Author Topic: 15,000 books in two months, 32,000 books first year. Advice for newbies!  (Read 70382 times)  

Offline markhealy

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Congrats, and thanks for the advice!
          
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Offline Kee

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How many times do you run ads on Freebooksy? 
How many days, weeks apart? 

I am a newbie with only one book out in my series and book #2 should be out this month!  ;-)  Do I make Book #1 free even though I have only 2?  #3 & #4 will hopefully be out by the end of the year.  They are full novels. Thanks so much! You are an inspiration!

Offline anniejocoby

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Good morning, peeps! I woke up and saw several questions, so I will go ahead and answer them. Love it! I just love to help others, so thanks so much for your interest and questions!

HY - here is what I think about free books. And this answer is going to be long and convoluted, so bear with me...Anyhow, here is the thing. With a new author, you pretty much have to either price your funnel book at .99 or you make it free. To me, .99 just sucks for soooo many reasons.

1) It's a BARRIER TO ENTRY. Yeah, it's .99, big whoop, right? Wrong. No. Any money at all is a barrier to entry, no matter how small. Think about it. I get my BookBub email every day. Most days I don't open it up, but on days that I do, I skim for what's free and download it. Because it's no big deal, except that it clogs up the Kindle. Then, I only buy a .99 book if it is really flipping intriguing to me, and, even then, I'm hesitant, because I'm kinda cheap that way. Or think about it in terms of music downloads. You might find really cool bands because you were able to pirate a song or two by them and find that you like them. But think about that same new band and you have to pay for their songs. You probably aren't going to do it. It's all psychological. People like free. If you make them pay any amount of money, they're probably like "eh."
2) It hinders the word of mouth for your book. It's the same principle as the barrier to entry, but, in this case, it's one friend telling another "you gotta try this new writer HY Hanna, her Honey Dog Mysteries are amazeballs!" The friend says "cool, let me check it out." Well, if the book is free, that friend will, 99%, check it out. She figures that it's no big deal - if she doesn't like the book, she's out nothing. But, if it's .99, the friend might say "well, I don't know. There's other cute mystery writers that I've heard about, and I don't really know this HY person, so not sure if I want to invest the money." In scenario A, the word of mouth might spread like wildfire because the people in the communication group don't have to pay anything to check you out. In scenario B, the word of mouth probably won't spread like wildfire as much.
3) And this is the biggest thing. .99 sucks because, in addition to limiting your exposure, YOU MAKE NO MONEY ON IT. You sell 100 books in a month, which, by the way, I never did. Ever. More like 30 books of Beautiful Illusions when it was .99. Anyhow, you sell 100 books in a month, and you get $35. A steak dinner. Big whoop. And it's a huge price to pay for the sacrifice of limiting your exposure drastically. You would have to sell 1500 books a month, I think, to justify having it that way, and, even then, you're only getting less than $500. And, if you're popular enough to actually sell 1500 books, you would REALLY go gangbusters if you're free.
4) Caveat - your name is Rosalind James. :) But come on, Rosalind is obviously sacrificing 50 goats a night to have the kind of sales that she has without a permafree.
So, there you have it. The looooonnng answer to why one should ALWAYS go permafree instead of making the funnel book .99. And why wait? Ever?  Except, of course, you might want to wait until you have a second book out, but, really, I don't necessarily even see the wisdom of waiting for having a second book out, especially if you can write fast like myself. Personally, if you know that you're going to have a series going, it's a good thing to get early exposure. If your book rocks, then you might get the word of mouth going even before you get the second book out. My upcoming book, Fearless, might just be permafree from the get-go. I have been seriously considering that.

So, there's my view on the permafree. Now, in the next post, I'll answer the other questions posed to me in this thread! :)

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby website

Offline anniejocoby

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Okay, as promised, the answers to other questions. Star Fish, I really don't think that it matters, sales-wise, which aggregator you use. I simply say use D2D, because of the following reasons. Again, this is going to be a somewhat long answer, so bear with me.

1) Smashwords doesn't have its act together. As I said in an earlier thread, I uploaded Broken to them at the end of April, which was the very earliest date that I could, because it was in KDP Select before that. I had a BookBub ad coming up on May 12, so I thought I had plenty of time. Well, not so much. One week went by, and then two. In the meantime, the BookBub ad came out, and I was selling my Illusions Series on Nook like wildfire - AND I HAD NO BRIDGE TO MY OTHER SERIES!!!!!!! Broken wasn't on Nook because somebody dropped the ball. So, I emailed Smashwords. They assured me that Nook would have it in a day. ANOTHER WEEK GOES BY. By now, Deeper Illusions is number 700 in the store, and my Broken series is barely moving because the first book isn't there yet. I start emailing Smashwords again. I email Nook, and they say ask Smashwords about it. I email Smashwords, and, each time, they say the same thing - they don't know what's going on, but it will be there shortly.

