Tag Archives: ebooks

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. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

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 →

Book Marketing Made Easy: 3 Secrets You Can Use Today

Book Marketing Made Easy: 3 Secrets You Can Use Today

Confused about book marketing? You’ve written a book, and tried to market it, without notable success. You’re blogging. You post to your social media accounts, and you’ve built up your Facebook author page, but sales are slow.

The biggest mistake I see both new authors and beginners make is this: they consider that building a mailing list is optional — they never see their mailing list as the essential marketing tool that it is.

Does this sound like you? If so, relax. You can change that today.

For powerful book marketing, your mailing list is ESSENTIAL

Many authors forgo mailing lists. Creating a list seems complicated, and your life is complicated enough. I know, I know… 🙂 However, consider that if you invest a small amount of time and energy now, it will impact your book sales forever.

Even a small list gives you guaranteed sales on publication day. These early sales mean that Amazon will promote your book too. Moreover, your list is a prime source for reviews. As your list grows, so will your book publishing business. You can go from one or two sales a day, to several hundred (or even thousand) sales a day, as your mailing list grows.

Here are three book marketing secrets.

1. Freebie subscribers are nice; buyers are better

Many of your mailing list subscribers will come from freebies you offer in exchange for an email address. That freebie is usually a free ebook. Unfortunately, some of the readers who get onto your list via a freebie never read the ebook. They’re rarely engaged enough to buy a book, or to leave a review.

Your best subscribers are always those who’ve paid for a book, even if it’s on special, for 99 cents. This means that you need to promote your mailing list subscriber page in every book. Make sure the link is in both the front matter and back matter of your books.

2. Develop a content and social media calendar, so you can promote each book well before you publish it

Marketing becomes a hassle when you need to think about it too much. If you don’t have a content and social media calendar, you’re always having to think about what you’ll post next. Inevitably, you’ll skip posting to your blog and social media accounts when you get busy.

I use CoSchedule on my blogs; it’s the best content calendar available. My content starts out in my (paper) planner, then once I’ve brainstormed campaigns and themes, I add the posts to CoSchedule. You may be thinking: “oh no — now I need to plan, too?” be assured that planning, then scheduling content, saves time — it builds your mailing list, and leads to book sales.

You’re never left wondering: “what did I post last week?” You won’t get into a panic either: “I’ve got no idea what to post this week!”

When you plan and schedule your content, you can match your promotions to ebooks/ books you’re publishing. You know that you’re publishing an ebook next month, so you can start planning and scheduling content for the release today.

3. Reward your loyal readers: offer Advance Reading Copies to kickstart your reviews

Loyal readers on your mailing list are your people. Reward them. Offer them glimpses into the life of an author. On the mailing list for one of my fiction pen names, I offer snippets of chapter drafts, character bios, research I’ve done, and images I use for inspiration.

I want my readers to be part of what I do, and I want them to feel special. When I have a new release, I offer printable notecards, and sticky notes. Yes, I pay a designer to create my printables, BUT the results are worth the effort. Not only do I get mailing list subscribers, my readers post reviews, and they share my posts.

Additionally, when I’m editing an upcoming release, I offer free Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) in PDF form to anyone on my list who asks. Reader feedback is wonderful. And sometimes shocking too. 🙂

Use these three secrets for book marketing; you’ll love the results

Book marketing needn’t be complicated. Start by creating a mailing list, and then build your list.

Building your mailing list takes time.

I always tell my students that your first ten subscribers take longest. Once you have ten, they become 100, and then 1,000.

Some years ago, a study revealed that you can make a nice living from just 400 engaged subscribers on a mailing list. I wish I could find the research study, because it shows that you don’t need thousands of subscribers. Please remember that each subscriber is a person. Be grateful to everyone who subscribes. You readers can take you from few sales, to hundreds of sales within months.

Your mailing list subscribers are important in another way too — they hold you accountable. On days you just don’t feel like writing, you’ll remember that you’ve promised your readers that you’re sending out ARCs next week, and you’ll sit down at your desk, and write. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

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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Your Easiest Self-Publishing Strategy: 5 Tips

Your Easiest Self-Publishing Strategy: 5 Tips

Do you find self-publishing a challenge? Many writers do. I’ve been working with three writers who’ve been traditionally published, helping them to adjust to our brave new self-publishing world.

These three authors know how to write books. However, they’re intimidated at the idea of becoming publishers of their own books, so I created a mini-challenge for them: write a book in a week, and publish it. Yes, all in a week. (I gave the challenge as a writing exercise on the Fab Freelance Writing Facebook page.)

