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Messages - Usedtoposthere

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6176
Writers' Cafe / Re: Stopping a Select promo
« on: December 02, 2013, 07:16:13 pm »
I'm probably wrong with this, but what I understand is:

1) You're better off leaving the freebie promo at #15 than #150, no matter how many downloads or how long that took.

2) While your book is free, it's not racking up paid sales. So coming out of free after two days is going to get you back into paid at a better ranking than if your title sat idle for five days. Once your title is down in the 500k's the only way to regain visibility is by hoping for existing readers to find it or by doing more ads.

Then again, these things seem to change by the day, so what do I know ?  ;D

Ah, gotcha. Wouldn't seem to apply so much if you have a series, or related books--even though the promo'd book will be lower, it'll still be visible, because it's Book 1 or Book 2 or whatever, if people are reading the others. But thanks so much for the explanation.

6177
Writers' Cafe / Re: Women's Fiction vs Contemporary Romance
« on: December 02, 2013, 07:00:45 pm »
I hate categories.
Me too! I always put my books (other than the Suspense ones) into both Women's Fic and Contemp Rom on Amazon. I think of them as a mashup. I put the romance in there to make the personal growth more fun to read about. :) I don't really like Women's Fiction lots of the time, gets too draggy and issue-y (the Jodi Picoult thing, I will research this psychological deal and then make the characters act it out. Sorry, she's a good writer, but if you see what I mean.)

But romance can be, well, let's face it, boring too, if it's the same exact thing over & over. So I try to mush them up together. Sounds like you do too, which makes your book sound like a lot of fun to me.

Oh, and re your question, about whether romance readers would scorn it--the promo I just did, that BookBub ran as Contemp Romance--that one is a definite mashup. (Welcome to Paradise) Some romance readers said, meh, not enough of it was about the romance, and some women's fiction readers said, sniff, turned into a (insert scornful eye-roll) romance, but it got to #1 free and is still selling, so I think there's a definite mashup market out there!

6178
Writers' Cafe / Re: Women's Fiction vs Contemporary Romance
« on: December 02, 2013, 06:49:13 pm »
Sounds like a romance to me too, but I've had BookBub mentions on both lists, and both have worked just fine. I'd apply under Contemp Romance, but tell them that if they don't have a spot there, Women's Fiction would work too. That's what I do.

Sounds interesting. Good luck.

6179
Writers' Cafe / Re: Stopping a Select promo
« on: December 02, 2013, 06:44:58 pm »
My current freebie promo was scheduled to run Dec 1 to Dec 3 but I think I might want to end it today, as downloads have slowed quite a bit.
When I go into manage my promotions, the option there is just “Stop”.
I think it's still wise to "go out at the top" but I'm not sure since the after-promo bump seems to be a thing of the past.

Soooo, does that "stop" link mean clicking on this will stop the promo right then, or at the end of the day, or whenever Amazon gets around to it?

Can I just say, I've never understood the thing about stopping a promo when you're doing well (or even when it's dying down). It's so much work to get momentum, why not ride it out? What is the benefit in stopping? I mean, if it takes me the first day to get into the teens, and then I get to Day 4 and I'm at #6, why cut it off then? If I used my other 2 days another time, it'd take almost all that just to get up near where I already was. Which would seem to be true even if you didn't get quite that high--surely you climbed, why not ride that?

I ask this in genuine puzzlement, wanting to know if I'm missing something. I've done really well with Select promos--have got to #1 three times, with three different books, over the past year, had about 350,000 books downloaded, and it's been really helpful in terms of sales. And it's true that you get much less visibility now post-promo than you did back in September 2012 when I did my first one.

BUT I just wanted to share that, this latest time, for some reason I DID get a huge post-promo bump on the free book, which hadn't been happening since my January 2013 promo. It got all the way into the 700's post-promo (and had been by far my lowest-selling, ranked around 11,000 right before the promo, had never been higher than a brief foray into the 2,000's). Has stayed somewhere around the 1,000 mark for almost a month since the promo, which is really good in my recent experience. So, something can still happen (not sure what) that gives you a bump on the promo book. Word of mouth, I guess.

And, of course, the other books all got a big bump too, the thing I was counting on, as that's always been true.

I've run all my promos for the full 5 days, since the first one. Mostly to take advantage of momentum, especially now when you have to pay to get the coverage for them to be successful. I'm not saying doing shorter ones is wrong. Probably it's partly just laziness on my part, like to run them and forget them, and I also like to schedule them around new-book time, so about every 3 months, and of course, I don't promo every book (have only done 3 of them), so every 3 months is about the max.

