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Messages - CJArcher

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1
Writers' Cafe / Re: When do vendors pay?
« on: June 14, 2018, 03:28:33 PM »
iBooks pay anywhere from about the 2nd to the 8th. So June sales will be paid early August.

2
Writers' Cafe / Re: Boasting about sales ( an indie thing?)
« on: June 05, 2018, 04:33:26 PM »
The reason indies post their numbers is because no one else will do it for them. Trad authors have their publishers announcing it on their behalf so it looks less boastful. Or the publisher will send the author gifts when they make huge sales numbers and the author can post on socials "Oh, look at this lovely bottle of champagne my publisher sent me for selling a million books, aren't they sweet". Again, less boastful yet the author still gets the feels. I have no publisher so I have to post it on my own and I'm proud of my numbers, I want people to know how many I've sold. As others have posted above, I'm grateful for Konrath for posting his numbers. Without seeing what was possible, I would never have ventured into indie publishing.

You can be sure I'm going to post on my socials when I've sold 1 million books (which I'll pass this month). As to income, I made 7 figures in 2017 and am chugging along nicely to make that again this year (Aussie dollars). My expenses are 3% of that, and go mostly to my audiobook narrators (about 80%), editing and covers. My advertising dollars goes mostly to Bookbub featured deals. I've dabbled in AMS and FB ads etc, but spent less than $1,000 for the year because I get terrible returns and kill them early. It's definitely possible to be successful without spending a huge amount on ads, but it takes time to build up a catalogue and to gain the trust of fans so they'll stick with you, book after book, and follow you to a new series. I've been at this since January 2011 and every year has seen an improvement on the last yet my advertising spend has remained almost the same each year. Don't be disheartened by all the gurus who tell you to spend $$$. Spend only what you're comfortable spending and let the books do the rest. The big income may not happen within the first year (or 5) but if you build up a big catalogue of consistently engaging books, you should see some return. The other thing I should note is that most of my success has come off the back of 1 series with a few others backing it up nicely but still coming a distant 2nd in terms of sales. When that series ends, my income will probably decrease accordingly unless my next series does freakishly well. I don't expect to ride this high forever.

3
Writers' Cafe / Re: Sell through from BB box set feature?
« on: June 01, 2018, 05:17:43 PM »
I had the same experience, Rinelle. International-only, 3-book box set, 99c sale on May 4th. No noticeable sell through on book 4, just a trickle. I don't know whether the problem is because it was international-only or readers are hoarding, or maybe the books suck although good sales on this series so far would suggest it's fine. I think I would have been better off getting a featured deal for book 1 free, worldwide. Lesson learned.

4
I've had some overnight responses from Amazon to my questions regarding how the changes effect us publishing-wise. This is their response:

"I want to let you know that our technical team is aware of this issue and they are working hard to provide alternatives which do not affect publishers and customers from purchasing their books from Amazon.com

You'll still be able to use author central and you can view your books on Amazon.com store. You'll not be blocked from viewing your books and you'll receive update regarding this issue soon.

I'll work with our technical team and will get back to you with updates as soon as possible."

5
Writers' Cafe / Re: The AUSTRALIAN writer's support thread
« on: May 30, 2018, 11:17:24 PM »
There was a reason I didn't want to go with Payoneer but I can't remember why. It's been years since I looked into it. I'll look into Transferwise though, thanks Alexandra.

6
Writers' Cafe / Re: The AUSTRALIAN writer's support thread
« on: May 30, 2018, 11:16:36 PM »
I was with LSI and they were also charging $12/year per title, in addition to $49 per change. I had 10 books on there! No thanks.

You don't have to pay setup fees! I've got dozens of books there and never paid a cent. There are always promo codes floating around. Right now you can use SELFPUB and all setup fees are waived.

7
How long have you lived in Australia though? My understanding was that until recently they didn't ship here unless you used a third party to transit it forward, which is a step too much hassle for most people. And with the Australian dollar having been down for the past few years buying from overseas outlets has become slightly less popular anyway.

Often the prices are still cheaper on the .com store than for the equivalent product on the Au store, even after exchange rates and shipping costs are taken into account. Not only that, but some products just aren't available to Aussies from the .au store. I've been shopping at the US store for years and getting things sent to me here in Aus without a problem. Sure, some third party companies won't ship here, but many do.

8
Does that apply to only Australian authors, or anyone?

Any author whose book sold to an Aussie on the Amazon.com store (not the .com.au store) only got 35% for the sale, not 70%, no matter if they checked the 70% option and the book was over $3.99. This is not new. Also, not just Aussies, but I can't remember the other countries. So that's one benefit I see coming from this. As a consumer, though, I'm peeved.

