Amazon, Book Clubs, Fairies, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – In For A Spell by Sharon Clare

Magical, enchanting, romantic, heartwarming… just a few words to describe this lovely book. Ever since I was little I have loved fairy tales. The magic, the mystery, the happy-ever-after. In For A Spell is definitely an adult (quite adult in one particular section!) fairy tale – and I loved it!

Finn, the interfering Elf, reminded me so much of Rumpelstiltskin it just made me smile every time he turned up on a page. This book is, however, much more than a fairy tale. For a start it’s a time-travelling romance, and a really good one at that. Maisie Armstrong is a wonderful character. I loved reading about the virtues that we nowadays would consider ‘old-fashioned.’ And who wouldn’t want to travel back in time to a place where honour was held in high regard? Especially if there was a tall, handsome, complicated laird Thane McKendrick waiting to sweeep you off your feet? This story is told really well, it flows smoothly and held my attention on every page. The theme takes you on a debate as to what really defines love and it’s importance in society in general, rather than just in your own life. Quite thought provoking. If you’re an adult, who like me, still loves a bit of magic, then this is a book you should read.

Sharon Clare has written other books and I really look forward to reading them. She is also an artist and offers book cover designs for authors. Sharon’s web page

Amazon, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books

Faith in Abertillery ~ The Blurb

Not only do I hate writing blurbs, but I’m awful at it. I don’t think I’d even want to buy a book after reading a blurb I’d written.

So what do you do when you can’t stand doing something? Well you get someone else to do it for you of course! And that’s exactly what I did for Faith in Abertillery. I can’t afford to get all my books done professionally, in fact out of six releases I’ve only paid for 3 blurbs. Time will tell whether it’s is beneficial and actually does help sales.

The below blurb was created for me by Best Page Forward

Hoping to launch the book in the beginning of August 2019, watch this space for updates.

Amazon, Book Clubs, Epic Fantasy, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Reviews

Book Review – Darkspire Reaches by CN Lesley

Ok, I admit it, I’m a fantasy fan through and through. What I’m an even bigger fan of is, fantasy books that are both gripping and easy to read. This means that, Darkspire Reaches has to go onto my list of really enjoyable fantasy books.

Raven is a wonderful heroine, a witch, who from the first page, brings the story to life and makes you want to know what happens to her. The author carries Raven’s story from start to end in a smooth, page-turning way. Poor Raven has it tough, her life seems to take her from the frying pan to the fire, over and over. Someone weaker might have been destroyed, but Raven uses it to mature her character. Diamonds are formed by heat and pressure, right? She isn’t the only main character though, and one of my favorites is Kryling, the endearing Firedrake who just simply has a great personality!

Oh how I enjoyed this well-written book! I can’t wait to read more books by CN Lesley.

I loved how the author took her time in explaining everything, while at the same time never once writing anything not necessary or boring.

The story line is unique – something quite hard to do when just about every story line possible to write has already been done in some way or another. Darkspire Reaches is filled with a rich tapestry of characters that just make this a really great fantasy read.

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

Free tools for creating media posts

I just found a new tool – absolutely free, for creating 3D images of your book covers. Love it, love it, love it. So easy to use, unlimited use and great PNG transparent images for using on ads. Want to try it out? Here it is 🙂 https://diybookcovers.com/3Dmockups

The other tool I use, to upload my pics and create ads, is Canva. Also free to use, although they have reduced the amount of stuff you can do for free it is still an amazing free tool. https://www.canva.com

This little ad just took me five minutes to create using the above two links. Why not give it a go?

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books

Coming soon…

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Christian Fiction, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Manchester, Mombasa, Promotion Values, Reviews, World War 2

Sale alert – Grace in Mombasa

Hi everyone From today until 21st May ’19, Grace in Mombasa ebook is discounted from $4.99 to $0.99! Why not watch the 2 min video clip below to see if this is a book you might be interested in?

Amazon, Book Clubs, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

Amazon Advertising – How to set one up

Do they really work?

