Monthly Archives: January 2015

KINDLE BOOK REVIEW

I scheduled a promotion for today through Kindle Book Review. Cost, $40. Result, not one sale. The same book, promoted through EReader News Today, resulted in 65 sales in a similar time frame when I promoted it about 3 months ago.
I read other reports from people who’d used KBR who said the same. No results at all. One used the term ‘fraud’.
I’ll just say that I found this promoter a waste of money. I recommend you NOT use KBR for your promotion dollars.

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Selling to Strangers

I know a man who’s in negative numbers as a writer. He bought a few copies of his CreateSpace book and gave them to friends and family. Last time I swapped emails with him, he hadn’t sold enough to anyone else for the profits to cover his costs.
No matter how good the product, if you intend to make a go of writing as a profession, you’ve got to sell your books to people you’ve never met. If you have several available, quality will encourage them to buy your other books. But that first hurdle is the highest: you’ve got to convince someone to read your book.
No matter how good your title is, how grabby your cover is, how enticing your blurb is, you’ve got to see that potential readers know the book exists.
Marketing is the current word; no one likes advertising, although that’s what it comes down to. If you want people to know you have a product for sale, you’ve got to advertise.
But…but…advertising is for SALESMEN! I’m an ARTIST! Yeah. Ain’t we all?
If you don’t advertise, you’re a failed artist.
Tell your friends if you want; I’ve got TEN novels published on Amazon! But if you can’t say they’re selling, who cares? If strangers won’t buy them, won’t read them, what really have you accomplished?
I wrote things here and there while I was in the Army, operating procedures, reports, things like that. In college I wrote a few other things, including a couple of research papers. I thought about how nice it would be to see that get into a peer reviewed publication. But I did nothing about it. I wrote quite a lot while I was a teacher, lesson plans, tests, and more; I eventually produced what was in essence a bare-bones textbook for teachers that could be put on a CD; it gave enough of a framework that a teacher could develop his/her own lesson and present it easily. I wrote quite a bit of this as part of an assignment during the summer, writing curriculum guides for the EPISD. But that was all; I retired and went on to other things.
In 2010 or so I began writing short essays. I collected many of those and they became the basis for my first blog, http://jlknapp505.com. Finally, I stepped off the cliff. In 2013 I began writing fiction. Poorly. But I got better. I wrote a LOT that year. I then began revising and made that first book into something readable. I published it in March of 2014. Four others followed soon after, plus a short story and a novella. A sixth novel was begun and is almost finished now.
But as soon as I began revising and publishing, my output of new writing went way down. Not because I don’t have interest or ability, but because I was spending a lot of my creativity and time on the revising and publishing. Decisions; go with Amazon Select exclusively, or publish through others? I tried the one first, then switched to multiple publishing outlets. So far, that’s not working out well. Amazon is still 99% of my sales.
But writing was my 2013 project, publishing my 2014 aim, this year it’s marketing.
Just as I did before when I studied science, I’m gathering information. Passive advertising, whether on an electronic bulletin board or Facebook, is useless. Active advertising via one of the email promoters works much better.
I’m not the only one to notice this. James Patterson and WEB Griffin also have books being promoted in the exact same way as I promote my books, as others like me are doing. We offer discounted books by submitting them to a promoter, paying a fee, and hoping we at least recoup our outlay.
If the bestsellers are doing it, you have no choice. Publicize or perish.
The difference between a successful writer and a hobbyist is marketing.
This is the year I’ll tame that beast.
Today’s mailout is via Kindle Book Review. That promoter is more expensive than others, twice as much as EReader News Today (a very good promoter), and has a decidedly mixed reputation. Still, some promoters work better with some genres than they do with others, and I’m hoping my promotion of Darwin’s World will reach a new audience, one that doesn’t use ENT. The price has been dropped to $0.99, I collected information regarding how many copies of DW have been sold already this month, now it’s time to see what KBR can do. http://www.amazon.com/Darwins-World-Epic-Survival-Book-ebook/dp/B00K1PWI6S/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

