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Messages - Not Lu

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Pricing for a series
« on: June 24, 2018, 10:26:56 AM »
I'd try $2.99, 3.99, 4.99. If it works for a month or two then I'd try 2.99, 4.99, 4.99 and see if it makes a difference.

This sounds like a cool way to discover new authors! Sweet :)

What file format do they want?

Kindle format .mobi

Writers' Cafe / Re: A marketing experiment... Early returns.
« on: June 12, 2018, 05:02:33 PM »
I haven't had any success with Adwords. Mainly because the cost per click is too high. I have to bid 50 cent to a dollar per click to get a significant number of impressions. I still have an ad set running with Adwords with a CPC bid at .20. It spends about $3 per month and I haven't attributed a single sale to it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: A marketing experiment... Early returns.
« on: June 12, 2018, 08:53:14 AM »
I've found that by using smaller targeting in the beginning brings the cost per click down substantially. Start with just a few authors that closely match your books. Then once you've got a good CPC you can start adding more.

Writers' Cafe / Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« on: June 07, 2018, 04:14:01 PM »
His last release is turning up 404 doggos. A search for his name is only returning audiobooks.

Yep. My mistake. Doh!

Writers' Cafe / Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« on: June 07, 2018, 03:54:55 PM »
His books are still there. They're not on his author page, but if you search his name you'll see them.

He's also still running AMS ads for them.

I can't give you a recommendation, but one thing I do when I like a cover is search google for the book title and "cover artist" or "cover design". A lot of times the artist has mentioned the cover on their site or sites like deviant art.

Another thing you can do is use the search on deviant art and see if there is an artist with the right style.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blurb help needed, AMS clicks but few sales
« on: May 18, 2018, 08:48:19 AM »
I noticed that this book is the second in the series. Did the sales of book one rise? I know I'd go get book 1 and see if I liked it before reading book 2.

As for the blurb, I'd shorten it and leave some mystery. Good blurbs have the reader asking "Why?" and "How?". For your book the compelling parts are the experiments, the mass grave, and using his new found power. So, I'd do something like this:

Waking up in a mass grave wasn't how Oliver wanted to start his day.
He didn't want to be a failed experiment either.
Lucky for him, the experiment worked.
Now he can control electricity... and he's using his power to stop the experiments.

It is fascinating that the bots somehow miss the big names who advertise everywhere.

If it's not affecting authors that advertise everywhere, then maybe the trigger for the scam checker is a percentage of borrows/reads that resulted from a hit to your book page from a direct search for the book or author on Amazon (which would be the likely way the "mutual admiration society" would get to the book - they might not want to use a link from an email). It could also answer the correlation to AMS ads if the author is using their book title as one of their keywords.

I doubt they'll pull a credit report unless they see suspicious activity on your account. Like placing your first ad on a new account that has a daily max over 10k or something. They're probably using it as an attempt to catch fraud before an ad starts.

I just checked for the author I manage and the page count for his book went up by 13 pages.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Mailing List Effectiveness?
« on: May 05, 2018, 12:26:10 PM »
This is why I prefer a true fan mailing list instead of a lead generation list (freebie for an email address). True fans usually respond to questions in the newsletter, or make comments about the topic. They're engaged so the response rate is much higher.

You might want to take the 256 that clicked the link and put them in a true fan list and dump the rest. Or at least prune until you get few enough subscribers so it doesn't cost you anything.

How high does a book have to rank to show in also boughts or have yasiv show books pointing to it?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Another Way: contact with readers.
« on: May 01, 2018, 09:56:15 AM »
Change your contact page to read something like "To contact me via email sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you my email address." This will most likely weed out most of the junk.

You can also add email addresses to your email's blocked list for people you don't want contacting you (you have to do it through a web mail interface usually -- not client software on your phone or pc).

On the author website I manage, I direct people to Facebook or Twitter if they want to talk to the author because it has the added benefit of his readers' friends seeing the conversation. I also have the "sign up to the newsletter if you want to talk via email" option too.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Writing skills v Marketing skills
« on: April 30, 2018, 09:23:10 AM »

5. Marketing skills are very broad and each person needs to find their own mix of those.

A great example here is a Marketing DNA test which helps you determine your strengths and weaknesses in marketing which then help you decide what techniques to use.

