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Discussion Starter #1
i tried putting my last book in KU, but without any tangible results. My next book is due for publication shortly. Is KU worth it, or should I just abandon the idea? 
 

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When you look at the charts in your genre or sub-genre, is your competition primarily in KU?

What else are you doing to market your work? KU is a marketing tool that appears to work best if used in concert with others.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
c'est la vie said:
When you look at the charts in your genre or sub-genre, is your competition primarily in KU?

What else are you doing to market your work? KU is a marketing tool that appears to work best if used in concert with others.
The overwhelming number (80 percent or so) seem to be non-KU.

I have no organised way of marketing other than my website. I am still researching, though there seem to be differing schools of thought, so it's hard to know which direction to go in.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
scottdouglas said:
It really depends on your genre, your goals, and how you intend to market your book.
The genre is Speculative SciFi/Alternate Worlds/Environmental Crises. A key goal would be to expand my readership. As for marketing, I'm not very clear on that, if I'm honest.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ShayneRutherford said:
I'm going to guess that's why KU didn't work for you the first time.
Well, it didn't seem to fare any better, but it was no worse either. It was the fourth volume of a series. so it may be that the people who picked it up were those who were already into the series and would have picked it up anyway.

The forthcoming book is a 135K word standalone novel with potential for a sequel.
 

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"put it in KU" is not marketing of its own.

Being in KU can have advantages for certain marketing activities. It can be a distinct disadvantage for other types of marketing activities.

If you're in KU, you get an edge with AMS marketing campaigns over books that are not in KU.

If you're going to promote through your website, the first question would be: who visits the website? What is the audience like? Are they KU subscribers or likely a general readership? If you're only going to market through your website, it's my careful guess you'd be better off not in KU, because you'll have people from all over the world with all types of ereaders visiting.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Patty Jansen said:
"put it in KU" is not marketing of its own.

Being in KU can have advantages for certain marketing activities. It can be a distinct disadvantage for other types of marketing activities.

If you're in KU, you get an edge with AMS marketing campaigns over books that are not in KU.

If you're going to promote through your website, the first question would be: who visits the website? What is the audience like? Are they KU subscribers or likely a general readership? If you're only going to market through your website, it's my careful guess you'd be better off not in KU, because you'll have people from all over the world with all types of ereaders visiting.
I'm not clued up enough on PPC to be confident using that as a marketing method. I'd probably end up losing my shirt. Besides, I concluded it was probably more effective with mainstream genres or non-fiction.

I don't really know the details of who visits my website. I just try to put the word out there and hope for the best.

I'm pretty clueless when it comes to marketing. I just try to make sure the content, blurb and cover are the best they can be. Nothing else I've tried has proved effective.

The mood music here seems to be that KU would not be the best way for me. In truth, my first nine books were all released conventionally - I just took a punt on KU with the tenth to see what would happen. Sounds as if I should revert to plan A.
 

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Alondo said:
I'm not clued up enough on PPC to be confident using that as a marketing method. I'd probably end up losing my shirt. Besides, I concluded it was probably more effective with mainstream genres or non-fiction.

I don't really know the details of who visits my website. I just try to put the word out there and hope for the best.

I'm pretty clueless when it comes to marketing. I just try to make sure the content, blurb and cover are the best they can be. Nothing else I've tried has proved effective.

The mood music here seems to be that KU would not be the best way for me. In truth, my first nine books were all released conventionally - I just took a punt on KU with the tenth to see what would happen. Sounds as if I should revert to plan A.
KU doesn't matter if you don't fix this issue.
 

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Alondo said:
I'm not clued up enough on PPC to be confident using that as a marketing method. I'd probably end up losing my shirt. Besides, I concluded it was probably more effective with mainstream genres or non-fiction.

I don't really know the details of who visits my website. I just try to put the word out there and hope for the best.

I'm pretty clueless when it comes to marketing. I just try to make sure the content, blurb and cover are the best they can be. Nothing else I've tried has proved effective.

The mood music here seems to be that KU would not be the best way for me. In truth, my first nine books were all released conventionally - I just took a punt on KU with the tenth to see what would happen. Sounds as if I should revert to plan A.
Assuming you're not going to market, you'll be in the dungeon no matter what, and you're better off being in five dungeons at the same time, than being in just one dungeon.

