About Writers, book promotion, book sales, Research, self-publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Kindle Unlimited

That is, is it worth it to the Author?
Kindle Unlimited (KU) is a subscription service. With Kindle Unlimited, customers can read as many books as they like and keep them as long as they want for a monthly subscription fee.

Author Jon Cronshaw recently asked the question, “Is there anything (beyond the usual wide versus KU debate) that makes wide or KU better?

Author Brian Meeks responded, “That’s a really good question. I’m not sure I can speak to your genre, but I do have some thoughts.

Over the last six months, I’ve noticed something. The conversions I track across all 5 genres in which I write, have changed. It used to be about 50% sales and 50% KU downloads. That’s not the case anymore. The shift has been toward KU.

My data shows 40% sales and 60% KU downloads. This tells me that more people are joining KU and enjoying it like we all do with Netflix. It also makes me think the shift will continue.

There’s one other point that often doesn’t get mentioned. It’s that the MOST voracious readers, naturally, gravitate toward KU.

I hope these thoughts will help you a bit. Good luck.”

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book sales, publishing, scams, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

An Independent Voice

leechman

I find it illuminating and pathetic that a market exists wherein writers pay 3rd parties to “try” to find them a publisher or pay publishers to “consider” their work. Pathetic because it reeks of desperation. Illuminating because it works so well.

Make no mistake. These leeches know what they are doing, that it is legal (no refunds), and that they will have customers. I say leeches because, well, isn’t it obvious they make money off the blood & sweat of gullible writers? I include in this category of leech “marketers” who refuse to work on commission because they know their efforts on your behalf is not worth a percentage of sales.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t care what you do. I’m just hoping new writers will consider ROI before paying money to sell their book.

If you know of any of these questionable enterprises, please do new writers a favor and note them in the comments.

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book sales, publishing, self-publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

Blockchain Update

It’s like a big spreadsheet where an entry, once made, cannot be changed. The advantage is that no middleman, no clearing house, no central authority is required. (My explanation is admittedly like my understanding of blockchain technology: simple minded. It’s like looking straight up at a big wave. I can’t see much. But it is here.)

Books sold on a blockchain could be searchable by author, genre, popularity, etc. You could offer your book for sale in such a way that anyone could purchase it through PayPal.  No publisher or retailer is required. The transaction would be solely between you and the reader.

ALLiBlockchain Could Put Authors At Center of Publishing Universe
https://www.allianceindependentauthors.org/blockchain-for-books/

IBMIBM is currently selling blockchain packages (starting at $1,000/month) that could be used by a service to provide writers a way to sell their books. Cost per author would depend on how many subscribed to the service. Could be quite cheap & I’d expect the pricing to go down as the tech becomes common.
https://console.bluemix.net/catalog/services/blockchain/

CannesCannes films are being distributed on blockchain this year.
http://www.cineuropa.org/nw.aspx?t=newsdetail&l=en&did=353794

astonishmentSix hours ago, CNBC reported that “HSBC says it’s made the world’s first trade finance transaction using blockchain.”

The news is coming in faster than I can type.

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About Writers, book promotion, book sales, publishing, self-publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

It’s Your Industry

Click these links to learn more…

The World’s 54 Largest Publishers, 2017:
https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/international/international-book-news/article/74505-the-world-s-50-largest-publishers-2017.html

Leading online print book genres in the United States in 2017, by revenue
https://www.statista.com/statistics/322187/book-genres-revenue/

2018 Book Industry Predictions:
http://blog.smashwords.com/2017/12/2018-book-industry-predictions.html

Amazon Author Rank:
https://www.amazon.com/author-rank

Amazon’s relationship to you, as a writer:
https://newrepublic.com/article/142616/amazon-steps-battle-book-industry

AND, consider a new hobby for when you are successful:
http://www.businessinsider.com/billionaire-hobbies-of-richest-people-in-the-world-2016-8#11-footballsoccer–131-10

(P.S. My hobbies are computer gaming and training cats to fly.)

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About Writers, book sales, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

20 Books to 50K

“Being an author is a lonely business. It comes down to you and your computer, memorializing your words and then putting them in print, casting them upon the digital waves of the universe. It is lonely, but you don’t have to be alone. 20Booksto50k shows that we are in this together, and our goal is that you take what you learn here and climb to the next level in your author journey.”
– From the 20Booksto50k conference announcement:
“It’s Vegas Baby! November 6-8, 2018. A 20Booksto50k Educational and Networking Event”
http://20booksvegas.com/

“We are the indies, and 20Books is about indies supporting indies.”
I’m writing about this writers’ group because so many of them appear to be successful authors. Here’s a couple examples:

“Here are my results: I made $10k in my first 90 days, I’ve made $60k in 150 days, I’m on track to hit $300k this year – Obviously things can happen. My goal for March is $17,360. I’m projecting a gross of $25k this month – over $20k has been sold to date.
‘So what’ I’ve been told. You got lucky, your writing is crap – it’s poorly edited, you need to do better. You need to do this, you need to do that. To those I would suggest that the ONLY one who has a vote is the person who pays you and pays me. The reader.”
– Michael Anderle

Author Craig Martelle reports monthly income for the year ending March 2018 at about $15,000, with the lowest month under $10,000 and the highest over $20,000.

The 20Booksto50k Facebook site is crammed full of very specific experiences from authors. Many make their living by writing, others are on their way to doing so.