Write short and publish fast: the easiest self-publishing strategy

Traditional publishing tends to be slow. From memory, the last time I was commissioned to write a book by a traditional publisher, it took around 18 months for the book to hit bookstores. Believe it or not, that was FAST. (Giggle.) It seems unbelievable to me now, but back in the day it wasn’t unusual for a book to take three years from the initial idea to publication day.

Self-publishing is very different from traditional publishing, and to give authors confidence I challenge them to write and self-publish a short story, or a short nonfiction book, of between 5,000 and 10,000 words, in a week.

Now let’s look at our tips.

1. Think “short”, and write your blurb FIRST

The key to writing short and publishing fast is to choose something you know well. It cuts down on the research. If you’re writing a short story, choose a genre you know and love. For me, that’s the mystery genre.

Similarly, if you’re writing nonfiction, write about what you know. It can be anything, from how to bake cookies to how to sell on eBay. Once you’ve chosen a nonfiction topic, choose a slant. Your “slant” is your angle; your point of view, or opinion. For example, if you’re writing about cookies, your slant could be baking perfect chocolate chip cookies, from scratch.

Once you’ve chosen your genre, or topic and slant, write the blurb — the book description. In traditional publishing, the blurb is the back cover copy. In self-publishing, as we’ve said, it’s the book description.

In addition, find keywords. Amazon gives you seven keywords. Explore Amazon to find your seven.

Look on your blurb as your book’s outline. It may change, that’s fine. Writing your blurb before you start writing your book ensures that you’ll actually publish. Self-publishers tend to find blurbs and keywords challenging. Get it done now, before you start writing, so you won’t procrastinate when it’s time to publish.

2. Buy (or create) a cover image before you start writing

I never feel that a book is “real” until I have a cover for it.

For short ebooks, paying $500 for a great cover is pointless. Buy a premade cover (search on Google, you’ll find many designers selling premade covers.) Reasonably competent? Design your own. Alternatively, for the simplest option, choose to use Amazon’s Cover Designer when you upload to Amazon.

3. Write your ebook in three days: schedule the time

Can you write 5,000 words in three days?

Of course you can. Just schedule the time. Even on my worst days, I can manage 1,000 words an hour. If you’re a new author, it may take you longer. That’s OK — schedule your time.

4. Edit fast — slash, add, and then revise: keep your blurb in mind

Words done? Kudos to you. 🙂

Now it’s time for revision and editing.

I’ve written about editing your writing here.

Pay attention to your blurb while you’re editing. You may need to change your blurb, that’s fine — after writing your draft, you have a much clearer idea of what your book is about.

Slash away everything that’s not needed. Then add content. Next, read through what you have. I use Scrivener, which makes it easy to compile a book into MOBI (Amazon) format, and read it as a reader will.

A common question I receive is: “do I need an editor?” For longer books, yes. For shorter books, edit it yourself. I know it’s challenging; you’ll get better with practice.

5. Publish to KDP Select: it’s not ideal, but why not?

You’re all done. You’ve written and edited your book.

Your book matches your blurb, and your cover is done.

Publication time… 🙂

I wrote about ebook sales here. Since September, many authors are finding that their numbers are down. To counteract this, they’re removing their books from KDP Select because it gives Amazon an exclusive, and makes their ebooks available for free to Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscribers. All those KU readers tend to cannibalize sales.

Here’s what I suggest. Publish to KDP Select. Even if you make no sales, you’ll make a little money with KU’s pages read, and KU definitely helps your visibility, so you’ll sell more ebooks overall. Ditto if you’re a new author.

These days, many authors are pulling their books from KDP Select, and are “going wide” — that is, publishing on several ebook retailers. For short ebooks however, unless you have a real reason not to opt for KDP Select, I suggest enrolling your ebooks there. It eliminates hassles.

You can always change your mind and remove your books in three months if you’re not happy. 🙂

Self-publishing is easy. Paradoxically, it’s amazingly complex too

The days when you could publish an ebook, and make hundreds or thousands of dollars a month have gone, for most authors. These days, you need to promote your ebooks.

That said, I’ve found a tendency among my students and other authors to over-compensate on the marketing side. They spend so much time fiddling with their Facebook advertising and finding new venues to promote that their writing suffers.

Self-publishing is easy, and amazingly complex at the same time.

Everything starts with writing, however. So write an ebook and publish it, in a week. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, and about self-publishing. You may even make a little money. Have fun. 🙂

Resources to build your writing career

Watch for free contests, writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check our our ebooks for writers.

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 →