Another way you can do well in KU without marketing is if you release books frequently, but since this doesn't appear to be happening either, I'd edge towards releasing wide, since every store has its own discoverability, and you might snatch a sale here and there on other sites and occasionally on Amazon. My feeling is that if you're not going to market, your chances are better that way. Also, other stores have a higher price tolerance and are less bargain-focused.

Which leaves me to ask why are you clueless about marketing?

It's totally fine to be too busy with a day job, or just not be interested in it, but since you seem to express the desire to sell more, methinks that the greatest increase in sales levels would be not from writing another book that doesn't sell, but learn a bit about marketing.

Marketing doesn't need mean high-octane PPC ads. I don't do those either. I can totally do without that stress.

But there are many other ways, many of them organic, that you can use to market your books so that they all sell better and new releases sell better, too.

I mentioned your website, because this is how I do a lot of my marketing. I don't know exactly who visits, but my dashboard tells me where they're from, and since it's a very international audience, it would be stupid for me to put my books into KU.

"Marketing" doesn't need to mean tossing wads of money at PPC or ad sites. There is a lot of other stuff you can do. But first you need to ditch the helpless attitude and educate yourself a bit. Look at Joanna Penn's articles on "content marketing" which is basically what I do, since I hate spending money.

The huge advantage of this type of marketing is that you only need to set it up once, and then it continues working for a long time afterwards. The disadvantage is that increases are very small and incremental and you may not notice them so much at first, because they're so small.

Things I'd look at are:

Optimising the batshit out of your Look Inside and back-of-book links
Setting up a clean, efficient website
SEO-optimising the batshit out of your website
Mailing list, mailing list, mailing list (us it as your blog, so that people who want to read your stuff need to subscribe)
Never neglect to put links to your signup page in your bio/signature anywhere at any site that has a space to do so
 

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I think it can be genre dependent. I write historical fiction, and I've found that being wide is better than listing in Kindle Unlimited. I think it's partly the nature of historical fiction - there's definitely a very loyal historical fiction readership, but the readers don't necessarily devour books at a rate that makes sense to have a KU subscription. Too, HF is still a traditional publishing dominated genre, and if a significant portion of books the reader wants to read aren't in KU, then, once again, having a KU subscription becomes less appealing. By being wide, my book has a better chance to be discovered, and since the KU readership just doesn't seem to be there in my genre anyway, I don't feel like I'm giving up very much.
 

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@OP - 95% of my sales originate from my website (people get to my website through FB ads primarily) and about 40% of my royalties come from KU. On days when my copies aren't sold, KU provides the cover for me to break-even.

On my website I only mention that my books are also available on KU, that's pretty much it.
 

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You could look into StoryOrigin and/or Bookfunnel to grow your mailing-list, which could in turn increase your sales. Look into group promos and newsletter swaps.

Also, if you're on Facebook, I'd recommend joining the 20BooksTo50k group. It's got tons of advice for marketing and such. Lots of self-published writers on there who share their experiences and knowledge. I've learned a lot since I joined last month. And there are plenty of folks there who use KU with great success.

 

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Length is also an issue. I have a box set (and several individual books within that box set) that are so long they make more money from a KU read than they do from an actual purchase.

On the other hand I have some extremely short books which probably make as much in royalties from one sale as they do from two or three KU reads - so I'm thinking of pulling those out.
 

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ShayneRutherford said:
I'm going to guess that's why KU didn't work for you the first time.
Oh yes, couldn't agree more. You must advertise; it is vital. There are millions of websites; does yours come up on the front page of Google? If it doesn't, it'll get you nowhere. I make a good two thirds of my income from Kindle Unlimited; I would be very sad without it. I think that applies even more if you have a series.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Patty Jansen said:
Assuming you're not going to market, you'll be in the dungeon no matter what, and you're better off being in five dungeons at the same time, than being in just one dungeon.

Another way you can do well in KU without marketing is if you release books frequently, but since this doesn't appear to be happening either, I'd edge towards releasing wide, since every store has its own discoverability, and you might snatch a sale here and there on other sites and occasionally on Amazon. My feeling is that if you're not going to market, your chances are better that way. Also, other stores have a higher price tolerance and are less bargain-focused.

Which leaves me to ask why are you clueless about marketing?

It's totally fine to be too busy with a day job, or just not be interested in it, but since you seem to express the desire to sell more, methinks that the greatest increase in sales levels would be not from writing another book that doesn't sell, but learn a bit about marketing.