Well for me they do.  If you are thinking of following the steps below to set up an ad I would suggest you do something first.  Go to Amazon, put in books and then write your category in the search bar.  This will bring up 400 pages of books in your category.  Search for your book, if you find it then congrats you’re already doing something right.  Didn’t find it?  Good, now when you run the advert you will see how fab it is!  Before I ran my advert for my book Grace in Mombasa I went through the 400 pages and didn’t find it.  After I put my advert on the book has always appeared within the first 5 pages as a sponsored ad.

advertising 2

Don’t be put off by technical jargon.  Just follow the steps below and if you have any difficulty please don’t hesitate to ask me a question below.  Good luck!

Before you run the ad you need to do something very important.  Go to Amazon.com select kindle books, then type your genre in.  Look at the first five pages that come up.  Make a note of the books that have lots of reviews and I mean way over 100 reviews, the more the better.  Write down the author names and the book titles.  Keep the list next to you when you start your ad.

  1. Go to your kdp Amazon Direct Publishing book page
  2. Click on promote & advertise to the right of your book
  3. This brings up a new page, click on ‘create an ad campaign’ (you’ll probably be asked to sign in again)
  4. Choose your campaign type is your next option. Select Sponsored Products
  5. Give the campaign a name.  It can’t include any signs such as an exclamation mark, do not include numbers.  The name should be all letters, no spelling mistakes. Don’t leave two spaces after a word.  Make it as tight and clean as possible.  Such a fuss just for your campaign name but trust me my campaigns got rejected over and over just because I couldn’t get the name right.  I now keep mine simple so something like… book title and campaign one. eg Grace in Mombasa campaign one.
  6. Dates: leave this as it is, it will start as soon as it is authorized and you don’t want to put a close date in, if it is successful you want to run it for ever, and if it isn’t after a month or so you can go in and cancel it.
  7. Put in a daily budget.  Don’t be frightened to put in here more than you would like to spend, for two reasons, 1) I’ve never yet spent my daily allowance and 2) you will hopefully be making this money back!  It really is up to you how you wish to proceed, if you are a bit hesitant then just put in $15 per day.  I have set all my campaigns (yes all because I am adding a campaign once a week now) at $25 per day, I have never, ever spent this amount of money.
  8. Underneath Daily Budget is Targeting.  Select Manual targeting.
  9. Next is Ad Format.  Select Custom text ad.
  10. Products, if you only have one book this will appear here, if you have more than one book make sure the book displayed on the right hand side is the book you want to advertise.
  11. Next is Targeting.  Select keyword targeting.
  12. The next box is keywords and bids.  It will automatically default to $0.75 – change this to $0.45. Then tick the little tiny box under it that says bid+ (this means for you to win the bid Amazon might have to increase your bid slightly, I suggest you tick this.)
  13. You can now see ‘Suggested’ ‘Enter Keywords’ & ‘Upload file’ depending on confident you are you could upload a file.  I always choose ‘Enter Keywords’.
  14. Click in the box that is now saying, enter keywords separate by a new line.  Now type your list you wrote down earlier of authors and book titles that are in your genre.  Put one name or book title in, press enter and start the next one on a new line.
  15. The next section is ‘Creative’ here you must put in your catch line to attract people to come and have a look at your book.  Must be interesting and catchy.  Your ad is now displayed below and you can check the catch phrase really is eye-catching.  Remember we can go through all the logical steps of setting up an advert but if you don’t write something interesting here people are not going to want to look any further.
  16. Press launch Campaign.

hurray 2

Hurray you did it!  Good for you, so pleased you have taken a step of faith and launched yourself into the world of advertising.

It takes a while for Amazon to authorize your ad, then it takes at least 24 hours after its been authorized before your book starts having ‘impressions’ on Amazon.  An impression is when your book is presented on a page in front of a prospective buyer.  Reading your results and changing your ads is a whole new lesson, so maybe if anyone wants that lesson please let me know and I will do a new post in a few weeks time.

Lastly, give it a day or so and then repeat the first instruction… go to Amazon.com, select kindle books, put in your genre… now where is your book?

 

 

 

 

Amazon, Book Clubs, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

Let’s get our books noticed… and make some money!

