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text 2017-10-19 06:47
A Book Launch case study

 

 I recently received an promotional email (no personalized salutation) from an indie author saying she noticed I'd reviewed a book similar to one she had just written and if she sent me a free e-pub edition would I be interested in reviewing hers?

 

What interested me was how she went about selecting reviewers? It must be an onerous task to go through reviewers on Amazon, even after applying the appropriate filters in regards to genre, and extract their emails. And once you have them there is no guarantee they're going to review your book, or for that matter give you a good review.

 

So I agreed to review her book on the condition she tell me how she got my email address and any other tips she might have on marketing. To sweeten the deal I even purchased her book, very uncharacteristic for me.

 

She responded favorably and has been very forthcoming. Here's what she has undertaken so far in producing and marketing her novel.

 

She says she wrote this book, her second in a series, taking into consideration the requirements and preferences of traditional publishers because she thought she might approach agents and traditional publishers with it.

 

"In the end, after reading several articles and consulting with the other authors in my two writers' groups, I decided that self-publishing is actually the better option. If you're interested in my reasoning, let me know."

 

I am interested and will be asking her why she'd turn down a traditional publisher to become a self-publisher? Her previous book was also self-published so it's not like she switched.

 

So how did she come up with my name and email address and those of other reviewers?

 

The answer is she bought a Book Review Targeter app for $200 (lots are available on the internet).

 

It works like this - you choose as many books as you want that you feel are similar to yours and receive what's essentially an excel list of all the people who reviewed those books. The vast majority don't have an email address but there are plenty that do.

 

So what to do with those email addresses?

 

She down loaded an app called Group Mailer because it makes sending out group emails easy.

 

So how is she doing?

 

"In about three days I've had about forty-five people agree to read and review a free version of the book and an additional twenty who declined the free copy and purchased the book to review it."

 

Now that's impressive, not the forty-five who agreed to review it, but the twenty who declined a free review copy and bought one. Who are these people?

 

She says she has another three or four lists (from additional similar books) she has yet process.

 

She'll be running a 99¢ campaign for the e-book edition for two days on Amazon and one day free book promotions on Pretty-Hot Books and Discountbookman, spending ten dollars for a featured promotion on bookreadermagazine and running a giveaway on Goodreads.

 

She also has had no problem asking friends, colleagues and clients to buy her book and she anticipates reviews from about twenty percent of them.

 

She's asked the other writers in her writers' groups to share information about her book on their Facebook pages and has started looking for blogs to ask bloggers to mention it.

 

If that isn't enough, and it probably isn't, she's considering spending $720 to have BookBub promote her book. BookBub claims the campaign will sell 2700 books, and the members in her writers' groups unanimously support these stats saying they've received three times the return on their investment with such a promotion.

 

There's a caveat here - BookBub only accepts professionally produced, error free books. They seldom accept new releases, preferring you have a proven track record with reviews. If you qualify be prepared to cut your price to the bone. Even if you want to promote with BookBub you may not make the grade.

 

To produce her book she hired two beta readers at $50 each and got a book cover artist from her writers' group to design her cover for $65. No editor was needed as she just happens to be one herself.

 

So far her hard costs have been $375. Results are pending.

 

A lot of what she's doing I've done:

- I have an Advance Reading Team e-mail list of a little over 200 who receive my new books free to stimulate buzz and encourage reviews.

- I have run giveaway promotions on Goodreads, LibraryThing and BookLikes.

- I send a press release to local media offering them a book in return for a review

- I blog, and promote on Facebook and Twitter

- I have three beta readers who read my books free and are recognized on the book's Acknowledgement Page.

- I edit my own books and design my own covers

 

Some of what she's doing I'll never do.

 

I have never solicited family, friends, colleagues or clients to buy my books. In my opinion it's unprofessional. Besides I want my books to be bought because they're well written and entertaining, not out some misguided obligation or as as way for someone to ingratiate themselves to me.

 

My hard costs on my last book were zero.

 

And so have the results.

 

Of course, there's always the elephant in the room - the quality of the book.

 

I'm watching how this book launch does and hoping I can learn something. Maybe you will as well.

 

Speaking of book marketing...

 

CreatorCollabs Boosted Tweets

 

So out of the blue I get a promotional tweet about CreatorCollabs (CC) Boosted Tweets. Basically, post a tweet and share it on CC. Other CC users see your Tweet and share it with their online audiences. In-turn, you need to share content created by others to ensure your points stay high to continue to get access for your tweets.

 

There's a free and paid plan. Of course, I used the free one.

 

For a week I loaded Tweets about my plays, Harry's Truth and End of the Rope, available free on Smashwords https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin until December 31, 2017. In return I retweeted content about the books of other authors.