Marketing doesn't need mean high-octane PPC ads. I don't do those either. I can totally do without that stress.

But there are many other ways, many of them organic, that you can use to market your books so that they all sell better and new releases sell better, too.

I mentioned your website, because this is how I do a lot of my marketing. I don't know exactly who visits, but my dashboard tells me where they're from, and since it's a very international audience, it would be stupid for me to put my books into KU.

"Marketing" doesn't need to mean tossing wads of money at PPC or ad sites. There is a lot of other stuff you can do. But first you need to ditch the helpless attitude and educate yourself a bit. Look at Joanna Penn's articles on "content marketing" which is basically what I do, since I hate spending money.

The huge advantage of this type of marketing is that you only need to set it up once, and then it continues working for a long time afterwards. The disadvantage is that increases are very small and incremental and you may not notice them so much at first, because they're so small.

Things I'd look at are:

Optimising the bat[crap] out of your Look Inside and back-of-book links
Setting up a clean, efficient website
SEO-optimising the bat[crap] out of your website
Mailing list, mailing list, mailing list (us it as your blog, so that people who want to read your stuff need to subscribe)
Never neglect to put links to your signup page in your bio/signature anywhere at any site that has a space to do so
I greatly appreciate the advice. I do have a day job, but I seem to struggle with the learning curve associated with the marketing side (and I was a straight -A student!) Of course. no one had computers in my day. For example, I started a mailing list on Mailchimp. but then they completely changed their interface, which left me floundering, as I couldn't work out how to do anything. After a dozen or so emails back and forth, I had to give up.

I already did (or paid someone to do) all of the other things you mentioned with comparatively little effect. After paying someone to do the SEO thing, I was told that it now has little effect because people don't use search engines to look for books.

You mentioned "Joanna Penn's articles on "content marketing"". is that here on KB?
 

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Alondo said:
I greatly appreciate the advice. I do have a day job, but I seem to struggle with the learning curve associated with the marketing side (and I was a straight -A student!) Of course. no one had computers in my day. For example, I started a mailing list on Mailchimp. but then they completely changed their interface, which left me floundering, as I couldn't work out how to do anything. After a dozen or so emails back and forth, I had to give up.

I already did (or paid someone to do) all of the other things you mentioned with comparatively little effect. After paying someone to do the SEO thing, I was told that it now has little effect because people don't use search engines to look for books.

You mentioned "Joanna Penn's articles on "content marketing"". is that here on KB?
You do not pay someone to do SEO for you because they're often scamsters.

I think this is the most misunderstood aspect of optimisation. The best way to get good results is not to try for the fancy keywords, but to simply say what's in the box, and use this in the title of posts, and as SEO keyword. I use [title] by [author] all the time.

You will not see much at first, but when you keep adding material, and new blog posts, and each time you add as keyword exactly what the article is about, the traffic will build. If four people a day find you through google searches, these are people you didn't pay for. Now you have to make sure that those people will like what they see.

So you offer them a signup with a free book or two. Make it easy. Most searches come from mobile, so you mobile-optimise your website, and make signing up super-easy.

One of the things I find most baffling in general is how people don't use Google. So I mentioned Joanna Penn. Why aren't you out there already googling "Joanna Penn content marketing"? I mean--really, why not? That's how I would find out a place to send you. Joanna's website has invaluable information.

Yesterday in my house, we googled immigration law (daughter's boyfriend applying for residency), prices for pieces of decking timber, business registration, getting a new toll tag for the car, how to fix a tap that sprang aleak at 5.30pm and what to feed turtles (don't ask about the turtle bit).

Google knows everything. I want to shout this at everyone who reads this: GOOGLE KNOWS EVERYTHING for every level of knowledge. USE THE HELL OUT OF IT.

How do you add links to ebooks? Google it
How do you make a book cover that doesn't totally suck if you're dead-flat broke? Google it (there are lots of videos)
Is it lay or lie? Google it
Is [insert company] a scam? Google that exactly phrase
Is this business person you met a complete windbag or not? Google the name

I don't accept age as excuse. I'm "not young" either. I remember my father bringing home what must have been one of the first PCs. It was in... 1981? We used the internet at uni in the late 1980's. We had to put the phone receiver in these ridiculous earmuffs after listening for the screeching connection tone.

No one in the offices had computers either. No, I do not accept that as excuse. It's a mindset. Use the tools. Forget about the stuff you don't understand. Start somewhere small and find out enough about it that allows you to use it. Then move to the next thing.

