1. ShrewdSpirit
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    ShrewdSpirit New Member

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    Marketing a Kindle Book

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by ShrewdSpirit, Jan 19, 2011.

    My novel, "Delivery Driver" is published on Amazon Kindle. Do yall know of any ways to market this type of book? How do I get the word out? I have a website for it. I'm looking for ideas on how to promote business. Thank you.

    Dustin
     
  2. NoaMineo
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    NoaMineo Member

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    Did you self-publish it onto kindle, or did you go through a publisher? I have a kindle book as well, but I put it out through Authorhouse, and they frequently offer my marketing campaigns that looked pretty effective.
     
  3. ShrewdSpirit
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    ShrewdSpirit New Member

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    Kindle Kool

    I self-published it for free on Amazon Kindle, though it's only been on there a month, and I've sold two copies. I'm trying to think of ways to generate interest. How many copies have u sold???
     
  4. NoaMineo
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    NoaMineo Member

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    I have no idea how many I've sold. I have no idea how to even CHECK how many I've sold. I also haven't done any marketting at all, or really anything to generate interest, so I wouldn't be terribly surprized if it's zero.

    I know mine is also available on the Nook and the sony e-reader.

    The only real suggestions I have for you would be to build a good website for it and try to get some search engine optimization(SEO) going. If people can't find your book, they can't buy it. I've only done the first step in building the website, some reviews would also help if anyone's read it.
     
  5. Edward G
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    Edward G Banned

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    Sorry, but did you say you had a book out?

    No, that can't be, because you have no link to the Amazon page in your signature and no picture of the cover as your avatar. So there's no way you can have a book out. And you said something about a web page. Great. But there's no link for that either.

    I mean I could cut and past your title in at Amazon and try a search for your book that I know nothing of and have no reason to care about. I guess that's what you want me to do, yes?

    I'm being deliberately cruel to make a point: your first step is to link to the Amazon page when your out in the cyber-world talking about it.

    (And just to show I'm not a complete asshole, I am going to go search for it and see what it's all about.)
     
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  6. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Seo is irrelevant for writers. You need community involvement and a group of people who already know your work to talk about it, get their friends to read it, etc.

    Having said that pm me a link, I am curious, and always looking for new authors to read.
     
  7. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Right. Well, I have a mental outline of what I'd do if/when I started putting stuff into ebook format for buying online. I can't know how much of it fits your goals, but it's a start.

    1. Practice writing pitches and blurbs.

    Readers look for things they've liked before -- settings, plot elements, genre, writer voice. If you're a new writer, you're trying to attract people who are interested in the plot elements & genre of your story. (Obviously, you can't attract people to your style if they haven't read your stuff yet.) So you want a blurb that makes it clear what's going on, possibly in the format "When SOMETHING HAPPENS, the HERO tries to ACCOMPLISH SOME GOAL. But will he succeed when he finds himself opposed by OPPOSITION ONE and OPPOSITION TWO?"

    Example: "When the young sorcerer Berendon uncovers a plot to overthrow the Hannish government, he vows to warn the Queen and stop those responsible. But when disaster strikes, he finds himself a target as well. Now he has only four days to prevent the Queen's murder -- but can he succeed when the Queen's royal guards, the best magical duelist in the Capitol, and an unknown assassin all want his head?"

    Another thing. You want to be specific, because as a new writer, you need to think long-term. In order to get better reviews and better initial word-of-mouth, you want to try to pitch your book to the readers most likely to enjoy it, not just the ones who are willing to buy and read fantasy. (Later, broader pitches are fine, but believe me -- you want your first reviews to be positive so as to attract more readers.)

    So I wouldn't write a blurb emphasizing Berendon's education, his awesome magical power, or his political career. Why? Because I don't want someone to buy this book thinking it's a "Wizard grows up and goes to magic school" book or a "Wizard Marty Stu blows up mountains" book. That would get more sales, sure, but then the readers might be disappointed when it turns out that Berendon's backstory is, in fact, backstory. Or when they find out that while he is a sorcerer, the magic system relies upon subtlety and information, and can't actually make mountains explode.

