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Messages - KevinH

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1
Writers' Cafe / Re: Raisng prices
« on: January 07, 2021, 05:08:44 pm »
In my most popular series, the first book is $4.99 and the rest are $5.99; it's been that way for a couple of years.  I initially started out with them a buck cheaper, but eventually bumped it up a dollar due to inflation and related costs increasing. (The cost of book promotion sites, for instance, has increased exponentially over the years - I even posted an article about it on my blog.) Readers never complained about the increase; in fact, a couple have suggested that I raise prices again.


2
Writers' Cafe / Re: Have You Posted to Your Blog Recently?
« on: November 25, 2020, 01:59:19 pm »

3
Writers' Cafe / Re: Pricing paperbacks
« on: November 12, 2020, 08:01:38 pm »
KevinH, that post is hugely helpful for general pricing choices, thank you! I've never sat down and figured out paperback pricing that way before, but it makes a lot of sense. I'd also never made the connection between mass market paperbacks and ebooks before, but now that I see it, of course ebooks are the new mass market paperbacks! The two serve the exact same function!

Anyway, this prompted me to look at my own paperbacks and do some price adjusting, so thank you again.

I wish I could take credit, but that was all Bards and Sages (Julie), who was an incredible resource.  Regardless, I'm glad it helped.

4
Writers' Cafe / Re: How many books does it take?
« on: November 11, 2020, 12:42:38 pm »
I'm blessed in that I was able to do it with one book, but I'm obviously an outlier. As I'm sure others have said, I don't think there's a certain magic number of books that will assure you of reaching your goal, but more titles is obviously better.  However, it's worth bearing in mind that other factors can also play a role: genre, marketing, etc.  Frankly speaking, it's just hard to pin it down and say that X number of books will get you there.


5
Writers' Cafe / Re: Pricing paperbacks
« on: November 11, 2020, 08:44:17 am »
Don't think she's still on KBoards, but Bards and Sages (Julie) did a fantastic write-up on this subject a few years back:

We actually sell more print with many of our titles than we do ebooks. The print market is a completely different creature than ebooks.

First, print is still sold on the wholesale model. Manufacturers set a retail price, and vendors pay a percentage of the retail. Retailers then can sell the book for any price they want. Indies lose site of this because all of the POD services call their money "royalties." More accurately, POD is more of a consignment deal that a royalty deal. But that is just a matter of semantics. The point is, Unlike ebooks, you don't set the "selling" price. Retailers do.

What indies tend to do is set the retail price of their books to match the Amazon SELLING price of books in their genre. Don't...do...this. Look at the retail prices of the books instead. THAT should be your baseline. You want to set your retail price to match the normal retail pricing for your genre. For example, typical trade paperbacks have a retail price of between $12.99-$16.99, depending on how long they are.

Second, don't bother trying to mimic smaller formats with POD. The mass market paperback size is not cost effective in POD. To understand why, you need to understand the role that size played in print traditionally. Go LOOK at an actual mass market size book compared to a trade paperback or a hardcover. You'll notice two things. One: the covers tend to be index stock, not heavy card stock. Two: the paper tends to be thinning and more like newsprint. Until the rise of ebooks, mass market paperbacks filled the role of ebooks in the marketplace as the "low cost" alternative.

POD services use the same materials for mass market sizes as they do trade sizes, which means you are simply increasing your manufacturing cost for no real benefit. Stick with the trade paperback formats.

Third, on the matter of price and sales. If you price your book correctly, retailers will place it on sale for you. And unlike digital, when a retailer puts a print book on sale, that comes out of their profits, not yours.

Retailers will determine whether to put a book on sale (either individually or including in store-wide promos) based on their profit margin. The profit margin is the difference between the final sale price compared to the cost to purchase the book + its markup. ALL RETAILERS add a markup to the wholesale cost to cover their overhead (rents, utilities, wages, etc). For the sake of discussion, we will set that overhead at $1 per book. We'll assume a standard trade paperback at 200 pages through Createspace as the book. We will also assume a 30% discount to the retailer.

If you set the retail price to $14.99, the retailer pays $10.49 for the book. Through expanded distro, that means $2.74 profit for you. Including the retailers markup, that leave the retailer with $3.50 of room to play. That is plenty of room to include the title in sales promotions, like 10% off deals.

Let's say you decide "I'm going to sell my book cheap to encourage sales!" and price it at $10.99. You make $1.14 per sale. Now the retailer is paying $7.69 for the book. With his overhead, his profit margin is now only $2.30. There is less room for him to play with sales, but still some.

