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Messages - DmGuay

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
« on: September 08, 2020, 07:10:28 am »
Wow, that's great. Thanks a lot for all that info. There's a lot of stuff in there I completely forgot - like my author central page, duh. I see your point about the ads. I will probably do as you advise and stick to Amazon, though it hadn't occurred to me to run multiple ads on there from the off.

What's the general feeling around keywords (for the book itself rather than ads)? I've heard some people say to separate each one with a comma and others who say that the commas can have a negative effect. Or is this yet another mysterious Amazon thing no one knows for sure?

Don't use commas. And use all the space. Put in phrases that make sense and that people might actually use to find books like yours.
And yes, run multiple AMS ads. You never know which ones will stick and which ones won't. I have about eight going right now, all different types and keywords. Bryan Cohen does a free Amazon ads course for authors that will be a very good introduction to the process for you.

And as for rapid release: Don't worry about that. It doesn't work if you don't already have some sort of audience. Get this launch in order. Set the ads and forget them, and concentrate on writing the next book. All of us start as nobodies from zero. It takes time and good books to build a career. Everything you do is another brick in the wall!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Does my launch 'plan' sound okay to you veterans?
« on: September 08, 2020, 05:53:24 am »
Yes to:
facebook author page (skip the book page)
Goodreads author profile
Claim your amazon author central profile and take the time to fill in your author page details.
Get a basic web site with your bio, book information and buy links, mailing list sign up, contact page with your social media links. If you have a news feed or blog, you can link that to your goodreads and author central profiles, so those are always updating with your new content.
Set up a mailing list, and put the link in the front matter and the back matter of your book.

2.99 is fine for launch as well, as is KU.

As for your ads...
Ad platforms take time and money to master. Concentrate on learning one, before branching out. For most of us, that one is AMS. (Amazon).
You can easily set up one category ad (wherein Amazon advertises your book in your general category, like UF, Thriller, etc.). Then set up one auto target ad where Amazon chooses the targets. These are quick and easy and a good way of gathering data for future ads/keywords. Then, set up some manual targeting ads using books/authors whose readers you strongly believe will like your book.

CAVEATS: Your amazon keywords, blurb, and categories need to be spot on from the start--for lots of reasons--but especially to get AMS ads to serve. That metadata is teaching Amazon who to show your book to, who your audience is. So it matters. David Gaughran's Amazon Decoded is good for explaining this in more depth. Also, don't spend a ton on bids for Amazon ads. Ignore the suggested bids and stick with something under 40 cents a click.

Take it from me, take the time to get that stuff right.

Now, sometimes I break my own advice. When I launched a new series as a nobody, I also ran $30/week of Bookbub test ads for 3 weeks. My targets were only the authors I wanted in my Also Bought section on my Amazon product page (see: showing Amazon who your audience is). This really helped my launch. From the Amazon side, and by making me take the time to really think about who my audience was.

Random thoughts:
Running all those different ad sites all at once might be confusing. It's always best to try one new thing at a time, so you know what's actually working. If you start out of the gate with AMS, Bookbub and Facebook, will you know where the sales are actually coming from? It isn't always clear.

Also, if you would like to launch with reviews, BookSprout has a free version of their Arc service. You can get up to 20 reviewers for free. So that is an option for you if you're worried about launching with a couple of reviews.

Your other questions:
Yes. The promo sites are really only worth the $ for a 99 cent or free book. You can use your Kindle countdown deal days for this in the future. These sales sites aren't really effective at full price, as people sign up looking for discounted books.

Preorders: There's really no wrong or right answer for preorders. I did a short, 7 day one for my new series/no name launch. And that was helpful just so I could get an ASIn and the link to the Amazon product page, and start sharing it before the book went live. It also gave me time to tinker around with product page/author page, etc. before it went live.

Good luck!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Getting reviews
« on: September 06, 2020, 06:46:41 am »
KatyRW, can I just say, "OMG. Awesome profile photo!"

And don't worry TOO much about reviews. Reviews are a result of sales, they don't magically create sales. And the whole "You need 50 reviews to X" rumors flying around are just that, rumors.

If you focus on everything else, the reviews will follow. Finish the book. Get a good cover. Make sure your keywords, categories, and blurb are on point. Set up a mailing list, plan some sort of book launch, even if it's modest. Reviews will trickle in.

