Can you make $$$ on Smaller promotions?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Mar• 01•17

Blogging results of small promotions. Are they worth the effort? You decide.

marketing-strategy-planLast December I blogged about beta testing promotions sans a Bookbub slot. I wanted to learn if indie authors could earn out in promotions less costly than Bookbub. The answer on the first beta test was YES. Read it HERE. The thing about beta testing a success is attempting to duplicate it. A second thing I’m testing out are various combinations of a slate or promoters. I’ve completed two more beta-tests. Telling you upfront–these two were not as successful, but still earned a return.  I learned quite a bit.  Keep in mind I write romance novels. My units are in Select. Different genres might have better or less results. So with no more ado, here are results:

I ran 5 day Free on No Perfect Fate, January 2017. Total units moved: 7,316. Spend: $431.00. Earned $689.30. Plus: 98,931 KENP pages read and 127 crossover sales of 2.99 priced books. When that is added, a nice return on investment–a bit over $1000.

I promoted  with these folks: eReaderIQ. DigitalBookToday. Kindle Romance Deal and Steals. Awesome Gang ($10). Hot Zippy. My Book Cave.

“Such a great book! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry – you’ll FEEL!” avp ~vickie. Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited. “I urge you to get this book and set aside some quality time to savor the prose. Oh, yes…have some Kleenex ready, ‘cause you’ll need it.” avp~western reader.

Book Scream. Genre Pulse ($19). eBookStage. eBookHound. KindleBookReview. free99books. Just Kindlebooks. bookaddict.com ($10).  Book deal hunter. ContentMo (free). ItsWriteNow (free). FKBT.  ask.David (free). Readers Gazette.com (free). freebooksy ($100). Reading Deals Submission Tool-$29. Accent on Romance Newsletter-my subscriber list-15K. Cost for my newsletter: $56 a month.

Who would I drop off of this list? Freebooksy and Reading Deals Submission Tool. Freebooksy did not move as many units as my newsletter. I only heard from two promoters on the Reading Deals Submission Tool–plus it is very easy to submit to those promoters and learn if a unit is accepted or not.  Moving on…

I ran a 5 day FREE on No Perfect Secret, February 2017.  Total Units moved: 6,080. Spend: $408. Earned $726.72. Plus: 91,015 KENP pages read and 135 crossover sales of 2.99 priced books.  I think the return on investment will run about $1200. There maybe a little tail  on this promo because it ended on the last day of February.

March 22, 2017 UPDATE:  The only absolute way to discern a tail on a promo is no further promotions for the following 21 days.  So. I haven’t promoted so much as a Tweet on my units these past 21 days. Haven’t spent 5 cents. Here’s the tail report March 1 to 21: 135 units sold at price. 90,374 KENP. Royalties: $730.10. Bottom line: Small promotions can earn out. You won’t see the grand sums one would earn with a Bookbub slot, but done right, and steady on small promotions can put $$$ in your pocket and keep your books visible.

I promoted with: eReaderIQ. Booktastik. PeopleReads. eReaderNewsToday. Digital Books Today. eBookSoda. eBookBetty. Reading Deals. The Books Machine. Many Books. eReader Cafe (free). Mega Books Deal. ReaderGazette (free). Bookbub CPM ad ($200). Accent on Romance newsletter.  I also co-promoted newsletters with two other authors. Accent on Romance also promoted a Rafflecopter with four other authors. I added in the Bookbub ad because since offered, we’ve had mixed messages about the success of  the CPM ads.

Bookbub meme No Perfect Secret

Meme for Bookbub Ad. Perhaps it could use a better slug line. Now: Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

Who would I drop off this list? The 5 day CMP Bookbub Ad. Bookbub moved 1000 units. So did my newsletter which cost $56. There may be a better way to engage a Bookbub CPM ad.  Bookbub charged $50 for  the first 345 downloads. Bid charge per 1000 impressions: $6.51. On a positive note…No Perfect Secret gathered 1000 new readers. There is this, too:  Major publishing houses are also buying those CPM ads–so indie authors are are competing with best selling branded authors in ebooks and print editions. When Bookbub first opened for business, indie authors had a lock on those promo slots. The print publishers sneered at digital books. Now, they don’t.  And they love Bookbub as indie authors do. It is far more difficult to snag a regular Bookbub promo slot.

Now, if you are wondering how a FREE unit earns $$$: It is this: Readers visit your book pages, download the free and also ‘borrow’ or buy other books in an author’s list. If a reader enjoys a book, she may post a review. That’s a plus. Except for about  20 reviews on my books, all are organic. That is: Readers responding to this gentle plea at THE END of my stories…

Thank you for taking time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review.  Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. 

Trending: Lower downloads in promotions across the board. I use Bookbub’s pricing list as a guide, among other data.  In the past Bookbub suggested average downloads in romance to be in the neighborhood of 60K. Today average downloads on a free romance unit is: 41,300. Priced at 99c or more–average downloads expected: 3400.

We can still earn $$$. We just have to be savvy and plan our promos. And work with tighter budgets. We also need to continue to build our subscribers lists and keep those subscribers interested. Networking is a boon. In eNovel authors at Work, we support one another’s promotions and lend a hand toward our successes. As our market matures the challenges are greater. Amazon affiliates are in the publishing business too, with various imprints.

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Visit The Book Tavern and Fiction Bar to meet authors and fans. Sponsored by eNovel

I’m Jackie Weger, founder of eNovel Authors at Work. @1917.  Thank you for visiting. Comments welcome. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate. We welcome you to share your stories. Do take a moment to visit our blogs where you will discover helpful tips–none of which cost $$$.

 

 

Results on Bookbub Ads

Written By: Jackie Weger - Feb• 10•17

Talking about Bookbub, the indie author’s premier ebook promoter

 

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow.

eNovel Authors at Work~ a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Membership is FREE

Hello, and welcome back to eNovel Authors at Work.  Snagging a Bookbub slot appears to be getting more and more difficult. IMO, many of us who used to snag those slots are now being turned away. But recently we get those rejections with a plug to engage in a CPM ad on Bookbub.

I will tell you I have been on the fence with these ads. Mostly because I didn’t understand how they work, and I saw comments that one has to bid exorbitant amounts of $$$ to see traction and results per 1000 impressions.  Several of our members have engaged in Bookbub Ads and are sharing their experiences with you. First up is Amy Vansant . She’s engaged two of the CPM ads.

meme for bookbub ad pinapple port

Off Sale now, but you can read FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

Amy ran a BookBub ad September 15, 2016 with audience “cozy mystery” AND 6-7 specific cozy authors. Over night she discovered only $5 of her $100 budget spent  with 175 books sold, including crossover sales.  Some readers also  bought the 1st/3rd book in the series which resulted in an  ROI of $170.  She complimented the ad with a newsletter to her 6K subscribers. Amy adjusted her ad to just “cozy mystery fans” and blew the rest of the budget in a few hours with fewer downloads. Amy’s take: Stick with promoting to like authors in your genre.  All best selling authors have had a Bookbub slots. Pop the author’s name in and up it comes. You may change the listing anytime during your ad.

Meme Kilty as charged

Read FREE Today with Kindle Unlimited

The second ad was for a new release, priced FREE. Within a few minutes Amy saw above 200 downloads.  Budget for this ad was $200. Amy considers it well spent, but overall did not see an ROI.  Would she do it again?  Yes, because all of her books saw action and she had a rise in KENP. Plus reviews are being posted.

Snip Dim Sum 'Bookbub ad meme

$4.99 or Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

E.M. Kaplan [Emily] ran a Bookbub 99c ad campaign September 07 to September 30, 2016 on  Dim Sum, Dead Some. Emily’s budget for the month-long campaign was $500. The ad sold 718 books in September with a tail of 25 units sold at  full price of $2.99 in early October.  KENP for September/October  on these two units totaled 27372. Emily also saw 52 sales of the audio edition of  Dim Sum, Dead Some plus 89 crossover sales at $2.99 on The Bride Wore Dead. CPM or bid per 1000 impressions surfaced at $7.84. The last week in September she boosted the promo with slots on Book Gorilla~$50. ENT ~$50. Bargain Booksy~$50. The Books Machine~ $20.  Total spent: $670.   Emily estimates an ROI of $250. I’m not a math nerd, but I think she’s miscalculating her ROI too low.

 

In speaking with each of these authors, I heard the same lament: “We’re still learning how best to engage these ads for a return on investment.”  Bookbub ad promos do not have the tail of a regular promo slot on Bookbub. The CPM cost per 1000 impressions depends upon the category/genre of one’s book. That cost is higher for thrillers, cozy mysteries and romance novels. The better returns appear to use author targeting i.e. those who write in similar genres. Your ad is marketed to readers who either follow or show a strong interest in the authors you name. I call it piggy-backing on their popularity and fans. Notice we must create an ad meme. The better one’s meme, perhaps the better one’s results. For more comments, thoughts and results on Bookbub CPM Ads check out Nicholas Rossis‘ blog HERE.

While I’m considering a Bookbub ad, I’d make a rule not to budget more than a regular slot for a free or 99c book. I also notice that Bookbub prices have risen again. Check the cost of a slot for your book HERE.

I am rethinking and critiquing my promotions. As our market changes and matures we need to keep an open mind to new ways to engage book buyers and readers.  While the ROI reported above are not  spectacular, they are positive. All of the books garnered some exceptional visibility and improved their best seller stats. Two are finding their way onto the ‘also bought’ streams and one is tagged a best seller. That’s not at all shabby.

It cost Amy Vansant only $5 of her budget to sell 175 books. There isn’t a promoter on my lists who moves 175/99c units for $5. She’s the first to admit she then tweaked the ad, changing the target from authors to like category and lost momentum.  She could also have stopped the campaign and with $95 of her budget intact, scheduled another. It’s all a learning curve. We can always expand our basics. Bookbub is a known quality. That counts, because we are too often approached by promoters with no track record  or slammed by scams.  That’s it for today. Hope everyone along the Eastern Seaboard is safe and snug.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Click photo to Sign up Today for Accent on Romance Newsletter and never miss a FREE or 99c book by a member of eNovel Authors at Work

@JackieWeger 2017. I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. So happy to have you stop by. Comments welcome. Would love it if you briefly shared your own promo experience with us.

FOOTNOTE: eNovel Authors at Work has five membership slots open for romance authors. If interested in membership please contact Jackie Weger  with your full name and link to your Amazon Author page. 

 

Plotting Your Book’s Life in 2017

Written By: Jackie Weger - Dec• 13•16

BETA TESTING THE VALUE OF SMALL PROMOTIONS

marketing-strategy-planThere are two laments we hear day in and day out from indie authors: How do I get reviews and how do I promote my book? The first complaint can be easily addressed.  Put this gentle plea for a review right after THE END of your story.  More details HERE.

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you, again. [author name].

Moving on…Every author knows the value of our premier promoter, Bookbub. But snagging a slot is never a sure thing and some books don’t qualify. Plus, the slot is a costly up front, out-of-pocket expense.  In my experience and the experience of other indies I speak to, a Free unit in a Bookbub promotion can produce between $5K and $7K in royalties over a three to six week period. So. I beta tested a small-scale book promotion to learn how effective or not.  Telling you up front: I plotted the promotion twenty days in advance and submitted my book to a select group of promoters. All of my books are exclusive to Amazon.

Count The Roses Final MEDIUM

Promoted FREE in a scaled down promotion. 15,613 Downloads. Now: 2.99 or Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited

I wanted to learn if a FREE book in a scaled down promotion would:  1) earn out.  2) generate continued sales/borrows/reviews and crossover sales for 21 to 30 days as does a Bookbub slot.  The answer is YES.

I tracked the promotion from November 02 to December 10, 2016.  FREE downloads during the five day FREE period Nov 02-06, 2016 allowed by Amazon Select: 15,613.  KENP pages posted in Reports to Dec 10: 427,314. Next,  I logged 608 hard sales to Dec 10, of which 344 were crossover sales.  The royalty value November 02 to December 10, 2016: $3102.92.  Cost of promotion: Under $200.  Approximately 30 new reviews.

Two things were instrumental in the promotion’s success. One, my newsletter. Two, staggering the newsletter delivery across five audiences and five days as well as staggering/stacking paid slots with commercial promoters across those five days. These efforts kept the book high in stats and #1 in Classic Romance for several days. I noticed where the unit was landing in stats, but more importantly–staggering those downloads snagged Amazon algorithms which kept the book visible. That is key.

Sites I promoted with: eReaderIQ. Book Bassett. ebookstage. Booktastik. People Reads. ENT. Digital Book Today. Freeebooksdaily. ContentMo. eBook Hounds. eBooksoda. Book Zio. Love Kissed Books. eBookBetty. Many Books. Reading Deals. ask.David. KindleBookReview. Readfree.ly.

I submitted to several others but did not hear back or receive confirmation. Not counting those.  Caution: Please note that I planned and plotted this beta test. It is the first. I will try to duplicate it again in 2017.  I also have a healthy Mad Mimi newsletter organic subscriber list of 9,543. Suggesting this: Whether you have 200 or 2000 subscribers, divide your subscriber audience in to two or more and stagger those mail outs. I compose a nice newsletter, if you need tips. You can see the newsletter Here. Notice I promote my colleague’s books. They  Tweet and share the newsletter for more visibility. Always Tweet the link to your newsletter because non-subscribers are readers, too, and often will download books.

Building a healthy subscriber list and nurturing those subscribers by providing a reader-centric newsletter can help us keep our books in the $$$.  eNovel recommends Amy Vansant‘s authorsXP.com to grow your mailing list. For a list of promoters,  Effroysini Moschoudi has compiled a huge list of more than 150. Go Here.

TRENDS: Downloads are shrinking across all commercial promoters. Three years ago, my first Bookbub garnered 97,278 downloads on a free romance unit. Today, Bookbub’s pricing list says 40,800 is the average number of downloads on a free  romance unit.

Note: The owner of freeebooksdaily is off line for a bit. Readfree.ly takes a while to load.  Change is always in the air in our indie universe. Promo prices go up.  It is up to each of us to do the best we can for our books. Sharing: I’ve had some comments from authors saying Choosy Bookworm and Booksbutterfly are sluggish answering emails.  I’ve asked the authors to keep me in the loop. That’s all I know at the moment.

snip-kissed-by-a-camel

Here I am getting kissed by a camel. Love happens!

‘Til next time. I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work @2016. Comments welcome. Share your story. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate.

 

MASTERING AMAZON ~ Second in the Series

Written By: Jackie Weger - Dec• 10•16

Getting the Most out of  Amazon

marketing-strategy-plan

We got through Thanksgiving,  a National Election and Christmas is around the corner, plus we’ll soon be making those New Year’s Resolutions. Most of which we won’t keep. But you can do one or two small things to help your books to success. Keep reading for a wee bit of inspiration.

Amazon is where bookbuyers and readers live and that is where we must drive our fans and readers. Before we get started I’d like to share this: I usually sign off my blogs with a gentle review plea that I encourage indie authors to put right after THE END. Here it is:

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

ReluctantHero_CVR_SML

110 New reviews since January 16, 2016. Not all 4 & 5 star, but hey! I’m happy to have ’em all. Thank you readers and fans and those who ain’t. I appreciate every one of you.

I’m starting with that because many indies just don’t want to revisit their files and update the thing.  If you don’t have that gentle review plea in the back of your book right after The End before you engage in small or large promotions, you are shooting yourself in the foot.  Does it work? Yes. A promotion on The Reluctant Hero has netted above 110 new reviews in less than 20 days. Okay, moving on…

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE….

Amazon has given indie authors a new way to reach book buyers when we have a new release.  If you have a print edition, you may engage in an Amazon Giveaway and have entrants FOLLOW you on Amazon. Once you release a new ebook or print edition, Amazon sends out a dedicated email to all of  your followers.  eNovel members love this. We choose Lucky number winners, say one in 30 or one in 57 or one in 254 or one in 500. We mix up our Lucky numbers. In three giveaways, I already see almost 2000 followers on Amazon. Even if the dedicated email only generates two or three sales and or handful of borrows, I’m good. And Amazon does all of the work! To learn if you have a print edition eligible for a Giveaway scroll down your print edition book page: You will see:

Snipit amazon Giveaway- House

Just click the “Set up a giveaway” and follow instructions.  TIP: Read the rules first. You may NOT insert reviews.  Amazon will even set up the Tweets for you. Neat.  Amazon will ask you to compose a Winner comment and a Loser Comment. Here are a couple of examples.

Winner: Yay! You won a copy of The House on Persimmon Road by Jackie Weger. Tuck it in your beach bag & enjoy romance at its best!

Loser: Uh Oh ~ How could an awesome you not win No Perfect Fate. Next Time! Thanks for the follow.

FACT: Every author will not see the same results. Some will do better, some not. Giveaway print books may end up being sold as new by 3rd parties on Amazon or eBay. That suits me just fine–because eventually the books will find a reader. I’m happy if the print editions get traded in used book stores, because those folks talk about books, and if they want more Weger books than the one or two that end up in a used book store, they are gonna have to shop on Amazon.

UPDATE: We can now use the Amazon Giveaway on ebooks, too.  Check your book page. I always run these giveaways when I have a unit at 99c. I encourage you to do the same to build those followers on Amazon to snag that notice Amazon sends to your followers upon a new release. I price my new releases at 99c for the first 30 days. Between the Amazon notice and my newsletter my most recent release on may 23, 2016, Count The Roses  snagged the #1 Slot in Hot New Releases for five days before it slipped. I sold books. Still am.

UPDATE: All authors may now engage in an Amazon ad campaigns.  Look for this inside KDP.  Go to your Bookshelf. Look for this on the right side of each book: Run your cursor over the ellipses and a menu pops up. Choose Advertise.  I no longer engage in product campaigns. I instead choose SPONSORED. Amazon is showing these ads on Kindles to my target audience–romance readers. I love that.  And now, those ads show up beneath Also Boughts. You may not see any sales…but WATCH your KENP pages read. Borrows don’t show as sales. When I run these campaigns I see an uptick in pages read. Patience counts! Here are the results to date on a sponsored ad I have on Finding Home running since June 8, 2016.

Impressions: 2,214,140.  Clicks: 2,421. Bid: 13c per click. Spent: $302.89. Sales: $837.89. I’m so not gonna stop that ad. 

 

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Would love it if you share this post. Just tick that Tweet and you are done! Thank you.

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. We share what we learn. We don’t do rumors. We don’t exaggerate. We tell it like it happens. We also encourage indie authors to make the best decision you can for your books, because no one else will do it for you.  While you’re here, do visit our author pages. eNovel members offer a stunning array of books across the spectrum, from sweet romance to thrillers.

@Jackie Weger, 2016. Comments always welcome. Be nice, If you can’t be nice, be articulate. Share your promotion experiences. We are always open to learning.

COWBUNGA! Report: Newsletter vs Newsletter

Written By: Jackie Weger - Nov• 18•16
eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow.

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow.

More About Newsletters

Good morning all of you awesome authors.  Are you wondering what the heck Newsletter vs Newsletter means? You know me. I’m gonna tell you.  It’s something specific I discovered by accident. My blog topic was gonna be about my most recent promotion, because we in eNovel often report results. But this happened: I tried out Book Report. Loved it. Subscribed. This is an analytic app that rides on your task bar and once inside Amazon KDP it  tells you how many books were bought and borrowed [KENP] and the $$$ value. Book Report tells me the number of  sales/borrows on a each title every day, or I can also set it to tell me an aggregate. More on that in minute.

My most recent promo was a beta test to see where a FREE unit in a campaign might land in paid sans a Bookbub, because those Bookbub slots are getting harder to come by.  I promoted the FREE unit in my newsletter along with 12 paid promo slots.  I also had six comp or free N/C promo slots. Downloads ran to 15,664 units. It ranked #18 in TOP 100 Free. And when returned to paid

New Release. Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited

FREE in newsletter 11/2 to 11/6, 2016. Downloads 15,649. Accent on Romance subscribers downloaded 4204 units. No single paid promo site did as well.

it landed for a nano second 39 in TOP 100 Paid and then slipped to 1,894 in Paid. Wow. Eleven days later it is holding it’s own: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,776 Paid in Kindle Store. I did not expect such a nice tail on the promo. That is $100 a day in sales and borrows. Way beyond my expectations. Total cost of promotion: $164.

coveralmostperfect-xmas-for-pomoAlso in my newsletter I promoted another unit I put a Holiday cover on, selling it for 99c. It was not a featured book. I’ve bought less than a half dozen promo slots for the unit scattered between now and mid December. But now I can check exact downloads via Book Report and also unique clicks in my newsletter. Surprise! One of my fav promoter newsletters produced 19 downloads of a 99c boxed set. My newsletter produced 77 downloads.

