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Messages - BBGriffith

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1
Writers' Cafe / Re: Make It Free
« on: August 18, 2017, 07:35:53 am »
Thank you!

3
I've been curious about people who've gone through campaigns (both selected and not selected) and what their also-boughts look like. We all know how important also boughts are, and I wonder if doing a campaign like this (which casts such a wide net that includes people beyond our usual target audience of readers) ends up making those also-boughts a little screwy. I've been lurking around this thread for like a year for selfish reasons as a reader to find new books, and sometimes I end up picking up books that weren't selected, and see the also-boughts are other titles I recognize from here.

In terms of titles that are selected, I'm curious whether the free books given out to your nominations count towards calculating your also-boughts too. In theory that could make the also-boughts even more screwy. For example, if my sister got everybody in her Contemporary book club to nominate my Apocalpyse book just because they know and like my sister,then if I win, they auto download my free apocalpyse book, then possibly that's taken into account when the also-boughts populate. This isn't as big a deal for established authors who already have a fan base that they're marketing to, but people who are campaigning mostly towards friends, family, other authors might have this problem. Obviously I'm not paying as much attention to this as the authors who've published, so I wanted to get your impressions.

My Alsobots on my scout book are outstanding. I was selected at the same time as a number of others that are absolutely crushing it. The Writer, by DW Ulsterman was a scout book published around my time that I think a lot of people cross nominated with the sleepwalkers, and The Writer hasn't gone below 3k in sales rank in three months. Rick Pullen's Naked Ambition has performed even better, with a sales rank in the hundreds for the same amount of time. I'm on his alsobot page too, albeit farther back. These guys are definitely getting me sales. One of the coolest things about Kindle Press is that even if you don't crush it right out of the gate, Kindle Scout gives you the opportunity, if you're lucky, to get published at the same time as people in your "class" who might get really hot right out of the gate. It helps. 

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: June 02, 2016, 10:09:18 am »
Loved your book 'Follow the Crow', wrote a review for it and highly recommend it to everyone. Will have to check out your other novels too.

Thank you so much for reading! Glad you enjoyed it.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: June 02, 2016, 09:06:00 am »
Does anyone know of an author who got the first book of a series accepted for Kindle Scout?  Inquiring minds want to know!   8)

Mine is first in a series (The Sleepwalkers) and they accepted it. I think they like series, I've seen firsts accepted and a few seconds accepted too (without Kindle Press owning e-rights to the first).

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Does Amazon promote Countdown Deals?
« on: May 09, 2016, 06:56:52 am »
Not sure if this is heavily promoted, but there is a section in the Scifi/Fantasy newsletter that is dedicated to Kindle Countdown promotions. I just saw Rick Gaultieri's Bill the Vampire series there the other day on Countdown.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: April 16, 2016, 07:12:26 am »
So I'm trying not to freak out. Torn Away hasn't, at least as far as I've seen, been hot and trending at all today. I went a couple of days where it was H&T all day, then dropped to 15 hours, which isn't bad. Yesterday it was down to 7. I haven't seen it in there at all today.

Also, my views are at 1k with 17 days left. Is that good? Bad? Average?

Bueller?

I had 239 hours in H&T and 1.3K views total and was selected for a contract. There were basically three five-day chunks of my campaign where I'm guessing little to no people saw my book. So I wouldn't sweat it.


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I also secured a Kindle Scout contract with comparatively low votes and low page views. In the Kindle Scout thread one of the first things everyone says is that the amount of votes you actually get means very little. As far as anyone can tell, the Kindle Press editors just want to see if you can run a marketing campaign at all. Beyond that, it comes down to your product and how it meshes with the aims of the imprint. People out there buying votes are wasting their money.

9
Writers' Cafe / B&N and going permafree
« on: April 07, 2016, 06:35:29 am »
Am I crazy, or did B&N used to have the option to price at $0.00? I see that my book is free there, but on my dashboard it says "Put on Sale" like it's not on offer at all. Is B&N now an outlet I have to price match from elsewhere to get permafree, just like Amazon? Or maybe it was always that way and I just forgot?

