Author Topic: When the book just WON'T sell  (Read 6770 times)  

Offline Flying Pizza Pie

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Re: When the book just WON'T sell
« Reply #50 on: June 22, 2020, 05:40:57 pm »
Just wanted to say something about the old Kindle Scout program. I finished a book, submitted it to KS, got some good notices, but it wasn't chosen. Bummer. I was forever hurt that my great read was skipped, until I released it myself and it sold all of 370 copies the whole year. Again, bummer. Maybe the scout system worked and they were right about my book (probably).

On the other hand, of the books chosen that I kept track of for the next year, about 90% tanked without anymore sales than I made. So basically the pre-readers didn't know what would sell, the judges didn't know what would sell, and obviously the authors didn't know what would sell either. Unless we assume that even with fanfare from Amazon, free advertising, and the added editing and covers, only one 1 out of 10 books still sold. Hey, it's tough out there and it always has been.


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    Offline CatherineM

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #51 on: June 22, 2020, 05:45:49 pm »
    That second link is so funny.

    And there is a prime example of word of mouth.

    Am I right?

    Offline Decon

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #52 on: June 22, 2020, 06:00:56 pm »
    Okay, I'll answer the OP, but only from my experience of my books.

    I am one of those who have had a book that doesn't sell, quite a few at different times really. Over the years, I've changed blurbs, changed covers, had development edits, modified keyword strings and a whole host of other things on any book that didn't sell to the extent that I don't think there is anything I can do further and have ended up satisfied I had done all I could to give the book a chance.

    The first time was my first book 10 years ago.

    Depending on your experience and where you are at on the learning curve, I think the first thing you have to look at is yourself and what you have crafted and produced to put out there.

    I could almost write a book on what was wrong with that first full length book and so I have since deleted it.

    My compilation of short stories was the 2nd book, and made excellent bank with sales in the UK where it was in the top 5 for 7 months for short-story compilations, jostling for chart position with Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe and Agatha Christie and the like. Then I spoiled it by thinking I was something and increased the price. Then it tanked.

    I also made what I think was a mistake of publishing around 30 short stories as individual ebooks of 5 to 10,000 words, and to make matters worse having some of them translated. Short stories just don't sell in any language and therefore are hard to get reviews which might have possibly encouraged readers landing on my page that 99c was value for money against 99c for a full length book which was pricing at the time for most self-published books.

    I surmised that mixing short stories together with full length work was diluting my brand and making it confusing when they landed on my author page, so I deleted them. Sales of my full length works increased after that exercise.

    I've have good and bad releases regards sales, but I don't believe in the 30 day cliff. I've had books not sell for a year, then turn on the marketing and hey presto, sales.

    I've not put anything new out for a few years though I am still writing with 6 stories at different stages after other life priorities took over, and so momentum has, been lost, but I know I could turn it on tomorrow if I could be bothered with marketing my existing books. I have one book now that is years old and had not sold for ages. I happened to do a post on a reader's site this month and it has had 6,000 page reads and 2 sales in a week. Not a fortune, but if I did it with all my books on a regular basis it would be a nice earner.

    There are many different marketing efforts, some successful and some not. Its all about what works, discarding what doesn't and increasing what does. I've always found Facebook reader's sites for my genre and hashtag genre targeted tweets works at no cost. If you are all in to KU, using your free days can help. With free days and no ad spending, some days you will only get 2 or three downloads and it seems a waste of time, then all off a sudden, boom, stardust gives you 400/1000 downloads and sales together with page reads follow and no ad costs.

    Thing is, I don't do it for money, that's my scenario and really I don't care if I never sell another book as what I set out to do I have achieved and made some money along the way. But everyone's circumstances and motivations are different as would be any self-analysis of why a book or any books are not selling.
    « Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 07:13:28 pm by Decon »


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    Offline Decon

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #53 on: June 22, 2020, 06:17:34 pm »
    Just wanted to say something about the old Kindle Scout program. I finished a book, submitted it to KS, got some good notices, but it wasn't chosen. Bummer. I was forever hurt that my great read was skipped, until I released it myself and it sold all of 370 copies the whole year. Again, bummer. Maybe the scout system worked and they were right about my book (probably).

