master, you can start sprinkling power words into your writing, and you’ll notice an immediate lift in the quality of your prose.

All you lack is a list of power words to use, but of course, I have you covered there too. πŸ™‚

 

595 Power Words and Phrases to Start Using Immediately


For years now, every time I mentioned power words to my students, someone always asked:

“Where can I get a list? Is there a book I can buy?”

Sadly, not that I’m aware of.  That’s why I created this list.

Slowly, over a period of several weeks, I catalogued all the power words that jumped out to me, organizing them into categories based on the emotion you want to create, so you can easily find the right word. In the future, I’ll also update the list, adding new words on a regular basis to make it the most comprehensive list of power words available anywhere.

It costs nothing. All I ask in return is you share it with your friends and readers when appropriate, helping it reach the people who need it most.

Enjoy.

Our Giant Curated List of Power Words


 
FEAR ENCOURAGEMENT LUST ANGER
Agony Amazing Allure Abhorrent
Apocalypse Ascend Arouse Abuse
Armageddon Astonishing Bare Annoying
Assault Astounding Begging Arrogant
Backlash Audacious Beguiling Ass kicking
Beating Awe-inspiring Brazen Backstabbing
Beware Awesome Captivating Barbaric
Blinded Backbone Charm Bash
Blood Badass Cheeky Beat down
Bloodbath Beat Climax Big mouth
Bloodcurdling Belief Crave Blatant
Bloody Blissful Delight Brutal
Blunder Bravery Delirious Bullshit
Bomb Breathtaking Depraved Bully
Buffoon Brilliant Desire Cheat
Bumbling Celebrate Dirty Clobber
Cadaver Cheer Divine Clown
Catastrophe Colossal Ecstacy Cocky
Caution Command Embrace Corrupt
Collapse Conquer Enchant Coward
Corpse Courage Enthralling Crooked
Crazy Daring Entice Crush
Cripple Defeat Entrance Curse
Crisis Defiance Excite Debase
Danger Delight Explicit Defile
Deadly Devoted Exposed Delinquent
Death Dignity Fascinate Demolish
Deceiving Dominate Forbidden Desecrate
Destroy Effortless Frisky Disgusting
Devastating Empower Goosebumps Dishonest
Disastrous Epic Hanker Distorted
Doom Excellent Heavenly Evil
Drowning Excited Hottest Exploit
Dumb Extraordinary Hypnotic Force-fed
Embarrass Eye-opening Impure Foul
Fail Fabulous Indecent Freaking out
Feeble Faith Intense Full of shit
Fired Fantastic Intoxicating Greedy
Fool Fearless Itching Gross
Fooled Ferocious Juicy Harass
Frantic Fierce Kinky Hate
Frightening Force Kiss High and mighty
Gambling Fulfill Lascivious Horrid
Gullible Glorious Lewd Infuriating
Hack Glory Lick Jackass
Hazardous Graceful Lonely Kick
Hoax Grateful Longing Kill
Holocaust Grit Love Knock
Horrific Guts Lure Knock Out
Hurricane Happy Luscious Know it all
Injure Heart Lush Lies
Insidious Hero Lust Livid
Invasion Honor Mischievous Loathsome
IRS Hope Mouth-watering Loser
Jail Incredible Naked Lying
Jeopardy Jaw-dropping Naughty Maul
Lawsuit Jubilant Nude Misleading
Looming Legend Obscene Money-grubbing
Lunatic Life-changing Orgasmic Nasty
Lurking Magic Passionate Nazi
Massacre Marvelous Pining No Good
Meltdown Master Pleasure Obnoxious
Menacing Mind-blowing Provocative Oppressive
Mired Miracle Racy Pain in the ass
Mistake Miraculous Raunchy Payback
Murder Noble Risque Perverse
Nightmare Perfect Rowdy Pesky
Painful Persuade Salacious Pest
Pale Phenomenal Satisfy Phony
Panic Pluck Saucy Pissed off
Peril Power-Up Scandalous Pollute
Piranha Praise Seduce Pompous
Pitfall Prevail Seductive Pound
Plague Remarkable Sensual Preposterous
Played Revel Sex Pretentious
Plummet Rule Shameless Punch
Plunge Score Sinful Punish
Poison Seize Sleazy Rampant
Poor Sensational Sleeping Ravage
Prison Spectacular Spank Repelling
Pummel Spine Spellbinding Repugnant
Pus Spirit Spicy Revile
Reckoning Splendid Steamy Revolting
Refugee Spunk Stimulating Rotten
Revenge Staggering Strip Rude
Risky Strengthen Sweaty Ruined
Scary Striking Tantalizing Ruthless
Scream Strong Taste Savage
Searing Stunning Tawdry Scam
Shatter Stunt Tease Scold
Shellacking Supreme Tempting Sick and tired
Silly Surprising Thrilling Sink
Slaughter Terrific Tickle Slam
Slave Thrive Tight Slander
Strangle Thwart Tingle Slap
Stupid Titan Turn on Slay
Tailspin Tough Unabashed Smash
Tank Tremendous Uncensored Smear
Targeted Triumph Untamed Smug
Teetering Unbeatable Untouched Sniveling
Terror Unbelievable Urge Snob
Terrorist Unforgettable Voluptuous Snooty
Torture Unique Vulgar Snotty
Toxic Unleash Wanton Spoil
Tragedy Uplifting Wet Stuck up
Trap Valiant Whip Suck
Vaporize Valor Wild Terrorize
Victim Vanquish X-rated Trash
Volatile Victory Yearning Trounce
Vulnerable Win Yummy Tyranny
Warning Wonderful Underhanded
Worry Wondrous Up to here
Wounded Violate
       
       
GREED SAFETY FORBIDDEN  
Bank Above and beyond Ancient  
Bargain Anonymous Backdoor  
Best Authentic Banned  
Billion Automatic Behind the scenes  
Bonanza Backed Black Market  
Booked solid Bankable Blacklisted  
Cash Best-selling Bootleg  
Cheap Cancel anytime Censored  
Costly Certified Classified  
Discount Clockwork Cloak and dagger  
Dollar Endorsed Concealed  
Double Foolproof Confessions  
Explode Guaranteed Confidential  
Extra Ironclad Controversial  
Feast Lifetime Covert  
Fortune Money-back Cover-up  
Free No Obligation Exotic  
Freebie No Questions Asked Forbidden  
Frenzy No risk Forgotten  
Frugal No strings attached From the vault  
Gift No-fail Hidden  
Golden Official Hush-hush  
Greatest Permanent Illegal  
High-paying Privacy Insider  
Inexpensive Professional Little-known  
Jackpot Protected Lost  
Lowest price Proven Never seen before  
Luxurious Recession-proof Off the record  
Marked down Refund Off-limits  
Massive Reliable Outlawed  
Money Research Private  
Money-draining Results Restricted  
Money-saving Risk-free Sealed  
Nest egg Rock-solid Secret  
Pay zero Science-backed Smuggled  
Prize Scientific Strange  
Profit Secure Tried to hide  
Quadruple Sure-fire Unauthorized  
Reduced Survive Uncensored  
Rich Tested Under wraps  
Savings That never fails Undercover  
Six-figure Thorough Underground  
Skyrocket Trustworthy Under-the-table  
Soaring Try before you buy Undisclosed  
Surge Unconditional Unexpected  
Treasure Verify Unlock  
Triple World-class Unreachable  
Waste   Unspoken  
Wealth   Unveiled  
Whopping   Withheld  
 

The 7 Different Types of Power Words


As you can see in our giant list above, we’ve organized our power words into seven different types:

  1. Fear
  2. Encouragement
  3. Lust
  4. Anger
  5. Greed
  6. Safety
  7. Forbidden

These different types of power words all accomplish the same goal: They inspire emotion in your reader.

Let’s go over each type and see why they work.

Fear Power Words: Calling All Fearmongers

Fear Power Words

Let’s do a little experiment.

Just for a moment, stop reading this post, turn on the television, and go to a major news channel. Watch it for five minutes, listening for the words below.

Chances are, you’ll hear dozens of them. Here’s why:

Fear is without a doubt the most powerful emotion for grabbing and keeping an audience’s attention. To make sure you don’t change the channel, news networks load up with fear words, making you worry you might miss something important.

It’s effective. Granted, you can overdo it, but in my opinion, most writers don’t use these types of words nearly enough. They really do connect with people.