10
Writers' Cafe / Re: Am I full time worthy?
« on: March 30, 2016, 09:27:19 am »
There are a lot of intangibles about writing full time that people forget as well. Writing full time is not as glamorous as it sometimes sounds. It takes a surprising amount of discipline to set a routine in which you sit alone at your desk typing away for hours without seeing anybody. I set a schedule to go walk around the neighborhood at the halfway point of every day, and sometimes I feel like a bit of a hermit shuffling out into the sun for the first time. Occasionally I look back at the work week and think, damn, outside of my family I can't recall a single engaging conversation I had with anybody. But the bottom line is I did a lot of great writing and I get to do what I love.

Another sticky point is that it can often be hard to track real progress in this business. As some have pointed out, it's very volatile to begin with, but since sales often hinge so much on promotions, it's hard to find a true baseline to see if, in fact, you are really selling more every day. If your marketing is working. There's very little validation, and that's something that took me a while to get used to.

Plus, just as an aside, the financial realities of things are always worse than you think. That 7k a month that we're all trying to shoot for is more like 4-5k after taxes. After various health and life and disability insurances and whatnot it can look like 3-4k.

I know this seems dour, but these are the types of things people often forget when they make the plunge. But again, you get to write for a living! Answer to nobody but yourself! And depending on who you are, that might be worth it right there.


11
Writers' Cafe / Re: Are reviews really that important?
« on: March 24, 2016, 06:29:12 am »
I have a completely unfounded theory that amazon considers numbers of reviews when populating alsobots. Books with 100+ reviews on them were pretty scarce on my alsobots until my books got 100+ reviews. Or that could just be correlation without causation. Or maybe I'm just imagining things.

12
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: March 22, 2016, 03:33:29 pm »

We are all that close to the edge. A missed paycheck or two can shove any of us over. I was lucky enough to not fall too far but by golly it was a near run thing - so I am happy to get this opportunity to meet some folks who have walked that road and are just stepping up from it.


Great post Steve. I hope the rest of Writer's Cafe meanders in to this thread to see it.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: March 13, 2016, 09:34:35 am »
Congrats Steve. I fist pumped when I saw your book on the published page. And I love how you're right back on top of the nomination list in this thread as well helping others out. Way to go!

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: March 05, 2016, 04:10:35 pm »
Thanks everybody! In the spirit of this great thread, here are my stats.





As you can see, they were pretty good, but not outstanding by any means. My split was 68% external, 32% internal. There were fifteen days when I logged zero hours in H&T. I had two five day blocks where basically nobody saw my book. Here are my thoughts now that I'm on the other side of the campaign.
 
1.)   Don't sweat H&T and page views.
I think it's good to hit at least 1000 page views. I don't know why that is, but I think it's a good number to shoot for, it rolls over the counter to the "K"s. Don't worry too much about hitting 2,000. I also think you should spend some time on H&T outside of the beginning and end of the campaign, but don't worry about maintaining it constantly. I think KS likes to see that you can run a publicity campaign. I think that how powerful that campaign actually is, whether it reaches 100 people or 500 people, is of less concern to them. Unless you can reach 5000 people. In which case I'm not sure you'd be doing this.

2.)   Space out your promo bullets.
I had three bullets in my promo gun. The first was my facebook author page. I sent out a sponsored post to everyone who likes my page (about 350 people). I spent ten bucks to promote it. That was on the 30th and 31st. It bumped me a little, but not a lot. The second bullet was my mailing list. I have about 700 people on that list that I've gathered over three years. Nothing crazy, but a good shot. I sent it out on the 6th of February and that kept me H&T for four days or so. Then I fell off again. The last bullet was a promo on my other books. I ran a big promo on some books in my backlist and it pulled people to my website, which had a prominent "VOTE FOR ME" up top. That was on the 20th and got me through the end of the campaign.

3.)   Approach the campaign with the attitude that if KS says no, you could turn around the next day and publish your novel on KDP.

