Jump to content

Welcome to Christian Writers!

We are a friendly community built around Christian writing, publishing, reading and fellowship. Register or sign in today to join in the fun!

Recommended Posts

I thought I'd share an update on how things are going so far, in case anyone's interested:

 

On May 1, 2020, I self-published my first book "Wrong Place, Right Time," using Draft2Digital, which is an excellent, free self-publishing service. Since then, I've sold 24 copies of the book, most of which sold after I lowered the price from 1.99 to just .99 cents. I've promoted the book on quite a few free book promotion sites, but really have no way of knowing if any purchases are related to those promos or not. I also gave away free copies to quite a few people who agreed to review it. Of the people I contacted asking for a read/review, only about one in ten responded at all, and of those who agreed to review, only a handful actually have. Still, the reviews have all been positive, so that's great!

 

Mid-June, I released a short story. Initially I priced it at .99 cents, so I could offer it on Amazon, but since I got no bites at all I withdrew it from Amazon so I could offer it for free. It's still on Kobo, B&N, Apple Books, and a few other places. Surprisingly, it's been downloaded only four times, even though it's free. (Maybe because short stories aren't super-popular?)

 

On July 4, 2020, I released "Final Chance" the second book in my series. I initially priced it at 2.99, but then quickly dropped it to .99 cents as well, since I realized probably no one was going to buy it at the original price. I've sold a grand total of four copies so far, but it's only been out a little over a month, so that's not terrible. However, it's been promoted on nearly all the same sites I promoted Wrong Place, Right Time on, and has almost as many reviews, at least if you count Amazon UK and Goodreads...so I suppose it's just one of those things.

 

And the latest thing I've done is to update both my book covers. I thought a softer cover might help Final Chance along a bit, (plus making it look more like the Wrong Place, Right Time cover, since they are a series, after all.) I've also added subtitles to both books for the same reason.

 

I'm planning to have Book Three ready to publish before the end of this year, but I'm slowing down and stretching out the process a bit, because now that I have two books out, I don't feel as rushed about producing a third.

 

And that's all for now, if anybody is still with me!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’m certainly no expert on what to do, but I thought I’d share my process anyway, as somebody might find it helpful. 

 

I do do have an Author Profile set up on Bookbub, but as for paying for ads (any kind of ads, honestly) that’s not something I’m in a position to do.

 

Facebook doesn’t like me for some reason, but I’ve got a Goodreads account, the above mentioned Bookbub account, and an account on another Christian writers’ site.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately I can’t afford any kind of paid advertising...those are great ideas, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh! I totally forgot to mention. I created a website/blog, too. That was a journey...

 

I have three followers, I think. More to come, I’m sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

It would be cool to hear what everyone else has done/is currently doing, especially those who have published books recently.

 

What about you, SuspenseWriter?

Edited by Zee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought this was a great topic and good information!  I have not published anything.  I have my own blog.  I have been running that for a couple of years and Have a pretty good open rate to my subscribers.  I am terrible with social media though.  Social media stresses me out.....lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also haven't got anything published yet, but I have set up an Instagram account and am busy finding my feet there. I thought it would be a good idea to start building a presence on social media before publishing.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, Zee said:

It would be cool to hear what everyone else has done/is currently doing, especially those who have published books recently.

I'm just a few months ahead of you, @Zee, and very far from being a bestselling author. Here's what I've done.

 

1. I published my first book in October 2019. It was priced at $1.99. I got a few sales, which was nice.

 

2. I put the price down to 99 cents and moved several copies, but very soon realised that at that price, I get almost nothing. And even if people bought the book and liked it, they had nowhere else to go after reading it.

 

3. I published the sequel in February 2020 and priced it at $2.99. Finally, that 99 cent book began to make more sense because if readers liked Book 1, they went on and bought Book 2.

 

4. I put Book 3 on pre-order, also at $2.99. (Note: For me, "full price" is $2.99. I'm considering raising that to $3.99, but haven't decided yet.)

 

5. My sell-through is so far looking really good. I've sold more or less the same number of Books 1 and 2, which tells me that many people who get the first book also buy the second. Quite a few have also gone on to pre-order Book 3. I'll know for sure what the read-through is like once that book goes live, because there are many people who won't buy a pre-order.

 

VERY IMPORTANT: My epilogue in Book 1 is told from the point of view of one of the main characters of book 2. This epilogue does two jobs: It wraps up the Book 1 story and acts as a teaser for Book 2. Right after that epilogue, I put the blurb for Book 2, a buy-link, and a first chapter teaser. I've done the same thing in Book 2: the epilogue is told from the point of view of the main character in Book 3, and I've included the Book 3 blurb and buy-links. No sneak peek chapter yet, though, because I've not yet written Book 3. 😁 But I'm getting pre-orders.