What’s wrong with this picture? 

The promoter has above 100K subscribers. My newsletter has 13K, and I ran my promo in the run-up to the election. Grand distraction. Two other authors have since told me they’re seeing miserable results with the same promoter. I chatted up a dozen other authors and visited some forums and it appears that commercial promoter-generated newsletters across the board are not producing a return on investment (ROI). One author saw only Two (2) downloads of a 99c book for a $40 slot. That’s an owie a Band-aid won’t fix.

I am not going to name the promoters because this is a miasma they created themselves. I cannot point to one without pointing to them all. Here is what is happening. Indie authors are engaging in subscriber signup promotions and siphoning active subscribers from promoters. I predicted this would happen when savvy authors started upping our game. We had to do something because promo slots are either booked or too costly. Read about it here. In July 2016 I had about 3K subscribers. I’ve been growing my subscriber list. It is scrubbed and cleansed. 100% acceptance rate and in my last mail out to 13K–not a single subscriber checked spam.

I produced one new release this year in late May and could not get a decent promo slot. So, I promoted it my newsletter. Amazon sent out a dedicated notice to those who follow me on Amazon and the book moved to the #1 slot in HOT New Releases for five days. It’s been in the $$$ since.

Another thing savvy indies are doing is reaching out and co-promoting one another’s books. I’m doing it. And my early November newsletter moved an aggregate of 1000 units for my colleagues. Doesn’t cost five cents.  Yes, our newsletter carrier costs. I use Mad Mimi and I am happy to pay the fee because my newsletter pays for itself.

Let’s talk about Tweeting: One site wants $29 to tweet a book for 30 days. Well Gosh, I can buy 30 Tweets from ask.David for $10 and schedule one a day, plus tweet to fans in French, German, Hindi, Spanish or Dutch. I can also get together with ten authors and we each produce two tweets, schedule in Hootsuite to our followers and reach not less than 400,000. I can trade Tweets with one other author and reach 80,000 romance fans. Fool, me if I pop for $29.

Adding this: We need our promoters, large and small. I’m not dissing ’em. I love every one you find on this site. But somewhere along the way, our promoters are gonna have to evaluate their product to engage their subscribers and at the same time, give authors a return on investment.

Want to grow your subscriber list? Here are a few sites: Mega Mailing List Promotion. authorsXP.com  For Science Fiction and Fantasy, eNovel resident sci-fi authors love Patty Jansen’s SFF Promotions.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. @2016. Thanks for visiting. Comments welcome. Add to the discussion. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate. Romance authors: If you would like to consider co-promoting email enovaaw@gmail.com. Sorry, no erotica. Accent on Romance is work-place safe and family friendly.

 

Reviews! What fool Expert are you listening to now?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Nov• 10•16

Author Achilles Heel ~ Reviews…Again..

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow.

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow.

Oh, Mercy me…I don’t know where my brain was when I considered it was just indie authors hungering for reviews. Nope. Contracted authors, especially those under contract with small publishers or online publishers are searching for reviews, too.  I’m hearing from them. So called experts and PR folks who want in your wallet and play and prey on the needy author are convincing the authors that reviews sell books.

Count The Roses Final MEDIUM

Released May 26, 2016. 26 Organic Reviews after a small promotion November, 2016. Patience counts.

Here’s a fact: My books have 2000 organic reviews by readers and the only time those reviews are visible to the reading and book buying public is when I promote the books and drive a reader to the book page. Otherwise my books are just sitting on a virtual book shelf on Amazon, invisible to the naked eye.  Anybody, author or expert, who tells you reviews sell books is a liar. Plus they don’t, and cannot produce data to back up that hypothesis.

Over the past few weeks my mail box has filled with a sudden flurry of author requests to trade reviews, or asking me to review their books and/or to promote their books/blogs. I don’t know these people. I don’t know the books. I’m wondering: Why me? Why such a sudden influx?

However, this week two requests arrived saying: “I follow you on Twitter…” or “You retweeted my book.” Next comes the plea for a review and please share their books to my fans etc. Huh? Is some ‘expert’ out there telling authors to use Twitter to reach out to authors who might review their books? Or is this a word-of-mouth scheme? One newbie thinking how clever the scheme and passing the message along to another in a forum?

Here’s the long and short of it. I don’t review books. I don’t trade reviews. One author told me about a ‘brilliant review scheme’ that just happens to be against Amazon’s TOS. I’m saying straight up: I ain’t associating with an author who knowingly skirts Amazon’s TOS. I’m not getting in that snake pit. In case you haven’t heard: Amazon is on the warpath about author traded and hinky reviews.

Here’s a short stick. Just because you follow me on social media or I follow you, does not give you the inalienable right to approach me and ask me to promote your work in a more personal way. No. What are you offering in return? What are you offering in exchange? Nothing. I’ve spent three and a half years building my book life gathering fans and subscribers…and learning how to market my books. I’m not handing that over to an author I don’t know. And I ain’t getting behind a book that hasn’t been proofed or edited. Get real. Or at the very least, use some common sense.

HERE’S AN UPDATE: A colleague emailed and told me I was being a tad harsh in this blog. So. Let’s do it this way: If a friend knocks on my door and asks: “Can I bake my roast in your oven?” I’m gonna say, “Sure, come on in.”  If a stranger knocks on my door and asks: “Can I bake my roast in your oven?” I’m prolly gonna shoot the fool with my snake gun. Here’s why: The second instance is boundary invasion.

Now, if the author hungry for reviews emailed and asked could I put him/her in the path of reviewers… Yes, I can. Happy to do so. Right here:  Visit The Indie Book Review  for a list of above 300 active reviewers put together by the premier indie book reviewer, Big Al’s Books and Pals.

If a struggling author emails me and ask where to promote a book, I’m gonna send them to a couple of sites that have fabulous lists of promoters. Here are two: Effrosyni Writes and Indies Unlimited.

The other ballgame is to network.  I reach out to authors often, asking if one or another would be interested in co-promoting. I have something of value to offer and I keep my commitments. I have an organization and a website that snags 50K visitors a month. I have a newsletter with a healthy subscriber list that moves books. But I damned sure don’t go empty-handed. Values offered may be uneven. That’s fine because the effort is the same.

Am I being crusty and ornery? Yep. Not making any bones about it either. Authorship is work. I work at it fourteen hours a day. I network with like-minded authors. I pay-it-forward every day.  When I’m asked to lend a hand by a colleague, I do.  There’s this: I don’t think myself entitled to another author’s reputation, cachet or inner circle. I consider that an earned privilege. I may never earn it. I respect those boundaries.

Here is the best way to gather reviews. Put this golden gem right after THE END in your book, then promote it. If your book resonates with readers, reviews will arrive as verified organic reviews posted on your book page.

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you, again. [author name].

If you want to master indie authorship start here: Let’s Get Visible by David Gaughran. I did. The book will give you a leg up.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Follow Jackie on Amazon

@2016 by Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work.  Comments Welcome. Add to the discussion. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate.  Have a question, ask right here. Better yet. Ask Google. Ask Amazon.

And so you don’t go away empty handed…Here is a fun page to network and meet authors and chat with readers from around our good earth. Do NOT ask for reviews or that you would love to hear what a fan thinks. Do not post a book before saying hello.  You may post FREE and discounted books. You are welcome to make a new fan by offering a flash giveaway: ebook or print edition. Tick the share buttons on posts you find fun or interesting. That’s paying-it-forward. No erotica. No politics. No religion. No post and run. It is not that kind of page.

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Is Amazon Really Stupid?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Oct• 17•16
eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow.

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow.

What do you think?

Folks, I am in no way a spokesperson for Amazon. I doubt Amazon even knows I exist outside of books I upload. Amazon previews cover art and text for publication, says yea or nae and Amazon is done with me.

In the past ten days since Amazon posted new review policies authors are in an uproar.  Across the spectrum reader and blogger reviews are being pulled or not allowed. Here’s the skinny: Amazon has a TOS for authors, publishers and reviewers. Yes it does. But few read those things. Amazon explains what no compensation means. Amazon explains what a friend is or is not.

These comments are rife in forums: Amazon is out to ruin me. Amazon doesn’t like me. Amazon is stupid.

Really? A  billion dollar company that is a global entity has you or me in its sights and wants us to fail?  I don’t think so.  The fail is authors  and bloggers do not follow Amazon’s guidelines either innocently or by snubbing their noses at the rules. A blogger/reviewer in the UK complains that she is not allowed to post reviews on amazon.com. She can post on amazon.uk. That works for me.

Brilliant dialogue, realistic and likable characters. ~ Bad Doggy Reviews AVP

Brilliant dialogue, realistic and likable characters. ~ Bad Doggy Reviews AVP

Count The Roses Final MEDIUM

“Fantastic…Just a job well done.” ~ Amazon Verified Purchase

Here is where the real problem lies: A contracted author is given a PR package that says : Go forth and build a platform. Yep, because after the first splash on publication, the ebooks founder and sink to China in sales. Authors start beggin’ for Friend me or Like me on Facebook in hopes of building a fan base and sales. Authors then engage in Facebook parties, Rafflecopters and giveaways. Compensation. If a fan has won a gift card or swag. That is compensation. If that winner is connected to the author in any way…the review does not meet Amazon guidelines.

The people selling those PR Platforms to indie authors don’t give a fig about Amazon’s guidelines. They don’t know them. It is doubtful any editor knows them. They want in your wallet. Paid reviews may be posted in Editorial. 

Get this: I have looked at the books of every single contracted and indie author who is posting with righteous indignation how stupid Amazon to disallow one of their reviews.  Their books ain’t selling. Nope. The contracted author has no control. If the publisher doesn’t hype the book, it is dead in the water. The indie author sneering at Amazon isn’t promoting his/her books. Most are desperate for reviews and sales. In my experience reviews don’t sell books. I have units with 300 to 600 reviews. Unless promoted somehow, someway, they limp along out of the $$ in stats. I know for a fact there are more than 12 million books on Amazon: Here’s a stat: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,877,728. That stat means there are 12,877,727 books selling more than that book.

It is utter arrogance to think Amazon is singling out an author. You or I may be the most important person in our tiny universe, but we ain’t when it comes to Amazon. As far as I can tell, Amazon bots treat us all alike. If you drive on an Interstate highway, the traffic rules/laws are the same for every driver. Doesn’t matter if you drive a Porsche or a twenty-year old, beat up Ford pickup. If you have a fender bender, do you blame the law? With Amazon the rules are the same for every publisher and author. Those Amazon bots and algorithms are Amazon’s highway patrol. The quality control enforcers of the law and guidelines.

Amazon is not the only indie book shelf that has guidelines. An indie author who publishes wide had a suggestion to post reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. iTunes pulled those books. It told the author no mention of a competitor is allowed in back of book matter. She had to revise and republish her list. The author did not spew righteous indignation. She said: “Ugh,” fixed the problem and went on about her book life.

Amazon gives contracted and indie authors opportunities to promote books. Every published author can scroll to the bottom of a book page to see if a book is eligible to engage in a Giveaway. Easy as pie to set one of those up. I love ’em. Those authors in Amazon Select may engage in sponsored ad or product ad campaigns. The sponsored ads are shown on Kindles. The product ads show on Amazon on the left side bar. I keep several of the sponsored ads going with no termination dates. They cost pennies a day.

This just showed up today on the link to my author bio on Amazon. Amazon added the note about Best Selling Books. I sure didn’t. But at one time or another, those titles snagged one of  those Amazon Best Seller tags, or snagged the #1 slot in Hot New Releases.  I suggest bots are doing the work. Beta testing. Amazon sure isn’t sprinkling me with fairy dust.

snipit-amazon-addThose are not the books I would have chosen. Two have the least amount of reviews. Who knew? But this does not smack of Amazon out to ruin any author. The long and short of it: We are responsible for our books and behavior once we tick publish. Mimicking what the next author does may not be the right thing to do. Remember what your mommy said when you were a teenager and you were yelling: “Everybody does it!” Mommy’s house. Mommy’s rules. Abide by curfew or whatever the rule or find yourself in a world of hurt. Pouting and indignation did not change the rule. Same with Amazon.

As for reviews, organic reviews are best. Here’s how to get them. Put this perfect simple and elegant gem right after THE END in your books. Next, promote the things to the best of your budget.

Thank you for taking time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review.  Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. 

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Click my photo to read another post about Reviews

Comments welcome. Add to the discussion. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate.  I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. We’re a group of indie authors supporting one another and trying to keep in the game and inside the rules. @October 2016.

Writers and readers are invited to eNovel’s Book Tavern and Fiction Bar to meet and chat with one another. NO overt promotion as in BUY MY BOOK allowed. No erotica. It is a family friendly page. Do not ask for reviews or to exchange reviews. Lurk a bit and scroll down the page. Sharing posts you like with your fans and friends makes for happy writers and guests.

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Now I know why

Written By: Jackie Weger - Oct• 12•16

Savvy authors distance themselves from those less savvy

eNovel Authors at Work…A group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. …..ALWAYS FREE…..

Listen up. I was dumb as rock when I entered our digital universe. I signed a seven book contract with an online publisher that was the pits. They did not move sweet romance books. I went to the publisher’s Skype forums and was told SEX SELLS. So? The other authors sneered at me because I wrote sweet romance. I wanted out. Took two years.  A senior editor moved on to open her own business. She was gonna help me to the tune of $1000. Paid her. Later, I learned she had been fired. I won’t go into everything that happened, but I will tell you this: I had the common sense to know I was getting scammed. My bad. I was easy prey. I stopped on a dime and learned this indie publishing business. eNovel Authors At Work is the result of that dime.

Yes, we all need help. I asked a colleague whose name I recognized as having been with the same trad publisher as I had, and she directed me to a pair of books.  I bought and read those books. I’ve read them several times over, because I did NOT know the language. Blog? Oh, you mean an article?  Next I figured out blog is both a noun and verb. What the heck is a bot?  An ASIN?  Where the heck do I find those suckers? I never heard of an algorithm, even in Physics class. Each step of my learning experience, I reread the books and discovered I understood more and more. Now, I understand every blamed word in those books. Yes. I do. My experience also turned me into a skeptic. Not a day goes by that I don’t question  some feature of a promotion, or a promoter–or an author’s agenda. I’m not tech savvy so I still run into snags. But! A service provider such as a formatter, editor or cover artist or indie author who is dishonest has a short shelf life in my tiny sphere of this business.

Yes, I still ask for help from savvier colleagues

but I’ve learned to give value in return. I promote their books. I send business their way. I send a small Thank You gift. I buy their books.

Which brings me to my topic. I spend time in associate forums and lend a hand where I can. I know how to write a book. I know how to promote a book. I know how to sell a book.  In one forum there was clarion call for a list of free and inexpensive promoters. I posted the link to a site that had such a list. Next an author said she could not find the list on the site I posted and asked me to download and email her the list.

Uh. No. Honey, I ain’t your personal assistant.

And therein lies the reason I’m having a South Alabama redneck hissy fit. That kind of author can suck you dry. They want to be spoon fed. At some point each of us has to get down in the trenches and learn how to get the job done. We learn from mistakes, mishaps and misdirection. That does not mean we cannot seek advice from a colleague. Hey! First Ask Google. Ask Wikipedia. Ask Amazon.

Entitlement. We are not entitled to the next author’s skill, craft, ehow or time. All of which is a valuable commodity. Everything I learn is on this site or a sister site is in PLAIN ENGLISH. Misinformation and rumor is rife in the indie universe, especially about Amazon and Bookbub and Reviews. Read the TOS. If you don’t understand it ASK and keep asking until the question is sorted and you get it.  I see trad pubbed and indie authors in business for themselves every day. Here’s why: They want to get paid for their knowledge. They ain’t giving it away for free. I do, because I know my limitations and I don’t want to go into business. I’m good right where I’m at.

An author I trusted referred me to site as wonderful for creating covers. Worst experience with a cover artist I ever had. Cost me $300. Plus, I had to ask a colleague to step in and repair the cover so I could use it. So! I revisited the Author Resources and Useful Links pages on eNovel. NO service gets on those pages now unless a member has used it successfully.

I preach know who you’re talking to and listening to in this business. I recently saw a post in which an author was praising a promotion site. The author gave a thumbs up to the site saying it moved books. I looked at her books. All of ’em. Honey, her books are so low in stats they could sell Gorilla Glue because they’re stuck at the bottom. I know books sink in stats.  Mine do when I’m not in promotion. So, I put the author’s books in an ebook tracker to check the stats for the past six months. Ranked in the millions for months. I also checked the site. It gives you a little bit free and next starts trying to get into your wallet.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Jackie Weger. Indie Author.

Usually when I post a blog, I fill it with live links…Not doing so today. Here’s why: You won’t click on those links to learn our industry. Nope. Not my problem. You can find the books I read in Author Resources.  Adding this: I adore indie authorship. I love Amazon and Kindles. We are living and publishing in historic times. It can be ugly or good. It is what we make of it.  And that is a wrap of this rant. Y’all have a good one.

@JackieWeger 2016.

Comments Welcome. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate. Add to the discussion.

Review Mania ll

Written By: Jackie Weger - Oct• 04•16

REVIEW MANIA II

It never stops…

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

Good afternoon. I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. It has been a short three years  since I stepped into our indie author universe. The single word that has resonated during these years is Review. Spend ten minutes surfing Facebook and lurking in forums and you will come across a plethora of posts by indie authors begging for book reviews.  Many indie authors want those reviews as affirmation that  he or she can write and tell a story. That is NOT the province of a review. Readers and bloggers share their opinions of books to alert the next reader if that reader might or might not enjoy the book.

amazon-the-house-13-1

600+ Organic Reviews. Most of which were posted after a Bookbub promotion and other promotions. Never offered FREE in exchange for a review.

Yes, in the recent past, a book needed a certain number of reviews in order to snag a top slot in some of the better promotion newsletters or websites. But today more and more promoters are open to promoting new releases sans a review. Promoters want our almighty promo $. Thus new release slots are available. I will say straight out…

Many indie authors don’t do their homework…or bother to learn our indie industry.  In other words, they Eat Stupid for Breakfast. There are easier ways to gather reviews than hopping from Facebook page to Facebook page, or putting the onus on friends, family and colleagues to read and post reviews. Here are a few things that work for  the authors in eNovel:

Right after THE END in our books we write:

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].  

Next we plan a small FREE or 99¢ campaign for the new release book to pull those organic reviews.

UPDATE: Until Amazon issued its new rules a few days ago, we suggested hiring  a Tour director to take the book on a virtual Book Review Tour. Three Tour Directors that we like are: Book Partners in Crime Promotions, NjKinny’s World of Books & Stuff  and Goddess Fish Promotions. We still like these tour guides, but the reviews generated may only be safely posted on blogs and Goodreads.  The reason: Reviewers and bloggers may not receive any compensation such as in a drawing for a Gift Card. You can still take your book on a tour for visibility, but not for the purpose of a review if any compensation is offered i.e. swag or gift cards.

Most of us submit our first two or three books to Big Al Kunz, the premier indie book reviewer. A review from Big Al’s Books and Pals is golden.  Big Al posts a list of more than 200 active reviewers on the Indie View HERE.

Book reviews are NOT instant. One must wait for the reader to read the dang book. Patience is required.  All reviewers have a TBR stack ahead of you. There is a protocol for approaching reviewers. In your email: Greet the reviewer by name. State your name and the name of your book and offer a one line tag. DO NOT send your book cold turkey. ASK FIRST. Or follow the instruction on the blog to submit your book for review.  For the best ehow on approaching a reviewer read THIS article by a TOP 1000 Amazon, Goodreads and NetGalley reviewer, Julie Whiteley.

