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Messages - CloudStrife

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I'm in nonfiction self-development, with books in English, Spanish, Portuguese. I sell the most on Amazon, but I also sell a good chunk on Google Play, then Scribd (Yes, this does better than Apple for me), then Apple, and the rest is mostly trivial (Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and Overdrive seem to stick out just a bit though). I publish on D2D and some of the main channels direct. I used to use Streetlib, but after making virtually no sales on their 100+ channels for years, I decided to opt out and just use D2D. Since I have about 40+ books in many languages, I felt that I definitely should have been making more sales there.

What's a bit unusual for me is I think I am selling more on Scribd (focusing on percentage of total) than most authors, and I don't do any marketing there.

Be aware that most of my affects wide have been for my foreign languages, not for English. For English, the vast majority of sales remain on Amazon in my case (but I still choose to keep those books wide).

One unsolved mystery for me is that I sell virtually nothing on Barnes & Noble, unless there is a Bookbub promo.

If anyone is making significant sales (5% or more of their total) on a platform I did not mention, I would be curious to hear about it.

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Writers' Cafe / Best platforms to sell in India
« on: June 19, 2020, 08:17:50 pm »
What are the bestselling platforms to sell in India?

I'm not even talking foreign languages necessarily. Many Indians do read in English. Any opinions on what the most popular platforms are? Is Amazon.in number 1, or not really?

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Writers' Cafe / How many reviews from one reviewer are safe?
« on: June 06, 2020, 03:10:28 pm »
I'm wondering how many reviews a reviewer can give for one author, before Amazon feels that this is not legitimate and removes it?

Have you noticed a certain point where Amazon will remove the reviews?

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Writers' Cafe / Re: KDP Select versus wider distribution?
« on: June 06, 2020, 03:02:57 am »
Is this a serious question?

I don't know, but I'm not impressed with B&N. I sell more books at places a lot of readers haven't even heard of: Scribd / Kobo.

I don't mind not selling tons at B&N, but I sell a book a month there on a good month. Most of my earnings come from Amazon, then I am doing well with Google too. I have English books as well as some in other languages though - so international reach is generally good for me, which B&N does not have.

I won't reveal my earnings, but for me, I make a good living as a writer - yet I sell practically nothing on B&N. Perhaps I'm not a real author afterall....

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
« on: June 05, 2020, 05:53:06 am »
Something important I'm not sure if I mentioned. You probably don't want them to get "worldwide rights" in the contract. This means they would have the rights for the book in ALL territories. I make it clear when I deal with foreign rights companies that I am only going to sell the rights to territories where they plan to publish the book, and where they have some prior track record of successfully publishing in such territories. Also, the language should probably be one particular language. I wouldn't sell the rights to ALL languages, or even 5 languages unless they had specific plans to produce those books.

Do your own research, but I feel what I've told you will give you a huge head start.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
« on: June 05, 2020, 05:02:34 am »
I do it on my own without an agent - that's how I learned the above. Good luck!

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
« on: June 03, 2020, 05:48:33 am »
Something that kind of annoys me - many companies still require signed copies of contracts. With COVID, mailing stuff overseas may be more troublesome than usual, and who knows, maybe cost more financially too.

If that is a dealbreaker, ask about that up front. Some may require paper copies as a policy, but be willing to make exceptions and take scanned copies.

Also ask about manner of payment.

Expect them to break all of their own rules. If they say they will pay the advance in 60 days, expect it in 120 days....

By the way, something else you may negotiate on (I never have) is amount of free copies of the book you get. If that matters to you, they may be willing to send you some extra copies. I think standard (in my case) is that they give you somewhere from 3-8 complementary copies. Obviously, that depends on the size of the deal / company, etc.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Handling Foreign Rights for Paperback
« on: June 03, 2020, 05:45:42 am »
Off the top of my head:

- length of contract (how many years to expire)
- equitable clauses - do they get special opportunities to back out of the deal if they don't like it, that you don't?
- how many rights are they taking (audiobooks too?)
- are they only taking rights they plan to actually use? (some request movie rights, rights to make products around your book, etc.)
- The advance, of course
- Are royalty percentages paid industry standard, at least?
- Ask detailed questions about anything you are uncertain about
- If you don't like the wording of something, request a change
- If they are hesitant or stingy about working with you because of a fairly small change you requested, they aren't serious to begin with, so it's okay if you lose the "opportunity"
- Negotiate on something, anything - only suckers accept the first deal. Choose whether you want a better advance. If they say no, ask for better royalties. If they say no, ask for something else. Ask until you receive. If not, they aren't serious and they don't care about you or your book. Just leave.

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Writers' Cafe / Resending automated campaigns with the email list
« on: May 30, 2020, 04:12:35 am »
So, is it supposed to be easy to re-send automated campaigns with your email list?

I emailed Mailchimp and it seemed like a whole process to do.... I want something easy.

I like to resend normal campaigns, and that is just the click of a button. So I'm surprised there isn't just a click of a button solution for automated campaigns.

