Category: John Locke

In Love by Christmas is a #1 Amazon Bestseller in Metaphysical Fantasy! What a day!

Authors don’t have many days like I’ve had today. I’ve read about the joy of being a bestselling author and having a #1 bestselling book, but today I’ve experienced having them. Being a bestselling author and having the book is MUCH MORE FUN than reading about the experience. The really top-selling independent authors have shared their selling techniques–Cheryl Kaye Tardif, Joanna Penn, David Gaughram, and John Locke, to name a few. They talk about using the days you’re allowed to give your Kindle books away free on Amazon as springboards to huge sales afterward.

I’ve done the giveaway part very successfully before, but it’s never carried over into the paid part, the way the marketing books say it should. This time it did. So I can post what follows.

But first, let’s give credit where credit is due. Thank you, my readers and buyers, for your support of me and my work and for buying In Love by Christmas. Without you, none of the below would have happened. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope that In Love by Christmas knocks off your socks, rattles your brain, and shakes up everything in between. I consider that the least I can do in performing my job as an author.

These are the happy notices I’ve been looking at today:

In Love by Christmas is a #1 Bestseller in Metaphysical Fantasy

Note that cute little orange tag to the right of the book’s name. It will carry that with it forever. It’s a #1 Bestseller. On Amazon, in the Metaphysical Fantasy category.

More good things happened. It was like winning the Holiday grab-bag at Weight Watchers–I did that yesterday, too. What a haul! Woo-hoo!

Amazon Movers & Shakers are the books that have shown the greatest jumps in sales.

So there we were, Leroy, Cass, and I tottering on top of the book cover, Number 1 Mover and Shaker on all of Amazon. For a while. These things change every hour, but I can say that I got more than 15 minutes of fame. It was almost twenty-four hours in this spot.

Amazon has a new program of ranking authors. In Love by Christmas's stellar performance got me a ranking.

Here I am: It's not number 1, but it's better than I've been able to do writing and publishing since 2006.

Just like the Bestselling title goes with the book, so does the rank go with me.

More and more goodies, just like that Weight Watcher’s gift box. Truly, I can’t say which was more fun, though that’s probably because I haven’t gotten the dinero in my paws yet.

This was a good day: In Love by Christmas hit Number 219 in THE WHOLE KINDLE STORE and …

I’m tickled about the categories where In Love by Christmas shows up. First, my heart and soul are in Metaphysical and Visionary fiction. I started writing to change the world. Save it, if I could. I haven’t succeeded too well, if you follow the news, but my goal hasn’t changed in the eight or nine books I’ve written. I write more flamboyant stories, perhaps, but their roots are in my visionary experiences and spiritual life.

Long ago, when the Bloodsong Series was forming within me, I had an explosive spiritual experience which put several of the books in my brain in an instant. Native Americans were an integral part of that experience. Writing the books of the Bloodsong Series, all of which feature Native Americans, has changed my life. Leroy Watches Jr. has also changed my life. He is what used to be called a black Indian: his roots are Native American, African American, and Caucasian. His experience is different than that of many of my characters. He talks about it in In Love by Christmas. Or lives it, more.

In Love by Christmas is a multicultural and interracial romance. It’s a beautiful love story that transcends race, but doesn’t ignore it. Leroy will tell you about it in the book.

You’ll see them all below. At one point, In Love by Christmas was top rated or close to it in eleven categories. I’m mind-boggled. And now, In Love by Christmas is ranked in all those categories. Thank you, buyers and readers!

In Love by Christmas was ranked in a total of eleven categories.

How about a present for those of you who have read this far? A MOVIE! Here’s a video of our hero, Leroy Watches Jr. as he begins his search for his soul mate.

IN LOVE BY CHRISTMAS: A PARANORMAL ROMANCE – Noel – Montreal Version + from Sandy Nathan on Vimeo.

Leroy Watches Jr. is a shaman whose Power sometimes makes things worse. Despite his flaw, he must save his soul mate from her addictions, her father, and Evil Incarnate, or she’ll be damned forever.

Trying to unite with his true love, Leroy embarks on a pilgrimage that takes him to the highest levels of European society. As he travels, his shamanic Power grows. So does the Dark Lord’s hatred of him.
His prospective father-in-law demands that Leroy and Cass be in love by Christmas. Can they be?

