Subject 23 – Free Prequel to Love, Lies & Clones

Sound the trumpets!

I finished a short prequel to Love, Lies & Clones that I thought was a lost cause.

It’s called Subject 23. Here it is:

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Blood &Subject 23

Alice Taylor poured her heart into the advancement of science. It wasn’t until she connected with a surrogate mother, Subject 23, did she begin questioning what path science was taking her down.

This is a glimpse into June’s father’s cloning experiments. Meet June’s mother, Alice, and watch her struggle with the ethics behind the project.

You can download a copy HERE.

I had started writing it back in January with hopes of using it to entice readers to pick up the full novel, but abandoned the project because it contained spoilers, and I couldn’t figure out how to get the spoilers out of the story.

What a shame to have a story mostly finished and not be able to let people read it…that was until I had an idea last week while writing the post for my 1000 “true” fans blog series.

I finished this 5000+ word story up and am marketing it as a prequel best enjoyed AFTER reading the full novel. I mean, that’s better than letting it sit on the virtual shelf, unread, right?

If you’re interested, it’s a standalone story. You can read it if you’ve read Love, Lies & Clones, don’t intend to read the novel, or don’t really care about spoilers.

I kept a similar cover to Love, Lies & Clones, just to keep it easy. Hopefully, that doesn’t make things confusing.

Subject 23 (1)

Have a great day, everyone! Thanks for sharing my journey.

–Joy

 

Lessons Learned; 90 Days of Self-Publishing

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I’m now out past the dreaded 90 days since self-publishing my novel, Love, Lies & Clones. I posted about my lessons learned in the first 30 days HERE and the first 60 days HERE.

Remember my writing goal? All I want is for people to READ what I’ve wrote. I have no goals to make any sort of real money doing it. (It’d be nice if it wasn’t a money-sucking hobby though.)

Here’s how the first 30 and 60 days went (I published December 16th).

First 30 Days Dec 16th to Jan 15th (Book priced at 99 cents)

  • Expenses: $389
  • Income: $95
  • Profit/Loss: $-294
  • Sold 63 eBooks, 18 paperbacks, and 3824 Kindle Unlimited page reads.

Next 30 Days Jan 16th to Feb 15th (Book priced at $2.99)

  • Expenses: $5
  • Income: $135
  • Profit/Loss: $130 this month profit (but still at a loss of $-259 overall)
  • Sold 13 eBooks & 5 paperbacks and 480 Kindle Unlimited page reads.
  • (Despite making more money, I wasn’t happy that only 18 people grabbed a copy of my novel. Remember, I’m trying to get people to read my stuff.)

So, how did the next 30 days go?

When you sign up for Kindle Select, you are enrolled in a 3 month contract. In that three months, in exchange for exclusivity to Amazon, you receive two benefits.

  1. You are enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program. That means that your book is made “FREE” to Amazon’s KU subscribers. As an author, you get paid per page these readers read. (It averages about 1/2 a cent per page.) I had thought this would open my book up to a pile of readers, but I’ve been disappointed.
  2. You are given a choice of two promotions in the 3 month period. Kindle Countdown Deals or “FREE” book day. I wanted to try the countdown deal, since I heard so much good about it making your book discoverable. Again, I was disappointed.

Why is it dreaded to be out more than 90 days? Amazon has lists of new releases. They have a 30 day new release list and a 90 day new release. After 90 days, you’re on your own in the sea of 5 million books. (That’s why, ideally, publishing something every 90 days is helpful for maximum exposure.)

Okay, to the good part of this post. The numbers.

I’ve already posted about my Kindle Countdown Deal I ran HERE. Overall, I was happy to sell 138 books. I had to spend another $219 which I didn’t earn it all back. The rest of the month, I only participated in free promotions. How’d I do?

How’d I do this Past 30 Days Feb 16th to Mar 15th (Book priced at $2.99 with a Kindle Countdown Deal at 99 cents for 7 days)

  • Expenses: $219
  • Income: $121
  • Profit/Loss: $-98 this month profit (total loss of $-357 overall)
  • Sold 140 eBooks & 1 paperbacks and 4572 Kindle Unlimited page reads.
  • (Overall, I got over 140 copies of my book into people’s hands. That made me happy, but there has to be a way to do this without being an expense.)