    On the other hand, of the books chosen that I kept track of for the next year, about 90% tanked without anymore sales than I made. So basically the pre-readers didn't know what would sell, the judges didn't know what would sell, and obviously the authors didn't know what would sell either. Unless we assume that even with fanfare from Amazon, free advertising, and the added editing and covers, only one 1 out of 10 books still sold. Hey, it's tough out there and it always has been.

    I did the Scout thing for Girl at the Window just as they decided to stop publishing and they chose no books, so I don't know what would have happened if I had put it in there earlier, because the stats were good. I'm glad I didn't win cos for the first year I marketed it on AMS, I made around 2,500 after all editing, cover and ad costs. Once I stopped AMS, it tanked. I left it for a year then re started AMS and sold a reasonable amount of print books an e-books together with page reads, but cancelled it again because the profit was small against ad costs in relation to the time it would have taken to play about with the keywords.
    « Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 06:38:49 pm by Decon »


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    Offline Patty Jansen

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #54 on: June 22, 2020, 06:18:44 pm »
    I was talking general-you, but you know what, if you (general you again, but eh) feel personally insulted, all the better.

    Why?

    Because sometimes we need a solid kick up the rear end.

    I used to tell new people in writing critique groups to find some friends, but also find someone who says your writing sucks, and listen to their arguments. Just listen, don't talk back or try to defend yourself. Don't take their word as gospel either. Then go find the next person who says your writing sucks and the next. Do they say the same things? Are there patterns?

    Now you could go and say: this person is not my target audience, and you may be right. But two people? Three people? When there is a distinct pattern?

    You could also say: I write what I write and so be it. But in that case FFS shut up about poor sales, because the whinging gets old very quickly.

    Or you could try to learn. Learn where your writing fits, learn to tell more engaging stories. Fix up style or other craft issues.

    Here is a thing about the people who came onto the market in the golden years: most had spent many years honing their craft to please magazine editors, agents and publishers.

    Whether you happened to strike some success on your first go, or have been banging your head against the wall for years, you need to keep learning. Mentioning craft issues is taboo in many groups. Not here, but still no one really wants to hear that their books don't hit the mark, and therefore will be a slog to turn a profit on. It's hard to hear. Discussions get ugly.

    But people need to hear it, because if they don't, many people never learn. They just keep whinging that ads don't work and that Amazon is out to get them.

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #55 on: June 22, 2020, 07:10:35 pm »
    That sort of goes without saying, right? I think every indie author on KB probably attempts that, and most may actually be delivering such books.

    But it doesn't go without saying. Because there are tons of authors out there who think that they can just write the kinds of books that they want to write and people will buy them, with no consideration for if there is a large enough audience to make those books profitable.
             

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #56 on: June 22, 2020, 07:17:41 pm »
     

    Amanda, would you mind mentioning their names so I can look up their books and see what they did right?
    I'm not outing anyone else's financials. Sorry.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline Patty Jansen

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #57 on: June 22, 2020, 07:28:55 pm »
    But it doesn't go without saying. Because there are tons of authors out there who think that they can just write the kinds of books that they want to write and people will buy them, with no consideration for if there is a large enough audience to make those books profitable.

    Well, yes, but I think this again mollycoddles the main issue: that many books are just not of a high enough craft standard that they will sell in big numbers, even if they're in a genre that's popular.

    Now what exactly makes a "good" book is a rubbery definition, but certain issues stand out. If the plot is unsatisfying, if POV issues confuse the heck out of readers, if the characters don't  feel engaging to a lot of readers, you need to fix something.

    Sometimes it's an issue of finding the right audience, but mostly, it's not.

    It's never a black-and-white issue either. There is a huge sliding scale between "your mother and two work mates" and "1 million sales", and most of us fall somewhere in between. But if you're at the far-lower end of the scale and want to move up, chances are that tightening up craft issues will give you the most bang for your buck.