All my best! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support. Happy Holidays, whatever holiday you celebrate in this season, which includes no holiday at all …

Sandy Nathan
Sandy Nathan–My Interactive Website
Your Shelf Life, my blog for authors and readers. Oh, that’s where you are!

 

eBook Pricing and eBook Sales––PROFIT MAXIMIZATION is the Goal

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy

The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, Book 1 of Tales from Earth's End, KINDLE will be FREE OCTOBER 12th & 13th! Get the winner of 4 national awards for NOTHING!

The other day, I read  author Samantha Fury’s blog discussion of the result of changing her books’ prices from $.99 to $2.99. A reader/author commented that he felt that $2.99 was a fair price of his work and to give it away or sell it for $.99 demeaned his work. (For his exact words, check Samantha’s post.) I tuned in to a similar discussion on the  World Literary Cafe: “Your worth and the worth of your writing is reflected in the price of your books. If you don’t value your writing, why should anyone else?”

As a former economic analyst with couple of degrees in the subject and a long professional career as an economist, I need to point out that  profit maximization is the relevant variable. When the author is maximizing his or her profit, the book’s price is pretty much irrelevant. I’m going to present a few basic concepts of economics and illustrate them with experiences of self-published authors.

Anyone discussing eBook pricing should read Cheryl Kaye Tardif’s book, How I Made $42K in One Month Selling my eBooks.  Whoever makes over  in $42K profit in a month trumps the other on-line pundits. Despite the raging discussion about book pricing, this person is worth listening to. She’s walked the walk, not just talked the talk.

In her book, Cheryl reports that she made $30K the month after her $42K score and averages about $20K/mo. As a result of her success, she has signed a Waa-hoo of a contract with one of the major publishers. She achieved those results using Amazon’s KDP program and lays out what she did in the eBook above. By skillful manipulation of economic variables and marketing techniques, Cheryl is reaping the economic reward of her work.

Cheryl says she used the Amazon KDP program, doing a giveaway for one book of her books at a time, focusing on the first book of a series.  She kept her other prices up. But she changes her modus operandi, rather than staying fixed on one strategy. I just checked her author page. Her books are priced between $4.99 and $0.00 at this moment. (From what I’m seeing today, Cheryl has changed her method and has several of her books priced at zero. I’d be interested in finding out how it works for her.) Note that she doesn’t leave her books priced at any fixed level based on some notion of her personal worth or their intrinsic value. She changes prices to take advantage of market conditions. Cheryl is a tireless marketer.

Here’s a story: Cheryl and I were communicating about her policies a while back. I was running a KDP free program myself, while I was on vacation in New Mexico. I was participating in a Tweet Team run by World Literary Cafe. (The WLC is a resource for writers which is DEFINITELY worth joining.) I was tweeting away fulfilling my fellow team obligations, when I saw that Cheryl was posting tweets for her tweet teams while on HER vacation. That’s tireless.

I tried to emulate Cheryl’s results with a couple of sets of KDP days in August. The link takes you to my write up of the results of my first set of KDP days, including screen shots of my book ranked #1 in Sci Fi Adventure (Free) right up next to George RR Martin. The main between us difference is: he got paid. My book stayed #1 for a whole day. The article is very funny, by the way.

I repeated the KDP promotion a couple weeks later with another book, which hit #3 in the same category.

LADY GRACE, Book 2 of Tales from Earth's End, will be FREE OCTOBER 12th & 13th! Get the second of the series, a national award winner, for NOTHING! Get 2 books of the series free!

After the books reverted to not being free, result was an increase in sales in ALL of my books, some by ten times. I would have NEVER seen that increase if I hadn’t done the giveaway. Before that, my books were buried in the lower reaches of Amazon’s rating dungeons, growing mushrooms. Their brief rise to the light let thousands of potential buyers know they existed.

Do I mind giving my work away? Not all all.

A BOOK THAT IS GIVEN AWAY YIELDS THE SAME PROFIT AS ONE NOT SOLD.

I’d rather get new readers than have my work sit in Amazon’s computers hoping that someone will see its value.

THIS IS IMPORTANT, SO LISTEN UP: DO NOT confuse your value as a writer and human being with the price of your books. PERSONAL WORTH, THE VALUE OF YOUR WRITING, AND ITS PRICE ARE DIFFERENT VARIABLES.

