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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Although I'm new to all this self-publishing, website making, facebooking, twittering, pinteresting and even squidoo-ing, I will always keep my expectations realistic as I go thru this learning curve. My name is Ricard Hill aka R E Hill and I've been busy illustrating educational books and other stuff for authors & clients for around 35 years.
I am lucky that I continue to work on projects and am able to make my living doing just this...HOWEVER, a few months ago I started to doing some research into publishing my own ebooks and BOOM it hit me. I have a head full of ideas and it sure would be nice to illustrate something to please me. So I spent days writing ( it wasn't going to be "War and Peace" just a short kid's story that came from a personal experience), then spent weeks doing 26 illustrations, then spent what felt like forever figuring the right format, who & where to upload it. And like that, "So...Whatcha Gonna Name Your Doggie?" was on Amazon. Then came the next days of reformatting, adding pages, making color and other changes. A couple of days later there's a knock on my door and a bright and shiny 8"X10" printed copy from Create Space arrived. LIFE IS GOOOOD!

But then... NO, ZERO, NADA I mean the big donut hole in sales. So, being realistic I figured either 1. I'm not marketing, categorizing, meta-tagging, keywording or promoting it right OR 2. the book stinks and my family and friends are all lying to me. So, that is one of the reasons I'm here... NEED HELP.

If anyone or everyone can point me in the right direction it would be appreciated. It is truly a learning experience, and I wouldn't mine selling a book or two...thousand.



http://www.kboards.com/book/?asin=B00B51YE78
 

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Nice illustrations.

My take is that the blurb needs to be less about you and the illustrations and more about the story.  It needs a hook that makes people curious to find out what happens in the story.

Unfortunately the sample shows very little of the book.  Others may know more about how to rectify that.
 

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Having looked at your cover, blurb, and sample, I'm going with option #1. I'm sure the latter two could be tweaked a bit more, but overall, the impression is very professional. The problem is, nobody (outside your friends and family) knows your book exists. I suggest doing a blog tour or submitting the book to reviewers. You need to start building your audience!

Hope that helps!

Rue
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Appreciate the feedback. I was going to send some PDF's of the book out hoping that those who read it will post a review to Amazon. Does that sound like a reasonable idea?
I've also made up a few websites. And will now do some research on the "blog tour" idea.
I am almost as excited in learning the process of promoting a book as I am in writing & illustrating them.

Thanks for your time.
Rich
 

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Try offering your book on a free promo day that you promote to mother's groups, librarians, etc. That should generate some good reviews and word of mouth from the people who buy books for kids.

Children's books are a growth area on Kindle, I believe but there is still a long way to go with these.  Most parents aren't handing their child a $200 toy to read a book on, they prefer paper still.  So, you probably won't have hundreds of sales a month, but you might grow to that over time, know what I mean?  Smart use of the free promo days could get you started.
 

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Hi, from someone "old and confused"!
 

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R E Hill said:
Although I'm new to all this self-publishing, website making, facebooking, twittering, pinteresting and even squidoo-ing, I will always keep my expectations realistic as I go thru this learning curve. My name is Ricard Hill aka R E Hill and I've been busy illustrating educational books and other stuff for authors & clients for around 35 years.
I am lucky that I continue to work on projects and am able to make my living doing just this...HOWEVER, a few months ago I started to doing some research into publishing my own ebooks and BOOM it hit me. I have a head full of ideas and it sure would be nice to illustrate something to please me. So I spent days writing ( it wasn't going to be "War and Peace" just a short kid's story that came from a personal experience), then spent weeks doing 26 illustrations, then spent what felt like forever figuring the right format, who & where to upload it. And like that, "So...Whatcha Gonna Name Your Doggie?" was on Amazon. Then came the next days of reformatting, adding pages, making color and other changes. A couple of days later there's a knock on my door and a bright and shiny 8"X10" printed copy from Create Space arrived. LIFE IS GOOOOD!

But then... NO, ZERO, NADA I mean the big donut hole in sales. So, being realistic I figured either 1. I'm not marketing, categorizing, meta-tagging, keywording or promoting it right OR 2. the book stinks and my family and friends are all lying to me. So, that is one of the reasons I'm here... NEED HELP.

If anyone or everyone can point me in the right direction it would be appreciated. It is truly a learning experience, and I wouldn't mine selling a book or two...thousand.



http://www.kboards.com/book/?asin=B00B51YE78
Hi, friend. First, I'd advise PATIENCE. Most of us have been grinding for years and success has come slowly, no matter the genre or audience. Hang tough and keep writing great work...sales will follow in time. :)
 

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I think you need to be clearer about the age range of the book. What grade level can read this on their own? Your blurb talks about kids and middle school students.... middle school students are 11 to 14 years old, they don't read illustrated children's books anymore, but chapter books. I have a 12 year old and he'd laugh at me if I bought him this book, unless I asked him to read it to his 3 year old little sister. Make the age range a separate line so it's easy for a parent or other adult to see it.

And your cover is also confusing me because it looks more like a non-fiction help book for parents to teach their kids about dog ownership?  The additional photos from inside the book are more warm and welcoming to me as a parent than the black background with bold lettering.

Finally, I think you need to detail how long the book is without the activity sheets for Kindle customers, because that's another detractor for me as a parent who would read this book to my child, 54 pages is way too long. I would put something like this at the top of the product description

"For ages 3 - 8, print version has X pages of bonus activity sheets! Kindle Edition is X pages.