 

6. I have just written a 15K-word short story/novella involving one of the characters in Book 2. This story is available for free for people who sign up to my mailing list. I've put a link to this short story in the backmatter of both my books and on my website.

7. I posted about the free short story on Facebook and Instagram. I'm also using a number of promotion sites to get mailing list subscribers. I'll learn the results of those promotions over the next couple of weeks. Since starting this process at the beginning of the month, I've got 40 mailing list subscribers through my website. Not a huge number, but these are people who I can build a rapport with and who I can tell when my next books come out.

8. I strongly believe in the concept of a loss-leader: a piece of work whose purpose isn't to earn you money but gain you readers and create an appetite for more. I have two loss-leaders: one that's out on the retailers and a short mailing list exclusive. This strategy is especially important if you're not exclusive to Amazon. But don't just give away a book or price it super-cheap for no reason. There must be a strategy behind it.

 

This is why I would not sell your second book at $0.99. My plan is to have Book 1 as a loss-leader and then sell all the subsequent books in the series at full price. The purpose of the loss-leader is to provide a low bar of entry so that readers can take a chance on a new author. If they like what they're getting, they can buy the rest at full price.

 

Backlist matters a great deal. With more books out, you have many more marketing options. In addition to having a loss-leader to funnel readers into your series, you can do boxed sets. There are also promotion sites (e.g. Faithful Reads, 1531 Entertainment) where you can advertise your discounted book at a reasonable price.

 

I would not go in for pay-per-click ads until you've got at least three books out and you know that readers who buy the first book will also buy the next. Make sure that in your back matter you include buy-links to your other books. The best time to get a new sale is when a reader has just read your book and loved it, and they can check to see what else you have.

 

Also, are your books linked together in a series page on Amazon?

 

Finally, this is a long game. It's a marathon and you've only just started your warmup. Keep writing good books, put genre-appropriate covers and hooky blubs, and optimise your backmatter so it's clear to readers that there is more, and where they can find it.

Edited by EBraten
  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, one more thing about pay-per-click ads. They are a great marketing tool once you've reached a certain point in your career. However...

 

I've run ads on Amazon and Bookbub. I made a small profit. But I soon realised that in order to really benefit from ads:

  • the rest of your platform needs to be in place
  • you need at least one other book available for readers to buy next, and preferably lots more.

Otherwise you may shift copies of that one book, but what next? You'll have no way to capture the readers and when your next book comes along, you'll need to do the work all over again to find new readers. Having a bigger catalogue also maximises the return on investment because you'll be advertising just one title but bringing visibility to lots more books.

 

Running ads like I did with no platform and no followup books is like trying to heat the house in winter while leaving all the windows and doors open. The furnace will be working and burning fuel, but you'll be letting all the hard-earned heat escape.

 

I'm now building my platform (website, social media, mailing list) and my catalogue (books 3 and 4 are on the way). When the series is complete, I'll venture into paid ads again.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, EBraten said:

I'm just a few months ahead of you, @Zee, and very far from being a bestselling author. Here's what I've done.

 

You may be a few months ahead of me in time, but I think you've got a knack for marketing/selling that I don't, so I'm very interested in the details of what you're doing. Thanks for sharing!

 

8 hours ago, EBraten said:

3. I published the sequel in February 2020 and priced it at $2.99. Finally, that 99 cent book began to make more sense because if readers liked Book 1, they went on and bought Book 2.

 

4. I put Book 3 on pre-order, also at $2.99. (Note: For me, "full price" is $2.99. I'm considering raising that to $3.99, but haven't decided yet.)

 

2.99 is what I'd like to shoot for eventually, but since people were buying the .99 cent book but not the 2.99 one, I figured maybe I'd gone for it a little too soon...

 

8 hours ago, EBraten said:

 

5. My sell-through is so far looking really good. I've sold more or less the same number of Books 1 and 2, which tells me that many people who get the first book also buy the second. Quite a few have also gone on to pre-order Book 3. I'll know for sure what the read-through is like once that book goes live, because there are many people who won't buy a pre-order.

 

Very cool. Way to go!

