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Topics - BWFoster78

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Writers' Cafe / Amazon Author Page/Book Link Question
« on: July 27, 2017, 08:59:00 AM »
I'm not even sure how to properly term the subject of this question but here's an explanation of the problem:

When looking at books ranked by category, most author names are a link. If I click on one of the names, the link takes me to that author's Amazon Author Page.

When I see one of my books in a list, however, my name is not clickable as a link. On the book page itself, "Brian W. Foster" is a link, but clicking it takes me to search results for "Brian W. Foster," not my Amazon Author Page. My author page is linked to further down on the book page, but as "Amazon's Brian Foster Page," not "Brian W. Foster Page."

Any thoughts on how to get this issue fixed? I'm not even sure how to phrase the question to tech support.

Thanks in advance.


Writers' Cafe / Can I Just Say That I Freaking Love Bookfunnel
« on: July 26, 2017, 10:28:51 AM »
Just sent out a request for ARC readers for Gryphon. In the past, this process has involved emails back and forth asking what file type they want and making sure that they didn't have any problems with the download. Now, one email, "Here's the Bookfunnel link."


Awesome sauce.

Let's Talk Kindle! / Is there any way to turn off italics?
« on: July 06, 2017, 11:34:31 AM »
Since I started writing, I've been stricken with an annoying array of pet peeves that just drive me up the wall. These things never bothered me in my previous life as a reader, but nowadays, every word italicized for artificial emphasis is like a stab to my eyeballs.

Can my phone's kindle app be set to get rid of all italics? I've played around a little bit and not found anything promising.

Thanks in advance for any help; I haven't ventured outside the Writers' Cafe often around here.


Writers' Cafe / Fiverr Frustrations
« on: June 22, 2017, 06:17:42 AM »
Warning - This post is purely for venting purposes.

Earlier this month, rights to a short story that I had published in an anthology reverted back to me. Since my only experience trying to sell solo short stories on Amazon was dismal, I figured I'd just send it out as a freebie to my mailing list. Still, I needed some sort of cover, right?

I'm thinking just plain white lettering on a black background. No image. I figured it would be nice, however, to use the same font as my other covers in that series in order to sorta tie things together.

Yesterday, I choose a guy with a fast response time on Fiverr, give him the author and title info, and tell him, " I just want a plain black background with white text using Morpheus as the font. No images."

Easy peasy, right? Anybody who's charging money to create covers should be able to accomplish this. No one could possibly mess it up.

How wrong I was.

First message from the guy, "Please choose an image."

What? Did you totally miss the part where I said "No images." Flabbergasted, I messaged him back reiterating that no image was required.

This morning, I get a notification that the project is delivered. I click on it. The guy used three different fonts on the cover. None of them were Morpheus.

My mind is completely boggled.

Writers' Cafe / What Makes a 1k Author?
« on: June 16, 2017, 10:07:41 AM »

We looked at an Author set to earn over $1,000 net this year. The following article will examine what it takes to achieve this level of success with an aim toward helping authors get to that $1,000 goal. We're not sure how necessary this article is, however, because 100% of the Author we surveyed fell into this range, so there's no indication this might be an exclusive club.


The article below is based on self-reported data from our Author. The Author is, on the whole, an honest person, but we warn that he might have distorted some of the facts in an ill-conceived effort to be funny.

Finding #1: Success Takes Time

After taking tax deduction of $750 per year for his first two years, the Author is set to report a net earnings in his third year.

Average Years to Achieve Success = (3 Years for the Author) / (1 Author) = 3 years.

Thus it takes an average of 3 years for the Author in our survey to reach this level of success.

Finding #2: Indie Publishing is a Viable Pathway to Success

The Author in our survey is indie published and has achieved this level of success. Thus, it can be concluded that indie publishing is a viable pathway to success.

Other Findings

- It's important not to be too productive. To achieve $1,000 per year, one must not spend too much time writing. Spending hours creating posts on Kboards that really aren't even all that funny is recommended.

- This level of success is best achieved by releasing no more than a single novel a year.

- It is recommended to release first books in two separate series in two different genres rather than working to complete a single series.