    2. Get multiple works up.

    Remember how readers can also prefer a certain kind of writer voice? The way, say, people will buy Neil Gaiman stories or Stephen King stories or Terry Pratchett stories just because they know the author and trust that the story -- whatever it is -- will be good?

    If a reader likes BOOK, maybe they'll like OTHER BOOK, or SHORT STORY. So make sure they have something else they can sample.

    3. Put up some "sample works" or chapters.

    The reason self publishing on the Internet is different is that now, readers can more easily check the writing quality before they buy. If they like your free sample or your excerpt, they're more likely to buy your work. (And if they like the genre but not your writing style, they won't buy. Which is good, at least at first; it's not worth the money if that reader's bad review drives other potential buyers away.)

    If any writer's reaction to this is, "I can't do that! My writing is terrible!" then what the hell are they doing trying to sell it in the first place? (There are indeed writers of dreck who self-publish. This method distinguishes your ebook from theirs.)

    4. Make your Web presence bigger than your book.

    Websites / blogs get more interest from people if they're not obviously about advertising. Or perhaps I should say, if they're not mainly about advertising. If your blog posts are "My book is done!" "It's now available on Amazon!" and "Buy my book!", no one who stumbles on your blog is liable to return.

    Make it about other things. Your life. Your cats. Movie reviews. What you're reading. Sunset pictures. Cool music and videos. Humorous anecdotes. Neat advances in technology. And, also, you know, "New book out!" and "Short story now available on Amazon, BN.com".

    Added later: Yes, this goes contrary to Edward G's advice, above. *shrug* It's your call -- but I personally feel uncomfortable with too much blatant self-promotion. I'll totally say, "Hey everyone! I had a fantasy story published!" but I'm not going to put the link to "Picture in Sand" in my signature at size eighteen font. I trust that if people are curious, they might PM me about it or search on Google, and I'm frankly glad that my presence on Writing Forums consists of more than a walking ad.

    5. Make sure your books are available from multiple sellers.

    Not just Amazon, but also Barnes & Noble dot com and maybe CreateSpace if you're interested in making a physical-world touchable version available too. Do research; don't just settle on those three because they're the first ones that popped into my head.

    6. Keep writing!

    This could easily be No. 1 instead. Here's the thing -- a writer's career isn't about the first five years of published life. It's about the first forty. It's about having something new for your fans every year (or more often) so they keep buying and sharing your stuff. It's about refining your craft and learning and doing the next thing and then the thing after that. It's about sharing not just one, but multiple adventures with the reader.

    There are precious few novelists who make a living on a book or two over a lifetime. Most writers -- and there are many thousands of professional fiction writers in the U.S. alone -- know they have to write a book or two (or more) a year in order to make a living.

    Let's take one example. Have you heard of Amanda Hocking, the one who sold 100,000 ebooks in December 2010? (They weren't free; most were priced at $2.99, with her getting about $2.00 from each sale. You do the math, minus 40% for self-employment taxes.) She writes about three novels a year, and her fans eagerly await the next book.

    You don't usually get "fans eagerly awaiting" the next book unless you have a writing schedule and you stick to it. There are exceptions, sure; Patrick Rothfuss's first book was flippin' fantastic, and everyone's waiting for Wise Man's Fear because the early reviews say it's as good as the first. But many readers who finish a great book will first check to see what else the author has written, and then check to see when the next book is coming out.

    You don't have to have a solid date -- "The sequel will be published on 8 September 2012" -- but if you can say "The sequel is making its rounds to publishers" or "The sequel should be formatted and proofed by Fall 2012, and will most likely be available on Amazon and B&N sometime in November," your readers will be happy.

    7. Work on making decent covers.

    There are tutorials online. You can use PhotoShop or PowerPoint to do it; there are also other programs, some of them cheap or free. It takes around half an hour to make a cover once you've learned how. A lot of that is finding the right picture and then cropping it.

    There are in fact artists' websites where you can scroll through example pictures, click on one, pay the artist a flat fee for that picture's use, and then crop it and add text in PowerPoint to make a cover on your own. (Writers aren't the only artists the Internet has helped.) But you could also take a picture yourself; cameras aren't that expensive, and except for some fantasy and science fiction stories, a lot can be expressed by things you find in real life.

