Posts Tagged With: kindle

Self Publishing: September

Self Publishing Update

Well, I had a much better September than I did an August.  I realized after reviewing the data for my August ads that I was getting many more hits on keywords that tied to authors or book series that were similar to my book, instead of tags like “fantasy,” or “sword.” I also upped my bid on each keyword to be $0.76 instead of $0.66.  For some reason, that made all the difference.  Instead of being in the hundreds of views, I’m now in the tens of thousands of views and I can make some decisions based on actual aggregated data.  Amazing!

My first ad (runaway and subversive print shop copy) didn’t do so well.  People were clicking (31 of them), but no one was buying.  I actually ended this campaign early since it had cost me almost $15 and had brought me no book sales.  It seemed a waste to keep running it.

My second ad (epic fantasy with a strong female lead copy) did fairly well.  I had 42 clicks and sold 3 books.  Since almost 80,000 people saw my ad before clicking this is the data I was able to get: someone would click through to my page after about 1850 people had viewed the ad. Once people viewed the book, about 11 people visited for every one person who bought.

This isn’t great.  Most click-throughs cost me about $0.50, which means that I need my numbers to be more like 5 click-throughs for every buy to just break even.  I’m getting closer to that on my third ad.

Ad number three (LOTR/Little Women mashup copy) is almost where I’d like it to be.  I had 58 click-throughs and sold 8 books.  81,000 people viewed the ad, and so I’m looking at about 1400 people to visit before I get a click-through, and 7 people to look at the page before I get a sale.  Still not where I want to be, but MUCH closer.

I’m rejiggering a few things, per normal.  First of all, I’m only running ads 2 and 3 this month.  I’ve added keywords, too: Robin McKinley, The Hero and the Crown, Jessica Day George, Gail Carson Levine, Ella Enchanted, His Dark Materials, Narnia, and CS Lewis.

Second, I have changed my book blurb to be a little more punchy.  We’ll see if that works out to equal more clicks.  The great thing about self-publishing is that I can change it all back if the other was working better.  Nice.

Lastly, I put up an ask for my friends who have read the book to please leave me a review.  I ran the free promotion almost two months ago, so I feel like people have probably finished the book and maybe just haven’t remembered to review? We’ll see if that’s actually a thing.  Over 100 people downloaded the book, and right now I have 5 reviews, so either people take a really long time to finish things or most people aren’t review-leavers, or they forgot.  We’ll see…

That’s all for this month.  I’ll report back on how that all did next month per usual.  I have modest goals.  I’d really love to have 7-10 reviews by the end of the month, sell more than 11 books, and have a better click-through to buy rate on both ads.

I hope this helps!

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Self Publishing: First Book, First Week

First some housekeeping stuff.  I want to continue posting about how I’m doing with the book and what marketing I’m working on and all of that in service to someone else learning from my experiences, but I also realize that’s not why a lot of people follow this thing.  I’m going to be prefacing the headlines of these types of posts with Self Publishing: so you can ignore them if you’re not all about it.

That being said… here we go!  Week 1 of Blue Gentian was incredibly successful.  130 people downloaded the book for free.  It’s AMAZING that 130 people were interested enough in this thing to check it out. Thank you!

2 things I’ve learned over the last few weeks.

Thing 1: Several friends were asking me if they could actually PAY for the novel.  I wasn’t sure what to do about that, since I wanted to start running the book right out of the gate for free.  Does Amazon give pre-orderers the free price?  I didn’t know. So… it turns out that people who have pre-ordered the book pay for it, even if you run a free promotion on the day of the book’s release.  If you have people who actually want to pay, ask them to pre-order.  You can have your cake and eat it too!

Thing 2: I had originally planned to run a Kindle Free promotion, and then go for a Countdown Deal right after.  It turns out that Amazon won’t let you run those within the same KDP sign up time.  Every 90 days I can run either a Free promotion or a Countdown Deal promotion, but not both.  Boo.  But good to know for planning purposes.

Next we’re on to marketing:

Now that the book costs money, I’m wading into the area of Amazon Ads.  So far I only have Sponsored Product ads out there, and no Product Placement ads.  Product Placement got expensive, guys!  $100 is the minimum spend (yikes!). So, I’ll refine my copy on the cheap stuff and then worry about those costly ads when I have something I know probably works.

