Friday, March 28, 2014

Making the Sale: How to Sell More on Your Website

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my years of marketing, it’s that no matter how much authors love what Amazon can do for them, they’d rather sell books on their own site than share a cut with the giant online e-tailer. Doing this, however, can be tricky.

It seems that every time we turn around, some big chain is admitting that they were hacked. If you were one of the millions who shopped there, your information could be in the hands of God-knows-who. With so much attention on shopper security, it’s leaving a lot of shoppers even more hesitant to shop online.

Last year, Baymard Institute released a staggering statistic: 67.89% of shoppers abandon their carts before completing the purchase. That translates to around $1.79 trillion dollars in product or services purchased online. Why does this happen? Well, there are a lot of theories on this. According to Shopify, this is a list of some of the top reasons that people abandon their purchase with you:

Presented with unexpected costs
Just browsing
Found a better price elsewhere
Overall price too expensive
Decided against buying
Website navigation too complicated
Website crashed

Though I don’t disagree with this per se, I would take this a step further, because not only are security concerns at an all-time high, there are a variety of additional reasons you may be losing people. Also, how to get shoppers and keep them varies by industry so let’s look at the ones that will matter to authors and publishers:

1) Overall Look of Site: There’s a high trust factor with a site that looks professional. I don’t want to buy from a site that looks sketchy. Would you? If you want to sell from your site, you’ll need to have one that’s professionally designed. I would say that this goes even before we start the shopping cart discussion because you won’t get anyone to even entertain buying off of your site if it doesn’t look like a place they’d want to shop.

2) Checkout Process: I see a lot of authors (and even business owners) who make the shopping process difficult. I’m not sure why they do this or why their web designers recommend this. Every click you make someone do can cost you 5% of your traffic, meaning that if you require customers to make several clicks just to get an item into their shopping cart, you’ve now lost 20% of your traffic. Make the buying process easy. Put “Shop” or “Store” or (if you have one product) “Buy Now” on the home page so folks immediately know where to click. Visitors won’t take the time to figure it out. If they can’t find it on your site, they’ll go elsewhere and in the age of Amazon they’re likely to just default back there.

3) Site security: Show shoppers that their purchase is secure - this is also very important. Buyers want to know you’re taking care of their personal details so showing security messages – even things like “Secure checkout” make all the difference. In fact, according to a recent Entrepreneur Magazine article, adding security messages can increase a buy by 16%.

4) Sign in/Sign up: I don’t know about you, but the minute someone wants me to create an account before buying an item, I’m usually gone. If you want folks to sign up on your site, have them do it after they’ve made a purchase. Studies show that conversion rates can increase by 45% if you allow buyers to shop as “guests” throughout their visit.

5) Unexpected Costs: We all know that Amazon has pretty much ruined us for shipping costs. Thanks to things like Amazon Prime, and other free shipping opportunities, most of us abhor these added costs. If you feel charging for shipping is something you have to do, consider offering free shipping as an incentive instead of a guarantee. Staples, for instance, offers free shipping when you buy a certain dollar amount. Other e-tailers have free shipping days, or, if you want to further incentivize site sign-up, you could offer free shipping to members only which would encourage them to join your site so you could remarket to them later.

6) Cart abandonment: Window shopping happens, even online. SeeWhy did a study last year and found that 99% of people won’t buy on their first visit to your website. This is why having an email newsletter, or some other benefit-driven giveaway, is not only important, but mandatory if you want to make the sale. Email newsletters allow you to remarket to your visitor. No, they may not buy on the first try, but a helpful, content-rich newsletter will remind them who you are and encourage a buy for later. It is a lot of work, yes, but so is building a store on your site that no one buys from. Alternatively, you could also consider pop-ups or sidebar messages that show up during the purchase process, offering customers 5% off.

7) eCommerce options: I know many folks who have extensive eCommerce options which are great but also costly. Being able to take credit cards, especially if you are small, is an added cost you may want to incur but, you may not need to. When we switched from our extensive pay system to just offering PayPal, we found that our shopper conversion almost doubled. Also, PayPal no longer requires users to register with their system so you can give your shoppers the peace of mind of using a secure system, without having to register.