Published April 8, 2015. 405 reviews posted after a FREE campaign

Published April 8, 2015. 405 organic reviews posted after a FREE campaign

How effective are the above approaches for gathering reviews? Until October 1, 2016: Excellent. But now your safest way to organic reviews is the gentle review plea in the back of your book.  Footnote: It is acceptable to pay for a review, but that review may ONLY be posted inside your book’s page in Editorial. UPDATE: THIS IS NOW AGAINST AMAZON’S TOS.  No book may be offered free in exchange for a review. See below.

UPDATE: As of October 01, 2016 authors may not offer a free book in exchange for a review to be posted on Amazon. Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review. Policy change here.  Telling you, this is confusing.

Read more about reviews on Kboards.  

ReluctantHero_CVR_MED

110 New Reviews since a January 16, 2016 promotion. Not all 4 & 5 star, but hey! We can’t please all readers and they ARE entitled to their opinions.

Indie authorship is W.O.R.K.  It does not cost us five cents to publish our books on Amazon. Career indie authors do invest in editors, cover artists and formatting. If you don’t, do expect to see one and two star reviews outstripping the four and five star. Because they will.

Even if you are on a tight promotion budget, there are above 75 sites one can submit a title for no charge or for as little as $5 or $10. For an excellent up-to-date 2016 list of promoters visit Effrosyni Writes.  The list is not vetted. Do your homework. Reminding you that books are inanimate objects until the stories they tell come alive in a reader’s mind.

All promoters mentioned in eNovel blogs have been vetted. We know them, we like them, they consistently produce results for the fees charged. If they don’t, we say so. We know every book will not get the same results. Our members write across a dozen or more genres. We get it. Timing, price, book cover, book descriptions–all affect downloads.

Two promotion sites that have made it onto eNovel’s  list are booktastik and Ebookbetty. Here is why: On a recently ten author/5 day  tour. Dionne of booktastik promoted the tour on her site for free all five days. Dionne has also started streaming  promotion results for transparency. That is the GOLD Standard. Betty of Ebookbetty grabbed our posts and was a Tweeting Wizard for our tour and promotion. They pay-it forward. We love ’em. BookBarbarian has just made it to our list for Sci-fi and Fantasy; $15 for promotion and BookBarbarian streams results. Transparency. So does BookScream – which sends the author an in depth activity on a book promotion.  These all are smaller sites with fewer subscribers, but the owners are doing it right. eNovel Authors at Work supports R.I.G.H.T.

Finally, Reviews will not fall in your lap. There are no less than three million indie authored books on Amazon.  Successful indie authors are stepping up their game. The above suggestions can work for you. But only if YOU take action.  Choose one you are comfortable with and go with it.

Would love it if you followed me on Amazon.

Would love it if you followed me on Amazon.

@JackieWeger 2016, eNovel Authors at Work.

Comments Welcome. We love for indie authors and readers to share their experiences with us. We learn from you. Welcome booktastik, Ebookbetty, BookScream and BookBarbarian to eNovel’s Preferred List. Already on our prefered list above the fold: Bookbub, fkb&t, Ereader News Today. 

 

MASTERING AMAZON 4th in The Series

Written By: Jackie Weger - Sep• 29•16

#IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS…

genre…We learn that helps us to success as we hone our indie authorship skills.  You can take all sorts of virtual courses, hire as many PR experts as your wallet can handle and not one will tell you the little things that work. Here’s why: They don’t know them. So let’s just look at a couple or three features on Amazon that you can use today to benefit your book. Won’t cost you five cents.

Here is what you’re gonna get rid of: All of the white space in your book description/blurb and the double spacing between sentences. Now, I know there is some expert out there in indie land telling you to put that white space in your blurb because it is easier to read. Send that fool a 10 cent Alpo dog food coupon and tell ’em to have lunch on me.  Even if you are trad pubbed, or contracted with a online publisher, you can clean up your book description from inside Author Central. If you can manage it, you want every bit of your book description above this: Snipit read more, because below the Read more is your punch line. Oops.  To get this done, log into your Author Central Account and tick the book you want to work on. Click on edit. It may take you several revisions to get that book description completely above the Read more. Work it! I’m still working on mine to capture the essence of the story and still tease the reader to buy the thing.

However, if you can’t quite manage to get all of the description above Read more, do this to make your description stand out: Use html to bold the text. Easily done. Type: <b> before the first word and after the last period in the blurb, this: </b>  After an hour or so, go check your book page on Amazon. Go back to Author Central to revise again if necessary, especially if you only have a word or two hanging beneath Read more.

Footnote to the above: Did you know you can log into your Author Central Accounts on other Amazon sites?  Here’s a list compliments of Grant W. Cook.  Snip that list and keep it in file. Do visit Grant’s blog. Great tips and ehow. Okay, got that done. Moving on…

While in Author Central have a look at your reviews. Grab a few four and five star reviews and post them in Editorial. Now, listen up. You do want a space break between the reviews. You put <p> after the period on each review quote. Preview it. Play with it. You may have to add <p> twiceGo here and scroll down the page to see how the reviews should appear. Yes, you may edit reviews–but carefully. I preface the Editorial review content with: What readers are saying about [title].  I cut and paste the essence of the review and I clean up misspelled words and punctuation.

NOTE: Each time you make a correction on a unit inside KDP or change a cover, and sometimes even when you change the price on a unit, Amazon reverts to the original book description. So! Save those blurbs in a file and revisit Author Central as soon as the unit is live again.

TIP from a non-expert: Me. When you visit your book pages on other Amazon venues, Tweet your books from those sites. Google translate a word or two. It helps to build a rapport with the natives of those countries. Did you know you can revise those Amazon-generated tweets? Yes, you can. I grab the short link from the email envelop, delete that long string Amazon puts in and insert the short link–which also shows your book in thumbnail on the tweet. And this leaves room for a hashtag or two. All of your amazon.com reviews show up on amazon.jp. Don’t take my word for it. Go look.

Gonna leave you with this: Amazon does this nice thing for us. It sends our books in fab cardboard boxes we can use to ship presents and books to fans and which our cats adore. And all of the brown paper packaging inside is so useful. I use it to make my own parchment paper when called for in baking. I cut it to shape the pan and paint it with olive oil with an ordinary nylon paint brush. 99c. Ain’t paying $6 for a pastry brush.  Works like a charm. I also layer bacon between sheets of it to cook in the microwave. Bacon doesn’t stick to it like it does paper towels. Okay. If that homespun tip doesn’t work for you, here’s another: Toss dead bananas and banana peels at the roots of your rose bushes and magnolia trees. It makes the bloom scents stronger.

Now, if you read this blog and think: Great ideas, but don’t act, that is fine with me. Less competition for my books. I’m good with it. But, if you’re serious about your book, explore and get to know Amazon. It dang sure knows you.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Become my newest BFF. Follow me on Bookbub.

I’m Jackie Weger. Romance writer. Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. @Copyright 2016.

As always, comments welcome. Add to the discussion. Appreciate it much if you share the page or the ready-made Tweet. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate. 

 

Newsletter Mania~Round Three

Written By: Jackie Weger - Sep• 25•16
eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

A couple of months ago we talked about marketing our books via our newsletter, and more recently, gathering subscribers.

Today, I’m updating because as usual, changes are in the air. Most authors I know love the idea of a newsletter and having a subscriber list in the thousands. I hear you.  But composing a newsletter does not happen by magic. Moreover, building a subscriber list just got more difficult. 90 days ago, we could engage in unlimited cross promotions, the administrator of the promo collected the subscriber email addresses in an excel sheet, sent the list along to all author participants to upload  to MailChimp or Mad Mimi or whomever we had our newsletter service. Those lists are termed third party generated. Mad Mimi tells me it is now disallowing  third party generated subscriber lists.  A subscriber must now opt directly into your newsletter. Don’t take my word for it. Check with your newsletter carrier.

Almost Perfect: Three Volume Collection

“The 1st book make me cry. The last one made me laugh. Well written.” Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Every state and every country has its own laws  governing email solicitation. Does not matter the product one is hoping to sell.  The mechanism for a Giveaway is the Rafflecopter. A Rafflecopter is designed as a Sweepstakes. No Purchase necessary. No  one under the age of 18  may enter my Sweepstakes. All of us must abide the The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. That’s the link. Read it. Because YOU are the responsible party when you create the Rafflecopter Giveaway/Sweepstakes. Not trying to scare you because it is easy to stay within the law.  Greg Goodson, Co-founder of Rafflecopter explains it clear as bell. Read his blog.

I often see a Rafflecopter with one of the entrant tasks to download a 99c book. Extra points. Guess what? That is not a Sweepstakes. That is a lottery–and a whole different set of laws must be met. A Rafflecopter/Sweepstakes in Canada must be licensed. Yep. Canadian laws allow contests, but not sweepstakes. What does that mean? I now add USA residents only. No Purchase necessary. Must be 18 years old or older to enter/participate.

snipit-newsletter-memeOkay, I’ve prolly bored you beyond measure. How about some of the shoddy details of mega promos in which we hope to collect thousands of subscribers.  Let’s say 50 authors participate. Rafflecopter offers one winner $100 plus a basket of all 50 books. Wow. Entrants number 5K in the Rafflecopter. Next thing, all 50 authors are slamming out newsletters to all 5K subscribers.  I awoke one recent morning to above 100 newsletters in my inbox. I didn’t subscribe, but somehow my email address got mixed in with the entrants in a giveaway. Horrid. I looked at each before I kindly unsubscribed instead of marking each spam. Of those 100 newsletters, only three were well composed and hit all cylinders. Many were sloppy and all were beggin’ letters offering the subscriber no value. Some were offering free short stories or novellas, but those were already free on Amazon or other sales venues or from the author’s website. This not the first time my inbox has been slammed and spammed.

Only one of those newsletters promoted colleague’s book.  Erotica. Golly. I did not subscribe. Networking is so key to our success. I love promoting my colleague’s new releases, free and discounted books. And hey! If you want to see how I put together a newsletter sign up here. It is not the greatest, but it gets the job done and is respectful of my subscribers. To read earlier blogs on newsletters go here and here. Some good tips in those blogs that will generate downloads. Remember! Downloads are the goal of a newsletter.

Sharing this promotion to drive subscribers because the promotion is done right. E.B. Brown [Beth] sets up the Mega Mailing List Promotion so that entrants must subscribe directly to the individual author’s newsletter. That avoids 3rd party generated lists–which are useless for some carriers–NOT ALL. Even if you have a newsletter carrier that accepts 3rd party generated list, beware of spam. No carrier likes to see spam running at 5%. Industry standards for hard and soft bounces is between 2% – 5%.  Mad Mimi culls hard bounces automatically and allows soft bounces up to five sends. After that, the subscriber is culled from the subscriber list. A soft bounce is perhaps Wi-fi service is down.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

@2016, Jackie Weger

I’m Jackie Weger, founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Fabulous group of networking indie authors. Here is a heads up. Don’t take my word as gospel. Do your own research. Check things out. Do NOT assume anything.

Comment always welcome. Add to the discussion. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate. We love to learn and appreciate different viewpoints.

 

 

Newsletter Mania~Do You Have One?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Aug• 05•16

Indie authors are in manic mode to gather subscribers and generate newsletters…

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

Click on icon for more on Newsletters

IMO, that is not a bad thing. From the moment  we step into the indie author arena we are told to have a newsletter. Marketing experts and gurus insist that for success a newsletter is the single top-ranked item one needs in an indie marketing toolbox. I’m convinced. But here is what the experts don’t tell you:

  • Divide your subscribers into two or more audiences. The value of this explained below.
  • Stagger your newsletter delivery by time and days to discover the best window of acceptance and open rates.
  • Critical! Every mention of a title and every cover must be live-linked to a buy page.
  • Review the Performance of every live-link in the newsletter for unique clicks. Unique clicks tell you destination hits and number of
    Count The Roses Final MEDIUM

    NEW! Read FREE w/Kindle Unlimited.

    downloads.

  • Cleanse your subscriber lists at least twice a year.  Decide parameters i.e. Move subscribers who have not opened perhaps 3 of  the last 5 newsletters into a separate Outlier audience.  Design or edit a cloned/copy  newsletter for this group. If two or more newsletters go unopened, drop the subscriber.
  • Third party generated newsletters must abide by Gmail’s DMARC. Now also extended to Yahoo and AOL. You don’t have to understand DMARC. You just have to abide by the rule. Mad Mimi and MailChimp are third party. I used GoDaddy for my domain name and email address: jackieweger@accentonromance.org.
  • Tell your subscribers in the first module/paragraph about how often to expect your newsletter.
  • Insert the Unsubscribe link in the first module/paragraph to avoid having your newsletter ticked as Spam.
  • If you have something really hot or a special event to promote between scheduled newsletters, label it: Special  Edition.
  • Do This: Once emailed to your subscribers, grab the newsletter share link/url, tweet it, post it on Facebook and Google+ so non-subscribers can read it online. I sometimes have a secret Rafflecopter for my subscribers in my newsletter. I delete that from the clone that I share publicly.

Are you with me so far? Okay. Why divide your subscribers into two or more audiences? I do it because I want to stagger book buys and downloads to generate a slow climb up the the Amazon bestseller stats in my genre or work towards landing a book in TOP 100 FREE. I’m using my newsletter to bracket promotions on other sales venues such as Bookbub, eBookDaily, ENT, eBook Betty,  Digital Book Today or booktastik.  By scheduling the newsletter on successive days at different times, I can evaluate acceptance, open, viewed and unique click performance.  I’ve discovered Saturday evening delivery is less than stellar. Open and click through rates sink to China. Not doing that time frame again. Sunday evening is only a little less awful.

Mad Mimi shows performance for every live link in a newsletter including the percentage and actual number of unique clicks on book covers, book titles, plus words and phrases such as: On Amazon,  Amazon Exclusive and 99c for a limited time. From my very first newsletter issued January 2014, I’ve promoted my colleague’s books across most genres when FREE or discounted.  I ask around who has a new release or a book on sale for the dates I’ve scheduled Accent on Romance. I share with my subscribers Rafflecopters and Giveaways. My newsletter is workplace and family friendly. I don’t promote erotica. All of my newsletters are readercentric, offering value to the subscriber. Not saying it’s perfect, but I try.

Sharing this: Over the past few months I’ve subscribed to dozens of author newsletters. A very few are dead on. Some are epic fails. No live links on covers or book titles. Or no links to a book buy page at all. A few feature the same 500 word author bio that reads like a jobs resume in every newsletter. A few are filled with badly formatted book excerpts in desperate need of editorial input and proofreading. Many are rife with misspelled words and book descriptions that read like a sixth grade book report. Telling you this: You might consider your newsletter subscribers as guests in your home. You’re inviting them, you neaten your house, you say welcome at the front door, you offer refreshment. If you want them to return, you must nurture the relationship. Get this: Many newsletters do not even introduce the author. Nope. Unless I look at the name on the book cover, I don’t have a clue about whose newsletter I’m reading. Your newsletter is introducing your craft, talent and product to readers–many for the first time. It is not a grocery list. 

You get one chance to lose a subscriber and zero chances to recapture the subscriber once lost.

Here is another way to look at it: How utterly arrogant is it of us to present a flawed and sloppy newsletter to a prospective book buyer and expect that reader to snap up our books FREE or Paid? Or to follow us on Twitter? Like us on Facebook?  Enter our Giveaways? To see an example of a recent issue of Accent on Romance Newsletter click HERE. It is a work in progress, but all together the three audience editions moved above 1000 books, FREE/Paid/Borrowed. The same number + of subscribers entered the Rafflecopter. No fewer than 40 subscribers visited eNovel Author pages.

I’m just about done. Asking you: This blog is full of live links that will give you more information and data you can use–if you will. Do you click on the links? Smart you if you do.

Keep up with the good stuff. Follow eNovel on Twitter

Keep up with all good things. Follow eNovel on Twitter

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Our members have astonishing talents inside and out of indie authorship. They’ve produced not less than 500 well-written books to entertain you across many genres. Check ’em out. @JackieWeger 2016. Comments always welcome. Add to the discussion.

 

 

The REAL Skinny on Newsletters

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jul• 10•16

Marketing your books via newsletters…How does yours measure up?

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

Indie Author newsletters have suddenly become front and center in our indie universe.  Suggestions about mailing lists have always hovered in the background like white noise:  Authors need a newsletter/mailing list so when we have a new release, we shout it to our followers. Got it. The snag for me is I don’t produce a book a month or even every six months. I generated my first newsletter via Mad Mimi January 2014. I flogged my book and a few colleague’s books. I pump other author titles because I want to give value and keep my subscribers interested between my own releases and promotions. I kept a loose mailing schedule of once a month or once every six weeks. I did not pay much attention to performance, such as open and click through rate. Now I do. What an eye opener.

I have several subscriber lists in Mad Mimi so that I can stagger my newsletters over a 24 or 36 hour period. This happened in my most recent mailout. On one list of 2800 subscribers I pumped my new release, Count the Roses 99c. Within

New Release. Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited

New Release. Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited or Amazon Prime

a few hours Amazon reported 144 downloads. Wow. Of those 2800 subscribers, 950 opened and clicked through to my books, other author books I promoted and a Giveaway. A task in the Giveaway was to Follow the authors on Bookbub. After 12 hours I saw a jump of above 200 new followers on my Bookbub author page. Over the next 72 hours, more subscribers opened the newsletters…I saw a spike in KENP borrows. All together my newsletter moved 1023 units of my new release + crossover sales and I ended June 2016 with above 138,000 KENP.

Why are these figures so significant?

Because we indies buy promotion from promoters who tell us they have 100,000 to 300,000 subscribers. Yet! A $70 slot 10 days earlier on  Count The Roses priced 99c did not generate even 100 downloads. Whoa. Promoters don’t like to tell us their open rates or click through rates. To learn if the promo is successful we have to watch the graph inside KDP which is updated hourly. Here is something else I’ve learned: Thus far, for every 5000 subscribers I see an attrition loss of 400. They unsubscribe. I have all of these stats available immediately. So do promoters who charge to put our books in newsletters.

Folks…it is time to come clean and share those performance rates with authors. We are happy to support a respected promoter. We’re giving you our trade. We need value for our promo $$, not hype. One reason we all love Bookbub and pray to the indie gods to snag a slot is on Bookbub’s pricing page we see cost/the download spread from lowest to highest in our genre. We know what we’re paying for. We can make an informed decision. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so. In three years I’ve never heard of a Bookbub promo fail. One indie author disaster and you can read about it here. Even so, 22,000 Bookbub subscribers downloaded the book.

Here  is another item of annoyance. Promoters want authors to subscribe. That is an artificial inflation of a subscriber list. Authors are not my audience or yours. We are all using the service to sell our books to readers. Some promoters are top heavy with authors. They do NOT move our books. In eNovel we know who they are and we don’t promote with them. Some give value for $10. But next have those add ons for Facebook and/or Twitter and the value sinks to China. Hey! I have two Twitter accounts with above 35,000 followers. I ain’t paying you to Tweet to your 6000 Followers. Get real. And after charging $10 for a Twitter boost, the promoter has the nerve to ask an author to share the promoter’s landing page with his or her Followers on Facebook/Google+/Twitter and Pinterest. The promoter wants ME to send my 35,000 Twitter followers to his/her site for FREE. What’s wrong with this picture? The answer: Offer a subscription to an Author only Newsletter. We love those.

What does this mean for promoters and indie authors? This: Indie authors are engaging in co-promotion and leaving out the middle man. We’re pitching in and engaging in Rafflecopters to grow our subscriber lists. We’re selling books. Moreover, we’re seeing a return on investment because our co-promotion costs are miniscule. We still promote with many of our fav small promoters. However, some are raising prices to offset the loss of affiliate fees and passing that expense onto the author with NO added value. That leaves us to evaluate each promotion again. On any given month not less than 20 eNovel members are in promotion. We gather a lot of stats and we share those in detail separating hype from reality.  As we mature as indie authors we are learning how best to promote our books and with whom.

Bottom line: Our books have to pay for themselves.  