    Because once you've done that, everything else becomes easier, too. Your series will have higher sellthrough, your ads will work better, you will get more people signing up for your newsletter, heck, running ads for your newsletter subscribers will be much easier if the book you give as freebie has hundreds of reviews.

    Offline Shane Lochlann Black

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #58 on: June 22, 2020, 07:36:00 pm »
    Everyone's had their chance to explain their theory and so far none have even speculated the mechanism by which you can put hundreds of thousands of people on a buy page the day after you hit publish.   

    What we know is this: when you publish a new book, the only places it is visible are the new releases list (for a limited time) and your author page. Those are the only practical, verifiable places where your book can be discovered.  There are credible rumors that Amazon is notifying some of the people who bought from you in the past, but there's no way to quantify or verify that traffic. Someone might stumble over the book if it shows up in a search, but the conversion rate of that kind of traffic is minimal at best. 

    If there is some secret juice that Amazon puts behind your book if it is part of a rapid writing binge where you put a new title up every 12 days while a nurse stands by with an oxygen tank and adrenaline, apparently after all these years nobody has made any attempt to prove it with actual numbers that we can examine and evaluate. Given the general demeanor on this board I'd wager if someone discovered that's all it takes, they'd keep it to themselves.

    The people who are getting consistent sales growth have Bubclub-fueled mailing lists. I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise, but so far nobody has ponied up any evidence to the contrary. I've personally experienced great success with Facebook ads, but I don't have $4000 liquid disposable cash every month to pump into campaigns, so I can only drive so many sales. 

    Perhaps I'll go completely against the grain and write YA fantasy two books a month and go out of my way to keep them all secret.  If they sell, then I will have proven the theory that rapid release alone is sufficient. If they don't, then I've proven that rapid release is a myth. If the former, I can retire. If the latter, I've done away with a destructive myth.  Either way I win. 

    In fact, I'll even put Barsoom-style covers on them just so they look like boring throwbacks that nobody would ever want to read. They will be the anti-market. A perfect expression of my non-conformity and stubborn, unreasonable nature.  8)   

    I personally believe there is something to be said for making a book that looks nothing like the rest of the top sellers list.  If all the books are placed side to side and 98 of them have oversaturated cover images with Cinzel fonts and the same focus-group-tested A/B tested LOOK AT ALL THE TROPES MOMMY book after book after YAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWN book and then that overweight Irish drunk comes along and gets readers to say "what the hell is THAT?" Now that might do the trick.

    At the very least I can be creative for a change instead of wearing the same tie as everyone else in the meeting.  I didn't get into writing so I could do half-assed Mad Libs. 

    That'll do for me. I hope this thread was helpful to some. 
    « Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 07:44:49 pm by Shane Lochlann Black »

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #59 on: June 22, 2020, 08:07:35 pm »

    I think you'll find I mention being successful with my advertising in nearly every post.

    You do say that. But in nearly every post you also say that you can't sell your books consistently enough to make a living at it, and over half your books on the .com site are ranked in the millions. The other half seem to be ranked in the mid to high six figures. That doesn't seem like the result of successful advertising.
             

    Online Usedtoposthere

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #60 on: June 22, 2020, 08:13:12 pm »
    Everyone's had their chance to explain their theory and so far none have even speculated the mechanism by which you can put hundreds of thousands of people on a buy page the day after you hit publish.   

    What we know is this: when you publish a new book, the only places it is visible are the new releases list (for a limited time) and your author page. Those are the only practical, verifiable places where your book can be discovered.  There are credible rumors that Amazon is notifying some of the people who bought from you in the past, but there's no way to quantify or verify that traffic. Someone might stumble over the book if it shows up in a search, but the conversion rate of that kind of traffic is minimal at best. 

    If there is some secret juice that Amazon puts behind your book if it is part of a rapid writing binge where you put a new title up every 12 days while a nurse stands by with an oxygen tank and adrenaline, apparently after all these years nobody has made any attempt to prove it with actual numbers that we can examine and evaluate. Given the general demeanor on this board I'd wager if someone discovered that's all it takes, they'd keep it to themselves.