HOW TO…

I wrote this on the Writers’ Group; you might enjoy it too.
Pressure keeps me going, faster. I’m one of those folks who works best when there’s a deadline, even if it’s a self-imposed one.
Indie publishing doesn’t have to be frightening. I did it, thousands of others did it, you can too.
First, create your manuscript. Revise it.
Find yourself an editor. I was lucky enough to find one who works for free, although he’s extremely selective. I do too, and I’m even more selective than he is; I’m only willing to edit one man. Fortunately, he writes slower than I do, so I have time to write my own books.
One other thing: I’m the best editor I know of. So self-editing works fairly well for me. My ‘editor’ spots typos, awkward words, things like that. I catch the bigger areas, content and so forth. What works for me probably won’t work for you.
Now you’ve got an edited manuscript. You need to clean it up. Got any of those strange little squiggles when you turn on Word’s nonprinting characters? You’ve got to get rid of those.
Got your manuscript edited and cleaned up? You’re getting closer.
IF you’re an artist, as Tina is, you have an advantage. If you can use Photoshop or GIMP, you have an advantage. I don’t use either of those, so I hire someone to create a cover for me. I didn’t start out that way, but that’s how I roll now. She uses PS and buys stock images from places like BigStockPhotos. License to use a photo, $3. Some have photos for less, $2. Beware ‘free’ photos; some are copyrighted. I got written permission from a man who published a photo on Flickr to use his photo, tweaked it, and made my own cover for Hands.
Almost there; now you need to know what it looks like when you send it in to Amazon, Apple, B&N, etc. Trust me, what you see in your .docx manuscript is NOT what you’ll see on your Kindle.
I use a program called Calibre. It’s drag and drop; you drag your MS into the program, there’s a blank ‘book’ icon where you can drag your shiny new cover. Hit ‘convert’. The program will translate your .docx file to MOBI, EBook, Nook, or PDF. Now you can open the file and see what you plan to sell.
Sign up for Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. If you’re ready, sign up for Smashwords (reportedly difficult to use) or D2D. That last is incredibly easy to use. Load your .docx file, answer the prompts, the program will even generate a table of contents, title page, other end material for you. When prompted, load your .jpg cover. Confirm that you did indeed do all this work all by yourself, that you therefore hold all the rights, tell them where you want to publish (not Amazon; they don’t do Amazon), Apple, B&N, Kobo, PageFoundry, or Scribd. Done.
Take a deep breath. Wow, finished! Uh…not quite.
Your book will appear. Google your own name, or pen name, and wow, there you are! One of 3 million.
Wait for the first book to sell. Keep waiting. Notify your friends and neighbors. Beg. OK, maybe only whine a little. A few books sell. Wait for the reviews.
Write another book. The second is easy, by the third it’s routine. But if you’re an Indie, you’ve got to market.
Expect to spend a bit of money. EReader News Today, ENT, costs $20 for a mailoout, BookSends costs $25. I’ve found both to be worth the money. Increased sales covered the cost and I even made a profit. BookSends advertised (via email) Combat Wizard on the 2nd, it’s sold 109 copies so far. About 75 or 85 of those were discounted, but the others are full price, $2.99. You’ll need to drop your price to something like $0.99 or even free to get featured on an emailer. You usually need reviews too, good ones. But that’s how your book gets sold. BTW, I don’t advise free giveaways. I’ve probably got a thousand free books I’ve never read, still waiting. Maybe one day. But if someone actually pays money, even if it’s only a dollar, there’s a much better chance that they’ll read your book and maybe even review it.
Some books will sell. Some won’t. Talent is as good as anything I’ve written, but somehow it doesn’t sell as well as the other two books int he series, and it has zero reviews so far. Why? No idea. Hands is only $1.99, and it has never sold well. One beta reader called it a masterpiece. It’s funny. But it’s also a novella, a ‘short novel’ or half-novel. Short stories and novellas don’t sell as well as novels do. No idea why. My 2500-word short story, Ants, has sold two copies at $0.99 this month, while my 25 000 word Hands at $1.99 hasn’t sold at all.
Anyway, I have more advice for you if you’re just starting out. Meantime, if you found this useful, go buy a copy of Hands. It’s cheap. And you’ll grin a time or two, giggle, finally guffaw. Yeah. http://www.amazon.com/Hands…/dp/B00NVZU9KC/ref=asap_bc…

A talent for wizardry Holisz assuredly has; alas, he lacks the dedication necessary to pursue so demanding a…
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