9
Writers' Cafe / Re: The AUSTRALIAN writer's support thread
« on: May 30, 2018, 09:26:00 PM »
For Createspace (same issue) I just put all payments on hold manually until it had accumulated to an amount that I consider worth going to the bank for. You save a lot on bank fees that way. It's even better if you can somehow coordinate the two and go to the bank with two big cheques and know that there will be a few thousand $$$ in your account later (er. after the clearing period of six weeks. SERIOUSLY)

I used to do that but have moved everything off CS because I couldn't stand dealing with the banks with cheques. Even going once every few months was a pain. I moved all my print to IS and KDP for Amazon-only. It was surprisingly easy.

10
Writers' Cafe / Re: The AUSTRALIAN writer's support thread
« on: May 30, 2018, 09:08:24 PM »
What I do is set the affiliate payout threshold really high so it's worth going to the bank for.

Thanks for this, Patty.

11
I just posted about this on the Australian Writers Support thread on how it impacts us in terms of affiliate program money. The program only pays us in Amazon.com gift cards or cheque. I loathe depositing foreign currency cheques (one of the more frustrating experiences of my life) so chose the gift card option, but I believe the balance can't be used on any site other than .com.

In terms of shoppers, Aussies will now buy from the .au store which could be a good thing. Authors will now get 70% instead of 35% on those sales. I wonder if this will have a broader impact. I won't switch my buying to the .au store (prices aren't any better) so I'll probably shop elsewhere.

12
Writers' Cafe / Re: The AUSTRALIAN writer's support thread
« on: May 30, 2018, 08:47:06 PM »
It looks like we can kiss our affiliate gift card money goodbye.
https://www.smh.com.au/business/companies/amazon-to-block-its-us-website-for-aussie-shoppers-over-new-gst-rules-20180531-p4zikr.html

According to this article, Aussies won't be able to buy from the Amazon.com store after July 1. Since the affiliate program only pays non-US peeps in Amazon.com gift cards or cheque, we're now going to be limited to cheques as the gift card option will be useless. I don't know about you guys, but for me, that's akin to hitting my head against the teller window every time I have to deposit foreign currency cheques. It's an incredibly frustrating experience. I've fired off an email to both the affiliate program and to Amazon asking if the gift card balance can be transferred and if there's another payment option, but last time I asked (granted, it was a few years ago), they said no. If someone knows this has changed, please post.
 

13
Writers' Cafe / Re: Type of Fantasy Not Violence Laden
« on: May 10, 2018, 06:36:22 PM »
My historical fantasies only have a little bit of violence, no sex, and only a little swearing and do quite well. The Glass and Steele series is my bestseller - 1st book is The Watchmakers Daughter in my sig. Not sure why itís done so well, but 3 of the 5 books have been USA Today bestsellers at full price. I think thereís definitely a market out there.

14
Writers' Cafe / Re: Full-Price Launch Revisited
« on: May 02, 2018, 03:56:35 PM »
Do it. The last time I launched a book 1 in a new series, I priced it at $3.99 then raised it to $4.99 a week later. I announced the discounted launch price to all my fans (about 3k newsletter subscribers at the time, now about 14k) and many were thrilled to get it with a $1 saving. BTW subsequent books in the series are released without a discount. That book's launch was the stickiest I've ever had at Amazon. I put the book up for pre-order, so that might have helped with longevity.

I wouldn't sell via your website. For every fan who buys from your website, they're not buying from Amazon/iBooks/etc. For every lost buyer at the stores, the less visibility your book will have. The most powerful promo you can get is the internal algos and recs from the stores themselves, and you won't get that if it looks like you're not selling well in the first place, and directing readers away from the stores is a sure-fire way to guarantee you won't sell much at the stores. Just my 2 cents.

15
I made USA Today 3 times, all books in the same series in their release week at full price of $4.99. Since making it the first time, I put USA Today Bestseller on all my covers and if I apply for a Bookbub, I mention it. That's all. It might help land a Bookbub, or it might not - I've still been rejected more than I've been accepted since making the list, so it's not a guarantee. It's impossible to tell whether it has helped sales. Nowadays, the USAT "letters" have become almost meaningless since so many authors got there through boxed sets or 99c discounts. Most authors know this, but do readers? I don't know. The books in that series continue to sell well and each new release sells about the same or more than the previous one in the series, but it hasn't elevated my other ongoing series to the same level, so I'm going to say it's the books themselves that matter, not any bestseller "letters" attributed to my name. Having NYT bestseller letters might be a different story, considering it's perceived as being more exclusive.

16
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kobo Plus payout
« on: April 20, 2018, 04:37:59 PM »
I'm using Kobo Plus as a loss leader. The payout is definitely not worth putting my entire catalogue into it, but only my first in series and a few standalones.

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: Retiring! Maybe. Probably. For now, at least.
« on: April 18, 2018, 03:10:40 PM »
Congratulations on your retirement, Phoenix. So well deserved, but I selfishly hope you will return one day. Your industry insights have been invaluable.

