Quill Publishes on Amazon

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Margo
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Margo » October 18th, 2012, 1:09 pm

MattLarkin wrote:As far as promos, the occasional free day on Kindle Select has done a bit for me. I think getting more releases is key, too. I just put out another short story, I'm putting out a novel on Sunday, and a novella next month. So yeah, you need both quality and quantity.
Most of the writers I network with have abandoned Select. It's not worth the lost sales at other sites. (For those not familiar with the program, Select lets authors make their books free on Amazon for a certain number of days in exchange for 3-month exclusivity. That would cost me thousands of dollars of sales on B&N, Apple, Kobo, etc.)
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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Quill
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » October 19th, 2012, 12:47 am

Hey, Margo,

Thanks for all the great input. I've been thinking about it a lot. In a nutshell what I'm hearing is that you succeeded largely because you pumped out 400k words (good words, words a certain segment of the reading pop. wanted to read). I'm still trying to figure out what primed that sales pump for you (or for anyone). You said luck and persistence and a few twitter and FB feeds, but basically you said write, write, write. How does writing in itself do it?
Margo wrote:Oh, wait, actually, I can give you one more piece of advice. Learn to incorporate SEO into your titles and tags.
Ah, so this was a significant contributor. And I don't understand it. Are you saying choose those titles and tags with care, to be sure they optimally describe the genre or sub-genre one is writing in? How does one learn how to do this? Going to bestsellers within one's genre to see what words they use in titles and tags (and keywords, I assume?).

Thanks for the advice, Margo. I really do appreciate it.
Last edited by Quill on October 19th, 2012, 12:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Quill
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » October 19th, 2012, 12:52 am

Margo wrote:
MattLarkin wrote:As far as promos, the occasional free day on Kindle Select has done a bit for me. I think getting more releases is key, too. I just put out another short story, I'm putting out a novel on Sunday, and a novella next month. So yeah, you need both quality and quantity.
Most of the writers I network with have abandoned Select. It's not worth the lost sales at other sites. (For those not familiar with the program, Select lets authors make their books free on Amazon for a certain number of days in exchange for 3-month exclusivity. That would cost me thousands of dollars of sales on B&N, Apple, Kobo, etc.)
Yes, there's been a decrease in effectiveness in Select, from what I've read. Even with books that have a ton of downloads, there's often very little lift in sales or borrows. Still, some writers do get an updraft via the brief visibility. Occasionally one will get aloft by that, but it's increasingly rare. Still, many writers consider it the only way to even hope to be seen.

Matt, looks like you're pursuing the path. More power to you! Me too, I'll be outlining my next novel next week, and putting it into first draft in November.

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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Margo » October 19th, 2012, 3:28 am

Quill wrote:How does writing in itself do it?
Every new release increases your visibility in two ways. It provides the opportunity to hit a New Releases list (much much easier than hitting a bestseller list), and it provides a backlist for readers who find they like your work. Almost ALL my sales come from word of mouth and people shopping off a bestseller or new releases list. If you have one title out, you have one chance to get a reader's attention. If you have four titles out, it works like this. Book 1 gets the attention of a reader who also likes and buys books 2 and 4. Book 2 gets a sale and that reader buys books 1 and 4. Books 3 gets a sale, and the reader buys book 4. Books 4 gets noticed my one reader gets a sale for all four books. There are only 4 "notices" in that scenario, but 12 sales. If you had only two books out, and each one got noticed by a reader, even if both books were something they wanted, you've only made 4 sales. The "notice"-to-sales ratio goes up as the backlist grows.

If you count on promotion, and you have one book out, there's a spike and it's done. No place else for the reader to go (where your work is concerned). Maybe they'll still remember you when the next book comes out (depending on how mong it takes)...and maybe they won't.

But let me turn the question around for you. With the signal to noise ratio, how do you think Twitter or Facebook or blogs make sales? What percentage of the books you buy are purchased because someone spammed your Twitter feed? How many people have come to you and said ypu have to read this book they heard about on a blog? Respected review blogs can get you a few dozen sales, but then word of mouth really has to take over. I know of a Facebook page for romance with more than 25,000 followers, and its affiliate clicks indicate it only sells about 300 books a week--for the dozens of writers who post there every day. That's less than I sell by myself with minimal promotion. I've probably had 35 clicks on my tweets, etc, this month. I'll have somewhere between 3000 and 4000 sales (slow month).
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy, and hot Norse elves. http://margolerwill.blogspot.com/

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MattLarkin
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by MattLarkin » October 19th, 2012, 9:17 am

Margo wrote:
MattLarkin wrote:As far as promos, the occasional free day on Kindle Select has done a bit for me. I think getting more releases is key, too. I just put out another short story, I'm putting out a novel on Sunday, and a novella next month. So yeah, you need both quality and quantity.
Most of the writers I network with have abandoned Select. It's not worth the lost sales at other sites. (For those not familiar with the program, Select lets authors make their books free on Amazon for a certain number of days in exchange for 3-month exclusivity. That would cost me thousands of dollars of sales on B&N, Apple, Kobo, etc.)
That was my initial feeling, too. However, at this stage I probably got 95+ % of my sales on Amazon already. So giving it a try on a title cost me very little. Children of Sun and Moon is free for a couple of days leading up to my next release. I got up this morning and saw it had over a hundred downloads. Maybe some of those people will actually read it, and some of those might buy book two when it comes out on Sunday. So, it seemed worth giving up a couple of sales a month on other platforms (for the moment).
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Quill
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » October 20th, 2012, 9:30 pm