Cut to D2D, which started offering the option of uploading free books to Nook towards the middle of May. First thing, as soon as I was able, I uploaded Broken to them and WITHIN A COUPLE OF DAYS Broken was free on Nook. The publisher? D2D. Smashwords never did get it to them.

2) The meatgrinder. Ugh. Nothing worse. There are hidden tables that mess it up. Then the font is too big. On and on and on. Then, the kicker was that I had a book that passed the meatgrinder finally, and was up for several months there. I changed the cover. Nothing else. And this book suddenly didn't pass the meatgrinder anymore. It kept saying that there were hidden tables, and I went through with a fine toothed comb and found none. It recommended the nuclear option of taking out all formatting and putting it back in. Not doing it. I wasn't going to spend hours bolding stuff and italicizing other stuff all the way through the novel. So I just gave up and put that book on D2D and never looked back.

3) The fact that it pays quarterly, when everybody else pays monthly. Why? No idea, but it's stupid.

4) Sales lag reporting. I heard that this was fixed, so maybe that's not an issue anymore.

Anyhow, that would be why I will always choose D2D over Smashwords. Sorry, SW, but you guys really have to get it together when there's another service that does have it together.

Kee - I run Freebooksy every other month. I haven't run it for a few months, just because things have gone so well, but I will probably run one whenever my new release comes out next week. Every time I run it, though, my downloads go through the fricking roof. I always run the $100 option.

As for the question about the permafree, see my answer to HY above. I think that you should go permafree ASAP, and I see absolutely no reason not to.

Phew! Keep the questions coming. I love it!!!!!!
« Last Edit: July 10, 2014, 09:18:38 AM by anniejocoby »

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby website

Offline hyh

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Good morning, peeps! I woke up and saw several questions, so I will go ahead and answer them. Love it! I just love to help others, so thanks so much for your interest and questions!

HY - here is what I think about free books. And this answer is going to be long and convoluted, so bear with me...Anyhow, here is the thing. With a new author, you pretty much have to either price your funnel book at .99 or you make it free. To me, .99 just sucks for soooo many reasons.

1) It's a BARRIER TO ENTRY. Yeah, it's .99, big whoop, right? Wrong. No. Any money at all is a barrier to entry, no matter how small. Think about it. I get my BookBub email every day. Most days I don't open it up, but on days that I do, I skim for what's free and download it. Because it's no big deal, except that it clogs up the Kindle. Then, I only buy a .99 book if it is really flipping intriguing to me, and, even then, I'm hesitant, because I'm kinda cheap that way. Or think about it in terms of music downloads. You might find really cool bands because you were able to pirate a song or two by them and find that you like them. But think about that same new band and you have to pay for their songs. You probably aren't going to do it. It's all psychological. People like free. If you make them pay any amount of money, they're probably like "eh."
2) It hinders the word of mouth for your book. It's the same principle as the barrier to entry, but, in this case, it's one friend telling another "you gotta try this new writer HY Hanna, her Honey Dog Mysteries are amazeballs!" The friend says "cool, let me check it out." Well, if the book is free, that friend will, 99%, check it out. She figures that it's no big deal - if she doesn't like the book, she's out nothing. But, if it's .99, the friend might say "well, I don't know. There's other cute mystery writers that I've heard about, and I don't really know this HY person, so not sure if I want to invest the money." In scenario A, the word of mouth might spread like wildfire because the people in the communication group don't have to pay anything to check you out. In scenario B, the word of mouth probably won't spread like wildfire as much.
3) And this is the biggest thing. .99 sucks because, in addition to limiting your exposure, YOU MAKE NO MONEY ON IT. You sell 100 books in a month, which, by the way, I never did. Ever. More like 30 books of Beautiful Illusions when it was .99. Anyhow, you sell 100 books in a month, and you get $35. A steak dinner. Big whoop. And it's a huge price to pay for the sacrifice of limiting your exposure drastically. You would have to sell 1500 books a month, I think, to justify having it that way, and, even then, you're only getting less than $500. And, if you're popular enough to actually sell 1500 books, you would REALLY go gangbusters if you're free.
4) Caveat - your name is Rosalind James. :) But come on, Rosalind is obviously sacrificing 50 goats a night to have the kind of sales that she has without a permafree.
So, there you have it. The looooonnng answer to why one should ALWAYS go permafree instead of making the funnel book .99. And why wait? Ever?  Except, of course, you might want to wait until you have a second book out, but, really, I don't necessarily even see the wisdom of waiting for having a second book out, especially if you can write fast like myself. Personally, if you know that you're going to have a series going, it's a good thing to get early exposure. If your book rocks, then you might get the word of mouth going even before you get the second book out. My upcoming book, Fearless, might just be permafree from the get-go. I have been seriously considering that.

