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OOH, OOH, OOH - I FORGOT TO MENTION THAT ALL THREE OF THOSE CHRISTMAS IN JULY ENTRIES ARE 99 CENTS EACH - AND THE KELPIE TALES ARE FREE FOR KINDLE UNLIMITED USERS! 8)
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Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS Ads: Is this the best guide out there?
« Last post by Doglover on Today at 02:00:40 AM »
I've spent well over 40k in AMS ads since they started in February 2015. Additionally, I was involved in some of the beta work. I've spoken by phone more than once to the AMS reps to provide feedback and ask questions.

For all the worrying there isn't much to using AMS ads. A lot of it depends on what you're selling. A tough sell is tough no matter what marketing tools you use. Too often people are over thinking how the system works. It's simple to use and track.

AMS helped put my brand on the map, but I paid for the privledge because good marketing tools are never cheap. For the moment, I've backed off AMS. It needs to be global and they need to get more creative about their ads spots - the audience have gotten blind to the ads are using them as a search rather than buying mechanism. This results in the click to buy ratio being out of whack. Best to step back or at least down for a bit until AMS lift their game again.

They were good and they're still fine for specific campaigns, but otherwise watch your budget with them.

As for buying books on the subject, I wouldn't waste my money that way. Use the cash to run a trial and start testing it for yourself.
So much sense in this post. Use the money to run a trial, not on books that likely repeat what they've picked up for free elsewhere.

Aside from a wider territory, one thing that really annoys me about AMS ads is the inability to pay when you want to before the payment cycle. With Facebook ads, you can pay whenever you like, so if you think you are running up too much, you can pay it off and start again. I wish AMS had that facility.

When adding some product ads today, I notice a new thing for targeting categories, but it only gives me the option of the categories my book is currently in, which are not categories I chose for it. Amazon have stuck it in literary fiction> genre fiction - I never mentioned literary anywhere! Very annoying.

I'm not convinced the sponsored ads do better than the product ones, although some say they do, so I am running both to see how we go.
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OKAY! SO LET ME KICK THIS OFF BY SAYING THAT MY COVER FOR "KELPIE CHRISTMAS" TRULY SUCKS!



FOR STARTERS - AND I KNOW THIS MIGHT SHOCK YOU FOLKS - BUT IT'S ACTUALLY A FIVERR COVER. AND THE REVOLVER ON THE COVER ACTUALLY DOES FEATURE IN THE STORY. AND THERE IS ROMANCE AND PARANORMAL ACTION AND QUITE A BIT OF SHOOTING INVOLVED - BUT JUST THE SAME I REALLY NEED TO GET AROUND TO FIXING THIS COVER SOMEDAY SOON.

WHEN I FIRST PUT THE STORY OUT I THOUGHT I WAS BEING IRONICAL AND DECONSTRUCTIONISTIC FEATURING A REVOLVER ON A PARANORMAL ROMANCE COVER, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT THOUGHT DID, NOW DON'T YOU?

NO, I CAN'T ANSWER THAT LAST QUESTION, NOT BECAUSE IT IS RHETORICAL, BUT JUST BECAUSE THE ANSWERING OF SUCH A SEMI-RHETORICAL QUESTION WOULD INVOLVE UNSEEMLY PROFANITY.

BUT, IN HINDSIGHT - WHICH IS REALLY ONLY GOOD FOR APPLIED FART-WATCHING - I REALLY WISH I'D USED A HORSE IN AN ALLEYWAY, MAYBE WITH A SALVATION ARMY SANTA KETTLE THROWN INTO THE MIX TO MAKE IT PERFECT!

SOMETHING LIKE THIS ONE - WHICH IS ALSO A CHRISTMAS KELPIE STORY!



OF COURSE, IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE A TRULY TOUCHING TALE OF CHRISTMAS GUNPLAY YOU OUGHT TO CHECK OUT "SHOTGUN CHRISTMAS"!



HAPPY FREAKING CHRISTMAS IN JULY, FOLKS!!!

(YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH EXCLAMATION MARKS!)
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To be honest, I remain dubious that Facebook and the like is "flooded" with ads, because I never ever ever see ads for indie authors (except Adam Croft, because I follow him). I always get them from the book depository and amazon because of remarketing. I pretty ceaselessly talk about books to friends on social media, I read about 100 books a year, I follow a lot of "reader" things (like long form magazines, etc), yet I've never (that I can recall) seen an indie author advertising at me. I'm more likely to get ads about travelling, investments (weirdly?), or random consumer products. So Facebook is hugely overrated as an advertising platform, or indie authors aren't doing a great job of targeting.

I've been thinking exactly the same thing. I have YET to see an ad for an indie book. A young friend in marketing and what I remember of the introductory videos to Mark Dawson's Facebook ads class suggests one answer: The friend clued me into clicking on the 'why am I seeing this ad' to see how the ads you're seeing are targeted. This was part of a conversation in which she suggested targeting those aged 20-35 for a talk on entrepreneurs. I thought this was a terrible idea- plenty of entrepreneurs are older, like me, but it tends not to occur to young people, who are mostly doing the digital marketing, that we are likely to be consumers of anything but luxury travel and retirement properties. Looking at how the ads I'm seeing are targeted shows that the travel and retirement stuff is indeed one big part of what I'm seeing. The other part is look-alike audiences and people who've 'liked' the pages for causes and initiatives I support. These nonprofit and political organizations seem to be doing an extremely effective job, though of course they tend to have big mailing lists and other data to use to drill down to the real characteristics of their likely audience instead of just using their own, probably very faulty, intuition. The thing I remember from Mark Dawson's course is he was suggesting targeting people who 'like' ereaders of various sorts. This does, presumably, guarantee that they read ebooks- on the other hand, how many people are going to say on Facebook that they like kindles? I've never said I 'like' any consumer product, and I doubt many of my friends have either.