8) Love the Love: People like what other people like, which is why for most (if not all) retailers, you’ll see reviews and customer feedback right on the page. Most authors don’t have the bandwidth, time, or money to create a sales system that’s quite that elaborate, so adding reviews to the sales pages is very helpful. Adding reviews with a picture adds even more credibility to the page. Remember that your customer can, with one click, meander over to Amazon and buy the book there so give them a reason to stay.

9) Pricing: If you’re going to keep shoppers on your site, you’d better up the ante on your pricing. We already know you need to ship for free (at least on certain days or with minimum orders) now let’s consider your “offer.” Maybe you just wanted to offer the book. Sure, that’s fine, albeit a tad boring. Sorry, but they can get the book on Amazon, too. If you really want to lure folks to your site and make the sale, you’ll need to give them a slam-dunk deal they can’t resist. As an example, when we changed the offer on our store page from 3 books for $20 to four, sales doubled.

Keep in mind that there is only one print book that’s mailed, the rest are digital and delivered as soon as payment is taken so there’s nothing else for me to do. Digital product is easy to add on because there are no hard costs with it, beyond the initial creation of the product. So what else can you add on to your book to help entice shoppers? What about offering the eBook with the print book so they can have one for their Kindle and a print book in hand (something a lot of readers still enjoy)? Maybe you could pair your book with someone else’s e-product. When you take some time to brainstorm, the possibilities are endless.

In the end, what you really need to do is think of your website as a brick and mortar store. If you created any of these roadblocks at Macy’s, or a Barnes & Noble, you’d really hurt your sales process. Authors often assume that a website store is different. It’s not. We want easy, we want fast, and we want the best price. If you can bring all of these elements into your website store, you’ll increase sales considerably.

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yvonne Perry's New Direction

Hello, Writers in the Sky subscribers,

It’s been a wonderful first month of full-time plerking (play + work) in my role as a spiritual coach. I’ve seen many people activated and make huge leaps forward on their path toward recognizing their oneness with God/Goddess. Opportunities have opened up and I’m looking at all kinds of possibilities for expanding my ability to assist people who are seeking higher guidance. Learn about my galactic light language readings, free group coaching calls, and personalized one-on-one coaching services at

What I have to share with you from this point forward is not exclusively related to the writing industry other than in regards to my authoring of books. Out of respect to why you signed up for Writers in the Sky (WITS) Newsletter, I will not continue to use Writers in the Sky mailing list for sharing information about my spiritual progress.

So, if you would like to continue getting updates from me, please sign up for We Are One in Spirit Newsletter at or connect with me on Facebook:

Before I go, I will let you know that I am about to release a book about light language ( that I think some of you may enjoy. I’ll let WITS’ new owner, Dana Micheli, tell you more about Light Language Emerging in the next Writers in the Sky Newsletter.

Yvonne Perry,
Former owner of WITS

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

WITS Book Reviews March 2014

Title: Six Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village
Author: Mary L. Johnson
Publisher: iUniverse
Publication Date: October 12, 2013
Reviewer: Dana Micheli

Like most people, I love the movies. But a book about the movies? I thought it might be well…dull! Mary L. Johnson’s 6 Degrees of Film: The Future of Film in the Global Village disabused me of that notion on the very first page. Her book is not only chock full of facts, it’s also a fast, fascinating read about the level of artistic talent, business acumen, and collaboration that goes into creating our favorite films.

6 Degrees discusses the development of film through the decades—in terms of cinematography, writing, directing and acting. It also traces the rise of the big studios and the men--the Mayers, the Goldwyns, and the Selznicks—who used blood, sweat and tears (their own and others!) to build them. The movies they produce, from Casablanca to Con Air and Blazing Saddles to Blood Diamond, all have their own stories that are unique to the time and circumstances under which they were created.

What I found particularly interesting, though, was Johnson’s exploration of the role that films—good and bad—have in defining our social norms, and even our politics. Films play on our emotions—they make us feel sad and they make us laugh; they bring our attention to a little known social issue or the good deeds of a forgotten hero. They cheered our grandparents up during The Great Depression and galvanized a reluctant America to move against the Nazis. Of course, most of us go to the movies to escape our lives for a few hours, but it’s nice that someone is there to remind us of the deeper contribution. Johnson’s book reminds us that when we learn about film, we learn about ourselves.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Poetry and Prose Corner March 2014

Winds of Change

Seasons come,
Seasons leave,
Rides the cresting winds of change,
Carries proud her sweet bouquet,
Feasts on a chameleon moon.

