I kind of bumbled through publishing my first book. I published under a pseudonym (did it through KDP Select, priced at $2.99) and although I created a Facebook account for it, I have no real connections. I’m an introvert, something that clearly carries over to my online social life. Also, time is a factor. I don’t have a lot extra to allot to my writing alter ego. My goal was to publish this year, which I did, unfortunately skipping a lot of steps that would’ve required me to create contacts. My problem now is that my book is out there but with no ratings or reviews, I offered it for tree on Christmas Day and had a bunch of orders. For those who read it right away, it’s a three-hour read; they could have already rated and reviewed if they’d been so inclined, but nothing.so far. Is it just early days? I’ve had no paid orders yet. Should I have published at 99 cents instead? Do you have marketing tips for me? What remedy would you suggest to this clueless, unknown author? I’d really appreciate your thoughts.
How many free downloads did you have? Most freebies are never read and you need approximately 1,000 free downloads to see 1 organic review.
If the book is in KU I would recommend starting an AMS ad at $1 day targeting similar authors. A cheap AMS ad can keep your book bobbing along in the visibility and with KU, you take advantage of borrows.
Getting one book out is great, but I honestly wouldn’t worry about doing anything else until you get more out. Also you said it’s a 3-hour read - how long is it? Novellas are notoriously hard to sell and don’t provide much return. You can make money on shorter works, but it takes a lot more effort in terms of targeting and knowing exactly what that audience wants.
The best way to start are two places; tumblr and goodreads.
Tumblr has a writeblr community, where a lot of indie authors reside and everyone is VERY friendly.
Goodreads, is a place where you can interact with a lot of readers and writers, its doesn’t take a long time to get lots of friends there.
Lastly, I’ll say that you send free copies in exchange of a honest review. A lot of tumblr peeps and those on goodreads do that for you.
Oh and I almost forgot about STORY CARTEL. Its a place where you can promote your book in exchange of honest reviews
“you need approximately 1,000 free downloads to see 1 organic review” - oh wow, that’s a lot of free orders!
Thank you for the advice. I’ll look into starting an ad. My book is a little over 56k words. I guess I should work on making the next one shorter.
Thank you! I’ll check all of those places out.
Shorter? That’s really short. Novella territory. I’d be careful about going shorter, unless novellas are really popular in your genre. It’s hard to price them well!
I’m confused - why would you make it shorter? Novellas are a hard sell (but not impossible), they impose pricing restrictions and you limit yourself with advertising (most advertisers have a minimum length they will take). Unless you are servicing a niche that is hungry for novellas, wouldn’t it be better to write longer, more immersive stories that have greater longevity?
56 is - very short for most of the genres. It might just about click for YA, but then I’m not familiar with the wordcount requirements there. But why making it even shorter?
Agree with above. Also, my piece as a fellow self publisher.
Most likely you’ll be of one of the two mindsets when going into self publishing: doing it to satisfy a hobby vs doing it to earn money.
If you intend to earn money from your books, it helps to know the basics of digital marketing and marketing in general. Also, researching where your story will fit (position) in a selling category will help with pricing. Pricing requires a level of research on target audience behaviors, stories already for sale (competitors) and media for sale/free that is not directly in your category, but could affect sales (indirect competitors).
Since you already have a price up. Here’s one method you can try. Is there an event that is upcoming (e.g Valentines Day) that you could tie-in nicely to promote your book? If so, lower your price for a promotional period at $0.59/0.99 or other two-digit price (promotional pricing) Then go to town with scheduling posts on your facebook account (I also recommend other social media avenues such as goodreads and twitter) to promote the upcoming event. You can use Buffer and other management tools to assist, although their free versions can only take you so far.
Once the promotional period is over, reset the price back to a recommended retail price. A quick fix for setting this price will be researching what books are priced at target categories on Kobo, Google Play, Amazon and various other channels then comparing a list of prices to find an average. You can set the story at the average price or slight above/below the amount. Always keep in mind your target audience. For YA, sales are tougher since the audience is generally on zero to very low income and attention span can frequently waver to other things.
Novellas (any books under 60K) are generally harder to sell since they tend to attract the free-readers on other reading platforms than seller channels like Amazon. That’s not to say they can’t sell, but generally readers would need to feel they are getting their money’s worth for it.
I hope this helps a bit.
Sorry for the spiel.