- Effective utilization of email list is to be avoided. Promos to build up a good number of subscribers is okay, but only if one sends a small number of emails, say five in a year's time.

- To keep net profits reasonable, it is recommended that promo spending the results in a negative ROI be utilized. For example, the Author spent almost $600 on ads despite having only two novels out and no second in series.

It is our sincere hope that the results of this survey make you laugh. Otherwise, the whole thing is kind of pointless.

Writers' Cafe / Oh! I need engaged subscribers ...
« on: June 01, 2017, 09:01:53 AM »
If one wants to become a successful self published author, one must create an email list.

That was one of the first pieces of advice I read about the business side of things, and it sounded good to me. I gathered a hundred or so organic subscribers and over 2,000 random people from a giveaway. Sweet! With that many people on my list, all I had to do was send an email announcing my latest launch, and I'd be in the money.

Not so much, leading me to one big, obvious conclusion:

All those really successful self publishers who advised me to create an email list must be ... WRONG!


Actually, I have found that, when someone who knows what they are talking about tells me to do something and that something fails, it is usually because I have screwed something up. Let's see ...

I based my email list plan on the South Park Underwear Gnomes' strategy:

Step 1: Create an email list
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Profit

Looks pretty solid to me, so no obvious mistakes there.

Undeterred in the face of the seemingly indefatigable problem, I soldiered on and found out I was missing one key word. One does not just need an email list with subscribers; one needs an email list with engaged subscribers.


Facebook ads, right? Target people who are interested in gowns, bachelor parties, bridal bouquets, etc. I was halfway to the wedding planner before I stopped and thought. Should I cross reference being engaged with liking books, or is the engaged part what's important? And what happens if I get someone on my list and that person goes through with the marriage? Do I unsubscribe them?

Ugh. Maybe this whole building a list of engaged subscribers doesn't have a simple solution. Bummer.

Still undeterred at the appalling calamity, I pulled a Giles and called the Scoobies to the library for full on research mode.

I read five books on the subject, subscribed to at least fifty newsletters, and copy/pasted twenty-five pages of random observation from various blogs into Word, which leads me to:

(Yeah, you are right. You pretty much could have just skipped to this part without missing anything. Sorry.)

Things I Think I Think About Building a List of Engaged Subscribers

1. Important to keep the objective forefront in the mind when developing a strategy, so I like starting with the goal - selling books. So how does a list accomplish that? I think, primarily, by these three methods:
- Announcing launches to subscribers who are already inclined to buy.
- Developing a personal relationship with the subscribers thus, presumably, making them more willing to plop down a few bucks.
- Assuming it is true that a customer needs to see a product advertised seven times before a buy decision is made, the lists helps get my books in front of those potential customers that many times.

2. The process of making my subscribers more engaged will probably involve quite a bit of trial and error, making data and tracking important. I created landing pages with affiliate codes to track purchases. Now, I have some idea what real impact my campaigns are having, and bonus, my last three have earned me a total of $.65 in affiliate income. Sweet!

3. How often should emails be sent? The best advice I could find was at least monthly and preferably bi-weekly. (Warning - reasoning based solely on anecdotal evidence ahead!) Based on my experience subscribing to a bunch of newsletters, though, I'm not sure that's adequate. As the email sender, I tend to assume that the subscriber a) knows exactly who I am and b) remembers signing up for my newsletter. Those assumptions are not necessarily good ones. Most of the newsletters I get, my first reaction is to try to figure out who, exactly, this person is. At only once a month, each email has to basically reintroduce the author to me. Of course, sending way too often is even worse because that gets annoying and leads me to unsubscribe.  I plan on bi-weekly at a minimum moving to weekly when I get close to a release.

4. Format. At least four different sources indicated that clean and simple is superior to graphic heavy emails. Apparently, plain text performs really well. I started using a small, colored header with only my name and the occasional book cover as my only images.

5. Content. This is the biggie. What the crap should we write about? After a lot of research ... I'm still not sure:
- The content of an email should provide value, entertain, or educate. As a practical matter for an author, I'm not sure what that actually means.
- 70% to 90% of each email should be content and the rest sales.
- My ideal email would tell a real story featuring me as the protagonist with a goal and opposition and wrap up with a Call To Action (CTA) that relates to the story.

