Category Archives: Kindle

Selling Nonfiction Ebooks: Win With Series

When Amazon released the Kindle in 2007, it changed publishing. It turned thousands of hopefuls into authors. Many of those authors make a good living writing nonfiction books.

Sadly, many authors do not. I work with authors every day, and the biggest error I see authors make is that they category-hop. They write a recipe book. Then a book about dog breeds. Then a book about fish. Next, they try the self-help category.

They make a few sales, but they could be selling many more books… if they wrote in series.

 The biggest opportunity in nonfiction books: series

Here’s why:

  • A series gives you a chance to brand a name;
  • A series increases your visibility;
  • A series gives you an opportunity to build a readership; and
  • with the right series, you can build a great income.

Popular series: think Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup for the Soul was a early-1990s self-published book which turned into a bestseller. These days, it’s an entire conglomerate, which not only publishes books, but also sells pet food and makes movies. That’s what I mean by a brand. 🙂

At this stage, very few authors think longterm. They think about the ebook they’re writing now, worry about their ebook sales, and think about the other ebooks they hope to publish.

Think Chicken Soup. If you hit the right series, you can turn it into an empire.

Is it easy? Heck no. Chicken Soup for the Soul was rejected many times, but Jack Canfield believed in the book. Over the years, there are endless stories about how tirelessly he worked to push Chicken Soup for the Soul. According to his website, there are now 123 million copies of the book in print.

Toss your hat into the ring: you never know what will succeed

As you may know, I coach writers. I love it, because I love writers and writing. However, it can be frustrating when I see writers make the same mistakes I made. Here’s one of my biggest mistakes.

Early in my career, I spent way too much time waiting for my editor and agent to get back to me. Finally I dumped my publishing house, and my agent, and struck out on my own. No, that wasn’t the mistake.

The mistake was waiting. I waited around for others to do stuff, instead of writing, and I listened to others, instead of believing in myself, and taking risks. These days, I believe in myself. I know that if I make a mistake, it’s just feedback on something that didn’t work, and the mistake is MINE. After suffering through others’ mistakes instead of taking control,  I’m proud to take the blame when things don’t work out.

Don’t wait. Write, and sell.

As soon as you finish one book, write another nonfiction book on the same topic. And then another one. And another. By the time your third ebook in the series has been published, you’ll have some idea whether you’re making enough sales.

Trust yourself: what do YOU think?

Let’s say you’ve written four books in a series. You’re selling ten copies a week. That’s not a huge amount. On the other hand, you haven’t done any promotion yet. Now it’s up to you. Consider that you have FOUR ebooks.

You could:

  • Create a bundle, so that you have FIVE books in the series;
  • Make one of your ebooks permanently free;
  • Create audio books out of the ebooks;
  • Create print books from your ebooks;
  • Buy advertising;
  • Create a mailing list…

I could go on, but you get the message. Once you have three or four books in a series, even if they’re only short ebooks, you can make a splash. If you want to…

On the other hand, perhaps you think that the topic you’ve covered doesn’t have an audience which is eager for your ebooks. In that case, let the series lie fallow for a few months. Do a little promotion, but focus on writing your next series.

A series gives you options that you don’t have when you write standalones

One of my students wrote 20 ebooks, on 20 different topics. When you write standalones, it’s a real challenge to build a following. I encouraged him to turn his bestselling standalone into a series.

Just three months later, he’s selling 100 ebooks a week. That’s not enough to make his fortune, but it’s showing him the value of writing in series.

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

Yes, You’re Creative: How To Unlock Your Imagination And Build The Writing Career Of Your Dreams

eBook: $5.99
In this book we'll aim to increase your creativity to unlock your imagination and build the writing career of your dreams. More info →
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Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

Write Fast, Write Well: How To Be Prolific, and Sell – Powerful tips to increase your writing income

$4.99
What If You Were Twice As Successful, Or Even THREE Times More Successful Than You Are Today? There's No Ceiling On A Writer's Income... You Just Need To Be Prolific. More info →
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Ebook Publishing: Kindle Unlimited, Yes Or No?

Ebook Publishing: Kindle Unlimited, Yes Or No?

If you’re into ebook publishing, you’re wondering about KDP Select, and Kindle Unlimited (KU). Several authors asked me whether or not they “should” enroll their books in Select, and thus make them free to KU subscribers.

My answer? It depends.

Please keep this in mind: no one really KNOWS. We’re all just guessing, and tinkering with our books, hoping to increase sales.

Ebook publishing in 2017, same as 2016: still the right strategy for me with new novels

In this post, Kindle Unlimited: Back In, Sales Jump, I said:

Last week, I checked the sales on the new ebooks. They seemed slow. With established pen names, you have an audience, so I couldn’t work out why the slowdown occurred. With one ebook, I was entering a new genre. The pen name was completely new. Three weeks after publishing that ebook… crickets. Not a single sale for that ebook. How was that even possible?