    (If you're really into it, you could stage a photo shoot -- I can't be the only one with an antique wooden desk, candle holders, quills, leatherbound old tomes, robes, and enough odds and ends to create a passable wizard's study -- but that's definitely optional. There are far easier ways to get a suitable picture without violating copyright.)

    This is a low priority (comparatively speaking) but still a useful skill. It's low priority because honestly, readers care more about 1) Reviews, 2) Blurbs and 3) Sample chapters when making their "Do I buy or not?" decision. And, as a bonus, many books published through New York houses have covers which do not scale nicely, resulting in thumbnail pictures that just aren't pretty.

    But covers are eye-catching, and they (like a sample chapter) give the reader the chance to evaluate your work. If the reader sees you have a decent cover, an intriguing blurb, and a nice sample chapter, it all adds up to "This is worth my three bucks (or five or seven or whatever)."

    8. Give some thought to how to price your books and stories.

    Look. The industry is growing, but still new, and ebook prices are in flux. Some people think $2.99 is the "right price" for an ebook. Some think you can price higher, $4.95 or $5.99. A few go higher than that.

    My own inclination is to go with $2.99 for a longer collection of short stories or a shortish novel. $3.99 or $4.99 for a longer novel. New books priced a few dollars higher; but if the new book is in a series, then the first book in that series will dip in price for a few weeks. (Not as "compensation," exactly, but to make it easier for new readers to read the first book and hopefully get hooked.)

    Why so low? Because the royalty is higher. Amazon gives you 70% royalties on anything priced between $2.99 and $9.99. A book published by New York may be priced at $7.99 and earn me 95 cents. A book published as an e-version through Amazon may be priced at $3.99 and give me $2.79 of that.

    In other words, with e-publishing, a writer can market their work at a lower price and still make more money per sale. (Yes, yes, New York writers often sell more copies in the two-year period after the book first goes on sale. Good for them. But with only one in five New York published books earning out their advance, the e-published author has a good shot of making more than the New York published author over a ten year period of steady but low sales.)

    ... Hmm. I think that's it, then, or at least the major points.

    Best of luck with your novel.
     
  8. Edward G
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    Edward G Banned

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    Jesus...Here...let's end the dang suspense. The author published the book. It's out in the public. The link is public information:

    Delivery Driver

    Okay, since this is one of my favorite topics, marketing a Kindle book, let's begin.

    I've already preached about links. Your cover art is interesting. It's so bad it actually may not be bad. It's actually kind of...I don't know...trendy and artsy for the new age of e-publishing. So, let's set that aside for the moment.

    I've downloaded the sample, but I haven't looked at it yet. If it's not formatted correctly, I won't even read the first sentence. I'm sorry, but that's a fact.

    If it is, and I like the sample, I'll buy the book. It's a bit pricey at $5.95, and typically I wouldn't buy a new author at that price, but I might do so if it's a compelling read. I highly recommend you change it to $2.99; it's still a really good rate of return at 70% royalty, but that's up to you.

    You need to change the description of the book on your Amazon page. Make it a three sentence teaser--nothing more.

    And you need to re-name the publisher to something other than yourself. That makes you a micropublisher and not a self-publisher. And that's a huge difference.

    And you need to indicate the paper page length, even if you have to do it in the description, because otherwise I don't know whether I'm paying $5 for a short story or a novel. I won't buy a short story, and you don't want a rep for rippng people off. Your KB is only 188. That tells me it's pretty short in length, but I think it may be that your cover art is not taking up the usual KBs. Most novels are in the 300-400 KB range, but that's mostly the cover art.

    By the way, I like the idea of the story. It sounds a little Bukowskiesque.

    So, now, I look forward to firing up the Kindle and turning on the wireless to download the sample.

    Question: do you own a Kindle?
     
  9. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    I also just downloaded the sample, I don't own a Kindle, but I do have the official Kindle app on my Android smartphone. First thing I noticed, you have blank pages. Never have blank pages in an ebook.

    Your cover, I sort of agree with EdwardG, but it's pixelated in the Amazon store, work with a big image, SVG if you can for this kind of artwork, then scale it down. It looks fine as a thumbnail on my phone, so props there.