It was just a regular boring day..."

Or even Ages 2-5 Read to me, ages 6-9 read on their own. Whatever ages you think is right for the vocabulary. Having the vocabulary words etc. at the back of the Kindle Version might be nice too, since with Kindle, unless the book is 100% illustrated panels, kids can tap the words to see definitions etc.

Hope that helps! I LOVE your illustrations, they are absolutely gorgeous!

FYI: there is also a need from a parent point of view of the no words illustrated stories for the toddler set that can trust me, swipe pages and tell stories from the picture, but can't read words yet. My daughter LOVES to make up her own stories with illustrated books because at 3.5, she tells me "Catelynn's turn to read it."

 

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Self publishing seems to be a Zen koan whose chief reason for being is to teach patience and a leather hide.

Don't expect too much too soon. Stop checking your sales reports hourly or even daily. You won't know anyone hates your stuff until they actually tell you. And, you also won't know anyone likes your stuff until they also tell you. I am doing KDP, you will learn what that is if you view enough discussions. I did a few days of free downloads and hundreds of people - hundreds - downloaded the thing. Now a few have even bought the thing. All it took was the waiting.

I might also suggest you don't spread yourself too thin. Search out the most useful ways to plug your book - start with those. You'll end up spending all your time marketing and not enough on writing your next one.

Self publishing may be the gods' way of telling you to hurry up and wait.
 

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Few questions/statements for you...

1) Are you keywording your title and description?

2) Are you in the proper categories?

3) I peaked at your book but saw no reviews (social proof), is your family showing any love at all?

4) Why is your book price sitting at $2.99, Your basically an unknown author on Kindle so I'd drop it on down to $0.99 for the time being to generate some exposure.

5) Look into "Google Alerts" very powerful tool for staying updated on people talking about your topic/niche

6) Look into Freebie Forums/Facebook Kindle groups and when you select your KDP Select days go ahead and promote your book 12 hours before and the minute it drops on KDP Select

All of these small things add up to your book ranking and the exposure it will receive also.

I haven't published books myself but I publish for other people so we can talk about some strategies after you answer those questions I'd be more than happy to assist.

I'm new to this forum but not new to marketing. Welcome to the self-publishing world by the way!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks George, Ruecole, Andre, Caddy, Sean, Elizabeth Ann, Strath and Raphael for your input,support and time.
I feel I've learned more from this one post than from the many days trying to get some direction online.

I plan to start to implement as many of these ideas ASAP and it will use others in my future projects.

My first steps will be to drop the price of the ebook, get my friends, family & even strangers to write reviews and I will also rewrite my descriptions.

I am signed up for KDP Select and am looking at how to do the Free days effectively. Any ideas?
Please keep the info coming, I'm a sponge and love the learn.
 

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Others may differ but with KDP I'd let the free downloads run only for a couple of days. Save a few for later in case you have other marketing efforts to comliment with another free run. Also, give KDP more than just one 90 day run. At least two. You won't have other places to get it placed but from what I read most authors get most sales from amazon anyway. You can always expand later this year.

And, it's hard to do (format, illustrations, etc.) but consider getting a Print On Demand (POD) with Create Space so that kids that want it can have a real book to handle. Create Space is a partner with amazon and except for the proof copies it's free (well except for the expanded distribution program which is $25. You can get copies at a discount for book signings, library donations, contest give aways, etc.
 

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I agree with strath just have to play around with it and text it out but research shows that most buyers purchase the most on a Wednesday for whatever reason.

Tip: Don't become absolutely dependent on the KDP Select program but create some external promotion when you plan your kdp days.

TIP: Let's say your book is $0.99 and tomorrow your going to run your book through KDP.

The way KDP works is that Amazon Prime members can download your book 1 time right? So are they going to buy a book inside of KDP Select for $0.99 or one that has a list price of $4.95?

Were talking about psychology here so In sum 12 hours before you enroll yourself into KDP switch your "list" price from $0.99 to $4.95 to appeal that your book is worth the download, review and potential sale in the future.

Now like I said before don't depend on KDP alone.. regardless of what people say about social media.. POST YOUR BOOK IN KINDLE GROUPS AND FORUMS.. plenty of good hearted people out there wanting to help you!

Post 24 hours before you enroll.. then post again 12 hours before and then when you get rolling post again the day of..

If you follow these suggestions above you won't fail, but you also won't know until you try :p
 

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For a children's book, Nook is also a great market because of their tablets.


If you can put a brighter cover on there (I say this not because I want to be mean, but because I help run a reader group on Facebook and I know what covers they click for their kids) and decide to run a 99 cent sale PM me. I will share it on our Facebook page and blog and let them know you're a new author. We have a dedicated children's ebook section for our readers and they regularly grab titles for their little ones.

I haven't read your book, but it might also be a great idea to reach out to animal rescue groups etc. and help raise awareness that many Christmas puppies are being "returned" right now, and talking about how parents and their child can help rescue an animal etc. etc.

Finally, another avenue you can do is reach out to your local elementary school about doing a reading etc. explaining how digital publishing is very real and these kids if they write a story can one day publish themselves if they want to. I would make up business cards and also make your book be a 99 cent buy that the kids can take home to mom and dad etc. After standardized testing, many schools look to have guest speakers in May/June.
 
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