Dinosaurs, Lies, and Christian Bookstores

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I was speaking with another Indie author at a convention over the weekend and she told me of the last panel she had participated at a different con. “I was next to an author who, after I’d answer the moderator’s question, would say the opposite of what I’d said and then insinuate I was somehow lying. He insisted that the traditional model was the only way and that anybody not published by the Big 5 was a no-talent hack.” I was not led to believe that this fellow was printed with said publishers.

His response is indicative of what he is: a dinosaur of the publishing era and someone who refuses to update his thinking based on the modern market and technology. He’s not uncommon, either.

Guys like him are leading the charge towards extinction and there is no easier place to see the fall out of his thinking than in the near-total collapse of the Christian book-selling industry. Within two years we’ve seen the largest two Christian brick-and-mortar book retailers completely close their stores, and the secular publishing world isn’t faring much better. So in the microcosm that is the faith-based publishing industry, what does it mean for Christian authors? The pending changes could be scary… Continue reading Dinosaurs, Lies, and Christian Bookstores

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Why run ads? Pt 1. The Plan.

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Unless you are a household name and automatically sell books based on your name or brand recognition, you’re going to need to purchase some advertising in order to move some books.

The plain and simple fact of the matter is that Indie Authors must make serious attempts to become individual marketing professionals if they want to be successful. Gone are the days when writing a book was a significant accomplishment. Any idiot can write and publish a book. Nowadays, there is a significant qualifier to success: writing a book that gets read. Notice that I didn’t say write a good book, because the success of books like the 50 Shades series has shown that writing quality should be a concern, but gets lost in the shuffle of marketing.

If you can get a handle on how to sell your book, it will make money regardless of the content, in spite of it even. Worry about quality and content! But learn the ropes on how to market and don’t plant your flag that says “I’m a writer and I refuse to learn advertising.” I’m not there, yet, but I recently scored thousands of downloads while toying with some marketing techniques and here were my results…

Continue reading Why run ads? Pt 1. The Plan.

8 Other Ways to Make Money on your Books In Addition to Sales

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I thought about the title, How to Get Rich & Famous Selling Ebooks, but decided against it. If you read my blog, you’ve probably seen me talk about how this takes actual work to succeed and that you ought to plan to be the rule rather than the exception.

If you’ve looked over the math on things such as targeted Facebook ads, you might be wondering how in the world you can make any money selling books? (If you can manage to get a 2% CTR on a $2.99 ebook, you can’t pay more than 4 cents per impression or you have lost money on the ad [CPC formula: book cost X Click Through Rate X royalty percentage = break-even Cost Per Click]). You’ll go broke selling books at even well-performing figures.

The trick is not to sell just a book. Serious book pros like Mark Dawson will run ads that lose quite a bit of money because they have calculated the cost versus the total income from a sale—that figure includes more than book royalties. Below are eight additional ways that your book could generate additional money.

Continue reading 8 Other Ways to Make Money on your Books In Addition to Sales

What is RSS and how do I use it to market my book?

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As part of a book marketing workshop I’m conducting later this year I’ve got a bunch of items to share with you all. Many of them are minor pieces of a larger framework that integrates into each other. This week, I want to show you how to push your blog to expand your reach to a larger base via RSS.

An RSS feed is “Really Simple Syndication, a standardized system for the distribution of content from an online publisher to Internet users.” Because it is standardized, there are many places around the internet that you can use this, so it can be a handy marketing tool to know about. I’ll teach you two ways that it can be immediately useful to authors.

Continue reading What is RSS and how do I use it to market my book?

Is BookRiot a Good Investment? Here are two user experiences

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I do a lot of face-to-face sales at conventions and book events. Oftentimes I run into my buddy Scott Burtness who writes Horror Comedy (think Buffy the Vampire Slayer.) In fact, we met at one of such event for about the third time in a row and just decided to start doing a lot of the same things together and learning what is working for the other guy and try to replicate those results.

He and I have both been guest speakers at MN based MinnSpec meetups and try to help other Indies up north. We were discussing marketing one day and had both been looking into BookRiot as an alternative to a Bookbub ad (since neither of us had scored one yet.) BookRiot was a little cheaper, but came with what seems like a lot of accolades to its credibility from libraries, etc.

One thing that I found as odd was that I could not find any actual user reviews/reports on the service. Bookbub provides its users with a genre-based breakdown for estimated sales from previous users. After we both decided to drop over $1,000 each on an ad package we agreed to keep informed and report back. Here are the detailed results of our ads… Continue reading Is BookRiot a Good Investment? Here are two user experiences

KDP Hiccups: Where are my Sales & Who Jacked my Royalty Rates?

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I discovered a few little things very recently after combing through my KDP sales… some of my numbers weren’t adding up correctly. Here are two little known issues that I got to the bottom of after spending some lengthy time on the phone with support.

  1. Why are some ebook sales showing up as $35% when I am at the 70% royalty rate?
  2. I have a huge spike in sales on my chart but they aren’t there when I generate a report—where are my missing book sales?

Continue reading KDP Hiccups: Where are my Sales & Who Jacked my Royalty Rates?

Sharpen your hook: Write a killer first page!

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Books that sell need a bunch of things.  Before a reader even looks at your content they are going to look for any reason to say “no.” It’s how our minds work—we are constantly asked to run a gauntlet of commercial interests trying to sell us every product under the sun… including your book. If you have a good cover and back blurb and haven’t priced your book into oblivion, only then will a potential reader look at your actual words on paper.

Following is an article on how to sharpen your first page: the single most critical piece of writing in your actual story. If your book is going to make it, the first chapter—especially your first page, has to be amazing. Continue reading Sharpen your hook: Write a killer first page!

The Power of the Amazon Author Central

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One of the tools that authors easily overlook is the Amazon Author Central page. We often hear about the importance of establishing our brand, blogging, social media, and personal web presence and when we get to Author Central it’s easy to look at it and go, “meh, I’ve already got pages that do all that stuff.”

However, there are lots of critical reasons to engage with Author Central, and if you haven’t done anything at all with it, or have just used it to go through the motions (by adding your books and bio so readers can see the bare minimum about you) then you are missing out on some powerful features and leaving a lot on the table. Continue reading The Power of the Amazon Author Central

Mailing lists: what is this newsletter swap thing i keep seeing?

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I’ve been pretty keenly interested in getting better at promotions lately. To that end, I’ve enrolled in promo author-guru Mark Dawson’s SPF course and been working on his ads for authors package, especially the Facebook side of things. I’m working though it slow, and dealing with newsletter signups, etc.

I have a mailing list and I set up my triggers to auto-send mail every so often so that my system is in place… before I start spending money on ads, though, I have begun seeing lots of authors talk about newsletter swaps and looked into it. Continue reading Mailing lists: what is this newsletter swap thing i keep seeing?

Boxsets, book bundles, and collections, Oh, My

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Have you considered creating boxsets, bundles, or collections in order to move more digital books? These are different than anthologies (which I’ve participated in for a while, now. Anthologies are generally themed collections, whereas bundles might or might not be themed and come from a single author, or multiple authors and are usually created for one or more of  a variety of purposes. Here’s some of the reasoning that made me decide to create my own. Continue reading Boxsets, book bundles, and collections, Oh, My