If you need credentials to back up that statement, I also have an MA in Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling and a lifelong spiritual practice. I’ve walked the walk.

ONCE AGAIN: YOUR BOOK’S PRICE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR PERSONAL WORTH OR YOUR WRITING’S WORTH!

BACK TO SELLING BOOKS: The KDP glow didn’t last, so I’m planning on repeating it a couple of times in the next 2 months. Is it work to give your book away? Oh, yeah, horrible work. Here’s my article about what I did to prepare.

Doing the prep work  was fairly awful, but I got that great screen shot out of it and way more downloads than I expected.

MORE ON PRICING: I used to sell my books at .99. I know they’re intrinsically worth way more, but they SOLD at .99. Also, depending on the relationship of the supply and demand curves for your work, you may make way more selling for less. (We’ll talk more about those slippery curves below.)

Here’s another story: I have a friend who was (she died) a major, major seller on Kindle. (She also ended up signing with one of the big 6 publishers.) She had one of her new books marked at $2.99 and it wasn’t selling.

She fretted about knocking it down to .99. She’d have to sell six times as many books to make the same profit. She finally dropped the price, and sold 16 TIMES the number of books, making way more than she had been, even at the much lower margin Amazon gives .99 books. Amazing what hitting the right price point will do.

WHAT MY FRIEND’S EXPERIENCE ILLUSTRATES IS BASIC PRICE THEORY. Price theory is one of the first courses greeting budding economists.

One of the essential tenants of price theory is: Buyers will buy  more units of whatever you’re selling at a lower price than a higher one. Through statistical sampling, it’s possible for economists to draw a graph of how many widgets people will buy at different prices, up and down the range. It’s called the demand curve. The higher the price, the fewer units will sell. 

The other side of the pricing equation is the supply curve. Basic tenant of supply: The higher the price for anything, the more units suppliers will want to produce. The  graph representing the supply side of  goes  up as quantity increases. Lots of things are imbedded in the supply curve: the cost of producing widgets or books or anything else.

Supply and Demand for Pizza

Supply and Demand for Pizza

The graph above shows how the two curves function, using the market for pizza as an example. There the supply and demand curves are just as I described. Demand slants down, indicating people will buy more pizza if it costs less. The supply curve goes up, showing that pizza makers will make more pizza if they’re paid more.

The wonder of price theory is that the supply and demand curves intersect. The happy upward-pointing supply curve crosses the downward-pointing demand curve somewhere. This means that at that price and level of production, supply equals demand and the market is cleared. All the pizzas produced find homes and everyone’s happy.

This theory does not work so precisely when we’re discussing electronic books that have no cost after they’re rendered into pixels or POD books that are spit out to meet demand. (Those are extremely efficient means of production, by the way. No tons of books sitting around waiting to be pulped.)

But the general theme of lower price, more sales holds, due to the demand function. The economic issue for the writer becomes covering those initial costs and earning something on top of them for his/her time.

THE ANGEL IS UP THERE WITH GEORGE R.R. MARTIN! Would this have happened if I hadn't "given it away?" In my dreams.

MORE ABOUT PRICING BOOKS: Don’t follow the expert’s advice, necessarily––another story: A while back, I had my books priced at .99, based on the fact that they sold at that price.

One of the industry experts told me, “The .99 cent books  are the junk books. You need to get out of that pile. Your books are better than that.” That’s true, my books aren’t  junk and I deserve to make way more than I do.

Given that advice, I raised all my books to $2.99 and above, except for one kids’ book. Result? My sales plummeted. Fell through the floor. They’ve begun selling again, and I’m making a little more than I did previously, but the sales aren’t vigorous and I’m not getting rich.

Now I look at pricing in terms of profit maximization, not “how much my books are worth” or “how much I’m worth.” Our books are worth a lot and so are we. We deserve to make a great deal on them.

But that isn’t how worth is measured by economists. To an economist, things are worth what they sell for. Do you want to know what your house is  worth? Sell it. What it sells for is its value. (Of course, you don’t have it any more.) Most people just hate this, but it’s the only objective measurement of monetary value. Everything else is talk.

WHAT’S THE WORTH OF A BOOK THAT DOESN’T SELL? NOTHING.  A book you don’t sell brings you ZERO profit. So does one you give away.