Yes, they do. They have to pay the maintenance on our webpages and blogs and the cost of our newsletters. They have to pay our investment in cover artists, editors, copy editors, proofers, formatters. Here is a fun fact: When sitting at our keyboards writing our books we are not earning minimum wage~or any wage! Talk about which came first? The chicken or the egg…

Here is a new promoter just recently in the game.  Just Kindle Books. Look what he posts on his Author Corner. I asked him how much  time

Just Kindle Books. The owner knows these stats are accurate because he tracks books with bit.ly

and trouble to post these stats. He said no trouble and takes a couple of minutes. He can update PDQ.  He shared his newsletter open rate, too. My open rate is better, but I nurture my subscribers by offering giveaways and swag and sometimes secret Rafflecopter just for my subscribers. I loosely schedule a newsletter every 22 days.  Just Kindle Books is an entirely commercial daily newsletter as are most promoter newsletters. But open and click through rates are critical. If subscribers are not opening a newsletter and clicking the link, it ain’t moving your books or mine. Huzzah!

When we in eNovel report a promo fail to some reputable owners, we are kindly refunded our $$$. We have also had site owners tell us: “Write a better book.” I got that remark on a book sitting on Amazon with above 600 reviews ranked 4.3/5.0. Here’s a recent Review by a reader: “Jackie blows away all other romance novels! The characters are vivid, the story intriguing, the humanity believable (even the ghost), and the experience a medicine for the soul. I read reviews that you couldn’t put this one down, believe it!”  I don’t know how much better I can write the thing. Bookbub subscribers downloaded it to the tune of 75,000+ and wrote all of those nice reviews. Okay. I’m done.

Click my photo to join my newsletter, Accent on Romance. @JackieWeger, 2016

I’m Jackie Weger, founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Our members don’t know it all…but collectively we know a lot and we know BS when we hear it. Comments Welcome. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate. Add to the discussion. Facts welcome. I shoot rumors with my snake gun.

Snag these eNovel Author books FREE right now: Tyrant Trouble. Grade A Stupid.  Gifts of Jangalore.  Belle of Charleston.

You awesome author! Pay it Forward. Please share this ready-made Tweet. Who knows? Maybe an indie god will sprinkle your book with fairy dust and it will soar to stardom. Thank you bunches.

 

PS: Just in from Christian Hupfeld: eReaderIQ is back in business and accepting submissions. Fees are just right. 

PROMOTION 101~ NOT JUST FOR NEWBIES

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jun• 27•16

Wanna know the best promotion site of all time?

I’m gonna tell you…right here, right now. It is under your nose: AMAZON.

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

Absolutely, we all hunger for a Bookbub slot. But snagging a Bookbub slot is not a sure thing. I collect more rejections from Bookbub than I once did scouting for an agent or a publisher. No lie. Meanwhile what can you do to get your book visible and make a few sales?

I love Amazon Ad campaigns. I keep five or six running at the same time, sometimes two on the same book. Open-ended because they are so inexpensive. Get to the Ad Campaign site from inside KDP. Click on Reports. On the left side of  the page will be the link. I despise having to tell you where to look…but most of you have NOT explored every facet of your KDP and Select pages. Do take 15 minutes to check out your book pages. You cannot kill Amazon. If you mess up or think you messed up, contact/email Amazon and a tech will help you PDQ. It is that easy. Back to the Ads…

You can run those ads for as little as $1 a day. I’ve learned to go for $3 a day and adjust that as necessary. I never spend that much. You choose key words and put a ‘bid’ on them. Amazon suggests 50c. I do 20c.  Here is what a small part of my ad campaign page looks like:

Snipit Ad page

I don’t like the way Count The Roses is doing, so I went in and upped my Daily budget to $4 and added some key words: best beach read, hot new release, storied louisiana, enchanting, and bid out those keywords at 30c. Anyway. NOTICE on No Perfect Secret I’ve only spent $3.30 for $31.92 in sales since June 10, 2016. My ad has popped up on Kindles 40,322 times. You may edit, pause or cancel the ads anytime. These are slow build ads…Patience counts.  Here’s what my ad for The House on Persimmon Road looks like when it shows up on a reader’s Kindle…

Snipit ad persimmon road

The ad has been running since May 05, 2016. Thus far it has cost $25.26 for $44.40 in sales.  The ad has been shown on Kindles 157,557 times. I count that a win all around. Notice Amazon tells the viewer the book is in Kindle Unlimited.  Borrows do NOT show up in Sales. But of those who clicked and did not buy outright, some downloaded the book because I see a spike in KENP. I ran two only small overt promotions in June on two other titles and Amazon shows 133,855 KENP pages read. $$$ in the bank.

Keep in mind I am not a best selling author. You don’t see all of that alphabet salad next to my name, do you? Pointing you to the number of reviews on The House on Persimmon Road. Not less than 591 of those are organic. Early on I joined that review frenzy. Hated it. Got out of that rat race by putting this gem right after THE END in my books.

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and very much appreciated. Thank you again. Jackie Weger.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Would love it if you followed me on Amazon. Next time, I’m gonna share with you why encouraging fans and readers to follow you on Amazon is fabulous.

@June 2016 I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. If you are visiting for the first time, do check out a few of our blogs. We tell it true. We don’t do rumor. When we want to know how Amazon works~we ask Amazon. Have a question for us? Ask. Comments welcome. Add to the discussion. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate.

 

 

 

Is Your Amazon KDP Account in Jeopardy?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jun• 22•16

It could be~if you don’t ask the right questions…

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

Last week was awash in high profile Amazon driven events. First, we saw Nate Hoffelder’s blog on The Digital Reader with the news that Amazon had pulled the Affiliate accounts of Fussy Librarian, eReaderIQ and Pixel of Ink. Fussy is staying on as a book promoter.  Christian Hupfeld who owns eReaderIQ and Bookbasset.com is mulling it over. Pixel of Ink closed shop. Booksends stopped using affiliate links. If you don’t know what an affiliate code is, read about it HERE.  If you are an author with an affiliate account, take note: Affiliate codes may not be used on any product in a mailer~i.e. Your newsletter or any type of email. If you have any question about how to use or NOT use your affiliate links: ASK AMAZON.

Next, on Kboards, Pauline Creeden reported that Amazon had closed her KDP Account and pulled all of her books~effectively shutting down her career as an indie author. Here is what Amazon wrote to Pauline:

“We are reaching out to you because we have detected that borrows for your books are originating from systematically generated accounts. While we support the legitimate efforts of our publishers to promote their books, attempting to manipulate the Kindle platform and/or Kindle programs is not permitted. As a result of the irregular borrow activity, we have removed your books from the KDP store and are terminating your KDP account and your KDP Agreement effective immediately.”

FYI: Systematically generated accounts are ‘illegal download farmers’, generally thought to be engaged/hired/setup by promoters who use the accounts to generate downloads of books it promotes. To build a reputation as a top notch promotion site that delivers downloads, the promoter may select a book submitted, put those farm accounts to work and next thing, the author is raving about the service. The promoter points to success, raises prices and collect more submissions, many that usually won’t do as well. The indie author whose book got the treatment may not even be aware of the promoter’s manipulation of Kindle platforms, to include Kindle Unlimited/KENP. Amazon makes it clear: It is up to the indie author to protect his/her book and career.

Amazon tagged Count The Roses a Hot New Release. I’ve been working on Follow me on Amazon. So Amazon sent notices to about 800-1000 followers. That helped. Love it.

We are seeing a shift in our indie industry to author cross-promotions and author generated promotions. There is the unproven suggestion that author-generated promotions may attract the unsavory who hijack a promo to slide beneath Amazon’s bots designed to catch irregularities. However, if an author-promoter tells you he or she can put your book in the path of 125,000 readers~pause. Here is why: It takes legitimate promoters, such as Fussy,  Free Booksy, fkbt and Choosy, years to grow an active subscriber list of 100,000 and above. And for every 3,000 new subscribers, most newsletters promoters will see an attrition of 200 subscribers who fall away, or cancel. ASK: Are those 125,000+ organic subscribers? ASK: What is the open rate of the newsletter? What is the click through rate? And make damned certain the author/promoter is not using affiliate codes on books in his or her newsletter.

All promoters come under the scrutiny of Amazon. Yes, they do. If you have any concerns about a promoter, ASK Amazon. You may get a standard reply: If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Or you may get: “We are aware of the name, author/promoter you mentioned.” You won’t get another word. But that is enough of a heads up to steer clear.

As for me. I love author-cross promotion. I think it is smart. I talk to the authors. I want to know their names. I want to look at their books. I want to see a recent newsletter. I’m happy to answer their questions. If they won’t answer mine, honey, I’m G.O.N.E.

All of the above is industry insider news. The vast majority of book buyers and readers don’t have a clue. Moreover they ain’t interested. My goal is to sell books. I’m doing it. Nothing magical. Just hard work. Until the question is answered of where Pauline Creeden got caught up by those systematically generated accounts, I’m staying with promoters I know and trust. That’s just plain old common sense.

One of the promotions I like a lot is Amazon sponsored ads. I have five running, open-ended. From June 1 to June 22, Amazon shows Spend: $30.67 for Sales of $81.57.  These campaigns do not reflect any KENP borrows. KDP report to date shows above 80,000 KENP.  $$$ in the bank.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Comments welcome. Be nice. If you can’t be nice~be articulate. Have your FACTS straight. We don’t do rumor. Love it if you add to the discussion.  Do visit our other pages for ehow tips. Mastering Amazon is tops.

Jackie Weger @2016

P.S. Amy Vansant, eNovel member and WP Wizard and prime volunteer has set up a site for author cross promotion. Check it out. Ask questions. She’ll answer. Very easy to check the quality of authors you’ll be associated with right here in the drop down menu: Our Authors.

Snipit Authors Cross promotion

authorsxp Adheres to all Amazon TOS Guidelines. 

FOR INDIE AUTHORS ONLY: HOW SAVVY ARE YOU~REALLY?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Mar• 23•16

WHAT DO YOU KNOW?

marketing-strategy-planI have debated for months whether to blog on this topic or not. I just gave in. Sometimes when I read blogs by marketing

Donna Fasano, USA Today & Amazon bestselling author

Donna Fasano, USA Today & Amazon bestselling author. Click to visit Donna’s author page. She has a magnificent array of romance novels.

doyennes such Jane Friedman, I feel like a rank amateur. Next, I’ll visit a Facebook page and a new indie author is asking: “Should I publish with Amazon or KDP?” Somebody gave the answer, so I moved on. Believe me, when I was a newbie I Ate Stupid for Breakfast five days a week. I was intimidated by digital technology. Still am. Honey, I hire that stuff done. But! I know what the technology is supposed to do, because I see the end results. I asked indie authors, I asked Google, I asked editors and I asked Amazon. I didn’t know what a Tweet was. Didn’t know how to compose one. When I uploaded my first indie book, Donna Fasano, (bless her kindness) got on SKYPE with me and walked me through it.

I was bluntly told I didn’t know what I was doing. Okay. Nailed me. So I stopped and learned the industry. I read Let’s Get Visible by David Gaughran and another by Martin Crosbie. I’ve read them more than once. I read blogs and articles by the dozens…I came away with conflicting ideas and suggestions, good information and buckets of misinformation. I’ve since learned nobody knows it all.  Boo-ya.

So what’s my problem?  So few of the newest wave of indie authors are doing their homework. They want to be spoon fed ehow. It’s wearying. I must answer a half-dozen emails a day fielding questions and the answers are already all over the Web. Everything I’ve learned in the past three years is blogged on this site or jackieweger.com/blog.

I have a huge amount of empathy for the new guys. I do because I know where they’re coming from. I answer their questions and emails.  Indie authorship is work.  There are no shortcuts. I wish. I encourage authors to read Amazon’s Terms of Service. Few do. Some have never explored

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE. Follow us on Twitter and never miss a FREE or discounted book. We Tweet those like mad. Just tick our logo.

their Amazon book pages top to bottom or side to side.  Do I know it all? Heck No! I recently begged help for a basic MS Word setup.

What I notice most now is awful misinformation being bruited about.  Want to know the worst offenders? Legacy published authors who have never hired an editor, ordered a cover, formatted or uploaded a book, bought promotion or set up a Rafflecopter. These guys don’t have a clue how to track a book, check a site’s Alexa rank or read an Amazon royalty report. Last week I noticed a legacy pubbed author blogging about setting up a review exchange and trade. Moreover, the author asks the reviewers to buy one another’s legacy priced books. Wow! That is expensive. Doesn’t have a clue about ehow to Amazon Gift a book to a reviewer. It slipped past the guy that Amazon frowns on author-traded reviews.  A legacy-published author is not on the indie author’s side of the fence.

Here is another: A legacy published author wants 299$ to promote my books in a newsletter. I asked how many subscribers and click through rate. Way under 10,000 subscribers. Click through rate 1%. HUH? That ain’t worth 299$.  If the author knows how to sell books, how come his are sucking mud in bestseller ranks on two venues? If the author can’t sell his/her own books…how the heck is he/she/it gonna sell mine or yours?

Snake oil ~ Looks good, sounds good--Bites!

Snake oil ~ Looks good, sounds good–Bites!

Here is a fact: Snake Oil is made from both poisonous and non-poisonous snakes. When you cotton on to a viper, you know to get out of the way and sit on your wallet. But the benign snake can do just as much damage due to a serious lack of know-how.

Here is an example. 

One indie author is asking another about price-matching on Amazon. The author wants to price a book 99c on every sales venue, but wants to force Amazon to price match the unit currently at 2.99 on Amazon. When Amazon price matches at 99c the author earns 70% royalty instead of 35%.  But! After ten days or so, Amazon tells the author to price the unit at a straight 99c. The author who wants to engage the system says: “What if I just ignore Amazon?”

Well, boo-ya, honey. Ignore an email from Amazon KDP or Quality Control and you will find yourself in a world of hurt.  Amazon may do you a nice and return the price to 2.99. Or, Amazon may block the sale of the book. Or, in a snit, Amazon may and can remove all of your books from sale, and suspend your KDP account for up to a year. Amazon has been very good about price-matching a 99c unit while in promotion. It has been good about price-matching a first book in a series to perma-free. Lest you think otherwise, both price-matches are a courtesy to benefit the Amazon book buyer–not the author. I don’t know these facts first hand. I do know authors who have had these experiences.  They told me and others about them. I have had Quality Control notices from Amazon KDP and handled them in a timely and appropriate manner. No problems.

The real issue is: Know who you’re listening to on the Web and in the indie industry.  If you’re listening to somebody who wants to get into your wallet–think twice. Do your research. If an author is telling you ehow–get ALL of the facts. Every fact and event has an upside and a downside. Right this minute, I’m hearing “to get your indie print editions into bookstores and libraries, sign on with IngramSpark.” I’m digging now to find authors signed with IngramSpark to learn if they see sales to libraries and bookstores. I did look at the author testimonials on IngramSpark. I also looked at the author’s print book best seller ranks. Here are two: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,092,508 in Books. Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,869,356 in Books. They ain’t selling. Woot. So I looked on Barnes and Noble. No book rank at all because not a single sale. Most recent review 2099 days ago. Here’s the scary part: It ain’t good business sense to post testimonials from authors who are not successfully using your product. Just sayin’…

Jane Friedman blogs about 4 Lessons for Authors. IMO, one of the best was presented by Rand Fishkin who said:  “…a lot of good content never gets seen because no one has thought through who will help it gain traction or how.”  In plain language that means if you ‘sit’ for an interview or write a guest post, who is gonna see it? The interviewed author/guest poster often has to tweet the interview and call up his/her followers to share it, because the blogger/interviewer has NO reach. Perhaps only 3 sites linking in, no active followers. So the author ends up ‘singing to the choir.’  I have a name for this: I call it hijacking, because the blogger is hijacking the author’s followers and supporters to bring traffic to his or her site. I don’t like it.

Here’s why: For three years I’ve worked like the dickens to build my two Twitter accounts. I registered a hashtag with Twubs. I pay a virtual assistant to help so I don’t fail to RT and say thank you my 30,000 followers. I have out-of-pocket expenses for Twitter ads and boosted Facebook posts. I’m not being selfish or egocentric.  It is simply not good business sense for me or any indie author to loan a hard won brand/reputation/platform–whatever those buzz words mean,  to a site that has no traction, which translates to no exposure. Rand Fishkin nailed it.

I believe in Author Choice.  If you enjoy those interviews and guest blogging, go for it. eNovel Authors at Work is designed around paying-it-forward. All all 50+ members do. We support one another. We network. Each and every member has helped to make the group successful. We exchange value. Our goal is to sell books. We do that, too. We learn from one another. It’s wonderful. Until I read Friedman and Fishkin, I thought I was becoming cynical and jaded. I felt guilty. Now, I realize my common sense was kicking in. Got it. I hope you do, too.

Would love it, if you take a few minutes to eyeball our author pages. eNovel members have above 400 stunning books for your reading pleasure.

Would love it, if you take a few minutes to eyeball our author pages. eNovel members have above 400 stunning books for your reading pleasure.

I’m Jackie Weger, founder of eNovel Authors at Work. We don’t sell anything here. We share what we learn. If you visit our other pages and blogs, you will see promoters mentioned, because we vet promoters. If a promoter is named on this site, we do business with ’em. Some are ace and above the fold. Some are ace, but smaller and below the fold. Some are just on our list because while the promoter may not move many books, the owner is honest and aboveboard and growing his/her site organically. That’s golden.  @JackieWeger 2016

Comments welcome. Love it, if you can add to the discussion. If you are an indie author, by all means, mention the title of your book after your comment/signature.

 

Psycho-Dynamic Book Suggestions

Written By: Jackie Weger - Mar• 02•16

Are You Throwing Your Book Under the Bus?

marketing-strategy-planSince the beginning of the year my mailbox has filled with stuff similar to: 100 Best Suggestions to Sell Your Book. 10 Tips for Success. Successful Authors Tell you How They did it–You can, too. Or,  Let us help build your platform. Learn how to engage your readers. Only $299.  Do you read those things? Sure you do. I do, too.  I enjoy reading them. But! I like to know who I’m listening to. So. I Google search the folks who write these things. The blogger/author of 100 Best Suggestions–ain’t.  Uh, oh. Never been published–not legacy nor indie. Doesn’t know the first thing about Amazon’s Terms of Service. Does not know Kindle Unlimited or KENP. Does not know how to upload a book to Smashwords, or ehow to design a promotion and pay for it because the blogger has never engaged in publishing a book. Hasn’t been through an editing process or hired an editor, formatter or cover artist.  And hey! If you write a series, put the first in the series FREE. That is a process.  The unit cannot be in Select and must be formatted and published on at least three or more sales venues. One then asks Amazon to price match. It is not a sure thing, especially in today’s climate. I don’t write series. I don’t know where the blogger cribbed the info in the article. Anyway, I cannot do 100 things. I can do three: Write. Publish. Promote. Not gonna get fancy. I pass.

No Perfect Destiny

ebook in an Amazon Ad Campaign. Very easy to set up. Tick the links in the article for ehow. Ads are good for exposure, a few borrows, a sale or two. Bonus if it pulls an organic review or two.

Moving on to 10 Tips for Success.  Same ones I’ve been hearing for thirty years. Make a list. Do the most difficult task first.  Set a goal to write 1000 words when you’re fresh. Set aside the same time each day for your writing. Etcetera. Men write those things. They must. No woman or mother in her right mind would suggest such a thing UNLESS they get paid for writing the stuff. We don’t get to set the same time for our writing–unless we get up two hours before our families do, or wait until the entire household is asleep. My kids are grown. The dog still needs to go to the vet and walked.  The cat litter box cleaned. Groceries bought, put away, food cooked. Dishes and clothes washed. Bills paid. Cars serviced, teeth cleaned, nails done, hair cut. Beds made, floors mopped. Pass.  P.S. Some days I don’t write at all. I go to Bingo, curl up with a good book or go crabbing.

Fake Amazon Best Seller logoSuccessful authors often have fab stories. First book out of the slot made bestseller lists. Boo-ya. Then we learn the author has a background in public relations working for legacy publishers and knows everybody…editors, agents, staff on USA Today and NYT Book Review. Next up: The successful author has published 25 books since 2013–very fast typist…was once a court reporter. Hey! My daughter was a court reporter. Types 200 words a minute.  My brain doesn’t even work at 200 wpm. Here is another fab story. A new young author has a great book, plus the money, the moxie, and support to take the book to stellar heights and did so. Love it. But I don’t have the $ or the support. Pass.

