Posts tagged: book marketing

Do the big book conventions help self-published authors or small presses?

Mogollon: A Tale of Mysticism & Mayhem (Bloodsong 2) It's been a long time and many words since I went to Book Expo America in 2009

A member of the Visionary Fiction Alliance, a group of authors, readers, and aficionados of visionary fiction, asked if the big book conventions or fantasy conventions help indie authors and small presses. I shared the following story on the Visionary Fiction Facebook page.

Or shared most of it. My post must have been too long for FB; the ending got cut off. I’m posting what I said on FB here, so readers can get the whole thing.

This is the complete story of my one time attendance at the BEA–Book Expo America back in 2009. Does it answer the question? As a statistician, I only can say that  a sample of one case does not a valid conclusion make.

In 2009, I attended the Expo, a very green author with two books in print. In 2015, I’ve got ten books out and two more in production, with stack of manuscripts on my hard drive. My books have also won thirty national awards and I’ve been a bestselling author, often for days at a time. (Sales are the trickiest part.) Now, things might be different.

Would I go to BEA or any big fantasy or other convention? Probably not, as will be explained below, but if I did, it would be after great deliberation and analysis. I’d want it to be in LA or some California city: the event has been held in NYC in recent years and will be this year. These conventions are huge. To get an idea of the scale of the exhibit, look at this floorplan of the BEA main hall in 2015.  Purple squares are rented space; turquoise is available. Hover the cursor over the space to see who rented it. Notice the huge Chinese presence: this event’s attendance is worldwide.

One new development might change my conclusions. In 2015, Book Expo America will be combined with the debut of BookCon, a new consumer event featuring the big name authors in popular writing. The new event will be a combined trade show, BEA, followed by the consumer event.  BEA-BookCon 2015 runs from May 27 to 31 for the combined events.  The addition of BookCon to BEA may tip the scales for a smaller author or publishing house. Wholesale orders could be placed at BEA, but books were not sold to  customers. Joining a retail event like ComiCon, which drew 130,000 attendees in 2013, to BEA with retail sales possible could totally upend everything I say.

Or not. Depends upon what they require of people showing at the event. Will indie authors and micro presses be allowed? Participants will have to have stock on hand to sell. Hundreds of print books? Thousands? A way to download eBooks on the spot? With BookCon, the big, big time will become even bigger.

Should I wait until BEA comes back to LA? It used to travel around the country, heading West from time to time. BEA–BookCon 2016 will be in Chicago, I understand. After that?

BookExpo America event director Steven Rosato notes in his blog“BEA Orlando, BEA Dallas, BEA Atlanta—well, I will start looking at prison camps first.” 

He’d rather look at prison camps than Dallas? I’m glad I got to got to BEA in 2009. It’s a world-class event, and getting worldlier.

Here’s my tale of entering the big time:

* * *

Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money (Bloodsong 1) my second book and ticket to the BEA.

I went to the BEA–Book Expo America–when my book Numenon came out in 2009. BEA is the largest book fair/convention in the country, then and now. The year we went, it was in LA at Staples Center. Check out the images on their website, keeping in mind that Barry and I are country mice. We went into instant culture shock in the multi-story parking lot.

Seeing that LA is only 2.5 hours from our ranch, as opposed to being on the other side of the continent. We went.

Getting in cost $150. I can’t remember that was just for me or $150 each for my husband and I. We were hosted at a booth taken by the IBPA, Independent Book Publishers Association. They’re the biggest and oldest organization representing indie authors and presses. The organization was known as the PMA back then. The IBPA hosts the Benjamin Franklin Awards, which may be the most prestigious contest for indie books. They READ every word of a book they’re judging. It’s very tough. The IBPA does great things for Indies and is worth joining.

Anyway, the IBPA maintained a booth at the BEA and allowed us micropress members exhibition space. I don’t remember if there was a charge for that or not. Probably.

Book Expo America DID have little cost in addition to the $150 entry fee: any author exhibiting there had to do a book signing and GIVE AWAY fifty copies of his/her book(s). We originally published Numenon as a hardback, to that cost was not inconsiderable.

My signing was scheduled at the IBPA booth. I don’t know why I was there as opposed to the “signing room” with all the major authors. Probably because we decided to go at the last minute and the main room was full. The “signing room” was a very large, corridor-like room with long tables running down both sides. Each author had about two feet of the table’s pristine, white-clothed real estate within which to sign books.