Lesson’s Learned This Month:

Kindle Countdown Deals: Dropping the price to 99 cents and paying for advertising doesn’t amount to a profit (Unless, you get a Book Bub deal or have more books in a series to sell.) Next, I would like to try pricing my book at “FREE” to see what effect that has–especially since I’ll have another book published and “FREE” sales of one may lead to actual sales of the other.

Kindle Select (Amazon Exclusivity): I’m teetering on whether this is worth it or not. I believe for romance genres, it may be worth it, as there are a lot of Kindle Unlimited subscribers. (Romance readers tend to go through books quickly.) Here’s how I’m torn:

  • Staying in the program: Will my page reads go up when I have a second book out there? Can I increase the number of readers by using Amazon’s “FREE” pricing promotion?
  • Leaving the program: I’d like to be able to give my books away free as a subscriber magnet to build my newsletter, but I’m tied in with Amazon at the moment. Also, I’d have the ability to go “wide” listing my books on other platforms such as Kobo, Google, iBooks, etc. (Though, I understand these platforms are small potatoes compared to Amazon.)

Overall, I decided to stay with Amazon exclusivity for one more contract cycle (3 months) to answer the questions I have about a second book helping the first and how the “FREE” days work.

Amazon Product Page (Sales Page): Three (four?) things REALLY Matter: Cover Art, Title, Blurb, (Reviews?). I think my blurb is good, reviews are good too. Title, I can’t change, but I can add a subtitle. I may have an issue with my cover. I’m completely beginning to buy into it’s worth spending money on a fantastic cover. It really does mean a lot.

What I’ve Done, Moving Forward:

I played again with my cover for Love, Lies & Clones and am currently experimenting with this one. I’m already seeing some increased sales. It’s still not my answer. I also added a subtitle to the novel: “A Captivating Futuristic Mystery Novel.” Again, I probably could do better, but it’s a start.

llc low

I’ve decided to continue in the Kindle Select exclusivity program for another 3 months, more as a trial than for anything else. Here’s the three things I wish to accomplish:

  • See if by having a second book published, if it effects sales of the other books.
  • I’ll experiment with some FREE advertising days, instead of the Kindle Countdown. I had been hesitant because do people really read free books? At this point, it’s worth a try. Bonus – this achieves my goal of my book being in more people’s hands. I just hope they read it.
  • I’ll also experiment with some variations in pricing. I may become the “All Books Only 99 Cents — ALL THE TIME” author. (I’m happy to give up the 70% royalties at the $2.99 price point in exchange for more readers.)

Take Home Message:

First, despite all these “Lessons Learned” I am very happy on how Love, Lies & Clones has performed. (Especially for someone who had NO IDEA what they were doing regarding marketing. Remember when I thought all I had to do was hit publish and thousands of people would find my book?)

  • I have 23 reviews on it with an average star rating of 4.8 stars. Not so bad for a first book.
  • I’ve had a ton of feedback from people that this book got them into reading again as it was so easy to follow and a page-turner, that they don’t typically read sci-fi, but this book was realistic and enjoyable, and even that they connected with the main character and reexamined their own practices in their life. Win. Win. Win.
  • A typical self-published novel sells about 250 copies in it’s lifetime (stats from HERE). Love, Lies & Clones has sold 243 books so far…and only 3 months has passed.

As I plan the release of my next novel, Blood & Holy Water (launch day is set for April 4th) I’ll be modifying some of the things I tried with Love, Lies & Clones and taking some different approaches. Stay tuned for updates on that launch.

Again, thanks for sharing this journey with me. I’ll post another update on Love, Lies & Clones after this next 90 days.

–Joy

Feel free to share your thoughts and wisdom in the comments.

 

Kindle Countdown Deal – Results

Last week, I had my first Kindle Countdown Deal for my novel Love, Lies & Clones. If you remember back to my comments in my 30 day and 60 day self-publishing update, I raised the price of my novel to $2.99 solely so I could participate in this promotion. It’s also one of the reasons to be exclusive to Amazon.

kindle-countdown-deal

(If you don’t know what a Kindle Countdown Deal is, it’s a short time period–up to a week–where you can put your book on “sale” to attract more readers. When the book is on “sale” you still collect the higher royalty rate (70%) rather than the 35% they’d typically mark you down to.)

