Amazon Bitch – Part 2 of 2

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We can lie and fall into the self-denial category, or we can come right out and admit that we may enjoy our writing, but we would like to make some … no, a lot of money from it. I’d love to see one of my stories being adapted as the basis of a movie, but maybe that’s a topic for another post.

My suggestions on how to be successful with sales are based on my own experience, not on a list provided on the Internet. There are several on there, I know.Smoke & Mirrors 020614

1. Present your books to the best standard you can. Consider the actual writing, punctuation, grammar, editing and formatting. Do not under any circumstances publish something that has only been written in one draft. My average for a novel is four drafts. My short stories usually take about six or seven drafts.

2. Pay to have eBook covers designed. Sales of my novels increased dramatically after I’d had the covers designed by a professional. Expensive perhaps, but following the revamped covers, the sales of one of my novels paid for the covers of all three novels in less than three months.

3. More than one title assists sales, but that doesn’t mean you should rush out your next book. Take your time, get it right and watch your books sell because readers trust your name and brand. Do not allow your name to be discredited by a poor book – and poor reviews.

4. Increase your social platform. There was a time when I scoffed at social media, but now I use it daily. Why? I post a link to my author website on three different Facebook groups daily. I occasionally post on Twitter, but not as often.

5. If an author website is beyond your reach financially, get a blog organised in the meantime. My first blog lasted over a year before I realised how many mistakes I was making with the content.

6. Only when you have two or more books to promote – consider an author website. If a website is out of reach – use a blog template to build an author website, but treat it as an author website – not a blog. If necessary, set up two blogs. One used as a blog, and the other as an author website. If you have any issues about the difference, please feel free to check my own.

7. Organise an Amazon Author Central page. This can be done on both the UK site and the US site. I have a page on both.

8. Review the work of your peers, and don’t stick to your own genre. I’ve reviewed Young Adult, Supernatural, Romance, Thriller, Suspense, Erotica, The Classics, Humour, Science Fiction and Children’s books. You will gain by:
a) possibly learning something, and, b) the recipient author and others might even check out your work. We all need each other, and we need to do our best in writing and support.

9. Price your books appropriately. Use common sense and remember you might become the next Stephen King, or Jackie Collins, but until you are at that level – be honest and realistic, not over-confident and greedy.

10. If you intend to produce a collection of short stories, publish a couple on one or two reading and writing sites and get feedback / reviews / critiques from total strangers. That really is a wake-up call. Make the number of stories in an anthology worthwhile.

Coming Around - 020714

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However you read into my blog posts or my occasional Facebook rant, I am not a know-it-all, and I accept that I sometimes make a mistake, but I put myself and my writing through the wringer. I give many hours over to learning about and improving my craft.

We owe it to each other and to the industry not to put something out there half-cocked. If your mum, dad, brother, sister, boyfriend, girlfriend, or Auntie Agnes likes your writing then I’m happy for you – but please don’t take their word for it that you’ve got it right and you’re good.

Why do I rant about getting the writing as good as we can?
1. Would you ride a bike, or drive a car with loose wheel nuts?
2. Would you buy a keyboard with two letters missing?

We are asking people to give us money for these things that we write. It’s a transaction whereby we suggest that what we’ve produced is worth money, and the buying public pay their hard-earned money in good faith.

I keep my book prices low. I don’t do it because I’m rich, because I’m not. I also don’t do it because I haven’t made any effort, because I work damn hard. I keep my prices low because I’m not a household name and I’m realistic. I want to build my personal brand and I will only be able to do that with a good catalogue of books that have received good reviews and are making sales.

I can sense that I’m going off on a tangent, but I hope I’ve managed to get at least a couple of points out there.

Lest I forget, I don’t expect to see my sales increasing after leaving Kobo and Smashwords, but within 24 hours of enrolling on the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library my books were being borrowed again. If it gets to a healthy level I’ll write a post.

All comments are welcome as always and thank you for reading.

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16 comments on “Amazon Bitch – Part 2 of 2

    • Hi Penny and thank you. I’m sure you were aware of most if not all of it. Your work speaks for itself. 🙂

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  1. You gave out a lot of good advice here, Tom, and I agree with each and every point mentioned. One thing that stood out–and isn’t often mentioned–is getting a professional eBook cover for your book. I know the old adage that says you can’t judge a book by its cover, but speaking from personal experience, when I’m looking for a book to purchase, the cover art and title are the first things that catch my attention.

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    • Thank you. Yes, I’m right with you on that Kath. Even as an artist I have to stand up and be counted when it comes to recognising what looks amateur and what suggests quality within. 🙂
      I will have to make time to get over your way again. I am just so into my latest story … 🙂

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  2. Awesome advice! I am learning a lot from you, so thank you!

    I am new to this, and I paid for an editor but assumed the editor would catch everything and didn’t double check because I was just SO excited to get it out there. As you know, I also struggle with formatting. I suppose it doesn’t help that I am useless when it comes to using computers and mainly use Open Office on a computer that is older than dinosaurs (it’s the only one I have yet to blow up — knock on wood). But like I said, I am learning A LOT from you.

    You’re totally right about the cover. The original cover of Collide was an illustration my friend did, and I’ve already seen an increase in sales with the new one.

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  3. Thank you Jessica, you’re very kind – and you’re welcome to any help or advice I can give. If I may, I’d like to suggest you have a look at my menu and in particular, ‘My A to Z Posts (2014)‘. I think you might find a couple of useful bits and pieces in there.
    I’ll get over to your site tomorrow as soon as I’ve had my second coffee and got myself organised. 🙂

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  4. Pingback: Amazon Bitch – Part 2 of 2 | Indie Author Review Exchange

    • Many thanks Paul. Will be getting over there as soon as I can slow my fingers down. Have just PM’d one writer and reviewed another. I’m off tomorrow so maybe I’ll catch up with myself. Hope all is well with you mate. 🙂

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      • Trying to set up another (indieauthreviewexchange) blog as a sort of replacement for the impractical ms word book list file currently in the Fb group. Idea is to list everyone’s books there instead under different genre pages to make it easier to navigate and save the hassle of having to constantly download/upload the ms word file. Can also add a couple help/resource pages there too. Unfortunately my IT skills lag way behind my intentions at the moment.

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  5. Is it WordPress based? I’ll have a look at it whatever the template. I’ve only seen it for a few seconds and it looks good. It’s just what the group needs I think. I’m shite on Facebook but if I can help on a site I’m sure I could learn enough about the template to help you with the Admin if you like.

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    • Yes, it’s WP based, but we can use the ‘Pages’ as a means of displaying member’s books under different genres, and the ‘Cagtegories’ for more general blog posts, reblogs of member’s book reviews etc and some Writer’s Resources links… Will definitely take you up on your offer of some help with it once I’ve got the bulk of the content up and posted. Thanks…

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  6. Pingback: The Journey So Far | The Urge To Write

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