Thursday 26 January 2012

Finding a Balance

I'm on the verge of getting very frustrated with social networking. Every day it feels as though something new is popping up, some must-do, fantastic site which will help us sell loads of books and reach a new audience: Klout, Google+, Triberr... just to name a few.

Sure, I'm a fan of facebook and twitter, and obviously I use Blogger, but really I'm not sure if I can handle much more. I'm a writer because I want to write fiction, not because I want to be soliciting myself on numerous sites, trying to build up a name so people will recognise me and hopefully go on to buy my books.

Okay, I know I have to do some of that, but really, does it have to be quite so much? I know I need to build up my readership and to some extent I'm happy to do that. I just wonder if I'll be happier being a writer who is spending most of their time actually writing and is only earning a moderate wage, compared to a writer who doesn't do as much writing, but is selling loads because they're always playing the social networking card.

I guess it's like most things; a balance needs to be found. Yes, I'm living my dream, being able to write full time. But my dream never involved placing all my self-worth as a writer on what score I've got on Klout (I mean, someone actually messaged me on twitter to tell me what I had and then what they had. Why the hell would they think I'd care???).

Maybe if I get more involved in all these different sites, I'll propel my career into the stratosphere. But then maybe if I just keep writing and getting books out, I'll just naturally build up a following because people, instead of following me because they want to find out via twitter what I had for lunch, have just read and enjoyed my books over a number of years.

Sure, it's slow and steady, but it never did authors in the past any harm!

Thursday 12 January 2012

KDP Select: Thoughts and Experiences So Far...

Last month, when KDP Select popped up, I jumped at the chance of trying it (click here for my initial thoughts). While I never thought I would get big rental numbers, it was the option of having my book offered for free for 5 days that initially got me excited. I've managed to get a couple of shorter titles (which I've written to use as promo for my full length novels) up for free via Amazon price matching and both times the sales of my novels have sky-rocketed, both hitting the best seller list for their genres.

So, my initial plan was to get promotional titles into KDP Select and then offer them for free with a big chunk of my novel attached, together with a whole heap of buy links. So, that's what I did. But something surprised me. What I wasn't expecting was for sales to continue after the free promotion started! When my zombie novelette, 'The Body Farm' went up for free for two days, the highest it reached was #5 on the free horror charts. When it went back to 'paid' it dropped right back and then started climbing again. The highest it ended was #13 on horror and I sold more books in a day then I did in a month.

After a week or so, it did start to drop again. But the thing is, I only ever intended on using 'The Body Farm' to promote my new novel, 'The Dark Road'. When I did the initial freebie, the book wasn't out yet, but I wanted to give people a taster and didn't want to miss out on the busy holiday season. This weekend, 'The Body Farm' is going up for free once again, and this time it will contain the buy links for 'The Dark Road'. I'm hoping this will generate some sales for my novel, but we will see.

So, you may be wondering, why did sales continue? It was because of the little 'people who bought this, also bought this' box on the Amazon page. If your book has been downloaded several thousand times, your book suddenly gets exposure like it never did before. This little box is key!

In the end, I only had 9 rentals last month, but I had about four thousand downloads and sold a couple of hundred books. Not a bad result considering I hadn't even uploaded the book anywhere else and only intended on using it to market my novel.

Here are some points:

  • If you're going to put your full length novel up for free, make sure the book is in a good position for people to want to download it. Make sure it's got some great reviews!
  • Don't be tempted just to put your book up for free for one day. As soon as it's gaining some momentum and you're getting excited, it'll go back to paid again and won't have created the impact you need.
  • If you want rentals, you're more likely to get these if your book is at a higher price. People only get one rental a month, why would they bother with a title that's only 0.99?

So what are my plans about the rest of my book and KDP Select? Well, today I enrolled one of my M.K. romance novels, 'Escape'. Sales have always been slow on this one and I figure I've got nothing to lose. I'm hoping to generate a few more reviews before I put it up for free, but then I'll just have to sit back and watch.

I am sorely tempted to put the first novel in my 'Serenity' series into the program, but if I do, it will be in March, when the third book is out.

As for my new novel, 'The Dark Road', I'm going to see what happens this weekend with the freebie and then I'll make the decision about entering it into KDP. At the moment, I think I probably will, but not right yet. I want the book to gain some reviews first in order to encourage downloads.

I still don't like the idea of Amazon having so much power, but until the other eBook sites come up with something innovative to help indie authors sell books, I think it's a chance worth taking. After all, it's only for 90 days (if you so choose) and in the life time of  book, that is nothing.

If you'd like to read my new novel, 'The Dark Road' is now available from Amazon. And if you'd like to get a freebie, together with the first twelve chapters of 'The Dark Road', 'The Body Farm' will be FREE to download this Thursday, Friday and Saturday!

Thursday 5 January 2012

Winners of My Blog Hop Contest... Was it You???

Hi everyone! Sorry I'm so late announcing my winners. These few days after New Year seem to have flown by and I've been procrastinating, so apologies!

My winners have been chosen via the very technological method of popping names in a hat and getting my two year old to pick out three. Those who facebooked and tweeted were added in three times. So, here are the winners...

First prize of the $10 Amazon gift card and one of my books of their choice is... Malvina Bellatrix!

Second Prize of two of my books of their choice is... Ash Krafton!

Third Prize of one of my books of their choice is... Ryanac32!

I'll be contacting each of the winners via email, facebook or twitter. Congrats everyone and thanks to everyone else for entering.