That was last August. That’s still the process I’m following:

  • Enroll new fiction under pen names in KDP Select for the first three months, then take them out and go wide with them (publish to several of the most popular ebook retailers);
  • Already published ebooks: fiction and nonfiction, all wide. Of course, the ebooks sell more copies on Amazon than elsewhere, but for me, KU seemed to be cannibalizing sales — your mileage may vary.

The “perfect” strategy?

I’ve spoken with authors who are all-in with Amazon, and they’re selling huge numbers of their ebooks, as well as having a high KENPC (pages read.)

From what I can tell, these are authors who write novels in series, and publish regularly — either once a month, or once every couple of months, with shorter novels or short stories published intermittently. New ebooks experience a bump from Amazon’s “new” listings, and that bump helps you to make sales of older ebooks too. However, the bump lasts just a couple of weeks — it used to last a month, but not recently.

Other authors are going wide, with all ebooks, publishing everywhere they can, and are seeing good results too. By the way, if you haven’t read the self-publishing survey, read it.

There’s no perfect strategy for ebook publishing, there’s only what works for you.

By the way — consider pricing too.

Pricing affects sales, but no one’s sure how

One thing’s for sure, “free” ebooks, as your sole marketing strategy, is dead. Super-low prices — 99 cents — are dead too, IF you make every ebook in your catalogue 99 cents.

Readers won’t flinch if you start your pricing at $2.99. Indeed, you may sell more at that price.

Conclusion: in ebook publishing, KU is a very useful marketing tool

From what I can tell, KU can be very useful. You can use it as I do, to lift the visibility of new novels. I don’t use it for nonfiction, because it doesn’t work for my categories — it may work for yours, test, and see.

Alternatively, you can go all-in with Amazon, and enroll everything you publish in Select, so that it’s in KU. Amazon’s cracking down on scammers, so that helps with your KENPC income too.

Either way, it’s your choice. 🙂

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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction
You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels. More info →

Kindle Fiction: Free Marketing Tips

Kindle Fiction: Free Marketing Tips

You’re writing Kindle fiction. You’re not selling as many ebooks as you’d like. The solution? Marketing — and it can not only be free, it can be simple and easy as well.

Sophie, one of my Team Up students, had written two complete novels, and several short stories before we started working together. She was very disappointed with her sales. She hadn’t done any marketing.

I knew that Sophie had enrolled her novels in KDP Select, so I asked her how she was using her “free” days. That is, the five days which Amazon gives you in each three-month Select period, in which you can offer your ebook free for promotional purposes.

Why offer ebooks you want to sell for free? Because you’ll make more sales — the free ebooks lift your rank in Amazon, so more people see all your ebooks, and will buy them.

Sophie was startled. “How do you mean? Do I have to choose days?”

Yes, you need to tell Amazon which days you want. 🙂 In your KDP Dashboard, click on More Actions, then choose Promote and Advertise, and select the free promotion option. You’ll be able to choose the days you want.

Here are some tips on making the most of your KDP Select “free” days. They’re a brilliant sales opportunity, and used well, you’ll boost your ebooks’ ranks, and will make many more sales.

How to make the most of your KDP Select free days

You can offer an ebook free for five days in each three-month KDP Select period. To boost the effectiveness of an ebook’s free days, you need to advertise the free download as widely as you can.

1. Choose where you’ll promote your freebie

Before you choose which days you want in KDP Select, visit this link, and choose your advertising venues. Some sites have a waiting period.

Make a list of four or five venues, and take note of what lead-up time they require. Next, go back to your KDP Dashboard, and select your free day(s).

Then sign up for your free/ paid promotions on the promotional websites.

2. Don’t use your free days in a five-day block

I used to do this. It works, but… you can’t promote that novel for free, until your enrollment in your current Select period is over. I’ve found (and my students have found too) that they get just as many downloads if they space out their promotions.

I prefer to start with a two-day period, then leave it for a couple of months before using the final three-day period.

3. Promote your promotion on social media while it’s running

Create some advertising images to use on social media while your free download period is running. Then post the images during your promotion.

Obviously, the more followers you have the better. Increasing your follower count takes time, but it’s well worth the effort.

If you have a mailing (kudos to you!) obviously you’ll let your subscribers know about your freebie too.

Free sells, but use your promotions (and pricing), strategically

You’ll get a slight boost from your free days, even if that’s all you do. However, to get the best results, you need:

  • Several ebooks which readers can BUY;
  • To keep careful records of when you ran promotions, and how many downloads you received, as well as sales;
  • To write in SERIES, and serials… If you want to increase your Kindle income in the fastest way possible, write serials.

Have fun. 🙂

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Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

Plot Hot-Selling Fiction The Easy Way

$5.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 3
Genre: Writing
How To Write Novels And Short Stories Readers Love: You're about to discover the easiest, fastest, and most fun plotting method ever. You can use it for all your fiction, whether you're writing short stories, novellas or novels. Take control of your fiction now, and publish more, more easily. More info →
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