I know absolutely nothing about copywriting, and I think it shows… since the free promotion ended I have sold NO books.  I’m not terribly worried yet.  I’m playing the long game with this, not the short one.  I had also heard about this phenomenon.  Since Amazon separates out free from paid, you essentially start out at square one again when the free deal ends.  The internet warned me. But I am downloading copywriting books and faffing around with the copy on my ads now because things can always be improved.  I have five ads running right now, and they all have different descriptions enticing people to buy. We’ll see which ones actually do something.

Once I know I have copy that works, I’ll start faffing with Keywords.  That’s at least a month away, though.  I want to give the ads a chance to work if they’re going to.

Last is the bigger picture:

I’ve been thinking critically about how the book is presented and I realized today that I actually wouldn’t buy it if it came up in my feed as-is.  Everything looks great, but I always want a slew of reviews on my self-published titles to prove that they’re readable.  Right now, that’s the biggest thing I lack.  I’m discussing a possible blog tour because of it, though that’s also probably at least a month away.  I don’t want to be too annoying to my friends and family either, but I’ll also probably do a big social media request for reviews in about a month.  I’ll give everyone some time to read it first, though. And then after that, I’ll knock it off with the “please do this for me?” stuff so my friends don’t start to hate me.

What do I do while waiting for all the ads to aggregate and everything?  Work on my next book, of course!

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Kindle Free Deal Ending

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Just a quick PSA to let you know that the Blue Gentian free deal is ending today.  Last chance to download this thing for nothing!  Tomorrow it goes up to $4.99.  Thank you! You may now return to your regularly scheduled Sunday.

 

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Blue Gentian Update

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In case you’re curious…

First of all 77 people have downloaded or bought my book in the last two days, and I’m SO THRILLED.  That was better than I’d hoped for in my wildest dreams.  Thank you all for checking out my work.  This book has been a long time coming, and I’m so excited that you have my back.  I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

In other news (!!!), last night I hit #41 on the top 100 Free Bestseller list for Epic Fantasy, which I NEVER thought to do.  I expected that I wouldn’t break into the top 100 at all.  Although that’s my best number, I’ve broken 50 in all Blue Gentian’s other categories, too. Something else to throw a party about.

Lastly, if you haven’t downloaded your free copy yet, we’re halfway through the promotion.  Just two more days until the price goes back to $4.99.   This is your friendly reminder to get the book sooner rather than later.

And thank you again.  It’s a little scary to launch a book – will people even care?  Will they read it? Will they like it?  You’ve answered at least one of those questions for me with enthusiastic gusto.  I can’t tell you how much that means to me.  I know I’ve said it a bunch, but seriously – THANK YOU.

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PUBLICATION DAY!!

Blue Gentian is officially out for publication, and I’m running it free for the next 5 days to thank you all for following me through this journey.  If you could please consider telling someone what you thought of it (especially consider reviewing it!) I would be the most grateful girl on the web.  Thanks in advance.

So what are you waiting for?  Go get your free copy!

Blue Gentian Cover - Final -

 

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Some Self-Publishing Tools

Before I launch into the meat of this post, I have an update on Blue Gentian.  Or, I guess I should say that I’m hoping it won’t be an update but it might be.  Amazon has lost the 2nd Galley of Blue Gentian in the mail, sent it to the BFE, and now they don’t know when it will be here.  “If you haven’t heard by Friday let us know,” they say.  Which is 12 days AFTER my original delivery date.  For which I already waited several days for them to print the thing.

That’s frustrating, but what’s worse is that I may need to postpone publication of the hard copy.  I’m optimistic that my cover will be a good resolution and the insides will look great.  But if they don’t, I’ll need to do another Galley round and God knows when Amazon will get its act together with this one.

Alright, vent finished.  Now to the actual purpose of this post:

I wanted to just mention some tools I’ve been using that make writing, editing, and selling a better process, in case you’re interested.  I’ve been getting a lot of questions now that my book is coming out, and I’m not sure if everyone knows about these.  They basically make my writing life possible.

Firstly, Amazon has a plug-in for Word that’s free to download that makes it AMAZINGLY easy to format your novel for Kindle publication.  I had heard horror stories about getting this to work and was prepared to spend months formatting, but instead it all went like buttah.  I highly recommend, especially because it’s free.

For the writing of the actual novel, I also recommend Scrivener.  It’s a great program that allows you to draft and drag your novel in pieces so you can manage the flow better as you’re writing.  Even better?  It exports into Manuscript Format, so you don’t have to worry about that jazz yourself.  Totally worth the $45 to to have the program forever.  And if you’re a Nanowrimo winner, it’s just half that.  How can you not buy Scrivener at that price?