6. Limit CTAs. In a previous post on the board, Nick noted that offering multiple books for free download decreased the total number of books downloaded. I noticed something similar. When an email had a lot of options for me to click, I tended not to click anything. Ideally, each of my emails will be focused on generating a click on a single CTA.

7. Encourage people to unsubscribe and make it easy for them.

8. Subject Lines. Play around and have fun. Test out different ideas.

Now all I have to do is somehow morph all these random thoughts into a coherent strategy ...

Uh ... help?

Writers' Cafe / Mailerlite Automation Question
« on: May 10, 2017, 11:29:00 AM »
I've gone a bit nuts creating groups and automation sequences in Mailerlite, and I'm running into the problem that some subscribers are signing up for multiple lists (each book downloaded from Instafreebie dumps them in a different sequence). I'd prefer for that not to happen.

I think I've found a workaround: Using the workflow trigger of joining Group X, exclude all the other groups.

Does that work? If not, is there a way to do what I want?



I've read a lot of posts on this board about how to succeed as a self published author. The general wisdom is to write a lot of books that readers want to read and promote them effectively.

Good advice to be sure.

I was thinking, though, that I'd love to be making five figures a month:


Unfortunately, I'm only making three figures:


There has to be something I can do that's A) instant and B) doesn't require any effort on my part.

Then, the answer hit me:

Count the two figures to the right of the decimal point!





Oh well, as I keep telling my wife, I think I'm funny; that's the important thing.

A reviewer who is a big fan of the superhero genre left a nice 4-star review of Repulsive a while back. It was long, detailed, and made me laugh a few times. Overall, just a well done review all the way around. He also included a list of other superhero books he'd read, and since his tastes aligned with mine nicely, I ended up following his reviews. First time I'd ever done that.

Anyway, I got an email notification today that I had updates and found he'd reviewed another superhero novel. It was a book I'd already read, and I found myself again agreeing with his points. Then I got to his list of recommendations.

3rd under his "there are better superhero books about teen heroes" was ... Repulsive.  Right under Wearing the Cape (one of my favorites) and Matthew Phillion's The Indestructibles (a very strong entry in the genre).

Like I said, super stoked!

Writers' Cafe / Fiverr guy wants my cPanel Password
« on: March 22, 2017, 11:23:46 AM »
I hired a guy on Fiverr to create a landing page template for me (had a credit I wasn't going to be using for anything else  :) ). Anyway, he's telling me he can't do his work without my username and password.

My first reaction to anyone asking for that information is, "Not just no, but ..."

Is it common to give this information out to webdesigners?



Writers' Cafe / Feeling a little bit better about some old promos
« on: March 15, 2017, 09:30:51 AM »
One of the first lessons I learned about the business of indie publishing is that it's hard to get a good ROI promoting a single book. The math simply works out better if you have sell through to gain you extra income. I figured I'd run a small promo when my debut novel came out and then not do anything else until I finished the series.

It was a good plan, one that I completely, 100% endorse. So of course, I promptly abandoned it at the first opportunity.

My debut novel started off pretty well (by prawny prawn standards) and then started falling off cliffs one after the other. Since it took me freaking forever to get my next book published, I was sitting there month after month watching my sales fall.

I decided, "Hey, I should try some promos/ads. It'll be a good learning experience ... yeah, that's it. A learning experience. I have to figure all this ad stuff out eventually!"