Here’s a bunch to get you started:
 

Agony Fool Plunge
Apocalypse Fooled Poison
Armageddon Frantic Poor
Assault Frightening Prison
Backlash Gambling Pummel
Beating Gullible Pus
Beware Hack Reckoning
Blinded Hazardous Refugee
Blood Hoax Revenge
Bloodbath Holocaust Risky
Bloodcurdling Horrific Scary
Bloody Hurricane Scream
Blunder Injure Searing
Bomb Insidious Shatter
Buffoon Invasion Shellacking
Bumbling IRS Silly
Cadaver Jail Slaughter
Catastrophe Jeopardy Slave
Caution Lawsuit Strangle
Collapse Looming Stupid
Corpse Lunatic Tailspin
Crazy Lurking Tank
Cripple Massacre Targeted
Crisis Meltdown Teetering
Danger Menacing Terror
Deadly Mired Terrorist
Death Mistake Torture
Deceiving Murder Toxic
Destroy Nightmare Tragedy
Devastating Painful Trap
Disastrous Pale Vaporize
Doom Panic Victim
Drowning Peril Volatile
Dumb Piranha Vulnerable
Embarrass Pitfall Plague
Fail Plague Worry
Feeble Played Wounded
Fired Plummet

 

Encouragement Power Words: Give Your Readers a Pep Talk

Encouragement Power Words

Let’s face it.

When they’re reading, most people aren’t exactly bouncing off the walls with energy and enthusiasm. They’re probably bored, maybe a little depressed, and almost definitely tired. And they’re looking for something, anything, that’ll wake them up and make them feel better.

The good news?

Your writing can do that for them. Use these power words to give them a pep talk and get them charged up again:
 

Amazing Fearless Score
Ascend Ferocious Seize
Astonishing Fierce Sensational
Astounding Force Spectacular
Audacious Fulfill Spine
Awe-inspiring Glorious Spirit
Awesome Glory Splendid
Backbone Graceful Spunk
Badass Grateful Staggering
Beat Grit Strengthen
Belief Guts Striking
Blissful Happy Strong
Bravery Heart Stunning
Breathtaking Hero Stunt
Brilliant Honor Supreme
Celebrate Hope Surprising
Cheer Incredible Terrific
Colossal Jaw-dropping Thrive
Command Jubilant Thwart
Conquer Legend Titan
Courage Life-changing Tough
Daring Magic Triumph
Defeat Marvelous Tremendous
Defiance Master Unbeatable
Delight Mind-blowing Unbelievable
Devoted Miracle Unforgettable
Dignity Miraculous Unique
Dominate Noble Unleash
Effortless Perfect Uplifting
Empower Persuade Valiant
Epic Phenomenal Valor
Excellent Pluck Vanquish
Excited Power-up Victory
Extraordinary Praise Win
Eye-opening Prevail Wonderful
Fabulous Remarkable Wondrous
Faith Revel
Fantastic Rule

 

Lust Power Words: Take a Page from Cosmopolitan (or Playboy)

Lust Power Words

Like it or not, lust is one of the core human emotions.

Just look at the men’s and women’s magazines in the checkout aisle, and you’ll see what I mean. Nearly every headline on the cover is either blatantly or indirectly about sex.

And it works, not just for men’s and women’s magazines, but for anything. As a writer, you can use words that inspire lust to make almost anything intriguing.

Here’s a lascivious list to get you started:
 

Allure Itching Sinful
Arouse Juicy Sleazy
Bare Kinky Sleeping
Begging Kiss Spank
Beguiling Lascivious Spellbinding
Brazen Lewd Spicy
Captivating Lick Steamy
Charm Lonely Stimulating
Cheeky Longing Strip
Climax Love Sweaty
Crave Lure Tantalizing
Delight Luscious Taste
Delirious Lush Tawdry
Depraved Lust Tease
Desire Mischievous Tempting
Dirty Mouth-watering Thrilling
Divine Naked Tickle
Ecstasy Naughty Tight
Embrace Nude Tingle
Enchant Obscene Turn on
Enthralling Orgasmic Unabashed
Entice Passionate Uncensored
Entrance Pining Untamed
Excite Pleasure Untouched
Explicit Provocative Urge
Exposed Racy Voluptuous
Fascinate Raunchy Vulgar
Forbidden Risque Wanton
Frisky Rowdy Wet
Goosebumps Salacious Whip
Hanker Satisfy Wild
Heavenly Saucy X-rated
Hottest Scandalous Yearning
Hypnotic Seduce Yummy
Impure Seductive
Indecent Sensual
Intense Sex
Intoxicating Shameless

 

Anger Power Words: Start a Riot

Anger Power Words

As writers, sometimes our job is to anger people.

Not for the fun of it, mind you, but because someone is doing something wrong, and the community needs to take action to correct it. The problem is, with wrongdoing, most people are pretty apathetic — they’ll wait until the situation becomes entirely intolerable to do anything, and by then, it’s often too late.

So, we have to fan the flames. By using the below power words, you can connect with people’s anger, and slowly but surely, you can work them into a frenzy. Just be careful who you target. Lawyers can eat you alive if you pick on the wrong person. πŸ™‚
 

Abhorrent Gross Punish
Abuse Harass Rampant
Annoying Hate Ravage
Arrogant High and mighty Repelling
Ass kicking Horrid Repugnant
Backstabbing Infuriating Revile
Barbaric Jackass Revolting
Bash Kick Rotten
Beat down Kill Rude
Big mouth Knock Ruined
Blatant Knock out Ruthless
Brutal Know it all Savage
Bullshit Lies Scam
Bully Livid Scold
Cheat Loathsome Sick and tired
Clobber Loser Sink
Clown Lying Slam
Cocky Maul Slander
Corrupt Misleading Slap
Coward Money-grubbing TSlay
Crooked Nasty Smash
Crush Nazi Smear
Curse No good Smug
Debase Obnoxious Sniveling
Defile Oppressive Snob
Delinquent Pain in the ass Snooty
Demolish Payback Snotty
Desecrate Perverse Spoil
Disgusting Pesky Stuck up
Dishonest Pest Suck
Distorted Phony Terrorize
Evil Pissed off Trash
Exploit Pollute Trounce
Force-fed Pompous Tyranny
Foul Pound Underhanded
Freaking out Preposterous Up to here
Full of shit Pretentious Violate
Greedy Punch

 

Greed Power Words: Stomp on Their Greed Glands

Greed Power Words

The legendary copywriter Gary Halbert once said, “If you want people to buy something, stomp on their greed glands until they bleed.” Graphic, yes, but also true.

Skim through good sales copy, and you’ll find a lot of these power words. Many of them are so overused they’ve become clichΓ©, but that doesn’t stop them from working.

The truth is, nearly every human being on the planet is interested in either making or saving money. Use these words to tap into those desires:
 

Bank Freebie Pay zero
Bargain Frenzy Prize
Best Frugal Profit
Billion Gift Quadruple
Bonanza Golden Reduced
Booked solid Greatest Rich
Cash High-paying Savings
Cheap Inexpensive Six-figure
Costly Jackpot Skyrocket
Discount Lowest price Soaring
Dollar Luxurious Surge
Double Marked down Treasure
Explode Massive Triple
Extra Money Waste
Feast Money-draining Wealth
Fortune Money-saving Whopping
Free Nest egg

 

Safety Power Words: Make Them Feel Safe

Greed isn’t the only emotion you want buyers to feel. You also want to make them feel safe.

They need to trust both you and your product or service. They need to have confidence you’ll deliver. They need to believe they’ll get results.

Of course, building that kind of trust starts with having a quality brand and reputation, but the words you use to describe yourself and your product or service also matter. To help your customers feel safe, try to use as many of these power words as possible:
 

Above and beyond No obligation Risk-free
Anonymous No questions asked Rock-solid
Authentic No risk Science-backed
Automatic No strings attached Scientific
Backed No-fail Secure
Bankable Official Sure-fire
Best-selling Permanent Survive
Cancel anytime Privacy Tested
Certified Professional That never fails
Clockwork Protected Thorough
Endorsed Proven Trustworthy
Foolproof Recession-proof Try before you buy
Guaranteed Refund Unconditional
Ironclad Reliable Verify
Lifetime Research World-class
Money-back Results

 

Forbidden Power Words: Offer Them a Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Power Words

Remember when you were a kid, and someone told you NOT to do something? From that point on, you could think about little else, right?

The truth is, we’re all fascinated by the mysterious and forbidden. It’s like it’s programmed into our very nature.

So why not tap into that programming?