    The people who are getting consistent sales growth have Bubclub-fueled mailing lists. I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise, but so far nobody has ponied up any evidence to the contrary. I've personally experienced great success with Facebook ads, but I don't have $4000 liquid disposable cash every month to pump into campaigns, so I can only drive so many sales. 

    Perhaps I'll go completely against the grain and write YA fantasy two books a month and go out of my way to keep them all secret.  If they sell, then I will have proven the theory that rapid release alone is sufficient. If they don't, then I've proven that rapid release is a myth. If the former, I can retire. If the latter, I've done away with a destructive myth.  Either way I win. 

    In fact, I'll even put Barsoom-style covers on them just so they look like boring throwbacks that nobody would ever want to read. They will be the anti-market. A perfect expression of my non-conformity and stubborn, unreasonable nature.  8)   

    I personally believe there is something to be said for making a book that looks nothing like the rest of the top sellers list.  If all the books are placed side to side and 98 of them have oversaturated cover images with Cinzel fonts and the same focus-group-tested A/B tested LOOK AT ALL THE TROPES MOMMY book after book after YAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWN book and then that overweight Irish drunk comes along and gets readers to say "what the hell is THAT?" Now that might do the trick.

    At the very least I can be creative for a change instead of wearing the same tie as everyone else in the meeting.  I didn't get into writing so I could do half-assed Mad Libs. 

    That'll do for me. I hope this thread was helpful to some.
    Because we dont know how it happens, other than offering a free book and advertising it in a few places and having people pick it up and read it and talk about it. (which is what worked for me. My first spend was $10 for two freebie websites, and having two more engaging books available for people to read. That wasnt now, though.)

    There is also having Amazon recommend your book. Which does happen, both in a general sense where they notify your followers of a new release (which they do) and in a fairy-dust way where they add you to a new release email to the genre or whatever. About nine months after I published my first three books, Amazon must have put my first book into some kind of Mothers Day email, because all of a sudden I had sold a few thousand extra copies that day. I never saw the email. I just saw the result. It does happen. Generally somebody nominates your book to Marketing, because it has sold well or there is buzz. And then you get word of mouth and it builds.

    As far as I know, that is how it happens.

    Offline Shane Lochlann Black

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #61 on: June 22, 2020, 08:35:19 pm »
    Quote
    But in nearly every post you also say that you can't sell your books consistently enough to make a living at it, and over half your books on the .com site are ranked in the millions. The other half seem to be ranked in the mid to high six figures.

    You have two books on the market. Neither is full-length. Between them they have 13 reviews. The most recent book is nearly two years old.  One is 3500 words long.  You don't even have an author page.

    I have 30 titles at retail in five genres including eight full-length novels. The most recent was published last week. My bibliography contains nearly a million words. And now you're going to lecture me on my book business?   

    « Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 08:39:12 pm by Shane Lochlann Black »

    Offline jb1111

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #62 on: June 22, 2020, 08:45:34 pm »
    But it doesn't go without saying. Because there are tons of authors out there who think that they can just write the kinds of books that they want to write and people will buy them, with no consideration for if there is a large enough audience to make those books profitable.

    Your point is well taken, but even if an indie is writing in a popular genre, there still is a ton of competition to contend with -- and even a well written, well presented, well executed book may flop, for any of a number of reasons. I think the sheer amount of releases is one of those factors.

    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #63 on: June 22, 2020, 08:59:51 pm »
    You have two books on the market. Neither is full-length. Between them they have 13 reviews. The most recent book is nearly two years old.  One is 3500 words long.  You don't even have an author page.

    I'm not sure what that has to do with anything. I don't have to have written a lot to understand the basics of the publishing business.



    I have 30 titles at retail in five genres including eight full-length novels. The most recent was published last week. My bibliography contains nearly a million words. And now you're going to lecture me on my book business?   


