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Messages - DmGuay

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I'm wading into facebook ads for the first time right now, as well.
I'm using the book "Help! My facebook ads suck." as a guide. It's helpful and might answer some of your questions about testing, CPC, and ad evaluation.

If you write non-fiction that ties into a related, real world business a book could definitely help you. It could position you as an expert in your field, allow you to give it away for free as a mailing list builder for that business, and you could send it to journalists, who may then interview you when the topic of your book comes up in an article.

(Like if you're a financial planner by trade, and you publish a guide on some topic that is related and useful for your audience.)

Does it need to be on the Amazon store? No.
You would likely be better off putting it on the Web site or social media of that business.

Of course, all of this is assuming you have a real world business, and you posted this question looking for advice on creating a book for said business.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Retitling and Rebranding a Series Reloaded
« on: October 09, 2020, 07:44:55 am »
Titles aren't easy!
Spend some time looking around at the solid sellers in your genre. See if you can glean any insight / ideas for what readers expect from their titles and subtitles.
And when in doubt, keep it simple.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Retitling and Rebranding a Series Reloaded
« on: October 08, 2020, 05:43:54 am »
It's best to have a title and subtitle that accurately reflect the genre and tropes in your series. Whatever form that takes.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are any new indie authors breaking out anymore?
« on: October 06, 2020, 05:59:58 am »
Luck exists. You just deal with it. By concentrating on craft and marketing, you're loading the dice. Doesn't guarantee success (depending on how you personally define success) but at least you have a better shot at it.

Chance (i.e. luck) favors the prepared.

Prepared in publishing= good books, good covers, good blurb, good web site, good backlist, good craft, consistent releases, and a grasp of basic marketing skills. The only part we have control over? Prepared. So that is what we should do. Then we're ready if luck lightning strikes.

The 20books Youtube channel is public, if you want to see what it's all about before joining.

The mods have Wednesdays and Sundays off, so if you applied either of those days, you might have been lost in the shuffle.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are any new indie authors breaking out anymore?
« on: September 30, 2020, 05:17:44 pm »
He didn't doxx people. He advocated doxxing on his blog.

And I literally said you can look at threads and judge for yourself.

At the very least, David has been incredibly rude to me personally. He has tried to bully and intimidate me and many others who disagreed with him. And it's not even disagreements about ethics (though that does it too).

He called me a scammer for pointing out when his perception of Amazon rules did not align with reality.

He is awful. Go read his responses to any thread about bonus books and judge for yourself. If you don't think he's awful, good for you. But I will mention it when his name comes up unless I see some proof he's changed his ways.

I will be looking through the archives.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are any new indie authors breaking out anymore?
« on: September 30, 2020, 05:01:22 pm »
  That is Crystal's opinion, which she is entitled to.

 But not everyone has a problem with David.

 IMO, David was not doxing people.

 In the past he liked to keep up with all of KU scamming, and he was in favor of calling out the pen names of authors whom he believed were scamming. He never used private info that was not publicly available, as far as I remember.

 During the loooong heated threads of yesteryear, some posters disagreed with how David was handling the situation. While others had no problem and cheered him on. As he was providing a service to the Indie community, trying to make it fairer for us all.

Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

Thank you for the additional info.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are any new indie authors breaking out anymore?
« on: September 30, 2020, 03:44:26 pm »
David may have good advice. I read his Let's Get Visible book ages ago and it was helpful, but I can't recommend him in good faith. I won't get into it here, but if you look at Kboards threads where he's commented, you can judge his behavior for yourself. (The guy advocated doxxing people who's practices he disagreed with. And yeah, those people were terrible, but doesn't make it okay to harass them).

Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca

 :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o
I had no idea!
So disappointing.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are any new indie authors breaking out anymore?
« on: September 30, 2020, 05:40:31 am »
Crystal_: Thank you for stopping back to answer, that's helpful. I have more money in savings right now because my social life has been on pause for obvious reasons. Editing is non-negotiable, I know I can't read and analyze my work objectively. Covers are really important to me as a reader, so I want to invest in nice covers. That would leave some money for ads, but not much, like $5-10/day, a drop in the bucket that could stretch for 1-2 months and if I didn't gain momentum, I'd have to reevaluate.

I've seen you recommend Chris Fox books multiple times now, and you've convinced me. I'm gonna scoop them up and see what I can learn. I want to write books I care about but I also want to treat my writing as a business that might one day free me up from my actual job.

Shane: I don't have a business degree but that doesn't sound terrible. You'd have to have a high ceiling in your genre, which I'm pretty sure what I want to write doesn't, and you'd have to scale up from peanuts if you're in my situation, but that's still profitable, right? And with a big enough audience, lucrative.

DmGuay: Thank you for your insights. I'll check out David's book while I'm grabbing Chris's. I've already stumbled. I wrote three books that had ideas I love, but I executed them badly. I don't think they're publishable, and the part of me that wants to rewrite is probably the stubborn to the point of self destructive part, so I'm letting them die and moving on. I'm outlining this time around and hoping for a better result that can be fixed with editing, but I'm also expecting that I won't be successful anytime soon. Odds are not in anyone's favor, from what I've read here over the years. But I'd like to build something over time like you and others have. I consider what you describe as breaking out, even if it didn't happen overnight or over a single book.

