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Messages - DmGuay

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Writers' Cafe / Re: At what point do you stop amazon advertising on a book?
« on: February 18, 2020, 05:16:07 am »
(if in KU .... if not in KU, kill that crap fast).

So much this ^^^
I'm sure some people out there can do it, but I find it hard to profit from AMS ads if the book is not in KU.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Calling all Comedy writers!
« on: February 18, 2020, 05:09:46 am »
Awesome. Thanks!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Help with a title for a zombie story.
« on: January 27, 2020, 05:41:17 am »
Here's what comes up on the Amazon page when I search Zombie Apocalypse Fiction.
Here's where you want to be. On this search page for readers, so follow the cues of the books who made it here, as far as titles and subtitles. Remember, the Zon algo will reward you if you have Zombie, dead and apocalypse somewhere in your title or subtitle.
Good luck!

Here are the books that appear when searching for Zombie fiction in the kindle store:

Yes. You are overthinking it.
Forget about Patreon. That's advanced level stuff.
Yes. People make money with 35k to 50k word books!

First, you need to:
Read books similar to what you are planning to write.
Write the book.
Ask for advice on a cover artist and design.
Edit the book.
Ask for advice on how to format it (hint: Use Draft2Digital. It's free.)
Read up on how to write a blurb.
Come up with a basic launch plan (social media announcement, AMS ads.)
Upload the book to Amazon.
Write your next book.

Take the time to read about self publishing. Poke around on the forums. Take notes. Learn.
Books that helped me:
Supercharge Your Kindle Sales
Self Publishing Unboxed (Patty Jensen)
Chris Fox Write to Market Launch to Market
Newsletter Ninja
Strangers to Superfans

If this is your first book, read books on the craft of writing. Character, setting, story arcs, all of it. Lots of good stuff out there.
Remember: Your author name is also your author brand. You can write standalones if people know what kind of reading experience they are going to get when they open one of your books.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What Moments Do You Love About Writing?
« on: January 25, 2020, 07:54:09 am »
I love when it's finished, I put it away for a while, then open it up and think. "Holy cow. I wrote this?"

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon ads for 3.8 stars book
« on: January 20, 2020, 08:25:43 am »
There are confidence intervals and fancy statistics type stuff to keep in mind with advertising. I'm not an expert, but long story short, it's usually a bad idea to generalise based on small data sets - e.g. sales per a small number of clicks. Maybe you only get 6 sales out of your first 100 clicks, say, but that might eventually hit a 1:10 sales:clicks ratio over a few thousand clicks. Of course, the further you are from your target ratio, the sooner you can infer a problem. If you are at 1:70.. yes, that might be enough to say that something is amiss.

I haven't used the Amazon ads, so I don't know what is typical for those. But in general, here are some things to consider:

1. Targeting - Are you targeting your ads based on authors/books that are in KU, but you book is not? That is maybe (probably) a bad idea. People clicking your ad might mostly be KU subscribers who are looking for their next book to borrow, and if they can't borrow yours, most will likely move along. Solution: Put your book in KU or target authors/books that are not in KU.

2. Targeting (v2) - Is your book sufficiently similar to the authors/books you are targeting? You mentioned that you are targeting popular Romance titles. Targeting popular books can be good from a volume perspective (more potential readers to match), but it might not be good for sales if your book isn't sufficiently similar to those books. Solution: Target authors/books that are a closer match to yours.

3. Cover/blurb - You said they are good. People are sometimes mistaken about that. If none of the targeting issues apply, I'd look here next. You can have a great cover, blurb, and all that, but if you're bringing in the wrong sort of readers via targeting it won't matter. But if you are getting the right sorts of eyes on the sales page and they aren't buying, there's a good chance that something here is wrong. The book title (or even author name, if it's like.. Dude McManly for a sweet Romance book) could also be issues. Solution: Get some opinions from unbiased parties first to see if this is it, and then fix if appropriate.

4. Book Concept - This should probably go higher up, but.. it's possible that the basic concept behind a book simply isn't that appealing. Like if your story is about a woman falling in love with a lazy, unemployed alcoholic (I'm assuming this isn't what's hot in Romance right now, but I could be wrong), readers might just not be interested, even if the cover and blurb are otherwise good. Solution: Well.. new book I guess.

5. Writing - I put this at the bottom, because some people buy a book without reading any of the Look Inside portion at all. My assumption is that this is much more common for people who borrow the book through KU (since they aren't out anything if they end up not liking it) vs. those who actually purchase. But it can definitely be an issue. Solution: Make sure the first few pages of your book are amazing. Obviously the writing itself should be good, but it also needs to start at an interesting point of the story, etc.