 

They have a stats bar so you can check how many people you're apparently reaching. Here's the results of one of my tweets.

- The number of retweets my tweet received from my own twitter followers = 0.

- The number of retweets my tweet received through CreatorCollabs Community = 7

(increase 700%)

- Number of my followers my tweet reached = 50

- Number of followers my tweet reached through CreatorCollabs Community = 10,131

(Increase 20,262%)

 

Increase in books sales in response to this enormous increase in reach = 0

Increase in activity on my website and book sales platforms = negligible.

 

Just another case of nobody being interested in anyone (or their books) but themselves - including me.

 

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

 

Web addresses associated with this article:

 

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/home/overview.php

Book Reader Magazine http://bookreadermagazine.com/

Discount Book Man http://discountbookman.com/

Pretty-Hot.Com http://pretty-hot.com/

Groupmail http://group-mail.com/

Smashwords   https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

 

30

 

Author Amazon Page

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013287676486 -

 

 

 

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text 2017-10-09 13:45
The Heroines of Plantagenet Embers

I am a guest blogger today at Tudors Dynasty with a post about what drew me to the leading ladies in my novels.

 

Source: www.tudorsdynasty.com/heroines-plantagenet-embers-guest-post
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text 2017-09-22 07:56
Using sales to segregate good writers from bad - and save the e-book industry

According to Michael Kozlowski, Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader, the leading news website devoted to digital publishing, e-books, and e-reader news I'm a bad writer.

 

How does he come to that conclusion? In his own words, "You are only considered a real author if you can make your living solely from the book sales. If you can’t, you are merely a writer... the industry needs to define the good writers from the bad. The primary way we can do this is by sales figures; if authors make their living from publishing, they are often considered good writers.  Once we can define a good writer from a bad, we can start to segregate them."

 

Which brings us to another of his suggestions, segregating self-published books according to sales.

 

"My suggestion is for all major online bookstores that take submitted indie content to create their own sections for self-published writers. These titles should not be listed side by side with the traditional press.  Indie titles should have their own dedicated sections until such time as they reach a certain threshold in sales. Once they can attain an arbitrary sales milestone, they are drafted to the big leagues and listed in the main bookstore."

 

Why, you ask, does Kozlowski think this is necessary?

 

"There are a copious number of online self-publishing companies that promise aspiring authors the opportunity to distribute their e-book all over the world. Millions of authors publish with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, Draft2Digital, Kobo Writing Life, Nook Press and Smashwords. Most “authors” who self-publish an e-book never sell more than a handful and over seventy-five percent of all authors never earn a living through their writing."

 

And the result of this plethora of self-published dreck (my word) is that "We live in a world full of terrible e-book titles that ruin e-book discovery and make it difficult to find a good book. It is no small wonder why e-book sales have plummeted in recent years."

 

The comments on Kozlowski's blog https://goodereader.com/blog/author/michael-kozlowski on this topic are mostly specious in that they don't respond to the problem he's addressing. They range from outright denial to dismissing his ideas because there's a typo in his text.

 

As one who actually reads and reviews the work of unknown, randomly selected indie authors I'd have to agree with his assessment and his solution.

 

When I decided to write fiction about ten years ago I had about forty years of journalism as a formative base. But even though I'd written hundreds of thousands of words up to that point it, fiction was a different style of writing. To learn how to write fiction I attended writer's groups, joined online critique sites and read dozens of books and I continue to do so.

 

Writing fiction is a craft and it can be learned and mastered, to some degree, by learning the fundamentals and then practicing - a lot. It's evident that the vast majority of the indie authors I've read haven't even bothered to learn the basics and have spent no where near enough time practicing.

 

As Kozlowski says "Indie titles have no quality and control, often they are merely submitting a Word document to Amazon and clicking publish."

 

Kozlowski's not suggesting all self-published books are crap and all traditionally published books are classics, just that "there is some expectation of quality" in reading a traditionally published book", and that's definitely not the case with reading a self-published work.

 

From the beginning of my venture into writing and publishing fiction it became apparent to me the only way to measure success was with book sales. This is an industry of illusion and delusion and the majority those involved are, as Kozlowski suggested, subject to the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

 

“Unskilled individuals that suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly rating their ability much higher than is accurate. This bias is attributed to a metacognitive inability of the unskilled to recognize their ineptitude.”

 

I have come to accept that I am "inept" until my book sales prove otherwise.

 

Accordingly, I'm prepared to have all my books segregated in "dedicated sections until such time as they reach a certain threshold in sales. Once they can attain an arbitrary sales milestone, they are drafted to the big leagues and listed in the main bookstore."