Anyway, if somebody can answer that, the logic behind stopping early, I'd really be interested.

6180
Writers' Cafe / Re: Self-Publishing vs Traditional
« on: December 02, 2013, 06:27:26 pm »
Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who's posted on this. It's super interesting, been great to read. For me, it's reminded me that I'm glad I did it this way, and made me realize that I'd just as soon continue this way. I like the full control, and I don't do that much marketing, so that part isn't a burden. I mean, I'd still be doing the social media & website however I was published, getting my new cover from my designer is my very favorite moment in the process, and I used to write marketing copy for a living, so blurbs are fun too. So that leaves . . . what? Wanting to see my books in Walgreen's, yeah. I write the kind of books that are perfect for Walgreen's. Hey, I'm not proud. :) But other than that, not too much, and I can live without that.

But IF the subject should ever come up (ha), I feel much better prepared to consider it. Thanks again.

6181
Writers' Cafe / Re: December 2013 sales thread
« on: December 02, 2013, 06:55:13 am »
Interesting, Rosalind. I always wonder about authors selling in other territories. I'm a US-based author and my books are only available in English. Do others release their books in multiple languages? Or are there sales in other territories of books published in English? I get a few sales in Canada and the UK, but that's about it.
I don't release in multiple languages--I wish! I don't think many indies have the resources for that kind of expert translation. I do sell a lot in Germany, but that's because so many Germans speak such good English. Otherwise, I sell small numbers in the other non-English-speaking stores. (Except Mexico. They hate me. Sniff.)

6182
My contemp romance/r suspense books are 93K-117K. Mine are "series" books, but only in the sense that each book is in the same "world," and the characters from previous books make occasional cameos.

I sure wouldn't split it, not unless it was written to be split, as others have said. To me, it just looks like greed, and I've read quite a few reviews of series like that in which readers have complained. Although they still buy, if they like the story enough, but the goodwill of your readers matters a LOT in romance, I think. People want to think that you are a good person, if that makes sense, especially as an indie. In some ways, when you market in romance, you are "selling" your personality. And to me, doing something like splitting up your book and ending in a cliffhanger to make people end up paying $6 or whatever instead of $4 messes with that. I'd price at $3.99 and market it.

My 2 cents. It's sure worked for some people, though, so I don't think you're "wrong" either way, as long as you do it skillfully.

6183
Writers' Cafe / Re: December 2013 sales thread
« on: December 02, 2013, 06:07:38 am »
Coolest thing so far this month has been Australia. I've always thought I sold well there, but no way to tell except that 35% royalty! Since the new store opened, I can see. 7 sales there so far this month--by way of comparison, 8 in Germany which has always been my third-biggest market.

Of course, that is one on every book--probably one person, LOL, and now that they've bought them all, they're done! But I did well there last month, too--I think it could end up surpassing DE. (Five of my books are set in New Zealand, with occasional forays into Australia, but interestingly, the big sellers since the store opened have been my U.S. books. And by "big" I mean "10"!)

6184
I don't have a quota, but I know how many words I typically write, and how it varies according to where I am in the book. I work to a self-imposed deadline of about 6 weeks. I go a lot faster at the end, because the story and the characters are so clear, much more slowly at the beginning when I'm feeling my way. Sex and action scenes take the most crafting and re-crafting, dialogue goes fast. I feel comfortable when I see that I'm doing what's "normal" for me at whatever stage.

6185
Writers' Cafe / Re: How many have you sold.
« on: December 01, 2013, 08:19:20 pm »
I love hearing people's success stories and how they did it. I've learned so much from coming here and soaking up all the info people so generously share.

So, how did you do it? What has worked well for you? What were your early months like, compared to now? Is there anything you'd do differently? ;D


OK, here's mine. Still haven't cracked the big numbers, but doing well. 143,000 so far, since September 2012.

Put up 3 books to start (because I write fast, wrote them in 9 months, and I was planning to go the trad publishing route. Ha ha ha. Needless to say, nobody wanted me, decided to publish myself before I had 4 unwanted books!)
Week 1: sold 40 books.
Week 2/Months 1-4: Tried the KDP Select "free days" thing with 3 days. Gave away abt 14,000 books and sold 2,000 books that month; continued at about that level for first 4 months. Another free offer at Thanksgiving got me about 32,000 downloads; Book 4 out in December.

Month 5: Tipping point. Did 2 things: put Book 1 on a 5-day free promo from Jan. 1-5, and kept it at 99 cents after promo. BookBub picked it up unbeknownst to me, #1 in the free store, 92,000 downloads. Then, at 99 cents, it sold 10,000 more copies, got to #85 overall on Amazon, and the other books started selling big (for me) too, 20,000 sales in January overall.

