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Messages - Harald

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Writers' Cafe / Re: A New AMS Thread
« on: January 31, 2018, 07:59:45 AM »
[just posting to follow - for some reason "NOTIFY" button not working; will re-enable]

Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS Ads Learning
« on: January 31, 2018, 07:56:20 AM »
It has the very original title of "A New AMS Thread".  Hopefully this link will work:,256104.0.html

Link works. Sorry about misspelling your last name, Cassie :( I bet it happens, eh?

Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS Ads Learning
« on: January 31, 2018, 06:39:22 AM »
Yeah, Impressions are cumulative. AMZN defines it so: "An impression is generated every time your ad is displayed."

BTW, there's a newer, updated version of this thread started by Cassie Leigh. Don't recall thread name but maybe someone will chime in.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 11, 2017, 09:37:45 AM »
Time, attention, capital... these are finite resources. Indie authors who want to make money and grow their brands need to invest these resources for maximal ROI. Trade reviews aren't going to move the needle.

Well said; except that last part. As already stated above, it depends on your goal(s). Libraries definitely are looking for Trade Reviews. And I can think of others where a good Trade Review could move the end-consumer-reader visibility needle for an Indie.

Good conversation!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 11, 2017, 09:35:53 AM »
...That is the reason I make the point that I do. Getting reviews from many of the industry publications is a time-consuming and money-draining venture that will have minimal payoff unless you actually have a plan to capitalize on the review in a meaningful way. To effectively capitalize on those reviews, you need to shuffle your publishing schedule so that you have several months of lead time before publication just to give them the window they want. Places that charge fees will take your money whenever, but the non-charging publications won't even consider a book unless you have several months lead time before release.

You make excellent points. But above is not exactly true. There are non-charging, post-publication industry review options. One of the things I like about Indie fiction vs. my prior technical nonfiction is that it's basically evergreen. So promotion has no time limit on the back side.

...If all you are going to do is pursue these reviews for the purpose of making your Amazon listing look fancy, you are flushing money down the toilet. You need to have a bigger-picture marketing plan to effectively use those reviews. Most indies don't promote in a way that would effectively use those reviews. That is what I am saying.

Basically agree, but 4-months-in-advance is not the only way to do promotion (just talking about Trade Reviews here; months-in-advance for other types of PR is valuable).

Writers' Cafe / Re: A New AMS Thread
« on: December 10, 2017, 09:08:19 AM »
Hey Cassie... I guess you're referring my old "AMS Ads Learning" thread, and you're right: at 74 pages, it's a bit unwieldy! ;-). Glad you started up this one. Real quick, here's an update from me on my Drip-Drip Strategy for a single running campaign for a $0.99 series opener (historical fiction novella):
* 253 consecutive running days
* 413 keywords, 33 of which are selling
* still keeping my bids low: aCPC is $0.02; range of selling keywords: 0.02-0.05
* all selling keywords are under 35% ACoS
* overall campaign ACoS is 23% so paying for itself in "raw" terms (+ bonus of KU reads, follow-on sales, etc.). Trickle Effect continues to work.
* 500 Impressions per Click; 11.7 Clicks per Sale
* am busy working on my Omnibus edition so only checking in on this campaign x1/week and recording major stats and adjusting keywords as needed. Once 500-page omnibus is out will probably pause this and shift attention to the larger book.

Will now go back and read/skim over your 12 pages. Pray that you don't get to 74! :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 08, 2017, 05:36:56 PM »
Are you planning or pursuing print distribution with the intent of targeting libraries, schools, and brick and mortar bookstores? If the answer is NO, don't waste time or money pursuing editorial reviews from major players. Those reviews are nice to have, but don't really mean a whole lot to the average consumer. [...]

I have to disagree a bit. I notice them as a reader. And like Bill says, there's a reason publishers (and movie studios for films) market with them. They are validation marketing assets. I can definitely see using them for advertising. And other things. How much I'm willing to pay for them is another question. I haven't opened my wallet yet.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 08, 2017, 09:53:33 AM »
I was considering creating a Createspace paperback to distribute for pre-publication reviews and not checking any distributors, but the interface won't let you pick a publication date in the future. Is there any way around that?
I suppose I could just use a separate ISBN for the pre-pub version...