Whenever you need to create curiosity, sprinkle these power words throughout your writing, and readers won’t be able to help being intrigued:
 

Ancient Forbidden Smuggled
Backdoor Forgotten Strange
Banned From the vault Tried to hide
Behind the scenes Hidden Unauthorized
Black Market Hush-hush Uncensored
Blacklisted Illegal Under wraps
Bootleg Insider Undercover
Censored Little-known Underground
Classified Lost Under-the-table
Cloak and dagger Never seen before Undisclosed
Concealed Off the record Unexpected
Confessions Off-limits Unlock
Confidential Outlawed Unreachable
Controversial Private Unspoken
Covert Restricted Unveiled
Cover-up Sealed Withheld
Exotic Secret

 

Power Words in Action: 14 Places Where You Strong Words Can Help You


So, now that you have a big list of options to choose from, where are the primary places you should put power words to get the biggest “bang for your buck?”

Below you’ll find examples of power words being used in:

  1. Headlines
  2. Subheads
  3. Email Subject Lines
  4. Opt-in Boxes
  5. Home Page
  6. Sales Pages
  7. Testimonials
  8. Bullet Lists
  9. Business Names / Domain Names
  10. Product Names
  11. Buttons
  12. Author Bios
  13. Youtube Videos
  14. Book titles
  15. Ready to dive in?

#1. Using Power Words in Headlines

Any bloggers who’s been in the game for a while knows that the headline is the most important part of your article.

Its purpose, after all, is to entice the reader to read the rest of the article. If it fails to get attention, potential readers will ignore it when it shows up in their social media feed.

And just one or two power words in your headline is usually enough to make it stand out.

Just look at this headline from BuzzFeed:

Put Power Words in Your Headline

The word “Unveiled” makes it feel like a secret is being exposed, and the word “Breathtaking” makes you curious to see what the photo looks like.

Here’s another example from BoredPanda:

Put Power Words in Your Headline - BoredPanda

People generally love anything adorable, so this headline will easily catch attention. (The fact that it refers to snakes will only make people more curious.) The headline then drives it home by using the powerful verb “Conquer”.

Here’s one more from BrightSide:

Power Words in Your Headlines - BrightSide

While one or two power words are often enough, this headline proves you can use more when it fits. This headline has four powerful words, but they feel natural in the headline, which keeps it from feeling like over-the-top clickbait.

#2. Using Power Words in Subheads

Once people click on your headline, most will scan the post first to see if it looks worthy of their attention. Adding some power words to your subheads is a good way to make your post look like an interesting read.

For example, here are three subheads from our post on Ebook mistakes:

Use Power Words in Subheads

See how the power words in these subheads catch attention and make you want to read the text that follows?

#3. Using Power Words in Email Subject Lines

Having an email list is of little use if only few on your list open your emails.

And these days, most people’s inboxes are flooded, so they’re selective in which emails they open.

You can stand out in their inbox and raise your open rates by including power words in your subject lines.

Just look at this one from Ramit Sethi:

Use Power Words in Email Subject Lines - Ramit Sethi

If this subject line would’ve read “The rules of learning”, do you think it would be as appealing? The word “unspoken” is what makes it interesting.

Here’s another one from Cal Fussman:

Use Power Words in Email Subject Lines - Cal Fussman

Both “Triumph” and “Tragedy” are powerful words full of emotion.

And finally, here’s a good example from AppSumo:

Use Power Words in Email Subject Lines - Appsumo

The phrase “Unleash the power” makes you feel this email is hiding something incredibly powerful inside.

See how that works?

When you send out emails to your list, try and add a power word to your subject line to make it stand out in people’s inbox.

#4. Using Power Words in Opt-In Boxes

As a blogger, one of your main goals is to grow a large and engaged readership, and the best way to do so is through converting readers into subscribers.

That means you should have opt-in forms scattered across your website. You can place them on your homepage, at the end of your posts, in your sidebar, in a popup, or anywhere else.

But no matter where you place them, your opt-in boxes must catch people’s eye and make them want to share their email address with you. Because they won’t just give it away to everyone. (Remember, their inboxes are already flooded, so they’re not necessarily eager to get even more emails.)

Fortunately, you can use power words to make your offer more enticing.

Here’s an old popup from Cosmopolitan which is an excellent example:

Use Power Words in Opt-In Boxes - Cosmopolitan

This popup had power words everywhere, but it avoids feeling like overkill. I bet it converted like crazy.

Here’s a slightly more subtle example from Betty Means Business:

Use Power Words in Opt-In Boxes - Betty Means Business

It’s more subtle, but still quite effective.

Again, you don’t have to overdo it with the power words on these. A little can go a long way.

Here’s one final example from Renegade Planner:

Use Power Words in Pop-Up - Renegade Planner

Are you using power words in your opt-in boxes yet? If not, you should add some right away.

#5. Using Power Words on Your Home Page

Your home page is the face of your website and it’s usually one of the most visited pages. Many people who enter your website, will see this page first, and you want it to make a good first impression.

Some people use their home page to promote their email list, others use it to promote one of their products, and others use it as red carpet, welcoming new visitors and explaining what their site is all about.

In any case, your home page is a good spot to add a few power words, as it can determine whether people stay (and take the action you want them to take) or leave.

Look at this value proposition on the home page for Nerd Fitness:

Use Power Words on Your Home Page - Nerd Fitness

“Nerds”, “Misfits” and “Mutants” are unusual power words that work well for the audience Nerd Fitness is targeting. These words immediately separate his blog from all the other fitness blogs out there.

But they push it even further with “Strong”, “Healthy” and “Permanently”.

Here’s another value proposition from MainStreetHost’s home page:

Use Power Words on Your Home Page - MainStreetHost

It’s quite minimal, isn’t it? They just wrote down three power words and follow it up with a service they provide.

Of course, you don’t have to limit your use of power words to the top of your homepage. You can use it in other parts of the home page too, as Ramit Sethi does here in his list of what you’ll get when you sign up for his email list.

Use Power Words on Your Home Page - Ramit Sethi

Go look at your homepage now and see if you can find any areas you can spruce up with some power words.

#6. Using Power Words in Business Names/Blog Names

Your blog or business name should have an impact on people. Having a forgettable domain name is poison to your blog growth. You want a name that people can easily recall when they want to visit your site.

If you haven’t chosen your blog name yet (or if you’re thinking about rebranding),  you might use a power word to give it some punch. It’ll make you stand out from all the boring, forgettable brands.

Just take a look at the collection of blog names below and see how well they’ve incorporated power words:

Use Power Words in Business and Blog Names

#7. Using Power Words in Product Names

Just like you can use power words to spruce up your blog name, you can also use them to make your product names pack more of a punch.

It can make the difference between your potential customers thinking, “Ooh, this product sounds cool!” and them thinking, “Meh.”

Just check out this subscription product from Nerd Fitness:

Use Power Words in Product Names - Nerd Fitness

It has such a powerful name that you’d almost want to sign up without learning anything else. Who wouldn’t want to be part of a community of rising heroes?

Here’s another good example from Pat Flynn:

Use Power Words in Product Names - Pat Flynn Podcast

It’s a powerful name for his podcasting course that instantly informs you of the benefit.

So if you’re about to launch a product (or if you’ve launched a product with a tepid name), consider giving it a power word to make it pack a punch.

#8. Using Power Word on Sales Pages

You can also use power words to spruce up your sales pages and make them more effective at selling your products or services.

They will grab people’s attention when they arrive on the page, they will keep their attention as they scroll down, and they’ll help seduce readers before they reach your “buy” button.

Just look at this headline on Ramit Sethi’s sales page for his product 50 Proven Email Scripts (which also has a power word in its name):

Use Power Word on Sales Pages - Ramit Sethi

And as you scroll down, you see he keeps using power words throughout his sales page.

His headline is follow by subheads such as these:

Use Power Word on Sales Page Subheads - Ramit Sethi

And he even uses power words his guarantee:

Use Power Word on Sales Page Guarantees - Ramit Sethi

#9. Using Power Word in Testimonials

Power words are also tremendously effective in testimonials.

Of course, I’m not suggesting you change people’s testimonials to include power words. But you can certainly select  the ones that already use them to great effect.

Just look at this example from Betty Means Business:

Use Power Word in Testimonials - Betty Means Business

Or look at this one from Farideh’s blog:

Use Power Word in Testimonials - Farideh

And here’s another example from Renegade Planner:

Use Power Word in Testimonials - Renegade Planner

All these testimonials will lend extra credibility and excitement due to their power words and phrases.