$5 to $10 a day in ads is PLENTY. My AMS ads don't even spend that much, and I have about eight of them set to $10 or more a day. When you wade into ads, I suggest mastering one platform at a time. Otherwise, it's overwhelming. And, if you do one at a time, you know where the best traffic comes from. I recommend starting with AMS ads, especially if you are in Kindle Unlimited. Bryan Cohen has a free class that is super helpful. I learned some new tricks even though I'd been running reasonably successful ads. Here is the link if you're interested:

And as for breaking out. It's about building a career. Each book is a brick. You're building your castle one brick at a time. Every book is backlist, every book is an entry point into your work.

I can't speak about the books sitting in your drawer, but if they are yet to be published and can be saved by a serious revision, then go for it! It doesn't have to be right now. But hold onto them. You might want to circle back to them later. No words are ever wasted.

As for a timeline to success: This varies for everyone, obviously. It took me 3 years, some soul searching and a significant genre change. In my writing group, the biggest mistake is quitting too soon. I see very talented writers and storytellers bowing out because they're frustrated by the marketing part, and the learning curve, and think the low sales are because there is something wrong with THEM. Don't be that guy. Stick with it. Keep learning. The pieces will eventually click together.

And if you ever want links or pointed to resources or things that might help you, please DM me!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Blog Tours - still worth it?
« on: September 29, 2020, 03:35:09 pm »
No. They are not worth it.
I did one in 2017, and I don't anticipate they have gotten better. Most of the 'blogs' the book ended up on were just free sites people put up just to do these promos. No original content, no following. Just billboards on an untraveled road. Most also require a giveaway, which is an additional expense, and none of the followers I gained from that ever did anything. Low quality.

Let me add that blog tours used to be good for romance, in particular. But I think by 2017, the shine had worn off. I imagine it will be even worse now. Most readers hang out on social media now. Not as many are hitting up bloggers, unless that blogger has a huge following.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are any new indie authors breaking out anymore?
« on: September 29, 2020, 05:22:02 am »
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm reasonably certain Chris started the way most authors did: with a small handful of cash and a lot of sweat equity.

He took the money he earned from those books and put it back into the business.

That's how building a business works.

Almost no one is successful with literally no financial outlay, but publishing is one of the cheapest businesses you can start. For a few thousand dollars, you can put out four or five full length books, start a mailing list, create a website, promote book one enough to see readthrough.

That is so true!

And I'm not sure where the ad dollars figures for Chris Fox came from or if they are accurate. But either way. I can definitely see how the folks just starting out, looking up at the top of the indies from the very bottom can feel discouraged. Many of the books I have used to guide me through ads and launches use examples with absolutely enormous promotion budgets--well beyond anything I would or could spend on a launch. (Like, by 10x as much sometimes!)

It can be daunting. Does that mean that is the ONLY way to do it? Or the way you HAVE To do it? Hell No. There are many paths up the mountain, and starting small and reinvesting is the way most of us must go. You start with the resources of time and money that you have, and build over time. And be persistent. And keep writing and publishing and learning more skills and building a backlist. That's what a career is made of.

Another pitfall of the advice from high-level indie superstars: They spend big because they're trying to launch into the top 1000 of the Kindle store. In some circles, it is deemed the only spot where you can earn "real" money. I see that idea circulating in a lot of groups, but I disagree. If you stick in the 20k to 50k range in the kindle store, you can earn real, steady. money. You can spend a small to moderate budget to stay in that range.

Patty Jansen talks a lot about floating in this profitable middle spot, and I used her advice to guide my decisions, rather than the spend $$$$ to break out big.

So for the OP, yes, you can build a steady solid career. Lots of us are doing it. You don't need big bucks to do it, but you will need to invest in skills, write good, well-edited books, buy good covers (good doesn't necessarily mean the most expensive), build a mailing list/platform (I recommend David Gaughran's book Following for advice on this), and spend some money on advertising.

There are loads of us doing this every single day!

Caveat: You might stumble and fail out of the gate. There is a learning curve in this business. I made every mistake you can make with my first book. At the time, it was soul crushing, but in the long run, it was the best thing that could happen. Because I learned from those mistakes and launched bigger and better every single book after that. So you have to keep at it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are any new indie authors breaking out anymore?
« on: September 25, 2020, 11:27:36 am »
Yes. 20booksto50k is on facebook. It's worth joining just to be in that group. It's helped me immensely.
Kboards is nice, don't get me wrong, but whoever mentioned that authors have moved to private groups to discuss business and their numbers and strategies is on to something. Kboards is good to check in on, but it's a starting point. The deep dive information is often in the private facebook groups.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Are any new indie authors breaking out anymore?
« on: September 23, 2020, 01:14:52 pm »
Take a peek at the 20booksto50k Facebook Group. Many indie authors at all income levels helping each other out and sharing details. It might give you a more complete view of levels of success--and what it takes to get there--than this forum alone.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Current state of the horror genre
« on: September 23, 2020, 05:18:07 am »
It's not easy to get visibility in any genre.

