Tag Archives: sales

Other Authors – Friend or Competition?

Are you in direct competition with other writers? Or do you prefer to be friends with them? Is there a benefit to both? This is something some authors have trouble with. One way can make things go smoothly, while the other can create bad blood.

I think it’s best to be friends with other authors. Sure, they may be competition, but it’s not that simple. You may compete for sales, but if you’re writing in the same genre, the same readers will buy both of your books. Isn’t it more mutually beneficial to support each other’s writing? If you share your friend’s books and they share yours, both of your sales should improve.  Isn’t that right?

But then, what if you’re sharing everyone’s writing, and all of your sales increase? Your Amazon rankings might not change. Well, I doubt that’ll happen, since you can’t share thousands of authors’ writing. But think about this, if you share another person’s writing, and they share yours, their readers will discover you. They will then talk about your books to other people, and they will also buy your books. Your sales increase.

Isn’t it better to be friends? I’ve seen so much fighting between authors on platforms such as Goodreads. They’re only hurting themselves, as they’re seen as vindictive and not worth supporting. Be friends, get along with your competition. They aren’t really competition after all. They may be your best marketing tool, and you theirs.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

99 Cent or Free eBooks? I Won’t

When someone goes to work, they expect to be paid a fair amount for their work. When an artist creates a work of art, they expect to be paid for the work they have done. So why would an author work for months on a book only to sell it for 99 cents or just give it away for free? I won’t do that.

Sure, I’ll do the occasional promotion where I’ll drop the price to 99 cents, but never free. I want to be paid for the work I did. I’ll never keep a book at 99 cents, either. That is unless it’s one of my first books in a series and I’m comfortable with reducing it to that price. But I can’t guarantee it.

So why won’t I do this? It turns out, from what I’ve heard, that offering free books may get more downloads, but they’re unlikely to be read much. When people buy books, they will read them. A freebie is just that. Something they’ll put on their Kindle and forget about it. Low priority.

With that said, I do download free books, but I want to give back to that author in the form of a review. If I really liked the book, I may buy a print copy. I like physical books, because I’m a bit of a collector.

So, permanently low price or free book? No. I want to be paid for my work. Low price promotional copies? Yes. It’ll boost my visibility and hopefully drive regular price sales. I will have to experiment, though.

How do you feel about free or 99 cent books? Let me know in the comments.

Authors Answer 43 – Promoting the Book

It’s time to panic. It’s the indie author’s worst nightmare. It’s that horrific stage of publishing known as marketing and book promotion. This is probably the one thing that most authors dread having to do if they don’t have a traditional publishing contract. This time around, we have a reader question, from tlclark.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 43: I would love to hear anything anyone has to say about book promotions and what route work best for them.

S. R. Carrillo

So far, the best promotional value I’ve found is in my social media presence and giveaways. Particularly, giveaways.

D. T. Nova

So would I, since I lack the experience to say much about them myself.

Linda G. Hill

Promoting my novel, when it’s published that is, is not something I’m looking forward to. It sounds like a lot of work no matter how it’s done. I did have one idea of my own however; there’s a book drive for the Alzheimer’s Society in my town twice a year. I thought about donating to them and perhaps volunteering to sign some books when they’re sold, with all the money from the sales going to the cause.

Allen Tiffany

This is a tough one because it is so big and the ways to be successful can be very diverse. The question is kind of like ‘how to be successful in life?’ That said, there are some things that you can do to help improve your odds. I claim no expertise in this field, but I have recently published a novella on Amazon, and I’m averaging about 3.5 sales a day over the last month or so, and sales are ramping. So all those are good things. But 3.5 books a day does not mean I have it all figured out. I don’t.. For what it is worth, I’ll share a few points:

First, it all starts with the basics: Great story, well told, and well edited. Also must have a great cover and an engaging blurb. You need to maximize your “SEO” features on Amazon as well as on all your Social Media platforms.