#10. Using Power Words in Bullet Lists

Many sales pages include a list of benefits of the product that they’re selling. Many opt-in forms include a list of reasons you should sign up to their email list.

You can use power words in these lists to inspire more excitement in your reader as they read through it.

Here’s one example from Ramit Sethi’s sales page for his How to Talk to Anyone course:

Use Power Words in Bullet Lists - Ramit Sethi

And here’s another example from an opt-in form on Restart Your Style:

Use Power Words in Bullet Lists - Restart Your Style

Without these power words, these list wouldn’t convince nearly as many readers to buy or subscribe.

#11. Using Power Words in Button Copy

Yep, you can use power words in your button copy too, even if you only have a few words you can fit in there.

One of the most common power words used in buttons is “Free”, as in the example below:

But you can be more creative with buttons than you might think.

Takes this button from the sales page for the book The Renegade Diet:

Use Power Words in Button Copy

“Immediate”, “Money Back” and “Guarantee” are all incredibly powerful words, and the author manages to squeeze them all into one button.

Use Power Words in Button Copy - The Renegade Diet

And take this example from Tim Ferris’ popup:

Use Power Words in Button Copy - Tim Ferris

He could’ve used “Send Me the List” as most people would do, but “Unlock” makes it sound a lot more intriguing, like you’re getting access to something that’s been kept hidden away.

Now take a look at the buttons on your site. Do you see any opportunities to spruce them up with a power word?

#12. Using Power Words in Author Bios

Your author bio is another extremely important part of your marketing.

When you guest post for another blog, your author bio has the difficult job of making readers want to know more about you so they click through to your site.

That means your author bio needs to spark attention and interest. And you usually only get three sentences, so you need to carefully consider the words you use.

See this author bio from Henneke Duistermaat:

Using Power Words in Author Bios - Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke’s author bio is full of power words. It shows her uniqueness and makes her stand out from other copywriters.

You can tell she has carefully picked each word for maximum impact.

Here’s another examples from Sarah Peterson:

Using Power Words in Author Bios - Sarah Peterson

She opens strong immediately by mentioning her guides are insanely useful. And just the name of her report alone is full of power words: “Free”, “Reveal” and “Begging”.

Makes you want to get your hands on that report, doesn’t it?

#13. Using Power Words on Youtube Videos

If you’re publishing videos on youtube and you want to get more views, you should use power words in your titles as well.

All the biggest youtube channels do this. They understand that most of their views will come from their subscribers finding them in their feed, and from people finding them in the sidebar of other videos.

In both cases though, you’re competing with many other videos for their attention.

See how Philip DeFranco does it below:

Use Power Words on Youtube Videos - Philip DeFranco

“Disgusting”, “Punishment” and “Controversy” are all attention-grabbing words (and that’s besides the attention-grabbing names of Brock Turner, Star Wars and Kim Kardashian).

Note also how he has capitalized “Disgusting”. It’s another smart trick many youtube channels use to stand out more in youtube’s lists of video suggestions.

Style vlogger Aaron Marino often does it as well:

Use Power Words on Youtube Videos - Aaron Marino

By capitalizing the power words “Don’ts” and “Stupid”, his title catches a lot more attention (as you can see for yourself by the millions of views).

#14. Using Power Words in Book Titles

If you’re interested in writing your own book, adding power words to your titles will help it sell better. With all the competition in the book market these days, you need a title that grabs people’s attention and makes them want to peek inside.

Here are a few quick grabs from Amazon’s list of bestsellers in the self-help niche:

Use Power Words in Book Titles - Stephen Covey

I’m sure you’ve seen this title before. You might say Stephen Covey’s use of power words in his title has been highly effective. (See what I did there?)

Use Power Words in Book Titles - Mark Manson

Mark Manson’s bestselling title is packed with power. The power word “Subtle” juxtaposes well with the F-bomb in the title, and his use of “Counterintuitive” will spark some interest as well.

Use Power Words in Book Titles - Jen Sincero

Lastly, Jen Sincero’s encouraging book title makes you want to flip it open right away and read it in one go. The use of “Badass” alone will make it stand out in the self-development section, but her use of “Greatness” and “Awesome” in the subtitle truly seals the deal.
 

Go Ahead and Tell Me. What Words Did I Miss?


Yes, this is an enormous list, but so many power words are available, nobody can possibly catch them all on the first pass. What are some other words that seem to have that extra little spark of emotion inside them?

Leave your answer in the comments, and as time goes by, I’ll come back periodically and update the list. Eventually, I hope to have over 1,000 words here, separated and organized by category, making this the definitive resource for power words on the web.

Thanks in advance for commenting and sharing the post with your friends!

About the Author: Jon Morrow has asked repeatedly to be called “His Royal Awesomeness” but no one listens to him. So, he settles for CEO of Smart Blogger. Poor man. πŸ™‚

The post 595 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer appeared first on Smart Blogger.



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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Kindle Publishing for Beginners: How to Make Your First $1,000 on Amazon

What if I said you could have your book up on Amazon and making money within 72 hours?

(Assuming you’ve already written the book, of course.)

Sounds a whole lot better than waiting months or even years to find an agent, get a book deal, and go to all the rigmarole of working with a publisher, right?

Amazon also lets you keep more of the money. A lot more.

The only problem?

It’s hard to figure out how to get started. That’s why I created this comprehensive, step-by-step guide to Kindle publishing, jam-packed with little nuggets of wisdom I’ve picked up along the way.

Let’s jump in…

You Don’t Need a Platform to Publish Your Book on Kindle

I only had 250 subscribers when I launched my first book. And even though I took a relatively passive role in promoting the book — I did a few promotions during launch to give me an early bump and then mostly counted on Amazon’s algorithm to drive sales — it earned its first $1,000 within five months.

That’s not a result worth bragging about, but it was enough to inspire me to write a second book and do much better. That meant I had to take a more active approach.

So I was much more strategic, grew my audience larger, and promoted the book a lot more. And this time around, I got to $1,000 within the first month.

Even better: The book went on to make over $10K in its first year, which was a big improvement from the first book, which made $2K in that same time span.

The lesson?

You can make money writing even if you have a tiny list, and even if you take a somewhat passive role in promotion. But the more active you are, the more money you’ll make.

So in this post, I’ll share the step-by-step strategy I used to publish and promote my second book. You’ll have to decide for yourself how much of it you’ll follow and how active a role you want to take.

Ready to dig in?

Note: This post won’t cover how to write a book. Instead, it focuses on the marketing strategies that will help you sell you book. If you want to know more about the step-by-step book-writing process, check out these resources.

Before You Write Your Book — Validate Your Profitable Book Idea

Some book ideas are destined to fail before a single word is penned or typed, which is why you should validate your book idea first.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run across authors who write books about obscure topics for tiny audiences and are genuinely surprised when their sales are low.

Don’t be like those authors.

With the right research techniques, you can find a book idea that readers love and that you enjoy writing about.

Here’s how you do it.

Step #1: Take an Inventory of Your Interests


Personally, I already knew the book I wanted to write would be about self-reinvention. It was the idea that had been nagging at me for a while. So all I needed to do was validate whether it had selling potential.

But if you don’t have a concrete idea in mind yet, you can use the follow exercise to generate ideas. (If you do have an idea already, you can skip to Step 2.)

Grab a pen and paper and answer the following questions:
  • What do you find easy that others find difficult?
  • If you could only choose one section in a bookstore to read, which section would you choose?
  • What seems obvious to you that isn’t apparent to others?
  • What topic gets you talking to the point you won’t shut up about it?
  • What do friends and family tell you you’re good at?
  • What compliments have you received from strangers?
  • What types of articles do you read online?

Once you complete your inventory, review it to look for patterns. Maybe you’re a great communicator, have excellent financial habits, or have a knack for motivating others. The traits, knowledge, and skills you possess can translate into topics for books.

Review the list and use your answers to come up with a few book ideas. You’ll use these for the next step.

Step #2: Spy on Your Competition


Like I said, I already had an idea for my book in mind, but I still needed to know whether it had selling potential. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time writing a book that nobody (besides my most devoted subscribers) would buy.

So, before I started writing, I validated my idea by researching the competition.

You can do that yourself by going to Amazon and answering these questions:

  • Are there similar books? If you can’t find a book similar to yours in the marketplace it means you don’t have a good idea, because no one is that original.
  • Can you compete? Checking the competitive landscape gives you an idea of how well your book can sell.
  • Are there enough buyers? You want to make sure enough people want the type of book you plan on writing to make it worth your time.