If you really want to have something on that product page when you launch, Booksprout is easy and free for the first 20 people who claim your book. Try that. But seriously. Don't spend time chasing reviews at the expense of all the other things you need to be doing ahead of launch.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Weird Sales Numbers? Help...
« on: September 06, 2020, 06:31:43 am »
Anecdotally, it seems we are in the summer, back to school slump.
People in all of my writing groups and forums are talking about it.
This is a cyclical business. All we can do is carry on, working on new projects.

I don't mind talking about writing to non-writers. What I dislike is talking about what I'm currently in the middle of writing. I also hate having someone try to stand over my shoulders and read what i'm typing. Leave me alone until it's done!

No one is allowed to see it until it's time to hit publish.

Interesting. I haven't found this to be true at all. Maybe about the whole publishing thing (though my husband & friends have been helpful with that as well), but definitely not about writing. I've always talked over stories with my sister, husband, sons, friends, whoever. It's no different from talking about people you know, really. Also, many of my family/friends have much more imagination than I do.

But then, I don't really know "how it works" either. I just write stories.

ETA: The creative process really seems similar to other creative fields. I had a sister who was a designer--she was the one I talked most with about stories. I have one who's a choreographer. All of our processes, fears, feelings have been similar, right down to when the project really starts coming together & you get immersed, the need to try stuff until something works, the need to be alone in order to work, etc.

You are lucky to have creatives in the family. That makes a huge difference. I come from auto mechanics, computer geeks, HR people. The conversations are painful. They mean well, but they always ask me something so "HUH?" That I end up totally stumped. I can't think of the specifics off hand, but next time it happens, I will come back and post it here.

My family is supportive, in that they encourage me to write and love when they see the royalties coming in and are happy for any success that I have.

Huge caveat, and this will sound mean at first but is important for sanity preservation: I do not talk about writing or any part of the process with people who are not writers. Because it's always painful. Normal people know nothing about how any of it works. ANY OF IT> And I've been on the receiving end of so many dumb, weird , left-field, stereotypes about writers from movies questions because people don't understand. I I just stop them and say, "sorry. I don't talk about writing. It's too hard to explain."

Writers' Cafe / Re: Audible Plus
« on: September 04, 2020, 10:35:34 am »
When I look around, I don't see a whole lot of books included, and a lot of the ones that are come from dead authors. Not even all Audible Originals are included. It'll be interesting to see over time how this affects people's sales. As a listener, I switched to Plus as an alternative to cancelling entirely, since I have one credit and there's an upcoming book I'm waiting for, and last I checked, Audible doesn't let you keep credits you've already paid for if you cancel without using them. All/most of the books in Plus that I've marked to listen to are ones I didn't have enough interest in to listen to otherwise, and I still likely won't get to them. I'm hoping Plus will end up begin something that has more people coming up to it from "never buys audiobooks" than people coming down to it from "buys all their audiobooks". If you get what I mean.

This is an interesting perspective. Thanks for sharing.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Watermark on paperback cover
« on: September 02, 2020, 05:06:31 am »
Yes that's right. I'm talking about what shows on screen in the Amazon store for the paperback. I know it doesn't appear on the printed copy. I don't particularly want it showing on screen either, and other authors seem to have found a way of getting rid of it.

Can you take a screenshot of it and post it here? I have never seen what you are referring to, but maybe we can get you better answers if we can see what you mean.

Also, is this in the US Amazon store? And does it appear on your ebook cover as well? And if not, are your paperback and ebook editions linked?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Watermark on paperback cover
« on: September 01, 2020, 03:49:25 pm »
Where are you seeing this? What site? Amazon?

Could you possible screenshot this so we can all see?

That would help us help you.


Thank you so much!!

Hi all.

I'm poking around the KDP dashboard. I need to generate a year-to-date 2020, and a full-year 2019 sales report for each of my titles on Amazon. But, I can only see the option to do monthly or only 90 days back.

Am I missing something?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Questions about preorders
« on: August 31, 2020, 01:32:45 pm »
Hey. Amazon has changed preorders so that

1. You can have a preorder live in the store for up to one year. and
2. You no longer need to upload any file at all--you can upload nothing-- when you set up the preorder. Of course, you still have to submit the final file about four days in advance or else the preorder will be cancelled. (There's a countdown clock in your dashboard.)

I hope that helps!