$2.99 for a novella or short read is quite steep, especially for a debut. I also looked at your Amazon page and I think you need to reconsider your cover. It has a homemade vibe to it and doesn’t scream Romantic Comedy to me. Look at the top books in your category to see what’s trending with readers.
Short reads are on the rise in romance, though they are often erotica and authors need to produce fast and build a backlist before the whole concepts works. Most of the short read authors I know price their books at $0.99 and they release a book every month.
Ultimately, ads are the way to go, but it’s incredibly hard to find traction with just one book since you have no sell through. I would shoot for full length novel the next time (around 80K for romance) and once you have a few books out, consider this shorter book as your reader magnet to hook readers to the series by giving it away at a heavy discount.
If you keep underbidding yourself in order to get sales, you’ll never really make back your investment or your money.
The main gripe I have with new authors is that they never value their work. They just give it away and think that will drive sales or garner new readers. 9 times out of 10.
And in the end, they end up with nothing but a lot of frustrations and regret. (True story.)
I just published a massive tome myself (174,207 words at $5.99 but because I found a book on Amazon that was priced the same but had half the page count of my book, I’m going to have to up the price $1 more to compensate) and I have 10 books sold and one print. That’s just in 10 days time. It’s going to take me some time before I can gain any traction–if ever.
(And I don’t have any reviews either. So that’s not surprising. I bought a Kindle copy of my book for myself on Christmas and it’s taken me three days to get to the 43% mark in the novel.)
So I’m not worried. I have a lot more books coming out in the months ahead, so I’m not really focused on this one novel as I should be.
But my full time job is demanding everything I have, so what can you do between shifts–except sleep, wake up and go to work?
That’s the down side to being an indie author and working overnights in retail as a stocker.
You do have a review, since Monday. On Goodreads.
I should clarify it’s not mine, just that it exists.
You do on Goodreads - where the book has a 1-star average and interesting comments about it needing a serious dev edit.
That was years ago. Not even relevant to the book. It’s just by someone who had a different “opinion” about something I posted.
I don’t use Goodreads anymore.
No, there’s another one.
EDIT: My bad not from this monday but there is another one so.
I’m curious to see what will be said now
I mean here's even a screenshot of it like I ain't making this up lmao. Look at the time stamp
As for not using goodreads I mean you do you but like. Good luck
No. You don’t understand: I have not used Goodreads since 2012. I did the dumb thing by uploading previous cover prototypes that had to be ditched. I asked the site to delete what I did, but they claimed they couldn’t–because they thought the book was already published. A month later, i decided to shut down my account.
Whatever people are saying now, I have no idea what’s going on. All I know is that after my Kindle updated, my copy of my book has virtually no errors in it. But the previous version had 15 for the whole book and then one conversion file error and one site error where Amazon thought one word was an error.
And considering the size of the book and how much time we spent over the past year screening each chapter carefully for all kinds of crap, having so few errors in the book is better than having none at all.
So I’ll take it.
Tumblr USED to be alright but also the writeblr community is…
It’s something alright. It’s tumblr mentality rolled into writing personalities and it’s really a bad scene.
Plus the fact they changed their TOS because fuck us I guess. I mean TECHNICALLY writing sex and stuff is fine still but considering how shit the flagging bots are I mean…
Goodreads is good to participate in and track your reviews with - something a conversation a couple posts ago established. I mean, you can “go your own way” and not use it like some have elected to do.
Personally I’ve started using Twitter more tho and I like it.
For OP, @MaggieSantander I strongly suggest you get more into talking to people. I can understand and sympathize with how difficult it is - trust me. But that hinders this and future sales as well tbh.
I also agree with getting more work out, especially for those recommending you pay for ads. Built your bases better first before you put the banners up.
You are the one who doesn’t understand - your use of GR is irrelevant. Whether you are on the site or not, users are rating/reviewing your book and the recent one is about the published version (not an older Wattpad version) as the reviewer makes a comment about the book being (in their opinion) in the wrong categories.
Anyone can upload your book to Goodreads. I had books and reviews on there before I even made an account from people who read the book on WP. They did so without telling me and without my consent. Of course, in the end, it’s up to you to claim the book under your author profile, but you can neither prevent the upload of any of your books nor the reviews since Goodreads doesn’t check that someone uploading a book is actually the author or has consent to do it.