Previously, I posted that I decided to run pain promotions to advertise my countdown deal. Here was my line up and spending. I added my daily sales to each line.

2/16 – Book Barbarian ($20) & My Book Cave-All Week Exposure ($20) 21 eBook sales
2/17 – eReader News Today ENT ($30) & Sweet Free Books ($7) & My Newsletter  35 eBook sales
2/18 – Book Sends / eReader IQ ($35) 21 eBook sales
2/19 – Guest blog for Mystery Thriller Week (Free), HeadTalker Campaign (Free), & a few Ask David Tweets ($2 – Maybe) 7 eBook sales
2/20 – eReader Cafe ($25) & a few more Ask David Tweets ($1 maybe) 13 eBook sales
2/21 – Free Kindle Books & Tips FKBT ($30) 14 eBook sales
2/22 – Bargain Booksy $50 24 eBook sales

My goals weren’t to make back my investment. Actually, I was only hoping to make back half of it. So, how’d I do?

  • I sold 137 electronic books and 1 paperback.
  • I had 2706 page reads during the promo and 661 reads in the 5 days since the promo.
  • Total spend was $219. Royalty earnings of the book sales and page reads was about $109. (Yup. I made back roughly half of my spend.)

But making money wasn’t my goal at all. From reading a ton of blog posts from other authors, I knew I wouldn’t make money with a countdown deal. My two main motivations were:

  1. Have people find my book! There are 5 MILLION ebooks in the kindle store. How the heck do people even find mine? By selling your book, you build up your ranking, your also bought lists, Kindle Unlimited borrows/page reads, you get put on the Kindle Countdown Page, and other things.  –OR–
  2. Prove to myself that being exclusive to Amazon is not worth it. That, even with paying good money for promotions and doing the Amazon special deals, people still don’t find your book.

I had other motivations too:

  1. Determine if I’m better off listing this as a mystery/thriller or a sci-fi. Now, when I peek at my also boughts and the number of books sold with each promotion, it appears sticking with sci-fi is the winner.
  2. Build up “also boughts” to make it discoverable when people browse other books. I went from 1 page of also boughts to 13.
  3. Determine if it’s worth giving it away Free. (Or not promoting the countdown deal at all.)
  4. Decide to “go wide” or stay exclusive to Amazon. I still want to try a few more things before I make this decision. (Things I have up ahead: Kindle Unlimited Cross Promo, Publishing a new book & possibly experimenting with free days.)
  5.  Experiment for future book launches. I wanted to try these promo sites before launching Blood & Holy Water. I want to try to do that launch right.
  6. Experiment with these paid promo sites. Do the higher priced ones get you more sales? (Bargain Booksy was not worth the $50, in my opinion.)

To my surprise, what I wasn’t expecting was to actually have people read the book and respond. I mean, come on, Joy, that’s your main motivation for writing. I had two nice things happen to me.

  1. I received one review from the countdown so far — a 5 star! (I love 5 star reviews.)
  2. I received an email from somebody else, praising my story saying he’ll be watching for more books from me.

Maybe these two will become loyal “true” fans.

Also, I did hit #59 in one Amazon category. (Probably better than that, but I went to bed.) I was in the top 100 in the other two categories.

llc-59

So, my overall thoughts on the Countdown Deal? I’m still not really sure.

  • On one hand, I’m happy because I sold 138 books plus had people actually read it through the Kindle Unlimited program. That’s my goal right? To have people read my book? BUT, something sits wrong with me having to lose money to do so. I debate pricing my book at free to get it in people’s hands, but still struggle if people actually read the free books they download. I mean, I have a pile of free books on my Kindle I haven’t touched. Now, if I pay for them, I’m more likely to read them. Then I debate going permanently at 99 cents. I was hoping to earn back my initial investment before I went this route, but I don’t know. Have I mentioned that I just want people to read my book?
  • On the other hand, it’s a fiscally losing problem. I understand BookBub is really the way to go with adverting that brings a positive return on your investment (and it comes with a hefty price tag of somewhere around $500 depending on the genre.) The problem: Bookbub is quite restrictive and only select a fraction of the people that apply. I’ll try for it, as soon as I have 20 reviews and have Blood & Holy Water published. The other downside, is I had to raise the price of my book to $2.99 for 30 days before the promo (and 14 days after). I wonder how many sales I lost because of it? I mean, I made more money at $2.99, but making money is not my primary goal. (And less book sales = lower rank on Amazon.) Also, there were other free cross-promotion opportunities I would have liked to take part in, but couldn’t because my book was priced at $2.99 with no flexibility.