Is it just Mailchimp that makes this into a whole process, or do all newsletter services do it?

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Writers' Cafe / AMS ads for some Spanish books
« on: May 29, 2020, 05:32:08 pm »
I just set up some AMS ads for my Spanish books, and the ads claim I'm selling well and making profit. I was glad to see it.

Then I went to my Amazon dashboard, and it doesn't look like these books are selling at all. I've heard of some discrepancies in sales, but what could explain this?

It is a pattern I have seen on several books, where the AMS Ad system says I made multiple sales, then I don't see anything demonstrating this on my KDP dashboard.

Since these are Spanish books, is it likely some of these sales are expanded distribution print sales, and therefore not registering yet? Is it possible that there is a delay and AMS is somehow faster than the KDP dashboard? Could the AMS reporting be completely wrong, and I'm actually just bleeding out money here for no reason?

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Writers' Cafe / Taking advantage of a free book
« on: May 16, 2020, 09:37:50 am »
Any ideas on how to make better use of a free book?

I seem to have lucked into having a perma-free book that is ranking very well. The English version is ranking in the top 1,000 free books on Amazon.com. The Portuguese version is in the top 40 books on Amazon.com.br. I will publish the Spanish edition soon, but I have high hopes for it.

At the end of this free book, I highly recommend one of my other books that is on a related theme.

I am in the nonfiction / self-development area.

I'm just curious if anyone has further strategies to make better use of a free book. I feel that for the level of success my free book is having, I'm not gaining much from it. However, I publish WIDE and it's difficult to promote myself well, so I think the free book helps a bit to get my name out there.

In my position, what would you do to help sell more books, if anything? Would you consider making the free book PAID? The average review is 4.3 for this book, and it has over 100 reviews.

The main way this has paid off is that I do have a paperback edition of the book, which sells better than most of my other paperbacks. Although, this helps, the sales are  tiny compared to the free downloads.

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I tend to take an abundance of caution when something is working well. So if a book is selling well I usually avoid updating / changing anything (other than maybe slight price adjustments, depending on the case).

Lately I've been experimenting with "optimizing" my keywords and description headings (not the full description, just the headings). I've chosen books that sell modestly, such as 1-2 copies a day. The experiment has been very short so far, but I haven't noticed any change in sales.

I'm considering trying this out on a book or books I have that are selling better (around 5 or more sales per day). I'm just curious if anyone has had a bad experience with changing meta-data, then changing it back later only to be unable to regain the same level of sales they originally had.

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Writers' Cafe / The #1 Contributor to your sales is....
« on: May 13, 2020, 04:11:27 pm »
What is the top reason for the bulk of your sales? I'm hoping for something we can use to benefit our businesses, not just "Amazon algorithms," but feel free to answer however you wish.  Perhaps it's someone who keeps you motivated. Perhaps a once in a lifetime speaking gig you landed, or it could be that you pop out a book a month....

For me, as far as I can tell, and as much as I try to resist it, it seems to be Amazon ads. Rather than invest more time into Amazon ads, I continuously look for ways to spend as little time as possible on it, to try to drive sales from other outlets.

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Writers' Cafe / How to start a blog?
« on: May 09, 2020, 06:25:30 pm »
I feel like it's time for me to start a blog....

Any tips on a good platform to use that would allow me to start for free, then to pay more if I wanted more advanced features later?

Or is it best to just pay up front to get something of good quality?

Also, I have a following in different languages. Anyone know if the site will have auto-translate features without me needing to do anything? Or is there something additional I could put in to make the auto-translation happen?

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Writers' Cafe / Re: How is smashwords for selling ebooks?
« on: May 07, 2020, 04:43:04 pm »
Which genres do best on Smashwords? Is it worth it to publish just to Smashwords (not use as a distributor?) Also, do they have any international popularity? I publish books in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and in the self-development area.

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I'm still on an aggregator. Sorry to hear about your troubles. I have been gradually going direct instead of with an aggregator. I have actually had decent sales with Scribd, so this would have been my next logical choice. However, I'm not looking for a cumbersome process. I'll be curious to know how this turns out for you - hopefully it gets resolved smoothly.

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It's because your teacher doesn't like Taylor Swift. Also - is this the right forum for this? To ask about school assignment grades?

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Writers' Cafe / Re: How many social media sites do you use?
« on: April 30, 2020, 11:47:21 am »
I know a guy who amassed 100,000 followers (and he's following about that much too) on Twitter. He wrote one book that was good, but his career never went anywhere. I kept waiting for book 2 of the series - it never came out. It's been like 8 years since I beta-read his first book.

The theory behind his Twitter use was that it would help him promote his books when they came out. He did succeed at having a massive Twitter following - whether it would help IF he managed to release a book, who knows.

A warning - watch where you spend your time and energy. Maybe you can outsource social media promotions, leveraging others platforms, instead of doing it yourself?

