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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here are some thoughts we've been mulling around these past few weeks. I'd love to hear your input on them.

- As you know, we'll be promoting many more PAID books in our blog/FB/Twitter postings than FREE books, starting tomorrow.

- How can we most effectively present those paid books?

Some thoughts:

1  - Compared to many sites, we provide a mostly-complete book description in our posts, as opposed to a shortened except. Good or bad? (from a reader / buyer perspective)

2  - On our Spotlight posts, we (uniquely, I believe) include (at the author's option) embedded reviews that tie in real-time to Amazon for two days, and an embedded online sample... right in the post. Good or bad?

3  - In our Bargain Books Posts (formerly Free and Bargain Books Posts), we create a cover graphic that embeds up to 8 covers for the books being promoted. Then we post that on Facebook as a picture - which provides a large-size pic in the newsfeed of our followers. We are, I believe, the only major site that does this... most major book sites  provide only a newsfeed link which shows a small pic of just *one* of the covers being featured that day. Your thoughts!

4  - Our levels of engagement on our Facebook site (Likes, Shares, Comments) is pretty high relative to the size of our fan base (compared with the major Kindle sites). The more of these engagement actions that occur, the more the post is distributed by Facebook to other people's newsfeeds. I invite your ideas on how we can improve that even more.

5 - Each bargain book post will have up to 8 books listed. On rare occasions I might include a freebie in there. I'm considering having "general" bargain books featured on Mon / Tue / Wed of each week, and having genre-specific posts the other days. This would start with our most popular genres:
  - Thriller Thursday.
  - Fantasy Friday.
  - Saturday Romance selection.
  - Sunday Mystery selection.

Note: all of our days are busy, but the highest traffic days for FB/blog are Saturday and Sunday. The reverse is true for our forum traffic. (Go figure.)

  Thoughts? Please provide your feedback and note the # above to make it easier to follow the conversation.

THANKS! We will adapt and we will thrive. You've helped make this one of the most useful Kindle sites on the web and with your continued help I think bright and exciting times lay ahead for us.
 

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1) I think good, because it saves time having to re-read the blurb on the site when you click through, if you're so inclined.

2) I think these are good features. Not having to go anywhere to get more information is a plus.

3) I prefer the way you do it, definitely. What happens with other posts is that they do a single book, and that book is thus singled out as being the one people click in for. With the 8 image post there's 8 thumbs that might draw attention.

4) I wish I knew. :)

5) I do like the idea of themed days. People might start to pick up and tune in specifically for the genre(s) they enjoy the most.
 

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Harvey said:
Here are some thoughts we've been mulling around these past few weeks. I'd love to hear your input on them.

- As you know, we'll be promoting many more PAID books in our blog/FB/Twitter postings than FREE books, starting tomorrow.

- How can we most effectively present those paid books?

Some thoughts:

1 - Compared to many sites, we provide a mostly-complete book description in our posts, as opposed to a shortened except. Good or bad? (from a reader / buyer perspective)
As, a reader, this is good. I don't need to go to Amazon for more info since it's all there

2 - On our Spotlight posts, we (uniquely, I believe) include (at the author's option) embedded reviews that tie in real-time to Amazon for two days, and an embedded online sample... right in the post. Good or bad?
The reviews don't mean much for me, I mostly go by the book description. I also don't care to sample on line. If the book looks good, I'll get it, and read it. When I've 'sampled' that way, and then later start reading, I'm hit with a nagging feeling I've read the book before which means I'm distracted while reading.

3 - In our Bargain Books Posts (formerly Free and Bargain Books Posts), we create a cover graphic that embeds up to 8 covers for the books being promoted. Then we post that on Facebook as a picture - which provides a large-size pic in the newsfeed of our followers. We are, I believe, the only major site that does this... most major book sites provide only a newsfeed link which shows a small pic of just *one* of the covers being featured that day. Your thoughts!
I do like that we get to see everything highlighted. . . . I mean, it's very possible the one image others select wouldn't appeal to me so I wouldn't even click through. I prefer how you do it here on kboards where each image links directly to Amazon, rather than going through the blog first as you do on FB -- but I get why you do it that way. And, even then, the blog post is well done -- it's easy to see within the first few lines what the genre is for each book and it's clear where the write up for the next featured title starts.

4 - Our levels of engagement on our Facebook site (Likes, Shares, Comments) is pretty high relative to the size of our fan base (compared with the major Kindle sites). The more of these engagement actions that occur, the more the post is distributed by Facebook to other people's newsfeeds. I invite your ideas on how we can improve that even more.
That may be because the posts BY the site are useful. . . . I don't very often go to the FB page, and when I do it seems like there are random drive by postings, often someone pushing something. But the posts that come in my newsfeed are ONLY the site posts and they're meaningful.