    I don't have to be a high-selling writer - or even a writer at all - to see that your books don't sell. Taking a poke at me doesn't change the fact that you say your ads are successful but they're clearly not.
             

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #64 on: June 22, 2020, 10:28:59 pm »


    The drop off is because I stopped publishing anything under those names.
    You haven't said what those graphs covered - a week; a month; a year? Also, if it was doing so very well, why would you stop publishing anything under those names?


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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #65 on: June 22, 2020, 10:53:31 pm »
    Your point is well taken, but even if an indie is writing in a popular genre, there still is a ton of competition to contend with -- and even a well written, well presented, well executed book may flop, for any of a number of reasons. I think the sheer amount of releases is one of those factors.

    I absolutely agree. But if you have a book in Genre A with a potential readership of 100,000 people, and a book in Genre B with a potential readership of 10,000 people, if all other things are equal (writing quality, use of ads, etc.) the book in Genre A has a greater chance of success, simply because there are ten times more people who might buy it.
             

    Offline Trioxin 245

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #66 on: June 23, 2020, 12:43:23 am »
    That sort of goes without saying, right? I think every indie author on KB probably attempts that, and most may actually be delivering such books.


    (You have to write a book people want to read.) Was the statement made previously and I politely have to disagree with your answer.

    They write books they THINK people want to read. Why do so many authors ask where to place their book? That is a red flag that the story in question  is all over the place. If the author cant figure their own book out, what do you think the reader is going to experience?

     Want another one? Their book (in any genre minus sci fi) is 146k thousand words long. Another flag? Asking the same questions, getting the same answers and not fixing a single thing they have been advised on. This is not a one off, but rather a continuous cycle one can discover on kboards.Some people are asking the same question every year...how is my cover...why wont this sell.

    To make a living at this requires a number of things which every article, kboard post,youtube video etc talks about. Imagine a list, ten things to improve your odds of making a career in self publishing. Hand that list out and you will find most authors (those that are struggling) maybe have checked off five, seven but never all ten. The funny thing is, pride and other excuses will stop them from every completing the list.
     When you check all ten you will find things change. Until then you will continue buying 'advance secrets to making 5k a day ' while  searching for some mystical answer.




    Offline Shane Lochlann Black

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #67 on: June 23, 2020, 03:14:34 am »
    Quote
    You have to write a book people want to read
       

    Ten years ago, nobody knew what the hell paranormal romance was. Five years ago it was LitRPG. Two years ago it was Light Novels. Readers have no clue what they want. If you ask them point-blank to describe a book they would be guaranteed to buy you would get a vacant look that would cut five points off your IQ. 

    I am now going to use the second of two sports metaphors to describe the state of authors today. 

    In the film Bad News Bears in Breaking Training the team's pitcher (Carmen Ronzonni) can't get the ball over the plate. He's stuck between his Catfish Hunter and his Oil Can Boyd windups. He's imitating those pitchers because they are in the major leagues, so their windups must be the right ones. Well, it doesn't work. 

    So Coach Leak asks Carmen to just throw him the ball. Strike. Just throw it again. Strike. Third attempt. Strike. Then he utters a statement that is still echoing in Heaven: 

    "Forget about the [bullcrap] windups. I want to see you pitch like Carmen Ronzonni."   

    With that I'm going to take my drink and retire for real this time. May the road rise up to meet you.   



    « Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 03:17:47 am by Shane Lochlann Black »

