Kindle Forum banner
1 - 20 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. I'm having a little trouble with the promotion side of being an author, and my book currently isn't doing as well as I hoped it would before its release. I've been browsing around the boards looking for advice, and you all seem to have some very good ideas, so I thought there'd be no harm in asking you guys about some good ways to boost my sales.

My novel came out on December 1st, so it's been out for nearly two months now. Now, I've heard that December isn't a fantastic month for a new author to launch a book (what with the Christmas rush and all), but January is supposedly meant to be a little better. Despite that, my book's sales are absolutely dire. My average Best Seller Rank languishes at around 400,000 most of the time (occasionally spiking up to 100,000 once a week or so -- I'm assuming this is whenever I make the rare sale). I've had a look at some other books in my genre -- mainly the ones that Amazon has paired my book with -- and the majority of them are doing much better. One book that's in my genre that was released the day after mine has a Best Seller Rank of 4,000.

With that said, I can't help but wonder if there's something I'm not doing to achieve those sales. I've been trying my hardest to promote it, but there must be something I'm missing. Since my book came out, I've been promoting it on Facebook and Twitter (I have ~200 FB fans and ~600 Twitter followers, but nobody seems to be biting), added it to Goodreads lists, listed it on Shelfari, had ebook display sites include it in their listings and send out review copies to reviewers. I've had two people review my book positively so far, with five more reviews due to come in the next month. I occasionally promote it on my blog, and have updated my blog weekly for nearly a year now. With all of these avenues being tapped, I thought I'd be able to accumulate some decent sales, but things just keep going slower and slower. My novel is in a genre that seems to be popular at the moment (dystopian thriller), so I'm stumped.

Do you guys have any advice and/or explanations for this? I'm open to any suggestions that may help, or just hearing about strategies that you guys have used that I may not thought of. Please keep in mind that as my book is traditionally published, I don't have the option of doing a KDP promotion or giving copies away for free. Also, with no other job at the moment (I'm about to begin my third and final year of uni), I don't have a lot of funds to pay for advertising or likewise. Still, there must be something I can do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,274 Posts
The trite answer is to write the next book.

Which, really, is not bad advice.

But beyond that, you can leverage Select to get free copies into people's hands and hope they tell friends. You may also get lucky and have some nice reviews from the people who go for the promo copies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I do agree that might be a good way to garner some reviews. Unfortunately, as a traditional published author, I'm not allowed to give away free copies...

Maybe I might just start writing the next book after all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,160 Posts
I was in the same boat when I released my first novel back in August. I thought it would sell hundreds of thousands of copies (silly, I know) because the genre was so popular. I got a rude awakening when it didn't. It's so low in the chart it might as well not have a ranking. Lol.

That was 5 months ago, and I'm a little less ignorant, but certainly more humble. I learned a lot in those 5 months, so when I came back with a new pen name and some new books, I was ready. What I learned -- and this is all elementary stuff -- is a) choose your Amazon categories wisely. Rather, choose your subcategories wisely. Go for the ones with the lowest number of books in them, so long as they fit your book. That way competition isn't as fierce and you're likely to get into Top 100 genre lists.
b) Publish often. If you've released a novel, release a short story/novelette or novella. They take less time to write and you can charge the lower prices, making it easier for people to take a chance on you as a new author without them splashing out on the novel. When you've drawn them in, they'll find your backlist, guaranteed. You basically need to stay current. The new release Top 100 genre lists last for 30 days, so if you can, get a new book out every month (more if possible).
This is all assuming the cover and blurb are good/perfect for the genre, and that you've written a great book. But this goes without saying.

These are the things that worked for me. I write in a semi-niche now, so that might also make a difference. I'm not selling heaps, but I'm selling consistently, even on Smashwords itself. I've only been using this pen name for a couple of months, so for me I'm doing all right. More importantly, I'm learning new things every day, which should help when I release more books under new pen names.

Hope this helps, and good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,274 Posts
Gaia Revane said:
Ah, I do indeed have one. Forgive me, I've never heard of a blog tour -- what exactly does it entail?
As a general rule it's exchanging space on your blog for space on someone else's. It's offering to create content for someone else's blog in an effort to get your name and book in front of audiences.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,316 Posts
and my book currently isn't doing as well as I hoped it would before its release

The problem is in this sentence, and the operative is "hoped".

Lower your expectations, keep writing, do the occasional promo, have a presence on the web, and have patience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,274 Posts
Patty Jansen said:
Lower your expectations, keep writing, do the occasional promo, have a presence on the web, and have patience.
It used to take a decade or so on average to get to a livable level as an author.

For some people, even with self-publishing, even if they're good writers, even if, if, if . . . it still might.

So keeping going is important.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,648 Posts
I have 8 or so books in my signature. I just finished a Select promotion yesterday, in which I gave away 7,000 books.

How many of these 8 books have I sold today? Three. Two at 99cents and one at $4.99.

Not selling a bunch of books is totally normal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi everyone.

Thanks for your comments. It's all good advice. I think the key thing I'm forgotten is, as said, that I have to be patient. Getting my first book published (especially since I didn't have to do it myself, which I think made it more exciting) was a rush for me. I can't expect it to skyrocket to a best seller immediately. Those things do take time. I guess the phrase "starving artist" didn't come out of nowhere :)

I'll play around with some of your suggestions (a blog tour sounds like a good idea -- I already write book reviews so it's right up my alley) and I'll see what I can do about getting my book into some niche categories on Amazon. As my book isn't self-pubbed, I unfortunately don't have much control over distribution, but this is a good starting point. Meanwhile, I keep Tweeting and engaging with other authors and see if sales pick up.