Lessons learned: If I do this again, things I want to remember.

  1. If the #1 spot in the book’s category is possible, STACKING PROMOS on a single day or over a few days is a better option. (You can check an approximate number of books sold per day for the #1 position by plugging it into this free tool HERE. It tells you how many books per day of that book sell…you have to be able to sell more than that number.)
  2. If the #1 spot is not possible, you want to spread the sales out. With the Amazon algorithms, consistent sales (and reviews) keep your built up rank longer–which makes you more visible.
  3. Some sites are better than others for promoting. I picked my promotion sites based on other’s recommendations. My gut’s telling me that Book Barbarian, ENT, My Newsletter, (maybe eReadercafe & FKBT) are my best choices for next time. (Of note, back when I first released, I used much cheaper promo sites and had very little results. I was intentionally using more expensive ones for this promo.)
  4. Newsletter is great. People click photos, so make it pretty. Keep building your newsletter list.
  5. In the mornings, before the paid promo launched, I had very few sales. I really believe that just having a countdown deal, with no advertising, will not get you far.

I come back to the same conclusion. How do you sell more books? Write more books! Everyone says it’ll take off with book 3 or 4…probably in a single series.

Again, thanks for sharing this journey with me. Until next time.

–Joy

Feel free to share your thoughts and wisdom in the comments.

 

Crime Division: Medications as a Murder Weapon (in Fiction Writing, Of Course) Joynell Schultz, PharmD, RPh

Here’s an article I wrote for Mystery Thriller Week called, “Medications as a Murder Weapon (In Fiction Writing, of Course)” Check it out if you’re interested.

Mystery Thriller Week

Hmmm… You have someone to kill. You need a creative way, and the old-fashioned gun, knife, rope, or pillow suffixation simply won’t do. Using a medication sounds intriguing. In the alphabet soup of drugs, which one makes the perfect instrument of death?

View original post 1,191 more words

Lessons Learned; 60 Days of Self-Publishing

30-1

Sixty days have passed since self-publishing my novel, Love, Lies & Clones. I posted about my lessons learned in the first 30 days HERE. I wanted to focus on the second 30 days with this post. They have been PAINFUL!

Remember my writing goal? All I want is for people to READ what I’ve wrote (and enjoy it.) Writing is completely a hobby so I’m not trying to make any money doing it, but I did want to share the economics during this journey. (I still say writing is not an expensive hobby. Try being a triathlon addict. One race can set you back a few thousand dollars…plus the equipment? Ouch.)

Here’s just a quick overview of the first 30 days (December 16 until January 15) as a reminder:

  • Expenses: $389
  • Net Income for first 30 days: $95
  • Profit/Loss: $-294

For the first 30 days, I had my book priced at 99 cents with a goal of gaining readers (since I’m a new author.) Here’s my sales:

  • 63 eBooks (Profit of $21)
  • 18 paperbacks (remember, it’s for sale in my parent’s zoo.)

I decided that I wanted to try a kindle countdown deal and to do so, I needed to raise the price to $2.99 for 30 days. I knew that raising the price would decrease the number of sales. (In fact, I thought I wouldn’t get any!)

So, how did the next 30 days go?

I had already tested some advertising while my book was priced at 99 cents with minimal success, so I decided I wouldn’t do any paid advertising, except Amazon Marketing Service (AMS) Ads while it was priced at $2.99. I wanted to save my advertising dollars for a Kindle Countdown Deal. I’ll post about that next week.

So… With nothing more than my routine blogging, a facebook and twitter post or two, and the AMS Ads, here’s my sales:

  • 13 eBooks (Profit of $26.52)
  • 5 paperbacks (Profit of $13.95) My parent’s zoo is closed for the season.

Note how, despite selling 50 less books, I made more money. (Unfortunately, my main goal is to have people read the book, not make money. This is the part that has been painful. I’ll go a two or three or more days in a row without a single sale.)

