1. T B Carter

    T B Carter New Member

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    Promoting a Kindle ebook - I've tried nothing and I'm all outta ideas.

    Discussion in 'Electronic Publishing' started by T B Carter, Dec 19, 2018.

    In October this year I launched my contemporary fantasy novel 'A Minefield Full of Penguins'. I initially did a free giveaway, mainly so my family and friends could get a free copy so I was quite suprised when I gave away 500 odd copies, mostly in the UK and made the top ten free fantasy and sci fi bestseller list. Not to mention getting some gratifyingly positive reviews.

    Now I'm selling one or two copies a week with maybe one or two more books read on Kindle Unlimited (or 500 people reading two pages) and I was wondering the best way to spend my royalties of about £130.

    With a full time job and five kids, not to mention writing the sequel I'm pretty time (and cash) poor.

    So far I have done my Amazon author profile and have a profile of Goodreads and Bookbub. I tried advertising on Kindle for a couple of weeks which was a complete failure.

    I have no idea of how to set up a website and a mailing list and every time I give it a go I completely loose all motivation. Any link to an idiot's guide to setting up a wordpress site would be useful.

    I have sent the book off to various bloggers. So far I have had no reply.

    So am I missing anything obvious here, I realise getting the all important sequel out (which I'm about a third of the way through) is a priority and I'm very tempted to spend some of the money on some editing software. What do you guys recommend?
     
  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    really its not worth doing much paid promotion with just a single book .. its very hard to make a positive ROI on a single unit with no linkage and read through. - at the stage I'd be thinking about mailing list and website - Joanna penn has three videos on set up https://www.thecreativepenn.com/authorwebsite/ which are fairly fool proof (although I used a free theme rather than the paid theme she suggests) … mailing list wise I'd highly recommend Tami Labrecques book "Newsletter ninja". Also you might want to think about joining facebook groups like Mark Dawsons SPF community, or Adam Croft's Indie author Mindset community... although this forum is very good on writing, they have far more on the detail of marketing.

    Also optimise your blurb (Bryan Cohen's book "Write a sizzling synopsis" 2.99 on kindle is very useful) and make sure your meta data is spot on (Dave Chesson's page has some good info on the latter)

    Also tbh your cover isn't great...its alright as a DIY effort but it doesn't stand well with the other books that show on your page... your book really needs to be indistinguishable from a trad published book

    The best advice at the minute is to write more books (you might want to look at writing a prequel or side story short story or novella to use as a magnet.. that is a freebie that you give only to the people who sign up to your list)

    In regard of editing software - ive used both Grammarly and pro writers aid... they both had different strengths and weaknesses but neither replaces a human editor/proofreader
     
  3. ddavidv

    ddavidv Senior Member

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    I concur, the cover is sadly amateur-ish. I think you could do better even doing it yourself.
    The 16 reviews are an excellent start. I believe reviews are the most important thing that helps move books.
    You are doing pretty well compared to many. I've got 4 books on Amazon and haven't cleared 130 quid on all of them combined! There is immense competition out there and it is very hard to stand out. Having a better cover will help.
     
    Carly Berg and CerebralEcstasy like this.
  4. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    One thing I noticed was that you've got sixteen positive reviews, no negatives, but three of those mention issues with proofreading or editing. Sounds like you've told a good story, but that's quite a lot of critique, percentage-wise, of the same issue. Might be worth doing whatever is necessary to clean it up before trying to get more eyes on it.
     
  5. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    Not a lot to add to what was said above, but to emphasize that having an second novel will benefit you in many of your efforts. A new release usually gives a boost to previous works (especially when it is part of the same series), and readers are often more interested in investing in an author that is more than a one book only type.
     
  6. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Well, first, @T B Carter, I checked your ranking and you are not doing badly at all, considering you are really not advertising... 184,000 beats out a lot of indie authors, though this is just a spot check... maybe you just sold five books yesterday? And you have 16 good reviews, a good start. I didn't find the cover terrible, though not great... it didn't turn me off, and the blurb wasn't bad. However your author's bio is horrible and a real turn off. Lose the part about being locked in the toilet. Make the reader want to know more about you and what you do.

    Marketing is a real challenge for indies, and I have had some good success marketing mine. First, I would forget about the website. The only thing harder to promote than a book is a website. I have had a lot of success with Facebook. Check out https://www.facebook.com/TheEagleAndTheDragon/?ref=br_tf&epa=SEARCH_BOX for ideas on how to set it up. That was done using nothing more than Powerpoint to edit the JPEG images. It's been up for two years, so there is a lot more on that than you will start with. I started with just the banner and a single blurb.

    The big advantage to FB is the ability to advertise, by doing boosted posts. You take the blurb (just start with what you have on Amazon) and a link to that page, then boost that post. Boosting allows you to specify the audience you want to reach, age range, interests and countries. I hit all English-speaking countries and sell in all of them. You pay whatever you feel you can afford (tens to hundreds of dollars) for however long you want it to run, then it reaches thousands of people you don't know. I boost for each month, and for January, it has reached 7000 people, with 381 reactions (not sales! I wish!). If they like your post, remember they are seeing this show up on their FB profile as an uninvited ad, so liking it is a very good sign! Invite them to like/follow your page, then they become permanent followers of all of your future posts. Remember if they comment on your post, respond if it's positive, or hide it if it is snarky. And if they share it, you can identify who did, and thank them. This basically takes less than an hour to set up a boost, and just a few minutes a day to see if you need to respond to anything. Kind of fire and forget.