Margo wrote:
Quill wrote:How does writing in itself do it?
Every new release increases your visibility in two ways. It provides the opportunity to hit a New Releases list (much much easier than hitting a bestseller list), and it provides a backlist for readers who find they like your work. Almost ALL my sales come from word of mouth and people shopping off a bestseller or new releases list. If you have one title out, you have one chance to get a reader's attention. If you have four titles out, it works like this. Book 1 gets the attention of a reader who also likes and buys books 2 and 4. Book 2 gets a sale and that reader buys books 1 and 4. Books 3 gets a sale, and the reader buys book 4. Books 4 gets noticed my one reader gets a sale for all four books. There are only 4 "notices" in that scenario, but 12 sales. If you had only two books out, and each one got noticed by a reader, even if both books were something they wanted, you've only made 4 sales. The "notice"-to-sales ratio goes up as the backlist grows.

If you count on promotion, and you have one book out, there's a spike and it's done. No place else for the reader to go (where your work is concerned). Maybe they'll still remember you when the next book comes out (depending on how mong it takes)...and maybe they won't.
Point taken, and thanks, Margo, for explaining this. How many books did you have out before you noticed the cumulative effect of releases beginning to drive your sales engine. What did it take to get the flywheel going, if you will. And I'm sure frequency of release plays in enormously.
But let me turn the question around for you. With the signal to noise ratio, how do you think Twitter or Facebook or blogs make sales? What percentage of the books you buy are purchased because someone spammed your Twitter feed? How many people have come to you and said ypu have to read this book they heard about on a blog? Respected review blogs can get you a few dozen sales, but then word of mouth really has to take over. I know of a Facebook page for romance with more than 25,000 followers, and its affiliate clicks indicate it only sells about 300 books a week--for the dozens of writers who post there every day. That's less than I sell by myself with minimal promotion. I've probably had 35 clicks on my tweets, etc, this month. I'll have somewhere between 3000 and 4000 sales (slow month).
Yeah, I get this point, too. And perhaps we could make a distinction between promotion and marketing. I don't really believe promotion, per se, works. You are right that the average person is sick of twitter plugs and facebook billboards. But, in my case, I think making an effort to get my book into libraries, because it could be a viable way to foster viability among my target audience, might not be a complete waste of time. Time will tell.

Do you think the same marketing technique (sheer volume, with quality, of course) would work for all genres and authors? My books are heavily researched historical fantasy. You know, because you write fantasy, too, that it can take a while to build one's worlds? Or is this just an excuse (check out Ryk Brown and David Dalglish)?

Maybe your bottom line is that unless an author is willing and able to put up hundreds of thousands of words per year they can't expect to make it commercially these days. Maybe authors who, for whatever reason, cannot do this, should not expect to be seen or read, or gain a toehold. Or maybe they can, but it will take years, instead of months as in your case.

Whatever the case may be, thanks for your input, Margo. I appreciate it, and wish you the best for your continued success.

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wilderness
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by wilderness » October 23rd, 2012, 2:36 pm

Congrats Quill! It's a big step to put yourself out there!

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Quill
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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » November 15th, 2012, 6:42 pm

Thanks, Wilderness. Best of luck with your projects, too!

------

Well, just to check in and report my progress: I've been doing some marketing for BARBARA REILLY lately but not a whole lot. Mostly website content and a giveaway over at Goodreads. Busy NaNo-ing and otherwise working to boost my backlist.

The ebook hasn't been moving at Amazon, nor the print version, per se. But I have been shifting a fair number of paperbacks here locally, getting them into the hands of people who have requested them, and into a local bookstore and a couple of libraries.

There are so many books out there, and so many authors struggling to be seen, that one debut book, no matter how good it might be, is going to have an uphill battle. Or even with two books, I imagine. And I'm not in a position to crank these out. But I am in this for the long haul.

I am getting ready to set the ebook free for three days starting tomorrow, and perhaps again before I go out of Amazon's Select program. Maybe that will bring some exposure. And then I'll distribute more widely, and let those with Barnes and Noble memberships and Nooks get a hold of it.

-------------

Hey, Matt, I recently happened to see the cover of your next book in the series, while browsing a cover designer's website. Fantastic. You're not even through your first draft on the book, are you? I looked for the cover on your site and didn't see it.

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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » November 16th, 2012, 11:31 am

BARBARA REILLY ebook FREE! Today and all weekend (Nov 16-17-18) on Amazon.

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Re: Quill Publishes on Amazon

Post by Quill » November 20th, 2012, 3:17 pm

Wow. I've extended the free run through today. I guess Amazon Select can still work for increasing visibility. I've reached #4 in Historical Fantasy, and #8 in Children's Fantasy, Science Fiction & Magic, and have been in the top 20 for the last four days in those categories.

What's more, I'm currently #2 free in the Fantasy, SF & Magic category, right across from The Hunger Games, in GERMANY. I thought the subject and title would appeal to readers in United Kingdom, but I've had twice as many downloads in Germany.

I haven't ranked high in the stores overall, but I'm quite pleased with the overall reception for Barbara's first spin around the block, as it were. Thanks, Amazon, and all you readers out there. I sure hope you all enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it.

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