You can find the answers to these questions in three steps:

A: Find Your Category on Amazon

First, you’ll need to find a suitable category for your book on Amazon.

Here’s how:

#1. Go to amazon.com and navigate to Departments > Kindle E-Readers & Books > Kindle Books.

Find a suitable category for your ebook

#2. Click Best Sellers & More in the left-hand menu:

Select from best selling eBooks

#3. Scroll down until you see the menu below and click Kindle Best Sellers.

Kindle Best Selling eBooks

#4. Select Kindle eBooks from the left-hand menu.

Kindle eBooks

#5. Pick a category and subcategory that fit closest to your book idea(s).

For my book on self-reinvention, I chose the category Self-Help and subcategory Personal Transformation.  

Click eBook category or subcategory

Once you’ve picked a subcategory, you can check to see whether you can spot books in the top 20 with similar topics.

B: Check Your Category’s Top 20 Books for Similar Topics

The premise for my book was self-reinvention. I didn’t need to find a book with the exact word “reinvention,” but I looked for books with similar themes like behavior change, personality change, and life change.

I found some books that were similar to mine (#3 and #5 below explicitly state they’re about change, while #4 is a book about improving your life in general).

Find best selling eBooks that match your idea

At the end of this step, you’ve answered the first question. You’ll know whether there are similar books to your idea.

If there are, that’s good news! You can proceed to the next step which will answer the other two questions — can you compete, and are there enough buyers?

C: Check the Best Seller Rank of the Top Books in Your Category

If you want to know whether you can compete in a category and whether there are enough buyers, you need to know how well the books in your category sell.

You won’t find any actual sales numbers on Amazon, but through their Best Seller rank, you can get a decent estimate.

You can find a book’s Best Seller rank by scrolling down its product page. The rank will be listed under Product Details.

Find eBook Amazon best seller rank

The higher the rank (with #1 being the highest), the more copies it sells — but also, the harder it will be to beat. You have to look for categories where the average bestseller rank is neither too low nor too high.

Here’s how it generally breaks down:

  • Rankings above 1,000 will have great sales numbers but are very competitive.
  • Rankings from 1,000 to 30,000 are less competitive, but will still have decent sales numbers.
  • Rankings of 30,000 and lower are the least competitive, but will also have lower sales numbers.

As you can see, the sweet spot is in the middle. You don’t want a category that’s too competitive, nor do you want a category with low sales numbers.

Aim for categories where you think you can crack the top three books. If you follow the strategies laid out in this post, you should be able to reach the top three in categories with medium competition.  

If you can get your book featured in the top three when you launch, you skyrocket the chance of your book being featured highly in the Hot New Releases list.

And if you appear high enough in that list, your book will get a lot of exposure. Amazon will feature your book in a highlighted section above other books that are similar to yours, like this:

Amazon new releases feature spot

Also, people browse for books by categories, but they tend to skim through the category pages. The higher you are in a category, the higher the chance that someone will click through to buy your book.

So picking the right category is crucial. If you don’t think you can crack the top three books in your initial category, you might see if you could feature your book in an alternative category where the competition is less heavy.

Note: You never want to skip this step, even if you do have a book idea in mind that’s been nagging at you to write. If my self-reinvention idea had failed this test, I wouldn’t have written it. Instead, I would’ve gone back to Step 1 to come up with new ideas.

Step# 3: Brainstorm a Whole Bunch of Titles


Now you’ve ensured your book idea has selling potential, so you’re about ready to start writing. But before you do, you should give your book a title.

What you have to know about book titles before you write yours is that they have two components: The main title and the subtitle.

When you’re brainstorming your main title, here’s what you want to keep in mind:

  1. It should be punchy and memorable.
  2. It should hint at the book’s topic.
  3. It should resonate with your audience.

When brainstorming your subtitle, you want it to clarify how your book helps your readers. Ask yourself:

  1. Which of my reader’s pain points will my book solve?
  2. What positive outcomes will the book provide?
  3. What kind of person will the reader be after reading your book? How will their life change?

For my book, I brainstormed 50 different main titles and 25 subtitles. They weren’t all fantastic, but that’s the point. When brainstorming titles, you just write down whatever comes to mind. Then you cross out the options that you don’t like, or that you like less, until you only have your favorites left.

To give you a glimpse of some ideas I had, here were some contenders for my main title:

  • You 2.0
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Starting Over
  • The Power of Reinvention

And these were some favorites for my subtitle:

  • Unlock the Secrets that Keep You Stuck and Reprogram Your Mind for Success
  • Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You
  • Redesign Your Life, Find Your Mental Blind Spots, and Master the Art of Personal Transformation

The final title became: You 2.0: Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You — Master the Art of Personal Transformation.

What’s your title going to be?

Once you decide, you know exactly what book you’re going to write. And having taken all the right steps, you can feel confident it will sell when you’re done.

Note: If you already have an email list, I suggest you poll your readers on which are their favorite titles and subtitles. If you don’t have an email list, you can still use a polling site like Pickfu.

While Writing Your Book — Gather a Mob of Potential Book Buyers

If you’re self-publishing books, you need an audience of potential book buyers. This will give you two critical advantages:

  1. You get an early boost in sales, and having a positive sales record encourages Amazon’s algorithm to promote your book for you.
  2. You can leverage your audience for reviews, which Amazon also uses as a ranking factor, and they’ll also help other people make the decision to buy.

If you don’t have anybody buying your book or leaving reviews as soon as you publish, the chances of it taking off are slim to none.

Now, as I mentioned earlier, that doesn’t mean you need 10,000 subscribers. But the more you have, the better.

My second book made more money than my first in large part because I took the time to gather new subscribers as I was writing it.

Here’s what I did to grow my audience larger for my second book:

Note: If you already have an established audience of at least 1,000 subscribers, or if you feel you already know enough about how to build your email list, you might consider skipping to the next section. If you’re interested in my exact strategies, though, keep reading.

Step #1: Create an Alluring Incentive For People to Join Your List


People rarely part with their email addresses for nothing in return, so you need to offer them an incentive to join your email list.

To be honest, I cheated a bit here, because I offered something that I already had available. I offered my first book The Destiny Formula.

Ideally, you want to offer an incentive that’s a perfect complement to the book you’re writing.

For example, if you were writing a book about the Paleo diet, you might offer one of these incentives:

  • 5 Delicious Paleo Recipes You Can Make in 15 Minutes or Less
  • 7-Day Paleo Quick-Start Email Course
  • The Ultimate Paleo Snack List (Includes 250 Different Snacks)

Doing this ensures you build an audience that’s interested in your book’s topic.

My first book did have some audience overlap with my second, though, so it worked out in the end. And I did change my incentive when we got closer to my book launch. (We’ll get to that later.)

But if I had to start the launch over today, I’d have created something more relevant to self-reinvention from the start. It might’ve boosted sales even more.

Step #2: Set Up a Landing Page for Collecting Email Addresses


If you want to build your email list, you need two things: an email marketing platform to store your list and a landing page where people can sign up to your list.

Now, you have a number of choices when it comes to email marketing platforms, but these are three popular ones:

Personally, I opted for ConvertKit because they built it specifically for professional bloggers. It comes with easy segmentation features that let you promote your book in a more targeted way. I highly recommend it, but any of these platforms will work.

Once you’ve set up your email marketing platform, you can create a landing page to capture people’s email addresses.

I used Leadpages to do so, which makes it simple to create landing pages. It comes with ready-made templates that you can modify with its drag-and-drop builder.

Leadpages ready-made templates

You can choose one of their templates and customize it to your wishes.

Here’s a screenshot of the landing page I created:

Leadpages landing page example

Once you have everything in place, all you need to do is send traffic to your landing page.

Step #3: Drive Traffic to Your Landing Page


My personal goal was to hit 3,000 subscribers before I published my book. My main strategy for reaching that number was publishing articles on Medium, each with a link back to my landing page.

Pro tip: You can repurpose some of your book chapters as posts. Just be careful not to give your entire book away, or future buyers will feel cheated. You’ll want at least 50% of your book to be exclusive.)

Every article I published on Medium would include this offer at the end:

Use Medium to drive traffic to your landing page

But I didn’t stop there. I also guest posted on Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Thought Catalog, The Pursuit and more.

While I got most of my traffic from Medium, publishing on these sites still grew my subscriber base by a significant chunk.

Between publishing on Medium and guest posting on these sites, I reached my goal of 3,000 subscribers within six months.

