Author Topic: Six months to get traction when going wide...  (Read 3424 times)  

Offline It's A Mystery

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Six months to get traction when going wide...
« on: January 31, 2018, 10:16:17 PM »
Is this still true?

It's an often referred to 'law' of going wide, but I'm not sure if it's still the case. I'm also uncertain as to what 'traction' means on these other stores bearing in mind they are curation rather than algorithm based.

With my new name I'm going wide from the start and so am interested in people's thoughts and experiences.

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2018, 10:22:37 PM »
It's nonsense. There is no law and there has never been one.

While it *may* take longer to start selling at non-Amazon platforms, for me that has only ever been the case at Google Play.

And even that would not have been the case had I made sure the following things were in place when I uploaded there:

1. Complete series. None of this nibble here nibble there stuff, readers have a spidey sense when you're not fully committed and most of the series is in Select. They're not going to bother.

2. Attractive product. Make sure you optimise your listings for each retailer.

3. The biggie: tell people that you're there. And also: find people who buy on those platforms. Let them know specifically.

Offline It's A Mystery

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2018, 10:26:30 PM »
It's nonsense. There is no law and there has never been one.

While it *may* take longer to start selling at non-Amazon platforms, for me that has only ever been the case at Google Play.

And even that would not have been the case had I made sure the following things were in place when I uploaded there:

1. Complete series. None of this nibble here nibble there stuff, readers have a spidey sense when you're not fully committed and most of the series is in Select. They're not going to bother.

2. Attractive product. Make sure you optimise your listings for each retailer.

3. The biggie: tell people that you're there. And also: find people who buy on those platforms. Let them know specifically.

Thanks for this Patty. This is pretty much as I suspected, but wanted someone with more experience to confirm!

I am pretty much following your plan for self publishing, so thank you!

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2018, 11:37:31 PM »
I'm with Patty. I think the six month thing is an excuse people give. If you are only using Amazon links or using promos that target Amazon, you're not going to get sales elsewhere. You need to be committed to wide.

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 12:51:27 AM »
I think it's more of a learning curve than anything inherent about the other retailers (e.g. no switch flips on behind the scenes that suddenly makes your book more visible six months from now). Each site functions a little differently, and they're all pretty different than Amazon. So while you can absolutely get traction right away if you know what to do, the reality is generally a bit of stumbling and trial-and-error.

BookBub Featured Deals help a lot. Most other promo sites sites don't do that much, but it's worth putting in the links, obviously, if you're wide. I feel like people get lazy and skip advertising the other retailers at all - not putting in the links on the promo forms, not updating their site with all the wide links, not mentioning the other retailers in the launch post on Facebook, that sort of thing. Basic stuff, but expecting people to just find your books on other retailers isn't just going to happen. Your readers have to know you're on those places.

The other thing that helps is the BookBub CPM ads (the ones that show up at the bottom of the emails). I haven't targeted other retailers on FB, but on BookBub it's super easy, the clicks are usually cheap ($0.10 - $0.20), and they convert well. The other nice thing is that people who buy on other retailers - particularly if they're international, where there aren't as many deep-discounts available - are easier to sell on a full-priced book cold, whereas on Amazon US it's more difficult - with so much KU/free/$0.99 stuff, it's hard to get people to buy (not impossible, of course) when you're advertising a full-priced book on PPC.

The main thing is this: you gotta bring your own traffic to the other retailers. They're not really algorithm based, so it's up to you to generate visibility. That's actually kind of nice these days, because playing the algorithm game on Amazon is getting really damn expensive.

Nick
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 12:56:40 AM by Nicholas Erik »

Offline It's A Mystery

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 02:44:07 AM »
I think it's more of a learning curve than anything inherent about the other retailers (e.g. no switch flips on behind the scenes that suddenly makes your book more visible six months from now). Each site functions a little differently, and they're all pretty different than Amazon. So while you can absolutely get traction right away if you know what to do, the reality is generally a bit of stumbling and trial-and-error.