Instead of, you know, doing actual writing, I've spent a good portion of the last couple of weeks going over past numbers (my Excel sheet looks much better now! Added borders, bolded stuff.). Anyway, I turned my attention to three of those promos. Here's what I came up with:

RotM 4.99 AMS Ad   June 17-30, 2016
Type - Keyword
Unique Clicks to Link - 70
Sales - 2
Impressions - 29173
Amount Spent (USD) - $13.90
Cost per Results - $0.20
Clicks/Sale - 35
Income - $6.26 (Note to anyone actually reading all these numbers - This is actual income based in my in pocket per book sold; not the crap Amazon publishes for AMS results.)
Total: ($7.64)

RotM 4.99 AMS Ad   July 1-14, 2016
Type - Keyword
Unique Clicks to Link - 203
Sales - 8
Impressions - 85773
Amount Spent (USD) - $53.54
Cost per Results - $0.26
Clicks/Sale - 25.375
Income - $25.04
Total: ($28.50)

Abuse of Power Free Promo   July 27 - 29, 2016

Total Spent - 37.50
Total Downloads - 948
Cost/Download - $.04

ROI - ?

All told, I spent a little over a hundred and five bucks for 948 downloads and a little over 31 dollars in sales. Not good.

Then I dug a little deeper:

April Income: $52.06
May Income: $44.38

I linearly extrapolated that declining income to predict what I might have earned in June, July, and August had I run no promos:

June Projected: $36.70
July Projected: $29.02
August Projected: $21.34

Obviously, these aren't perfect as they probably run a little low since I don't think the floor would drop that far that fast. However, that is the progression of the trend I was seeing.

Here are my actual earnings for those months:

June Actual: $56.53
July Actual: $84.99
August Actual: $46.77

All told, instead of being (105-31 =) $74 in the hole, I only lost, optimistically, about $12.

Yay me!

No idea if this analysis will be of interest to anyone other than me. If it is, let me know.



Writers' Cafe / Brainstorming an Epic Fantasy Title
« on: March 09, 2017, 07:02:48 AM »
I'm struggling to come up with a title for the 3rd book in an epic fantasy series.

In Rise of the Mages, magic users go from the brink of extinction to becoming a force in the three kingdoms.

In Gryphon, the head magic user, a wizard called the Gryphon, establishes his base of power.

In the untitled third book, the wizard takes the fight to his enemy.

My thoughts thus far involve a synonym for "attack" possibly alone or possibly paired with "Wizard's," giving me:

Wizard's Attack
Wizard's Incursion
Wizard's Initiative

None of those are just really doing it for me, though. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: Based on the suggestions below, Wizard's Strike is currently the leading contender. Unless another suggestion just blows me away, I'll go with that!



A while back, I decided to advertise one of my books on a blog I stumbled across. Purely an impulse move. It wasn't very expensive, though, and at the time, I really wanted to do something to try to increase sales.

Anyway, I got an email from the blog's owner last night. He apparently runs another blog that has featured reviews (presumably a position that authors can buy?). As a "thank you" for my previous purchase of advertising, he's offering one of those feature review positions absolutely free (!!!).

The deal is that I need to find a book blogger to write a review (which can be, but doesn't have to be, run on that blogger's website). The review will then be posted to this guy's site. I figure it's a way for the reviewer to get some advertising for their blog in exchange for reading and reviewing my book, Repulsive. (If it helps, all the feedback I've gotten thus has been pretty positive. The book's Amazon page is linked in my sig below.)

Here's the guy's site:

He's got over 2800 followers, so maybe it won't be a complete waste of time?

My feeling is that this offer isn't likely to move the needle much for me, so quite frankly, I'm not going to put a whole heckava lot of effort into it. If, however, there's a book blogger reading this who a) thinks they might like Repulsive and b) thinks it would be cool to have their blog and review linked to from this guy's, message me or reply to this post.



Writers' Cafe / Repulsive Launch - now with After Action Review!!!
« on: October 19, 2016, 07:05:51 AM »
See Reply #14 for my thoughts on what I could have done better.

Note: Repulsive is the name of the novel. I'm dearly hoping it doesn't become a descriptor for the results of the launch :)

I launched Rise of the Mages at full price ($4.99), and it sold pretty well (151 sales, 210 Equivalent Read Throughs - my term for total KU pages read/KENP - in the first 30 days). I planned on doing the same thing for Repulsive, but after reading thread after thread of people having phenomenal success launching at $.99 with promos, I decided to swing for the fences.

A month before launch, I made the paperback version of the novel available on Createspace in order to generate a page on Amazon where people could leave reviews. I then sent out a request for reviewers to people on my email list and ended up sending out 32 ARCs. A week before launch, I set up a preorder to get the ASIN.