    Second thing I noticed, Holy Infodump Batman! I've clicked through a dozen paragraphs so far and there is so much information, so little story. Get a move on! I hope to see more books up, soon. I'd like to like your work, I really would but so far, it's a bit dire.
     
  10. ShrewdSpirit
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    ShrewdSpirit New Member

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    Thanks for the input yall. The Amazon link is http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004GNFXJU. My website is http://www.dustindemille.com. It's a short novel, 42,000 words. As for the part about it being information, well I come from a background in Info Systems, where I read 1000pg. reference books, so I think that comes across. Though this is a novel, there are some non-fiction aspects of it; it's to be informative, as well as entertaining. The first few chapters are like that, then around Ch.5 there's more humor. I'm new to this forum; I'll put those links up. As for the pic, I grabbed it off the web; I can't afford to hire a graphic artist. In any case, it should take less than 3 hours to read; I hope you read the rest of it and find something you like. My Kindle is in in the mail; is there an easy way to publish to Nook & Sony? How do I do that???
     
  11. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I also started reading the sample, and also found too much information, too little story. People don't usually read fiction to be informed, so I wouldn't make that one of your goals.

    Have you considered a nonfiction memoir, instead? You say that it's based on your own experiences, so a series of stories from your own experiences might be more entertaining.

    I'd also suggest that you get some critiques on the blurb. Some things, like the mention that "in the story are references to the popular music of that time" seem odd--why would the reader be excited about that? I'd suggest writing several blurbs, and getting opinions as to which one makes the book sound the most interesting.

    ChickenFreak
     
  12. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    You need to get more books up there, more entertaining less fact. If you found the image online, are you sure you have the rights to use it? Everything is showing the signs of someone that didn't research the craft of writing.
     
  13. Fiona
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    Fiona Member

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    I agree with Heinlein Fan - use your blog or website to share other aspects of your life or work. Make it interesting for your readers - if it's good, not only will they come back, but they will also feel more keen to read your book. When I started my blog, I naively thought it'd just be a page showing my book blurb and cover - but thankfully I soon realised my mistake and saw what good potential a website has. I recommend writing short stories, sharing sample chapters, author bio etc. Something so your new readers have something to connect to.

    I also agree with Edward G - I don't think it can do any harm to have a link to your webpage or book in your signature. A lot of people have ended up reading my short stories and checking out my website that way. It's easy and it's useful and - as long as it isn't huge and disfiguring - a subtle way to attract potential readers.
     
  14. BelleIsabelle
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    BelleIsabelle Banned

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    I would say the best way to get your blog our there is get a blog and build up readers ( that is what I am currently doing with my blog, I have about 800-1000 views per day on my wordpress blog), get a really good website and get some press.
     
  15. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Belle, your story is interesting and has a really good hook. Delivery Driver doesn't have that hook, or even a good one thatI have seen. Delivery Driver sounds dull and boring from the blurb, and the sample only confirms this.
     
  16. SashaMerideth
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    SashaMerideth Contributing Member

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    Fact s, some people love lives that are different and interesting, people want to read about these. The rest of us, lead Noriega dull lives. What good are the memoirs of a data consultant who worked in the same job until he retired? A dull life is not a life worth reading about to many people.
     
  17. Tesgah
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    Tesgah Member

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    Perhaps a sample from the more entertainting parts of the book would be in order?

    Also; have links to your webpage and amazon in your signature no matter which internet site you are on. (Do not spam though, that's very bad, and an instant turnoff).
     
  18. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    As Tesgah mentioned, a sample from a more interesting part would be useful. The first two chapters don't do anything for me, and yes, I did read them all the way through.

    Some of the later chapters look like they might be excellent for drawing readers in -- "The Robbery," for example. But what the sample shows is less about conflict than about someone who wants a job, gets it immediately, and then learns how to do his job. It's not very suspenseful, in other words.

    Also, if you have a chapter which is also a self-contained story, maybe you could re-write that part as an action short story and sell it somewhere, as a way of getting more readers interested in you and your writing.
     
  19. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I don't think a sample for a more interesting part would work. If you have a sample chapter from midway through the book, no one will follow what's going on, and will give up just as quickly.

    Sorry to say it, but a more interesting, engaging beginning is really what's needed.
     

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