I had a cover artist create my cover, and I had a content editor and two copy editors go over my manuscript. I did everything I normally do to self-publish my books. Only instead of hitting "publish" I submitted it to Scout. Even though they say they'll edit, I think it's important to give a completely polished copy to them.

4.)   Backlist and sales history help a lot.

I donít sell a ton of books just yet, but I do sell some, and I sell consistently. The Sleepwalkers is my seventh book, and my others have reviews that the Kindle Scout people can look at to see if I know what I'm doing or not. I recognize that this isn't possible for everyone, and that's frustrating for a lot of people because I think that whether they meant to or not, the initial impression I got from the Kindle Scout program was that it was primarily for first time writers trying to break through, but now it's getting manuscripts from all over the place, newbies all the way to NYT Bestsellers.

That said, you can definitely get chosen if you don't have a backlist, but what you need to do is look like you are going to build a backlist. If you don't have the sales, look like you're going to make sales. Put together an online presence. This might entail putting together a simple website, or at least a facebook author page. A twitter account doesn't hurt, either. KS is looking for great books, yes, but they're also looking for authors that they can get behind. People that won't quit. Which brings me to my last point.

5.)   Don't quit.

Writing is hard, and publishing is often harder. Sometimes it seems like there are so many ways to get down about yourself and so few ways to get pumped up, but always remember that the only way you lose is if you stop. It's all in your court. This is one venue to becoming an author, and I think itís a pretty good one, but there are others as well. I suggest trying them all and seeing what sticks.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: March 04, 2016, 09:27:31 pm »
I made the cut after all! Just heard the news. Currently drinking a lot of scotch.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: March 02, 2016, 02:03:54 pm »
I remember reading your excerpt; I loved the writing style and rhythm, and the plot reminded me a little of the Pied Piper of Hamelin story.

Thanks! It's something I'll be proud to publish either way, which I think is the key for any KS entry.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: March 02, 2016, 12:53:35 pm »
Just my two cents.

I ran my campaign back in October. When I first started, there was an author who spent $100-$200 on advertisement and I thought he really had it based on 1) quality of writing, 2) presentation, and 3) H&T hours. When his campaign came back in the negative, I skimmed through all the previously selected works, as well as blogs of people who were not selected despite great numbers. The conclusion was that there is a stronger correlation between selection and previous publications (books, screenplays, genre performance on the market) than there is between selection of H&T hours.

So... $100 may be too much for a KS campaign. Maybe $10?

I agree with this. H&T and page views are important to show that you have reach, but that's about where they end. The rest is up to the Amazon editors who seem to weight genre and backlist heavily. If you have a facebook page, you can boost your initial KS post for twenty bucks or so to guarantee that it gets seen. I think that is worth while, since facebooks algos often won't show your posts to all of your people without some cash thrown in, but that's all the paid advertising I did. The rest was mailing list and word of mouth.

I'm still playing the waiting game. Day 5. I tend to think that the longer they keep you waiting, the less chance you'll get selected. Not sure why I think that, but that seems to be a general life experience thing. Either way, I'd just like to know so I can move forward with the book.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: February 27, 2016, 07:57:53 am »
GOOD LUCK, B.B. GRIFFITH!

Thanks Steve! The wait already sucks!

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: February 26, 2016, 06:17:26 am »
All right - so last night, before I went to sleep I checked and KELPIE DREAMS wasn't HOT anymore. I undertook a massive blitz of Facebook promotion BEFORE I went to bed and this morning it is HOT again.

Whew.

I feel a little like I am playing that party game where you have to keep puffing to keep a feather alight, hoping that you don't hyperventilate along the way.
:)

Let's get to the list, shall we?

Remember - the campaigns that need nominations the most are the ones that are closest to the LAST DAY LEFT, 1 day left, 2 days left etc.

And GOOD LUCK ROSE!