Just this past weekend, a local book club decided to make Love, Lies & Clones their March book read. (Thank you) That accounted for 4 sales so far. (2 paperbacks and 2 ebooks)

My Expenses This Month: $4.63 on AMS Ads. (Plus, all the paid promos for my countdown deal, but those expense will be deferred until my next post.) So, my balance sheet:

  • Expenses: $394
  • Net Income for first 30 days: $135
  • Profit/Loss: $-259

Lesson’s Learned This Month:

Mailing List: A mailing list is SO important. Not only does it help you reach out to your readers, it also qualifies you for some promotional opportunities that work (Newsletter swaps). BUT to participate, many of them require huge mailing lists. What I should have done is started building this list a year ago. Offered a freebie through instafreebies or My Book Cave way back then. I have yet to send a newsletter out and I may still change my mind on this.

Amazon Rank: You’re undiscovered unless you rank in the top 100 of your category. Preferably top 20. On my release, I should have thrown more money into advertising, even if I know it wouldn’t come back immediately. I’m spending about $200 on my Kindle Countdown. We’ll see if that is a good figure, or if it should be less…or more.

Author Interviews: These take time and at this stage in the game, I’ve seen very little (if any) success. I am doing a guest blog post this week and we’ll see if that has a little more impact.

Kindle Unlimited Page Reads: I thought the higher price would bring in Kindle Unlimited Page Reads — It didn’t.

Amazon Book Page: I continue to fine tune my page on Amazon. I’ve tweaked my blurb (using bold and adding in review comments), checked my reviews (I have 15 of them, averaging 4.8 out of 5 stars), and tried to figure out what is not making people click the purchase button. The only thing I can think to do to attract more readers is change the cover…but will that even help if they don’t find you in the first place?

Today starts my Kindle Countdown Deal, where Love, Lies & Clones is only 99 Cents. I have the following promotional sites booked. I’m not expecting to earn my investment back, but I hope half of it. I’ll talk about my reasoning when I post the outcome. Stay tuned for a recap of what worked, and what didn’t.

  • 2/16 – Book Barbarian ($20) & My Book Cave-All Week Exposure ($20)
    2/17 – eReader News Today ENT ($30) & Sweet Free Books ($7) & My Newsletter will go out.
    2/18 – Book Sends / eReader IQ ($35)
    2/19 – Guest blog for Mystery Thriller Week (I wrote an article about using medications as murder weapons) (Free), HeadTalker Campaign (Free), & a few Ask David Tweets ($2 – Maybe)
    2/20 – eReader Cafe ($25) & a few more Ask David Tweets ($1 maybe)
    2/21 – Free Kindle Books & Tips FKBT ($30)
    2/22 – Bargain Booksy $50

 

Again, thanks for sharing this journey with me. Until next time.

–Joy

Feel free to share your thoughts and wisdom in the comments.

 

Lessons Learned; First 30 Days of Self-Publishing

Since deciding to self-publish my novel, Love, Lies & Clones, I scoured the internet and obsessed over every “My First 30 Days of Self-Publishing” post; intrigued by everyone’s experience. All of them were slightly disappointing and had the same theme. How do you find readers?

Well, I thought I’d throw mine out into cyber-space too since today marks the end of my first 30 days.

Firstly, those of you who’ve been following me know my goal with writing is just to have people READ what I’ve wrote (and enjoy it.) Writing is completely a hobby so I’m not trying to make any money doing it, but I did want to share the economics. (Incidentals of writing books, computer, desk, notebooks not included.)

Expenses:

  • Pre-publishing costs: $265 (editing, stock photo for cover, ISBNs)
  • Post-publishing costs: $124 (advertising, print advanced reader copies)
    • Grand total of expenses: $389

Net Income for first 30 days:

  • Ebooks: 63 books
  • Page reads (Kindle Unlimited program): 3824 (equals about 10 books)
  • Paperback sales: 16 (it’s for sale at my parent’s zoo)
    • Total income: $95

WHAT I’VE DONE & LEARNED

Pre-publishing costs:

Editor: I’m still very happy I hired a freelance editor to review my novel before publication. I will be doing this with all my books. At the very least, it saves me some embarrassment.

