Category Archives: Book Sales

A little something for my writer friends

Here’s a very inspiring article from Indies Unlimited that seems to ring true for me. It’s the top ten things an author should or shouldn’t do and if nothing else it reaffirms some of the decisions you must make as an indie. Give it a read.

http://www.indiesunlimited.com/2013/10/01/top-ten-things-an-author-should-or-shouldnt-do/

In defense of a free promo…

I’ve been at this writing thing for a while now and I’ve seen the posts from other indies saying that those of us who do free promos are killing the market, insulting other indies, and a host of other bad things that are degrading to our craft. I disagreed back when I ran my first free promo and I continue to disagree, but this world of self-publishing requires constant evaluation and new strategies.

Yes, Amazon changed the rankings so a free promo doesn’t get you the surge in rankings that it used to – but it still gets you a boost in terms of publicity. Or maybe the postings from the free sites that list your book gets you a boost – either way, it seems as if a good free promo ultimately sells more books and that is what we want as writers, isn’t it?

But what about the people who are called “free loaders” – the ones who download every free book that comes their way? They don’t bother me in the least – I consider it a public service to run my books for free. If there is someone who loves to read, who can’t afford to buy books on a regular basis then they can feel free to download one of mine and maybe I’ve helped them satisfy their craving for a new book. It didn’t cost me anything to do that and the fact that someone is reading my work makes me all warm and fuzzy despite the fact that I won’t see a dime from the sale.

Besides, I have received a few reviews from people who have downloaded my books on a free promo – that is worth way more than the small royalty I make when I sell a book!

There’s another strategy that indie authors might find useful for free promotion: the blog tour. I’ve done a few and I love the experience – not only do I get more traffic to my own blog because of the daily posts, but I definitely see a surge in sales following the hop.
Recently, I combined the two strategies – I ran a free promo on one book and the following week did a blog tour promoting the second book in the series – I’ve had pretty good results (daily sales of most of my books!). Now, I’m looking for something to do this week to keep the trend going. Since I’m drafting my next book right now, this is a perfect time to market – when I’m writing the whole marketing aspect is neglected because words on the page are more important to me than posts on the web.

So get out there indies and promote, promote, promote (and for heaven’s sake – throw something up for free – you might win two new fans!)

Review of Money Making Machine by Anbu Rayappan

I write this with very mixed feelings: This was actually an interesting read with some great pointers and generous sharing of resources. It made sense and was well put together. So why do I have mixed feelings? Because as an indie author, I’m completely shocked that there are actually people publishing books on Kindle that they hired someone else to write for them! It’s true – Mr. Rayappan says so himself – EEK!

And yet…

I’m tempted to have someone write something for me – just an outline maybe or a rough draft…something to keep me from agonizing over every sentence or having to untangle my own very complicated plot twists (or plot knots, as I’ve grown to call them). But no…I refuse! I will take Mr. Rayappan’s advice on the research and marketing and publishing and do something MYSELF! I won’t cave to outsourcing (or in-sourcing) my creativity – no matter how much sense this book made on an intuitive level!

Now you see why I had mixed feelings. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re a writer. Even if you’re not planning on hiring someone to write your book for you – there are some really logical and good ideas on marketing and publicity – things I think I might try. It’s worth a look.

It’s time for Discovery 3

For the next few days, I’m going to be posting from http://www.discoverauthors.wordpress.com – it’s a really nice blog tour site where authors can band together to get a little publicity for their work. I hope you’ll check out the posts – you might just find a new author you’ll love!

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Post-Publication Pittfalls

I was surfing because I couldn’t sleep and stumbled across this site:
The League of Shattered Authors”>http://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2013/06/10/the-league-of-shattered-authors
I read the post because it happened to be written by one of my favorite authors – Judith Tarr – and once I started reading I actually read through all of the comments (not a common thing for me). I pulled out a few threads from this that I’d like to share with my fellow indie authors.

I just published my latest novel, and am currently living in the “aftermath” of that experience. After writing and editing feverishly for months there’s suddenly a big void now that the book is published. I liken it to postpartum depression because the drive to forge ahead and finish the work is all-consuming (not to mention really exciting) and when it’s d-o-n-e there is a burst of relief and joy followed by…nothing.