The one thing I do think I have done well is get mostly 5-star reviews from Amazon’s top reviewers. It was a time-consuming task, but I carefully hunted them down and engaged them personally, asking them to review my novel. About 15% have, and I now have 10 such reviews from top reviewers, to include Amazon’s #2 reviewer.

I’ve actually written an exhaustive article on all the other things I’ve done, what has and has not worked, etc., on my own blog. You can see it here: WWW.AllenTiffany.COM.

Gregory S. Close

I’ve had little luck with book promotion through Twitter or Facebook.  Certainly not sufficient to make the investment worthwhile.  Amazon sales and giveaways have provided some temporary bumps along the way.

I’ve found that the best type of promotion has been mostly unintentional.  There is a really great community on reddit (no, seriously, on reddit) that I discovered at WorldCon in San Antonio a couple of years ago.  It’s a great place to discuss the fantasy genre, very accepting of different viewpoints, well-moderated, and very supportive of indie and self-published authors (at least the ones who engage the community for more than just self-promotion).  I’ve probably gotten the most “high-value readers” from that forum.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

In my personal opinion, book promotion is the worst part of being a writer. Give me the self-doubt, the revision hell, and the rejection letters any day; trying to promote your book is both physically and emotionally painful.

I’ve gone a couple of different routes. The first promotion I ever did was a free e-book day; I made “Nowhere to Hide” free for 24 hours on Halloween. It was successful in the sense that a ton of people downloaded the book, but it was a failure in the sense that not one of those people rated or reviewed the book, which was what I was hoping for. Later I did a couple of Kindle Countdown sale days, each of which only saw a tiny handful of sales. After that I joined the Self-Publisher’s Showcase, which got me a couple of sales in the beginning but then died off completely. Eventually I did a Goodreads giveaway and had some modicum of success; I gave away five books and got four 4-star-or-higher reviews in return.

I have also, of course, talked about the book on multiple forms of social media and encouraged people to read the first chapter for free on Amazon. In general I have found that no method really worked in any significant way. The most sales I ever got were right after publication (when all my family and friends were buying it) and sales have been pretty abysmal ever since.

I hate to sound like such a downer, but I’m just telling the truth!

Jean Davis

So would I. Beyond the usual blog tour, local signings, twitter and facebook posts, and online giveaways, I’m all ears for additional ideas.

Eric Wood

I have no experience here.

Caren Rich

I don’t have any experience with book promotions.

Paul B. Spence

I’ve run limited-time offers of the first book for free in digital format. I’ve also run Goodreads giveaways for signed copies. What seems to be working best at this point is giving away free short stories to get people hooked.

H. Anthe Davis

I’m a big chicken when it comes to promotion, so I’m just going to listen to the rest of the crew here and resist the urge to hide under my bed.

Jay Dee Archer

I have no experience promoting books, but I have had experience promoting blog posts. While not the same kind of thing, considering books are much longer than blog posts, I think some of the principles do apply for both. A good social media presence can help, and does get me some exposure, but it’s not the best way. I’ve found that the best way is through word of mouth, sharing by readers, and making things interesting and engaging.

You see, I tend to have busy days when my blog posts are promoted by others. Applying this to books, you could give away some promotional book in exchange for reviews. Make sure they’re on Amazon, though Goodreads can help, too (at least from what I’ve heard). Another thing is to have interesting content that will keep people coming back. I have a very good group of loyal readers here, and the same logic can be applied to books. Give them little bits that hook them, like short stories or little snippets of your writing on your blog/website for free. If they like it, they’ll be more likely to buy your book, and if they like that, they’ll want to see more. Write your books well, and you’ll have loyal fans who can’t wait to see your next book. And those are the best people to have, because they’ll rave about your books and convince others to check them out.

Yes, there’s a lot of work to get your name and writing out there, but definitely take advantage of your readers ability to promote for you, and encourage them to write reviews.

How about you?

Are you a published author? How do you handle book promotion and marketing? Let us know in the comments below.

