Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Updates and Junk

I gave myself quite the pep-talk on The Writing Spectacle yesterday.  And I still am way short of my goal to have this done by the end of today.  We'll see what today brings.

Talking with my cover artist and she's all 'how do you want this laid out?' and I'm all like 'gah!'.  Then I went to the Top 100 Urban Fantasy list on Amazon and looked at what some of the bestsellers are doing for covers.  I kind of liked one and then kind of liked another.  The second one was the half-face thing, which I hadn't done before, so she sent me a mock-up.  Meh.  We're going with Jeni in the middle, my name on top, the title on the bottom.  With magical sparklies and stuff.  I found what I think is a good model for Jeni, in a pose that looks like she just woke up and isn't happy about it.  Should be fun.  Fingers crossed it draws in readers.  You'll see the cover when I approve it.

I have a sale set up starting Saturday for all the SCIU books.  99c or .99p each.  Thru the 28th.  And I got accepted for another ENT ad for Dying Embers.  It'll go out on Monday.  Fingers crossed on that, too.

I was at the doctor's office yesterday for my shot and the nurse, who I see every three months so we're pretty friendly, asked how the writing was going.  Then she asked some questions about how things work in the biz.  It was nice to talk about it to someone outside the biz who was really interested.  I just wish she had more time to read. 

Well, that's about it for the update today.  Any questions? 


Monday, July 16, 2018

How Not to Market

Since I'm at a loss for what to post here, here's a link to someone else's brilliance...

I saw this post over at The Mad Genius Club yesterday and thought I'd share it here.  It's got some really good tips if you really don't wanna sell books.  (Or things to avoid if your goal is actually selling books.  But who'd wanna do that?  :smirk:)

We won't talk about the things I've done to not sell books.  I'm better than I used to be.  Kinda.  Okay, in some ways, I'm not.  

(Warning: The font is really small (at least on my computer), so you might need to increase it on your computer to read it without going blind.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Marketing Venues

Okay, I know I've done this before, but here's an updated list with recent info.

These are the venues I've tried this year and the results (as near as I can figure them):
(Disclaimer:  I don't know how much of the sales actually came from paid ads and how many came from freebie residuals or how many were from my own efforts on Facebook and Twitter.)


Author's Billboard: In April, I did a free book thing with Dying Embers, had Fertile Ground at 99c, and kept Early Grave at $2.99.  During that sale, I placed ads for all three books with AB at $6 ea.  I recouped that $18 and the residuals have been awesome.   In June, I did ads with them for Accidental Death and Natural Causes.  Those ads cost me $5 (they were having a sale), but I did not recoup my investment that time.

Ereader News Today:  In May, I put Wish in One Hand at 99c and left the other three books in the series at $2.99.  I placed an ad for WIOH with ENT for $40. I recouped my money, but as to how much above that is attributable to this ad?  :shrug:  Enough to make me want to use ENT again. 

Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Books:  I also had a two day ad for WIOH here during the above sale.  With the ENT ad already going, I have no way to assign particular sales to any one venue.  The cost of this was $8.

FB Boost Ad:  I also ran a Facebook Boost ad during the sale.  Again, I have no way of saying definitely that sales came from this boost.  It cost $20 with a $10 coupon, so I was only $10 out of pocket.

eBooks Habit: For my June Dennis Haggarty Mystery sale, I also used this venue.  And again, I did not recoup my investment.  I should have been paying better attention here, though.  Their FB page hadn't been updated in a while, but I'd already placed the ad when I discovered this.  Do your homework.

Bargain Booksy:  I used them for a trial ad for Project Hermes at full $2.99 price.  I paid $55 and did not make even half of that back on sales.  I've had better luck with them in the past, so I'm guessing it was the book and the price that screwed me this time.  Live and learn.

I discovered a couple new venues specifically targeting the mystery/suspense/thriller genre and the SF/F genre.  They're a little more strict with their requirements, so I'm not sure what I'll do for ads with them, but I'll let you know when I do and how it went. 

I have a request in for another ad with ENT, this time for DE for the end of this month sometime.  We'll see if they accept or reject my request. 

To wrap up, so far this year I've spent $153 dollars on advertising and I figure I've made about $230 off those ads.  So even with the ads that didn't do well, I'm ahead for the year there.  Now if I can just sell enough to recoup my editing and cover art costs.  Heh.  We won't talk about that hole today.  It's big and it's deep.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Pricing

You may remember that I mentioned something a little while back about changing the pricing for my books.  And you may also remember my staunch insistence a longer while back on keeping my books at $2.99.  So what changed?

Well, I've been considering things.  Mulling them over in my head.  Stewing on them.

It seems to me that comparable books to mine are priced higher than mine.  And yeah, there's the whole perceived disrespect for $2.99 books.  And...  Yeah... well, I'm trying something to maybe shake things up a little sales-wise.

And since, right now, the majority of my sales come from Kindle Unlimited page reads - which are unaffected by the list price of a book - I figure I can't hurt anything by switching things up a bit.

And since, other than page reads, the majority of my sales come from discounting my books, the list price really isn't affecting those sales either.

But maybe, just maybe, having a higher price will make some people more likely to buy my books or read my pages - especially when they DO go on sale and I have advertising in place...

Eh, it's worth a shot.

To that end, Project Hermes went up to $4.99 over the weekend.  As did Blink of an I.  Like I said, it seems to me that comparable books in length and genre are priced at that or higher.