18
If it's an older series you're no longer promoting, I'd probably sell the rights. If you expect the ebooks to sell well for some time, I'd pay per hour for audio ASAP. It will take a long time to record fourteen books. Managing audio is pretty easy, but it is another item on the to do list.

I agree with Crystal's comments. For an older series with waning sales, I'd sell off the audio rights and wash my hands of it. New series with robust sales might be worth doing it yourself if you can foot the bill up front.

19
I've been looking at Findaway. So far, they seem expensive, and I've not found a voice which suits me.

Timothy, if this is the case then I'd approach narrators on your own. Many have their own website with contact details, some will even post what they charge. Be up front about the amount you're willing to pay. Once you agree to terms, draw up a simple contract (I have one if you need it, or they may already use one) and have them record the files then send you the finished files. The process mirror the ACX process, which my narrator was already familiar with. You can then take those files to Findaway and use them as a distribution service only, not a source for narrators. This is what I did in the early days, before I signed with Kemah Bay to get to ACX. Instead of Findaway, I used a company called Listen2abook (now called Spoken Realms). Their website: https://www.spokenrealms.com  I only have 2 books with them as I switched to using ACX but I haven't had any issues. Unlike ACX, though, reports only come out every 3 months and you can't see how many you've sold until you see the report. They've paid promptly every three months and I haven't had any issues. I'd have to look up my contract with them to check what the other terms are, so there may be something that raises red flags for others that didn't concern me.

20
How did you do your own, CJ? Findaway or something like that?

Through Joe Nobody's Kemah Bay company. Sadly they're not taking on new authors though. If I didn't have that option, I'd consider Findaway. I know they don't have the 40% exclusive rate like ACX but they're non-exclusive looks comparable.

21
They've scooped up a lot of audio rights of indies in the last couple of years. If you think you'll ever produce your audiobooks yourself, don't go with them, but if you have no interest in producing them on your own, it's worth considering. BUT: the audiobooks I've produced myself do far better than the ones Tantor produced for me. Also, they're messed up one of my first statements and despite numerous emails to them, either no one responds, or someone just tells me they'll forward it to a different department. It's an incredibly easy fix too. I'm going to be out of pocket because of their mistake. I won't be selling Tantor any more rights.

22
Writers' Cafe / Re: Audio Book Sales?
« on: March 14, 2018, 02:55:45 PM »
Audio sales are like ebook sales - some authors are making a lot, some very little. Mine is steadily increasing each month. The series that sells the best in ebook is the series earning the most in audio. I've had one audiobook take as long as 11 months to earn back what I paid (nearly $3k) while my latest release looks like it already earned back its cost (nearly $2k) and I only released it 10 days ago.

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Audio Books - Do they sell?
« on: February 22, 2018, 05:48:59 PM »
I had all my own audiobooks done via ACX. They are done to a good standard, but because they were not done by Audible Studios or any other well-known studio, they don't ever seem to get any internal push or free publicity.

Mine are in a 1st-in-series promotion to Audible members right now and they were done by me through ACX, not by Audible Studios. I'm sure I'm not the first or only author who's had an Audible push and not had audiobooks produced Audible Studios.

I think audios are worth doing if your ebooks sell well. I like Annie's figure of 500-1000 sales per month as a guide. Every author is different, and even series by the same author behave differently. I produce two series through ACX, and one series is more popular than the other. Each book in the popular series pays its cost in less than 2 months, while the other series takes several months to earn back out. One book in that series took 11 months.

I do think audio is becoming more popular. Here in Australia, I see Audible's ads everywhere. They're doing a big push to get more members.

24
Writers' Cafe / Re: Going wide - the first month
« on: February 18, 2018, 07:44:23 PM »
Nope, there are others, but they don't come to KB because it's all KU KU KU KU so it can feel hostile at times. But I do know of others.

Just over $6k is about to land in my bank account from Kobo. It's my equal smallest retailer (with Google Play) by a long shot but I'll take it. My income has slowly increased at Kobo over the years, but it takes time. There's no secret sauce, just keep plugging away and sometimes something sticks, just like sometimes a book sticks at Amazon, iBooks etc. I don't know why. I find their inhouse promos help books that are already doing well there which makes sense - the more popular the book is, the more visible it will be in their emails or promo pages because the kobo folks already know it's a safe bet. Bookbubs help too.

Good luck with the your wide journey, Pauline.

25
Writers' Cafe / Re: The AUSTRALIAN writer's support thread
« on: January 10, 2018, 03:00:21 PM »
Hey guys, do any of you have books that are, or could be, free or 99c from 25th to 27th January? A friend and I are doing an Australia Day promotion featuring Australian authors OR books with Australian characters/settings.
If you're interested we have a sign up form at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc-LVrokezv1VLpNnb7SX1MR9oT6-hn5Z4MfP-ETsca3nYPCA/viewform

Done! Thanks for the opportunity, Selina.

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