5 - Each bargain book post will have up to 8 books listed. On rare occasions I might include a freebie in there. I'm considering having "general" bargain books featured on Mon / Tue / Wed of each week, and having genre-specific posts the other days. This would start with our most popular genres:
- Thriller Thursday.
- Fantasy Friday.
- Saturday Romance selection.
- Sunday Mystery selection.
I personally think 8 is kind of a lot. 4 would do it for me, on a daily basis. :) I DO like that the genre is clearly shown so I can zero in on the ones of interest and ignore the ones don't care about. When you do feature only a specific genre, you might think about linking back to the Bazaar genre thread here, if there is one. . . . as a means to drive traffic back and forth.

Note: all of our days are busy, but the highest traffic days for FB/blog are Saturday and Sunday. The reverse is true for our forum traffic. (Go figure.)

Thoughts? Please provide your feedback and note the # above to make it easier to follow the conversation.

THANKS! We will adapt and we will thrive. You've helped make this one of the most useful Kindle sites on the web and with your continued help I think bright and exciting times lay ahead for us.
For the record, and I realize the history of such things is pretty short, I've never stuck with a specific forum for so long before. Past pattern is: curious about something, find a forum, lurk a bit, maybe join, maybe post, lose interest, lose password, forget the forum name. Based on that, there's definitely something special here! :D
 

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I am hoping that you won't just make .99 the new "free".  It would be nice to see books that are higher than $2.99 featured as good deals, too. The price of a movie is from $8 to over $10 depending on where you live. Books that cost less than a movie but more than $2.99 ARE good deals and should be shown as such.  There are a lot of readers that don't buy $2.99 or less, too. It wouldn't help to show them if those higher priced books were drowned in $2.99 and .99 offerings, though. If doing eight, how about 2 of $1.99, $2.99. $3.99 and $4.99?  .99 already gets a ton of exposure to the point of being lost. If doing four, how about 1 of each? Or, even better, how about doing "under $3" but limiting to $2.99 and then "under $5"  "under $8" and under $10"? Or something like one of these two options I have suggested?

The best way you can help both readers AND authors is to help authors be able to charge a bit more for books while still offering a bargain and possibly paying a few bills. It's all in how blogs and pages present what's acceptable. You and other sites/pages like you can help all of us, not just those of us who discount to almost nothing on the hope that they'll win the lottery in publishing. Don't forget those of us who want to slowly but surely build a readership when you make your plans for these promotions.  :) Some on here say the reader controls the pricing. Well, only to an extent. If pages and blogs vastly promote .99 (and before free) OF COURSE they take those. If those weren't offered, would those people quit reading? Nope.  If less were offered and higher pirced books were also heavily promoted would they choose those? Perhaps. And perhaps readership of the blog/page would grow as word spread to those who avoid .99 and 2.99 for fear of badly edited works that you are featuring books that are also a bit higher. It is true that for many price reflects quality. (Why people don't read sample to see if there are a bunch of errors I don't know.)

Also, how about sometimes featuring genres that most don't feature much? Yes, I am prejudiced as my books fit in there, but I know there are others on here in that position, too.  Some are literary fiction. Mine fit in drama and also family saga. Although historical fiction is a large genre, it often gets overlooked (mine are  in that one, too, ha!). Also, what about women's fiction? Contemporary?  I know some of these aren't the "big thing" right now, but they can become more popular if spotlighted rountinely. So, perhaps a weekly feature of less read genres. Maybe a few authors can write about those genres and why they chose them.  

Just some thoughts for you.
 

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I think Caddy is right, in that where I live (Australia) most paperbacks cost $30 (the Wool copy I bought cost $24.95 and it was easily the cheapest book in the store outside of novelty things and children's books).

Even $9.99 is a CHEAP book over here.
 

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I like the way you do things on the blog because it looks like you've put some effort into ensuring that your readers get value.
(as opposed to simply listing a bunch of covers with affiliate links that just look like so many ads)
For a reader, I think that is much more attractive.
 

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Oh yeah, and what Caddy said.
With your current listings the reader has enough information to "risk" his/her $2.99 or more.

Are you finding that the majority of your audience are bargain hunters or are they simply looking for a good read, no matter what the price?
 

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It all sounds good, but it's like new covers, new blurbs, price changes, going in or out of Select. Trial and error. You have to try something, see if it works. If it works a little, you can refine it. If it tanks, you can dump it and try something else.

The sample on the page is a definite plus for me. If I click through to Amazon and sample from there, I might never get around to reading it. I know I can read it in the Cloud right then, but if I like the book, it's not so easy to get back to it and buy it. As long as it's easy to click that buy button after reading the sample on the blog, this is a good thing.

Reviews don't mean a whole lot to me, but since they do to a lot of others, a few should be included. I like the way Amazon does it with just one line excerpts, but I don't know if you can capture that. Also, the average star rating and number of reviews is good for people like me who just skim.