The difference is, if you give a book away, you have a new reader.

I like what Cheryl Kaye Tardif’ says and how she uses KDP. So, I’m off to get them free days rollin’ again.

Bye!

Sandy

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

Sandy Nathan’s writing has won twenty-two national awards. She’s won in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link to the left for more information on each book. All links below go to Kindle sale pages.)
Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground (paperback & Kindle available)
Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love (paperback & Kindle available)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

How to Survive Amazon’s KDP Free Book Program

Signing up for Amazon’s KDP program gives you the privilege of having Amazon will sell your book for nothing. The big ‘Zon will do this for five days during the 90 day slot you’re required to enroll.

Yes, they’ll sell your book for nothing, allowing you to do all sorts of marketing shenanigans, like this. What is the cost of the program? Nothing. That’s right, they’ll give your book away gratis and not charge you a dime.

Sounds like a whole lot of nothing going on. I’ll find out.

Tomorrow, July 21, is my first FREE DAY for my book The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy with Kindle’s KDP free book program. The day after that, Sunday, July 22, the second FREE DAY with the same book. I’m using my friend Cheryl Kaye Tardif’s How I Made Over $42,000 in One Month Selling my Kindle eBooks (known at $42K hereafter). This is a really good guidebook outlining what Cheryl did to make a small fortune doing exactly what I’m going to be doing. It’s all there, step by step.

The first thing I learned as I began implementing Cheryl’s plan was: allow more than 2 days to set the thing up. For some reason, I thought it would be quick and easy. But then, I’m the woman who almost killed herself doing an Amazon Bestseller Day Launch and sold 13 books. Click the link and read about it in agonizing detail.

I have already demonstrated a colossal inability to pull off net-based marketing schemes. I will tell you what I did in the two days I allotted to Operation Get ‘em to Download in a moment. I want to tell you the most important insight I’ve gotten from $42K first. Here goes:

In $42K, Cheryl Tardif talks about how she loves to do marketing and is really good at it. She loves being creative and trying new methods of getting her work out to readers. Not only does she know she’s good at it, so does the author community on-line. And her  millions of readers. Whey you read $42K, you’ll know what a good marketer Cheryl is, too. And she’s making all that money.

I am not a marketing person. That was my flaming insight. Whereas some people’s campaigns go fizzle-pop, straight to the top, mine do not. Or at least they haven’t so far.

What I am is an extremely good story-teller and writer. Extremely. I also create beautiful books of superior quality. (Tell it, Sandy! Tell it like it is!) That’s why I got my 22 (count ‘em) national awards and why my reviews are so high. I’m a writer and author, not a social media guru. If you want to read a good book, read this one: The Angel. It’s free on July 21 & 22, 2012.

The other thing about my writing is that it’s for people who think. You don’t have to be a genius to be  concerned about the future of our planet, but you do have to think.  If we don’t get it together and stop calling each other names, will we blow up Earth? That’s what The Angel   is about.

So, if you expect me to be all over Facebook on Monday crowing about, “My fans downloaded 100,000 eBooks this weekend,” think again. (Click the Facebook link. That’s my page. You can Like me. :-)   PM me and I’ll reciprocate. Also––tell me if my Like button works. I’ve heard it doesn’t, and also that it doesn’t exist, which is proof of what I’m saying. Whose FB Like button doesn’t work?)  Don’t expect big brags from me when this thing shakes down. Or any brags.

I’m entering a time of lowered expectations. Remember the famous Saturday Night Live riffs by the same name? Or was it Mad TV? To stimulate your memory, here’s an example. (I am not responsible for the  language or level of vulgarity in this video. I just laugh.)

Now that we’ve gotten that straight, here’s my lowered expectations  forecast of the number of eBooks I’ll download over the weekend. Ready? Here it comes:   3.

That’s right, 3 eBooks.

Any less than 3 and it’s seppuku time for Sandy. So download one of those puppies and save a lot of mess in the Nathan household. The Angel

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR KDP FREE DAY:

Buy Cheryl Tardif’s book and do what she says She’s done it. $42K,

So, you missed that one and you’ve got two days to establish a social presence and notify the universe about what’s coming its way. THIS IS WHAT I DID:

My free days were Saturday and Sunday. On Tuesday of that week, I thought, I better get going. I pulled together $42K, the various lists and articles and all kinda stuff that tell you what you should do and went, “Uh-oh.”