Carrie Fisher was there with a new book. A line of people wanting an autographed copy stacked up in front of her, moving from her perch, out the door, disappearing into the massive main hall beyond.

Here’s a funny story: we used a book consultant in producing my first two books. She’s the one who told us about the BEA and got us to go. One of her other clients, an adorable and ancient MD, had written his memoir. He had a colorful life as a Hollywood doc and I believe was a Holocaust survivor on top of that. He was signing his book at the same time as Carrie Fisher. She was swamped. He sat in front of a pile of his books, all alone.

Carrie looked over at him and shrieked, “Dr. Whatever! OMG! It’s Dr. Whatever! I love him! He’s my favorite person in the world.” He was her doctor. She jumped up and ran to the beaming physician. They embraced.

She went back to signing her book, but sent her line of I-want-your-autograph people to him after she signed her book. He was flooded with loving new fans and had a wonderful BEA experience.

I was sure that my signing would be a bust, even though BEA hires people with big signs to roam the aisles and point the crowds to authors having signings. I didn’t think they would help me. I was a two-book nobody and–Staples Center is HUGE, HUGE, HUGE! They had the main floor, a bridge over to another floor where the cafeteria was, more floors. Nooks and crannies full of authors and books.

I was in culture shock just parking the car. Where we live, cattle in the streets are the biggest traffic problem.

The big publishers, Random House and all the rest, monopolized the main floor with magnificent, specially-designed structures displaying their books. BEA is for booksellers–book stores, etc.–so the reps of the big 6 (or 5 or 3, now) publishers were all over taking orders from stores. Their presence was very professional and took up lots of very expensive floor space.

Smaller publishers, not the majors but substantial publishing houses, and I mean every friggin’ one of them, had smaller displays and booths arranged in rows radiating from the central core/temple area. The IBPA’s booth wasn’t too far back, but it was small and down an aisle. I would be forgotten.

On the other hand, the atmosphere was electric!  I leapt into the crowds and didn’t look back. The bigger booths offered wine, appetizers, seating areas, famous authors on call, and FREE BOOKS. Everyone had to give away fifty, remember. MANY famous authors were there. OK, maybe not so famous, but I remember Carrie Fisher and I got meet Mark Victor Hanson and his entourage.

Crowds filled the space like circling flocks of birds or schools of fish, ignited by a celebrity sighting. Before my signing, I joined a stampede, unable to resist the gang mentality or my own excitement! Captain Kirk was there! With a new book! I didn’t even know William Shatner could write, but I always liked the fact that he rode horses.

I cruised the aisles myself, ending up with several shopping bags of books that looked interesting. All free–giveaways of new books and galleys is good business. All the publishers offered their bounty freely. The only catch was, due to union rules that no one but union members could use wheeled carts to move books or anything else, I had to heft my gleanings in bags that ended up weighing about fifty pounds each. But it was fun!

The seek-and-find mission distracted my attention from my feeling of impending disaster at my booksigning. I expected my signing to be about the same as that older doctor’s without Carrie Fisher’s intervention. I was way back in the aisles, in a small booth with an unknown book about the richest man in the world and a Native American holy man. I would be unable to even GIVE fifty books away. I’d have to take them home. (That mind-set is a residue of my social standing in third grade.)

IT WAS A DELUGE!  Smiling people swamped the little booth, demanding that I sign my precious Numenon before giving it to them. Never in my life have I felt so popular! Being an author was wonderful! WONDERFUL! We were so smart to come to BEA! This was wonderful. The sales this exposure would generate would finance our retirement.

Only one thing marred it: Wandering around the aisles, I met a veteran of the Marines who had written his life story. He was published by a military press. Most regrettably, he’d been hit in the head by a missile as he was driving his tank in Iraq. He lived but was almost blinded, lost most of his hearing, and suffered terrible injury, from which he was rehabilitated as much as possible, which was what his book was about.

Nick Popaditch was an heroic and impressive figure in his dress uniform. His beautiful wife, a Native American woman, accompanied him. We chatted for a while and I invited him down the aisle a bit later, offering him a copy of Numenon.

I’d forgotten all about the couple when they appeared at my signing. He held her arm and walked slowly, more magnificent standing than he’d been sitting in his booth. Also grievously injured.

I’d forgotten to put a book away for him. In the melee, all of them had been given out, every single one! I gave them a copy of Stepping Off the Edge, my previous book, but the couple was visibly disappointed. I mailed a copy to the address he gave me, for Wounded Warriors. Never heard anything. They left, disappearing from my life.