I particularly like the genre days. Once your subscribers get used to that, I think you'll see more buys because they are going straight to what they are looking for.

It sounds like you're looking at the other sites and seeing how you can improve what they're doing. Good strategy!  ;D

 

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Glynn James said:
You're going to get a deluge of requests from indie authors.
Have you had any thoughts on selection criteria?
Harvey is always deluged with requests from indie authors. If you go to the bottom of the page and click on one of the ad categories, you'll see that he already has criteria in place.
 

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Hi!  I love your facebook posts and check them out whenever I see them :D 

1 & 2 - The top 8 usually have *too* much stuff in the descriptions to sift through but the quicklist usually doesn't have enough. 

3 - I really like the combined graphic!

4 - What you do now seems to work :) 

5 - I *love* the idea of genre days, but you might miss out on people dismissing a day (e.g., oh, it's romance day, skipping that) even though there might be something there that would catch someone's eye if it was mixed in with genres they like (e.g., yay, wouldn't have even looked at this romance book if it wasn't mixed in with thrillers)!

 

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Harvey, my 2 cents - readers can also participate in this brainstorm. If worthwhile, below are my thoughts as a reader. If not worthwhile, please disregard.

1 - I like reading both book descriptions and reviews before purchasing. So a short description is better - if it sparks my interest, I will still go 'click' and visit the Amazon page for more info.
2 - For reason #1 above, I like the way the Spotlight post is done.
3 - 8 is quite busy; 4 at a time (maybe released 6 AM and then 2 PM - total of 8 per day) is probably more focused.
4 - No change proposed; working well
5 - By genre is a good idea - still would want less volume - like 2-4 at a time, maybe at interim time spots in a day. Traffic for FB is because for me, FB is a time-killer during the work week and I prefer not to visit M-F. I visit the forum during the week because it only takes a few minutes of my time. Usually at the start of the day, and during breaks.

Thanks for keeping KB a useful site for everyone - readers/buyers and writers/sellers alike. More power. :)
 

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Harvey said:
1 - Compared to many sites, we provide a mostly-complete book description in our posts, as opposed to a shortened except. Good or bad? (from a reader / buyer perspective)
I really like it, actually. I don't have to re-read the blurb. The only exception to that rule is BookBub's teaser blurbs, because they're just so much more well-written than the other sites. The other sites seem to just pull a random line out (useless), whereas Bookbub summarizes and adds value (listing awards the book has won or 1000 5-star reviews on Goodreads, etc). So if a site is not going to do a value-added summary, then the full blurb is preferable in my mind. :D

Harvey said:
2 - On our Spotlight posts, we (uniquely, I believe) include (at the author's option) embedded reviews that tie in real-time to Amazon for two days, and an embedded online sample... right in the post. Good or bad?
I like it, but I can also see why others could be indifferent to it. But as long as it's helpful for some people and it doesn't bother you to do it, then why not?

Harvey said:
3 - In our Bargain Books Posts (formerly Free and Bargain Books Posts), we create a cover graphic that embeds up to 8 covers for the books being promoted. Then we post that on Facebook as a picture - which provides a large-size pic in the newsfeed of our followers. We are, I believe, the only major site that does this... most major book sites provide only a newsfeed link which shows a small pic of just *one* of the covers being featured that day. Your thoughts!
LOVE this. Seriously.

Whenever I've been one of several books featured in a bargain books post at other sites, my sales/downloads seem directly correlated with whether my book cover was spotlighted or not. For example, when Gemma Halliday does her Free Books Friday on her Facebook page, only one cover gets shown and you have to click "more" to get the full post. I generally end up as the lucky author whose cover is shown, so I get tons of downloads (and generally have ended up with a better ranking than the other books in that post).

But when I've been on sites where I'm not the lucky one, my downloads/sales really end up lower than the others, and I do think a lot of that can be attributable to the fact that it's "work" for the reader to click to see more.

For example, when I was in the mega-sale Kindle Daily Deal on Dec 21 that featured over 80 ebooks, I noticed that the 6 covers that ended up in Amazon's opening graphic had the highest rankings at the end of the day. Same thing with the front page of each genre. The 4 covers that appeared spotlighted for "Teen" ended up with the most downloads. (I was on the second page of Teen and likewise didn't see anywhere near as many sales.) Of course, I know that couldn't be helped -- how could you possibly spotlight 80 covers at once?! So I'm not complaining. Just pointing out.

Harvey said:
4 - Our levels of engagement on our Facebook site (Likes, Shares, Comments) is pretty high relative to the size of our fan base (compared with the major Kindle sites). The more of these engagement actions that occur, the more the post is distributed by Facebook to other people's newsfeeds. I invite your ideas on how we can improve that even more.
No ideas. I wish I had some, because I'd like to improve my own levels of engagement on my Facebook site!