ALL of this ^^^

I will also add, as a new release running AMS ads. It's hard to get Amazon to serve your ad in any useful amount if you're a new  author for a new release. I only got over this bump when I paired one to two weeks of Bookbub ads with AMS.  I suspect the outside traffic/sales generated by the Bookbub ads kicked AMS into gear because Amazon thought "hmmm...this book is popular, we should start serving the ads."

Your mileage may vary, but this worked on my new series.

ALSO.... I have a backlist series that will not sell no matter what ads and promotions I throw at it. It's just not grabbing readers, despite having very high and good reviews. Sometimes, a book just doesn't have it. It's probably too early to tell that from your book yet, but if in a year? It might just not be the right book at the right time.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Thoughts on Novellas as Alternative Advertising
« on: January 17, 2020, 12:21:01 pm »
My new series has 1 full length (75k) novel and 1 (35k) Christmas  novella. The novella was well received and no one complained that it was shorter. They genuinely seemed happy to have a new story with the same characters.

I opted to do the Xmas novella because I knew book 2 wouldn't be ready by the 60 day cliff, I had an idea for a Xmas story that could be ready by that date, and I wanted to stay visible. It has succeeded in all of these.

I too am slow in that I revise and redo a lot as I move through. I don't hit massive word counts each day, but the bonus of that is a well developed story with few holes to fill in and overall good grammar.

I plan to continue releasing full books in the main series as well as extra novellas. Now, when I create series pages on Amazon, I will have two pages. One for the main series of all full-length novels, and one for the novellas.

Caution: I do not ever plan to --and would not recommend--alternating full length and novella as numbered installments in the same series. (i.e. book 1 is 75k, book 2 is 35k.) That messes with reader expectations. I am handling mine as two separate complimentary series. One main with full length, and then the separate series of novellas for fans.

Hi all!

I have set up a month-long Valentine's themed sale for romance box sets in February.

If you'd like to be included, the box set must be on sale (preferably $4 or less) for the entire month of February.

This is a promo for romance box sets or stories with a very strong romance subplot. It must have a strong fantasy or supernatural element as well.

Preference given to paranormal romance, fantasy and urban fantasy. There's no minimum newsletter size, however, everyone is required to share  in their newsletters and social media at least once during the promotion. No erotica please.

Writers' Cafe / Re: PreOrder or Not to PreOrder?
« on: January 04, 2020, 08:32:13 am »
Another thing of note is that Amazon does lend some natural ranking juice to new books, which the consensus seems to be that it drops off after about 30 days. Could that be what you're referring to, perhaps?
it was technically a new book when it was zigzagging up and down as a preorder, so I'm not convinced that's it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: PreOrder or Not to PreOrder?
« on: January 03, 2020, 08:40:22 pm »
I looked back at my numbers and I'm convinced you get some sort of rank boost on release day. All of my preorders (10) hit on the launch day (with the arrow). I had NO SALES the next two days, yet my rank bumped and starting going up. If I didn't get any credits for the preorders, I suspect my rank would have tanked.

Writers' Cafe / Re: PreOrder or Not to PreOrder?
« on: January 03, 2020, 07:37:34 pm »
This is great experience to learn from. Thanks for this! I wonder if the non-pre-order new release pop is greater the more books an author has out? Therefore more of a following to be eagerly awaiting that sudden drop? Maybe size of the back catalog is a factor.

Existing fan base might play a big factor here on release day rank. I don't have one so I can't say!
I also think Amazon gives you some credit for all of your preorders on launch day. This is a guess, but I didn't sell that many on launch day and my rank went up a lot.

Here is my graph for sales rank for my preorder. I don't think it hurt at all in the long run. Honestly, the hot new release listing in my category put me in front of new audiences, and I think that was a big boost.

Writers' Cafe / Re: PreOrder or Not to PreOrder?
« on: January 03, 2020, 09:24:07 am »
I just waded into the preorder pool recently.

Here is my experience:

Book 1 (Graveyard Shift). This was a new series, in a new genre, with no existing fan base for me. I set up a 10-day preorder, just so I could get the product page and paperback page (And link them) in order, get the Goodreads engine moving, and so I could have a link to share to social media and for promotions and ARC reviewers.  I expected nothing, but got 10 preorders.

I set up a preorder for Hell for the Holidays, a 35k Christmas novella within the same universe and characters, on Nov. 16 for a Dec. 20 release. Book 1 was going better than I anticipated. I wanted to give readers something else to keep them engaged while I worked on the official Book 2. And, I knew it would pop up in the recommendations at the end of my book 1 on their Kindles. Pros: Netted 58 orders. (NO promo, all organic, and way more than I dreamed of.) I also had the links to share, etc.