She speaks with fervor,
Flaunting favor,
Dives and drives the heart to fever
Til the rushed and flushed
Believe her maddening crush of platitudes.
Banking off her promised boon,
The soft caress of her sweet tune,
The mesmerizing mantra swoons
A ripening of attitudes.

But time keeps marching,
Never still.
Seasons shift and rearrange,
And Mother Earth, her architect,
Breathes life into the winds of change.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Tear drops

By Brenda McBride

Let your tear drops flow, one by one as you release your sadness from deep inside.....
Your tear drops will cleanse you from within, from the sorrow and pain that you hide.....
Let each tear dissolve your hurt, like a snowflake that melts
quickly from the warmth of the sun.....
Getting rid of pent up emotion is essential for healing, so don't
hold back, better days have just begun.....
I've cried an ocean full of tears from grief that took a hold of me and didn't want to let go.....
My tear drops flowed frequently as the days and months went by, into the years......
My pain was still harbored inside as the days turned into nights of sorrow beyond belief.....
I cried enough tears of a lifetime, and still cried some more, without stopping, hoping for relief.....
Until, I finally realized, I may cry til the end of time, if that helps release my sorrow of my dad’s passing, which still
haunts me even today.....
Then so be it, I'll let the tears flow some more, until my heart stops hurting, on one fine day.

Brenda McBride lives in Temecula, California with her two teenage girls and is a substitute teacher working with Special Education students. Several of her articles and poems have been published in various magazines throughout the last several years. When her father passed away in 2011, her grief became so unbearable that she began writing to release deep emotions. There's not a day that goes by without the thought and beautiful memories shared with her wonderful dad.

American Made

Hong Kong, Taiwan,
India, Japan,
Sri Lanka, Bangladesh,
Paris, Pakistan.
Leaps and bounds the trend resounds,
Increases every day.
Wondering why products don’t say
Made in U S A.

Bedfellows in politics or
Just good business sense.
Doesn’t seem to be a way to
Build a strong defense.
Shouldn’t be this difficult to
Find a place to trade
Where the label proudly indicates
“American made.”

Sure, it’s cheaper,
That’s no sleeper.
Can’t compete with that.
But the secret, hidden deep,
Comes slinking like a cat.
Tucked inside the silent storm
A deeper price is paid.
Shelter dwells inside these words –
American made.

Dennis S. Martin
Lulu Storefront:

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thinking of Revising Your Self-Published Book? Read This First!

It’s no secret that first-time authors have an incredible learning curve, and that curve gets a lot steeper when they choose to self-publish.  After pouring their blood, sweat and tears into their book, they realize that all that effort was just the beginning. They now have to be willing to tirelessly promote their work and carve a presence for themselves in the endless sea of books flooding the market today. While self-publishing has done much to equalize the playing field, it has also placed a tremendous responsibility squarely on the author’s shoulders. Authors can publish their book without having to jump through hoops for agents and publishers; they also retain complete control over the finished product. However this control means that the author is accountable for errors in grammar, character development and storyline.  Like anything else in life, this process gets easier with experience, but there is one thing about that first book that may come back to haunt you.  

Let’s say that a few years ago you wrote your first book and “threw it up” on Amazon.  Perhaps you did not have it edited, or you didn’t know how to properly market it. In any case, it didn’t do much in the way of sales.  But undeterred, you stuck with your writing, and now you have improved your skills, you’ve found an editor that you work well with, and you have become a self-promotion expert.   Armed with this knowledge and perhaps a few books under your belt, you decide to go back and revise that first book—your baby.  When you’re done, you have a masterpiece! Beaming with pride, you make it available for sale, only to receive a slew of negative reviews, citing all its errors.  WHAAAT?! After careful investigation, you learn that the original version of your book is still available online, and that’s what readers and reviewers are getting their hands on.  

