Thursday, May 24, 2012

Useful Websites for the Independent Publisher

Below is a list of useful websites that will help the independent author as he begins to explore how to get his work noticed in the marketplace or simply into the marketplace. Many of these sites will be great segues into other websites.


Friday, May 18, 2012

Noticed A Trend

I've noticed my first trend in advertising! We are all familiar with advertising but normally as the consumer, so when it comes time to advertise our own products we really have to start thinking about what works. I recently did another blog ad and while it again did not cover the advertising cost I did notice something. I ran two different ads that alternated evenly. One ad was a description of the book and the other was a tagline and book review excerpts. Which one do you think worked better? If you guessed, book reviews you win! What? I don't know.

So people really do like to know someone else enjoyed your product. I guess that's why so many celebrities and athletes endorse products huh?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Kindle Singles

I'm currently trying my hand at some short stories that I hope will be approved into the Kindle Singles program. This program appears to be a good option for short stories or other fiction and non-fiction that is between 5,000 and 30,000 words. I appreciate Amazon giving people an opportunity to do shorter works. When was the last time a publisher published a single short story? Even from a well-known author? This is an entirely new option in the world of publishing and should you get accepted to the Kindle Singles Program it seems they help market and advertise the story just by putting it into a separate category. Furthermore, they take new authors as well as seasoned professionals like Stephen King. Another plus, you can submit concepts and ideas without writing the entire story out first. I currently have two short story concepts submitted. Amazon says they take up to four weeks to respond. Whether or not my short stories are selected I still plan on writing and publishing them. It will give me more of a base of work in the event someone finds my novel and likes it. Also, I am starting to hear quite often that people would really like to read short stories. It could be a good way to go. If I am accepted to the Kindle Singles Program I'll be sure to take stock of the sales to see if the program is beneficial, but how could it not be?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Keep Moving Forward

Like I've said before, I published my book Grim Awakening a little over two months ago. It's important to keep moving forward though. Don't plan on your book to take off right away, especially if it's your first and nobody has ever heard of you. In regards to going forward I am currently outlining my next novel. I also submitted a children's story to publishers which I'm waiting to hear back on. The last thing I've done is submit a short story proposal to Amazon in an attempt to get into their Kindle Singles program. If accepted I think it will be a great opportunity to sell a few copies because as I stated in the previous post, Get into the Machine. I think Amazon Kindles represents a very good opportunity. There are fewer books to compete with and they will make your novel more visible.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Getting into the Machine

My goal should be similar to yours: get into the Machine. What is the machine? It's the network system already created to sell books, it's the publisher's. They have steadfast contacts that can get our books sold much easier then we can. They will set up book signings, advertisement, get books in stores, and overall exposure that we simply will have a hard time competing with as self-published authors.

Some people hate publisher's and it's not something you need to stay in until death, but they will help make your name more prevalent while hopefully making you and themselves a tidy profit.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Amanda Hocking: The Snowball Effect

Amanda Hocking has accomplished what every self-published author aspires to. Two years ago few people had heard of her as an author. Then she began to publish her backlog of novels on Amazon and slowly but surely they began to sell. Once she accumulated a million sells Amanda drew the attention of the media and that's when I became familiar with her name. From there the publishing houses became interested and I'm sure her sells on Amazon went up quicker (exposure equals sales). She signed a contract with a publishing house for a couple of million, plus sold book rights to her older novels, and received an offer from Hollywood to turn one of her series into a movie(s). The other day I saw her books at Target. Once a movie is made and her new books are released via her publisher she will continue to gain exposure and sales. Now if that could only happen more often.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

What works best for selling books

It's been nearly two months since I first published my book. I have tried several things to sell the book, but so far what has worked best is personal contacts. However, this will only get an author so far, as you need the book to sell beyond your friends and family to be successful. I am still working at it but here is what I have tried so far: Google Adwords, Kindle Select, Blogads, and emails to book reviewers.

I get hits on Google Adwords, but not many buys. I've spent nearly $50 but have not come close to that number in sales with the service. At least I signed up for a free $100 in advertising and so in the end it has yet to cost me anything.

Kindle Select as I have previously stated allows the author to list his book for free for up to five days. Over the five days I listed my book for free over 700 copies were picked up, but to date, it appears I have not received a single review from any of those copies.

I spent $48 on Blogads to run for one week on two websites. You can track how many times the ad has appeared (impressions) as well as how many people clicked on the ad. With over 200k impressions I only generated 21 clicks. That was coming from several different advertisements as Blogads allows the user to rotate through a variety of ads so he can see which language works best. I did get some sales from Blogads, but not enough to cover the cost of the advertisements.

I have read from many websites that it is good to find individuals on Amazon that love to review for the sake of reviewing. I tracked down a dozen or so that I thought would be interested in my work and never heard back from the majority. The responses I did get were the reviewers were already inundated with too many books to take on another. I did post an ad on Craigslist offering the book for free if someone was interested in giving a review and one popped up that way. I've also contacted several bloggers that review books, but have yet to hear back from any of them.

Gaining traction is difficult. I have a few ideas that I am pursuing and if any pan out I'll be sure to post the results.