    I also have an author's page, https://www.facebook.com/LewisMcIntyreAuthor/, where I have two discussion groups, one on history and historical fiction, the other on physics, my two passions. I use them like blogs, to attract people to my author site, which has links to my two books. I am remiss on keeping up with these groups, because I have three new books in queue, taking up a lot of time.

    I set up separate author and book sites because I have two books out, but you can do it all on one if you just have the one book. I advertise events, like book signings, on that page, and may do a cheap post to an audience tailored around my area. I set up separate ones because I can only have a single "Shop Now" button destination per page. The author page takes me to my Amazon author's page (with links to both books), my book pages take me to my individual books on Amazon.

    There is also free advertising on FB, though it is more time consuming. Search FB for indie author sites, Kindle book promotions, and sites catering to your genre. Get a list of their URLs and keep them in a word file. Then make up a post with the Amazon URL and paste it into the comment box on each site, it will call up the book image and blurb on Amazon, then post it, and go onto the next site in your URL list. This also takes about an hour (I have about 50 sites), and I do this several times a month. I usually use the same post as I boosted. Review each site's rules, and make a note of them: some want posts only once a month, some want them only on certain days, be respectful and play by their rules.

    Hope this helps, and good luck! Selling books takes a lot of work, but it is really worth it. And yes, you really are doing very well! PM me if you need more info, we can continue on e-mail.
     
  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Another point is that since you are in KU you could raise the price significantly to drive perceived value and thus page reads
     
  8. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    About how much do you spend on Facebook ads? Like, the 381 reactions... how much did that cost? and is a "reaction" a click? Is the link to Amazon, or elsewhere? Is there any way to tell how many people are buying based on the ads?
     
  9. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Not that I've found unless you cheat and use an affiliate link (which is a TOS breach for amazon associates - a lot of people do it though)

    Of course if sales are otherwise low you can take a baseline approach, but thatdoesnt help if you are doing more than one thing.

    On the OP if you are going to advertise (and I really wouldn't until you've fixed cover, blurb etc) I'd say start with Amazon ads. FB ads have the potential to eat money unless you are very careful, bookbub ads even more so.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  10. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    Let's see if this works: It did. This is my summary as of now, @BayView. Apparently I am getting a lot of link click throughs, about 10% of which actually result in a purchase. As to cost and actual sales, PM me.
    upload_2019-1-9_20-59-57.png
     
  11. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    And @T B Carter, you are still ticking along well, not far behind me in ranking. Top 250K, especially without advertising, is damned good. Considering that the lowest ranking I have seen is about 3.5M, that puts you in the top 5% just for openers. Bear in mind that the average self-pubbed book sells a few hundred copies ... over its entire life! I got the same encouragement from @jannert when my first book, in its first full month on Amazon, sold "only" 15 copies, and I thought I was an abject failure as a writer and E&D, which hadn't been published yet, was sure to be worse. It wasn't. That first book "Come, Follow Me," never sold like E&D but it was a religious-themed historical fiction short story, with a crappy cover, my canary in the coal mine for self-publication. And although it just sputters along now, partly because I don't invest much money in it, it has beaten those expectations.
     
  12. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    Have you found a way of directly attributing those sales to the ad, or are you seeing (for example) that you got 300 clicks in a month and made 30 sales, and are basing the 10% figure on that?

    I'm curious since I thought direct attribution was basically impossible when you don't control the landing page, so I'd be keen to know if you've found a way to do it.
     
    BayView likes this.
  13. Lew

    Lew Contributor Contributor

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    No I haven't. I have signed up as sponsored product on Amazon, and E&D shows up in various places on Amazon without request. I get charged about 25 cents per click (again, not sales) on that. I wind up billed around $10 dollars/month from Amazon. I guess a couple of sales there/month. The FB boosted ad lists two clicks, so I am guessing that the 286 link clicks are to the book page URL attached to the image, and the other 18 links are to the "Shop Now" button on the post, that also takes the viewer to the book page.

    I have no way of knowing how many sales result from clicks of people viewing the book page, but I know if I stop boosting, like I did last September, sales really fell off by more than half. It would be more complicated if I had more ads out there... well, actually I do, I have the free posts I make in about 50 FB pages dedicated to book promotions and genres. I have no way of knowing what the source of the sales.

    And that is a good point to be aware of when some ad agency offers to promote your book for you for $$$ on their e-mail list or whatever. They promise you "reach" which is people seeing your ad, and not reactions (link clicks) and definitely not sales.
     
    NigeTheHat likes this.
  14. Stephen Barnard

    Stephen Barnard Active Member

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    Just wanted to say thanks to all the contributors on this thread. I feel similar to T B Carter regarding my own self-publishing progress, and there's some really useful commentary here.
     

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