Amazon kdp select and Advertising

books

Some people don’t rate Amazon, a friend of mine has stopped buying from them due to their tax evasion policies… however, let’s face it, Amazon is a book lover’s paradise and they are, after all, the world’s number 1 book seller.  So as indie authors we really are losing out if we don’t use them as at least one of the places we sell our books.

dreams 2

The author’s dream is normally multi layered but I suspect, like me, that the biggest part of that dream is that readers would enjoy our stories.

Some people only dream of holding their book in their hands and having that reality come true it therefore doesn’t matter that they only sold 50 copies – probably all to family, friends and work colleagues, but that’s OK because for them their dream is complete.

There are a plethora of reasons why people sit down day after day and slave over producing a book, but honestly we’re fooling ourselves if we don’t acknowledge that we hope to sell lots of books and make an income from doing so.

So here’s why I recommend putting your books on Amazon, putting them into kdp select (so that people can read them through kindle unlimited), and why advertising is so important.

Visibility

man-peering-closely-into-computer-screen

I might be the only crazy author around… although I doubt it, but when my first book went on Amazon I scrolled through 400 pages of sword and sorcery books trying to find my book.  Needless to say I never found it.  Now if I couldn’t find my book when I was looking for it how was anyone looking for a book in that genre going to find it?

The average person will scroll through the first 10 pages of a certain genre trying to find a book, if they haven’t found it then they either give up or try searching through a different category.  Our aim then as indie authors is to get our books onto the first 10 pages of our category/genre.  This is hard if the only thing you do is put your book up for sale, because you are waiting to sell approx 75 within a day to get your book into the top 100 of your category, but hold on, once there you need to maintain 45-75 sales a day to stay within those top numbers.  Now I wish that was happening to us author-preneurs but unfortunately unless your famous we have to work to get our books there.

As it turns out making our book visible on Amazon isn’t that hard after all, hallelujah I hear your cry.  To make our books visible we need to do only two things.

  1. Enroll in KDP Select
  2. Create an Ad Campaign
  • Enrolling in kdp means that two things can happen, the first and the most important is that people who have bought into Amazon Unlimited can read your book for free – hey hey you cry, we’re supposed to be talking about making money – trust me, we are.  Remember the fact from the last post?  If your average monthly earnings are around $500 then at least $200 of that will be from KENP which basically is the number of pages that have been read through kindle unlimited.  This is a great income, but there is something else to consider, and that is your ranking.  The higher your ranking the further up the scale your book travels.  Let me give you two examples from my books.

a) One of my books was ranked 1,298,428, I had 1 sale and my ranking instantly ascended to 120,148.                                                                                                                              b) Another one of my books was ranked 1,108,847, I had one person rent it on kindle unlimited and my ranking instantly ascended to 161,020.                                                            So, the thing to take from this is as far as ranking goes – and we need to get as high as we can, then it is almost as valuable to have someone obtain a copy through kindle unlimited as it is through purchasing a copy.

  • Create an Ad Campaign, honestly unless your famous or have thousands of friends willing to support you this is the only way you are going to obtain sales.  I have attended seminars and read and researched the ways people can sell books.  The biggest ‘seller’ seems to be having a mahoosive mailing list.  If that’s what you want then go for it, good luck to you.  But it’s not for me.  I am hoping in time that as I bring out more books people who enjoyed them would be likely to buy another one from me, but I am patiently waiting for that list to build up organically, I don’t think having thousands of people on an email list just for the sake of it is the way to go, but I am fully aware this is just my opinion and you must make your own.

ads

There is a reason that advertising has been around for years and is not going anywhere.  The most common way to learn about a product is through seeing an advert.  Obviously, some adverts like the one above (although funny) just should not happen, however, on the whole advertising serves a purpose and if we stick within acceptable boundaries there is no reason why anyone would think our book adverts are derogatory.

Now if you are like me and you’re on a budget you might say ‘this isn’t for me’ but hold on, before you go let me tell you that if Amazon Ad Campaigns are run correctly you should be making money and therefore getting all your advertising costs back.  I think I should also mention here, I am an indie author and I am in no way connected to Amazon as in I am not an employee etc and there is no financial gain from Amazon to me for mentioning them.  I am doing this blog solely because I wish to help and encourage other indie authors.

My next blog will contain step-by-step guide to setting up an advert on Amazon that will hopefully make you money.  (Just realized I made this post too long to include the guide.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Promotion Values, Reviews, the value of promoting your book

Amazon kdp Select & advertising – is it worth it?