I will plug his book; I found it very moving and inspiring. Nick Popaditch, Once a Marine.

Well, the Popaditch‘s didn’t get my book, but the rest had been a triumph. I had a blast with the holiday/cocktail party/star-struck/as-many-free-books-as-you-could-carry-away atmosphere. My book signing had been a great success! The books would go out into the world, and come back as sales and fame for me and my writing. What could be more fun?

My husband is very quiet and reclusive. He hated every minute of BEA.

* * *

When we got home, I looked at Numenon’s sale page on Amazon. Multiple copies of Numenon “signed by the author” were up for sale by many sellers. Also on eBay. Those excited people who came to my book signing were penny-ante booksellers grabbing free stuff to sell. They didn’t care about my book; they were trying to earn back the $150 it cost them to get in. I felt really ripped off.

OK. Much processing later. So I gave away a bunch of books. A well-known consultant to the book business once told me that books fail because there aren’t enough of them out there. “The book has to be visible. Give them away to get them into people’s hands. Give away LOTS.”

When it all shook out, I don’t know that I got a single review from those books or got anything at all.

Would I do it again? I would if I was Carrie Fisher and already had a following. Or if I was really rich and just wanted to go to a party about books and snag a couple of bags full for free. (Aside from Nick Popaditch‘s book, I don’t think I read any of those I picked up.)

That’s my experience at BEA. I did have a great time. I might have had a better time had I gone to some of the award presentations, starting the year before and in future years, when my books began to win prizes. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you win an award: pump it for all it’s worth. Get your face in front of cameras. Announce it everywhere. Scream it for the yarboards, or halboards. Rooftops. That’s called marketing. I’ve never gone to any of the ceremonies, wasting opportunities.

The  IBPA puts on a great award ceremony for the Benjamin Franklin Award. Be sure and go, if you win. I was a finalist for that with my first book, Stepping Off the Edge in 2006 (or 7).  Looks like the ceremony is separate from BEA now, but it used to be held in a location near the BEA at the same time.  Also, the Independent Publisher has a great ceremony for winners in the IPPYs, its book award. Here’s a blog article by Lisa Shea, who won two awards in the IPPYs. She went to the ceremony and give a rundown of what it was like. I’ve won three IPPYs awards over the years, but didn’t go to their  award ceremonies. Looks like I missed something.

Why didn’t I go to the award ceremonies? I’m not a “goer”: I didn’t attend any of my graduations after high school. The only reunion I’ve gone to was for the employees of the Santa Clara County Planning Department, where I worked for a long time. Loved those folks.

Would I go again if a fairy godmother gifted me? Sure, especially if I had an award to pick up. Otherwise, I’d want to build up my brand and visibility with every tool I had before venturing forth. Which is what Indie authors should be doing anyway.

I hope this tale is illuminating. I don’t know if conferences devoted specifically to fantasy or genres would be any different. I’d say: build your brand, your sales, your visibility, then evaluate going.

 

Sandy Nathan

Sandy Nathan, who’s got a lot of cool books for you to check out. Click the link.

 

The article's over: the fat lady's singing.

Is Book Marketing like Snorkeling in a Septic Tank?

Sewage Treatment Plant in England

I have been wrestling with this issue for years. Do I defile myself by immersing my soul (and body) into the odoriferous swamp of  book peddling? Is bookselling the sleazy activity inappropriate for decent people that I think it is? Why is it so off-putting?

Look at my email inbox. As a good, modern Internet marketer, I belong to a multitude of Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter  writers’, readers’, and marketing  groups, as well as subscribing to individuals’ and groups’ blogs. And sites like Pixel of Ink, ENT, and BookBub. I get around three or four hundred emails a day. That’s after scrubbing my list of non-essentials. This is what the emails are like, except most aren’t intentionally funny:

I had to share the latest 5 star review from my new book entitled, POOPSIE SPANKS A POODLE: ‘Wow. This is a really good book. Great character development. You just feel for that poodle! You’re getting to be a better writer, Sandy. I’ll read everything you write!!’ Mom

“WOO-HOO! I JUST GOT MY 10,000,000th TWITTER FOLLOW! I broke their counter! Next, I’ll take over the world!”