You can create a "test/proof" book and use CS's free ISBN. Then just buy copies of that book to review and send around. You just stop short of "publishing" the book. I'm doing that now for testing how the book will look and feel.

Also, does anyone know of a checklist, or something which explains what should be included with a book submission to places like Library Journal? Thanks.

Am doing my own with custom comments.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 08, 2017, 07:32:24 AM »
Harald, BookLife is a Publishers Weekly subsidiary that works with small presses and self-published authors. It's free. You upload your book to BookLife and submit it to PW for review consideration. They may choose it; they may not. If they do, it goes right in Publishers Weekly along with the big boys and girls. [...]

Yep. Booklife/PW is on my list. Thanks for the personal story.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 08, 2017, 07:29:50 AM »
I used Kirkus for my debut fantasy novel and was pleased with the review. Iíve used one particular quote so much I feel Iíve gotten my moneyís worth!

Finally, someone with something good to say about Kirkus. Thanks for this, Kay.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 06:44:19 PM »
That is news to me! That opportunity wasn't available when my last book released, so I'm glad to hear it. Thanks for sharing! :)

Better check it out to be sure. :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 05:10:08 PM »
If you want to get into libraries, Library Journal is important. If you want to get into school libraries, School Library Journal is important and you need a lot of lead time for it. Research both for your next book.

Thanks. My library's Acquisitions Director told me, in this relative order of importance: Booklist, Library Journal, PubWkly, Kirkus. Others will be different.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 05:07:38 PM »
Is nobody else bitter that all these hot-shot review venues want nearly $500 to review for indie authors? Yet traditional publishers can submit for free?

Yep, it's a hot new industry niche for them. But they'll have to pull hard to get that $500 out of my pocket!

That said, (last I checked), indies can submit to Midwest Book Review, RT Review Source, Booklist, BootRiot, and Library Journal if you have enough lead time. ~4 months before publication. There is absolutely no guarantee of a review, but you can submit without some ridiculous fee.

Same (free) for Booklife (Publishers Weekly), who wants post-published books.

It probably matters more for some genres than othersónot in terms of sales, but maybe bragging rights. I'm in literary/women's fiction, and I sort of regret not setting up a proper pre-publication schedule to accommodate for trade reviews. If only for the quotes and possible library acquisitions. It would have been nice. For things like that, you only get one shot to do it right.

While many of these are pre-publication, some are post-pub. I'm looking at those.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 04:39:09 PM »
Midwest Book Review? My crit partner sent them her first indie a few years back and they reviewed it. I don't remember if she paid (if she did, it wasn't much), but she got a nice pull-quote from it. That did just about nothing, although I hear Bookbub thinks they matter.

Didn't know about this one; thanks. Will check it out.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 04:35:24 PM »
My experience with Kirkus was terrible. [...] I did not find it worth it at all. They are known, rightly so, for being "brutal."

Another strike against Kirkus. Thanks.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 04:34:29 PM »
If you're at least 4 months away from publishing, you can submit to, which reviews about 150 books per issue of their quarterly magazine. I had a good experience with them. Their review of my first novel in 2010 resulted in several dozen libraries across the country buying copies. I also entered their Indies Book of the Year awards contest and won a bronze medal, which played a big role in getting me my early BookBubs.

I didn't know about this one, David. But 4-months in advance won't work for me currently. Maybe next time. And I see they also have their own paid version (Clarion) for post-publication: $499!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 04:30:15 PM »
For a blurb on the back cover of a new release paperback, I use this:
What others have said about [author]'s works:
" blah, blah..."
" blah, blah..."
...using brief glowing phrases from existing reviews of earlier books, phrases that do not get too specific.
Later, when there are positive reviews of the new book, I can revise the cover art and upload it.

Good point, Al. That's the default position, although I'm looking for attributions to start, if I can.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 03:12:52 PM »
Someone here just got a very nice trade review a few weeks back. I think it was Publishers Weekly. IIRC, he also said it did squat for his sales. So, yes it would provide some awesome quotes for blurbs--assuming a good review, but perhaps not much else. If you go the paid route, I guess you need to decide how much you're willing to pay for a few one liners from the review. Again, assuming you do get a good review. Kirkus can be brutal.