    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #68 on: June 23, 2020, 04:13:20 am »
    Did you really just say that ten years ago people didn't know what paranormal romance was? That's not true, by a long shot. LitRPG is newer and we will see what the staying power is. Paranormal romance has been around a very long time.
    I sense some bitterness here, and I get it, but I know a lot of people making a go at this as their full-time job. I know people struggling at 3K a month to pay their bills and somehow making it work. I know people making 200K a month. Advertising is one of those things where you get out what you put into it. I put a steady 5K a month into advertising. I make well more than that (and would make even more if I put the time in to study advertising). When you break it down I tend to spend 2.5-3.3% a month on advertising. I rely almost completely on new releases to juice the algorithm. That wouldn't work if my new releases didn't sell, though. I have more than 200 books under two names. That doesn't include omnibuses, 30K shorts, samplers, etc. I've done my fair share of experimenting. I now know what works for my genre and what doesn't. Longer is better. I do 60K for my pen name and 90K for my main name. The 90K books (on a standard month) make 15K more than the 60K pen name releases just in the first month. Why do I still do the pen name? They're a breath of fresh air, a break of sorts. My pen name is still a six-figure author. She just can't match my main name, and I'm okay with that.
    I get that this can be a frustrating business but it can also be fruitful. If you assume everything is out of your control then you will likely fail because it gives you an excuse not to put the work in. Does luck play a part? Absolutely. Is it only luck? No, and the people who believe that are the ones doomed never to turn it around.

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    Offline Decon

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    « Reply #69 on: June 23, 2020, 08:07:02 am »
    I'll try and answer the OP with more meat on the bone.

    Bear in mind, I am writing as someone who hasn't really marketed for some time and I don't need or care if I sell books just now as for some time I have been concentrating on writing 6 full length books in preperation for re-entering the market place.

    The OP poses : When a book doesnt sell.

    I don't care what industry it is, without marketing to gain visibility to either put your company or product in front of customers, you will be less successful and in many cases fail as a business. And yes, in rare instances, your product can be so lucky as to hit a sweet spot with consumers who will do the marketing for you with word of mouth, and the media latching on that will propel sales into the stratasphere, but make no mistake, this is rare.

    The second point is that if your image is a turn off and or your product is so so, regards quality, or appearance, or expectations, you will probably fail. When I say image, I am talking about brand, and here your internet persona matters. How you come across in your posts is on the internet for life. If you come across as say beligerent, or make politically incorrect statements, then you will likely turn people off wanting to buy your product. You only have to look at the damage many celebs cause with statements to fall out of favor, more recently, J K R of Harry Potter fame.

    I don't want to cover craft as I think I covered that in my post that included "The Secret" story. I am assuming that you know your craft and have produced a genre story that meets all reader expectaions, if not, the saying that applies is "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink" comes into play. I don't hold that you have to write in a popular genre, as sometimes it is better to be a big fish in a small pond, but you do have to write what people want in that genre.

    Marketing = Visibility. It is putting your product in front of potential customers that increases the chance of sales. Some efforts will succeed and some will fail. It is a question of finding out what works for you through experimenting, then concentrating on what works for you.

    How successful you are at driving people to consider your book and going on to buy will depend on that sales trajectory leading to to a chart position. If sales are mediocre, then without a chart position which in itself perpetuates at minimum a sales tail, you will lose visibility and without further marketing, your book will disappear from visibility and you will ask the same question as the OP, which is more or less, why isnt the book selling if it is not how it is crafted? You then have to re-evaluate your efforts.

    It could be as simple as not having any reviews, and if you are a new author no one knows you to take a chance, or if you publish the 1st in a series, the  reader is asking is that author going to be around to write the rest of the series for me to invest money and time reading that first book which might not have a conclusion, but regardless the reasons are many.

    It starts with the meta data to include the keyword strings you entered at upload which are important for been found in searches and be alloted sub genres for chart position. If you have not researched them beforehand and typed them in on the hoof, they could miss the mark. The blurb is next on the line as it is included in the meta data. You have to ask yourself it if meets genre expectations, and here it may be that it could help if you asked for crit from others, besides trawling bestsellers to look at what hits the spot with them. Are there further keyword strings I could add in there to improve chances of discovery. And lastly, what are the chosen genre and sub genre catagories the book is awarded. It could be that you need to contact Amazon to tweek them to direct them to your target audience/ sub genre. Maybe look at bestsellers sales pages of the exact genre of your book and look at what genre their sub cat ranks are listed as. 