Since then: up & down, from about 8,000-17,500 sales/month. When sales have lagged, I've done another promo and they've always worked. Otherwise, have done book tours on all the books. Have done some ads but I stopped, other than promoting my promos, because they don't seem to do that much. I put out a new book every 3-4 months, and that's helped too.

I don't do much marketing, other than keeping up my website, posting on Facebook & Twitter, and the above. Trying my first Countdown 99-cent promo later this month. I do wonder about staying in Select, but the promos have worked so well, as recently as a month ago, I'm hesitant to change.

Really, I think it was "Escape to New Zealand" that got me off the ground, plus the promos and starting with 3 books. It's funny, because "New Zealand rugby" was why the biggest agent I managed to interest eventually turned me down. "Not a good hook." But, hey, she was in good company. EVERYBODY turned me down. I had absolutely no reason to think that I would succeed.

So that's my story. I hope it is helpful and encouraging. I certainly don't think I write better than anybody else or that there's anything earth-shattering about my books. They're entertaining, I hope. I hope I do that well and that I'm getting better. But I really can't account for it beyond "luck."

6186
Writers' Cafe / Re: How many have you sold.
« on: December 01, 2013, 07:44:57 pm »
Can I ask a question? Is it OK if somebody has been lucky, to share their numbers and how they account for it (besides "magic"?) I am so often hesitant. On the one hand, around August 2012 when I was first planning to publish and reading up, it seemed like all I read was, "it doesn't work, you'll be lucky to sell 100," etc., and I almost gave up before I started, thinking it was pointless.

But then, does it just seem like bragging? Or is it helpful to hear what somebody did that magically DID work? Is it encouraging, or discouraging? Or both?

(And my name isn't Colleen Hoover, I'm not talking about that level, just about doing a lot better than you thought you would.)


6187
Here are mine:
1) Standing desk
2) Needing to walk or run in order to have book thoughts. My mind works a whole lot better if I'm moving, and it's much better outside. I combine it with buying a cup of to-go coffee that I can drink halfway through as a motivator. Or I drive to a regional park where I can really walk and see the sky and the dog can be off-leash. Great book thoughts there.
3) Dog (even an outdoor dog needs to be walked. They don't run around in circles outside by themselves, unless they're a working dog.) That really helps with both the motivation to walk or run, and the structure in the day.
4) Software to keep me from wasting time on the Internet. I use Antisocial. Best $10 I ever spent! That really cuts down on my sitting time.
5) Once I really start writing, I don't eat. I lost 7 lbs writing the last book. I gain weight back between books, but I'm still 30+ lbs lighter than 2 years ago, when I started writing. Because I'd rather write than eat. But that one's just a lucky break. Believe me, I'd rather eat (esp. chocolate) than do most things.

6188
Writers' Cafe / Re: Why you should raise your prices
« on: December 01, 2013, 12:43:33 pm »
Just wanted to share something--

I have a book that is #22 in Romantic Suspense right now (hugs self while doing happy dance, which looks pretty stupid). I was curious just now and checked. Know how many of the Top 100 bestselling books in the Kindle store in Romantic Suspense cost over $3.99? 18.

Yep, 18% of the top 100 Rom Suspense books are priced over $3.99. Most of those are $4.99, and almost all by hugely bestselling indie authors who can get $4.99 and still sell big. (Barbara Freethy et al.)

And if you price over $5.99 and want to be on the bestseller list? You can do that. If your name is Nora Roberts.

On the other hand, I suspect the Science Fiction bestseller list, the Nonfiction bestseller list, the Contemporary Fiction bestseller list look completely different. In pricing, genre is king.

6189
Writers' Cafe / Re: Anyone done a free run lately?
« on: December 01, 2013, 12:18:46 pm »
"Free" (assuming on KDP Select) used to give you a post-promo bounce as the formerly-free book would show up on "also-bought" lists.
Now, from what I can tell, that doesn't happen. Your book only shows on the "also-bought" lists of other free or formerly free books (often, not even books in your genre). I don't know about the list you mention as I confess I haven't paid attention to that.

But I do know that the "lists," at least the bestseller ones, are completely separate--paid vs. free. So your free book will drop waaaay down in the "paid" list after its run (since it hasn't sold any paid copies during those past days).

Looks like you have one full-length book and one short story up there. This is the kind of situation where, it seems to me, "free" has limited value given those algorithm changes.