You don’t need to hit that same number of subscribers, but I do recommend you build your list to at least 1,000 before launching your book.

Publish new articles on a steady schedule and keep your new subscribers engaged while you finish writing your book. Once you do, you’re ready to jump into the next stage.

After Writing Your Book — Package Your Book Like a Best Seller

You can write the most amazing book on earth, but if you don’t package it in an appealing way, few people will read it.

After all, the prestigious title is best-selling author, not best-writing author.

In this section, we’ll cover three important steps to packaging your book:

  • The cover design
  • The formatting
  • The book description

Ready to go?

Step #1: Get a Cover That Grabs Attention


I cannot stress the importance of this step enough. You need a good cover for your book, or it won’t sell.

The cover gives potential buyers their first impression of your book. If it looks cheap and sloppy, they’ll assume it’s not worth their money.

A good book cover has, at the very least, the following characteristics:

  1. A clear, legible title. Most of your potential buyers will see your cover as a thumbnail first, so your title should be easy to read when shrunken to that size. Avoid small, hard-to-read letters and scribbly fonts.
  2. A design that stands out. Whether it stands out through a bold color or an interesting graphic, you want your cover to catch the eye.

Now, if you’re tempted to design your own cover, I have one word of advice: Don’t.

Unless you’re a professional cover designer, you’re better off handing this responsibility over to someone else. This is not something you want to pinch pennies on.

Personally, I hired Happy Self Publishing to create my cover. They kept coming up in communities of writers over time, so I gave them a try. I was not disappointed. They struck a good balance of professionalism, quality, and price.

Note: If you’re on a super-tight budget, you might also try Fiverr. In that case, you have to know what you’re looking for. You have to check the designers’ samples and make sure their covers look professional. You’ll likely get better quality covers elsewhere, though.

When I hired Happy Self-Publishing, they asked if I had ideas for my cover and sent me a questionnaire to gather my book information (title, subtitle, description, etc.) and my preferences for the cover design (preferred colors, fonts, etc.).

They gave me questions like this:

Hire a professional eBook cover designer

I filled out the questionnaire, gave the designer my directions, and also sent samples of covers I liked to give him an even better picture of my tastes.

Within days, he came back with several mock-ups.

We went through several rounds where I told him what I liked and disliked, and he’d send me new mock-ups based on my (and my audience’s) feedback, until we finally settled on my final cover.

Here’s how my cover evolved over time:

Professional eBook cover designer mockup examples

Step #2: Make Your Book Look Pretty Inside


In addition to your cover, you also need to make the inside of your book look good. If all the text is mushed together, it’s full of syntax errors, or it’s written in a terrible font, people won’t want to read your book.

To prevent this, you need to format your book — specifically, you need to format and save your book in a Kindle-friendly file-type like .mobi or .epub.

Now, you can do this yourself, or you can hire a professional to do it for you.

I formatted my book myself using an easy-to-use piece of software called Vellum, which uses a simple WYSIWYG editor (“What You See Is What You Get” — the same editor in Microsoft Word and WordPress). You can just copy and paste your chapters into it, change the formatting however you like, and export.

The only problem? Vellum is only available on Mac.

If you’re on a PC, you have alternative options like Reedsy and Book Design Templates.

A do-it-yourself approach will save you some money, but if you feel you’re not very tech-savvy and want to make sure the book is formatted properly, hire someone. Happy Self-Publishing, the company I used for my cover, also provides an affordable formatting service, or you can find hundreds of freelancers on Upwork who can do it for you.

When the formatting is done, though, don’t forget to proofread the book with a Kindle or the Kindle app. Make sure there are no formatting bugs that need to be fixed.

After that, you’re done with this step.

Step #3: Write a Description That Sells Your Book for You


When your cover lures people to your Amazon sales page, the next thing they’ll do is read your book description. They’ll want to know exactly what your book is about and how it’ll benefit them.

If your description has weak writing, it won’t be compelling enough for them to click the buy button, so they’ll click the back button instead.

Now, the key thing to understand when writing your book description is that you should not treat it as a summary of your book. Rather, you should treat it as a sales letter. It shouldn’t just inform potential buyers of the contents of your book, it should persuade them to buy.

Here’s mine, for example:

How to write an eBook description

See how I focus the description on benefits to the reader? See how I use the bullet points to foster curiosity rather than give away the main points of the book? These are basic sales letter techniques you should use in your description.

Imagine if the second bullet had read, “Goal setting doesn’t work because [reason].”

Giving the reason away would defeat the need for the reader to purchase the book. Instead, I trigger curiosity by leaving it open.

If you want to learn more about writing persuasive descriptions, the following resources helped me a lot while writing mine:

Before Launching Your Book — Create a Rock-Solid Launch Plan

Your launch makes or breaks the success of your book.

You shouldn’t wait until the week of your launch before you start planning it. Instead, you want to have a plan in place and have your marketing materials prepared well before you hit publish.

Here are a few things you should do to prepare for the launch of my book.

Step #1: Create Your “Street Team”


Before your launch, you should assemble a so-called “street team” to help write reviews for your book and help promote it during launch week.

I reached out to people in my network — fellow authors and bloggers I’d met over the years — and asked them to join.

If you don’t have a well-established network, you can leverage your email list, like Kevin Kruse (a New York Times bestselling author) explains in this video:

When you reach out to people in your network, explain what’s expected of them as your street team members:

  • Explain they are to read an advanced reader copy of the book and prepare a review to post at the beginning of the launch.
  • Encourage them to share the book on social media or with their email lists. Explain this is optional, but you’d be very grateful.

For the number of reviews you want, double that number of people on your street team, because chances are only half of them will actually review your book. At minimum, aim for 25 reviews, so 50 people for your launch team.

Step #2: Start Teasing Your Book to Your List


Once you’ve written your book and you can see your launch on the horizon, you want to gently tease your subscribers so they know it’s coming. You need to build anticipation.

Up to this point, I had been keeping my list engaged by sending Monday Motivation emails every week, as well as an update every time I published a new blog post.

As I was preparing for launch, I added teasers at the end of my emails, like this:

Example:

P.S. I’m finished with my new book, You 2.0.: Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You.

It details everything I’ve learned in the process of transforming my life from broke, addicted, and depressed to finding my passion, tripling my income, and succeeding. I’m really excited about it. Stay tuned.

You don’t have to sell it hard at this point. Just make them aware the book is coming.

Step #3: Map Out Your Launch Plan and Prepare Promotional Materials


You should never be winging it when you launch a book. If you’re smart, you’ll plan every single step you’ll take leading up to the launch, as well as afterwards.

You need to create a schedule so you know exactly which promotion happens when, and what actions you should take each day. (I’ll share my own promotion timeline in the next section, which you can emulate.)

Once you have planned everything, the next step is to prepare everything.

In the weeks leading up to my launch, I prepared:

  • The email sequence promoting the book to my subscribers
  • The emails I’d send to my street team
  • 30 days’ worth of promotional articles that I’d publish on Medium
  • Social media posts to promote the book

For the promotional articles, I also prepared a few new incentives more geared toward promoting the book than my original one:

Prepare promotional eBook incentives

When you don’t prepare for your launch beforehand, you will feel frazzled and frustrated throughout the launch. You’ll be scrambling to promote the book instead of having a strategy that makes you feel confident the book will sell.

Plan ahead, and you’ll launch with a bang.

Launching Your Book — Follow This Timeline for an Early Boost in Sales

You may think your book launch happens when you publish your book on Amazon and put it up for sale.

And you’re not wrong. Technically, that is when you officially launch your book. But the launch process is a bit more involved than just clicking a publish button, and it starts much earlier than your official launch.

It starts from your first big promotion, as that’s when you start selling your book.

Below, you’ll find the timeline I used when launching my book. Feel free to emulate it.

Step #1: Send “Free Sample” Emails (Launch Minus 4 Weeks)


Four weeks ahead of your official launch, you want to send your subscribers free samples. Send them one free sample each week.

This will give them a taste of what’s inside.

I sent my own subscribers the introduction to my book, Chapter One and Chapter Two.

Of course, you don’t have to use your first chapters. You can choose to share any chapter you wish. Share the ones you think will make your readers hungry for more.

Here’s an example of one of my “Free Sample” emails:

Hey friend,

The launch date for my new book, You 2.0: Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You, is just around the corner.

I put my heart and soul into writing this book and I wanted to share some of it with you today because I’m confident reading some of it will inspire you to want to read the whole thing to transform your life.