Writers' Cafe / Re: What do you do when sales are slow?
« on: August 27, 2020, 10:51:45 am »
Keep writing.
Right now, I think sales are down overall. I'm not selling nearly as much, but my rank is fine, so I think everyone else is in the same boat. The late August summer sales slump is well document, so just plan for it every year.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Bookbub gained me so many reviews!
« on: August 22, 2020, 07:47:52 am »
I wish there were more options for those of us in the humor and comedy genres!

I have noticed Bookbub is featuring more fiction, and more comedy fantasy fiction in the humor category lately.

I had the same issue, and yes, you can create two versions of her real name, something like:

 - Sandra Jones
 - S.A. Jones

Then you can have separate author pages in Author Central.

Or, she could use your maiden name for one, and her married name for the other, if she has both. Or a middle initial, although that might not be enough to create a second page on Amazon.
Many options to avoid confusion.

The first audiobook edition of the 24/7 Demon Mart series is now on Audible. It includes three books: The Graveyard Shift, Monster Burger, and Hell for the Holidays.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Getting a new Mac
« on: August 16, 2020, 08:31:25 pm »
I have a brand new Mac, (and a 15 year old one that still works!) and I use free Apache Open Office with no issues. I do have to convert from .doc to .docx before I can import into Vellum, but the Mac notes program preinstalled does that.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Deals Community looking to connect with Authors
« on: August 14, 2020, 10:45:04 am »
Thanks for posting this opportunity.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Outline beats not making any sense
« on: August 12, 2020, 01:33:03 pm »
If it's your first draft, remember, it doesn't have to be perfect or even good. Its purpose is to tell the story to yourself. You can fix it in revision.

Also, if your outline is impeding writing, maybe your outline format doesn't match your writing style. Maybe check out the "Nutshell technique" if you're interested in simplifying.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question about preorders and reviews
« on: August 12, 2020, 11:45:10 am »
You can send out ARCS to solicit reviews before you launch your book. However, they cannot leave reviews on Amazon until some version of that book is live and for sale on Amazon.

So... Usually, people release their paperback version first, and direct arc reviewers to that link to leave reviews. Then, then when the ebook goes live, Amazon links the paperback and ebook versions, and all those early reviews appear on both editions.

I hope that helps.

You can do the legwork of gathering "Editorial Reviews" from other authors and organizations/publications, and post those in the editorial reviews section of your product page ahead of launch.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I'm Going To Ask For Help Now.
« on: August 08, 2020, 08:42:08 am »
Please. Take control of your destiny and your career. Stop spending money on these books, get your rights back at the earliest opportunity, and write the next book--and self pub it.

Also, there's no use pining for the "gold rush" or "good old days." You can do well NOW.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I'm Going To Ask For Help Now.
« on: August 07, 2020, 01:14:38 pm »

Having a publisher rather than full control seems like it might make your situation more difficult.
Who is this publisher? What are they actually doing to benefit you and your books? And, is there any chance you can get your rights back?

Just thinking out loud.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I'm Going To Ask For Help Now.
« on: August 07, 2020, 09:52:40 am »
A. There is no shame in asking for help!!

B. I agree with Lorri. You have to have your ducks in a row if you want to build momentum and an audience. You've got a mish mash of pen names. Even on your YA series. (Did you add a J middle initial in one book that isn't on the other?) You need one pen name, per genre, with a separate author central page for each. And a separate web page for each pen name. You have to make it easy for the people who read your books and like them to find more of the same. Don't confuse them!!

c. YA is a hard sell. And fantasy is a genre where constant frequent releases are essential, because it's a super competitive genre with a lot of churn.

D. Are you running ads? Hand writing letters to reviewers is nice, but it's icing not cake. It's extra. We as indies focus too much on reviews, thinking if we get X number, that it will magically lead to more sales. It doesn't. The reverse is true. Focus on sales, and the reviews will come. The time you spent tracking down reviewers would have been better spent on marketing. Like, take the free Bryan Cohen Amazon ad course or David Gaughran's free Starting from Zero course.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Question on Read-Through rate.
« on: August 04, 2020, 07:39:47 am »
I don't know why no one answered you!

Nick Stephenson's (he writes handy books for authors) suggested 'good' read through rates:
KU: 50 to 60 % book 1 to book 2
Sales: 35 to 40 % book 1 to book 2

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