At $8.99, you are only making 34 cents on a sale, but you are hoping to make it up on volume. The problem is that now the vendor is paying $6.29 for the book. Which means, with overhead, there is only a profit margin of $1.70. At that price, it stops being practical including the book in sales. The book won't be included in most sales promotions, and, in the case of brick and mortar stores where shelf space is a premium, it won't even be considered for stock because the profit opportunity in relation to shelf space is too low. Why take up shelf space on a book that makes almost nothing for me when I can stock other titles with high profit potential?

It doesn't help you to price your book low if A. stores won't stock it since they can't make money and B. stores won't include it in their sales promotions because the profit margin is too low.


6
Writers' Cafe / Re: Your ACX Promo Code Strategy?
« on: October 19, 2020, 01:40:23 pm »
Thanks, guys.

> I use one of the promo code services and upload my codes so that listeners can simply grab a code if they're interested. (It's a lot more efficient than when I used to send them out individually.)

Which service do you use?


I use freeaudiobookcodes[dot]com. It's one of Jeffrey Kafer's sites and is the sister service to Audiobook Boom (which I've also used in the past).  The difference between the two is that the former is more hands-off in that you upload codes and interested listeners can simply grab one; with the latter, you email the codes individually to those who request them.

I've also used audiofreebies[dot]com for manual distribution of codes, although they also have automated code distribution.

If you're trying to decide between them, I have nothing but good things to say about the three services that I've used, although I admittedly lean more towards hands-off distribution these days.


7
Writers' Cafe / Re: Your ACX Promo Code Strategy?
« on: October 19, 2020, 07:29:35 am »
First, you still get paid for promo codes for titles released before the March 26 announcement.  So if you have an audiobook that was released in, say, February 2020 and you just generated 25 codes for it yesterday, you will still be paid when those codes are redeemed.

Next, you don't get paid for codes on titles released after 3/26, but those redemptions still count for ranking purposes.  Ergo, even though you aren't paid, you can still get visibility (and perhaps additional sales) from those codes.

With those two things understood, here is how my promo code strategy usually works these days:


1) I use one of the promo code services and upload my codes so that listeners can simply grab a code if they're interested. (It's a lot more efficient than when I used to send them out individually.)  Typically, I make the listing "private" at first so that only those with the proper link can see it and redeem codes.  I then send said link to my Patreon supporters, letting them know I have a new audiobook and giving them exclusive access to the link for 24 hours.

2) I have an audiobook newsletter (separate and distinct form my "regular" newsletter), and - after my Patreon supporters have had a chance to redeem codes - I inform my audio subscribers and send them the link. I also announce it on my website and Facebook page.

3) At this point, I've made the link public and continue to promote it via social media.


Typically, US codes vanish at a lightning-fast pace; the first batch is usually gobbled up within 30 minutes of #2 above, and the second set will disappear on whatever day I generate/upload them.  UK codes are a little slower, but the first batch is usually gone within a day, while the second set may linger, depending on various factors.  All in all, however, this has been a successful strategy for me.




8
Writers' Cafe / Re: 5000 sales in 1 Year as a new author ... Realistic?
« on: October 12, 2020, 11:18:23 am »
It's certainly not impossible, and off the top of my head I can name at least 4 indie authors who were able to do it.  However, they all began publishing around 7 or 8 years ago.  It was difficult to sell 5K of a debut novel in Year 1 back then, and I'd wager it's even harder now.

In short, while it isn't impossible, it is highly improbable.  Thus, in addition to all the usual factors - great story, great cover, etc. - I'd also say you need a healthy dollop of luck.


9
Writers' Cafe / Re: Have You Posted to Your Blog Recently?
« on: September 16, 2020, 08:32:19 am »
I posted about Audible's new subscription service, Audible Plus:  https://www.kevinhardmanauthor.com/new-audiobook-subscription-service-audible-plus/


10
Writers' Cafe / Re: Audible Plus
« on: September 15, 2020, 03:28:51 pm »
It looks like Audible Escape (formerly the Audible Romance Package) is being scrapped - not surprising when one considers that Audible Plus will also include romance. That said, does anyone know if authors participating in Audible Escape are being automatically shifted into the new subscription service?  Or are they being released back into the wild, so to speak?