The pros:
1. With a 30 day preorder, you can land on the hot new release list longer. For up to 30 days during your preorder, PLUS another 30 days after release, so your visibility in your category is TWICE as long. This is awesome free advertising.
2. Amazon sends a preorder email to your author page followers. AND another email when the book releases. So two emails instead of one. Also free advertising.
3. Your preorder pops up at the end of your Kindle book (as in, more by this author...) automatically. Bonus.

1. Not as much pop on day one as far as rank.

My Takeaway?

1. With all the other visibility via hot new release lists and Amazon emails? I'm convinced a preorder (no more than 30 days) is a better deal. Sure, the release day rank isn't as high, but that hasn't dragged either of my titles down in the long term. They're cruising along at a steady altitude.

2. I'd rather capture the sale when people are thinking about me and my books than wait and hope they remember to circle back at some point after launch day to grab it.  Bird in the hand, so to speak. With a preorder, you get them when they are thinking about you.

I've never done a really long preorder, so I can't speak to that. My longest was about a month.

Also, these folks that set a preorder without having a book written? I don't know how they do it. I learned with my novella that for my emotional health, I need to have a book that is nearly ready before I put up the preorder.


It's only a matter of time before he is sued.

I'm sure this is totally doable, if that's the way you want to manage your career. If it calls to you, it couldn't hurt to try.

I personally couldn't. I can't produce that much. And, I produce better work when my heart is all the way in it, trend or not.

I.e. my career and sales are FINALLY on track, because I stopped writing what I thought the market wanted (UF), and started writing in a genre and style that matched my personality (horror comedy).

But, the journey is different for everyone!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do you offer print versions of your books?
« on: December 30, 2019, 08:32:30 am »
I always do a print version. Some readers still prefer print, and it's good to give people options. Why lose a reader? Plus, people who liked one of my books and wanted to "gift" it to a friend, buy the paperback. (So they tell me)

Here is my quarter to date. I'm small potatoes, but I would have lost these sales without a print version:

However....if you have to pay someone to format and create your paperback? You'll have to consider the benefits more closely.
I'm lucky enough to be able to format my own print editions and turn my ebook covers into print wraparounds on my own.

Consider if your book is short, and the retail price is lower (4.99 to 6.99), the royalties will be very small (40 cents to $1?) but a regular length (75k) novel priced at 9.99 will net you the same royalty as a 2.99 ebook.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Writing Satire/Comedy
« on: December 19, 2019, 07:08:12 am »
I write comedy. I consider it horror comedy, but it also appeals to fantasy comedy fans, as well. There are comedy fans out there, including in sci fi and they are looking for new good fun stories!

(My horror comedy series is new, launched in October, and has been way more successful than my previous series in another genre.)

Write the story. Don't fret too much at the start about how to make the slapstick work. I find that as I'm writing, those details work themselves out.

Check out Christopher Moore, A Lee Martinez, Tom Robbins, Joseph Fink, Benjamin Wallace, Drew Hayes.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Goodreads strategy for a book launch?
« on: December 17, 2019, 11:21:45 am »
Well, I'm not sure most authors include Goodreads in their launch strategy.
As an author, it's best to steer clear of any self promotion there, as it can raise the ire of readers. It's a readers-first site.
Also, the giveaways now cost too much and produce too little return to make them feasible for indies.

BUT, you should
- set up and fill out your author profile, and definitely take the time to link it to your blog rss feed.
- Claim your book for your profile.

It's another place where people can find out about you and your books. So take advantage of it. It's a free billboard!

Your launch energy is better spent on Ads, ARC copies, your mailing list/ newsletter swaps etc.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Building Value of books
« on: December 06, 2019, 10:20:28 am »
People who get through the first chapters generally settle into it, but not enough do.

This tells you everything you need. Revise those first chapters.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Building Value of books
« on: December 06, 2019, 05:48:01 am »
I'm a prawn, so take me with a grain of salt. But, this is something I have thought a lot about. My first trilogy never gained traction despite cover changes and a lot of promo. I vowed to do better with my new series, and so far, it's working. In 2 months, book 1 of my new series has outsold all but the first book in my first trilogy (which has been out for 3 years.)

It isn't too late to boost your series.

What helped me?

Supercharge your kindle sales by Nick Stephenson. I WISH I had used these strategies the first time around. Takeway: It is essential for you to maximize your keywords, and use those keywords in your blurb and subtitle but not in a spammy way. This makes sure your book is showing up in search and on product pages and in Amazon emails directed at people who like the kind of book you have written. Know what kind of book you've written. Know the genre and who it's likely to appeal to. If your keywords aren't optimized, your promos don't have as much impact. You'll sink like a stone immediately after your promos end.

This article also helped me immensely.