BookBub Featured Deals help a lot. Most other promo sites sites don't do that much, but it's worth putting in the links, obviously, if you're wide. I feel like people get lazy and skip advertising the other retailers at all - not putting in the links on the promo forms, not updating their site with all the wide links, not mentioning the other retailers in the launch post on Facebook, that sort of thing. Basic stuff, but expecting people to just find your books on other retailers isn't just going to happen. Your readers have to know you're on those places.

The other thing that helps is the BookBub CPM ads (the ones that show up at the bottom of the emails). I haven't targeted other retailers on FB, but on BookBub it's super easy, the clicks are usually cheap ($0.10 - $0.20), and they convert well. The other nice thing is that people who buy on other retailers - particularly if they're international, where there aren't as many deep-discounts available - are easier to sell on a full-priced book cold, whereas on Amazon US it's more difficult - with so much KU/free/$0.99 stuff, it's hard to get people to buy (not impossible, of course) when you're advertising a full-priced book on PPC.

The main thing is this: you gotta bring your own traffic to the other retailers. They're not really algorithm based, so it's up to you to generate visibility. That's actually kind of nice these days, because playing the algorithm game on Amazon is getting really damn expensive.

Nick

Thanks for this Nick, I am using Bookbub and Facebook to target the other stores at the moment and then AMS for amazon. I plan to ramp things up as books 2 and 3 come out over the next few months but I think the drip approach to advertising wide looks to be a good one (as referenced in this article: https://davidgaughran.wordpress.com/2017/10/23/a-tale-of-two-marketing-systems/)

Offline It's A Mystery

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 02:45:07 AM »
I'm with Patty. I think the six month thing is an excuse people give. If you are only using Amazon links or using promos that target Amazon, you're not going to get sales elsewhere. You need to be committed to wide.

Yeah, I don't think flip-flopping gets you anywhere. I'm wide for the foreseeable.

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2018, 12:15:52 PM »
I've been wide for a year and a half now and nothing magical happened six months in. If anything, I saw an income increase the first month due to a new permafree.

That said, the organic discoverability of the permafree did dwindle and I came back to my usual income within a few months. Since then, it's been a gradual upward incline, due to my focus on Bookbub ads and in-store promos.

To be entirely honest, Amazon sales have gone down since I don't put all of my eggs into that basket, so I get less organic discoverability there. But Nook and Kobo sales have more than made up for the Amazon loss. And monthly income is more stable than it was when I had all my books in Select.

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #8 on: February 01, 2018, 12:25:58 PM »
It took me a full year to gain traction wide, but that was several years ago. It may be a little faster now. It helps if you can move multiple books wide at the same time, and line up a promo on a permafree first in series. That will give you a boost faster. I did that not too long ago when I moved a 9 book series wide, set the first book free and lined up a bookbub. It's been harder to get BBs for that series though, so I need to book a stacked promo of smaller ones soon.

Offline It's A Mystery

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2018, 12:41:05 PM »
I've been wide for a year and a half now and nothing magical happened six months in. If anything, I saw an income increase the first month due to a new permafree.

That said, the organic discoverability of the permafree did dwindle and I came back to my usual income within a few months. Since then, it's been a gradual upward incline, due to my focus on Bookbub ads and in-store promos.

To be entirely honest, Amazon sales have gone down since I don't put all of my eggs into that basket, so I get less organic discoverability there. But Nook and Kobo sales have more than made up for the Amazon loss. And monthly income is more stable than it was when I had all my books in Select.

Interesting, thanks Aimee. It looks like you've removed your permafree now?

Offline It's A Mystery

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2018, 12:43:02 PM »
It took me a full year to gain traction wide, but that was several years ago. It may be a little faster now. It helps if you can move multiple books wide at the same time, and line up a promo on a permafree first in series. That will give you a boost faster. I did that not too long ago when I moved a 9 book series wide, set the first book free and lined up a bookbub. It's been harder to get BBs for that series though, so I need to book a stacked promo of smaller ones soon.

Thanks, Pamela. I did think about starting in Ku for a while until I had three but decided to just go for it from the start.

I seem to be doing strangely well in Australia so far which is odd, but nice.

Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #11 on: March 13, 2018, 09:03:31 AM »
I grew nearly every month since I went wide over a year ago, but the big increases come when I get a BookBub wide. BBs are proportionally more important for wide than for Amazon-only, because it can be harder for readers to discover new books on other sites. Now, more than 50% of my English ebook income comes from non-Amazon.

Also, I noticed my reviews are better on Amazon now that I'm out of S/KU. KU readers are just like free readers in that they might be reading out of their genre, on impulse, or just have a more critical view because it's "free" to them. It's a proven principle that people tend to value more what they've paid for, and so tend to review retail-bought books more positively.



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Offline gilesxbecker

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2018, 09:38:09 AM »
Thanks all for all this information. A gold mine. Bookmarking for later when I try wide.

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Offline katrina46

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #13 on: March 13, 2018, 09:52:07 AM »
I never had any trouble at all getting traction on Google Play.  I put the first in every series free, though.

Offline notjohn

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2018, 10:41:38 AM »
For me, the reason for selling my books elsewhere is not so much to earn more money, though I think I do, but to help delay the day when Amazon runs everyone else out of business, and then will charge US for the privilege of letting Amazon sell our books.

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #15 on: March 13, 2018, 02:45:13 PM »
For me, the reason for selling my books elsewhere is not so much to earn more money, though I think I do, but to help delay the day when Amazon runs everyone else out of business, and then will charge US for the privilege of letting Amazon sell our books.

Kindle Select is a Suicide Pact. It's called The Tragedy of the Commons.

This seems a tad hyperbolic.

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Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #16 on: March 13, 2018, 08:09:10 PM »
This seems a tad hyperbolic.

Suicide pact? Naw. Tragedy of the Commons? Yes. The principle holds. When you don't pay for something, you don't value it. When you pay once via subscription, the same seems to hold, if a bit more weakly (like, say, at a buffet vs. a free meal vs. an a la carte meal). KU readers value each individual book less, as they can easily dump one and move on to the next.

And I don't believe in the chicken little shrieks. Amazon will not run everyone of the business. Nothing last forever, and I believe Amazon has hit its high water mark with ebooks. Competition breeds more competition. The King of the Hill game goes on, and the king always eventually gets dethroned. I remember when Wal-Mart was supposed to be the big baddie that was going to swallow everyone. They plateaued. Amazon will too, especially in niches where they have tough competition.


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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2018, 08:14:58 PM »
It may be six months or a bit less or a lot more. No, there is no law but getting 'traction' on retailers where you haven't been promoting is most definitely NOT instantaneous. You can expect it to take some time and quite a bit of effort.

I would describe the 'six month' thing as a 'rule of thumb' not a law and not unrealistic as an expectation.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2018, 08:16:37 PM by JRTomlin »

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2018, 03:15:51 AM »
The key to the 6 months thing is a Bookbub on a free book, where the series has a long tail.

Get it, and you get a significant boost, which gets you visibility everywhere.

Don't get it, and nothing much happens.

Having just tried it, my recommend is if you haven't got a Bookbub yet, dont go wide without a major advertising plan and a lot of $ to spend on it.


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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2018, 07:29:36 AM »
In my experience, yes, it takes six months to gain traction in the non-Amazon stores -- or more. When I was with now-closed Booktrope, they didn't publish to Kobo. I re-published a couple titles with Booktrope and pulled those titles from Amazon, iBooks, Kobo, etc. When Booktrope closed and I got my rights back, I went wide and direct everywhere again, including the new title I published with Booktrope. Previously, I killed it on Kobo -- especially using their promotions. But without my cornerstone series in my catalog, things slowed way down for me. It took a year to get things going again -- and that was with promotion. Even now, my Kobo sales ain't what they used to be. I re-gained traction with the other retailers in about six months though. Sales are steady for me in the iBooks store, and via Smashwords I'm faring well on BN.

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #20 on: March 14, 2018, 07:41:02 AM »
The key to the 6 months thing is a Bookbub on a free book, where the series has a long tail.

Get it, and you get a significant boost, which gets you visibility everywhere.

Don't get it, and nothing much happens.