Prelaunch Results: 1 preorder (no promo at all for preorder), 8 reviews (all really positive 4 and 5 stars! "Great book, fast paced, will definitely be buying next one, etc.")

Day 1 - Email to organic list (110 subscribers), Facebook post, Posted to two bargain Goodreads groups

Results: 5 sales, 145 pages read (full book is 483 KENP), Best rank I observed Overall Kindle Store 24,083, Superheroes Fantasy Subgenre 163

Ugh, pretty dismal start. 7 clicks from my email list and 4 clicks from my boosted FB post. Considering that I had 2 sales before I did anything, those 11 clicks only generated 3 sales. Conversion rate seems low. I get the my organic list was built off my fantasy novel, but I hoped for more crossover. I think that my email was pretty poorly crafted, so I'm going to really work on revising it for the Day 2 email. I'm also really unsure why I spent five bucks to boost the post. Definitely not worth it.

Day 2 - Email my promo list (1967 subscribers); Start 5 free days for Repulsive Origins: The Captain, a prequel short story (no promos for the day)

Results: 6 sales, 602 pages read, Best rank I observed Overall Kindle Store 17077, Superheroes Fantasy Subgenre 98; RO:TC 23 downloads, 70 pages read (full book is 70 KENP)

I was really hoping for better. There were 31 unique clicks from my mailing list, but I only had 6 sales for the day. Overall, a pretty low response as far as clicks and buys. On the plus side, my short story actually earned me $.35! And 23 downloads with no promo is cool. Here's hoping that paid promos go a lot better than my mailing lists did!

Day 3 - Promo Repulsive at Bknights, Sweet Free Books, Booktastic, and Read Cheaply; Promo RO:TC at Genre Pulse, Ebooklister, and eBookasaurus.

Results: 8 sales, 80 pages read, Best rank I observed Overall Kindle Store 22,137, Superheroes Fantasy Subgenre 130; RO:TC 84 downloads, 0 pages read

Overall, I'm happy with the downloads of the short story as I didn't expect much. As for the launch, though ... I don't think it blew up on the pad, but I'm not sure it's exactly going to reach escape velocity, either. On the plus side, sales are increasing day over day. That's about the only positive, though.

Day 4 - Promo Repulsive at  Bargain Booksy, Betty Book Freak, and Ebookhounds; Promo RO:TC at BookZio.

Results: 14 sales, 838 pages read, Best rank I observed Overall Kindle Store 15,819, Superheroes Fantasy Subgenre 90; RO:TC 71 downloads, 1 pages read

I'm happy with the number of downloads. Wished I'd have had more sales, though.

Day 5 - Promo Repulsive at BookZio. (Hadn't planned on extending promos into the weekend, but FKBT only had Sunday availability. Set this one up because I didn't want to have zero promos for the day, and they sent me a 20% off coupon for booking the short story promo :) )

Results: 8 sales, 705 pages read, Best rank I observed Overall Kindle Store 19,219, Superheroes Fantasy Subgenre 112; RO:TC 23 downloads, 1 pages read

Day 6 - Promo Repulsive at FKBT.

Results: 8 sales, 833 pages read, Best rank I observed Overall Kindle Store 24,780, Superheroes Fantasy Subgenre 155; RO:TC 21 downloads, 23 pages read

Total Promo budgets: Repulsive $165.70; RO:TC $57.00

Total Results: 49 sales, 3203 pages read; RO:TC 222 downloads, 95 pages read

Far short of what I'd hoped for, but I'll be interested to see what happens now that the price is $4.99. I'm also going to run some Amazon Ads and maybe even try some Facebook ones for the first time. I'll update the thread at the end of 30 days and do an After Action Review.

Day 7 - Set price to $4.99. Start Amazon and Facebook ads.

Day 30 - Buy a private island with all the $$$ I make :)

Wish me luck!