   Yes!

amazon kdp select

Well in my experience anyway, and I’ve been an indie author for three years now.  In fact yesterday I removed some of my books from various other sites – from which I had zero sales, and put my books back onto kindle select.

The reason? Well to make money of course.  The main reason for putting books onto other sites, for me, was so that I could get a BookBub deal – which are supposed to be amazing, however, after I think about 30 submissions to BookBub with a no-no response I began to wonder if it was worth it.  I decided ‘no it’s not’ yesterday, took my books off other sites and returned to good old Amazon kindle select kdp.

piggy bank

Here are some interesting things I’ve learnt recently.

  • The average indie author only ever sells around 50 books
  • People who know how to use Amazon kdp and advertising move out of being an average indie and earn approx $500 per month and sell a lot more than 50 books
  • Out of that $500 around $200 will be from kindle pages read

So the answer to… Is Amazon kdp select and advertising worth it… is a very loud yes!

hurray

To make sales and earn money… and get good reviews… you need firstly to enroll in kdp select and then you need to advertise.

However, before you follow the steps in my next blog for setting up your own advertisement campaign with Amazon I need to point out some things.

  1. The first thing people see is your book cover, if your cover is not eye-catching and appealing then forget about advertising, no amount of pushing your book before people will encourage them to buy if the cover is flat or boring.  There are great cover designers out there, if you want me to suggest a couple then please ask in the notes below.  In my experience you can get a really good professional cover done for approx $100.
  2. The Blurb… the blurb… we hates the blurb!  Well I do anyway, again if your blurb isn’t punchy and interesting, and pleasing to the eye (in other words do you know your amazon formatting?) forget it, you can spend $100’s on advertising and no one is going to bite.  I know a really good company that do blurbs but unfortunately they charge $300.  Again, if you would like to know who they are, please ask in the notes below. (ps I’ll tell you a little secret…  I paid $300 for the blurb on my first book, it really is a million times better than anything I could do… however, not being able to pay $300 for all the other books I copied and pasted the formatting they gave me – double dutch jargon that makes your blurb stand out as professional on the Amazon pages, and just changed the words to the other books.  The blurb itself might not be amazing but at least it is presented well ha ha) I suggest you look for help from friends – especially book readers, and also ask several different book clubs, I belong to three book clubs that I really rate on FB, you pop a post on and get invaluable information and help.  This is a good place to put your blurb and listen to the comments that come back.
  3. Last, but by no means least, the book itself MUST be a) a gripping story and b) edited to perfection.  I got this wrong with my first book and I so regret publishing before I was ready.  Some readers are vicious, I mean down right uncaring of the years of hard work you’ve put into a book, if the editing is bad they will give you 1* and tell the world your book is not worth reading.  Once that review is on there you can’t get it removed, it is there for eternity and once people see that review you have an enormous amount of work to do to try and correct it.  Please, please, do not list your book until you have had it proof read by a professional.

So, have you got all the above 3 points done?  Then you’re ready to start advertising.  My next blog will be a step-by-step guide to setting up an advert that should make you money.

money

 

Amazon, Book Clubs, Christian Fiction, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Inspirational Story, Kindle Books, Manchester, Mombasa

Why are Christian books so expensive?

I love a good book with a good story, and if that book happens to promote Christian morals and standards then I am doubly-happy.  It is therefore, rather distressing that so many good books by Christian authors are priced out of my price-range.

Who is it that set a kindle book at $8 – $15?  Seriously, you can buy paperbacks for that amount of money in the UK.  Other genres don’t have their books priced so high – does this mean that Christians are greedy and money grabbing, or just good business men and women?  Bestselling authors set their prices really high, bleeding their readers dry because they know they will buy regardless of price.  So, does that mean that every Christian author thinks they are a bestselling author?

What on earth is going on?

I can’t set my book at that price; I want as many people as possible to be able to read it, so currently mine is set at $3.99 probably going to $4.99 next year, which I think is a reasonable price for an e-book.  And, 50% of my commission is being donated to Barnabas.

Please let me know what your thoughts are in the comments below, would love to hear what other people think about it.