Some author is great 'on the spot' and witty and public speaking can be done on the fly. But other person is not good on the fly so public speaking for him should be done after a careful preparation. And the end result will look amazing (speaker gets the ovation) but it was done in completely different style. 'On the spot' person will be drained by doing a preparation session. And if you throw 'preparation person' into the fire they will stumble. So both people need to put themselves in position to win.

Or, some authors should blog about 'evergreen' topics and others just do more 'what's trendy now' kind of posts. That's where personal preferences/tendencies come into marketing - if you prefer one or the other, stick to it make it your thing in marketing. Own it. Maybe it means making short 2 minute videos instead of 25 minute deep thinking video podcast (or articles). Some are more visual so should use Gifs in the articles. Some aren't. Even that detail can be worked in.

Or, some are more analytical and some are more emotional. So the marketing content should reflect that and lean on whichever is right for you.

This can play a huge part on your Social Media use and what kind of posts to post (own your strength and post those, the readers who resonate with that will resonate).

This is a very important point. You have to focus on marketing strategies you're comfortable with or you won't do it. Some authors aren't interested in lead generation marketing (freebie for mailing list sign up - then push the subscribers to other books), but they love to write about their characters, their books, new ideas, etc. A true fan mailing list would be better for that person (for the simple reason that it will get done).

Another important point is you can hire out the stuff you don't want to do (or aren't good at). If you hate the way ad copy sounds you should hire it out rather than writing poor ad copy.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Writing skills v Marketing skills
« on: April 30, 2018, 08:58:55 AM »
You can sell average to above average books with great marketing. You can even earn a living with barely above average books and great marketing.

However, a great book will sell with average marketing skills. The better the book the better your marketing pays off due to word of mouth.

To answer the OP question of "Should creative writing courses now be split between writing and marketing - assuming that the writers wish to sell their work?". The answer is no. An author who wants to sell their work should take some marketing classes or buy some books on book marketing or search the internet (or kboards) for relevant information. You should keep the skills separate and know the difference between the two.

The biggest mistakes I see authors make in marketing is they are trying to write instead of market in their ad copy and blurb.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Facebook ad text fields
« on: April 16, 2018, 12:16:26 PM »
I'm curious about other's experience in using the three text fields in a FB ad (Text, Headline, & News Feed Link Description).

1. The Text field seems to accept about 275 characters (mobile devises) before being truncated. But is briefer better?

2. The Headline field seems best for a call out quote, some prompt, or posing a question. It accepts about 70 characters without a CTA button, and about 40 with the button. But again, is shorter better?

3. How literal should the News Feed Link Description be?

4. Is it preferable to use one of FB's CTA buttons, or just place one on the image?



I've had good success (CPC near .20 most of the time) doing the following per your questions:

1. Short sentences that contain a hook have worked best for me.
2. I've used quotes from reviewers, a question, and a call to action mentioning the genre. They all seem to work well. I currently lean towards reviews or questions.
3. I use AMAZON.COM for the link description
4. I use the "DOWNLOAD" button (but the book is in KU)

A few other hints that have helped reduce CPC.

1. Split ads for men and women
2. Use softer images for women -- harsher (more risk, combat, violence, etc.) for men
3. Focus on the character and his/her plight for women
4. Focus on the "big problem" first then the characters for men
5. Use images that scream your genre
6. Use several different pitches for the book in different styles (different people respond to different pitches)

This is KU. This is all you can read. 3 books or 1 book, it makes no difference to the reader.

Timothy, if this is the case I challenge you to prove it by splitting your latest book into 3 pieces (since you said it is easy). Then tell us if the reviews stay the same, go up, or go down (which I believe they will because the reader expected a full story and didn't get one).

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 15, 2018, 04:35:56 PM »
To the epic fantasy folks -

So what's your solution here, all hail Hydra?


And if so...what do we say to the romance writers losing their collective asses? This is a serious question.

I've said it twice already, but it looks like it needs to be said again.

1. Identify duplicate content and eliminate it from KU
2. Identify botted borrows and don't count them towards rank
3. Identify botted page reads and don't pay authors for them

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 15, 2018, 04:24:06 PM »

One book read costs more than that person is paying for a month to read it.