This is an all too common problem, and one of the topics on last week’s Aspects of Writing Radio Show. I spoke with James Kelly, the show's host and a published novelist; Janet Coursey, author of The Secrets of Time, and PR guru Travis Shortt about what authors can do to remedy this issue.  Here are a few takeaways from that discussion:

  • If you are in the process of readying an original manuscript for self-publishing, the answer is obvious: don’t rush to publish! Get that editor, make sure your book is properly formatted, and have a marketing plan ready.
  • If you have already published a first edition and are writing a revision, contact the publisher and tell them you would like them to take down that original version. Be persistent; email and/or call them and try to get a definitive answer as to when it will come down.
  • Then, before publishing the revision, do an Internet search to find out if the original book is still available anywhere else.  Please note that it is not always possible to remove old versions. If this is the case, you must make it clear to your potential readers that there is a new version available.  Provide identifying information--such as a new cover, ISBN number, publisher, publication date, etc.—in all of your marketing materials.    
To hear a replay of that show, click here. For more advice on writing, publishing and book marketing, tune into Aspects of Writing every other Tuesday on KLAV radio. The next live show is Tuesday, March 25 at 2pm Pacific/ 3pm Central / 5pm Eastern.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Editor's Corner March 2014

Welcome to the March 2014 edition of the Writers in the Sky Newsletter!

Despite the temperatures outside, spring really is just around the corner. It therefore seems a fitting time to announce a “new season” at WITS.

As many of you know, Writers in the Sky began in 2003, when author, metaphysical coach, and Nashville resident Yvonne Perry decided to leave the corporate world and follow her passion for writing. Over the years, she built WITS into a network of professional writers, editors and marketing experts who shared her dedication to helping clients create and promote their books, get their dream jobs, and streamline their businesses.

I met Yvonne a little over three years ago, after reading one of her wonderful books. Since then I have had the pleasure to be part of the Writers in the Sky team, which, thanks to modern technology, was possible despite the fact that I live and work several states away! I have had the incredible opportunity to work with WITS clients from across the country and around the globe, and I can honestly say that the experience has changed my life, both professionally and personally.

Now Yvonne has decided to leave WITS in order to focus on her spiritual work, and I am very excited to announce that she has passed it on to me. Please join me in thanking Yvonne for all the incredible work she has done, and in wishing her every blessing in the future. As for WITS, I and the rest of the team look forward to continue serving authors in Nashville, New York and everywhere else!

Happy writing, everyone!

Dana Micheli
Writer and editor, Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services

Writers in the Sky is a team of ghostwriters, editors, and book marketing specialists committed to the craft and business of writing. We work with our clients on all levels of the publishing process, from editing and manuscript assessments to book formatting and marketing. So whether you are a first-time author or a veteran of the craft, let Writers in the Sky help you get your book out into the world. We also provide assistance with résumés, business documents, and academic essays. For more information, visit

Friday, March 7, 2014

Photographic Illustration, Part 2: Inspiration!

by Deborah Wilbrink

Photos can inspire your writing. And then you have a bonus when it’s time to publish. Illustrate the writing with the photo that inspired it. It’s a win-win circle, especially if it’s an original photo like your original text.

We work on whimsical at Cloud 9, our home. So I cooked this happy face breakfast and enjoyed it enough to take a photo. It could easily generate a blog, poem, cookbook, or story. When in Rome . . . this ancient statuary gleamed in the dusk. Sobering thoughts of justice, war, and peace arise when I view it. It stands alone, or with photo-shop effects you can take it many directions.

For a fun Creative Writing exercise, spread out your photos, an art gallery view, or magazine clippings. Choose one. Use it to create a story as an imaginative exercise. Describe it using words that evoke the senses for another activity. Use an image with people to imagine back-story for characters: what happened before this shot? Add depth to your writing and predict with your photo, foreshadowing: what happens after this shot? Are there symbols in it that predict a future event or conflict?

How about this shot of a man biking past an alluring window dressing? It reminds me that taboos create reactions; while airing one’s lingerie just makes it normal. How does it speak to you?

Pay attention this week to the images that are normal – frame them in your mind, shoot them and be inspired. Your illustrations can be integral to your finished book, not just an enhancement. See last months’ issue for Part 1 on how to illustrate cheaply, easily and legally.

c. 2014 DW text and photos, all rights reserved

If you liked this, subscribe to the Point of View blog for tips about writing. Deborah Wilbrink is an editor, ghostwriter and formatter for Writers in the Sky. Deborah specializes in personal history with her business Perfect Memoirs. Reach Deborah at 615-417-8424, . Be sure to mention Writers in the Sky!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

We Are One in Spirit Coaching Podcast Schedule for March

We Are One in Spirit Podcast allows for people from all walks of life to discuss their spiritual journey and life—transforming experiences that remind us that we are all one in spirit. Uplifting, enlightening, and insightful topics include healing, empathy, intuition, spiritual/psychic gifts, metaphysics, soul development, afterlife, spirit communication, and more. The metaphysical shows are archived at feed:// You will also find us on iTunes. 