    Title/ Sub title. This is also part of the meta data. If you get this wrong before hitting publish if you have a print book, then it can't be changed, so consider before you publish if you need a sub title to improve discovery in searches. This would incude having to have the sub title on the cover. An example of this would be say, The Girl Who Died: A Dark Psychological Thriller. In this instance, Dark psychological thrillers are not listed as a sub genre on Amazon, yet it is a hot sub genre just now and so will help with searches.

    The cover. In advertising terms, this should create what is termed as a "HOT SPOT" designed to draw your attention. It works the same way as a window display in a retail store. A professionally designed window display works by being visible before you reach the store window and should draw you in as you reach the front to want to look at it and maybe discover more. Above all thumbnails need to be genre specific and look no different than a trad-published cover.

    Price is a tricky one and there is no hard and fast rule, with many contentious ideas among authors. Whatever price point you choose there are for and againsts, but luckily we have contriol to experiment and if a book is not selling maybe you should look at your retail price, or a promotion.

    Time management/marketing: This is a difficult one for many as marketing constantly and experimentation can suck the life out of your time. It's even worse if you have many books in your catalogue, and at a guess many neglect marketing their older books to concentrate on a newer and then wonder why those older books are not selling. (excluding series) As the OP says, we dont have a marketing department like the trad publishers, unless you are one of the very few that make big bank and can employ a team as at least one kindleboarder does so he can concentrate on writing.

    I'm retired so if I had a mind to, I could allot a considerable time to market besides writing. Others could be in that position, while others have full time jobs to pay the bills and so just can't allot the time to constantly market as well as write more books. Regardless, if you are looking for writing to eventually pay the bills, then you have to set time aside for marketing which will vary between individuals considerably.

    Budget: Again, this will vary wildly from no budget to thousand of dollars. First ask yourself, how does marketing work? As mentioned above, it's about gaining discovery, or visibility for people to land on your page, for you at least to be in with a chance. Some of it, like getting the meta data right can cost nothing and doesn't suck ongoing time, but there are others that cost nothing, such as the basics of having links at the back of your book to your other books. Another is to have a link for readers to join your mailing list. A blog is fine, but if you are to write regular blog posts, it again sucks time. Far better to have a web site with some info about you as an author and with images of your books and a link to your sales page. That way you only need update when you have a new release. I've just cancelled my blog and I'm in the process of designing a web type page.
    People talk about the thirty day cliff, but much of this is self-imposed and an illusion. Yes Amazon with show your book fleetingly as a new release among thousands of others and if you use AMS, they will show a band over the thumbnail as a "NEW RELEASE" which could negate that you might have no reviews, but really the 30 day cliff comes about by authors marketing like h ell, then if their efforts haven't worked, or their budget used up, they turn their back on marketing.

    Other marketing that cost nothing
    pre-order set up
    Mailing lists.
    Free days if in KU
    Countdown  promo.(KU)
    1st book free in a series.
    Tweets with carefully chosen hashtags and a link to your promoted book. Marketing images if you have the software to add to the tweet, or use someone on fiver. Now they have audio tweets, maybe use your blurb if you can record it in 140 seconds. If you don't know about followers and hashtags, reasearch it.
    Post ads on genre specific facebook reader groups. (With permission, or they will likely get pixxed off and block you).
    Interviews on popular, about the author blogs. Once they are on there, it's forever.
    Ads on book bazzar on here.

    There are probably more free things you can do but that's all I can come up with off the top of my head.

    Now on to paid ads. There is no doubt that targeted paid ads mostly produce results. some cost a fortune and some cost very little.

    For promos, fiver can be a useful cheap tool for say free or 99c days by marketing to their mailing lists.
    The higher the numbers on mailing lists of other promo sites, the higher the cost, with bookbub the dearest. A profit is not always guaranteed, but these promo sites can revive or increase sales after a free or 99c day and depending on their success or otherwise you could end up with a chart position which could have the possibility of self-perpetuating sales and so at the end of the day, be very profitable.

