MGH Boston Marathon Team Mural in the News

By Bruce Jones

It was really cool today to receive notice about the article on the MGH Boston Marathon Team Mural project on the MGH Giving website. The article talks about the Pediatric Hematology-Oncolgy Unit, the program and all the good that they do for children with cancer. It was a very cool project to be associated with and a thank you for being mentioned. You can read the entire article at https://giving.massgeneral.org/mgh-boston-marathon-team-mural-kids-cancer/

MGH Boston Marathon Team Mural Inspires Kids with Cancer from the MGH Giving site

MGH Boston Marathon Team Mural Inspires Kids with Cancer from the MGH Giving site

Building a Marketing Platform for Promoting Your Book

By Bruce Jones: I had a nice question come in about how much time do I spend on the marketing side of my publishing business. I will doing a much more extensive post on this topic but for moment I thought I would answer this questions.

Question: How much overall effort every week (how much time are you spending each week) to promoting?

Answer: Bruce Jones

Thank you for your question. Different books get different amounts of efforts. My music books get an entire website. Take a look at https://www.acousticmusictv.com I took my main book and set up a web page for each of the pages of the book. I then give away that graphic and drop ads around it. Most people don’t buy they just look so I reward people for coming to the site and then give them the opportunity to buy. I also drop music pages into Pinterest and a video for each book on YouTube. It took a while to set this all up, but now I don’t do that much. Maybe .5-1 hr a week. I need to do more and am starting to.

Originally it a couple of months to set each site up. But my plan was to make them flexible enough so that I could add additional books without to much effort. I built my Dreamweaver /website building knowledge watching YouTube videos. If you want the easiest way to build a website for promoting your books I would set up a blog using the Google Blogger platform. It is free and you can have a blog up in about 5 minutes. I have had many little blogs like this for my books or other things. They are really small websites wrapped into a blog.  Blogger works great for doing this.

I use the content from the books for my blog posts. If you aren’t doing Kindle Select you can use your content however you want. The Kindle Select program just wants you to have original copy only on Amazon while the program is going on. On the blog have an About the Author page, maybe a Resource page, Video page, keep it simple. Have lots of images.

For the map books I did a lot more work. Again setting up a website and then driving traffic using book ads on the side. You can do this also with a blog so you wouldn’t have to do the programing. I give a lot away to pull in traffic. Again on the map site, https://www.freeusandworldmaps.com it took a lot to set up but now maybe .5-1 hr a week. I am starting though to increase my efforts so I can get more sales. The map site also drives a lot of traffic to my pay map sites that have nothing to do with the books but basically sell the same maps in a different format.  I also drop in the coloring and some other books on the map site. I also try to do a quick video or two for each book.

managing your web, video, social mediasites

I would say I did a lot of work to set this all up and will most likely go back to a bit of work when I update but once it is up I don’t do all that much. On Pinterest I get a lot of notice for the music books in terms of repinning, the FreeUSandWorldMaps.com site also seems to get a lot of Pinterest traffic but I don’t seem to get notice of those.

I am a firm believer that to be a successful author these days you must work your web, email and social media sites. You can’t rely on Amazon to market your book until it becomes successful. You have to drive traffic to the books. All platforms are important, web, blogs, FaceBook, YouTube, social media, Pinterest, Twitter, email lists. Pick one for the home and then drive everything else there and then give a clear path to Amazon or  wherever you sell you books. If I had to pick I would say the websites are the best for traffic. Also keep the websites very simple and very open to Google. I don’t use any database or php driven sites. I just use straight html code. keep it as open as you can.

I would love to hear from you on how you market you books. Do your suggestions in the comment section. Also sign up for my new book on How To Publish Your Book where I cover these topics in more detail.

 

October 2013 Income Report from Publishing My Books

By Bruce Jones

I am a huge fan of self-publishing and where it can lead you. It is so cool to be writing and producing books and to see them sell. I started out with zero books a couple of years ago and I now have released over 20 with more coming. I started out making a few dollars and have built it up so that I am now making a pretty consistent $700 a month. Well on my way to my goal of $1,000/month in book sales.

My books are on a variety of topics from music instruction, to geography/mapping, coloring books and business book. I have also started to help others complete their dreams of producing books. I have also produced several text books for grade school kids and college. See my books on Amazon at my author page https://www.amazon.com/author/jbrucejones

Cats and Kittens Coloring Book, Available at Amazon

Cats and Kittens Coloring Book, Available at Amazon

One of the things I talk about if you are going to write and produce books is to not limit yourself. It is very hard to figure out what will work and what won’t. You spend a lot of time writing a book and it goes nowhere. You spend sometimes several hours on a book and it becomes a best seller in its category. It is a little humbling to learn that most people don’t care about the topics that you find so interesting. So my advice is spread it around, try different topics and see what happens. With self-publishing, print-on-demand or e-books it is easier to produce shorter books and much more quickly.