Moving at warp speed, I went over all Amazon the sale pages of all my books, listed here, My Amazon Page, to make sure that they made sense and were properly spelled and punctuated.  This was on the odd chance that someone might go to The Angel and get interested in me and more of my books. (I’ve got six!) I also updated My Amazon Page to announce that The Angel was going to be free.

Then I wrote three blog articles about the free days: Your Shelf Life (The link may not work. My own blogs are giving me Bad Request messages. This is how it is for me.), and Sandy Nathan’s Personal Blog and finally The Official Tales From Earth’s End Blog.

My fanny was dragging at this point and I hadn’t contacted any reader-centric blogs to list my book. Good thing, too, because when I started doing it, they all said, “Allow 2 weeks for us to process your request.” Well, I submitted anyway. I don’t really know where or what. I was moving too fast.

What next? TWITTER! Everybody scores with TWITTER! John Locke sold a million eBooks through Twitter.  This is an area with potential. I have 9,574 followers. (You can follow me, too! My Twitter name is @sandyonathan)

The thing is, I neglect them. I don’t really like social media (though I like you a great deal). I resist sitting in front of a screen for hours every day, feeling my derriere spread and my body sag into a pear shape. I resist it, but it’s happened anyway.

Shouldn’t have resisted though, Might need those friendships one day. Today, for instance. Nevertheless, I thought I’d try Cheryl’s advice and bombard my Twitter followers with clever 140 character epithets about the Angel being free. (Angels are always free, aren’t they?)

That required having a way to preload my tweets so I wouldn’t have to sit by my computer hand-loading them all day. Cheryl  suggests Hootsuite for setting up tweets in advance. I had some other software for organizing tweets installed. PeepDip? It has a black background and flashes and peeps every time anyone in the universe tweets.  You can’t shut it up. Irritates the hell out of me. Also, I didn’t know how to load a batch of tweets with it.

Downloaded Hootsuite. Found where you load bulk tweets. You can’t just copy and paste, though. You have to use an Excel sheet. I can do that. I followed their instructions to the letter, and quotation mark, using their downloadable template as a guide. Composing about 48 (1 per hour of The Angel’s “free” time), clever and non-repetitive tweets loaded with #s (which took forever), I uploaded my Excel table into the designated slot. Yay!!!!

No yay. Hootsuite gave me a message saying, “There’s only 1 error in your document. To fix it, go to: a bunch of forums.” I scanned those, almost hysterical by that time. Then I noted that the example of the properly formatted tweet shown on the site was NOT the same as the downloaded example. NOT, NOT.

So I redid my ten million tweets and thought about my dear friend Mara Purl, who reached the #1 in Amazon (All of Amazon!) slot with her free days.

Suicide was beginning to look good. Anything but being an independent publisher. I got paid good money for my work with every other job I’ve done . . . It was not a good night.

Since we had to catch an early morning flight (I told you we were going on vacation, didn’t I?), I called it a day.

Hours later, my husband and I were in Santa Fe NM, romance capital of the universe. Problems fly away here. I think it’s the altitude. The lack of air causes brain damage. For whole periods at a time, I did not give a flying anything about the coming weekend or results or anything but blue skies and bliss.

Didn’t last though, So here I sit, pecking on a keyboard in the middle of the night with lightning flashing in the distance and  beautiful Santa Fe all around me.

But that’s enough for one day. I will turn this around, if only in my head. We’re here (on the planet) to live in bliss and love, not drudgery like the above. I write spiritually informed, visionary fiction. Time to live it.

Nighty nite! Sweet dreams! And remember to down load The Angel.  How often are Angels free?

Sandy Nathan

Sandy Nathan, Award-winning Author

Sandy Nathan is the winner of twenty-two national awards for her writing. She’s won in categories from memoir, to visionary fiction, to children’s nonfiction. And more.

Sandy’s  books are: (Click link to the left for more information on each book. All links below go to Kindle sale pages.)
Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground (paperback & Kindle available)
Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love (paperback & Kindle available)
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money

Tecolote: The Little Horse That Could

Stepping Off the Edge: Learning & Living Spiritual Practice

 

 

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