Now comes the tricky part.  Amazon won't let you change a price within 30 days of a Kindle Countdown Deal.  Either you change the price and have to wait 30 days to have a KCD or you have a KCD and have to wait 30 days to raise the price.  This means that the sales I'm planning for Dying Embers and for Wish in One Hand (July and August respectively) will junk up when I'm able to raise the prices for those series.  So, SCIU and OUAD will remain at $2.99 each for at least the next couple months.  After that, those two series will increase to $3.99 each.

I think I'm going to leave the Dennis Haggarty Mystery series alone at $2.99 each for now.  That feels like it's in line with similar books.  And I'm planning on Sleeping Ugly launching at $2.99.  It's a shorter, snarkier paranormal novel and that's what those seem to be priced at when I go to buy them.

We'll see how this goes.  I could fall flat on my face.  But I'll never know if I never try.  And doing things the same way I've been doing them isn't getting me better results than I've been seeing.  

And that's where my brain is at right now.  Any questions?  Comments? 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Updates and Junk

Okay, so the ad on Wednesday was a bust.  I sold 5 copies of Project Hermes that day.  Which puts me about $45 in the hole for that one.  Eh, live and learn.  I didn't have any expectations for this, so I'm not crushed or anything.  I did start seeing page reads for it last night, so maybe there's hope.

On the bright side, PH went from 1.2 millionth in all books to 39K in all books and reached like 253rd in Technothrillers.  Not sure why Amazon put it there, but hey, it's kinda technothrillerish.  Also not sure how it went so high with only 5 sales.  I'm hoping a lot of KU readers downloaded it due to the ad.  Wouldn't that be lovely?

In other news, Early Grave got another 5 star review at Amazon.  Someone who'd reviewed both Dying Embers and Fertile Ground, so yay.

And both Accidental Death and In Deep Wish got new ratings at Goodreads.  Hey, I'll take what I can get.

I found a couple new (to me) advertising venues I'm going to try - one for strictly mystery/suspense and the other for just SF/F.  Unfortunately, they both require the books to have at least 10 Amazon reviews, so I only have a few books to choose from for advertising there.  I think Dying Embers later this month and Wish in One Hand sometime next month.   We'll see.

I have until no later than the 18th to get Sleeping Ugly whipped into better shape and back into my editor's hands.   I'm hoping for an August 29th release, so you'll have it your hands for reading over Labor Day weekend.  Provided I get the editing done and my cover artist gets the cover done and there's no floods, famines, pestilences, Armageddons, etc.  As we get closer to getting this published, I'll have a better idea of whether I'll make the date, go early, or completely fall apart.

And that's about it for updates. 

Any questions?  Got any news of your own?

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

More Marketing Stuff

I'm trying something a little different today.  I purchased an ad for Project Hermes (formerly Blood Flow) with Bargain Booksy and for once, I didn't lower the price.  However, since my books are all priced reasonably, it qualified. 

After the ad is over and the subsequent residuals (if there are any) have stopped, I will be raising the price of this book.  So, I guess, in a way, it is kind of a sale.  Buying it now will save you a buck or two.  (Haven't decided whether it'll be $3.99 or $4.99 yet.)

We'll see if I get enough sales to cover the $55 ad.  I need to sell roughly 27 copies.  Fingers crossed I sell more.  Fingers really crossed I sell enough that I don't want to kick myself for trying this.

Part of me thought 'July 4th... political suspense... Perfect.' and then another part thinks 'July 4th... nobody will be buying books today because they're all out celebrating'.  Time will tell which part is right.

The ad is live on their site and relatively near the top of the page (7th book down).  It'll go live in their newsletter sometime between 9am and noon eastern. 

And Happy Independence Day, folks!  I didn't forget.  I just put something up over at The Writing Spectacle instead of here.   This is the work blog, after all.  ;o)

Have a great day and be safe out there. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Time for Everything

This morning, Elizabeth Spann Craig had an interesting post on her blog on balancing business and writing.  As always, she makes some interesting points and gives her take on things.  And I agreed with pretty much everything.  Except she says she gets the writing out of the way first. 

As you've probably heard me say before, I don't write in the morning.  Years of homeschooling got me in the habit of writing at night.  And while I haven't had to homeschool in years, I'm still in that habit.  Plus, now Hubs isn't going off to a day job either, and we share an office, and the majority of his work has to be done in the morning.  You can see where I'm going with that, right?  The office is nice and quiet at night

And now my pay-job is busiest in the morning. So shifting the schedule to write during the day is not going to work for me.

So, I write and edit at night.  I do business stuff - marketing, networking, emailing, spreadsheeting, etc. - in the morning, too.  That stuff is easier to pause when something comes up than writing.  I like a nice uninterrupted stretch of an hour or three to put new words on the page.  Or to get really rolling on edits.  I start after dinner and work until bedtime or brain fatigue kicks in.

But that's me.

Now, I don't think Elizabeth was saying her way is the only way to write.  Of course not.  She was simply giving what works for her as a template for what might help other writers find their balance between writing and the business of being an author.  And I'm certainly not saying my way is the only way.  As I've always maintained, there is no right way to do this crazy thing we do.  You've got to find your own stride.  And if your stride isn't working for you, try something different until you're in your own groove.

My groove ain't for everyone. 

Now, you might notice that I talk about working in the morning and writing at night.  What about afternoons, you say?  Well, I'm pretty much a useless toad from lunchtime to dinner.  I don't write, I don't work, I don't exercise, I don't do housework.  If it doesn't get done in the morning, it ain't getting done until the next morning.  Except for writing.  And unless I'm on a deadline.  Then all bets are off and I work whether I'm a useless toad or not.

How about you?  When's your most productive time of day?  Are you a morning person or a night person?  If you're an afternoon person, I am in awe of you.