As follows is the introduction to the book:

[Book Intro Goes Here]

In the next week or so, I’ll share even more sections of the book. Why? Because my primary goal is to get you to read the book and use it to change your life. That matters to me more than money.

Keep an eye on your inbox πŸ˜‰

Step #2: Publish Your Book on Amazon (Launch Minus 1 Week)


You should never wait until your official launch date to publish your book on Amazon. You should publish it one week in advance.

This way, you can ask your street team for early reviews.

These early reviews are important, as you’ll need to have at least 10 reviews if you want to use book promotion sites during launch week. (And you do, as they can give you a huge surge in early sales. We’ll get to them later.)

To publish your book on Amazon, you need to create an account on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing.

Then follow these steps to publish your book:

#1. Go to “Create a New Title” and click “+ Kindle eBook”.

Publish your Kindle eBook on Amazon

#2. Enter all necessary book information (language, title, subtitle, etc.).

Kindle eBook details for publication

#3. Enter your book description. (You can use HTML tags to change the way the content appears on your book page.)

Kindle eBook description for Amazon detail page

#4. Choose keywords.

Enter Kindle eBook keyword phrases

Amazon allows you to use up to seven keywords to help readers find your books. You want to match your keywords with the terms readers will type into the search box.

To find good keywords, you can:

Here are the keyword I chose for my book:

Select Kindle eBook categories to publish your book

#5. Choose your categories.

Initially, you’re only allowed to choose two category/subcategory combinations from the list Amazon provides, but strangely, their list doesn’t include all their categories. You’ll find a lot of the more niche categories are missing. (You’ll have a hard time trying to crack the top three in most of the broader categories.)

For now though, just pick two categories/subcategories that your book fits into:

Choose up to two Kindle eBook categories to publish your book
Choose up to two Kindle eBook categories to publish your book

After you publish your book, browse books that are similar to yours and see which categories they are in. Then contact Amazon and request to have your book added to them.

In fact, if you’re smart, you can follow this process to be added to TEN categories, rather than just two.

Here’s a video from Kindlepreneur’s Dave Chesson that explains how to approach this:

#6. Upload your cover and manuscript files.

Upload Kindle eBook cover files
Upload Kindle eBook manuscript files

#7. Enter pricing information.

Enter Kindle eBook pricing

How should you price your book?

Before we get into that, you need to understand Amazon’s pricing and royalty model:

  • For Kindle books priced from $0.99 to $2.98, you receive a 35% royalty on each sale.
  • For Kindle books priced from $2.99 to $9.99, you receive a 70% royalty on each sale.
  • For Kindle books priced above $9.99, you receive a 35% royalty on each sale.

Now, you might think that pricing your book somewhere between $2.99 and $9.99 is the obvious way to go, as that will get you the most royalties.

But for starters, I priced my book at $0.99 and I suggest you do the same.

That would earn you $0.35 per sale, which doesn’t seem like a lot … because it isn’t. The point of this isn’t to make a lot of money early, but to get a lot of sales early.

Amazon doesn’t look at the price of your book to determine how well it’s selling. It looks at the number of copies sold. If you can sell a ton of 99-cent copies in the beginning, you’ll benefit from some algorithmic momentum even after you raise the price.

When you price the book at $0.99, you can use promotional sites to get your book in front of massive audiences during launch, and you give your subscribers an incentive to purchase early (before you raise the price).

#8. Scroll down and click Publish Your Kindle eBook.

Publish your Kindle eBook on Amazon

Once you’ve clicked to publish your book, it will appear on Amazon in 24 to 48 hours.

Step #3: Ask Your Street Team for Reviews (Launch Minus 6 Days)


The moment your book goes live, you should send an email to your street team asking them to leave their reviews.

And this is important: You should ask them to download the book from Amazon first, and then write their reviews. If they don’t do it in this order, their reviews won’t be verified. They will still show up, but Amazon won’t give them as much weight.

If you’d rather not ask them to pay $0.99 in order to leave a review, you can enroll in KDP Select and  run a free promotion for 72 hours. That way, they can “purchase” the book for free, and Amazon should still mark their reviews as verified.

Step #4: Schedule Promotions (Launch Minus 5 Days)


I mentioned book promotion sites earlier. So what are they, exactly?

Basically, they’re sites that promote books while they’re free or priced at $0.99. These sites have massive lists of subscribers who love reading books, and they’ll all receive an email that links to your book.

These readers can give you a gigantic boost in early sales.

Here are the sites I used myself, along with the cost to use each:

  • Buck Books — $29
  • Books Butterfly — $40
  • Robin Reads — $55
  • James Mayfield — $10
  • Fussy Librarian — $30

I found these sites from a list compiled by Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur.

Now, considering you’ll only make $0.35 per sale, you won’t make much profit from the use of these promotional sites. You might even lose some money. So why use them at all?

Because you want to create a track record of sales success.

Amazon will promote your book for you if it sees you have sales of your own. When authors make money, Amazon makes money, but like any good business, it won’t recommend products without profit potential.

You don’t have to use five services, like I did. But use at least three.

Step #5: Launch Your Book With a Bang


Alright, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to officially launch your book to the public.

During launch week, you should promote your book hard. Hopefully, you’ve done the work to prepare yourself so you’re not overwhelmed.

You should promote your book by:

  1. Sending a sales sequence to your email list. (Examples of each email will be given below.)
  2. Asking your street team to help promote the book on social media and/or to their email lists.
  3. Running book promotions you’ve set up. (You should have already scheduled these, as instructed in the previous step.)
  4. Promoting the book on social media. (I recommend using Buffer to schedule multiple social media posts per day.)
  5. Publishing content from your content marketing campaign.

Here’s how I scheduled these activities during launch week:

Day 1:

  • Send an announcement email (See example #1 below).
  • Ask your street team to promote your book on social media (or their email lists).
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 2:

  • Send a soft-sell email. (See example #2 below.)
  • Run 10 social media posts.

Day 3:

  • Run your first book marketing promotion (Buck Books).
  • Run 10 social media posts.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 4:

  • Send another soft-sell email to your list.
  • Send a reminder email to your street team for social media/email list promotion.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 5:

  • Run your second book marketing promotion (James Mayfield & Books Butterfly).
  • Run 10 social media posts.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 6:

  • Send a hard-sell email to your list. (See example #3 below.)
  • Run 10 social media posts.
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.

Day 7:

  • Run your third book marketing promotion (Fussy Librarian & Robin Reads).
  • Send price change email. (See example #4 below.)
  • Publish promotional content on Medium.
  • Run 10 social media posts.

Here are some examples of each email in my sales sequence:

Example #1 — Announcement Email:

Do you wish life came with a “do over” button?

We all make mistakes. Time can pass quickly and we can come to a point where we ask ourselves, “How the hell did I end up here?”

If you’ve ever felt this way, my new book, You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You, might provide the answers you’ve been looking for.

And it’s only 99 cents, a special price I’m revealing to subscribers only for the next 5 days.

I’m setting the price so low because I want you to read the book. At this point, I care about getting the book in as many hands as possible over making money.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Talk soon,

Ayodeji

Example #2 — Soft-Sell Email:

Hey friend,

For the past few weeks, I’ve told you about my new book,You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You, which is available for 99 cents for the next few days.

(To those who have bought already, thank you SO MUCH — the book is now #1 in its category!)

The book tells the story of how I transformed my life and how you can too. It doesn’t tell theories, it shows what I’ve actually done.

See, before I reached my dream of becoming an author, my life was headed in the wrong direction. I was addicted to drugs and alcohol, working a dead-end job, and had no hope in sight.

Then, I decided I didn’t want to live my life that way and went through a ton of trial and error to become who I am today. I’ve more than doubled my income, gotten rid of bad habits, and have done many of the things I used to only dream of doing.

In the book, you’ll learn:

  • How to discover your passions (even if you have no clue what to do with your life)
  • How to get over your past and change your self-image (even if you think it’s set in stone)
  • How to find the motivation to change your circumstances (even if you’ve tried and failed before)

I try my best to share the message without the typical theme of most self-help books that are often judgmental and critical.

See, I don’t think you’re “too lazy to succeed” or “mediocre.” Life sucks sometimes, and we’re all doing what we can to cope with it. I wrote this book to share ideas to inspire you to change, not to shove inspiration down your throat.

So, I’m inviting you to check out the book at the price of 99 cents because I care about the message and want to spread it far and wide.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Talk soon,

Ayodeji

Example #3 — Hard-Sell Email:

Hey friend,

For the past few days I’ve been telling you about my new book, You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You.