 

I'm sure there will be very good books that never attain that threshold (mine?) and I'm just as sure there will be those who, rather than hone their craft to the point they can write a good book, will find ways of attaining that threshold fraudulently.

 

However, this is a solution I am prepared to considered in hopes "the cream might rise to the top".

 

If Kozlowski's is right that by 2020, fifty percent of all digital books will be written by indie authors and that will account for 25,000 new titles a month being submitted to online bookstores than something, indeed, has to be done.

 

  1. And just how many books would you need to sell to meet the threshold and advance to "the majors"?

Amazon has author and sales ranking graphs that are updated hourly. On Sept. 5, 2017, someone purchased one (1) e-book edition of my novel Saving Spirit Bear. That single sale boosted the novel's ranking from 8,787,432 to 201,692 an increase of 8,585,740 points. My author ranking subsequently increased 582,673 points from 825,278 to 242,605.

What do these numbers mean? I'd say a few sales a month and an indie author would be among the top 100,000 selling authors on Amazon. Would that get you into "the majors"?

Who cares, you'd still be making peanuts.

 

 

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs.

30

 

 

Find reviews, blurbs and buy links to my eight novels and two plays at

https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU

 

Facebook for writing news, my experience as a writer as well as promotions, contests, and discounts regarding my books

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100013287676486&fref=comp

 

Video book reviews of self-published authors now at

Not Your Family, Not Your Friend Video Book Reviews: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH45n8K4BVmT248LBTpfARQ

 

Cover Art of books by self-published authors at

https://www.pinterest.com/rod_raglin/rod-raglins-reviews-cover-art/

 

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

 

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

 

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

 

 

 

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review 2017-09-21 09:23
I loved the Irish history and legends that coursed through this book
The Shadows - Megan Chance

I went into this book with a little trepidation. Despite normally not doing so, I had managed to stumble across a few of the other Goodreads reviews before I started, and they weren't all glowing. Pacing seemed to be a major concern from a number of reviewers and lack of plot driven excitement. 

Well, I'm happy to say that while the story as a whole was slow, I didn't find it dull. When working with trilogies or series it can be difficult to get the world building and plot driver levels correct to keep your readers engaged and provide the information they need. 

Megan managed to introduce a large cast of characters, each with complex backgrounds in a way that didn't overwhelm the reader, provided teaser information and whetted the appetite for books 2 and 3. 

Complexity of characters was lacking in some of the later introduced characters, but I'm sure they'll be explored in more detail in the next book/s. The main cast had quite a lot of time to unfold their natures to the reader and do so in a manner that I don't really trust yet, but I feel that was the intention. 

It feels to me that Megan will portray a character in a certain way to start, only to have that original idea smashed by some later revelation. This is quite ingenious as it allows for character growth that the reader experiences too.

I loved the Irish history and legends that coursed through this book and long to delve further into the Sidhe and Fianna. 

The biggest blow to this book was the love triangle. I am hoping it is redeemed later in the trilogy, but I'm not holding my breath.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review**

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review 2017-09-14 13:26
It might be more to your tastes than mine...
Worlds Within Worlds - Tahlia Newland

This is another example of fantastic writing from Tahlia, the prose was spot on, crisp and taught where it needed to be, and soft and flowing as needed too. 

The characters were an interesting mix, starting with slightly quirkly Prunella (Ella) Smith, who Tahlia assures readers is not her (although between you and me, I couldn't help but see Tahlia's face when I brought up Ella's face in my mind). My favourites by a long shot were Merlin the cat and James. James is the sole reason this book gets shelved on my 'a-lil-sexy' shelf.

This story consists of several threads and weaves them together to form a strong, eloquent book. However, the overall message certainly sat in the spiritual realm, which is where it loses me and my interest. I can't say I get the buddhist belief system and this was far too engrained in the story for my liking. 

I did enjoy Kelee's story that threaded throughout the tale, including the communication between Kelee and Ella. This was compounded by the fact that I have read some of Tahlia's Diamond Peak series; I was glad to get some background information on some of the characters I'd already met. 

Where this story came into its own was the interestingly complex look at badly behaving authors and their war on honest reviewers. Having been on the receiving end of some minor indie author angst for my own honest reviews, I found the whole story a bit too explosive. This being said, I have heard of some pretty crazy reactions from people for constructive, yet negative reviews, so Tahlia's fictional account isn't completely outside the realm of possible. 

I can't say this was my favourite of Tahlia's books, but it was an enjoyable, interesting mix that kept the pages turning. If you're interested in metaphysical and magical-realism books, give this one a try, it might be more to your tastes than mine.

**Note: I was provided an electronic copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**

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