You target the most appropriate and narrow categories available on Amazon that are appropriate for your specific book.

Most genres are ad-reliant these days, and that includes horror.

Amazon is built to churn books. This is part of the reason why writing a series is to your benefit. Later books help restore visibility to earlier books. Other retailers (going wide) tend to be more stable, but you still have to get the book in front of a lot of people to take advantage of the slower decline.

All of this. ^^
You will need a launch plan (an outline of how you will get eyes on your book)
You will need to set up some AMS ads.
You will need a good cover/blurb
And you will need a good book.

But you need all that for any genre.

The real question is: Is this the genre that speaks to your heart? Are you a horror fan in real life? Will you be happy writing in this genre for the foreseeable future, so you can build a career and a back catalog in the genre?

If yes, go for it. You can't ever go wrong writing for "your" people.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Current state of the horror genre
« on: September 20, 2020, 07:09:04 pm »
A market doesn't have to be romance-sized to make a living.
Smaller niche markets have hungry readers, too.

Horror has been great to me! JOIN US!!

Maybe because Florida has a population of about 21 million people, so it's the third most populated U.S. state?

I curious about these Louisville peeps. 10 per capita?? In Louisville?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Launch Burst or Pre-order? Which would you do?
« on: September 17, 2020, 05:54:14 am »
If it were ME, I would...

1. Release book 1 with a very strong launch plan. Ads in place, promotions booked, graphics for social media and sharing/swaps ready to go. ARCs sent.
2. Book 2 on preorder when book 1 launches, Link to preorder in book 1.

Set up the preorder for book 3, right before the launch of book 2. Links in back of book 2, obviously.
Rinse repeat through the series.

Once you get to book 4 or 5, boost the launch with a countdown deal: Book 1 free or 99 cents, and books 2-3 99 cents. (If you are in KU). Run promos to it.

The real question is, do you have an audience, or are you in a genre where you can get a large audience quickly. Rapid Release can work great. But it can also flop if you do not have an existing audience or a solid plan to get one. 

Writers' Cafe / Re: Where do all these ratings (not reviews) come from?
« on: September 14, 2020, 12:00:52 pm »
Alexa. She asks me to leave ratings on products and/or books every two weeks or so. I suspect if you agree to leave a rating once, you will be asked again. Since I started leaving ratings when Alexa asks me, I have also gotten emails asking for reviews/ratings more frequently than I used to. As an author, I love it. I am finally getting reviews/ratings and I don't have to do anything to get them. They have been overwhelmingly positive, although I have gotten a few low ratings.

Alexa? Crazy! I hadn't even thought of that!

Writers' Cafe / Re: What is Your Genre and Why did you Choose it?
« on: September 14, 2020, 09:36:57 am »
I write comedy fantasy/horror.

I started out writing YA UF/PNR. And honestly, I didn't love it. And I wasn't successful, at least not sales wise. I won some RWA awards and got good reviews, but sales were flat and my newsletter felt like a pulling-teeth chore. I never knew what to write. It was not a good genre for me, but I started there because I thought that's what I was 'supposed' to write to get trad pubbed, because it was popular and selling.

Mistake! I'm glad I pulled back and regrouped.

If you're planning to be in this as a career, for the long haul, do some soul searching about who you are, what kinds of stories you really really like to read/to watch on TV and in movies, etc. If you do that, chances are it will lead you to the genre that's a good match for your personality.

Once I switched to my current genre? Sales/career took off, and I knew exactly what to say to my fans/newsletter/social media because I *am* one of them. They are my people.

This kind of authenticity is good for your career and good for your soul. I mean, who wants to write stuff they don't love for years on end? Sure, you might end up in a genre where you don't *think* you'll make a zillion dollars, one that's gathering dust on Amazon. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. Because if you love it, and no one is writing in that genre, you can own the genre and make a living, even if it is small. Because there are people out there looking for that type of story and waiting for someone to give it to them.

That soul searching is how I ended up in my current genre. I highly recommend it, if you're having doubts about your direction! My two cents, for what it's worth.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Would you do an audiobook if in my shoes?
« on: September 11, 2020, 05:57:05 am »
Audiobooks do not cannibalize sales. They are for a completely different audience.

There are so many factors.
-Like, how much do you estimate an audiobook would cost to produce?
-How will you promote it? (Promoting audio is a different animal.)
-If you're in nonfiction, are you also earning money in some other way related to the topic of this book? Like courses, etc., and would the audiobook bring in clients?

Overall, the consensus is audiobooks aren't worth it unless your book is selling steadily and really well.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Where do all these ratings (not reviews) come from?
« on: September 11, 2020, 05:53:55 am »
On your Kindle (mine at least) as soon as you hit "The End" on a book, a window pops up where you can leave a rating.
I believe this is responsible for the uptick.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
« on: September 08, 2020, 10:04:28 am »
That was all very useful thank you, especially to DmGuay!

Aw, thanks.
I remember all too well how overwhelming the process was at the very beginning. I didn't know how much I didn't know. And I made all the mistakes you can make. If I can save someone else the trouble...

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