So, there's my view on the permafree. Now, in the next post, I'll answer the other questions posed to me in this thread! :)

Thank you, thank you, Annie!  :) You are really AWESOME!! Thank you for taking the time to give me such a detailed answer. And the bit about the numbers you were selling/would have to sell a month was the sort of rough guide I was looking for. That really helped. So THANK YOU - I really appreciate it!  :) :) :)

Offline HarperLin

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Amazing! Thanks for sharing. I'm so happy for your success. :)

Offline anniejocoby

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Thank you, thank you, Annie!  :) You are really AWESOME!! Thank you for taking the time to give me such a detailed answer. And the bit about the numbers you were selling/would have to sell a month was the sort of rough guide I was looking for. That really helped. So THANK YOU - I really appreciate it!  :) :) :)

You are very welcome! :)

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby website

Offline hyh

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I forgot to add, Annie, that I do have a permafree in my Big Honey Dog Mysteries series (one of the holiday theme novellas) and I totally agree with you - it's really effective. I'm getting steady sales of my full novels (not huge sales - but hey, this is MG  ;) )- and considering that I'm doing NO promoting at all on the kids books at the moment, it's pretty good going.

I just wasn't sure on the strategy for my new romantic suspense series. Launched Book 1 three weeks ago and aiming to publish Book 2 early Sep but I probably won't be able to get Book 3 out until early next year, coz I've got to write another Honey book in time for Xmas trade... so that's why I was wondering whether to permafree Tender Deceit (Bk 1) as soon as I get Book 2 out in Sep... or wait until I have Book 3 out next year. I think I'll follow your advice and permafree Book 1 as soon as Book 2 comes out.

Anyway, your answer was really helpful so thank you again!  :)

Offline Sylvia R. Frost

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More and more I'm realizing that I should just publish my first novella and second novella at the same time, or maybe only a week apart or something with ARCs just so I can make the first one free and then the second. Awesome job on these books!

Online jamielakenovels

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Have you ever tried/thought about making the second book in the series perma-free instead of the first? Does that work? I'm just thinking that maybe if it's great enough, people will think to themselves, "Well, I need to buy the first book to find out how this story started" and then they'll buy #3 because they want to know how it ended.  Has anyone tried this before and what happened as a result?
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Offline rrodenparker

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Annie, thanks for posting your success, and thanks again for following up and answering questions!  It really helps us newbs that can get discouraged.  I've bookmarked this to keep referencing it over time as I need to.

Offline katrina46

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You aren't bragging. Most writers appreciate hearing of another writer's success. You actually really helped me because I've been considering Freebooksy and was kind of on the fence because it's more expensive than the ads I usually place. I'm definitely going to give it a try now, so thanks for giving me that push I needed. Oh, and congratulations.

Offline anniejocoby

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Have you ever tried/thought about making the second book in the series perma-free instead of the first? Does that work? I'm just thinking that maybe if it's great enough, people will think to themselves, "Well, I need to buy the first book to find out how this story started" and then they'll buy #3 because they want to know how it ended.  Has anyone tried this before and what happened as a result?

I'm thinking no on that one. And here's why - the first book should always be the funnel. If you make the second book permafree, then it's just confusing and it might be a turnoff. You know, the reader's like "what? I don't understand." And then they get upset because they HAVE to buy your first book and they might resent that. And I personally don't see the logic in it, unless your second book is appreciably better than the first. Actually, that was the case with me. My second book, by the reviews and my own personal feelings about it, was miles better than my first. So, maybe in that case...