Cover Creation: I know paying somebody to create a stunning cover would have helped sales, but I’m on the fence if it would have offset my costs. I’m planning on getting a few more books out there, and with book 2 in this series, hiring someone to design an awesome cover for both novels. I did really enjoy the process of creating my own. (I blogged about it here)

ISBN’s: I bought a pack of 10 of them for $25 each—as I’ll be publishing a pile of books. I haven’t seen a benefit of this yet, and probably wouldn’t have needed to purchase these as a new author.

Post-publishing costs:

Advanced Review Copies: Urgh! My big lesson: DON’T SEND OUT PHYSICAL PAPERBACKS TO GET REVIEWS. I sent out 6 of them (clearly letting the reader know they were in exchange for an honest review), costing a total of $67.44. Well, out of these six, only 2 turned into an actual review. From now on, I’ll only send digital copies—plus, I think the natural reviews you receive tend to be more positive, though I don’t have enough of these to confirm this yet.

Advertising: I tried a variety of advertising strategies.

Free Advertising:

  • Free Submission Websites: I submitted to Book Angel, eBook Skill, Pretty Hot, Awesome Gang, Armadillo, Book Bongo, and People Reads. I picked all these because other authors seemed to have some success with them. Well, I’d say they all netted me zero sales. Maybe one sale from People Reads.
  • Critters.org: I belong to this critique forum and they send out a weekly email with manuscripts up for critique. I submitted a “Woo Hoo” that my novel’s published and thanking those who critiqued it. I may have sold 2 copies from this email.
  • Headtalker Campaign: I netted 2-4 sales from this. Considering it had a social reach of over a million people, this is pretty dismal. (Here’s a link to Headtalker)
  • Kindle Scout Email: Kindle Scout let everyone who voted for me know my books was available – this netted 4 sales, though I had my price set higher for a few days here. It could have netted more with a lower price. (Here’s my blog post on Kindle Scout)
  • Cross-Promotion: By far, this was the best thing I did for marketing. I was involved in one the week after Christmas with all many authors involved in t he Kindle Scout campain. I netted 7 sales from that. Then this past week, I was involved in a big 70 author one for speculative fiction – this netted me 12 sales. The best part of both of these? I met some new friends. I found these all through Kboards(Here’s my blog post on cross-promotion)
  • Blogs: I appeared on some blogs as an author spotlight and others with a review of my book. I can’t say if these helped or not. (Minimal impact at best.) I know, my own blog helped. (Here’s one of those blogs)
  • Instafreebies: I have the first six chapters up on Instafreebies with 33 copies downloaded so far. Do they turn into sales? I don’t know. Either way, I’m happy 33 people wanted to read the first six chapters. (Here’s the link) ***Update 1/21/17**** This was changed to the first THREE chapters, because I realized Amazon changed their policy. You used to be able to post 10-20% without being in violation of the KDP Select Contract, now it’s only 10% (or perhaps the 20% had been a type-o on their part at one point.)
  • Social Media: I definitely had a ton of luck with Facebook — especially my own personal page. Twitter has not been effective for me. Twitter seems to be a great spot to connect with readers and other authors, but not to sell your book. Especially a new author like myself. (Note: I’m not talking about their advertising or boosted posts–just the free stuff.) (Facebook and Twitter here)

Paid Advertising:

  • Facebook: I ran a Facebook ad briefly, before it was pulled. (My rant about that is HERE.) It turned out to be quite expensive for what you got out of it. (I’m thinking no sales. Maybe a Kindle Unlimited read. Total cost: 18.41 –I had run three different ads, really experimenting on how the whole thing worked.) I’ve read a lot of success stories, but I think this’ll take some trial and error–if I go down this path again.
  • Paid Websites/Email blasts: BKnights-through Fiverr: $6 gave me 2 sales. Booktastic gave me 2 sales for a $7 ad, eBookHounds for $10 gave me 1 sale. None of them paying for themselves. My book was priced at 99 cents this whole time.
  • Goodreads Giveaway: I listed two paperback copies to giveaway for free. Total cost of the book plus shipping was $16.54. 658 people requested my book, 262 people put it on their “to read” list (along with hundreds of other books already on their lists), but even with all this, I don’t think it netted anyone actually reading my book–yet.
  • Amazon Marketing Serivice Ads: And now, I discovered AMS ads. These take a little bit of work to fine tune a short “hook” to make people click your book and then honing the keywords that trigger your ad on people’s searches. I’m still working on this, but they’ve definitely brought me some sales at a cheap enough cost. I’ve spent a total of about $2 so far (been running since January 1st) and brought in at least 3 sales and some page reads.