8 hours ago, EBraten said:

 

VERY IMPORTANT: My epilogue in Book 1 is told from the point of view of one of the main characters of book 2. This epilogue does two jobs: It wraps up the Book 1 story and acts as a teaser for Book 2. Right after that epilogue, I put the blurb for Book 2, a buy-link, and a first chapter teaser. I've done the same thing in Book 2: the epilogue is told from the point of view of the main character in Book 3, and I've included the Book 3 blurb and buy-links. No sneak peek chapter yet, though, because I've not yet written Book 3. 😁 But I'm getting pre-orders.

 

And this is a very good strategy. I do have an "Also By" page at the back of my books, as well as a link to my website and a link to sign up for new release notifications, but I never thought of putting in epilogues that tie in with the next book. Nice.

 

8 hours ago, EBraten said:

 

6. I have just written a 15K-word short story/novella involving one of the characters in Book 2. This story is available for free for people who sign up to my mailing list. I've put a link to this short story in the backmatter of both my books and on my website.

 

I've got a link to my free short story on my blog...however, if next to nobody ever looks at the blog, this isn't very helpful, but I have no idea how to even begin building a mailing list. How did you go about that? How do you find the email addresses of people who might be interested in reading your current and/or future books?

8 hours ago, EBraten said:

 



7. I posted about the free short story on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Well, I was finally able to set up a Facebook page and a page for my series. I really have no idea what to do with it, though. I'm in the Social Media Dark Ages still.

 

8 hours ago, EBraten said:

This is why I would not sell your second book at $0.99. My plan is to have Book 1 as a loss-leader and then sell all the subsequent books in the series at full price. The purpose of the loss-leader is to provide a low bar of entry so that readers can take a chance on a new author. If they like what they're getting, they can buy the rest at full price.

 

You've got me almost convinced I should switch this back. Maybe when my third book comes out I'll put #2 and #3 back at 2.99.

 

8 hours ago, EBraten said:

 

Backlist matters a great deal. With more books out, you have many more marketing options. In addition to having a loss-leader to funnel readers into your series, you can do boxed sets. There are also promotion sites (e.g. Faithful Reads, 1531 Entertainment) where you can advertise your discounted book at a reasonable price.

 

I would not go in for pay-per-click ads until you've got at least three books out and you know that readers who buy the first book will also buy the next. Make sure that in your back matter you include buy-links to your other books. The best time to get a new sale is when a reader has just read your book and loved it, and they can check to see what else you have.

 

Also, are your books linked together in a series page on Amazon?

 

I think so...at least they're listed together on my Goodreads page, and on my Amazon Author page, if that's what you mean.

8 hours ago, EBraten said:

 

Finally, this is a long game. It's a marathon and you've only just started your warmup. Keep writing good books, put genre-appropriate covers and hooky blubs, and optimise your backmatter so it's clear to readers that there is more, and where they can find it.

 

Well, thanks so much. All this advice is really helpful. This project is fairly simple, but certainly not easy...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, suspensewriter said:

I have a long history as an author, but I still maintain social media and web presence.  I'd be curious what everyone else is doing.

 

Do you have a list anywhere of all your available books? I can't seem to find anything like that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Zee said:

How did you go about that? How do you find the email addresses of people who might be interested in reading your current and/or future books?

There are a few places. First of all, put the link to your free short story in the back of your book and not just on your blog. You need to promote it as much as you're promoting your books.

 

Facebook reader groups are a good place to start. Being mindful of the groups' rules, of course, you can post the blurb, cover, and link to the place where they can get the story.

 

I also use StoryOrigin and BookFunnel. These function in a similar way. You upload your book and get a link that you can share on your social media. Readers who are interested can download the book as long as they leave their email address.

 

In addition, one of the most effective things you can do is participate in joint promotions with other authors on StoryOrigin and BookFunnel. Everyone shares the promotion link with their platforms, which extends your potential audience much further than the people you could reach on your own. StoryOrigin is free at the moment, but BookFunnel is a paid service. I believe that BookCave is also free to use.

 

There are also other services that will run paid promotions to put your subscriber magnet in front of readers and capture the email addresses for you. Some of the more popular ones are Booksweeps, Prolific Works, and AuthorsXP. The effectiveness of these promos are debatable, though.

 

Several authors go as far as running Facebook ads for people to claim their reader magnets.

 

The best quality subscribers you'll get are probably the ones who come to your mailing list organically because they've read your books and want more.

 

I highly recommend a book called Mailing Lists Unboxed, which breaks down all of this in a much better way than I can, and outlines strategies you can use. Newsletter Ninja is also a good one to read as you get your head around all this, although it goes more into what to do with subscribers when you have them.

 

I know this is a lot to take in, @Zee, but you'll get there!

Edited by EBraten
Giving more complete answer
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.