Please subscribe to the We Are One in Spirit mailing list to receive the call log-in information:

This month’s interactive calls include group coaching for empaths on March 11th and for walk-ins on March 27th. Both webinar conference calls are at 2 p.m., central time.

Learn more about the group coaching calls at

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Writers in the Sky Announcements March 2014

As a subscriber to Writers in the Sky Newsletter, you are entitled to share your announcements with our readers. See guidelines at and send your material to us before the 24th of each month to make the next month’s issue. Anything posted in the WITS Newsletter is also shared with our blog readers at

A Message from Yvonne Perry

There comes a time when we must let go of the past in order to move toward to our future. Sometimes that means letting go of good things in order to make room and time in our schedule for things that are even more fulfilling. I started Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services in October 2003. It was successful from the start and for that I am very thankful.

Over the years I have seen writers and editors come and go on our team. One special person stands out with her many abilities as both a writer and editor as well as a book marketer and publishing consultant. Dana Micheli has been with Writers in the Sky since 2010 when she edited my book for empaths, Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You. In addition to helping clients with a variety of book projects, she has also taken the role as the editor for the newsletter while l was on sabbatical and writing my own books in the spiritual, paranormal, and self-help genres. I find it only fitting for Dana to take ownership of WITS as I make my entrance into full-time ministry.

I will continue to write books, serve as a coach to those on a spiritual path, provide galactic light language readings, offer healing sessions, teach seminars, and conduct conference calls with empaths and walk-ins. See the list and descriptions of services at . Check out the book I am currently writing about light language–language.

It is my prayer that you will continue to be part of the WITS community under Dana's leadership and encourage her as you have me with your loving comments. I wish her much success in her new role and I look forward to seeing the writing you all bring forth and share with the world. I'm only an email away: so feel free to keep in touch.


The Dream Quest One Poetry & Writing Contest is open to anyone who loves expressing innermost thoughts and feelings into the beautiful art of poetry or writing a story that is worth telling everyone. Write a poem or a short story for a chance to win cash prizes! All works must be original. Postmark deadline: July 31, 2014. Visit our website for details on how to enter:
Read the first chapter for free and then decide if you want to download the 3-hour-long MP3 audio book of More Than Meets the Eye ~ True Stories about Death, Dying, and Afterlife for only $7.00.
First Hand Account of Heaven Makes the News!

The Tennessean daily newspaper recently featured author Joe Laws. “Fall survivor believes he was is God’s hands” read the headline. Reporter Tom Wilemon’s story included science as well as an interview with the confident, cheery miracle man, Joe Laws. Joe had a traumatic accident, died, and went to heaven. His heaven contained elements both familiar and strange. Joe brought his experience back, but it took a year from his miraculous recovery before he could overcome his fear of sharing it. Then he began to write. Held by the Hand of God is available at Barnes and Noble and Parnassus Books in Nashville, and on Visit the author’s website, to find out more. Congratulations to Joe Laws and to Tom Wilemon for producing an accurate, riveting story for the readers of The Tennessean!

Submitted by Deborah Wilbrink
Each story in The Sid Series ~ A Collection of Holistic Stories for Children focuses on life skills such as environmental awareness, helping others, being true to one’s self, overcoming fear, and following inner guidance.
Whose Stuff Is This? Finding Freedom from the Thoughts, Feelings, and Energy of Those Around You is a guidebook for empathic people who have been unknowingly carrying energetic burdens that belong to someone else. See all purchasing options at
State of Appreciation is a free weekly online newsletter that blends practical and spiritual approaches to enhance personal power and self-realization. This publication offers empowering articles, gifts, and free contemporary and classic empowerment downloads at
If you are looking for someone to create an original piece of artwork for your book cover, you might want to connect with Diane Daversa on Facebook:!/pages/Diane-Daversa-Fine-Art/109782219119036.
Shifting into Purer Consciousness ~ Integrating Spiritual Transformation with the Human Experience is about how to embrace multidimensional frequencies, lessen physical and emotional symptoms of rapid spiritual ascension, and offers tips to make the ascension process easier and quicker.