Here is what happens when you read all of these wonderful stories/blogs. You get depressed–because you KNOW and I know, we cannot do all of those things for our books.  You and I haven’t walked in their shoes, lived their lives, know the same people, or had the same opportunities as those writers. Some of us have days jobs to pay the rent. Some of us take care of our elderly parents or a handicapped child. Some of us, like me–type 30 wpm and are slow creators.

However, there are things each of us can do for our books.  My goal is to have my books pay for my investment in them within two years. I give it a shot.  Launching a new release:  I don’t launch. I publish. I don’t have enough followers to make a launch successful. So, I don’t. I do promote inside Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). My books are exclusive to Amazon. The rule. We must wait 30 days after a book is live to run a Kindle Countdown Deal. Patience counts. I wait.  I have seven books, six in English and one in Spanish, published since mid-2013.  Three of the books have yet to be in a major promotion.  I do Amazon Giveaways on the print editions to increase my followers. I’m beta testing Amazon ad campaigns on my ebook editions. I engage in group Rafflecopters for book exposure and tours to increase Twitter and Facebook followers.  If a book isn’t performing well, I change the cover, revise the book description, perhaps revise the file. Once a month or so, I visit every Amazon venue that offers Kindle Unlimited to subscribers and I tweet my books from those venues. I use Google to translate a word or two into the foreign language.

What I consider a book’s success won’t be yours. And yours won’t be mine.  On this site you will find ehow to promote wisely.  What I want to happen when I promote my book is to see a nice return on investment (ROI). I usually do. Don’t be disappointed in yourself or your book when you cannot match another’s success. Stick to the basics. Writing a book is an accomplishment. Indie publishing your own creation is a major technical event. You got that. Now learn to promote smart. Be accountable. You were intelligent enough to write a book and publish it. Now, use your brain and sort through the hype to make the best decision you can for your book.  That is a kind of success in its own right–because nobody else will do it for you. Every single person in our industry has his or her own agenda.

Would love it, if you take a few minutes to eyeball our author pages. eNovel members have above 400 stunning books for your reading pleasure.

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. I’m not best selling author.  I love what I do and I’m learning to do it step-by-small step. That suits me just fine. the live links in this blog will take you to more info that you may or may not use. If you have done one or two activities that helped your book to sales, tell us. We love to learn. Comments welcome.  Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate.

@JackieWeger 2016

 

eBook Promoters ~ The Best & The Worst

Written By: Jackie Weger - Feb• 21•16

eHow to choose a book promoter

You have done everything right for your book. You wrote it, you had it edited and proofed, the cover is sensational. Now you have to sell it, or at the very least, drum up some exposure and get it in front readers.  For exposure, we have discovered and love Amazon Ad campaigns for ebooks.

Here at eNovel Authors at Work we rate promoters.

eNovel keeps a Preferred List and on the Preferred List, we have Above the Fold and Below the Fold.  On Above the Fold are promoters to whom we always submit. Below the Fold are promoters we like and trust, but have smaller subscriber lists or sometimes do not deliver as well as hoped. If a single author reports dreadful results with a promoter, we note it. However, at least three or more authors have to report less than stellar results for a promoter to drop below the fold, or drop off the list all together. When that happens, we look at everything: Weather. Was the Northeast blanketed in snow and sleet?  Events. Was there a disaster somewhere in the world that kept everybody glued to their televisions?  What about the book description? Did it capture the essence of the book? Did the author promote the book in the wrong category? We also evaluate author expectation. A best-selling author may see 800 downloads with a particular promoter. A newish indie author with only one or two books and no following may only see 80 downloads. Also, the BestSelling author may have bought the featured slot. The new indie author may be on a tight budget. Placement is everything. You cannot fault the promoter for that. So, we don’t.

What makes a good promoter?

The single most important caveat eNovel insists upon is knowing who we are doing business with. If a promoter won’t tell us his or her name, we

Nothing but fac.s #eNovAaW

Nothing but facts
#eNovAaW

don’t do business with them.  We check Alexa. You can go right here and put the analytic on your toolbar for free.  Every time you visit a site, tick the Alexa Logo on your toolbar. If a promoter only has a newsletter Alexa won’t rank it.  That is when you contact the site administrator and ask if the subscribers are organic? How many subscribers are authors? Readers? What is the newsletter’s click through rate. The site owner knows.

Here is the type of promoter that does NOT get on eNovel’s Preferred list:

Fake button on a book. Actual Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,537

Fake button on a book. Actual Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,537,537

At **** we are proud to be one of the most popular book marketers. Our background is in the book industry, so we have a real love of books and a knowledge of what authors and readers want. Our social media promotions, newsletters and book trailers can help to drive sales and generate buzz for a book or eBook. We have a combined audience of over 130,000 people but we have kept our promotions affordable as we know that many authors don’t have a large marketing budget. Twitter followers 136K.

Sounds great. But is it, really?

Let me check. Whoa! Neither of the two books the site is promoting and are in the newsletter have an Amazon sales rank. Oops. Not a single sale. One title is 21 pages long, priced at 2.99.  The other, 77 pages priced at 4.99. And that “we are proud” line. Who the heck is “we?” because they ain’t saying.  The Facebook banner features two best selling books, but those authors are NOT clients of the site. And the site is NOT among the most popular book marketers. That is pure hype. Second, it is Bait and Switch to lure a less than savvy indie author to part with $$$. The Alexa rank is awful and books page has only 19 sites linking in. Compare that to eNovel: 167 sites linking in. And we don’t sell anything on this site.  We share information. That is it. Too, notice that the audience is ‘people’ NOT readers. NOT subscribers. Twitter follower lists can be bought.

Here are just a few Above the Fold promoters on our Preferred List: We know them. We talk to them. They work with us to help us reach our goals.

Choosy Bookworm.  The Fussy Librarian.  Free & Bargain Booksy. People Reads. eBook Soda. Butterfly. Readfree.ly. Bookstastik. fkbt. We have added Robin Reads to Above the Fold and eBookHounds has just slipped onto our list. You will find more listings on our Useful Links pages.  eNovel will name more of our Preferred Promoters next time. And, share more ehow so you can decide if a promoter is right for you and your book. Also next time: What we have learned about Goodreads and Amazon Campaigns so that you can do two things:

  1. Make the best possible decisions for your books.
  2. Get the best results for your promotion budget $$$.

Of course we love Bookbub and Digital Books Today. Here are the results of an eNoveller’s first promo on Bookbub: Cost: $220. Promo April 19-22, 2015.  76,769  downloads on a book priced FREE.  Sales after the title returned to priced [2.99]: 1,475 units.

Way Out-house

Way Out-house

Plus 344 crossover sales on the author’s other titles. Figures to April 30. If you browse our author pages, very often in comments you will see promotion results. Here is one on a KCD.

Founder, eNovel Authors at Work

Founder, eNovel Authors at Work

I’m Jackie Weger. I don’t know it all, but I know what I know. I learn something new every day.

I don’t have wisdom. I own something better: Perseverance. Lest you think I jest, I once outwitted

a bushmaster curled up in an outhouse. I did not move for two hours. Not an eyelash. Moving on. I never like to leave you without encouraging indie authors to install this little gem RIGHT after THE END in your book:

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you, [author name].

Does it work? Yep. Readers posted above 2000 reviews on my titles since my first full year of indie authorship–2014.

Comments Welcome. Be nice. If you cannot be nice, be articulate. That works for me.

MASTERING AMAZON ~ 3rd in the SERIES

Written By: Jackie Weger - Feb• 11•16

Amazon is Flat Out on a Roll…

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. …..Always FREE…. Always Author Choice

New updates to Amazon Terms of Service and techie stuff just keeps on coming.  In eNovel Authors at Work we have jumped on Amazon Giveaways to build our follow list. We do this to snag the email Amazon sends out to one’s followers upon a new release. That’s huge. IMO, that Amazon email fits the bill for those of us who are newbies without a huge personal following. Pre-order doesn’t work for those of us still trying to get a foothold and get our books visible among the five million ebooks available to readers.  It’s a short leg up. But every little bit helps.

FINDING HOME final cover

Covered three times. Four revisions. Five proofs. Found two errors in ‘Look inside’. Repaired. Most recent 2016 review: “I loved every page of this book! First, I want to brag on the Author! She did an awesome job with the Southern lingo!”

Now this: Amazon has revealed a new firmware update  blogged by The Verge that’ll hit its Kindle e-readers later this month.  Add these updates to the  New Features for Kindle E-Readers Amazon announced November 14, 2014.

Listen folks, this girl is not a techie. I own four Kindles of varying description. I know how to buy and download books and word games. I know to keep the things charged so when I cosy up to the fire, or sit on the porch at a beach house, I’m nose in a book I’m anxious to read. That is it.

But! I have enough sense to figure out what the new firmware means to me and you as indie authors.

Guess what? Readers and book buyers  can now be traveling cross county or sitting in a dentist’s office while deciding which books might appeal. Yep. The update will allow Kindle owners to view our “look inside” preview pages on our books.  It will allow the reader to see the cover and the book description. And the Kindle owner will not have to log into Amazon to access the new features or buy our books. There is much more. But this single feature is critical.

Here is why: Gonna ask you this question: Once your book went live on Amazon, did you access the ‘look inside’ feature?  Bet not. Few indie authors do. Have you visited your book description to repair missing commas, a misspelled word, or misuse of verb tenses? Few do. Is the book description in present tense? With few exceptions, book descriptions need to be in present tense to convey immediacy. As in: Read me! Find out what happens next.

Do you use the online tools Amazon provides in KDP and CreateSpace to proof your book a final time before you hit publish? Few do. Many indie authors just won’t take the time. I get it. It takes hours. Just remember, it takes hours for the reader to enjoy your book, too. I have yet to get through that proofing process without finding a dropped period, an article such as ‘the’ or an ‘s’ left off  ‘she’.  Hey! I still miss stuff. I hear about it, too, either from a reader or Amazon.

Once your book is live, do you download the first copy of both digital and print? Nope. Because I see indie books often with no sales rank. A book won’t have a sales rank until it has been downloaded. Is your author bio short and aimed at readers, or a job description?  I discovered an author bio today that went on for 2000 words. Took me longer to plow through the thing than the sample book feature. Author bio suggestions HERE.

You will have to visit Sam Byford’s blog on The Verge for a far better explanation than I can manage. Amazon has a  Press Room. Go there  for up dates and information.  If you have any questions, ASK AMAZON.

The bottom line: Our books showcased on Amazon need to be pristine–at the very least perfectly rendered in the ‘look inside’ feature. Many of us in eNovel are engaging in sponsored Ad Campaigns for our ebooks. Amazon is showcasing those on Kindle screens now. That’s huge, too. The book buyer has had the option to order a book via the Kindle for a year or more, but now the book buyer has access to far more features before making that almighty decision of which book to download–mine or yours.

On my Kindle Fire, ‘also boughts’ are now streaming across the bottom. Do you  know this feature? When I buy a book or another item this pops up: “Frequently Bought Together”, or “customers also bought”…and below that note is a stream of similar titles in the genre I’m browsing. My romance books often show up in that stream right next to best selling romance books. Amazon is targeting impulse buyers.  Readers can now tap a cover and impulse buy our books without having to sign in to Amazon. Read what Fortune has to say about this killer feature.

If you are a savvy indie author you may not need any information in this article. But, if you are not certain how your books and bios and descriptions measure up, do follow the live links. It only takes a few minutes to decide if an article or suggestion is worth your time. Do have a glance at your low starred reviews. If any raise questions about grammar, verb usage or misspelled words, do review your book. Use the ‘look inside’ feature. Use the proofing tool inside Amazon KDP. If you were taught as I was to put your best foot forward in any new circumstances, just know that your bio, book description and book preview falls in the realm of putting your best foot forward. The reader turned off because of easily repaired errors left to reside in your book description or preview, may never buy one of your books.

Because we often find mishaps in legacy published books is no excuse the leave them in ours. 

Would love it, if you take a few minutes to eyeball our author pages. eNovel members have above 400 stunning books for your reading pleasure.

Would love it, if you take a few minutes to eyeball our author pages. eNovel members have above 400 stunning books for your reading pleasure.

@Copyright 2016. I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Comments welcome. Please add to the discussion. Techies welcome to educate us further on Amazon’s updates. P.S. After proofing and posting and revising this blog, 24 hours later I looked at it again and found two errors. Repaired ’em.

Mastering Amazon~Gloves Off

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jan• 28•16

Getting to Know Amazon…

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work~a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. We moan & groan & lick our wounds in private, but we always tell it straight. If something works, we say so. If it doesn’t, we tell you and why. We don’t pretend to know it all–but collectively, we know a lot. We don’t sell a damned thing from this site. Would love to have you follow us on Twitter.

The  brouhaha about Amazon and the Quality Control messages is still on simmer. We won’t know the shakeout until we cruise Amazon in early February and see those books with the Flags–if any. Meanwhile, we still have a lot to learn and we still have to sell our books. Amazon is a global market. For months I’ve been trying to connect with book bloggers and promoters of English language books in foreign countries. I found a couple and you will find their links at the foot of this article. I found few sites in Canada and Australia. The UK has promo sites we like, but few bloggers with any reach or traffic to make a stop worthwhile. I’m going to tell you straight up: All but one blogger on the Australian Continent was closed to American authors. Canadian sites prefer literary. I ain’t. Scottish sites pump literary or legacy published. Found not a single blogger in Ireland.  If you know of any, share the links in the comments, Please. Okay. Moving on…

Cover HouseOnPersimmonRoad 8-2-15

“A most refreshing, realistic and original romantic plot I’ve come across in such a long time. Brilliant!” Organic reader review, one of 575+ reviews globally.

Here is what I did instead: I visited every Amazon global site, found my books on the sites and Tweeted from the site. I used Google to translate at least one word, such as Free or Discounted or Free with Kindle Unlimited, and added that to the Tweet. Blow me over with a feather. I’ve reached some readers and sold a few books or snagged some borrows from every country I tweeted from. Go Here to see the House on Persimmon Road on amazon.es.  Do me the kindness of tweeting  the book from Spain, and then just type your name in the search bar–all of your books will come up.  Go to work.  See these icons on the lower right of your book page:

Snipit Amazon Spain

Use those. Remember you may add to the Tweet. #Gratis. #Kindle ilimitado.  #Hola, mis amigas. Click the envelope and a very nice short link to your book comes up. I copy and paste that as the link in Hootsuite or Twitter and add my cover to the tweet.

I love tweeting and sharing from amazon.jp. Here’s one of my Tweets: 素晴らしいロマンス のみ ¥ 311.  Bet you did not know this: Most of your reviews on books on amazon.com are posted on books on amazon.jp. Yes, you may tick translate this page and it will come up in your native language. How nice is that? 

Another Amazon feature we are using is the Create Space Amazon Giveaway. I did not like the giveaway when our only entrant task was follow on Twitter or Nothing. I emailed Amazon and told them I spend hundreds of dollars to drive readers to my book page, and Amazon’s marketing director serves up a giveaway that drives readers to Twitter.  Tweeting doesn’t sell books. Fire that guy! I want entrants to follow me on Amazon. One, because they are less likely to unfollow and two: Amazon sends out a dedicated email to followers when we have a new release. So! Now we have that choice.     A two book giveaway (1 winner every 299) generates not less than 500 followers. One giveaway a month generates about 6000 followers on Amazon every twelves months. IMO, that beats pre-release orders to heck and back. The author has to do all of the promoting to gather those pre-release orders and many won’t buy the book. Busy work. Find out if your print edition is eligible for a Giveaway.

Scroll to the bottom of your book page just below the first page of reviews to find this:  

 Snipit amazon Giveaway- House

You only pay for books claimed.  Amazon does all the work. Even composes the Tweet. Nice. Giveaway books often end up in used book stores or sold by 3rd parties on Amazon. That is fine with me, because most of us made our reputations by word-of-mouth in used bookstores. The owners and readers talk books in used bookstores.  In 30 years, I’ve never been approached in a Barnes & Noble by anyone talking up a book. Have you?

CarasOcultas_CVR_SML

New Release. Do you read in Spanish? if so, message me on Facebook for a gift book. Thanks, Jackie Weger

Last note. I published a book in Spanish. I haven’t a clue yet, how to market the thing. But Tweeting and Facebooking from Spain, Brazil and Mexico has generated some sales and KENP pages read. I also tweet in Spanish from amazon.com. Yes, I had a Spanish editor/translator. Okay, as promised some links: Michael C. Smith owns BeeZeeBooks, New Zealand:  www.beezeebooks.com.  One of our fav bloggers and promoters in India is: Nikita Johri. She owns www.njkinnysblog.com/. Her blog is rated #1 in India.

All right. I’m ending with a wee rant: Over the past few days I read bits by guest authors on blogs I like and follow–all about how to get reviews. Moreover,  two or three reviews is all the books have after a year or more. No sales. I just am not gonna listen to an author who doesn’t sell books. Sorry, if that hurts an ego. Jump through those hoops for reviews if you prefer. Author choice. But nobody tells you the easiest way to gather those organic reviews. Here it is: Put this small and gentle plea for a review right after THE END in your books.

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

Those 38 words have generated more than 14,000 reviews on eNovel Author’s at Work member books.  Seventy-seven that I know of in the past 3 days. The caveat is you must put your books in the hands of readers to get those reviews. So. We do. It’s called promotion.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Jackie Weger. @copyright 2016

Take care. Thanks for stopping by. Comments welcome. Add to the discussion. Share what you know. No rumors as in: “a friend said”…  I shoot those things with my snake gun. I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. I tell you who I am because you ought to know who you’re talking to and listening to on the Internet.

Blogging ~ A Call to Action? Or Not…

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jan• 25•16

Blogging Off-Topic

marketing-strategy-planSince I first stepped into indie authorship, advice has poured into my mailbox that I must blog. And recently suggestions are piling up telling me to blog about anything other than my books.  Blog about cooking or recipes or crystals or knitting… And once foodies, new age aficionados or knitters are following my blog, they might also notice I write romance novels and buy one. HUH?

Not to put too fine a point on it, but those folks who are telling me and you how to generate sales by blogging off-topic are

 Where some author advice belongs

Where some author advice belongs

NOT Madison Avenue Ad Agencies. Notice when Sears wants to sell you a washing machine, it talks about the thing.  The ad does not hint around by telling you the store is air-conditioned, or on the way to the washing machines you’re gonna pass the shoe department. What about Every Kiss begins with Kay. Great tag line…Kay Jewelers has been using it for 40 years at least. Those ads are calls to action and they don’t beat around the bush. When I promote my books, those promotions are calls to action…I want  readers or folks interested in romance to pop on over to Amazon and download one of my books.

We indies are also told we must build a platform and build a relationship with readers.

ReluctantHero_CVR_SML

Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Dang! Everytime I hear “platform” I think of a diving board. Who the heck thinks up this stuff? Here is my relationship with readers: I write books that entertain. That’s my job. If a reader enjoys it, posts a review and said she did so–or not, I’m done. If a reader messages me with a kind word, I say thank you.  I appreciate beyond measure every reader who takes moment out of his or her busy life to message or email me. All are answered. Plus, I often Amazon gift the fan with another of my books. The reader goes on with her life and I get on with writing and my life.  Moreover, I give away thousands of units to introduce my work to readers. I pay $$ for those promo slots. That is enough. I ain’t inviting a reader who lives in Oregon to Texas for coffee or a bar-b-cue.  I will chat with a reader at a book signing. Happy to meet and greet–whether she buys a book or not.

Here is what I have learned:

The only thing that sells ebooks is smart promotion.