Today, I wanted to share a few reasons why I’m promoting the book and why I think you should invest in yourself by purchasing it.

I think you should invest in the book because:

  • At a minimum, you’re throwing 99 cents into the “fountain of karma.” I didn’t find prosperity in my life until I supported other artists and entrepreneurs.
  • Books are a great investment in yourself. Take the years of my trial and error and use it to your advantage.
  • You’re smart. Smart enough to know if I can help and smart enough to know if I’m genuinely interested in improving your life.

Click here to learn more about the book.

That’s it!

Talk soon,

Ayodeji

Example #4 — Price Change Email:

Hey friend,

Today’s the last day you can get my new book, You 2.0, for the low price of 99 cents. After that, the price goes up to $2.99 and it’ll only go higher from there.

Why the low price and continued promotion?

To get the message out there. I’m guessing you’re a part of this community because you’re looking for a change in your life and if I’m able to help you do that, it’s worth all the effort I put into writing the book.

Click here to learn more about the book.

Until next time,

Ayodeji

After Launching Your Book — Keep the Sales Going and Keep the Royalties Coming In

To make money writing, your book can’t be a flash in the pan, which means you have to continue promoting the book to keep the sales rolling in.

Like I mentioned earlier, you want to give the book a good start with a boost of early sales to benefit from Amazon’s algorithms. But you should keep your momentum going longer than the first week. You want to keep sales coming in with some consistency after that.

During the weeks following the launch, you should continue engaging your list and keep spreading the message about your book to new readers.

Here are a few things you should do:

Step #1: Raise Your Price Once Per Week (and Let Your Subscribers Know)


As mentioned earlier, I set the price for my book at $0.99 for the first week. If I kept sales going at this price, my royalties would continue to stay low. So after the first week, I raised the price to $2.99, then to $3.99, and finally to $4.99.

Every time I was about to raise the price, I sent my subscribers a price change email. This not only reminded casual readers to buy the book, but gave them an incentive to do so. If they didn’t get in on the low price that day, they’d miss out forever, and nobody likes missing out on a good deal.

Step #2: Keep Publishing Posts to Get People on Your List


After publishing your book, you should continue publishing articles with links back to your sign-up form. Every new subscriber is a new potential buyer.

Set up a welcoming autoresponder sequence that gives subscribers your incentive and then proceeds to sell your book. You can use the same (or a similar) sales sequence that you used for your launch.

I wrote a total of 30 posts for 30 days on Medium to promote the book, and this added 150 more sales during the first month of my launch.

Tip: You can use Amazon affiliate links to track how many readers from your list actually bought your book from the link you gave them.

Step #3: Create An Amazon Ad Campaign for Sales on AutoPilot


Amazon Marketing Services provides a “pay per click” advertising program for authors. I highly recommend you use it.

My ad campaigns made a significant difference because I could pay for views and I made a profit from buying readers’ attention.

Here’s how you can create your own ads:

#1. Sign up for AMS through your Kindle dashboard by clicking Ad Campaigns in the top menu.

Sign up for Amazon Marketing Services

#2. Click new campaign.

Create Kindle eBook Amazon Marketing Campaign

#3. Choose Sponsored Product Ads.

Choose sponsored product ads for your Kindle eBook

#4. Select the book you wish to advertise.

Select the Kindle eBook you want to advertise

#5. Set your campaign name, budget, and select Manual Targeting.

To start with, $3–$5 per day is good because you can get useful data without breaking the bank. Less than $3 won’t give you enough data, and more than $5 can cause you to lose money if you’re not careful.

Set Kindle eBook campaign budget duration

#6. Scroll down to the Add Keywords section and click Add Your Own Keywords.

Add keyword bids for eBook search campaign

#7. Find relevant keywords.

You’ll need a lot more keywords for your ad campaign than you did earlier when you published your book.

But you can use similar techniques to find them:

  • Type relevant words and phrases into Amazon’s search bar and see which keywords Amazon suggests (as pictured below).
  • Browse best seller categories and use popular book titles/author names as keywords.
  • Use the “customers also bought” section of books from best seller categories to find related book titles/ authors to use as keywords.
  • Download software. Kindle Spy and KDP Rocket are two tools that instantly provide relevant keywords for your book.
How to find keywords for Kindle eBook ad campaign

#8. Set the bid price for your keywords.

how to set bids for eBook ad search campaign

A bid price is the largest amount you’re willing to spend if someone clicks on your ad.

I added 1,000 keywords — the maximum amount allowed per ad — and set the bid at 10 cents. I didn’t want to spend too much money until I knew the type of results I’d get. If the ads worked well, I planned on increasing both my daily budget and keyword bids.

#9. Enter your ad’s marketing message.

Enter eBook ad marketing message

#10. Preview your ad and, if you like what you see, click Submit Campaign for Review.

How to preview Amazon Kindle eBook ads

After 24–48 hours, your ad will be live (if it is approved, of course).

Step #4: Boost Your Winning Ads and Drop Your Losers


After publishing your ad, let it run for two week and analyze the data.

Here’s a screenshot of my ad dashboard:

Amazon Marketplace eBook ad dashboard

The key metrics you want to look at are:

  • Impressions: The number of times people saw your ad.
  • Clicks: The number of people who clicked on your ad.
  • aCPC: The average cost per click on your ad.
  • Spend: Total amount spent.
  • ACOS: Average cost of each sale. If your ACOS is 25%, you spend 25 cents of every dollar you make. If it’s 75%, you spend 75 cents of every dollar you make. If it’s 125%, you spend $1.25, for every dollar you make, which means your ad costs more than it makes.
Important note: You must keep your royalty rate in mind when factoring ACOS and ad spend. For Kindle books, you pay 30% in royalties, which means only 70% of every dollar you make lands in your pocket. That means if your ACOS is 70%, your ad is breaking even.

You can click into the campaign itself to see these same metrics for individual keywords. You can use those metrics to adjust your campaign.

For instance, when you see a specific keyword is costing you more than it earns, you can pause that keyword, and your ad won’t show up again.

How to pause specific keyword eBook ad campaign

Once you see how your keywords are performing, you can expand your campaign reach in the following ways:

  • Increase your bids. Once I saw my campaigns doing well, I increased the bids of keywords to 20 cents, then 30 cents, and eventually went as high as 50 cents per keyword.
  • Add more keywords. The more keywords you have, the more opportunity for new sales. I started an additional campaign with 1,000 more keywords.
  • Increase total spend. If you find your daily budget is being spent quickly, raise it. I raised my spend from $5 to $10 to $15, and then to $20. As long as my ads turn a profit, I will keep investing in them.

The End Result?

So how exactly did my second book do? What are the numbers?

The final tallies for the end of the first month were:

  • 877 ebook copies sold
  • 37 print copies sold
  • $1,237 in sales

The book has been out since April 2017 and has now sold approximately $10,000 in all formats combined (I added a paperback and an audio version, which I highly recommend you do as well).

After the initial launch month, I continued to promote the book through content marketing.

Anyone who subscribes to my email list goes through an email series that includes a few educational emails and a hard-sell email to buy the book. I publish one blog post per week to send new traffic to my email list and promote the book.

I’m continuing to run and scale my ad campaigns. I’ve spent more than $1,500 on ads so far and earned $4,955.50 to date from those ads.

That’s a solid return on my investment, if you ask me.

The first 90 days after launch accounted for a large portion of book sales. After that, sales remained consistent at around $500–$700 per month.

Play the Long Game and Build Your Self-Publishing Enterprise

I’m working on my next book right now.

With an even larger audience than I had when I launched my last book, my goal is to sell at least 10,000 copies of my third book within the first year.

What’s next? I’ll write another book, and another, and another. I’m building a body of work, and with each new book, I’ll continue to build my audience and my income.

When you build a body of work, you reap the benefits of having multiple assets. When a new reader discovers one of your books and likes it, odds are they’ll want to read your other books.

When you have multiple books for sale you can market them in unique ways like creating book bundles and offering deals on each book at different times.

Over time, you’ll improve your writing skills, you’ll grow a fan base which loves your work, and (if you do it right) you’ll make more money with each book you publish.

I love writing. I’d do it (and have done it) for free. But I want to make an impact and an income. Self-publishing provided a route for me to do both.

It can do so for you, too.

About the Author: Ayodeji is an author and writing coach who helps aspiring writers develop the confidence and habits they need to make an impact and and income. Visit his page to get three free writing guides, plus a copy of his bestselling Amazon book.

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