Writers' Cafe / Is Launching at Full Price Completely Idiotic?
« on: September 28, 2016, 01:23:05 PM »
My plan had been to launch all my first book in a series at full price and discount them (and promo them) only when I release subsequent books. Now that I'm approaching an actual launch, I'm questioning why I got it in my head to do this. I can't seem to find any threads that advocate such an approach, though I swear I didn't just make it up.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being genius and 10 being complete moron), how bad an idea is this?



Writers' Cafe / Anybody heard of the Reader KU Challenge?
« on: September 15, 2016, 05:14:57 AM »
I was browsing the keywords "book promotion" on Wordpress, and I came across an author who mentioned that she'd entered her novel in a challenge that's supposed to increase her KU pages read. She didn't link to the site, but I found it via Google search.

It appears that the novels are primarily romance, so my books wouldn't be a good fit. The concept, however, intrigued me, and I was interested in your thoughts on the viability of such a service.

As far as I can tell, here's the deal:

- Author pays this promotion company some amount of money (I didn't dig deeply enough to find out how much this particular company charges)
- Company starts a giveaway for an Amazon gift card ($100 gift card in this case) and advertises the contest.
- Readers gain entry points for reading and reviewing books taking part in the contest

Seems like an interesting idea - and one that I hadn't previously seen anyone here at kboards talking about (it's not like I read every thread, though, so I might have just missed it ...)

So thoughts?

If a group of fantasy authors here went in together and split costs, do you think the money from reads would be worth the cost and effort of putting it together?



Writers' Cafe / Comments on a pitch for a superhero short story?
« on: September 12, 2016, 11:32:25 AM »
EDIT - I've revised this in a post below. I left the original here for comparison. Thanks!

How's this:

When a supervillain attacks civilians, Lieutenant Samuel Shields is given the impossible task of protecting lives and property. His weapons have almost no effect on the three-story tall enhanced hostile, but that isn't his worst problem.

His orders do not allow him, under any circumstances, to engage his enemy. Instead, Samuel must wait for the so-called superheroes finally to show up.

When two children are about to be killed, however, Samuel has to do something. Even if it means sacrificing his life. Worse, even if it means becoming the thing in the world he hates most.

Here's the cover:

Writers' Cafe / The Impending Demise of My Perfect Book
« on: September 07, 2016, 05:23:36 AM »
I finally set a release  date (October 18) for my next novel, Repulsive, and sent out an announcement email yesterday. Mainly, I was advertising the preorder for the paperback but, almost as an afterthought, I put in an offer for ARCs in exchange for reviews.

For my first book, I scoured similar books on Amazon looking at reviewer profiles for email addresses and spent hours upon hours seeking reviews. My lesson: reviewers are hard to come by.

After increasing my mailing list to over 2000 via a cross promotion, however, I have to rethink that lesson. Just by putting in a little note, I got 27 requests.

Yay me!

It hit me this morning, though: Right now, my book is perfect. There are no typos. Every line is perfect. The plot is engaging. The characters come alive and are sympathetic and relateable. After all, I've had the opportunity to fix every problem that beta readers and editors found.

I'm pretty sure, though, that at least one of those 27 people (plus I still need to send emails to those who responded for the first book) will find something wrong with it.

I'm not sure if I'm happy at being so close to launching just my second novel or sad at the impending death of perfection ...

Anyway, just a weird feeling that passed over me this morning. Hope you don't mind me sharing.

One quick question: I've read a few threads where people suggest putting the paperback version of your book up early so that you can collect reviews for the launch of the ebook. How does that impact (or does it impact) the book's time on the Hot New Release list?



Writers' Cafe / Any comments for my newest epic fantasy cover?
« on: August 19, 2016, 05:21:30 AM »
I have to say that this is my favorite cover so far. Kerry really knocked it out of the park as far as I'm concerned. However, I've learned that I probably don't have the most objective opinion about my covers, so any thoughts?

Note that this is the second book of the Rise of the Mages series. That cover is shown in my sig file.



I have two books out, an epic fantasy novel and its prequel novella. They both were published in the fall of last year, and I went quite a few months without doing any promos. As you can imagine, sales dropped to very low numbers.

Amazon Advertising for Rise of the Mages

I did two marketing campaigns based on keywords, one from 6/17 to 6/30 and the other from 7/1 to 7/14.

