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?
During my research on the Welsh revival of 1904/1905 I came across two novels.
- Queen of the Rushes by Allen Raine &
- The Withered Root by Rhys Davies
How I enjoyed reading these books and if I wasn’t a Christian I would quite happily have read them and put them down and thought no more of it. However, as a Christian it was with heavy heart that I read stories about revival that were both written from a non-Christian POV. Davies openly declared himself an atheist whilst Raine states that although not against the chapel itself she was very suspicious of the revival.
So here are my reviews…
The Withered Root by Rhys Davies
This book caused mixed emotions for me. On the one hand I think it deserves five stars and on the other hand only one star, so I went for three.
The beginning of the book had me chuckling out loud quite a few times, especially over the conversations between Reuben’s parents. I loved how the writing reflected the way the Welsh talk and I loved the detail in which you can practically ‘see’ the old valleys in and around 1904/1905. It is also superbly written with beautiful flowing, almost poetical language.
The downside for me was twofold. One was the author’s obvious dislike of women made blatantly obvious by his lack of even a single woman having any virtue or a good character, every woman doing nothing but flaunting her femininity in a derogative way. The other was in his portrayal of fanatical and shallow Christians. I found the second half of the book dark and depressing and was quite frankly glad to turn the last page.
For research into the Welsh revival this is worth a read. For the beauty of the writing this is definitely worth a read. For its portrayal of women or Christians if you’re easily offended I would give this a miss.
Queen of the Rushes
I loved this book by this not so well remembered lady Anne Evans, pseudonym Allen Raine. Her characterisation is vivid and authentic, her settings skilful and poetic and her portrayal of women so much more realistic than Davies. Writing about a time in which she lived she is able to capture the rift in status between men and women beautifully without labouring it or making it obvious.
She does, however, portray the people caught up in revival as fanatics and one of her main characters is ‘touched’ as in loses her mind because of it. Not a good light on the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Still this book has many hidden lessons in it if you care to look and I really do recommend it.
Anne didn’t start writing until she was 60 and received crushing reviews when first published… by men. Born in 1836 Anne was a Victorian through-and-through and I love that this emerges in her story. I wish I could have met Anne and sat down and discussed this book with her, arr well hopefully when I get to heaven!
Faith in Abertillery
In contrast to the two books above I will be writing about the Welsh revival from a Christian POV, I didn’t live in those times so I have done a massive amount of research to ensure my story is as authentic as possible. I wonder if anyone will read my book in a hundred years and look me up to see who I was and why I wrote the book!
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.
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.
- Go to your kdp Amazon Direct Publishing book page
- Click on promote & advertise to the right of your book
- This brings up a new page, click on ‘create an ad campaign’ (you’ll probably be asked to sign in again)
- Choose your campaign type is your next option. Select Sponsored Products
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Underneath Daily Budget is Targeting. Select Manual targeting.
- Next is Ad Format. Select Custom text ad.
- 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.
- Next is Targeting. Select keyword targeting.
- 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.)
- You can now see ‘Suggested’ ‘Enter Keywords’ & ‘Upload file’ depending on confident you are you could upload a file. I always choose ‘Enter Keywords’.
- 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.
- 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.
- Press launch Campaign.
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 kdp select and Advertising
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.
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.
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.
- Enroll in KDP Select
- 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.
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.)
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.
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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
I’m so excited to say that I will probably have the kindle of Grace in Mombasa up by Friday 23rd November – a whole week early!
I’d like to share with you the two endorsements that I have had for the book.
Tracy Traynor’s writing transports you from World War 1 and 2 England to the courts of heaven, via Mombasa. With characters which pop off the page and straight into your heart, this is a book you will remember for a long time. Wendy H Jones, author and member/webmaster of Association of Christian Writers.
The story of Grace captures the experience of many others who, though quite ordinary by themselves, find that the love of God propels them towards quite extraordinary endeavours. Tracy is the author of Grace’s story but the inspiration was Moira Smith and the author of her story was none other than God himself, described in the Bible as the ‘author and finisher of our faith’. I commend Tracy’s book Grace in Mombasa to you in the hope that, inspired by the story of Grace and Moira, you will become hungry for a story of your own and that you will turn to the great author of all our lives. He already has a story prepared for you” Sean McIntyre, missionary with Barnabas and now minister to the Assembly of God Church in Colchester.
When you’ve spent most of your life… and you’re 57 so that’s a pretty long time… thinking that you’re stupid and rubbish and an idiot, it can be hard to change. I do believe I’ve come a long way to getting over low self-esteem but then in times like this, that old nagging voice “you’re an idiot” returns to throw me into chaos.
What is causing this sudden panic attack that I might not have changed after all? The release of my new book. Aha, you may say, really? that all? Unfortunately, yes. I have poured myself into my latest book ‘Grace in Mombasa’ and the fear of rejection is making me ill. I have to wonder why I put myself through it. Writing the story itself was quite fun and even relaxing, but then editing started and demanded sweat and tears from me in an effort to get it to a level that people could enjoy it. Then all the expense comes, professional editing for someone with dyslexia like me is crucial and must be paid for. Then there is advertising and promoting to be done. I’m sure my friends must be sick of hearing about my books.
And now when I am waiting for the first reviews to come in, there is nothing left but feeling sick. Maybe I should give writing up and leave it to the more hardy people out there.
I’ve got my fingers and toes crossed that people will enjoy Grace’s story, and until release date of the 1st Dec ’18 I am just trying to keep myself as busy as a bee and trying my hardest to switch off the anxious button!
Good news, getting an article in the local newspaper about the story – also keeping my fingers crossed to have a feature on Christian Premier Radio.
I am happy to say, that Grace in Mombasa is now with a professional editor being polished.
The release date on Amazon will be Sat 1st December 2018.
I’m so excited and can’t wait for people to read it and find out what they think.
53 days to go….