Editing?  You can’t go wrong with Auto Crit.  Their software is a little pricey – I shell out for the one that’s just under $30 for the month.  But it’s been INVALUABLE in editing the novel.  It recognizes chapters, analyzes your writing based on its genre, and is altogether wonderful for tightening prose, finding repetition and cliche, and making your work a million times better while keeping it your work still.

Lastly, if you are looking for art I recommend Canva to almost everyone I meet.  They have thousands of free templates for you to use,  let you upload your own images, and even offer the paid stuff at only $1 each.  I end up looking beautifully designed for nothing.  They even have Kindle covers ready to go.

I’m sure there are a million other programs that help a lot with this whole Self-Published Author thing but these are the ones I find I’m using constantly.  Good luck on your own journey.

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Is a Galley Worth It?

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Another publishing update.

I decided on a whim to order a galley copy of Blue Gentian.  Kindle was telling me that my cover photo was too small for the book, and I wanted to see (and maybe better control) what readers would have when they purchased my title.  At the bargain price of whatever it costs Amazon to print the book ($4 in this case), how could you go wrong?

You can’t, basically.

I’m THRILLED I decided to go that route and shell out the bucks for the galley.  It wasn’t the photo on the front that was the problem so much as the lettering that looked a little pixely.  I fixed that and we’ve moved on.

But honestly, that’s not the real reason I’m so relieved that I decided to order a copy.  The real reason was twofold.

One: there were a TON of typos that I just didn’t catch in the e-copy proof of the book.  There’s something about holding the item in your hand and reading through it that makes you catch those stupid periods that are duplicated, or the five times you’ve used “the world” in a single paragraph.  There were so many issues that I think it would have been pretty obvious to someone that the book was self-done.  By getting the hard copy, I was able to remedy that.  There may be typos I still didn’t get, but they’re not GLARING now.

Second: the book didn’t FEEL like a real book.  I was using the same document for the Kindle version and the print version, and so I had done all the stuff you’re supposed to do for the Kindle version – no extra pages up front, many links to my sites, etc.  By putting everything in the back of the book, I made the print version seem like a fake book, I think.  I now have formatted the print version to feel correct.

So, in case you were publishing a book and wondering if it was worth shelling out the bucks for the hard galley copy, I would 100% recommend it.   We’re looking at approximately 3 weeks until this thing is officially released.  I can’t wait.

And in case you’re wondering, I AM ordering a new galley of the updated book.  You know, just in case.

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Book Advertising Update

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I’ve done a little digging on how to get people reading Blue Gentian, and it looks like I can’t offer a free promotion until the book is officially published on August 1st.  Amazon also limits free books to 5 days, although I can do a “Kindle Countdown” deal for a low price for 7 days more.

So, the plan is to come right out the gate with a free title from August 1-5.  I’ll remind you that it’s happening so you can pick up the book for free and see what you think.  If you don’t manage to get the book within the 5 day window, don’t despair.  I’ll be running it for 99 cents from the August 6-13.  Only after the first two weeks will the price go up to the regular one of $6.99.  If you’re interested in adding the book to your wish list or just checking out the fancy pre-order listing, it’s here.

Why free or cheap?  First, I want to thank you all for following me and a free book seems like a good way to do that.  Second, I’m hoping you’ll think about giving me a little review in return.  The magic number to hit for Amazon to start promoting your book on it’s own is 50 reviews.  I think that’s a little optimistic for my first week (or several months, even), but any dent in that number helps. And any quality of review helps (kinda).  If you tell people you hated it, it still gets me closer to 50.  Just saying…

I also had a great talk with a friend who helps his mom with her self-published stuff.  He was amazed by Amazon ads, swears they’re the way to go, and gave me a couple of books to read on how to do it.  I’ll undoubtedly be running some ads, too, once I figure out what I’m doing.  I’ll report back and let you know how that went.  All this is new and exciting, and hopefully the stuff I’m learning will come in handy to someone else.

Lastly, There was some confusion about Blatantly False in the first few days, so I want to clarify… if you’re keen on reading this thing but don’t have a Kindle, you still can without shelling out hundreds of dollars for the actual Kindle equipment.  Kindle has an app that will go on any computing device you have (from laptop to tablet to smartphone) that you can download for free. I read most of my books with it on my phone and like it lots. Not thrilled with gunking up your devices with another app?  There will also be a print version available at $9.99.   Unfortunately, I can’t run this one under any of the Kindle sales, though, because of the cost to print.

Nano is still going well! I’ll be in touch…

 

 

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