Other lessons learned:

Pre-orders: I had mine up for two weeks. I think a week is long enough or a much longer period (months). In my two weeks, I had a bump of people ordering it in the first three days, then nobody for a week, then it picked up the last few days again. Total pre-orders were 19 copies.

Blurb: The book blurb is so important. The cover may draw the reader in, but the blurb is what sells the book. It needs to be punchy and leave the reader wanting more.

Book Pricing: I’m still struggling with this one. I’m currently at 99 cents, but I’m nervously raising my price tomorrow to $2.99. (I expect zero sales for the next 30 days at this price.) I’m not trying to make more money, but have multiple factors contributing to this decision. Urgh, the psychology behind this whole thing makes my head hurt. Love, Lies & Clones had been on pre-order for 99 cents and raised the price at go-live to $2.99, causing me to have zero sales for 3 days. I panicked and lowered it back to 99 cents for the first 30 days.

  • I think some readers may think books priced at 99 cents may be poorly done.
  • I want to try a countdown deal for more exposure and I need to be priced at $2.99 or more for a month to do this.

Things I’m doing with the next novel I’m publishing (Blood & Holy Water):

  1. Continue to pay for an editor. Money well spent.
  2. Make a more genre specific book cover. (Match the top sellers in the genre.) I’m still making it myself as I’m not ready to spend the big money yet.
  3. Pre-order for 1 week only, don’t advertise this to my loyal followers until a few days before – in an effort to raise my rank.
  4. Try Kindle Scout again. I think it was good exposure—especially when my book is sitting with the editor.
  5. The free services for exposure don’t seem to work, so I’m skipping them. Devoting my time to writing and useful marketing.
  6. Cross promotion is awesome. I’ll sign up for as much of this as I can find.
  7. Continue with Amazon advertising (AMS) and fine tuning it. It’s prime real estate exposure. We’ll see how I feel about this when I raise the price of my novel to $2.99.
  8. Price book at 99 cents for the first month—at least until I get more followers.
  9. Hit it big for launch week. Schedule a blast of promos for one week, don’t scatter them. Any ranking you build up, quickly falls between promos.
  10. Digital only advanced reader copies, and these still may not turn into reviews, so don’t count on them.
  11. Write a supurb blurb to hook the reader.
  12. BUILD A MAILING LIST!

But then, my entire experience could be because nobody cares about a clone’s desperate search for her father. There’s a ton of forums and tools out there for writers to try to identify what’s “Hot” and writing to that market. That’s not me though. I’ll keep writing whatever crazy idea springs to mind. Be it clones, vampires & angels, or superhero wives.

Wow, thanks for reading this WAY TOO LONG blog post! Until next time.

–Joy

Feel free to share your thoughts and wisdom in the comments.

 

Trailers for Books?

I love movie trailers, especially the really good and long ones you see while at a movie theater. A few weeks ago, I heard someone mention “book trailer” and I scratched my head. How can you take a novel and make it into a movie? The thought enticed me.

Apparently, this is a thing. A BIG thing. Today, I played with iMovie and whipped out a quick trailer for my novel. It was SUPER EASY (though, mine’s not great–all of you with more creative talent than me will easily be able to put together a fantastic one.)

It’s super simple. Here’s what I did.

  1. Downloaded iMovie for my iphone.
  2. Found the template for the canned movie trailer I wanted HERE (I wasn’t going to plan it out, but it turned out this was a critical step.) I broke my book blurb into chunks to fill each of the scenes/slides.
  3. Using PIXABAY to download images and CANVA to add the text to the photos I created the slides.
  4. I dragged and dropped them into position, modified the motion a little, and HORRAY, here it is. (Yeah, I know, it moves too fast and is kinda cheesy, but I had fun. That’s what counts, right?) Sorry if you’re sick of hearing about my novel already. I’ll be moving on someday, I promise! 😉
  5. Now, I need to modify mine a little–cut down on text perhaps…then figuring out what the heck to do with it. (Facebook & Twitter here I come!)

Do you have a novel trailer?

Feel free to share the link below. It may give me some good ideas!

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