I'm about to start my second novel now (contract bound by my publisher to be a sequel to the first), which hopefully will raise my profile a bit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,316 Posts
Haha, Dalya, I totally blew you out of the water. :p

I sold ten at 99c (a short story, under my new pseudonym), and seven at $4.99 at Kobo.

Which... uhm... still doesn't amount to great numbers.

I have been doing this about two years. This month my writing income will pip $900. Which is... about a quarter of our household's monthly grocery spending, never mind the rest of the bills.

Making a living? MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,117 Posts
Hi, Gaia. Congratulations on your book!

Unfortunately, there's no one easy way to promote. So, Select is out of the question for you with this book, but you might consider self-publishing your next one so that you can put it in Select and do a giveaway. It really can help build audience -- fans who love the free one will check out your other books. Here's an example: you've been working hard to get blogger reviews and have gotten two really good ones, right? That's great, but it takes a lot of time away from your writing on the next book. In contrast, I ran a Select giveaway at the beginning of the month and eighteen new reviews have rolled in as a result. It's a pretty easy way to get your book into people's hands. (Though running a really good giveaway takes some practice, so come back for more advice if you decide to try it with your next book.)

Would your publisher be willing to run giveaways (or allow you to run them) on Librarything and Goodreads? That may generate a couple more reviews and will get your book in front of readers' eyes. If you find discussion forums dedicated to your genre, you can join and participate as a reader (don't explicitly self-promote ... just be friendly and a good community member).

Once you have some reviews and a feel for things, you might buy paid ads. They're not all expensive, by any means, and they work well for some folks; others have found that route unproductive.

Hanging around here is a great way to gather information about all kinds of stuff, and it's supportive, too. This is an exciting time to be a writer, but it ain't easy. :)

Here's a thread that collects a ton of great "getting started" links: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,111778.0.html Many won't apply to you, but you might find some useful.

This is a great thread on building sales slowly: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,124433.0.html

This is a great thread on using Twitter productively: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,119132.25.html,

Check out DDark's Facebook page to see that platform working great as a way to interact with readers: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,119132.25.html

The key thing to understand about social media sites like Fb and Tw is that they need to be social. Just getting on and "advertising" doesn't work well. You use them to build and maintain relationships and keep your fans connected and enthusiastic so that they'll spread word about you. (An author tweeting "buy my book" is spam, but some normal guy tweeting to his 34 followers that he just finished your book and loved it ... that's golden.)

I like your book cover, by the way, and the story sounds great. The prose is nice (I just read the first few pages of the sample). So I think you have a quality product. Just keep hanging in there, plugging away at it. Patience, commitment, and all that jazz. :)

ETA: Sorry, didn't see the bit about being contracted for the sequel!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,648 Posts
Patty Jansen said:
...
Making a living? MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Yeah, but Kobo LOOVES you, so I'm not surprised, ha ha!

Hey, whatever you do, don't upload new epubs to Kobo to update backmatter or anything else. I hear it turfs the whole book and you start from scratch.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
10,117 Posts
Patty Jansen said:
No I live in Australia, which is the most expensive country in the world, in the most expensive city in the world.
Wow, is that Sydney? What a difference from my little rural pocket of the U.S. I don't think we ever spend more than $800/month on groceries. I hate to think what housing must cost!
 
G

·
Patty Jansen said:
This month my writing income will pip $900. Which is... about a quarter of our household's monthly grocery spending, never mind the rest of the bills.

Making a living? MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
You spend $3,600 a month on groceries? What do you eat for lunch, roast koala and caviar sandwiches?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Becca Mills said:
Wow, is that Sydney? What a difference from my little rural pocket of the U.S. I don't think we ever spend more than $800/month on groceries. I hate to think what housing must cost!
There's actually some debate in Aus as to whether Sydney or Melbourne is more expensive to live in. I live in Melbourne, and it's certainly not a cheap city to live in.

@Becca Mills: Thank you for all those links and for the kind comments about my writing. I certainly am considering self publishing in the future (likely not novels, as I must admit I like the prestige of being a trade publishing novelist, but I have self published a short story collection and the platform is great for things like novellas) and I shall check with my publisher and see if they'd be willing to fork over a copy or two for a Goodreads giveaway - it seems like a great option to leverage readers. As for Twitter and Facebook, I'll just continue to do what I'm already doing. I mainly share links to blogs I found interesting, or articles with writing tips. Occasionally I throw in a "check out my book" Tweet, but I don't think near enough to annoy anyone :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,316 Posts
@Dalya I've been getting totally lazy-arse and have been uploading DOCs to Kobo, the same ones you feed Smashwords. Works very well. My books never contain fancy formatting.

@Gaia LOL I think the list of ten most expensive cities in the world goes something like: 1. Sydney, 2. Melbourne, 3. Darwin, 4. Perth, 5. Brisbane, 6. Adelaide, 7. Hong Kong.

Yeah. Housing: You. Do. Not. Want. To Know. Seriously.
 
1 - 20 of 33 Posts
Top