I thought I would share some numbers to my publishing successes and show how anyone can do this and make money from it. The numbers reported below are from my CreateSpace.com account. CreateSpace.com is the print-on-demand side of Amazon.com. Upload a pdf of your book insides, upload a cover, fill in the description areas and you are ready to sell. CreateSpace moves your book over to Amazon.com and you are a regular author. When an order comes in Amazon takes the order, prints the book, ships the book to your customer and deposits the revenue in your bank account.

I also produce a number of books and host them on the Kindle platform, the ebook side of Amazon. Most of my books are graphic in nature and aren’t idea for the Kindle but that is changing and I have finally figured out how to move my books over to that. I know that the Kindle and ebooks get all the buzz but it hasn’t really worked like that for me. Almost all my sales come from printing and selling physical paperback books. My recommendation is to do both and see what happens. I have a new video coming out all about how to get your graphic books on to the Kindle.

Ok the Numbers!!
One of the things I have learned is that almost all of my books sell during the course of a year. Some a lot and some very little but they generally all sell. Over the course of this year 20 out of the 22 titles I have, have sold.

CreateSpace/Amazon now sells print-on-demand books in the US, England and Europe which is really cool.

Book Income Breakdown for the Month of October 2013
I sold 201 books for a total of $644.00 with the break down of
USA $529, UK $111, and Europe $3.80.

My most popular title is my Blank Sheet Music Book for Guitar, selling 51 copies
the second title is World Regional Maps Coloring Book, selling 47 copies
Everything else winds down with 15 out of the 22 titles selling.

This was down from the month of September where I sold 285 books for a total of $936. But September with back to school has been a good month before. Lately I have been averaging around 200-225 books/month. I am looking forward to December.

Affiliate Links from Companies or Services I Use to Build my Books
Disclosure: many of the links below are affiliate links that I will earn a commission if you purchase through them. If you do, I appreciate it and if you have any questions about any of the products or services please contact me!
HostGator.com, Web host for my book promotion sites
ShutterStock.com, Website I use for cover and inside stock images
CreateSpace.com, Amazon’s print-on-demand site for publishing physical books
Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing, Access for publishing on Kindle

Lessons
What I have learned is that my books tend to find a level and then pretty much stick to it fo quite a while. There are top books, middle level books and then some at the bottom. But they basically stay in their ranges.

For me the Kindle platform has been a bust. My books just seem to sit there. I don’t write fiction or story types of books. Which from what I have seen can do very well. I also produce picture books, which I think are now coming into their own with the Kindle Fire and their color readers. I have finally succeeded in getting most of my books converted and uploaded to Kindle. We will see what happens once increase the promotion.

A major goal for this year has been to get my map and music books up on the Kindle side of Amazon. I struggled for months trying to figure out the graphics, what sizes, building clickable table of contents and converting the books, what a pain. Then I found out about the Kindle Comic Creator and bingo making a Kindle book from a pdf file took like 10 minutes to do. It doesn’t solve every problem but it has moved me so far down the line that I now have all of the books I can up on Kindle. It is amazing.

Ok there we have it, my first Book Income Report. I will be putting up the November report shortly. Black Friday and Thanksgiving proved to be pretty amazing, with about 47 books selling on the day before the holiday.

How to Make a Hospital Room More Inviting

Boston Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the country for emergency room and trauma. It ranks right up there with the best. If you get shot, or stabbed or in a bad accident, this is where you want to go. BMC was ground zero for the Boston Marathon Bombing, taking care of many, many patients. It has been pretty cool getting to work on helping them make their facilities a little more friendly when you are freaking out.

One of the areas that I have been involved with has been the Ultrasound Scanning rooms. These are the rooms that pregnant women go to for their ultrasounds. I have worked on quite a few rooms now. What we did was very simple but has been very effective. We dropped in an around the ceiling banner of ocean, water and beach related images in each room. We use about 18-24 images per room out of a library of about 40, and mix them up room to room. The reaction from the staff and patients has been very positive. This just gives you something to look at and calms down the room.

DGI-Invisuals prints and does the application, image came from Shutterstock.com. We are currently working on IV rooms and a pediatric/adult room.

Water related image banner running around the top of room.

Water related image banner running around the top of room. We used shells, rocks, beach, boats, water, waves, all ocean related images

    Ocean and water related graphics running around the tops of the Ultrasound scanning rooms.

Ocean and water related graphics running around the tops of the Ultrasound scanning rooms.

Portable Tradeshow Banner Displays for Industry Show

One of my favorite kinds of portable trade show booths are the pull-up banner displays. They are very, very portable, nice and light, can go anywhere and set up in seconds. You can work with one or several. If you are clever you can design them to work together or apart. Cost wise and portability wise for a small or mid-size company with occasional display needs I don’t think they can be beat.

I recently had to design two pull-up banners in about 1 day for EHS Pest Solutions. They had a trade show coming up right around the corner and needed something fast. Over came a sketch, some graphics, some text and go as fast as I could. I don’t alway recommend designing displays in one day, but sometime that is what happens.