Just sayin’, it can be done 🙂

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book promotion, book sales, self-publishing

The power of a newsletter. I hope.

person-writing-letter-with-metal-quill

How can we gain readers? Blogging is approximate, Facebook is fickle and tweets are lost like bubbles that burst as soon as they’re formed. Only one answer, then: a newsletter. Well, that’s what I’ve heard, time and again, from self-publishing marketing gurus, foremost among them Mark Dawson and Nick Stephenson. Build your mailing list!  As Dawson puts it, my mailing list is a crucial – THE crucial – part of my business. It’s my most valuable asset. Because then you have email addresses so you’re sending out regular content to a (more or less) captive audience. So that’s what I’m doing. Last week, GD did me the honour of posting one of my letters, so the least I can do now is explain the mechanics behind it.

First you’ll need an email marketing service. I’m currently using Mailchimp, which has good functionality and is free up to 2000 subscribers. After that, it’s $30 a month, rising to $50 when you hit 3000. Not exactly cheap. As I’m getting close to 2000, I’ve started looking at alternatives. Among the best known is Mailerlite, which is free up to 1000, only rising to $35 a month when you reach 10,000 (by which time, if all goes to plan, you should be generating more than enough revenue to cover the cost). Here’s a more detailed comparison of the two. But they’re not the only ones: here’s a list of several more.

But readers don’t sign up to lists for no reason. In return for giving you their email address, they want something of value to them, such as a free book or a video course. Make your first book free, and if subscribers like it enough, they’ll buy the second, especially if it’s part of a series. Or so the reasoning goes. But with so many free books out there, for that to happen, you’re going to need a lot of subscribers.

Next you want somewhere readers will find you. A landing page on a blog is all very well, but unless you have a huge amount of traffic, the sign-up rate is so low it could take years to build your list to any decent size. Then there’s the call to action placed at the front and back of your permafree book on Amazon, including a reader magnet (e.g. Sign up to my newsletter to join my readers’ group to get another free book / short story / novella and be informed of new releases). Here again, the sign-up rate is tiny. The solution? Shared promotions and giveaways. Since I signed up to Mailchimp almost a year ago, I’ve participated in half a dozen. Results have varied, ranging from barely 20 subscribers to the current one (40 mystery novels), with over 700. Readers sign up to giveaways on one of the two main sites, Instafreebie or Bookfunnel. This video (20 min) explains how both of them work.

Finally, but of course not least, you need content. This is the hardest part – an insipid or uninformative newsletter will lose subscribers fast. But if it’s helpful, fun to read, or offers something of value (more giveaways, a free story), they’ll stay. All of them? That would be nice, wouldn’t it? But with each letter you send out, you can expect a hefty batch of unsubscribes. How many depends on the number of subscribers you have, so it’s best to talk percentages: in my experience, anything from 2% to 8%. Which is fine – lots of people sign up just for the freebies, so they’re unlikely to become your fans in any case.

Those are the ingredients then. What about the stats? How good a strategy is it? And what’s the best measure in any case? The most rewarding (financially) is the number of sales of a second book after readers have downloaded the first. If I include the sales of book two (Perfume Island) at the time of its launch, my conversion rate is 2.3%. Excluding the launch, it’s less than 1%. There are other measures, like the open rate of the newsletter (35% – 40% for mine) or the number of reviews on Amazon (Mark Dawson puts forward a figure of 1 per every 1000 downloads), but the bottom line, of course, is sales.

Am I downhearted? No. Nor even surprised, now that I know what the nature of the game is. For me, it’s way too early to draw conclusions. I’ve only got two books out, and there’s a lot I’ve still got to learn. My expectation is that until I reach at least 5000 subscribers, release a couple more books (and probably start spending on advertising), there won’t be any significant result. But so far this is the only strategy I’ve come across. It’s no doubt getting harder as time goes by, and it requires endless patience and perseverance, but there are plenty of authors who’ve used it satisfactorily. So sometime you can expect another post from me, triumphantly announcing I’m one of them. Maybe. In the meantime, you can always sign up to my newsletter.

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About Writers, blogging, book promotion, book reviews, book sales, inspiration, publishing, Uncategorized, Writers Co-op

It’s a Community

above: Terry Pratchett 1948-2015 By Artist ‘Sandara’

One of the advantages of joining a community of like-minded people on the ‘Net is the likelihood of meeting someone totally unlike yourself. That is always good for a writer. I can’t draw an expressive crooked line. But Sandara can create a whole world in one image. Her visualization of Terry Pratchett shaking Death’s hand is fresh, striking and memorable. Don’t we writers wish all our stories were that good?

Amazing, the talents in the writing community: Publishers, editors & marketing people of course. Cover artists, beta readers, blurb writers, personal assistants and reviewers are some more. I’m sure I’ve left out important categories. No writer has all of the talents needed for a successful book. Hence, the usefulness of belonging to a writing community. Want to know the best print-on-demand service out there right now? Ask.

And best of all is the feedback. Excellent services at reasonable prices receive as much publicity on a writers’ forum as do services that waste your time and money. Think you have a really good idea for marketing your book? Ask and see if anyone has already tried that. Not sure of your book cover? Post it for comments.

Finally, always return favors. While I do owe her one, the real reason I recommend Sandara Tang here is her art. Take a look at some. It will surprise your imagination.

The Art Of Sandara
https://sandara.deviantart.com/ (best Hi-Res images)
https://www.facebook.com/ArtofSandara3/

Who have you worked with that you would recommend to other writers?

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