“Here’s a foolproof system to sell your book on Amazon. Only requires $99 up front and lifetime celibacy.”  God

“God may promise you a good deal, but I deliver. Want all 5 star reviews? That can be arranged.” Satan

“Hi everyone! Please check out my Facebook  author page and give me a Like. When you’re done with that, could you go to my Amazon author page and Like it, too? And on Google +, there’s a  . . .  And on Twitter . . .  I’m also in a contest. Could you drop by GoodReads and vote? Pretty, pretty please? Plus, it’s my birthday. Could you send a cake?” Mona I’ve-Never-Heard-of-You-in-my-Life

“5 stars! Wow! Was this book hot! My Kindle ignited. Also the house.”

They go on like that, hundreds a day, many from the same person, “Buy my book! Buy my book!” “Me! Me! Me!” “My Book!” “Nothing else matters in the universe, so buy my book.” “Gimme! Gimme!” “He is HOT! She is HOT! Their dog is HOT!” Day after day. Vile communications pitched at . . . whom? Who would buy anything with this type of selling technique? It absolutely grosses me out. Because of this spewing of egotism, I haven’t promoted my stuff for maybe six months. My sales show it, too. This stream of verbiage must do something, but at what personal cost to those sending and receiving it?

Your better marketing articles say this behavior is marketing suicide. But the emails keep pouring in.

How to market a book? I dunno. I’ve been doing it for years and haven’t a clue. I’ve had friends say, “But your marketing is so good!” Meaning whatever I send out is beautiful and tasteful. But it doesn’t ignite my bottom line the way I want.

This is an example of the tasteful and elegant graphics that have my friends thinking I'm a great marketer. This actually happened: I couldn't get my sale to go away. Even Amazon couldn't help.

The good old days really were the good old days. My first book came out in 2006. Marketing was much easier in those early days. You didn’t have to do much more than have a great cover, a bunch of killer reviews, and a few national awards. Bingo! Selling success.

My first novel, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, rose to the number 1 position in three categories of Mysticism and cruised around the 1,500 level in the Kindle store for a year. I did no promoting and didn’t think there was anything unusual about the book’s performance.

Hah! I wish I’d known how to take screenshots then. I’d have a record of those fabulous numbers. (The screenshot is the modern author’s best friend. After your mammoth promotional campaign lands you in the #1 Bestseller spot for fifteen minutes, you can stare at the screen shot afterward to remember the glory. You can only do that if you took it, of course.)

Now, it’s not so easy. The problem is the number of books coming out. How does an excellent, well-edited book, with a killer cover and award-winning author get noticed?
Seems like it should rise automatically. Forget that.

I’ve read three books recently that offer a defense against the tsunami of eBooks flooding Amazon. I recommend them heartily. They are:

After reading these books, I felt hope that I could get this marketing thing down. I had a definite direction. In Let’s Get Visible, Gaughran talks about Amazon algorithms and how to use them to your benefit. Reading this was like finding the Holy Grail. Both of his books above are worth memorizing.

Joanna Penn handles the “marketing is sleazy and degrading” issue and shows you how to approach the activity in a civilized fashion. Joanna says she’s introverted. (I doubt she could be as introverted as me and be in international speaking sensation.) But she’s accomplished great things including writing careers in fiction and nonfiction, blogging, and international speaking.

My initial reaction to the three books was relief and joy at having found concrete advice and a path to follow. By the time I got to the end of each, I was more like, “Whoa. This is a lot. This means serious work . . . When do these people sleep?” When I knew what success required, I felt depressed.

But the feelings didn’t last. I have a pressing need to practice the stuff in those books. Starting now. If you’re interested, links to my web page and Amazon Author Page are down below, as is a link to In Love by Christmas: A Paranomal Romance, which blasted it’s way to the top of the charts in a bunch of categories, ending up ranked in eleven Amazon categories just this week. Woo-ha!

In Love by Christmas is a paranormal romance according to the industry definitions of those terms. It’s a romance, in that the relationship drives the story and is its most important element. It’s paranormal in that a few of the characters have supernatural abilities. The hero, Leroy Watches Jr., is a shaman who can do all sorts of things, often with disastrous results. It’s not your paranormal romance with naked men  and dragons on the cover. (My cover artist gave me that description of the genre based on her experience designing covers.)

Oh, let’s go all the way. Here’s a video about In Love by Christmas. If there’s anything I like to do more than write, it’s make videos. This is my masterpiece and my Happy Holidays 2014 greeting to you:


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 the best in your publishing endeavors. Remember, if facing the public is too much, hide under your bed. You’ll find me right beside you.

So long for now,

In Love by Christmas (Bloodsong 3)

In Love by Christmas (Bloodsong 3). My new book, and Amazon #1 Bestseller in Metaphysical Fantasy.