Updated List

LAST DAY LEFT The Sleepwalkers by B.B. Griffith
6 days left Kelpie Dreams by Steve Vernon
6 days left Love Rocks by LB Clark
6 days left Out of Darkness by Kenny S. Rich
7 days left Forrest Wollinsky: Vampire Hunter
8 days left Bulletproof Hearts by Brianna Cane
14 days left Forest of Demons by Debbie Cassidy
16 days left Modern Surprises by Joan Marie Verba
20 days left Fire Girl by Andy Mulberry
23 days left Summer Love, Winter Tears by Carol Collins
23 days left The Creation: Let There Be Death by The Behrg
23 days left The Risk it Takes to Blossom by Tani Hanes

If I have missed anyone let me know. The very best way to do that is just to post a link on the thread.

Happy scouting to you all!

I'm about to fall off the Vernon list and into the waiting ether, but it's been a blast. I gotta admit, I love the last two or three days when you can do little to no promotion and still hit H&T, I call it a soft landing. You're coming up on the soft landing, Steve, so you won't have to puff so hard. Now, as to whether there's a wall at the end of the landing, only Amazon's editors can say. 

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: February 23, 2016, 07:55:31 am »
Let's just see if I have mastered the screen shot yet.



Look at all of those beautiful orange bars. Kind of looks like a cross between an orange creamsicle convention and the progress chart for Benjamin Grimm's Viagra test.
:)


(Now go and clean the milk off of your monitor screen.)

Very impressive Steve! I've got good feelings about your campaign. How does this go around compare to past efforts?

21
Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: February 22, 2016, 04:53:55 am »
Congrats to those chosen  8).

Nominated!

Cheers! It's time for the home stretch!

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: February 15, 2016, 09:36:58 am »

I've got a question for anyone with other books - does the exposure on Scout do anything for sales of your other books?

I think it has made an impact, but only very minimally. On the order of a handful of sales here and there. Even if you're getting 50-100 views on your kindle scout page a day (which I'm not), there are a lot of "steps" required to go from viewing someone's campaign to liking that campaign and then to scrolling all the way down to check out the author's catalog, actually liking another book you see there, and then buying it. The additional sales I've gotten I think are a result of the fact that Kindle Scout sort of forces you to make your author profile more visible to your network in general during your campaign. I still get a lot of "wait, you write books?" from friends and friends of friends, and these people then check out my backlist too.

I think it's more measurable the other way around. People who like my other books then go visit my website and right up top is the Kindle Scout link and info. I know I've gotten views that way. I'm actually about to run a big promo tomorrow on another series of mine and I'm curious to see if I'll see an uptick in Scout views.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: February 12, 2016, 09:33:57 am »
This is very good advice for new folks who are just jumping in.  Spread your campaigning efforts across the entire thirty days, versus doing a big push up front.  I went the big push route and it worked well for the first eight days.  140 hours in H&T over that period.  But day 9 saw my book drop out of the H&T and it hasn't jumped back on since.  I'm anticipating more H&T hours in the last few days of the campaign (it appears as though many folks only nominate books that are in the final days).

Yeah, it took me a little while to figure out the glaringly obvious: you will not hit H&T without promotion. By which I mean that I think very few people visiting the Scout main page delve into the categories themselves, looking for books they like. H&T also doesn't foster itself. The list is very volatile. Once you hit it, you won't stay on it just by virtue of hitting it.

The good news is that I think Amazon takes it with a grain of salt. Armand said that his KS editor told him point blank that it accounts for 5% of the choice for publication. And when people say "it accounts for 5%", I think that's a nice way of saying "not really at all". The thing is, once we start our campaign it's one of the few things we can control on our end (through promotion), so we fight for it tooth and nail. What I personally think Amazon looks for is an author's ability to hit the list at all. Meaning can they promote with results. If so, that box is checked. I think then the rest is up to your product and platform.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: February 09, 2016, 08:20:39 am »
How about Amazon promoting certain campaigns for Valentines day? Has this happened before?


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Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences, anyone?
« on: February 08, 2016, 09:24:46 am »
Congrats KC and Katherine! I just got my emails!!
Me too! Way to go!

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