Call to Arms – Book Marketing Results

Very interesting statistics regarding marketing. Check out what works and what doesn’t for a variety of book prices.

Nicholas C. Rossis

Following my Call to Arms, a number of you responded by sharing with me your book marketing experience. I now have about a hundred responses by some fifty authors. Although some of the responses were expected, there were quite a few surprises in there for me.

Methodology

For anyone wishing to take a look at the raw data, you can download this Excel spreadsheet. I grouped the results according to whether the book was offered full-price, discounted or free. I also have a fourth category titled Other, that includes any entries where this was not specified.

To compare the various ad media, I came up with a number that represents the ratio between number of sales and cost of advertising. In other word, if you spent $1 and had one sale, then this number would be one. If you spent $1 and had two sales, the number would be two, etc.

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Conclusions from Author Earnings, January 2015

Indie or traditional? Well, it looks like indie authors are taking a bigger part of the market share. Interesting numbers here.

Nicholas C. Rossis

You may remember that I study Hugh Howey’s and Data Guy’s quarterly Author Earning Reports religiously, so that I can offer you the highlights. The Passive Guy alerted me to the January 2015 report (if you don’t already subscribe to his free newsletter, The Passive Voice, I urge you to do so – he’s one of the greatest resources for publishing-related information I have found so far).

Now that everyone’s been properly credited for their hard work, what nice things can we gleam from the latest report?

Gimme the Highlights

  • AuthorEarnings reports analyze detailed title-level data on 33% of all daily ebook sales in the U.S.
  • 30% of the ebooks being purchased in the U.S. do not use ISBN numbers and are invisible to the industry’s official market surveys and reports; all the ISBN-based estimates of market share reported by Bowker, AAP, BISG, and Nielsen are wildly wrong.
  • 33%

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Kindle Unlimited Myths

With the negativity I’ve been hearing about Kindle Unlimited lately, here’s something more positive. It’s good to look at the actual numbers, isn’t it?

chrismcmullen

Kindle Myths

KINDLE UNLIMITED MYTHS

There are many myths about KDP Select floating around.

We now have several months of data, including data released directly from KDP.

In some cases, these facts debunk popular myths.

Let me begin by answering a question that may be on many authors’ minds, and then I’ll get to the myths vs. facts about Kindle Unlimited.

WHAT DID KINDLE UNLIMITED PAY IN DECEMBER, 2014?

Kindle Unlimited paid $1.43 per download read to 10% in December, 2014.

This brings me to the first myth.

MYTH #1: KINDLE UNLIMITED IS GOING DOWN EVERY MONTH

Actually, it’s gone up a little the past two months.

In October, 2014, it was $1.33. It climbed up to $1.39 in November, 2014, and again to $1.43 in December, 2014.

Despite the extra holiday traffic in December—especially, the after-Christmas traffic with people who received new Kindles—the Kindle Unlimited payments went up.

I think that’s…

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The Ugly Truth About Book Sales

Looks like I’m a reblogging mood today. Well, here’s another great post I had to share. Authors don’t just write. They also have to be great at marketing. This post shows just how hard established, award-winning authors have to work on their own marketing. That’s right, even authors like R. A. Salvatore work very hard on marketing their own books. The publishers don’t do it for them.

Well, it doesn’t deter me.  It actually makes me feel more determined to succeed.

Leona's Blog of Shadows

Today I am going to share some eye-opening truths, which might shatter the illusions regarding the book publishing business and crush the dreams of some folk out there. I have recently come across a rather interesting blog post link in the comments section under a post at Suffolk Scribblings blog.

It was a rather grim post by author Kameron Hurley. For those who are not familiar with her, she is an established author who has been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the Locus Award and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Her short fiction has appeared in prestigious SFF magazines such as Lightspeed, EscapePod, and Strange Horizons. Her fiction has been translated into Romanian, Swedish, Spanish, and Russian. She is also a graduate of Clarion West. Impressive credentials many of us dream about accomplishing some day, if ever.

According to her…

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