So glad to see the comments from newbs who are encouraged and inspired! That was the whole point of my post. To show what's possible! Dream big!!!! Dream huge! And remember Babe Ruth's comment  - every strike out brings you closer to your next home run! :)

Also, don't let bad reviews get you down. I got my first one star about a day after I published. And it was a nasty one, too, and was one that gave away every plot twist in both of my books that I published together. And, she posted this one star on .com and Amazon.uk, where it was the only review for a long time. So the UK readers logged on and saw my book with a one star average. Not cool. I almost wanted to crawl into a hole and die, and quit writing altogether. But, I didn't. And I still get the nasty one stars that are full of venom and tells the world that I am a hack who needs to DIAF. Whatevs. :)

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby website

Offline anniejocoby

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You aren't bragging. Most writers appreciate hearing of another writer's success. You actually really helped me because I've been considering Freebooksy and was kind of on the fence because it's more expensive than the ads I usually place. I'm definitely going to give it a try now, so thanks for giving me that push I needed. Oh, and congratulations.

Oh, yeah, Freebooksy. Here are my results. I ran Broken for a one day free, got 7500 downloads and 100 paid sales at $2.99 the day after. Ran Beautiful Illusions, which was crawling along at 20 downloads a day - got 4500 downloads in a matter of days, and 9000 downloads for the month. It works! Next to BookBub, I think it's the absolute bestest!!!!! I always run the $100 ad, BTW. :) Hope that helps!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby website

Offline anniejocoby

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BTW, if anybody is curious - I just checked my Google Play sales. This month I have made....drum roll...about $8!!!!! Woo hoo! Time to buy me a Starbucks Latte!

Seriously, though, if anybody reads this thread and does well on Google Play, please post or message me. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to get traction there. Thanks!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby website

Offline KaraKing

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Thank you for sharing this very motivating and informative post! When I first started writing I would search for posts like these to motivate me. When you speak of actual dollar amounts, it really gets me going. Now that I'm setting up to do my third book, I really needed to find that motivation again. I confess, I've gotten very lazy, and with three kids under 9 and one on the way, it's hard to find the energy and silence needed to write. Thanks again for motivating and sharing such helpful hints!

And anyone who would leave you a bad review for posting such awesome info, is a a douche, but I know it happens. What's wrong with people? Really?

Kara King | twitter | facebook

Offline hardnutt

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Many congratulations, Anne.

You seem to have approached this business in a thoroughly professional manner after the first few hiccups, so well done!

And thanks for all the tips. That's one of the amazing things about kboards for me; it's that sense that we're all in this together. I've never experienced that in my writing career before the kindle came along. And it's wonderful!


'Evans' series has stand out central characters and clever plots.' AUNT AGATHA'S BOO
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Offline Navigator

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Looks like my first book is going to be permafree right from the very start! =P Thanks for all the advice, it's been very helpful.

Offline Twizzlers

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BTW, if anybody is curious - I just checked my Google Play sales. This month I have made....drum roll...about $8!!!!! Woo hoo! Time to buy me a Starbucks Latte!

Seriously, though, if anybody reads this thread and does well on Google Play, please post or message me. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to get traction there. Thanks!

Amazon Last Month- $3500

Google Play- $29

Your guess is as good as mine!

Offline SA_Archer

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Thank you so much for posting this. Especially for including the heartbreaking start. I have been floundering in the heartbreak for a very long time (since starting in Nov 2011). Coming to Kboards has begun to change things around for me, even if slowly. I haven't had a day of 0 paid sales on Amazon since starting to implement some of the strategies in mid-June. Even just averaging 4-5 sales a day, most only 99 cents, is a massive improvement. Your advice and your reassurances have been deeply helpful for me. Thank you!

Offline Cheryl Douglas

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Congratulations on a great first year. Btw, I love your covers. They're beautiful and very eye-catching.

Offline anniejocoby

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Thank you so much for posting this. Especially for including the heartbreaking start. I have been floundering in the heartbreak for a very long time (since starting in Nov 2011). Coming to Kboards has begun to change things around for me, even if slowly. I haven't had a day of 0 paid sales on Amazon since starting to implement some of the strategies in mid-June. Even just averaging 4-5 sales a day, most only 99 cents, is a massive improvement. Your advice and your reassurances have been deeply helpful for me. Thank you!

yay! Can you do a permafree?  If so, do it yesterday!  :)

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby website

Offline anniejocoby

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Thanks!  Viola Estrella!  Love yours too!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby website

Offline S.R. Booth

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Thanks for being brave enough to post numbers! I know some say it's a real 'no no', but it's so encouraging to read!


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Offline Tasman

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Annie, thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience and method. Your post couldn't have been more timely for me. Much appreciated.

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