Networking helps. When any member of eNovel has a book in promotion, we get behind it and spread the word. But if an ebook is not put in front of readers and subscribers to newsletters, it ain’t gonna sell. Yes, there are indies who started early in the Kindle era who have 6,000 followers on Facebook, 35,000 followers on a webpage or blog. Guess what? Those followers are not active every day or even every week. No ma’am.  Yes, groups of authors get together and publish their fav recipes. Those are giveaways and all have hopeful calls to action. I enjoy those recipes, but they don’t make me want to buy a book.  They make me hungry and I head to the kitchen and start cooking….Just sayin’…

Here is another thing I’ve noticed…

Many of eNovel members participate in interviews…and seldom will followers of the host blog read or comment or share the post. A dozen of us will pop over and comment and share…but the blogger’s folks/followers are often absent–not interested. And many blogs don’t have any reach. No Alexa ranking and perhaps only 3 sites linking in. Sitting for an interview feels good, a lovely ego hype. I enjoy reading them. But they don’t sell a raft of books. Moreover, few of those interviews are calls to action–of any kind.

Now, this is a blog. Subject is blogging and indie authorship. I’m sharing my opinion and perhaps clueing you in. I’m giving myself permission to blog when I have something to say and when I don’t, I won’t. When I want to sell books, I’m gonna promote ’em. That is my call to action.

What can you do with Finding Home? Read it. Now that is a call to action. Plus, you can read it FREE with your Kindle Unlimited subscription.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Here’s a Call to Action! Please Follow Jackie Weger on Amazon. Promise you, it won’t hurt.  @JackieWeger

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Comments welcome and do take a moment to scan our Author Pages for a fantastic array of books.  I never like to sign off without encouraging indie authors to add this gentle gem of a plea right after THE END of your books:

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

Yes, it works. Readers have now posted above 14,000 reviews on eNovel Authors at Work member books. To name just a few: A Dead Red Cadillac: 717 reviews. The House on Persimmon Road: 574 Reviews. Mazie Baby: 404 Reviews. The list goes on…but each has that gentle review plea. Just keep in mind, we are not entitled to reviews. Read this terrific Blog by TOP 1000 Amazon Reviewer, Julie Whiteley. That is another Call to Action.

Amazon’s New Rules for Kindle Authors in February!

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jan• 22•16

Mastering Amazon

Yep! New rules!  For all authors…Beginning February 03, 2016, Amazon will start posting a little message on all Kindle books not up to snuff. Doesn’t matter if the book  is by an indie author, small press, online publisher or boutique publisher. But this will most assuredly affect indie authors the most.  Here is the notice that will show up on your book if errors are discovered or Amazon has received complaints, courtesy of Michael Kozlowski, Good E Reader on January 21, 2016.

Snipit amazon warning

 

Perhaps you overlooked this in Amazon’s Content Guidelines:

Poor Customer Experience:  We don’t accept books that provide a poor customer experience. We reserve the right to determine whether content provides a poor customer experience. See the Guide to Kindle Content Quality for examples of content that’s typically disappointing to customers.

Since the innovation of the Kindle, Amazon has been very kind to indie authors, among others. Some of us have published books with grammar snafus, misspelled words, misused punctuation and formatting mishaps. Legacy publishers often scan print editions and publish the digital edition sans a proof. I recently downloaded one such title from Bookbub. Formatted double spacing between all paragraphs. Absolute horrid experience to read. I gave up. Won’t mention the author because it wasn’t his fault.

Proofing a book is a witch hunt for those errors. I pay a very good editor  and a professional formatter. I also pay for a beta reader. We all miss something. Because our indie author landscape is changing and Amazon sold bucket loads of Kindles and Kindle Unlimited subscriptions over the 2015 holidays, I predicted the market will tighten. I also said new Kindle readers and new KU subscribers have been reading print editions. They did not ‘grow up’ on digital readers with our early ebook efforts. Indie authors and publishers were all learning the new game in town. That’s over. The market has matured on every front.

The 2016 audience and beyond will expect our books to be pristine. And this audience will be far more vocal than the early Kindle audience. I have spent the past couple of months encouraging eNovel Authors at Work members to proof their already published books in the online proofer Amazon provides. And if an error is discovered, repair it ASAP. I do know this: Before Amazon tags a book with that warning, it will alert and inquire of the author. Amazon once queried me on errors it found. They were foreign words or the French names of paintings. Fine, Good to go. A annoyed reader complained to Amazon of three misspelled words in one of my books. Amazon emailed me. I emailed right back and said the repairs would be made within 24 hours. Thank you for alerting me. Repairs made. Good to go. Thus, it will be critical for indie authors to respond to those emails. Ignore them at your peril. Because Amazon will take the book off line.

How else will these flags impact the author? Imagine:  You snag a Bookbub slot, pay a mint, schedule the promo and the day before the promo goes live, Amazon pulls it. If  Amazon takes your book off line, you can’t promote it. The premium book promoters such as Bookbub, FreeBooksy, Choosy Bookworm and Fussy Librarian and an entire host of lesser promoters, will refuse your submissions–because Hey! It ain’t on Amazon.  And if it is already scheduled, you are in a world of hurt to get the promo pulled and refunds. It takes at least 24 hours to sort and respond to emails, repair and upload the new file.

This happens. Some  sly indie authors claim as an editor their maiden names or the names of family members or a beta reader–and publish a less than stellar book. Some set themselves up as publishers, so the book does not appear as indie authored.  If the book is not well-edited,  and Amazon gets a complaint, and it only takes one, you are gonna hear about it.

The next item is before we hire an editor, we look at the books of that editor’s clients. We look inside. We look at those one and two starred reviews. Ignore one starred reviews such as:  “Eww, terrible. Not for me.”  Or: “Stop. Bickering. I. Can’t. Bear. Any More.” Those are legitimate reader opinions. You want to look for this: “…huge plot holes, poorly edited, and just terribly written.” Or this: “Lots of errors in grammar, tense and punctuation.”  Do NOT hire the editor of those books. There  are rafts of pseudo editors crawling on the Web and hoping for your $$$. Here’s the skinny. Now we must hold our editors and formatters to Amazon’s standards. Which means making good use of that online proofer.

The good news is Amazon will point you to the specific mishaps which makes the repair an easy fix. If you get right on it, the turnaround is about eight hours or less. Correcting formatting errors may take a bit longer. Standard for digital and print editions is 3 character paragraph indents. Not five, as in a business letter. Don’t believe me? Pick up the nearest print book handy and look. No double spacing between paragraphs…that includes a single line of dialogue.  Always use some sort of divider for change of scenes or change of POV.  You skip right over when reading, but your brain registers and prepares you for the break.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Would love it if you follow me on Amazon…Amazon will alert you of new releases. Put ’em on your wish list or read FREE with Kindle Unlimited. I do.

Next time. Updates on Amazon giveaways and other tips to help you master Amazon. I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. I am not a best selling author, but when I promote, I sell books. That’s the goal.  Reviews are always nice. I never like to sign off without sharing with you the gentle plea most of us in eNovel put at THE END in our books:

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

Yes, it works. In the past two years or so readers have kindly posted above 14,000 reviews on eNovel Author at Work member’s titles.

The Road to Glory

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jan• 13•16

No matter what anybody tells you, there ain’t a road map to Success…

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

So you read a book or an advert landed in your mailbox that tells you the ten things the most successful authors do. Honey, those authors did not do those ten items overnight. And if the successful author is a man, he ain’t ironing his own shirts, cooking his own dinner, changing diapers or caregiver to his aging parents, one of whom suffers Alzheimer’s. Often as not, he isn’t even typing his own manuscript. Nope, he has paid help–for all of it, and he didn’t make that start up $$$ writing and selling ebooks.

Snake oil ~ Looks good, sounds good--Bites!

Snake oil ~ Looks good, sounds good–Bites!

There is a wealth of grand hype all over our digital industry by people who will tell you all about their road to Glory–if only you will pay for the services they sell, buy their non-fiction ehow books, and attend their Webinars that end with: For more, sign up! Only $299. If they are so dang successful, how come they aren’t living in a villa in the South of France? Why do they want your money and mine?

There is an email in my inbox right now offering to sell me the names and email addresses of 20,000 Reader’s Digest subscribers.

It is NOT illegal to sell names and addresses.

The Texas Department of Safety–Driver’s License Division sells the name and address of every single person who owns a license. Most states do. However, there are stringent laws against spamming. Fines up to $17,000 per complaint. Yep. Google the laws–every country has them. When you send an email to those folks, you have to give them a way to instantly unsubscribe. You must have your real name and mailing address in the body  of the email–somewhere. Not a post office box. That’s the law. Moreover, Mailchimp and Mad Mimi newsletters services are gonna ask you where those lists came from–and most will refuse to allow you to use them because those names are not organic. And the laws include fines against such services that do not monitor their client’s subscriber lists. Notice the offer to sell me that Reader’s Digest subscriber list doesn’t mention FTC spamming laws. Nope. If I’m dumb enough to buy the list, I’m the only one with a dog in that hunt. And If I use it, I’m in a world of hurt. One complaint is all it takes.

UPDATE: To learn more about the site that sent me the offer to buy those 20,000 Reader’s Digest subscriber’s name and emails, read David Gaughran‘s experience with the guy Here.  It is a must read for indie authors. David is the author of Let’s Get Visible, my indie author bible.

Every contract an indie author signs with an online public relations firm that suggests in hype it can take a book to stellar heights has this disclaimer: No Guarantee in some fashion or another. Here is why: Your book may NOT be ready for prime time–but those firms will take your $$$ anyway.  Or, there is nothing behind the hype–only a scam. They make their money by feeding your dream–not telling you what your book needs, i.e. editing, a decent cover, or that your book description reads like an 8th grade book report. Why do they care? they are not gonna sell it anyway.

How do you protect yourself?

ReluctantHero_CVR_SML

It often takes time to get a cover and book description right. Hero is on its 5th cover. The book is professionally edited, formatted & covered. Next on–setting up a promotion. I wrote it. I’m gonna sell it–somehow.

Read the testimonials and check out the authors and books on Amazon and B&N. Load the book into Kindle Nation Book Tracker. It’s free. You can check the history of the book, its price, and sales stats for a year or more. FREE books in a short promotion often rise to #1 TOP FREE on Amazon. That ain’t a sale. Look at the stats once the book is back to paid. That is the tell. ebook online public relation firms DO NOT pay for promo slots for your book.  The author buys those slots. I hate to tell you this, but there is no easy road to best sellerdom.  It is work and it is fleeting. A book cover has to capture the essence of the tale.  The book description has to be tight: Name the protagonist, the protagonist’s mission, the conflict, the landscape, the era,  if it is critical to the story arc. The book description is the hook. That is what snags you a reader, or not.

Once in a while, Amazon will tag a book I have in promotion as a best seller…but that is only when the book is in promotion. Once the sales drop off…so does that cute little BestSeller icon. Nanosecond Glory. It is nice while it lasts and I move on.

Find on Amazon

Member book published one year ago. It has 695 organic reviews. None bought. None traded. That is rocking it!

It is author choice to buy any kind of promotional package. I’m not suggesting you don’t. But! Know what you are buying and what you are paying for. Educate yourself about our indie industry.  Ask the right questions and get the answers in writing. Yes, I know you need reviews. In eNovel Authors at Work we don’t trade reviews. We put this gem right after The End:

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

Does it work? Yes, it does. eNovel members have above 400 published ebooks across all sales venues. Organic readers have now posted about 15,000 reviews on our books over the past three years or so. In three promotions over a 20 month period, organic readers have kindly posted above 550 reviews on The House on Persimmon Road.

Would love it, if you followed me on Amazon

Would love it, if you followed me on Amazon

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. We share what we learn right here. We don’t offer gossip or rumor–only F.A.C.T. and we check those nine ways to Sunday.  We beta test and vet promoters.  These promoters are on our Approved List Above the Fold because more than a dozen members using the sites see a Return on Investment on every promotion: Bookbub. ENT. Booksends. fkbt. ebooksoda. Digital Book Today. Fussy Librarian, and Choosy Bookworm. We also promote with: BookZio, booktastik, eBookBooster, Reading Deals, It’s Write Now. Many Books. Book Praiser. We like the latter list because the owners are organically growing their subscriber lists, we know who they are, they answer our questions and work with us.  And each sites does move books.

Please note: We have removed The Midlist from our promo lists. It was sold and is no more. 

@JackieWeger, eNovel Authors at Work

Comments always Welcome.

 

What is the Number One Task Indie Authors Fail To Do?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jan• 07•16

What is the number one task indie authors fail to do?

We are a week into the New Year and if your mail box is like mine, it is in a frenzy with indie service providers and promoters begging for your $$$. This before we have even earned five cents in 2016. Hand over your money, honey and we’ll show you how to get more readers, more reviews and spy on your competition. None of which will actually sell books.

Here is a list of tasks many indie authors don’t do. Not in any particular order but none is the number one overlooked task.

  • Fail to link book covers to a buy page.
  • Fail to make at least two mentions of a title in a blog a live link to a buy page.
  • Fail to allow comments on blog pages.
  • Fail to have visible Share buttons on blogs and webpages.
  • Fail to network with like-minded authors.
  • Fail to use bitly or another short book link when posting on Facebook pages.
  • Fail to use Hootsuite or another twitter helper to schedule tweets or auto retweet.
  • Fail to promote wisely.
  • Fail to hire professional editors or cover artists.
  • Fail to correct minor mishaps in their books.

The NUMBER ONE  task most indie authors fail to do is: Master Amazon.

Visit any Facebook page supporting indie authors and you will see a raft of questions about Amazon…Golly! ASK AMAZON. Most indie authors don’t study, check out or even read their Amazon book pages. Some sites are still encouraging ‘Like my bio page’  on Amazon. ‘Like’ an Amazon author page was replaced last year with ‘Follow’ beneath the author’s photo. If a reader follows an author on Amazon, when the author launches a new title, Amazon sends a dedicated email to those followers. That is huge.

On your print edition book page below the first page of reviews is this:  Set Up an Amazon Giveaway.

Cover No Perfect Destiny

Amazon Giveaway~ January 2016. Four units–every 35th entrant won the print edition. Snagged 168 new followers on Amazon. Happy Dance.

Until a month or so ago, entrants were asked to follow the author on Twitter. I emailed Amazon and said: Hey! I spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to send readers to my book buy pages on Amazon…and Amazon offers a giveaway that sends the entrant to Twitter? Are you kidding me? That marketing director eats stupid for breakfast! Fire the sucker. Somebody listened. Now authors have a choice–entrants can follow on Twitter or Amazon. IMO Tweets don’t sell books–very nice for exposure. Also, an entrant is less likely to unfollow on Amazon.

Here’s the thing: You can’t kill Amazon by exploring everything on your book page inside KDP.  You will hear: Amazon is vague about the new rules for reviews. No, it is not. It is clear as a bell. Reviews garnered via a paid book blog tour may not be posted except in Editorial. Paid and traded reviews may be posted in Editorial on the book page via Author Central. Read Amazon’s Terms of Service. If you don’t understand anything…ask Amazon to clarify. You can alway ask that your query be booted to a second tier responder. I do.

Once you upload a book on Amazon, use the proofing tool right there on line. You can see if your book is formatted correctly and find those misspelled words or dropped articles such as of, the, a or an. Often overlooked: Their/There/they’re. If Amazon tells you it found errors, check to see if so. Sometimes Amazon does not recognize a foreign word. If it is an error, repair it ASAP.

Do not ignore emails from Amazon. This happened recently. An indie author moved all of her books into Select. She failed to remove a few from another sales venue. Amazon pulled her account and all of her books. The author now has to wait an entire year to reinstate her account. Oops.  Tip: If you are removing books from other sales venues to enroll in Select, double-check the books are NOT on those venues before enrolling the books in Amazon Select.

Few indie authors use the Share buttons on their Amazon book pages. When  eNovel members have a new title, or a book in promotion, I always tick those share buttons on Amazon. Here is a tip: You can edit those Tweets. Add #FREE, add SALE! Add Superb! Add a hashtag. Easily done.

Snipit Amazon envelop

Find the Share buttons on the lower right hand side of your book page. See that envelope? Open it and a nice short link for your book appears. So easy to use. Copy and paste when you are promoting your book on Facebook pages. There are now one million books available for Kindle Unlimited and Prime subscribers. For success in 2016 we must use all of the tools we can to get our books visible.  Start with Amazon. Promote Wisely. Review your book description. Tweak it. Consider a new cover. Keep those reviews coming in: Put this gem right after THE END in your book…

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

Inside Author Central, build an interesting Author bio page. A wealth of tips here. The do’s and don’t’s. Here is what I know: Only one percent of indie authors reading this blog will tick the links to learn ehow. For a blog on Amazon Select and KENP,  go here.  Yep, it is time consuming to read this stuff…but it is the only way to become a savvy indie author. Did I mention that there are now one million books enrolled in Kindle Unlimited? That is a nice selection of books for readers. It is up to the us to use every tool available to get the reader’s eyes on our books. The best place to start is learning to use all the tools Amazon provides for an indie author.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Be my new BFF–follow me on Amazon. Just tick my picture. Thank you! Next tick the back arrow top left corner on the TAB bar and you will come right back here. That is the way links are supposed to work.

Wishing you and yours a prosperous and successful New Year.  For extra good luck or to ward off bad luck or no luck at all, save all of your pennies and spare change in the kitchen. Works for me.  A savvy indie author told me I need to add something to my posts so readers find me human and engaging. Okay. I despise doing interviews. Here is why: I don’t ride in rodeos, I don’t bungee jump, I don’t sing or dance or act in community theatre. I was once a Go-Go girl…and filled in for Jayne Mansfield when she couldn’t make the show in the nightclub I cleaned for extra $$$. I was so skinny I looked like a leafless twig. Past glory. I wash clothes, take out the trash, cook when I’m hungry. Boring.  I write romance books. That is all I do.

Comments welcome and if you have a tip for indie authors, please share it. We learn from one another.  When time permits, do visit our author pages. We have some stunning books for your reading pleasure.  Sign up for our newsletter. It is always full of FREE and discounted books and new releases. Sometimes special events and Rafflecopters. No spamming. It will land in your mailbox 9 or 10 times a year.

@Copyright 2016 by Jackie Weger

 

 

 

Book Reviews: The Good ~ The Bad ~ The Ugly

Written By: Jackie Weger - Dec• 12•15
Julie Whiteley

See Julie’s Reviews on Facebook

Julie Whiteley is a highly rated Goodreads and Amazon Reviewer with  one thousand + Reviews posted on Amazon and Goodreads in addition to her blog  cluereview.blogspot.com  She also reviews for NetGalley.  Here’s Julie with part Two of  her series on Book Reviews.

Hello, again, eNovel Authors. Here is part two of What Do Reviewers Want? I mentioned earlier that I’m  a blogger, reader and reviewer. This post concerns issues between authors and reviewers.

Like anything else we do, there is a downside to a good thing. With independent authors having to hit the pavement in order to get their books noticed, reviewers and authors are in direct contact. It can turn ugly.

Here is a recent Facebook comment:

“REVIEWS SUCK. All writers know this. Some pretend they love to get reviews. Pisses me off when reviewers think they are God. Grrr.”

Response from another author:

“Take heart. Not everyone is going to like your stuff but like XXX said, you are PUBLISHED and the reviewer isn’t.”

That author is so wrong. It is true that I am not a published author, however, many reviewers ARE published authors. Here is what I notice: Because

300+ Reviews. Not all are wonderful.

authors know every facet of producing a book they are often far more critical than a reviewer. Reviewers read first for pleasure and content. We often overlook small imperfections. Your colleagues seldom will. How often have you agreed to read a sister author’s book, done so, then hung your head, thinking: ‘Oh my God! What am I gonna say?’

Now I sometimes think: I feel more like an enemy. It is also true that I’ve posted more than one thousand reviews.

Some authors who ask me for a review do not give a fig if  I read the book. She just wants me to slap a five star on it and be done with it. Excuse me? If you don’t care any more about your work than that, don’t waste my time. Yes, I get rude emails, flavored like this:

“I haven’t heard back from you bitch. Don’t you know the world revolves around me?”

Whoa! As an aside, one of the reasons I was delighted by an invitation to eNovel Authors at Work is Jackie Weger’s mantra: It is all about THE BOOK. Keep in mind that when  I or any reviewer settles in to read your book, say in a dentist’s office or stuck in traffic, we don’t take author ego out of our purse. We grab our Kindle.

