Amazon, Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Born to Be, Christian Fiction, Epic Fantasy, Fairies, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, Kindle Books, Oracle's Quest, Promotion Values, the value of promoting your book

5 Days to a #1 BestSeller

I thought I might share how I recently got to be a Amazon UK BestSeller. Below is a graph showing the dates, who I used to promote, how much I was charged and how many sales I received. Hopefully, from the below you will be able to ascertain whether running consecutive promtions is something you might consider.

Promoter Cost UK     USA CA AUS Total
Weds 11th Book Raid $2.16 2 4     6
Thurs 12th Reading Deals $29.00          
& Books Go Social $39.50 1 7   1 9
Fri 13th Fussy Librarian $24.00          
& Book Cave $25.00 1 34   1 36
Sat 14th BookBub (not on in USA) $188.00 78 6 18 21 123
Sun 15th Books Go Social $39.50 7 4 3 2 16
All 5 days Amazon Ads $25.00   2     2
Total promotion cost $370.00 89 57 21 25
Total Sales 192

I reduced the price of ‘Idi & the Oracle’s Quest’ from $2.99 to $0.99 on Tues 10th Sep. On the 10th I received 3 sales and this can confidentally be accounted for by friends on FB sharing my post and also tweeting. Throughout the entire 6 days I tweeted numberous times and it is hard to know if any sales came from these tweets. I use Bitly to monitor link clicks on Twitter and in total I had 122 clicks, whether a few of these resulted in sales is hard to determine. I also can’t be 100% sure if the sales on the lines match the promoter as there would of course been a merging of promotions at certain times. This time round what was dissappointing for me where the two Amazon Ads I ran, normally these bring a much higher amount of sales.

Although I didn’t break-even during this promotion, let alone make a profit, that wasn’t the object of the exercise. The point of this campaign was exposure, to which end I am very confident to having received a measure of success.

The biggest success, of course, comes from the BookBub sales in the UK which took me to #1 and awarded me the Best Seller badge, which I can assure you I was over the moon about and opened the champagne to celebrate!

With a book only earning $0.34 per sale you can see I only received back a 5th of output. However, besides the books sales I received 6 audio sales, at a far better rate of return, and had many downloads with KDP Select, some days hitting over 3500 pages read, which in turn generates a fair income.

The last thing that upped my return were sales on my other books in the series, both book 2 and 3 sold 8 copies each at full price of $2.99.

Do I think the promotion was successful, and would I do it again – yes and in a heartbeat. It’s only been a couple of days since the promotion stopped and I’ve already had a review, just can’t beat that.

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, 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

 

Book Clubs, BooksGoSocial, Indie-Authors, the value of promoting your book

Should we go to writers conferences?

dreamstime_xs_19535386 Question Mark

Until this weekend I wasn’t sure about writers conferences, plus I have discovered I am a terribly indecisive procrastinator!  I’m not sure, I’m going, I’ve paid, I’ve canceled, I’ve repaid… seriously, I must have driven the organizers crazy.  (Sorry Tanja!)

Before today if you had asked me about a conference I would have answered you with umm’s, maybe’s, and depends.  Today, however, I can with confidence say… yes go!

I’m not looking for agents and publishers and I am a very happy indie-author, or as I found out this weekend, an authorpreneur, really like the sound of that.

So where did I go that made me swing like a pendulum, that firmly left me on scales that sunk on the ‘go-for-it’ side?  The answer is, The Dublin Writers Conference run by,

BooksGoSocial.BooksGoSocial-logo-web-wide-1

Did I learn a bucket full of information from the speakers, well probably as I am so far along the line of being an authorpreneur, (sorry just really fell in love with the word) maybe not.  People just starting off on their writing career would certainly have learned massive amounts of useful information though, and to others like them I say, go go go and go quickly, learn how to do it properly and don’t make the mistakes I made.  If I had attended a conference like this before I self-published I would have saved myself thousands of pounds… and I’m not kidding.

However, before established indie-authors are put off, I have to rush on and say – there is much more to these conferences than the guest speakers.  I met loads, and I mean loads, of lovely people and swapped business cards with numerous attendees.  The indie-world of book publishing is blessed with a multitude of authors, artists, and like-minded people, who simply LOVE to help other people, now in what other business can you say that?

I learned tons from my chats with other authors, really invaluable information, and happy to say I was able to offer a couple of people bits of information they didn’t know.

Besides the great atmosphere and the constant exchange between people, we ended Saturday evening with an Irish Ditty session that I shall never forget.  Oh, and Michael Neff, should you ever happen upon this post, I am still singing your ditty about authors (to the tune of ‘Would you like to swing on a star’) and I promise never to start a book with a scene in a car or someone waking up from a dream!!!

For me, the icing on the top, was being able to pitch to Ken Atchity an American producer, in what day-to-day walk of life can you ever get to do that?

The cost, €149. Money for value? One hundred percent. Go again? Oh, I hope so.

 

 

 

Amazon, Born to Be, Epic Fantasy, Fairies, Fantasy, Goodreads, Indie-Authors, OnlinBookClub, Oracle's Quest, Promotion Values, Reviews, the value of promoting your book

Are book promotions value for money?

My experience with OnlineBookClub.org online-book-club-org

I decided to pay to advertise my book with Onlinebookclub.org.

I paid $598.00 for their Book of the Day deal.

In the days running up, I began watching the rankings of other books that were the ‘book of the day’.  I was quite excited to see a few of them rise quite high in their category sections. For example: ‘The Buried Secrets of Peonies’ by Mernegar Dorgoly rose to #7 in kindle short stories, and, ‘A second, less Capable, Head’ by James Hanna rose to #14 in kindle anthologies.

I was quite excited then and anticipated a number of sales that would also help my rankings.

I was to be hugely disappointed when I only sold 14 books.  My books normally sell for $2.99 and for this deal I’d reduced the book to $0.99 to encourage sales.  Total income $4.90, a loss of $593.10.

If like me, you’re an indie-author who works a full time ‘day’ job and writes like crazy in-between life’s normal activities, you will understand how crushing this was for me.  That, on top of the fact that, I received some rather stringent criticism almost had me jacking it all in and calling it a day…

I do feel I’m like a typical sensitive-author, I think I should nickname myself Sea-Saw-Tracy, because I am constantly up and down.  Harsh remarks though cut deep, this book is after all ‘my baby’ and I have been working on it for 25 years.  I confess I haven’t yet managed to grow a thick skin.

It took my youngest (always positive) son, Daniel, to put things in perspective.  I received 170 comments, of which nearly all of them were positive and encouraging.  Lots of people said they added the book to their ‘want to read’ list.  Time will tell if they actually read it.  If you want, please feel free to check out the comments below.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DiscountBookOfTheDay/

So maybe young adult fantasy isn’t a genre that’s really popular?  Or maybe my book just isn’t up to scratch?  Perhaps if you have a romance, thriller or short stories, then you’ll do loads better than I did.

Will I be booking another deal?  Definitely not.

Should you book a deal?  I think it depends on a few things: Is your book in a popular genre? Do you have a gripping first three chapters? Does your book cover jump up and grab people’s attention? Do you have an intriguing blurb? …and most importantly, do you have $598.00 to spare?  If the answer to all these questions is yes, then go for it, because obviously some books do really well on these deals.