SANDY NATHAN, award-winning and #1 bestselling author of In Love by Christmas, and a bunch more. You can find them on my Amazon Author Page. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Market your Self-published Book––Twelve Points that Really Matter (Well, Fifteen Points)

I sat down this morning to write an article about how to obtain testimonials and endorsements and how they can help sell your book. That led me to think about what does sell your book. Are testimonials all that count? Not by a long shot. Here’s my list of things that sell your book, in order of importance:

  1. Your name. If you’re a top-selling author with a huge following, all you need to do to sell books is put your name on a blank cover. (Some of Cormac McCarty’s covers bear this out.) In the online age, authors who are well-known on the Internet have the same advantage. Up your recognition and fan base, and sell! Repeat customers are the best customers. Check out John Locke’s phenomenal rise.
  2. What people say about you.  I think this is the most important criteria in getting people to buy your book, assuming you aren’t one of the big names noted in #1 above. In looking at what influences me to buy a book, my friends’ recommendations count more than any ad,  any review, any anything. A real, flesh and blood friend, talking to me face to face and recommending a book, will get me to buy. On-line chatter about books also matters, both ways. A few bad-mouthings on-line and a book’s sales can be dead.
  3. Your book’s name. Here we get into the craft of book creation and selling. Your book’s title matters really, really a lot. A book buyer may see the title and nothing else  on a list in a directory or catalog or just its spine in a book store. Your title has to have emotional appeal. If you can make it funny, charming or terrifying, depending on your genre, bring it on.
  4. Your book’s cover. Buyers make up their minds in seconds. Maybe nanoseconds. Your cover is a tool of seduction, be it physical, mental emotional, or spiritual. The cover needs to grab and hold on. Here’s an article about award-winning book covers.
  5. Your book’s copy.  Copy is the most important writing in the book. Once you’ve gotten the buyer to look at your book, the words on the cover take over. Copy––the book’s title, rear cover text, book jacket flap text, “about the author,” and “about the book”––is what sells the book. This writing is not a summary, introduction, or display of your verbal talents. Its sole function is to SELL THE BOOK. Copy should have more hooks than a bait shop. People who are good writers tend to be lousy copy writers. Writing copy is more like writing poetry than prose, but prose intended to sell. The new version of this is your book’s sale page wherever it’s sold on-line. The words you put on your sale page are of utmost importance if you’re writing eBooks only. The book’s description is most important part of the sale page. I used to put all the awards each book had won with some reviews and testimonials at the top of my sale page. An old-timer in the book biz said, “No way. Put the description first. People just want to know what the book’s about. And make sure your page is clean and proofread. What you put there matters.” Another problem: some book retail sites jam your book description into an undifferentiated block of words. Not good for selling. You need to have good words, displayed so the buyer can read them.
  6. Testimonials. On the back of the book, the testimonials can be used as copy. How many times have you seen a book where the back cover is nothing but testimonials? That’s because they’re powerfully persuasive. If some famous person or institution says you or your book are great, buyers may take a chance. You can also plaster testimonials all over your website, social media outlets, and advertising materials. I’ll write about testimonials in another article.
  7. Reviews. Do they count as much as testimonials? I think so. A testimonial may move a potential reader to buy a book, but its reviews may, also. Reviews sites are all over: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Amazon UK, Shelfari, and Goodreads, to name a few. All sorts of personal blogs review books. Be aware of your star ratings and keep them high––as much as you can. How? I think the most important thing an author can do is watch to whom you send those initial review copies.  Make sure they like your genre and writing style. How? Ask reviewers who liked your first book to review the next one, if you have more than one. The other thing you can do is look at a reviewer’s other reviews on a site such as Amazon. What do they like? What kinds of reviews and star ratings to they give? Of course, these considerations only work for the review copies. The minute the book is out on the market and being bought by whomever it attracts, it’s on its own. You’ll get all sorts of reviews. People will pick on things you never imagined. Then the problem is developing a thick skin.
  8. Book awards. I have twenty-one national awards for my four books. I have no idea how these have affected my sales. I know that they have brought me other things. Like a wonderful literary agent, a distributor for one of my books in France, and  guest spots on radio shows. My awards also attracted a major scammer for a TV program who wanted to charge me thousands of dollars for a five minute slot in a live show on the opposite side of the country. It would have had no impact on my sales; I know from doing advertising in other fields.  So, the jury’s out about book awards. But, better to have awards to flaunt than not have them at all.
  9. Distribution. If you don’t have a good distribution network, your book will go nowhere. That’s not that hard for eBooks. Try smashwords or Kindle. It’s also not that hard for print books. Try Lightning Source or CreateSpace.
  10. Marketing plan and actualization of that plan. Same as Distribution. No show, no go. What marketing means is knowing your target market–– the people who like your kind of book, knowing who they are, where they are, and how to contact them. Then you have to contact them and follow through skillfully. See John Locke’s marketing plan for some really good ideas.
  11. Advertising. We used to own a furniture store. During that period, we did all sorts of advertising, from print ads in newspapers, the yellow pages and glossy magazines, to my husband talking about being the “Robin Hood of the furniture industry” on the radio. All of it did absolutely nothing that we could measure for our sales. Despite my rotten experience with paid ads, I am going to try some advertising on the “reader friendly blog sites” with my two new books for one reason: Darcie Chan, author of The Mill River Recluse. Ms. Chan parlayed her self-published eBook into a national bestseller. This article from the Wall Street Journal sets out her process.  Here’s what she did in her own words on Facebook. This article could be a marketer’s Bible. She advertised on some of the sites catering to readers of indie-produced eBooks. If Darcie did it, I’m gonna do it, too.
  12. Your book. Notice where I place this item on my list. Analysts usually put this item # 1. I place it where I do because I’ve seen books become major bestsellers that would make the professor who ran my writing group vomit. I’ve seen books succeed like crazy that would make people in MFA in writing programs gag. I’ve seen lots of books like this. It’s a mystery why people buy books about werewolves, zombies, vampires, mayhem, mawkish drivel, and semi or not-so-semi porn. But they do. All a book needs to to to succeed is hook something in a significant number of readers. It doesn’t have to be their higher Self or even a decent part of their character.  The “hookie” subject needs a fast moving story around it and a good editing and proofreading job.