When I’m getting close to the end of a novel it consumes me. All other things get put on hold because I just need to finish the work because the fact that it’s stuck on my computer and not finished frustrates me beyond belief. Every day it remains unfinished is torture so I work toward completion every spare minute! The process of completion doesn’t last for a day or a weekend – there are WEEKS of work between writing the ending and finally putting the book up for sale. I edit, rewrite, read, listen, talk to my beta readers and revise again just to make sure it is as good as it can possibly be, but I’m still not done.

Once the publish button is pushed and the work goes live – there’s another read through on my Kindle to catch those odd formatting issues that seem to creep up (I can’t imagine how I read my own book six times and missed the fact that there’s one sentence of dialogue without an opening quotation mark or how I accidentally wound up lighting the “bath” instead of lighting the “path” – I swear Word is just messing with me) and then I fix those errors and I fall into the abyss of post-writing depression – or complete exhaustion depending on my mood.

I think many writers experience this and for indies it can be especially challenging. Once the book is written, there’s a transition from polishing the manuscript to marketing the book then another transition into writing another book. That constant loop is challenging enough, but then the ensuing roller-coaster ride of sales surges and plunges begins – YIKES! I think the emotional stress of that contributes to the disappearance of a few authors who just find that roller coaster to be utterly exhausting.

Add in a publisher with the pressure of contracts, deadlines, and sales numbers and the roller coaster turns into a runaway train with a sadistic conductor. The article I referenced from (the brilliant) Ms. Tarr mentions writers who fall off the map for a variety of reasons – one of which is having their dreams of full-time authorhood shattered by a variety of things. In my opinion, indie authors are particularly vulnerable to some of these pitfalls – and rightfully so.

While an agent and publisher can add pressure, they can also provide a support network – indies don’t really have that network of professionals to push them forward. Indies spend months – maybe even years – pounding away at keyboards night after night, ignoring many things that once took up time (housework, friends, maybe even bathing – although I certainly hope not) and when the work is finished they dash off to…a real life that has withered from neglect and sales reports which are usually less than mind-blowing. It’s tough to start that next book with three months of laundry to do and a yard that is so overgrown there may be an undiscovered species living out beyond the patio. Yet we must…must…must write that next book, because it tickled the back of our brain while we were finishing the last one and the idea is starting to blossom into something that could be awesome.

Why do indie’s get their dreams of being a full-time author shattered? Maybe because it takes time to write a book – so much time that when the writing is over, there are things that need to be nurtured back from the brink before the next novel can be started. It’s hard to nurture when you’re emotionally drained – but that is indeed what an indie needs to do – nurture their lives for a while and let that next story marinate for a few days or weeks or months. If it could be awesome in the aftermath of finishing the previous book, it will still be awesome later.

When everything is humming along again, and you feel like you actually have a life outside of writing, start the next book. If you’re not taking care of yourself, your characters will suffer, your plot will falter, and the roller coaster will come off the tracks. Don’t be shattered – be aware and take the time to enjoy the ride. It’s normal to have ups and downs – how you handle those will determine if you will be in it for the long-term or if you’ll be someone who used to write.

Review of Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books (Let’s Get Publishing) By: David Gaughran

For all of you indies out there – here’s the reference you need to figure out everything you need to know about choosing the right categories, figuring out the complicated rankings on Amazon and some great pointers on marketing and strategies to maximize sales. Let’s Get Visible will give you clear answers to some of those questions you feel stupid asking without you ever have to admit that you didn’t know them out-loud! It’s a beautiful thing.

I listened to this in my car on my way to work, and then took notes when I got home. I had a few “a-ha!” moments and I’m not new to self-publishing. David Gaughran did the research and I’m eternally grateful I don’t have to. He knows what he’s talking about, so just take his word on it, okay?

What I learned: marketing! categories! sales rankings!. I changed my categories, laid out a marketing plan for my upcoming book (Fortunes Bought & Sold – due out June 15th if you were wondering) and best of all, realized that some of the things I’ve done with my own books were right (Go me!).

If you’re undecided on where to put your books (Amazon, Smashwords, KDP, etc.) this book gives you both sides of the argument so you can make the decision that’s right for you. It really is a must-read for indies even if you’ve published a few books already.