I'm not sure how I'm going to figure out the targeting, myself, but look-alike audiences for books I think are similar or targeting people who are on facebook groups of historical fiction readers seems like a reasonable first step.
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Writers' Cafe / Re: The problem with speech tags
« Last post by Jack Krenneck on Today at 01:48:53 AM »
People have very strong opinions about this. And by people I mean our fellow writers.
From what I can gather, actual readers don't notice. What they apparently do notice are typos, dodgy grammar and confusing sentences, malapropisms, stupid mistakes, and non-happy endings when they should be happy.
IMHO.

This.

Personally, I favor no tag when I can get away with it. Said for nearly everything else. And just occasionally any attribution that ads something to the reader's interpretation.

See also The Hobbit and perhaps one of the most famous scenes in English literature where Bilbo converses with Smaug. Study the dialogue tags, but note that this isn't Tolkien's usual style. Stephen King and other dialogue purists would have a heart attack, but imagine the scene without those tags...it would be greatly diminished.

I pay more attention to bestselling authors than I do to editors. But that's just me...
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TE Scott, I sold 5 copies of KELPIE SNOW yesterday, and I'm pretty sure that was due to your e-mail. Many thanks!

Excellent! I've been so impressed with my newsletter list. I set up a prequel novella to my kindle scout entry on instafreebie and just entered it in a few group promos. So these are not especially loyal fans or anything, but I always get a few sales when I advertise to them. Definitely worth the effort of setting up a list.
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You only start to worry about the state of the ebook and indie industry when you over focus on Amazon. In the wider world the whole business is still developing. New platforms will be added, aggregators will expand their capabilities, advertisers will offer new tactics, etc.

Fretting over the number of books doesn't take into account market segmentation. The more there is on offer the more tightly the market segments. As indies we don't need to sell 5 million books to be successful. All you want are your readers. Selling even 10,000 books a year at say $6.00 can be a decent income for many. That's less than 1,000 books a month, which is more than achievable. Add more to your catalog and that number and more becomes even more doable.

Personally, I think becoming to Amazon centric is destructive. It will change what you write, how you market and develop your brand to win a market specific to Amazon. This is particularly true of KU.

Think big, think wide, and the state of the indie market looks pretty good to me.
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Writers' Cafe / Re: Downtime at work
« Last post by nick74 on Today at 01:45:12 AM »
Quote
Does anyone else do this? My 9-5 is a pretty low paying copywriting job, and there's often not a lot of work to do. I'm trying everything I can to get a better job, but there's a definite advantage at this job because downtime + no one able to see my computer = writing!

I was also a copywriter, so I fully understand having large, week-long chunks of downtime. Unfortunately, I didn't take full advantage of it. I, instead, occupied my time by wasting it. My two cents: Downtime at work is a blessing—use the hell out of it!
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Writers' Cafe / Re: New release flop = rest of series flop?
« Last post by Nicholas Erik on Today at 01:41:57 AM »
I actually agree with that completely, Patty. The money is made on sell-through of non-discounted books, which means you need a backlist. But not all backlists are equal; advertising some is like pushing rocks uphill. I have a lot of big, expensive rocks at the bottom of my publishing hill. And it's easy to play optimization whack-a-mole with them without fixing or even identifying the underlying problem. Eventually you're stuck with an underperforming series that ties up a lot of money and time. Maybe it eventually earns out, but it's gonna be a grind. Granted, selling books is never easy, but sometimes it's gonna so damn difficult that it's better to cut your losses early.

Maybe with some minor tweaks to the blurb and cover, that friction goes away. It's worth a shot, since that's low cost/low effort. It also helps silence some of those "what if?" gremlins. You could also try a massive free run on Book 1, like Annie suggested, and get Book 2 out in about a month. A lot of Book 1's promo budget was tied up with GC, which is useless and sucky, so that could also have been the primary culprit. That sort of aggressive promo run could really jumpstart things - not without risk, since it's more expenses and writing (and basically locks you into Book 3), but that's probably the best way to get things going now since you're stuck in KU purgatory for another few months.

You can get nice sell-through if you consistently write the same genre and a later series enjoys success, as Marina pointed out. That's a solid strategy, actually, but most writers don't focus enough on one sub-genre - or have the patience - to get that type of synergy. But yeah, C.N. Crawford's books recently exploded after Dark Fae FBI stormed the bestseller lists; J.A. Cipriano's backlist started selling when The Thrice Cursed Mage climbed up the charts. K.F. Breene's UF backlist sells really well, which is definitely helped by the Fire and Ice Trilogy, which is everywhere on Amazon.

Also, since this wasn't clear, when tying up a Book 1, make it into a standalone and strip the series branding away to avoid any unfinished complaints/funny looks from people browsing the backlist.

Nick
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There's more than a little false equivalence going on here. It's not the case that the author community is divided somehow on bonus stuffing or the TOS is unclear.

What we have is a group of authors engaging in bonus stuffing who are defending it. Is there anyone who doesn't engage in bonus stuffing who is defending it?

The TOS is clear on bonus stuffing. The defenses are fairly ridiculous. It seems like this group of authors are desperate to find any edge or advantage, ethics be damned, even if it does something like artificially inflate their page count so they get extra money from the communal pot.

And they dare to say people are being "unfair"?

Give me a break.

Sure, we don't know why Amazon stripped the rank of these 6 or 7 (more?) books. It could just be a coincidence that it's a group of authors who all engage in bonus stuffing and who all cross-promote heavily together.

Pretty damn big coincidence, but there you go...
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