Thanks for this. Yeah, I've heard the same about Sales, but I'm more interested in the blurbs/testimonial quotes. The paid sites are steep ($395+) so I'm being very careful about that. But I didn't know about Kirkus being "brutal." Interesting. Adds to the overall picture. I'll probably start with the free ones and see what happens.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 03:07:58 PM »
Review swaps are against Amazon's TOS.

As another says, it's not a swap. These are Editorial Reviews. Perfectly legit. I'm talking about "Reviews in the Trades" not "trading reviews" -- should have been clearer, I guess. Sorry about that.

Writers' Cafe / Trade Reviews?
« on: December 07, 2017, 02:04:16 PM »
Getting close to publishing ebook and print in historical fiction genre. Looking for testimonial quotes for back-cover blurbs, book descriptions, etc. Apart from genre-specific bloggers, I'm aware of the major paid-reviewing places (e.g., Kirkus, Booklist/Blueink) and the non-paid ones (Publishers Weekly/Booklife, Historical Novel Society) that are free but very selective. Any others out there worth considering, free or paid? (English-language focus) Or any thoughts about pursuing Trade Reviews as a general idea? Again, I'm mostly interested in the blurb value (and for library distribution it seems to be a must-have). Thanks!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question about the equipment POD services use.
« on: September 28, 2017, 08:20:28 PM »
Quick answer: HP Indigo press. ~$200k or maybe less. I used to consult for HP and knew the details but am too busy writing to keep up with the tech on this. Hope you have a thick wallet! Good luck with it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Pls Comment on Christmas Book Cover
« on: September 28, 2017, 08:13:32 PM »
Two quick ones: lower the contrast on the mountains (darken the white snow) and increase the contrast on "A Mind Reader's", which doesn't pop enough against the background.

Good luck with it!

Hey, interesting idea, abgwriter! I'm a longtime art/creative director (and now fiction author) who's worked with tons of photographers (and done more tons of photo licensing deals). A couple of quick thoughts:

1. Not sure why you're calling it "crowdfunding" nor why the need for Kickstarter. What you're really suggesting is getting a few authors together to split custom photo costs in a genre-specific way, right? That could all be done outside of a crowdfunding platform, although would take some work (much of which you've already put in). The OP would basically become the "Managing Client."

2. If people are worried about the images ending up back in stock and then diluting the original idea of having semi-exclusive images, you could always engage the photog under Work for Hire, i.e., no stock photo sales and the Managing Client (or an entity set up for this) owns the copyright. The photographer's fee will be higher, for sure, but it might be worth it if you want more exclusivity.

3. The trick I see to this, as expressed above by several, is to get the right kind of poses with the right kind of accessories and props (and for a reasonable price) that satisfy the authors' needs. One easy way to help this along is to make sure to include "from the back" or obscure-face shots. This is popular in some genres, less in others. But the more obscure the model's face is (turned away, in shadow, cropped, fog, etc.), the more you will solve some of the concerns.

Good luck and keep the conversation going!

Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS Ads Learning
« on: July 17, 2017, 05:29:35 PM »
Had to look both idioms up. Learned something.
It's all a game, but at least by doing these ads I'm in the game instead of watching on the sidelines.

Right on! (and another idiom  ;)

Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS Ads Learning
« on: July 17, 2017, 03:08:44 PM »
Even though my books are urban fantasy, there is a strong romantic thread through the story. So 1 of my keywords is 'romance'. Since beginning AMS in May, I've had plenty of impressions but no clicks on that word and was about to pause it. However, several days ago I had a sale and when I checked, I had a click and a sale for romance and I'm chuffed to buggery. It's a low bid yet I'm reluctant to put it up incase it alters the algorithm.
Maybe if you wait long enough, the algo eventually sweeps you up for a bit.

"chuffed to buggery" eh? Ah, you Brits! :)

I've had sales on super-general keywords like "fiction" so if your bids are low and you're not getting many clicks on 'romance' then not much of a damp squib, is it?

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