Like most of you, my world revolves around my family. I’m remodeling my kitchen. I have animals—one of which is my husband. I like him as much as I do my cats and dogs. I have to feed him and pet him and do his laundry. It may take me some time to get to your book in my TBR pile. If I agreed to review it, I will. On my time—not yours. That is just the way it is.

500 + Organic Reviews on Amazon, captured by the gentle plea after THE END

500 + Organic Reviews on Amazon, captured by the gentle plea after THE END

This happens: Authors take offense if their books don’t get a four or a five star review. A three star rating is nothing to be ashamed of. Did you really think you were the next Harper Lee? Did you really just write a novel that comes anywhere close to To Kill a Mockingbird? When you write a novel of that caliber, I will give it a five star review.

You should be concerned with one and two star ratings IF the reviews speak to plot failures, grammar, punctuation and ill formatting. Authors ignore these kinds of ratings/reviews at the peril of their career. Yes, some reviewers are cruel and take things too far sometimes. You can’t please everyone. You need elephant hide to survive out there. I review your work. I am not mean spirited when I suggest something did not quite work for me. I don’t review your book to make you mad or hurt your feelings. The smart author will fix those problems. And once done, give a tip of the hat to the reviewer.

Even if the reviewer left a statement like, ‘This author is a big fat pig’, or if the reviewer made a major gaffe with facts—do not ask the reviewer to edit or remove the review. Never argue with a reviewer! My review belongs to me. It is my intellectual property. Don’t try to put words in my mouth or tell me what to write. Most reviewers don’t get paid one red cent. I don’t. I don’t get flowers or invited for coffee or boxes of chocolate. I do appreciate a thank you.

Above all, don’t complain about less than stellar reviews on Social Media. Don’t advertise it! If you complain about a review or a reviewer, I’m gonna go have a look. So will every other reviewer. Moreover, if you ask me to review your book, I will decline. So will other savvy reviewers. One author whose book I reviewed hit the best seller list. Soon after he wrote blog post thanking by name all of us who had reviewed his book.  That author can count on me and other reviewers to read and review every book he creates.

The very last thing you NEVER want to do is gather a bunch of friends to tick your unfavorable reviews as ‘unhelpful’ on Amazon. We notice. If you insist on a ‘tickfest’, tick your three, four and five star reviews as ‘helpful’. Otherwise, leave your reviews alone. They don’t belong to you.

You are the author. Yes, you will one day read a review that makes you see red. Rant if you must, but DO SO IN PRIVATE. Here is Jackie’s suggestion for reviews. I concur: Put this gentle plea right after THE END in you books.

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

What do you think? Any questions?

For a complete list of above 200 active reviewers visit The Indie View

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Would love it if you followed me on Bookbub & you will never miss a FREE or discounted book. Just tick my photo to get there. Blessings.

Posted by Jackie Weger, Founder, eNovel Authors at Work.

@All rights reserved. Sharing allowed. Pingback, please.

 

Dancin’ with the Flim-Flam Man

Written By: Jackie Weger - Nov• 15•15

Dancin’ with the Flim-Flam Man…

marketing-strategy-planNo, that is not the title of a book.  It is the name of a 1967 movie. A flim-flam  is a swindle or con artist trick.  It is designed to cheat people out of $$$. Those kinds of swindles are landing in my mailbox with regularity. I opened an email today from a man I suspect is a catfisher. An ebook catfisher is an indie author who hires workers to write his ehow non-fiction books on food or alcohol addiction, or ehow to learn a language in five days or less. The author will tout he has upwards of 50-100 books in print and ALL ARE BEST SELLERS. See this in the Washington Post: How an Industry of ‘Amazon entrepreneurs’ pulled off the Internet’s craftiest catfishing scheme.

Rabbits and eggs-02

Rabbits for Sale! Hatching soon. Preorder today.

These folks bait indie authors with a few articles cribbed from reliable sites and industry gurus…and next tell you they are earning above $5000 dollars every single month on three or four books… And by golly, if you will fork over $299 to attend a virtual conference or buy the video, they will name the books, name the aliases they use on the books and show you how to earn big bucks as an indie author.  Before you fork over $$$, ask this: Why the heck do I have to PAY money to learn the title of a best selling book? And the author’s alias?  Just so you, know, Amazon skins those catfish schemes. An author is allowed up to three aliases. That is it. Most of the schemes are about hiring a non- native English speaking ghostwriter for pennies on the dollar.

Happens in fiction, too. I accidentally bought one when downloading my first ebooks on my new Kindle. The author’s bio said between books he was climbing Mt. Everest, the highest mountains on the North American Continent in Alaska, diving for treasure in the Caribbean and hiking through a desert in Africa. The book was dreadful, full of  typos and grammar non-existent. The story arc also had a character running 100 miles through a jungle in a short amount of time. Oops. I’ve lived in jungles. One can hack one’s way through with a machete, but you ain’t gonna run. I said so, and wondered how a writer could go from one end of the earth to the other in a single lifetime and still find time to write. B.O.L.O. Catfish book.

The drivel that arrives in my mailbox promises $$$ and Glory. Got one today that says if I pay $59 the promoter will put my book in front of 400,000 global readers within a year. Hey! I’m old. I might be dead in a year. I want my books in promotion in front of those readers NOW.  The promoter is a 2015 startup. How the heck did the promoter acquire 400,000 subscribers in less than a year? Who are they? What countries? Do they read English? Do they own eReaders? Moreover, the promoter won’t say who he/she is. I keep asking. No name. He is also trying to snag me by offering to review Finding Home. No thank you. The book already has above 300 reviews. I’m good.

Here is another: For $1499 the promoter guarantees 700 downloads of a 99¢ book. I emailed the guy. Told him there’s no return on investment. And the author would be more than $700 in the red, if that slot was purchased.  He also sells promo for FREE units. Guarantees thousands of downloads…authors who have bought the free slot say the promo does not generate reviews…and the books don’t snag a nice slot in paid after the promo. The books drop to sucking mud in China once back to paid. Something is skewed.

It is always Author Choice to buy into these schemes. Not telling you not to. I look at it this way. If a guy knocks on my front door and promises me Glory if I hand over $300 cash, right then and there–I’m gonna ask the fool nicely to stand out by my rural mailbox so I can practice shooting my snake gun. I’ve said this before: If these folks are so dang successful, why do they need my $$$ and yours?

Almost Perfect: Three Volume Collection

Sold 471+ units in a recent 99¢ KCD

Indie authorship is not easy. It is work and time consuming. It is often frustrating. It is an adventure. We must invest in our books. That’s a given. Editors, Cover artists, Formatters, Beta readers.  It takes three times as many sales/borrows to recoup a single wasted dollar. Not to mention the angst one suffers knowing we ate Stupid for Breakfast and don’t dare admit it. My best suggestion for an indie author: Think for yourself. You had enough common sense to write a book and publish it, didn’t you? Don’t discard your good sense once you type THE END.

When I’m checking how effective a promoter, I put the books it is promoting in Kindle Nation Daily Book tracker. It is FREE. You can check a book’s sales rank for months in the past up to: Updated hourly–and at what price. Here are the stats for a title I had in a recent promotion:

Start of Promotion: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #355,631 Paid in Kindle Store.

Three days into Promotion: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #576 Paid in Kindle Store.

I had promo slots with: fkbt. DBT. It’sWriteNow. KBR. Choosy Bookworm. booktastik. So all of those sites performed nicely for the book. In addition I see 97 books moved in crossover sales and above 18,789 KENP pages read [borrows] during  three of the 6 day  promo.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

@JackieWeger, eNovel Authors At Work

I’m Jackie Weger. I’m an indie author. I am not a best-selling author day-in and day-out. But when I take time to plan a campaign, large or small, my books sell. Amazon sometimes tags one of my books as #1 Best Selling in its category. That is nice. I enjoy it while it lasts, and move on. Thank you stopping by. Comments and questions always welcome.

 

UPDATED! UH OH! Your books Aren’t Selling. NOW WHAT?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Oct• 17•15

Perhaps the following will help…

Nothing but THE FACTS

eNovAaW ~ Nothing but THE FACTS

Since Amazon introduced Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service  for downloading  books onto  eReaders in mid-July 2014, those of us in Amazon Select saw some serious fluctuation in our royalties. My colleagues, who have in the past had successful Kindle Countdown Deals in which they saw 500+ downloads, often saw less than one hundred. Some, less than fifty.  Book sales for those of us  not bestselling authors were down the later part of 2014. Mine were down because I did very little promotion in November and December. I did not have a holiday book. That is not Amazon’s fault.  Still, the sales I did have did not earn 70% because Kindle Unlimited only paid about $1.39 per borrow (December 2014) as opposed to $2.09 for a straight sale on a 2.99 book. Update below about KENP–Amazon’s Pay by Pages Read.

One author insists the lack of sales is because the market is saturated with an explosion of indie books. Another insists promotion sites are pumping sub-par books.

Coming Soon ACX audio edition of Finding Home.

ACX audio edition of Finding Home.

I don’t know what saturation means in our literary world. Book buyers who step into a Barnes and Noble where often more than 200,000 books are shelved, don’t think the market is saturated. They just see miles of bookshelves from which to choose a book. Readers who use libraries don’t think the market is saturated. I have to tell you, I have heard this same lament about saturation from authors for thirty-five years. Walden Books died. Books-a-Million died. Publishing houses went under. There is less physical shelving, but virtual shelving is infinite. We hear the innovation of the eReader killed bookstores. You think? IMO the honchos of those companies were not hot-wired into progress. My local used book dealers tell me eReaders have hurt their business because digital books cannot be traded. I get it. But! I never earned a dime on a used book sale. The savvy used book dealer is now a NEW and Used sales venue. They are moving to better traffic areas. My local used book dealer did not have a clue indie authors  produce trade-sized paperbacks or audible books. If a book doesn’t show up on Ingram, it doesn’t exist for her. I’m educating her.

Badly written books have always been with us.

Books are a human endeavor. We will find good ones and bad ones. I have  read books by trad publishers that were horribly edited, filled with printer errors and sagging story arcs. It happens across the board. Publishers who continually produce faulty books or failed to pay royalties, folded.  So have digital publishers.  Those of us who promote often notice that some of our fav promo sites have shut down.  We are always updating our list of promoters because successful promotions are scheduled and planned up to 30 days in advance.

Wise up!

"All three of these books have original and unique plots, great dialogue, sweet romance, and wildly funny characters. Highly recommended!" - Amazon Reviewer

“All three of these books have original and unique plots, great dialogue, sweet romance, and wildly funny characters.”

Even now, at almost the close of 2015, I do NOT  believe the indie book market is saturated. Authors whose books are selling are smart-marketing their books.  I’m learning. I do not write series. I write stand alone romance novels. I noticed three of my titles had themes of  searching for a place to be, a home. I put those three novels in a bundle, had a professional cover built and a professional formatter create the set. Now, instead of three units to promote, I have a fourth. In a 2015 KCD promo, it sold 3115 units,  a vast improvement over mid to late 2014. Happy dance.

Almost Perfect: Three Volume Collection

Almost Perfect: Three Volume Collection

Holiday books and holiday-themed sets sweep the indie market November and December. Those authors think ahead and produce work for the holiday season. They network to find like-minded authors and books for multi-author units. The authors pool their resources to cover, format, launch and promote.  I noticed another three of of my titles had the words, fate, destiny and secret. To tie those together, I retitled and recovered. No Perfect Secret, No Perfect Fate and No Perfect Destiny. Now I have a 2nd bundle: Almost Perfect.

International urls.

Savvy indie authors do not overlook promoting their English language books in India, France, the United Kingdom or Germany or other foreign markets. How do they do it? They access Amazon in those countries. Find their books, grab the links and Tweet, FaceBook and Google+ . They use international urls. Or they just use a multi-region url for Kindle books: Here is an ehow for one:  http://authl.it.   It is FREE.

What  must you do to jack up your sales?

 Promotional Posters

Useless Promotional Posters

Book signings. I jumped the gun and ordered posters made for a set of six book signings. Next, I decided to freshen my book covers. Now those posters are D.E.A.D.  Life got in the way of a few of the signings.  I did have one successful book signing–until my extended family showed up and took over the book store. Lesson learned. Zip my lips.  I promote my two ACX audible books.  In eNovel we schedule group tours and rafflecopters. A group of three or ten authors generates more excitement in a Rafflecopter/Tour.  Join with a colleague or two and hire Book Partners in Crime Promotions to set a tour/rafflecopter. Shared expenses make it budget friendly.

The basic rule of thumb for success is Write. Publish. Promote.

Finally, keep this in mind: You won’t master every facet of promoting your books all at once. Take baby steps. Create a file for each of your titles with links to include the international urls, a selection of book descriptions and composed tweets. Do one book at a time. Take a day off. Refresh yourself. Focus on what is best for your BOOK.  Network with other authors and do not spread yourself too thin. When time permits read the articles on eNovel Authors at Work. We tell it true. No rumors, no gossip. Just F.A.C.T.S. Some eNovel authors sell books all of the time. All of the time some of our authors sell books. That’s what we do. Now for a mention of KENP, the companion to KindleUnlimited subscriptions.  Those of us in Select, which means our book are sold on Amazon and no other venue, like KENP.  Authors who are active promoters of their books often see between one million and 100,000+ pages read after a free or 99¢ campaign. But smaller promotions work, too. Selling fewer books, fewer pages read, but successful because each show a return on investment.  We promote our books for visibility, reviews and royalties.

Jackie Weger

Tick my photo to Follow Me on Bookbub. You will be my new BFF 🙂

I’m Jackie Weger. The founder of eNovel Authors at Work. I don’t know it all. But! I know what I know, because I taught myself. You can’t go to school to become an indie author. It is a learning experience from idea to fruition. You are welcome to share your ideas and experiences in our comment section. We always learn from others.

Here’s a TIP you won’t want to ignore: Even if you have yet to snag a Bookbub slot, you may register and create an Author Page on Bookbub. Follows on Bookbub are more important than follows on Facebook or Twitter because when you do snag a slot, Bookbub will send a dedicated email to your followers that you have a book FREE or discounted. If you cannot seem to snag a global Bookbub slot, submit for a Region: UK, Canada or India. Those slots are super budget friendly. Go to the Pricing page and tick the down arrow below Select Regions. New price page will load. Here is another TIP: Of 100 authors who read this post, only ten will tick the live link to Bookbub or any other live link. Of those ten, only one will ACT. Be that ONE! Sell your book. Good luck.

 

 

 

 

eBook Promoters – The Best & The Worst Part VI

Written By: Jackie Weger - Aug• 31•15

 Snake oil is sold by the gallon in our indie Universe

How much are you buying?

Looks good, sounds good--Bites!

Looks good, sounds good–Bites!

When I started this series, I thought three parts would do it. Now, I know it could go on forever.  We indie authors need book promoters with active subscriber lists and media reach. We need site owners who tell us who they are and are transparent about download numbers. The following is not a new scam, but more of them have been popping up weekly.

It is not illegal to curate best selling books off of Amazon and post them on a promo site.   If the site owner states in its TOS, it curates best sellers to earn an affiliate fee, that is honest, and that the site also promotes indie books, usually for a fee. Appreciate it. That activity helps to build a readership and subscribers. The scam comes into play when the site infers the authors of those best selling books are clients and paid for promotion on the site. That is dishonest. I know, because I check the books, message the authors and, to an author, they have never heard of the site. New scam sites have NO Alexa ranking whatsoever. Perhaps one or two sites linking in. The fees to promote on those sites can be anywhere from $19 to $100.  They often boast 30,000+ subscribers.  Really? Who? I often see these sites with a Facebook page with less than 50 followers/likes. These sites are fake promoters. You won’t see a single sale or download.

I test sites. I spend a little money to find out what their game is.  I signed up on two promo sites that promised to tell me how to market my books. I bought a 90 day membership on one. Now it wants me to pay an extra $2.95 for a list of secret sites to promote my titles–because I’m only a temporary member. HUH? How does a promoter stay in business if it is secret? Another promoter just sends me to outdated blogs written by the owner–all of which have links to articles written by authors or other promoters. Most of which are outdated and in need of a serious proof.

I am not shy about telling a promoter he or she consistently over charges for what they deliver. It annoys me beyond measure when the response is, “I have to get something for my time.” Whoa. Most established sites promote at least 600 titles a month. At $135, which is what BookSends charges for a romance,  comes to 81,000$ a month.  That’s a little somethin’, ain’t it? And for another $150, Jason will promote your book on Pixel of Ink–which solves that mystery, because Pixel of Ink no longer accepts submissions. And golly, for $10 more, your book will be posted on a Facebook page.  Booksends is not a scam, but Booksends has  just about priced some of us indies out of  promoting with the site.

What scam artists do, is tell you what you want to hear.  Even testimonials are faked. You have to educate yourself. If you don’t, scam artists in this

eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow. Always FREE

business will take advantage of you. One of the best blogs to read and follow is Chris Syme’s Indie Author Book Marketing Blog.  For an introduction, read her guest post on Writer Beware. Chris is far more experienced and savvy than I am. I rant. Chris tells it like it is–no holds barred.

As usual, I never like to leave a blog without sharing with you how best to generate reviews. Put this gem right after THE END in your book.

Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you. [author name].

eNovel Authors at Work is 50 members strong with more than 500 books published. Readers have posted more than 13,075 reviews on our titles.

Here are a few sites eNovel  promotes with consistently: The Books Machine.  Books Butterfly. Book Praiser. The Fussy Librarian. Many Books. Digital Book Today. eBook Booster.  Free Kindle Books & Tips. Here is why these sites are above the fold on our Preferred List: We know who they are, they are NOT overpriced for the services they provide AND we get the results we hope for.

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Would love it, if you follow me on Amazon

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Comments are welcome. If you have a promo experience to share or a preference for a site, please tell us. And before you go, do visit our author pages where you will discover a wonderful array of books to fit any reader preference.

@eNovel Authors at Work. 2015. All Rights Reserved. Shares welcomed, Ping back credits required if any part of a post is quoted in any manner.

eBook Promoters ~ The Best & The Worst Part 4

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jun• 21•15

Putting the spotlight on Goodreads Ads and Amazon.com Campaigns…

 

eNovel Round Logo (2)This is the fourth in a series of articles about ebook promoters and indie author services. Have mercy! It may go on forever because every single day we indie authors are approached by new promoters entering our indie universe and asking for our $$$. In an earlier post, I promised I would share our promotion experiences on Goodreads and Amazon.com. Goodreads leaves me confused.  I love Amazon. Amazon pays my bills.

I offer as a caveat: Indie authors who have mastered Goodreads may have wonderful success promoting with Goodreads. Ten of

us in eNovel Authors at Work did not. What we did: We each bought a promotion, coordinated the days of promotion and the cost of click throughs up to 75¢. Some of us popped for $100. Our titles were either FREE or 99¢. We saw lovely numbers on impressions in the 1000s–which is the number of times our ads were shown.

Follow Nicholas Rossis on Amazon

Follow Nicholas Rossis on Amazon

A few of us saw our titles put on TBR lists.  But! Not a single sale at  99¢.  And no downloads–even for a free book. FREE units were tagged on TBR lists, too. Many members on Goodreads block ads, so you may not reach the very audience who might like your book. I still have about $50 hanging fire on Goodreads because I cannot figure out how to get refund.  I did ask, and the reply from GRs was: “I don’t understand what you are asking?  HUH? What part of “I want my  money,” don’t you understand? I am sorry to tell you this, but as soon as  two of our ads started popping, we picked up a troll. Before the ad, we were under the radar.  Nicholas Rossis reports on his blog an author who spent $5000 for a Goodreads ad and reported NO SALES. Read the report here.

Let’s look at Amazon. com. Amazon in 2015 offers authors in KDP Select three campaigns to promote our books on Amazon.

