Week Five in Review: Successes, Opportunities For Improvement, and Tips For Indie Authors

Week Five in Review: Successes, Opportunities For Improvement, and Tips For Indie Authors

The weekly update is late because I have been working hard to complete the first draft of my next novel, Displacement. Last week was full of learning and success! I am taking each day one at a time and getting used to the slow and steady accumulation of book sales. When I decided to take Who She Was off of Kindle Unlimited, I knew that things would change on Amazon. I did not move any books on Amazon until Sunday, but I ended up selling 32 books on Amazon because of a promotion in a newsletter. I sold 69 books in total last week.

Over time, I want my sales to be spread out over several platforms so that I am not dependent on one seller. I also have noticed that relying on Amazon is not fitting for my personality. Why? Well, I’ll give you a few reasons. I have three reviews from the ARC team I am working on assembling on Booksprout.co. Unfortunately, Amazon has only approved two of the three. I have no idea who the people are that accepted the ARC on Booksprout. The whole point of using Booksprout was to get complete and total strangers to read my book. Even so, Amazon decided that the review was not valid. They haven’t communicated with me about why this is the case, so I am just in the dark on the matter.

Advertising

Facebook and Amazon advertising can become very expensive, so I am doing my best to keep advertising on those platforms to a minimum. I read How to Rock a Free Day Promotion and learned about several websites where I could promote my book. The webites I chose were Book Adrenaline and The Fussy Librarian. I am keeping close tabs on the results from the promotions. For example, every day since the promotion, I have sold copies of my book. The return on the investment has been great, so I will likely use Book Adrenaline in the future.

Details from the Promotion

I set the price of the book at 0.99 and paid $30 to have my book featured in Book Adrenaline, and it resulted in readers finding my book on various sites. The newsletter is targeted at readers that enjoy mystery/thrillers, so the odds that someone was going to download the book were very high. It is nice to have sales on the other ebook platforms. Even though Amazon has the most significant number, adding in more sales from Smashwords, Kobo and Draft2Digital increases my profits. Here’s how things went on Sunday:

Amazon: 32

Smashwords: 5

Kobo: 3

Draft2Digital: 10

At this point, since I only have one book out, I am focusing on number of copies. Once I have more books out, the focus will be on the amount I make from the books. Right now, I just want to get the story out the readers. So, I’m doing 0.99 sales and freebie days. Even so, the numbers are not bad for one day. The sales have continued to trickle in this week, and I am looking forward to seeing what happens after the next promotion.

Going Wide

Getting Who She Was on other platforms has benefitted my sales, and increased my visibility in places where Amazon isn’t available. I like the idea of reaching readers where they are, instead of shutting them out because they don’t live in certain countries, or don’t use forms of payment Amazon accepts. I also like knowing how many readers have found the blurb interesting enough to download the book.

If I was still in KU, there may have been a few downloads during this time, but I would have no way of knowing how many. Also, authors only get paid for pages read, so if people download your book and never open it, there’s no benefit to the author. KU also prevents authors from having any information on the people who are downloading the book. Why is this important? Knowing where your book is going can be very helpful. For example, I can see that 12% of my normal ebook downloads took place in foreign countries. The United Kingdom is at the top, followed by Canada. That tells me that I might be able to get more readers interested in those countries by doing some advertising.

I love the map Kobo has on the author dashboard. It shows me what country the readers that have downloaded my book live. I will have to wait to see what the Draft2Digital report looks like, but the main thing I want to know is whether or not people are downloading the book. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they are reading it, but at least I have an idea of how many downloads are occurring.

Rethinking Beta-Readers

I’ve heard several authors say that they don’t use beta-readers, and after hearing their reasoning, I think I might also abandon the practice as well. Why? I’m not asking beta-readers to tell me what to add to the book. I want to know if there were sections that were hard to follow, if they understood the story, or if they were bored at certain points. I’m not looking for co-authors or people who say, “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it”. That is NOT helpful feedback. I also need reviews, which my beta-readers weren’t good at writing. In fact-they stunk at it. 90% of them never even opened the book, let alone read it.

My beta-readers were extremely unreliable, so I am going to cut out the beta-readers and turn to an Advanced Reader Copy team. These will be people who agree to write a review the first few days of the release. I don’t need a bunch of people who claim they are going to leave a review, but don’t even open the email. That’s not productive. So instead of creating an ARC team on my own, I’m going to pay a small fee and try to build one on Booksprout.com.

Writing

Writing gets easier once you decided that it is a daily part of your life. As I inch up my daily word counts, I have started to contemplate publishing the third book at the same time the second one comes out. My daily word counts have increased, and my first draft of Displacement will be sent off for editing on August 23rd. That means there is plenty of time to finish writing The Remnant, the third book in the series. I already have 45,000 words written and I’m itching to get back to story.

Looking forward to another great week on my writing journey!

 

 

 

 

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