To get paid one person's KU subscription requires the person to read 2,230 KU pages. That's probably 40 to 60 hours of reading for the fast to average reader. So, it's likely that book is the only book the subscriber read that month.

The math works for everyone fairly because authors are paid per page read. The amount of entertainment each author gives to readers is given back evenly.

FWIW, for those who have a subscription to KU, while emotionally it may be free, it's not, really. I would use the language "available via Kindle Unlimited". Because if someone sees "free on Kindle Unlimited" and they aren't already familiar with the program, they may be annoyed when they go to Amazon and find a price listed. And/or be confused or unhappy when they find that to get it "free" they first have to sign up for a program that is going to cost them something.

It's probably semantics, but I think it's a tad misleading.

All the reader has to do is click the bright yellow button on the Amazon page that (ironically) reads "Read for Free", which directs them to a page offering a 30 day free trial, which they sign up for. And, presto! They get to read for free! ;)


Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 15, 2018, 10:29:04 AM »
I see your point, Sean, but I've never thought of books as having per-word value. I see them as having a market value. There are books I'll pay $15 for, and there are books I'll only pick up if they're free. That's the case even if the free book is much longer than the $15 book, took much longer to write, or had much higher production costs. A book's worth is really just a function of how much I want it, and I think most of us tend to recognize that and set our prices accordingly. I mean, a particular 1,500-sqft home might cost ten times what a particular 4,000-sqft home costs because other factors feed into desirability beside sheer size, right? I think of books the same way, so I have trouble reducing my feelings about value to a simple per-word calculus. My thoughts are also probably influenced by what authors have historically made. I mean, $5/book is *so* much more than the Tolkien estate must be making off each sale of Fellowship, you know? And that novel probably pushes up toward 200K. KU may be setting some authors' expectations way beyond what the book industry has ever been able to support in a long term way.

All that said, I'm not sure the KENP cap is the way to go, or that Amazon will have any interest in doing it. I really have no idea how to fix these problems. It's all just hideously complicated, and it's not like Amazon is a responsive partner as we try to address it. :(

Becca, you nailed it. The price of a book should be based on how much the reader wants it. The price of a page read should also be based on how much the reader wants it. Right now, that's what Amazon is doing... paying the author as long as the reader keeps turning pages. Setting a page cap would mean that the reader wants to pay for the next page, but Amazon arbitrarily decided to stop paying the author because the reader went past a page limit that was pulled from someone's fanny (for no effective reason).

Back to solving the problem:

1. Identify and eliminate duplicate content in KU
2. Identify bots checking out books and don't give a botted book a rank boost
3. Identify bots reading pages and don't pay for a botted page read

On the bright side, it appears that Amazon is starting to go after the bots and stuffed content. Now that they've won their first case against a scammer they'll feel much more confident to go after the others (which is probably why people are losing page reads from March).

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 14, 2018, 11:23:45 AM »
A page cap is the type of solution that comes from the bad manager syndrome. One person in the office is consistently coming in late so the bad manager installs a time clock, which punishes everyone else in the office. When instead, a good manager would deal with the actual problem -- the employee who is coming in late.

The actual problem with the scammers are book stuffing and botting. So, Amazon should spend their time trying to identify books stuffed with duplicate content and identifying bots. Identifying duplicate content isn't a hard thing to do with today's technology. The next thing Amazon should do is identify bot networks and stop counting page reads from them (which already appears to be happening based on people losing page reads from March).

If the author community wants the problem solved we wouldn't be pressuring Amazon to make a quick fix that won't fix the problem. Instead, we should be pressuring Amazon to identify duplicate content and bots... then remove them from the store.

Yes. I use it in text ads and also the KU logo on google image ads.

The downside is the ads cost a lot more per click than FB ads so I get almost no impressions (7k last month was all) for what I'm willing to pay per click.

I've noticed that people with both large and small page read counts are being affected. Also, a few of the people affected didn't see a noticeable spike in reads. So, maybe those two things aren't factors (or the only factors) in the algo that's removing the page reads.

What about the possibility that page reads are being removed from accounts that have a very high number of reads compared to actual purchases? Does anyone affected want to give numbers on actual sales vs. equivalent full book reads?

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