Don't like Mailchimp? I don't like them either. Hunt around for other companies until you find one you like using. All companies have help files. Use them.

If you have limited time, I would take things one very small step at a time. For example, one month you might tackle what you want to be in your back matter, update all your books and re-upload them. The next month you might focus on your blog/website. Does it need refreshing? Could you write and schedule some articles? (How do you schedule? Find out!)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Patty Jansen said:
You do not pay someone to do SEO for you because they're often scamsters.

I think this is the most misunderstood aspect of optimisation. The best way to get good results is not to try for the fancy keywords, but to simply say what's in the box, and use this in the title of posts, and as SEO keyword. I use [title] by [author] all the time.

You will not see much at first, but when you keep adding material, and new blog posts, and each time you add as keyword exactly what the article is about, the traffic will build. If four people a day find you through google searches, these are people you didn't pay for. Now you have to make sure that those people will like what they see.

So you offer them a signup with a free book or two. Make it easy. Most searches come from mobile, so you mobile-optimise your website, and make signing up super-easy.

One of the things I find most baffling in general is how people don't use Google. So I mentioned Joanna Penn. Why aren't you out there already googling "Joanna Penn content marketing"? I mean--really, why not? That's how I would find out a place to send you. Joanna's website has invaluable information.

Yesterday in my house, we googled immigration law (daughter's boyfriend applying for residency), prices for pieces of decking timber, business registration, getting a new toll tag for the car, how to fix a tap that sprang aleak at 5.30pm and what to feed turtles (don't ask about the turtle bit).

Google knows everything. I want to shout this at everyone who reads this: GOOGLE KNOWS EVERYTHING for every level of knowledge. USE THE HELL OUT OF IT.

How do you add links to ebooks? Google it
How do you make a book cover that doesn't totally suck if you're dead-flat broke? Google it (there are lots of videos)
Is it lay or lie? Google it
Is [insert company] a scam? Google that exactly phrase
Is this business person you met a complete windbag or not? Google the name

I don't accept age as excuse. I'm "not young" either. I remember my father bringing home what must have been one of the first PCs. It was in... 1981? We used the internet at uni in the late 1980's. We had to put the phone receiver in these ridiculous earmuffs after listening for the screeching connection tone.

No one in the offices had computers either. No, I do not accept that as excuse. It's a mindset. Use the tools. Forget about the stuff you don't understand. Start somewhere small and find out enough about it that allows you to use it. Then move to the next thing.

Don't like Mailchimp? I don't like them either. Hunt around for other companies until you find one you like using. All companies have help files. Use them.

If you have limited time, I would take things one very small step at a time. For example, one month you might tackle what you want to be in your back matter, update all your books and re-upload them. The next month you might focus on your blog/website. Does it need refreshing? Could you write and schedule some articles? (How do you schedule? Find out!)
SEO seems to be a topic that's swathed in mystic buzzwords. Respectfully, your own post seems to reflect that.

For example, "The best way to get good results is not to try for the fancy keywords, but to simply say what's in the box..." By this point my eyes were glazing over, as I had absolutely no idea what you were referring to.

My first book is already free. "Optimising a website for mobile" is so far out of my skill set, it isn't even funny.

I know how to google - I didn't google Joanna Penn because the context suggested it was on KB. A problem however is usually buzz words. I don't get what the buzz words are talking about. So I google the buzz word and it often gives me another buzz word, by which time I've generally forgotten what the question was.

I have started small. I do little bits whenever I can motivate myself, but it would be great if someone would write a simple "how to" guide written in plain English. I'd buy it.
 

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Alondo said:
i tried putting my last book in KU, but without any tangible results. My next book is due for publication shortly. Is KU worth it, or should I just abandon the idea?
I believe it depends on your book and genre. Either can work for and you should experiment. Perhaps try one more time with KU, then just go wide if it doesn't work out.

I got some mileage out of KU, but I didn't sell more than wide. I do think I got some new readers from KU-only readers though.

Some advantages to KU: it's easier to rank. This makes sense as you're selling more in Amazon due to page reads. And, obviously, page reads leads to extra revenue.

Some advantages to wide: I've had lulls in KDP sales. It's nice to see $ coming from outside Amazon. And the market is strong in some countries internationally outside of Amazon (like Kobo Canada).
 
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