Harvey said:
5 - Each bargain book post will have up to 8 books listed. On rare occasions I might include a freebie in there. I'm considering having "general" bargain books featured on Mon / Tue / Wed of each week, and having genre-specific posts the other days. This would start with our most popular genres:
- Thriller Thursday.
- Fantasy Friday.
- Saturday Romance selection.
- Sunday Mystery selection.
I really like the idea of genre-specific posts, because it would make it much more likely I'll find books I'm interested in, even if it's just one or two days a week. But I agree with Ann that 8 books a day is a LOT! I'd be more inclined to buy when there's less to wade through.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Those are really interesting and insightful comments. Great to hear from readers and authors alike.

This will indeed be a period of experimentation. Yesterday we had several hundred paid books sold, but even with that it was dwarfed by our free-book downloads which were at 95% for the day. It means we have to put forward about 4 or 5 times as many paid books as we currently do, with proportionately fewer free books.

I think I will try "genre" days, starting on Thursday March 14th. Thriller Thursday!
 

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Harvey said:
I think I will start the "genre" days, starting on Thursday March 14th. Thriller Thursday!
I'm welcoming the de-emphasizing of free not just here but all over.

Count me in for Fantasy Friday (or whatever it winds up being called). I think the genre-specific days is a great idea. As I indicated to you previously, my fantasy book got sandwiched in with a bunch of romance or erotica during one of my Kindleboards promos and I don't think that really helped. Of course, all the books were free except for mine, which didn't help either. :)

Needless to say, on your #3 about combining covers into a single image I think as long as they're of a like genre then great. Otherwise I'm not so sure.
 

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Harvey, do you link to the UK? I haven't noticed. I have some sales there every month, but the Brits really don't have a lot of ways of finding bargain books.
 

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Harvey said:
Those are really interesting and insightful comments. Great to hear from readers and authors alike.

This will indeed be a period of experimentation. Yesterday we had several hundred paid books sold, but even with that it was dwarfed by our free-book downloads which were at 95% for the day. It means we have to put forward about 4 or 5 times as many paid books as we currently do, with proportionately fewer free books.

I think I will try "genre" days, starting on Thursday March 14th. Thriller Thursday!
I love the idea of genre days - it's better to draw in only the parties who will give you the click then it is to try and market to everyone all at once. If no one clicks on Mystery day, ditch mystery day. That will never happen - you've got the top three genres on the list - you're gonna get a crap load of interested folks in those particular genres on those days.

More targeted marketing is better for both readers looking for a book and authors who want to try and reach the most interested readers. You could even have one day a month for some kind of collection of books that have the same theme - like maybe for the start of summer you have a mysteries/romances/thrillers (pick one) on tropical islands or for Kentucky Derby day you have mysteries/romances/thrillers (pick one) about racehorses, or on Mother's day it's mom-lit.

Authors can sign up for a day that fits with their book - two birds, one stone.

(Maybe on slow days you can even give SFF a try! :eek: They're not big sellers, but maybe your slow day?)
 

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JanneCO said:
could even have one day a month for some kind of collection of books that have the same theme - like maybe for the start of summer you have a mysteries/romances/thrillers (pick one) on tropical islands or for Kentucky Derby day you have mysteries/romances/thrillers (pick one) about racehorses, or on Mother's day it's mom-lit.
I love this! Really fun idea.
 

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Pricing is an interesting topic. Where it's sold and the reader's point of view are two inputs. The author's needs and expectations are two more.
I've been indie publishing eleven months starting with converting 21 of my 23 traditionally published books to eBooks and then completing and publishing three new books in the last 5 months as an indie author. Back in the day when I could ignore all the marketing and advertising and promoting stuff and converting my royalties to today's Amazon equivalent of 35% for the cheapies, I would be ecstatic with a price of around $1.50. But today I have to pay for the marketing and promoting and the like so anything below $1.99 is a bad deal personally compared to the good old days from a pure profit perspective.
But, this is not the good old days and today's reader has a different perspective. Just because you've sold millions of books in the past it doesn't resonate in the eBook world. Someone told me at a writer's meeting last year they thought of me as a "rock star" in their book club. Embarrassing somewhat, but getting back into writing in the eBook world I would say a rocky start not star. But it is getting better every day and every sale and every new reader. So I'd have to add reader familiarity to the price algorithm.

[Oops, can't do self-promo here so we've removed the book links. - Admin]
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Personally, I really want to work Sci-Fi into the mix on the genre days. It's not our strongest seller here, but I'd like to build that up.

I'll see how the first few genre days work and may look into expanding the genres offered. I suppose I could make it a combined Sci-Fi / fantasy but to me those two categories seem like distinct genres.
 
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