Get your categories and keywords right, and make a list of similar books/authors

It's worth it to spend some time poking around on Amazon, exploring categories and making a list of books and authors similar to yours (as in, what other books are my readers likely reading?). (It'll help with your keyword blurb stuff ^^) This list of books/authors has been essential. It's helped me target both bookbub and amazon ad campaigns and populate my also boughts with relevant authors (essential, because you have to SHOW the Amazon algo who to sell your books to.)

Check to see what books you are linking to and who is linking back to you. This is useful information. And, here's a handy post about how to use it:

Start some sort of ad campaign. I wouldn't spend big bucks until your entire series is out. I also wouldn't do another free run until you have all your books out so you can profit from sell through. Also, don't expect quick results from that free run. It can take people months to read a free book, because they likely have a lot of them on their devices. I did a free run on my first trilogy book 1 last summer, and the book 2 and 3 sales are still trickling in.

Amazon Ads for Authors by DM Potter is a handy book, and it will teach you how to leverage your list of similar books and authors. I could  never get AMS to work for me, but for my new book, it's working. After one month of experimentation, my current ads are profitable. Thanks to this book.

I also read Bookbub Ads Expert by David Gaughran. I used 2 weeks of low-cost Bookbub ads (really, all I did was run the test ads, as outlined in the book) on a 99 cent run of book 1. The ads had some unintended benefits. I had sales from Bookbub, got some new Bookbub followers, AND the outside traffic kicked Amazon into gear. It gave me good also boughts, and Amazon magically started serving my AMS ads in ways it never did before (as in, giving me lots more impressions. And sales!)

Make sure your basics are in line
-Make sure your back matter is working for you. i.e. there's a link to the next book in series, and to your newsletter or other places they can follow you.
-If you think people are put off by any part of book one, well...Book 1 really needs to be the best it can be. Because if book 1 doesn't hook readers, it doesn't matter how good the rest of the series is because no one will read them. If you need to polish the beginning and rerelease book 1? Do it. Or else none of this other stuff ^^^ will matter.

Good luck!

Hi all.

We are running a 99 cent promotion running Dec. 26 to Dec. 31 for 99 cent ebooks that are are supernatural/paranormal/magical AND funny.

The humor and comedy should be a central part of your story.

We ask that you share to your mailing list (size doesn't matter, as long as you share), and to your social media accounts, and that your book be 99 cents during the promotion window. Thanks!

I think something isn't working there because my description corrections are saving, but not publishing.

Something at Author Central?

I must be missing something.

I have been using Book Report with KDP for years. Now, I am trying to connect it to my Author Central Account. I go to settings, but when I hover over the button that says to connect, it won't let me click or connect.

We've done everything we can think of. We've removed, then reinstalled Book Report. We've logged in and out of KDP and Author Central.
I've gone into extensions and scanned for updates. All updated.

Nothing works.

Is there something I'm missing?

I'm using Chrome.

Trying to "market" book 3 of series to me feels like a questionable use of time and funds.

I think the going wisdom is to do extensive promo on book one once book three hits, to maximize revenue from sell through. Many people won't touch a series until it has 3 or more books, because they prefer to binge read what they like.

Here's my plan for launch of my book 3, maybe it will help you.

I'm assuming you've
-Made sure your books are linked via backmatter/series, and the new release appears on your Amazon series page.
-Claimed your Bookbub author page
-Have spent some time making a list of the authors and books you believe share readers with you.
-optimized your keywords/ categories for all three books.

-Check your Bookbub account to make sure they are planning to send a new release alert to your followers
-Discount book 1 to 99 cents. (Make sure all backmatter is updated to link to next book in series.)
-Run a series of Bookbub ads during your 99 cent sale, using the link to your SERIES page on Zon/all retailers, not just the book 1 page. (Some people will buy all 3 with one click. AND there are no other books advertised on your series page.) Do CPM Bookbub ads, highly targeted using that list of similar authors.
- Run a targeted AMS campaign. You can use Sponsored Product pages to advertise the whole series.

Your goal on launch is to sell copies but also to kick the Amazon algo into gear so it works for you. It needs to know who to sell / recommend this book to, and your launch window is when you teach it. Ultimately, you want the also boughts linked to the other books in your series AND similar books by other authors, AND you want also boughts pointing back at you. (Check to see your also bought situation. Who points to you and where you point.)

If you haven't, read:
"Bookbub Ads Expert" by David Gaughran
"Supercharge your Kindle Sales" by Nick Stephenson

How you divvy up the chunks of your budget is up to you. It wouldn't hurt to also throw a couple of paid lists like ENT into the mix too, if you can book the slot.

I personally don't feel AMS alone will cut it. My campaign didn't really start serving impressions until I sent outside traffic while testing Bookbub ads. Then AMS kicked in and started selling for me.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Need advice on bundling novellas
« on: November 16, 2019, 07:56:50 pm »

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