I say this as someone who's mainly relied on the occasional free book as my primary marketing strategy, and for whom it's worked very well--but, in the past 8 months or so, most times to sell my other books, not the formerly free book. (This latest time being an exception--the formerly free book, "Welcome to Paradise," got a big post-promo bounce and is still doing great. But that hasn't been the case in my free promos from about April on. And I had a whole heck of a lot of downloads every time. About 72,000 downloads for my July promo, and no post-promo bounce on THAT book, although a great bounce on the others.)

Hope that helps. Best of luck with your book.

6190
Writers' Cafe / Re: December 2013 sales thread
« on: December 01, 2013, 07:17:41 am »
I had one of those "aha" moments last night when I told my husband, "I don't have to look at reviews anymore, or sales. I've surpassed my initial very modest dream of where I could be that would allow me to keep writing, so I don't have to look for a "real job." Everything now is gravy, and I can just do it because I love it." Which is always easier to feel when the new book is, at last, firmly entrenched in my head and flowing out onto the page, and I'm remembering how much I love this.

I never expected to make good money at this. I quit the day job because it was all I wanted to do, and it's still all I want to do. I don't need to suck the joy out of it by worrying I'm not good enough, or that somebody thought there was too much sex, or whatever. That is my dream for December, that I can do that.

Of course, the pep talk will last 24 hours if I'm lucky, but I do have these flashes that remind me, and they're getting more frequent. Because sales dip. They just do. I had a great November after a pretty lousy Sept./Oct. (my fault; I didn't promote). I'm expecting Dec. to be quite a bit lower, but then I have a sale/BookBub ad between Xmas & New Year's, and last year, January was my biggest month. Since that's set up, I can RELAX and write the new book and ENJOY IT.

Repeat 10, 100, 1,000 times to myself!

6191
Writers' Cafe / Re: Plot Driven vs Character Driven.
« on: November 30, 2013, 03:38:47 pm »
Because threads like this go on and on beyond the point of useful, productive discussion due to THIS syndrome:


That is funny! Personally, I always admire people who do plot well. I love to read it (thrillers, esp.), just can't write it!

6192
My grandmother had her book on that list back in 1997. I don't know how many copies the University of Mississippi Press sold, but let's just say she didn't die a wealthy woman. (She was over 90 when it was published, and she was just thrilled to GET it published.)

So, yeah. It's an honor that you get to console you for your lack of sales. :) (I apologize to any megaselling lit fiction superstar on the list. But I'll bet I'm mostly right.)

If you're curious, Clarice T. Campbell, "Civil Rights Chronicle: Letters From the South." It was probably out of print within a year after it was put on the list! I just looked, 3-million-something in the Amazon store. It's a good book, though.
http://www.amazon.com/Civil-Rights-Chronicle-Letters-South/dp/0878059539

I like to think that she wouldn't have been embarrassed by what I do. She was a history professor and encouraged my voracious reading of historical fiction (think Jean Plaidy) when I was a teenager. She said that's what turned her on to history in the first place, and that she thought people learned just as much from reading fiction as nonfiction, because the story helped the history stick in their brains.

6193
Writers' Cafe / Re: How Many Amazon Sales Sites Do You Get?
« on: November 30, 2013, 01:17:42 pm »
This made me laugh today. I found out that one of my books is #307 on the AU site!
With 10 sales!
LOL.
If I get 12, maybe I'll be on the bestseller list!
I'm sure it'll start moving more, as CA has, once people start migrating over from .com. But I thought it was funny.
I've sold everyplace but .mx this month. I think I MAY have sold a book there once. Pretty sure I've never been paid from there. Oddly, I do sell in Brazil.

OTOH, I've sold almost as many ebooks in the AU store as I have paperbacks all over the world. I cannot sell paperbacks to save my life. I still think they're good to have, but they're not paying any bills. 37! We're goin' to Disneyland, baby!

6194
Writers' Cafe / Re: Plot Driven vs Character Driven.
« on: November 30, 2013, 08:34:33 am »
Characters, including secondary ones. I've been trying to get better at plot and I hope I am, but in romance, it's really about the characters anyway. Luckily.

6195
Writers' Cafe / Re: November sales thread
« on: November 29, 2013, 04:37:45 pm »
I think I'm doing everything wrong.

Gosh, I've seen your stuff all over the place. I recognize your books, and I hardly recognize anything, LOL. I expected when I started out that things would follow a fairly steady upward trend, that once I got some momentum and people started knowing who I was, it would get better and better, but that hasn't been the case. It's been very up & down. October was half of August and I was really depressed about it. That's why November has been such a relief.

You don't know what will put you over the hump. Your covers and blurbs are fantastic, and it sure looks like you've got some loyal readers. Keep going. Wishing you the best.