First campaign -

Daily budget - $5
Impressions - 29,173
Clicks - 70
Cost per click - $.20
Total Spent - $13.90
Sales - 2

No appreciable difference between page reads the prior two weeks and page reads during the campaign. Also, no lift in sales for the prequel novella.

Second campaign -

Daily budget - $5
Impressions - 85,773
Clicks - 203
Cost per click - $.26
Total Spent - $53.54
Sales - 8

Same thing. No real appreciable difference in page reads or sales of prequel novella.

Takeaways - Only about 3-4% of people who clicked on my book actually bought the book. I don't really have a good frame of reference, but that seems low. I probably need to take a long look at my pitch, and I suspect that the lukewarm reviews contribute to that number. Good information. To make this process cost effective, I'm either going to have to find a way to increase the number of sales per click or decrease the cost per click.

Promo for Abuse of Power

I just did a cross author promo that netted me close to 2200 email addresses, so I decided that one of the free things I wanted to offer was my novella. Thus, I set it free for a few days. And since I was doing that anyway, I figured I should run ads at a few promos sites. I chose -

Bknights $5.50
Ebooksoda $15.00
The Book Circle $5.00
Sweet Free Books $7.00
Ebookdealoftheday $5.00

Total spent: $37.50

The book was free for three days (7/27 - 7/29). I had most of these set for the middle day, 7/28, the same day I sent out the email blast. Note that I changed the cover (not updated in my sig file) because it didn't fit the other books in its genre.


7/27 - 263 downloads
7/28 - 548 downloads
7/29 - 115 downloads

Total - 926 downloads

Between my two mail lists, I got close to 450 clicks on my Amazon page. Basically, I have no idea how many downloads came from the sites, but my guess would be that the numbers was fairly limited. Really, I'm not sure if it was worth it spending the money. On the other hand, I have noticed a fairly high correlation between someone reading AoP and them reading Rise (based on how my KU pages read perform).

Here's the cool thing ... AoP went from 2 sales and 0 page reads the entire previous month to 4 sales and the equivalent of 3 full reads in the last week. For the two weeks prior to the promo (after my ad campaigns ended) I sold 2 copies of Rise and had the equivalent of 2 full reads. In the week since the promo, I've had 5 sales and the equivalent of 2 full reads.


I'm really happy with my new mail list as I had a 40+% open rate and a 20+% click rate and some great interaction already. I'm also happy that I got AoP into the hands of over nine hundred people. And for the bump in sales of Rise with the advertising. On the downside, there's no way my ROI justifies spending $104.94 (not counting the low, low price of $12.99 I paid for the cross author promo because I do think that will more than pay for itself down the road).

Writers' Cafe / Good Market Research Idea?
« on: August 01, 2016, 06:38:44 AM »
The good thing about living far from work and traveling some of the most highly congested highways in the US is that I have lots of time to think about stuff. A marketing research idea popped into my head the other day, and I was hoping y'all could tell me if it's A) "That's The Awesome; you're a genius!" or B) "Dude, you're nuts; don't waste your time." (Or possibly, C) "Uh, that's like been done a million times already and you just missed it.")

So here goes ...

A reader finds your book, somehow, on Amazon, and buys it or not based on some combination of the following factors:

- Cover
- Pitch (description, blurb, whatever)
- Price
- Sample
- Reviews
- ???

When I make the sale, which of these was the real determining factor? If I lost the sale, what did I do wrong?

How do I find out?

I'm fresh off a really cool author cross promo that netted me over 2100 email addresses. Coolness. The organizer basically set up a raffle for a relatively inexpensive tablet and the readers came running.

So my idea:

Can I use the same technique (a raffle for a tablet) to get readers to answer a survey?

Say I get nine other authors selling in a similar genre to share the expenses. The title page of the promo shows the cover of all ten books. Readers are asked to choose one, go to the Amazon page, and answer some simple questions about a) would they buy the book and b) why or why not.

Thoughts? Is this doable? Is it likely to yield any kind of useful information? If so, any ideas to improve upon my concept would be welcome.