    Pay per click. Nothing is forever as experienced with the changes to AMS. what worked last year, maybe doesnt work this year.  I have no experience of facebook pay per click or others, but you could investigate them. Of all advertising AMS has produced the best results for me, not only for ebooks, but a good chunk of print book sales, not to mention tens of thousands of page reads that have tanked once the ads were stopped. It's a little different now, and sucks times to maintain your keyword list in terms of bids and keywords to produce a profit. The thing to watch with AMS if you are on a tight budget, is that my experience it was 10 clicks to one sale, so it is easy to get carried away with bids that end up eating more than your royalty. In calculating if it is working for you, it's best to include your increased page reads as a result of your AMS ads, or in the case of a first book in a series, to consider your sell on.

    There is no guarantee of success with whatever you do, but you have to be in the game to win at it.


    « Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 04:32:48 pm by Decon »


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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #70 on: June 23, 2020, 08:18:14 am »
    Since the OP had said he was going to turn this thread into a book or class or something I wasn't going to comment. And to make it clear, the OP does not have permission to use my words.

    But an important lesson I had brought home again when I took the Skye Warren FB ads class recently is that just because an ad gets a lot of clicks does not make it effective for selling your book. I had authors who were very cheap and clicky for me but their readers ultimately didn't buy the book when they got to the book page, which meant those were not good ads. It prompted me to write a post about how you need everything in alignment to make a sale. With my best-performing book in AMS before there was more competition I would make 1 sale for every 3 clicks on my ad because everything between the ad and the book page (and the book) made the same promise to readers.

    Also, in genres with a readership that's actively looking for more titles I've sold five or six copies of a book before I even know the book had been published by Amazon. It was a few years back but in certain genres or subgenres there really are readers actively looking and jumping on anything they think will satisfy their needs.

    8 Pen Names. Genres: Non-fiction, Speculative Fiction, Romance.

    Offline Decon

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #71 on: June 23, 2020, 08:50:11 am »
    Since the OP had said he was going to turn this thread into a book or class or something I wasn't going to comment. And to make it clear, the OP does not have permission to use my words.



    Under the Berne convention, all internet content is subject to copyright and needs permission of the owner to copy, unless you are a government official, in which case you can be quoted. Still, not everyone is aware of this, so it is wise to point it out on here as it relates to posts on this thread.

    The OP doesn't have my permission either. I only post on here to share my experience within the forum for the benefit of fellow kindleboarders, not for someone to make bank out of it by copying what I have said in a How To book.
    « Last Edit: June 23, 2020, 04:34:49 pm by Decon »


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    Offline funthebear

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #72 on: June 23, 2020, 09:34:43 am »
    You haven't said what those graphs covered - a week; a month; a year? Also, if it was doing so very well, why would you stop publishing anything under those names?

    My main genre is more profitable.

    Offline Not any more

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #73 on: June 23, 2020, 02:27:38 pm »
    I don't hang out here much anymore, and posts like this are part of the reason why. I published my first book eight years ago. I set aside $1,000 to support my effort to become an author. All the money I've spent since then has come from book royalties. My first five years, I grossed a total of $14,200. The past 2-1/2 years I've grossed $700,000. I spend about 10% on expenses and advertising.

    No one ever sold a book by whining. No one was ever promised that even one of your books would sell a single copy. A lot of them don't. Most of the books published - whether trad or indie - aren't worth reading, in my humble opinion. My books aren't worth reading in a lot of people's opinion. But no one ever sold a book by whining.
    This post remains on KBoards over my objections.

    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Re: When the book just WON'T sell
    « Reply #74 on: June 23, 2020, 02:38:33 pm »
    Assuming you have written a good book, you have to invest to market it. That takes time and effort.

    A lot of people don't get early success and stop. They just quit without trying to learn from their mistakes.

    Authors, even back in the day, did not make boatloads of money, except for the top echelon...publishing houses made the big cash. The industry is going through a phase where everyone thinks they can be an author AND those people are the MARKET for those who prey on them.

    The industry tells everyone they can be an author...why? so they can sell to them. Your money needs to be invested in the readers out there and finding them.

    Mark

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