Well that’s it . . .

  1. PRICE! OMG! How could a former economist forget price?  This very important item could go anywhere after #1. If you’re really famous and people line up for your books in bookstore parking lots before they come out, you (or your publisher) can probably charge pretty much whatever you want. That’s called price inelasticity. The change in the quantity sold doesn’t vary much as price is changed. Everyone who’s not in the magic circle of authors has to worry about  price elasticity. That means how much the sales of a book fluctuate with its price. I just had a personal wake-up about this. I price my eBooks at 99 cents. Yes, that a ridiculous amount to charge given what I put into the books, but it’s a price that sells. I was given some marketing advice by someone I admire highly, a pro in the book biz. “You should charge more. The 99 cent books are the junk books. You deserve more.” I raised the price of one of my Kindle books to $2.99. It went from struggling along to absolutely tanking. Its rankings dropped like a plummeting stone. That’s price elasticity. My books’ sales are highly price elastic. Why? Because I’m an emerging writer. I think I’m about 200 yards underground and digging out. I should emerge later this year.
  2. GETTING RICH SELLING BOOKS AND THE 99 CENT BOOK: Are 99 cent books junk books? John Locke and Darcie Chan, both tremendously successful self-published authors, charge 99 cents for their books. There’s no shame in that price. Yes, I’d rather have the 70% return that Amazon gives for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, but I’d rather get 35% of something than 70% of nothing.
  3. ANOTHER THING: An on-line friend said the two greatest words in marketing are FREE and NEW. Amazon is running a new KDP program in which, if you sell through Amazon exclusively for 90 days, you’re given 5 days in which you can offer your book for free. People are jumping for this. Facebook, Twitter and the blogs are ringing with people crowing about how many thousands of books they downloaded on their free days. This is very cool, except that all it measures is how well known an author is. The very Internet-savvy authors with huge numbers of Facebook “friends” and lots of readers are going to have thousands of people download their books. The others are likely to have a bunch of people download their books, but maybe not many. How does this translate in terms of longer term, paid sales? Write to me, regular authors, and tell my how FREE worked for you. (All the big name authors are already blogging about their spectacular results) How about the word NEW? Is it as big a selling draw as FREE? I’ve got two new books coming out very shortly and a third in the birthing process I’ll find out.

Sandy Nathan is the winner of twenty-one national awards, 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. All links below go to Kindle sale pages.)
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

Two sequels to The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy are in production with early 2012 publication dates. If you liked  The Angel you’ll love Lady Grace and Sam & Emily.

 

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