Writers' Cafe / A Question About Amazon Advertising
« on: June 29, 2016, 08:36:06 AM »
With only the one novel out, I haven't really done much advertising. Mainly I'm treating everything as a learning experience. Did some promos. Learned a lot. Plan to learn FB advertising in the near future (working on getting a lot of releases ready for the fall and winter!).

Recently, though, a kboarder mentioned good results from trying Amazon Advertising (which, apparently, is a perk offered to people who chose to sell book exclusively on Amazon). I thought, why not? (I really hope that no kboarder mentions that jumping off a bridge is a good idea ...)

So far I've got two sells from the experience. Whohoo! Okay, so my ROI isn't very good considering that I've spent twice as much as I've made, but still ... It's good information and good experience.

My question: I'm also noticing an uptick in borrows since I started the campaign, but the little advertising campaign dealie only notes the sales. If those borrows were produced by the campaign, would that information be provided to me somewhere?

Some thoughts in general about the process:

- At first, I thought I'd be paying $.50 every time someone clicked on my ad. That's not the case. The fifty cents is the maximum I pay, and none of my clicks have reached that high. My second best keyword (in terms of numbers of clicks) has cost me an average of only $.12. My best keyword cost me $.30.

- The more popular the term, the more it costs per click. Kind of a "no duh" thing, huh?

- I've gotten very few clicks (2 total) from keywords consisting of three words and 0 clicks for keywords with more than 3 words.

- Yesterday, I had the bright idea of using author names from my also-boughts as keywords. No buys, but 2 clicks from 366 impressions, and they were cheap. I'm going to add more of those.

- I figure if I get more than 1000 impressions per click and no buys, that keyword isn't a good one for me.

- It's cool to have actual data as to how many people are clicking on my book page.

- It's a little depressing to see how many people are clicking on my book page and not buying :(

- Per Pauline below, the total sales given is the total sales price, not your royalties. One should keep that in mind if one wants to accurately calculate ROI.

- In another thread, Jim indicated he was using 115 keywords. Apparently, more keywords = better.

My conclusion: If you're a prawny prawn like me and want to do some advertising without spending much money, this is a cool way to do it!



Writers' Cafe / Cover Critique - Superhero Novel
« on: June 16, 2016, 05:16:41 AM »

This is the cover to the second novel in a series. Any thoughts or comments before I pull the trigger?

For reference, here's the cover of the first book in the series:

Thanks a bunch!


Writers' Cafe / Why Readers Stop Reading
« on: June 06, 2016, 11:03:06 AM »
While procrastinating from doing any actual writing (Anyone want to join me in a procrastination group? I'm going to create one ... tomorrow :) Okay, that joke is so old it's got cobwebs. Sorry.), I ran across this blog post and didn't see it linked anywhere else on the board (of it is, please delete this tread).

I always find real data telling me why actual readers do what they do to be interesting.



Writers' Cafe / Need Language for a Model Contract
« on: May 17, 2016, 05:15:19 AM »
When I signed up for this whole indie author gig, no one told me that I was going to have to enter into a contract with a Russian cosplay model. Not that I'm sayin' that I mind, exactly. Just no one told me. Maybe it was in the fine print :)

My cover artist couldn't find any stock photos that fit what I had in my mind for my next cover (I can be very picky sometimes!), so I went a-searchin'. After many emails to models and photographers, I finally found a photo that will work at a price I can live with. Yay!

The girl is waiting for her photographer to "get back to Moscow" in order to get me the permission I need to use it. I was thinking, though, that maybe it would be better for me to provide the language for her and the photographer to sign rather than chance them coming up with something that doesn't work for me.

Anyone got language that I can modify?



EDIT: Okay, I think what I need is a photo copyright release. How about something like this:

I ____________ (photographer) hereby grant (author) and (cover artist) non-exclusive permission to use and digitally modify the attached photograph, (photograph name), for the purposes of the cover for the novel, Attractive, and any promotional activities associated with that novel, including advertisements and Facebook posts.

Signed ____________ photographer

Do I need the model's signature as well (and to add her above)?

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