6196
Writers' Cafe / Re: November sales thread
« on: November 29, 2013, 03:53:32 pm »
Almost 17k, which will make it my second-best month in units. I'd hoped for it to be the best, started out with a bang with a free promo (and a new book in the middle of October), but it's slowed quite a bit. It'll be by far the best in dollars, though, which is great.

I've scheduled my first-ever Countdown promo for between Christmas and New Year's, got a BookBub ad, and I'm really interested to see how that works. I've kept doing the occasional free promo as that continues to work well, but I want to have more than one string to the bow, time to see if this will work. Working on a new book that should be out in mid-to-late January, so hopefully between the promo and that, January will be good, not expecting too much of December.

Best thing for me has been the HUGE sigh of relief for my second series taking off (between the free promo of Book 1 and the release of Book 2). I was so worried that people would only buy me for New Zealand books, and didn't want to be stuck, feeling like I had to write the same kind of book over and over. Release of my first book in the new series in April wasn't too spectacular, fed my fears. Now I have a lot more confidence that I can keep going where the muse takes me--which is a huge relief. Though I'm still planning to write another NZ book after the WIP is done. Partly because I have to go back to NZ to do it. Such a good excuse.  ;)

6197
Writers' Cafe / Re: A comment from a serial returner
« on: November 29, 2013, 01:47:27 pm »
When I first got returns, man, was I upset! "They hate me!" When I checked my numbers, I had to move the scroll bar to the right so I couldn't see the offending column. Now I can see it's a fairly consistent rate, about 1.2% for me, a little higher sometimes, and I just ignore it. It's higher on whichever book is attracting new readers, I assume as some people find they, yep, hate me.

I just try not to worry about stuff I can't control, like this one. Amazon will do what's in its interests, and I can't change that.

Now excuse me, I have to go back to worrying that this new book I'm writing stinks and nobody will like it. Whoops, something else I can't control. Oh well, this thing's a journey, and I'm not there yet.

6198
Writers' Cafe / Re: Why you should raise your prices
« on: November 29, 2013, 10:55:06 am »
Absolutely agree and that's what I'm doing with my new release next week. RE high-to-low it's a pretty bad deal for loyal readers - http://dearauthor.com/features/letters-of-opinion/why-i-think-price-promotions-backfire/
Terrific article. Thanks for sharing.

Oh, just an added note since you're going to do it: I put at the very start of the description, in bold, something like:
Three days only: 99 cents! Price returns to $3.99 after opening weekend.
And then counted down each day: two days only, final day, final hours. Since I can't show a "regular price" on Amazon. I think it helped.

6199
Writers' Cafe / Re: Why you should raise your prices
« on: November 29, 2013, 10:47:29 am »

I've heard from a few authors who release their new books at .99 for just a few days, as a thank you to loyal fans and family and then put it to 2.99 or 3.99 after that. I kind of like that idea.  
Hey, I did this with the latest book! I'd seen someone else do it once, and I thought, hmm, that's an interesting strategy. I thought it would be, just as you say, a nice way to say "thanks" to the wonderful people who buy right away, and also (I confess) that it might induce more people TO buy right away, move the book up the charts, and give it some extra visibility. Worked great. Sold about 600 copies on those first 99-cent days and has been my strongest performer out of the gate ever since. (It's been $3.99 since that intro.)

As you say, pricing high at first and then lowering seems like the opposite: an insult to your most loyal readers. I'm not Grisham, and I really need those folks!

(I also let people know via Facebook & Twitter if I'm going to have a promotion, well in advance, so if they were planning to buy & read that book, they can hold off. For example, with that latest book, I knew I was going to do a free promo on Book 1 in the series, so I told people about it weeks in advance, in case they'd been waiting to read Book 1 until Book 2 was out. A few people waited, most went ahead and read Book 1 first to "get ready" for Book 2, but I think they appreciated that I told them. It let them know that I respect that they have book-buying budgets, and it's not just about me putting money in my pocket. Which I think is good business practice too. I've been surprised by how many readers now want some kind of personal sense of an author, some sort of personal relationship, if only via social media. And I figure, since I write feel-good stuff, it's better to come across as a feel-good sort of person. Of course, in actuality . . . mwah ha ha ha.)

6200
Writers' Cafe / Re: Why you should raise your prices
« on: November 29, 2013, 10:42:39 am »
Lastly, you don't have to agree with me to be my friend.
That's really nice, Marti. Thanks. Let me say again that I wasn't suggesting you were advocating price-fixing. This is exactly the kind of market where it would be most ineffective. I think the phrase "herding cats" would be apropos here!

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