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Cloudstrife, you would be ahead to go direct with B&N. Using the aggregators your books will not go into the proper B&N subcategories but instead get shoved into the higher level categories where visibility is much more difficult. I saw a big difference when I went direct and was able to target my books more narrowly.

Kelli thanks for that input. I sell almost nothing there through the aggregator. I actually do better on Scribd. It seems like I don't really have anything to lose with giving it a shot. I'll put it way low on my to-do list, as I don't think there's a huge rush here, but could be nice to see if it produces some results.

Is what you say true for Apple too? Where the categories are not able to go deep into niches through the aggregators?

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Sounds like you are well informed. One more thing to consider, is I think going wide is for people who have the long game in mind. I'm kind of tired of hearing about authors who "experimented" wide for 1-6 months and then didn't like the sales so they went back to Amazon.

To me it seems fairly obvious - if you are killing it on Amazon in Kindle Unlimited, yeah, you're probably going to see a decline in income wide, especially if the window you're looking at is quite short-term. If you're not killing it on Amazon, it may still take quite a while to gain any traction whatsoever on these wide channels.

Despite me being a wide proponent, I'm a bit surprised at how difficult it has been to gain any meaningful traction wide. It takes some promoting to get results, but of course, if you're going to promote, often it makes sense to focus on the big kahuna, Amazon as well.

Obviously everyone's experience varies. I sometimes forget to mention this, so take this into consideration. I publish in 3 languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese), and I am a nonfiction (self-development) author. I am Wide on everything.

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It's really up to you depending on your needs.

I started with D2D and Streetlib. I am still with D2D (and I think I just have one free book on Streetlib), but now I go direct to Kobo and Google.

Going with aggregators is convenient because you may not make much money at some of these smaller sites anyway. Or some of these smaller sites may not have a Direct channel, or if they do it may not be user friendly. For example, with Scribd I'm not sure if you can go direct.

I've also considered going direct with some channels such as B&N / Apple, but I feel that there isn't much of any payoff to it in my case. And I've heard there can be difficulties with getting set up on either platform, but who knows.

I'm a proponent of wide, but 80% or more of my income still comes form Amazon. At the end of the day, I would be careful not to waste too much time on this. Maybe go direct on one or two sites where you feel you could sell well, and leave the rest to D2D or another aggregator?

Remember that uploading books to all the platforms takes some time. If you like updating your books, you have to go through and update them on every platform every time, instead of just on the aggregator's page.

Aggregator's take their cut, but you see your payment info all in one convenient place. Some of them are known for good customer service, such as D2D, so that helps.

I feel like in the long run, even though I am a Wide proponent, there is decent profit in focusing on Amazon, and perhaps one or two Wide channels if you manage to get any traction. Worrying about performing well everywhere just seems like a pipe dream, unless you have some amazing abilities and luck....

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Writers' Cafe / Re: What is selling better now?
« on: April 24, 2020, 09:32:25 am »
BookBub released a post today about this which answers all your questions: https://insights.bookbub.com/reader-behavior-changing-covid19-crisis/

Yes ha ha, I already read it. I must have some psychic powers or something. Right after I asked this question, Bookbub sent me the email you refer to.

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Writers' Cafe / What is selling better now?
« on: April 24, 2020, 07:33:38 am »
It would be interesting to see if some sales are going up, even if others may be going down, during these coronavirus times.

In terms of genres, what is doing better?

In terms of sales channels, what is doing better?

In terms of format (eBook / paper / audio), what is doing better?

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Writers' Cafe / Re: How to go Wide with Paperbacks?
« on: April 24, 2020, 07:30:24 am »
You could publish a new edition on KDP with the new ISBN and unpublish the original one with the free KDP ISBN. Just don't select KDP ED for the new ISBN and you shouldn't have any problem using it with both printers.

I have heard this, but I'm concerned about needing to unpublish my original. Will there be an issue with transferring the hundreds of reviews I currently have?

Am I creating confusion if I leave the Amazon provided ISBN on the Amazon edition, and use another ISBN that I buy or that D2D gives me for the WIDE version?

Is there a way to keep my reviews on the Ingram / WIDE editions, or does it not work that way?

Ideally, I was hoping for a way to enter WIDER distribution without needing to touch my Amazon edition. The book has done so well for me that I am reluctant to take risks here. Currently, I am in expanded distribution with Amazon, but I'm not sure how much of my earnings actually come from ED - is there a way to figure that out?

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Writers' Cafe / Re: How to go Wide with Paperbacks?
« on: April 24, 2020, 07:24:58 am »
You can also upload your paperback directly to Barnes and noble via press.barnesandnoble.com
They will give you a free ISBN for your Barnes and Noble edition.

I do this. Barnes and Noble doesn't account for a huge percent of my sales, but the $ does trickle in.

Good idea but frankly I'm not sure how much longer B&N is going to exist. They're not paying authors on D2D? I earn like 5 bucks a month there. They can't give me my 5 bucks on time?

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