Having just tried it, my recommend is if you haven't got a Bookbub yet, dont go wide without a major advertising plan and a lot of $ to spend on it.

I agree. Is there anybody here who has recently gone wide and done well without BB promos? I'd like to hear how it was done.

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Offline Rosie A.

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2018, 09:08:54 AM »
I think it's more of a learning curve than anything inherent about the other retailers (e.g. no switch flips on behind the scenes that suddenly makes your book more visible six months from now). Each site functions a little differently, and they're all pretty different than Amazon. So while you can absolutely get traction right away if you know what to do, the reality is generally a bit of stumbling and trial-and-error.

BookBub Featured Deals help a lot. Most other promo sites sites don't do that much, but it's worth putting in the links, obviously, if you're wide. I feel like people get lazy and skip advertising the other retailers at all - not putting in the links on the promo forms, not updating their site with all the wide links, not mentioning the other retailers in the launch post on Facebook, that sort of thing. Basic stuff, but expecting people to just find your books on other retailers isn't just going to happen. Your readers have to know you're on those places.

The other thing that helps is the BookBub CPM ads (the ones that show up at the bottom of the emails). I haven't targeted other retailers on FB, but on BookBub it's super easy, the clicks are usually cheap ($0.10 - $0.20), and they convert well. The other nice thing is that people who buy on other retailers - particularly if they're international, where there aren't as many deep-discounts available - are easier to sell on a full-priced book cold, whereas on Amazon US it's more difficult - with so much KU/free/$0.99 stuff, it's hard to get people to buy (not impossible, of course) when you're advertising a full-priced book on PPC.

The main thing is this: you gotta bring your own traffic to the other retailers. They're not really algorithm based, so it's up to you to generate visibility. That's actually kind of nice these days, because playing the algorithm game on Amazon is getting really damn expensive.

Nick
Wow, your post has gold nuggets! Thank you for sharing this. Perhaps it should be obvious but to noobs like me someone needs to say these things. But how does one go about learning some of the more hard to reach retailers like Apple & Google Play? Kobo, to an extent, is a huge mystery to me.

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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2018, 03:54:53 PM »
The key to the 6 months thing is a Bookbub on a free book, where the series has a long tail.

Get it, and you get a significant boost, which gets you visibility everywhere.

Don't get it, and nothing much happens.

Having just tried it, my recommend is if you haven't got a Bookbub yet, dont go wide without a major advertising plan and a lot of $ to spend on it.
How would you get a Bookbub promotion wide before you go wide? I am not sure that is practical advice. (Maybe they would schedule without links to the retailers. I haven't tried that but I have some doubts they would and you'd have to be sure you were already out of your exclusive agreement with KDP. I just don't see how that would work.)

ETA: I am not disagreeing that a BB promotion is pretty close to necessary. I don't even know of a high priced ad campaign that would come close to being as effective, although using their ads effectively can help.

My strategy on taking my trilogy wide two months ago was to use a few promotions and a couple of BB ads to at least get a few sales and freebie downloads of the perma-free first novel and wait for a BB promotiion. This had some results but nothing breathtaking. I've about broken even with no real RIA but no loss either. Yesterday my BB promotion was approved on the freebie for mid-April so I am now scheduling a few other promotions to support that. So I expect that I will be looking about between 3 and 4 months to have pretty solid 'traction'. Then again, I was reasonably sure I would get a BB promotion (yes, I know that's a bit arrogant) because they seem to really like that novel.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 06:04:27 PM by JRTomlin »

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2018, 06:03:14 PM »
How would you get a Bookbub promotion wide before you go wide?

Where did I say that?

I said dont go wide until you already got a BB. That means a BB on Amazon, in or out of KU.


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Offline JRTomlin

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Re: Six months to get traction when going wide...
« Reply #24 on: March 14, 2018, 06:06:19 PM »
No , I assumed that was what you were saying since a BB promotion for Amazon will not help you for going wide. Those go to people who are Amazon subscribers. However, I see no need to make it into some kind of emotional argument.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2018, 06:07:56 PM by JRTomlin »

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