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Audible Plus
« on: September 03, 2020, 07:27:51 am »

12
Writers' Cafe / Re: Have You Posted to Your Blog Recently?
« on: July 31, 2020, 03:26:01 pm »
I posted recently about keyword stuffing with respect to book titles:  https://www.kevinhardmanauthor.com/book-title-limits-amazon-ups-the-ante-on-keyword-stuffing/

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Have You Posted to Your Blog Recently?
« on: July 13, 2020, 06:01:11 pm »

14
Writers' Cafe / Re: Have You Posted to Your Blog Recently?
« on: June 05, 2020, 07:06:19 am »
I posted about having free promo codes available for my audiobooks:  https://www.kevinhardmanauthor.com/free-to-a-good-home-my-audiobooks/


15
Writers' Cafe / Re: Audible rank and sales calculator?
« on: April 23, 2020, 04:10:21 pm »
I made an attempt at this, but threw in the towel. The 2-day [and sometimes longer] lag made it too difficult. Plus, not knowing where sales came from obviously had an effect. For instance, selling one copy of a title made the sales rank jump from about 98K to 35K. On that same day, another title sold two copies, but the rank fell from 38K to 46K.  There may also have been other factors at play (e.g., a miscount that later got corrected), but stuff like that just made me feel like it was an exercise in futility.

16
Writers' Cafe / Re: Have You Posted to Your Blog Recently?
« on: April 15, 2020, 03:14:46 pm »
Just announced that Ignotus, the third book in my Fringe Worlds series, is now available:  https://www.kevinhardmanauthor.com/new-release-ignotus-fringe-worlds-3/

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Have You Posted to Your Blog Recently?
« on: March 10, 2020, 03:37:06 pm »

18
Writers' Cafe / Re: Have You Posted to Your Blog Recently?
« on: January 15, 2020, 12:42:22 pm »
Just posted on "Where To Advertise (And Get) Free Audiobooks" - https://www.kevinhardmanauthor.com/where-to-advertise-and-get-free-audiobooks/

19
Writers' Cafe / Re: Author Beware: My ACX Nightmare with Amazon
« on: December 05, 2019, 05:44:23 am »
Hi Susan! I have tried to join this group, but more than a week later and I've heard nothing from them. Any insights? I said I am an author with a radio background who is planning to narrate my own audiobooks.

Sorry for being slightly off topic...

I believe that FB page is run by Jeffrey Kafer, who frequents KBoards quite a bit. You might try shooting him a PM.

20
Writers' Cafe / Re: Author Beware: My ACX Nightmare with Amazon
« on: November 14, 2019, 01:03:12 pm »
A narrator who is doing a 50/50 share with an author gets codes.


All narrators get codes, even those hired PFH.

21
Writers' Cafe / Re: US vs UK ACX Promo Codes
« on: November 03, 2019, 08:03:56 am »
ACX provides one set of promo codes for the US and one for the UK, with two different sites for redeeming them, respectively.


If someone lives in neither the US or the UK, which site would they need to use?

It depends on whether they have an Audible US or Audible UK account.  There don't seem to be any geographic restrictions on which you can have (for instance, you can seemingly live in Spain and have an Audible US account), but US and UK codes are only going to work for their respective Audible store. In short, the account you have - US or UK - dictates what code/site you use, not your location.  And if you have an account for another country, for example Audible France, you're just out of luck.  (On a side note, I believe Audible will try to automatically direct you to the store for your geographic region, but that's easy enough to deal with.)

22
Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS now allowed in Uk and Germany
« on: October 07, 2019, 03:57:44 am »
My average bid was much lower in the UK.

This was the first thing I noticed.  Sadly, my next thought was "That's not gonna last long..." 

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Have You Posted to Your Blog Recently?
« on: October 07, 2019, 03:51:35 am »
I posted about books I'm giving away for free:  https://www.kevinhardmanauthor.com/im-giving-away-free-books/

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Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS now allowed in Uk and Germany
« on: October 04, 2019, 05:14:25 am »
There's no ad copy allowed on the UK and DE.

You can do it now.  I set up ads in the UK yesterday - can't get Germany to work, though. Teufel noch mal!

25
Writers' Cafe / Re: AMS now allowed in Uk and Germany
« on: October 04, 2019, 02:59:42 am »
I'm confused. I've been using AMS in the UK for over a year. Is this because I am in the UK? Is it new for U.S?

It's new for the U.S.  I think there was a work-around at one point, but Amazon threw up a roadblock to that.  (My recollection is that when I called about it they basically told me to be patient.)


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