You can see some of our other Trade Show Graphics on our Portfolio Page

2 portable trade show banner displays for EHS Pest Solutions.

2 portable trade show banner displays for EHS Pest Solutions.

Wrapping Portable X-Ray Machines for Kids and Adults

Boston Medical Center has a lot of scanners at their disposal for all kinds of emergencies and medical conditions. Sometimes you can’t move the patient to the machine so you bring the machine to the patient. To ease the process and make it a little less scary BMC brought me in to wrap two of their portable X-Ray scanning machines with some fun graphics. Once machine for kids and the other for adults. It was a tricky project, lots of surfaces to think about.

For the kids machine we used a jungle theme. I took some vector based graphics from Shutterstock.com that had jungles, animals, birds, spiders and plants in it and built the art for this machine.

Kid theme portable X-Ray scanning machine. Jungle theme on the body and tower.

Kid theme portable X-Ray scanning machine. Jungle theme on the body and tower.

For the adult machine I used a more grown up flower theme. For this machine I worked with a raster based collection of flowers and backgrounds and built the art. We also mixed it up a little using a different color scheme for the back. It came out pretty cool.

Portable X-Ray scanning machine with adult flower theme,

Portable X-Ray scanning machine with adult flower theme,

 

Car and Truck Graphics for a Local Service Company

I have been in the wrapping business lately, I feel like a mini Christo, the famous Bulgarian born artist known for wrapping buildings, beaches, canyons, all kinds of things. I actually saw his Newport Beach project when I was a kid. I have been wrapping walls, CT machines, X-Ray machines, stairwells, and cars and trucks. It has been a fun year of adhesive vinyl. For this project I worked wit EHS Pest Solutions of Norwood and have been working with cars and trucks. Adding the company logos, phone numbers, tag lines, the whole bit. If you have any problem with pests, or bugs in your buildings, EHS are the guys to call. You will probably see one of my trucks or cars pull up.

Vehicle graphics are one of the most economical ways to advertise your business. The material stays on for years, it not forever. Your truck drives around all over the place and everyone gets to see it. DGI-Invisuals of North Billerica printed and installed the graphics.

EHS Cars and a Thermal Truck with their logos, contact info, and tag lines.

EHS Cars and a Thermal Truck with their logos, contact info, and tag lines.

If you want to check out Christo (1935-2009) and his work they have a cool website, at christojeanneclaude.net/artworks/realized-projects and this article on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christo_and_Jeanne-Claude

CT Scanners Wrapped at Boston Medical Center

I have wrapped several interesting medical machines lately. One of the most interesting was 4 CT scanners at Boston Medical Center. The big doughnut looking devices can be scary if you are coming in an injury. BMC decided to dress them up and see if they could make them a little more friendly. I worked on a total of 4 different scanners in the Menino  and the East Newton Buildings. The scanners themselves are assigned to emergency, kids, and elders, so we are addressing a lot of different audiences. It was really cool. DGI-Invisuals did the wrapping and needed to bring in an installer who normally works on vehicles, lots of curves. Images from Shutterstock.com

CT Scanner with a beach theme

CT Scanner with a beach theme

CT Scanner with an under the sea, fish theme

CT Scanner with an under the sea, fish theme

CT scanner with a Boston skyline theme, looking across the Charles River side

CT scanner with a Boston skyline theme, looking across the Charles River side

CT Scanner before and after the application of the graphics

CT Scanner before and after the application of the graphics

 

 

Updated Stairwell in Boston Bank Building

I get called in for all kinds of environmental wall projects lately and one of the more challenging ones was wrapping a stairwell between two floors. The employees travel between these floors all the time and the client want to add some life to the walls. This client has offices in many cities and wanted to show some of the locations on the walls. What was tricky were all the angles, the stairs, having a fixed height that sloped down. It took quite a while to figure everything out.

Looking up at the first landing of the stairwell. Fitting the stair rail in was quite a challenge for the installers

Looking up at the first landing of the stairwell. Fitting the stair rail in was quite a challenge for the installers

Looking down the stairs to the second landing

Looking down the stairs to the second landing

Installation was done by DGI-Invisuals of North Billerica, Mass. Images from a variety of stock and house sites.

Wall Mural in New MRI Room at Boston Medical Center

One way to give life to a room is to add graphics to the walls. We were brought in to the new MRI scanning room at Boston Medical Center, Shapiro Building to design a graphic for the wall. The theme was Boston and we dropped in 4 images to show the seasons.  The environmental wall graphic went into a pre-designed space. I love that there are lights on it to highlight it.

Boston focused wall graphic in the new MRI scanning room at Boston Medical Center

Boston focused wall graphic in the new MRI scanning room at Boston Medical Center

Printing and Installation was by DGI-Invisuals of North Billerica, Mass and the images are from ShutterStock.com.