FREE June 25 -27, 2015

The first campaign is shaped exactly as is a Goodreads’ ad with the exception one must commit $100, plus no hassle, automatic refunds if the $ is not used up. Click throughs to sales are charged against that $100 until the campaign ends in the time frame the author designated or the $$$ runs out.  The author ‘bids’ for impression slots. In my first Amazon Campaign from January 30 to March 30, 2015, I committed $200, placed my bids at 67¢. Amazon showed my ad 164,477 awesome times–which does not mean readers actually noticed it.  133 viewers clicked on the ad, 191 went to the book buy page and I sold $11.96 worth of books for a total cost to me of $89.13 of the $200 I committed. Not exactly a lovely return on investment. During two days of the campaign, No Perfect Secret was priced FREE. Because I am just learning ehow to promote wisely, I have booked another Amazon.com Campaign for three days June 25-27 when No Perfect Fate will be in its first major free run. I will report on that once completed.

I engaged two more campaigns on other titles. Impressions 132,158 and 16,511. But only 185 readers actually clicked through to the buy page. Thus cost to me was $110.57 to generate $17.92 in sales.  If you want to engage an Amazon Campaign for exposure. Do. For sales and a return on investment. Don’t. Instead, to actually see downloads on a FREE or discounted book,  hand your promo $$ to OHFB, or buy the $29.99 deal on KND, or check out Bargain Booksy, all of which are on eNovel Authors at Work‘s preferred list.

As we in eNovel engage in Amazon Giveaways, we will share our results. As for other indie author services, if you are looking for an editor and find this in a blog post… us indie authors” .. .run! If I have to tell you why–you do need a qualified editor.

Other sites we in eNovel prefer and use often: eBook Stage. Book Praiser. eBooklister. KindleBoards and in the UK for FREE romance novels, we like: eBook Deal of the Day.  Visit eNovel author Effrosyni Moschoudi for a fabulous list of sites FREE and paid. Without paying so much as a dime, Frossie

Follow Effrosyni on amazon

Follow Effrosyni on amazon

saw 5,000 downloads on one of her titles in a free promotion.

Would love it, if you Follow me on Amazon or subscribe to eNovel's newsletter.

Would love it, if you Follow me on Amazon or subscribe to eNovel’s newsletter.

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. If you are wondering why I am prompted to write this series on promoters, I’ll tell you…

As a newbie indie author, I listened to a promoter hype a promotion, paid good money for it and did not sell a single unit.

When I queried the promoter, I was told, “Well, you have to write a good book.” Whoa. So. I pulled the book. Paid for another round of edits. Paid for a new cover, changed the title, wrote another description. Paid to have it formatted again. Six months later, networking with other indies, there was discussion about that particular promo. Not one author saw any sales. Holy Smokes! Next we started getting emails offering the same promo at a 75% discount. Oops. It was not my book. The promo was a new endeavor by the promoter and it did not fly. NO subscribers.  That promoter did not deliver and blamed it on my book.  Well, I was new and Eating Stupid for Breakfast. Ain’t doin’ that again. I’m checking promoters out. I’m asking the tough questions. Promoters can give straight answers or not. Their choice. I got this response from a promoter just yesterday who says he has a vast network and thousands of subscribers. When I asked how many subscribers, he said he can’t reveal the number. Pffft. As for his vast network: Alexa says his site has 3 sites linked in. eNovel Authors at Work has 169 sites linked in; updated daily.

Nanostrike

A roller coaster ride straddling the genres of science fiction and crime drama collected more than 350 reviews after it 1st FREE run.

For actual figures and results of recent campaigns, go Here and Here . Pete Barber reported on a free run on NanoStrike Here.   Read the results of one of Weger’s early campaigns Here. Why bother? Because we report actual figures and costs and it gives you a comparative idea if your campaigns are working for your book–or not. At the very least, you won’t take a promoter’s word as Gospel that: “Hey! It’s not us. Write a better book.”

 

Comments are welcome. If you have run a great campaign, tell us in comments. If not, tell us that, too. We have all been there.  It is fine to leave the link to your book. If you have a question, ask! If we don’t know the answer, we will find a reliable source who does.

 

 

 

eBook Promoters ~ The Best & The Worst Part 3

Written By: Jackie Weger - Jun• 09•15

ePromoter Hype

What to believe…or NOT

eNovel Round Logo (2)This is the third in a series of articles about ebook promoters and indie author services. One of the most difficult tasks we indies face is how to sort the gold from the glitter. Not a day goes by that we don’t get emails telling us what wonderful services the promoter can provide and how that promoter will take our books to glorious heights. Yep. And all we have to do is register and send $$$. I always ask: Who are you? What do you do? How much do you charge? One promoter responded:

“I’m a best selling author, my book sold 50,000 copies. I work with 4000 authors.”

The promoter is creating a private Facebook page and is going to share all that the promoter knows right there. Just Paypal $97 as the entrance fee to the Facebook page.  Well golly. I looked up the promoter’s book.  Let me share something here. If a book sells 50,000 copies, it makes a list: on Amazon,  on USA Today, on NYT. Did you know you can track the history of a book via  Kindle Nation Daily? Those 50,000 sales did NOT happen.

FREE Listen & Review promo codes on Choosy Bookworm June 27, 2015

FREE Listen & Review promo codes on Choosy Bookworm June 27, 2015

I checked the references sent me. None panned out.  There are people in this business who Eat Stupid for Breakfast. I’m not one of them. The promoter sent me an email insisting emails to me were private and telling me to cease and desist forwarding the promotion hype to people named in the hype. Folks, there is no such thing as cease and desist checking references.  NOTHING is private when you are selling a service. Not even if you stand on a street corner to do it. Indie authors need book promoters. We do. Just don’t promise what you cannot deliver. Tell us what you can do, and we can make the best decision for our book placement and promo dollars.

“When I first entered this indie universe, I was taken to my knees and my wallet flattened thinner than hair. I had to pick myself up out of the rubble and learn the industry.” ~ Jackie Weger

In eNovel Authors at Work we like promoters who listen to us, who engage their subscribers and are not building their subscribers lists on the backs of authors.  When we pay $$ to a promoter, every mention of our book and every cover needs to link to a book buy page, NOT to another page on the Website of the promoter. Here is a promoter eNovel found last month. Mike Smith, BeezeeBooks.com. He works out of New Zealand He builds an author a nice books’ page. Tweets our promos and the site has a decent Alexa ranking. It is a FREE site and great for exposure on FREE and priced books. Here is the caveat:

No indie book sells unless promoted. 

If you know different, tell us! The single task an indie author can do to check out a site that asks us to upload our books for a fee, is to check the Amazon Best Seller stats of books already on the site. If you find books with stats like this: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,400,295 or this: #1,439,644, do reconsider where you might best spend your promo budget for results. 

Here are a few more promoters that eNovel Authors at Work considers good value for our promotion $$$.

For promo results with BKnights see this entry on KBoards.

Would love it, if you Follow me on Amazon or subscribe to eNovel's newsletter.

Would love it, if you Follow me on Amazon or subscribe to eNovel’s newsletter.

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel authors at Work. I don’t know it all, but I know what I know, and I learn something new every dang day. Comments are welcome. HTML is fine. Live links accepted. No erotica. I shoot it with my snake gun.

Fake Amazon Best Seller Logo found on a book on a website

Fake Amazon Best Seller Logo found on a book on a website

What a real  Amazon Best Seller logo looks like when a title was in promotion with sales of 3141 units @ 99¢

What a real Amazon Best Seller logo looks like when in title was in promotion with sales of 3141 units @ 99¢

eBook Promoters ~ The Best & The Worst Part 2

Written By: Jackie Weger - May• 25•15

What makes a good promotion service?

Here is the answer: Results.

This the second in a series of articles about book promoters and promotion services for indie books.  In eNovel Authors at Work we tell it like it is. marketing-strategy-planIf you see a book promotion or author service on this site–we like it. We know who administers the site, we talk to them and we engage with those owners. We rate our promoters. We have a Preferred list. Some promoters are Above the Fold. They consistently perform. Some are Below the Fold. That does not mean they are second tier. We promote with them when our budgets allow in small promotions and always when we are Shooting the Moon. Some promo sites are super for  books priced FREE. Some are less so for books priced 99¢ in Kindle Countdown deals. When we promote a book priced FREE, we are looking for exposure and volume downloads. When we promote 99¢, we expect a Return on Investment (ROI).

Some promoters arrive at the bottom of our list and then fall by the wayside. Here is why: A site may charge $15 for a promotion and we see results for that price. But if a few weeks later the promoter doubles the price to $30 and has not grown its subscriber list to warrant the increase, the site may slip off our list.  We let you know. A few of our members will run beta tests, promoting with a single site and track the downloads in our KDP accounts. Easily done.

In eNovel, we don’t listen to authors who say, “Oh, I used that promoter, I sold a ton of books.” Huh? How many is a ton? We report actual figures. Here is a recap of a recent successful promotion by eNovel member Mary Smith in her very first FREE run. She snagged a Bookbub slot the first time

No More Mulberries

You will feel you have really got to know these people and will want to know what happens in their lives long after you’ve read the last chapter. ~ Joseph King AVP

she submitted No More Mulberries. Category: Literary.

How successful was this promotion? Once it returned to priced, Amazon tagged No More Mulberries a #1 Best Seller. Woot!

Snip it No more Mulberries

So, how does an author earn $$$ when a title is in a FREE promotion? Kindle Unlimited subscribers start borrowing the book. Some Amazon readers opt to buy. Some subscribers even tick borrow while the title is on FREE. No More Mulberries is gathering dozens of borrows a day and reviews are coming in. Mary Smith told me today, she already sees enough borrows to pay for all of the promotion she bought. Since the book is #1 Paid in Kindle Store, readers will continue to download the book for several weeks. That equals profit and a tidy royalty check.

Are you wondering how those reviews are starting to be posted so soon? Because Mary has this gem at the foot of her book right after The End:

Thank you for taking the time to read No More Mulberries. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend. Thank you, [author name].

Now, we know very well there are indie authors who will not put a book on FREE. Their reasoning: A book is an intellectual property and it has value. Here is what I say: An author can price at book for 99¢  or $4.99 or even $10.99.  But the book has NO $$$ value until somebody buys the thing, however one values one’s intellect.  Most members in eNovel Authors at Work are exclusive to Amazon. Some are not. Established authors are often successful selling across all venues. But! No indie book sells unless promoted, somewhere, somehow at some cost and reaches a reading audience. At last count, Amazon has  278 million active accounts. Globally, Amazon sells to 65% of the reading public. Just sayin’…

Go Here to read the first article in this series.

Go Here to read a comparison of actual sales figures on a book  sold on all venues.

All of the book promotion sites mentioned in this blog are Above the Fold. 

Founder, eNovel Authors at Work

Follow Jackie Weger on Bookbub and never miss a FREE or discounted book.

I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. @Copyright Jackie Weger. shares and pingbacks appreciated.

Membership in eNovel  is closed at the moment. We are all busy writing and promoting our books.

ehow tip: For the neatest and cleanest link to your Book’s buy page to post on FaceBook pages and submit to promoters, do this: Visit your book page on Amazon. On the far right hand side you will see SEO icons for Twitter, etc. One is an email icon. Tick it and a perfect short link pops up for you to copy and paste.

Comments are always welcome. We love for authors and promoters to add to the discussion and share your own experiences.

Review Plague ~ A Disease more Viral than Ebola

Written By: Jackie Weger - Nov• 14•14

“If I’m ever short of money, at least I know I can write this badly and still sell books to make extra cash. ” [11 readers agreed].

Jackie Weger

Jackie Weger

Those few word transmit the review plague. Every indie author is at risk of becoming infected and only the wisest avoid becoming a susceptible host. Not a day goes by that a review rant by an indie author somewhere does not land in my mailbox or my Google+ feed. My word! I recently ticked one of  those links and  discovered a 1000 word rant.  The indie author was incensed that a reader posted a one star review. Bless me, but the the blog was smokin’ hot. Moreover, all of the author’s pals were full of empathy and posted their own grievances in no less than 47 comments.  The reader had  posted a mild one star review that said: “The book isn’t what I thought it would be. ”

The author complained, “Why didn’t he read the #%$#@# blurb? Can’t people read any more? ”

Hey! If the cover sells a book or it was free or discounted, readers download the things. That is what we want them to do. That’s a sale!

Here is something else. When I was a newbie and Eating Stupid for Breakfast I put one of my titles in Literary Fiction, Family & Relationships. It started gathering a few one and two star reviews. One said: “Nothing is happening. It never does.” Well, golly, I write sweet, character-driven stories.

19 One & Two Star Reviews

19 One & Two Star Reviews

A relationship happened.  The book was in promotion and #1 in Kindle Store> Kindle eBooks> Literature & Fiction> Literary Fiction> Gay & Lesbian. Oops. That poor reader read the whole blamed book waiting for that grand passionate moment that never materialized. The reader had a legitimate complaint. My Fault. I went at once into Amazon and moved the book into a different category. Does it still pull low starred reviews. Yep. Got one sitting on it right now: “Meh, not for me.” And another two star: The reviewer complained that the mother character in the book didn’t provide her children with Gameboys and other electronic toys. She complained that the author must be from another century because she didn’t know anything about computers. Tell you what: She nailed me. I use my computer as a glorified typewriter and little else. How about these reviews, plucked randomly off of books on Amazon:

“If you want to pull your hair out in frustration, gnash your teeth and have your eyes roll to the back of your head in disbelief, then this book is for you. ” [67 readers agreed].

 “Wretched, Dreadful and Boring, I’ve never felt compelled to write a review. This book changed my mind.” [22 readers agreed].

“UGH!!!! Do I have to finish this book????!!! So bad. Can’t even describe this. There are no words.” [20+ readers agreed].

 

Here is what I know. People like to be spoon-fed information. They don’t like to read instructions. A book description in its own way is an instruction for a reader. Some will glance at the price, find it FREE and download it. Another may glance at the cover, a sentence or two in the  blurb, and download it. And the book will not be the kinds of story they are in the mood for or were hoping to read.

20 One & Two Star Reviews

20 One & Two Star Reviews

 

I have a ghost in one of my titles, but it is in no way a paranormal. Readers see ‘ghost’, download it and  dislike it. I do the very same thing. So, it is not fair that we expect a reader to do more than we would and often do. This happens, too: I have five star and 3 star reviews on my titles that ain’t for my books. Avid readers get confused. Muddled minds happen to the best of us.

Listen up. Amazon created the world of digital reviews. Yes it did, to help bring attention to ebooks, because Amazon needed authors,  readers and buyers for Kindle, a new innovation in the book universe. Prompting  readers to write reviews brings traffic to Amazon, where it tempts us to buy every dang product on the site. Everytime I finish a book on my Kindle Fire, Amazon messages me to write a review. Yep.  Early on writers leaped into the digital universe and often published unedited, badly formatted and terribly covered books.  Next, a raft of promoters arrived on the scene and  began demanding ebooks with 10 or more reviews with at least 4.0/5.0 review rank in order to accept a submission.  Reviews are getting better because ebook are getting better. They are beta read and edited and professionally formatted and covered. Indie authors are learning… We are maturing. So is our industry. Reviews are a tool. I liken reviews to a pair of pliers. You don’t eat them, you don’t sleep with them and you don’t hug ’em.  And you dang sure don’t blame the pliers when a rusted nut breaks off.  There is absolutely nothing you can take to avoid this plague. Your only immunity is intelligence. Lacking that–tolerance.

Reviews are lagniappe, a little something extra, a gift.

A book is not entitled  to sales, nor is it entitled to reviews. Sales happen when we promote our books and get them in front of readers. Appreciate your readers. Whatever you do, DO NOT gather a bevy of your fans and friends to go on Amazon and tick those one and two and three star reviews as unhelpful. Reviewers don’t like that. This happened a few weeks ago. An author dismayed with a review did just that to a three star review. The annoyed reviewer went in ticked the book a One Star and commenced to detail every flaw in the book. And said why.

To gather organic reviews from readers who enjoy your book, put this golden gem right after THE END:

Thank you for taking time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review.  Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated.  Thank you again. [author name]. 

For more on Reviews by a TOP 1000 Amazon and Goodreads Reviewer, Julie Whiteley, go Here. Read about the Good, the Bad & the Ugly.

 

 

 

 

Five Steps to an ImPerfect Book Blurb

Written By: Admin - Sep• 07•14

How to make certain your book blurb is the worst thing you have ever written.

Subtitled: After all, the last thing you want your blurb to do is represent your best writing.

Sub-subtitled: Jackie and Carolyn go searching Amazon…

blurb

  1. Compose run-on sentences
  2. Misspell words and use bad grammar
  3. Tell instead of show
  4. Confuse the reader
  5. And best of all…
    insert plenty of author intrusion/asides into your book blurb just in case the reader doesn’t get it. Because insulting them really works.

Here is an example of three out of the six, author intrusion, bad grammar and and misspelled words in a book blurb on Amazon:

NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER. It does contain love scenes and fowl language since it portrays real events with authentic people.

Parental Guidance of 16 is advice.

The really nice thing about this one is that it wastes our time with a cliche too.

How to clutter your book description/blurbs with asides or author intrusion

XXXX is a cozy mystery/suspense novel that mixes fact with fiction.

Yeah, I know it’s a novel, and I know what genre I bought. And actually, um, most books mix fact with fiction. If it’s really important, tell me somewhere else–like in Author’s notes in the back of the book. By that time I might be impressed how the author wove fact and fiction to create a great story.

A novel of approximately 100,700 words.

No kidding, I couldn’t tell that from looking inside.

Have fun confusing the reader

XXX, a teenage orphan girl, has escaped the degradation of New York’s back alleys to live free in the glorious northern mountains. He hates all that is white…

If you’re going to tell instead of show

do add some extra annoyances in your blurb and mix verb tenses in a fabulous run on sentence.

XXXXX is a love story set in 18** about xxxx, the shy London born dress designer to the rich and royal who had her fortune stolen and is forced to move to America where she meets XXXX, a proud, handsome Lakota warrior who is torn between two worlds.

Lots of lovely passive case here too, I really want to hate this book.

And another thing

Do compose a blurb to tell readers how great your book and what to do to read it.

This book is a page turner. Set aside time to open a bottle of wine, sit in your favorite spot and dive into a world of long ago, a different place and time. Last sentence:  …a story and action that will keep you breathless.

Here is an AVP review on the above book:

I have NEVER read a book so poorly edited. I could barely read this book because of a lack of it. I’m not talking about a few misspelled or missing words. The entire book reads as a rough draft. There are numerous times where the character’s name changes back and forth i.e. XXX XXX changes to XXXX and Black XXXXX changes to Black XXXX. The author often uses commas as a period. Punctuation as a whole is incorrect or missing, excludes the “s” off of possessives.  Not to mention the constant misspelling or misuse of words, i.e. attacked/attached. There are spaces in the middle of words and no spaces between sentences. But don’t take my word for it, just do the “look inside” feature to see how poorly this piece was done-something I should have done first.

By Golly! That’s the kind annoyed reviewer you want to see. Bet she forgot to grab that bottle of wine. Honestly, some readers just won’t be told how to read.

What do you reckon? Did we miss some of your blurb pet peeves? What makes you dismiss a book before even ‘looking inside?’

Don’t hold back! Let us know in the comments…

(Next week, the Blurb Doctor will be IN with some tips on getting it right and hooking in readers.)

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Joining eNovel Authors at Work

Written By: Jackie Weger - Feb• 05•17

Are you considering membership in eNovel Authors at Work?

 Membership is Open to Romance Authors

We have four slots to fill

eNovel Round Logo (2)Hello, and welcome. I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work.  We open membership several times a year.  We are always on the lookout for indie authors with good books and a great attitude.  We adore our new members and enjoy meeting them, downloading their books and in general making them welcome into our private Facebook Hub from whence all good information flows.

Our goal is to get our books in the hands of readers in whatever way available to us.

If that is your goal, read on.  The single caveat is we do not accept contracted authors. We don’t work for publishers. eNovel is not a for-hire public relations organization. We are a loose group of indie authors who pay-it-forward and support one another. We download one another’s books on FREE and discounted to 99¢. All other member titles are put on our Amazon Wish lists. eNovel is FREE–no dues. We have a core of generous volunteers that keeps our group on the move.

The Basic Rules

  • You must have at least one self-published book
  • You must have a Twitter account
  • You must have a celebrity Facebook page
  • You must read, comment and share the articles on eNovel
  • You must regularly visit our private Facebook page, our eNovel hub
  • You must follow members on Amazon/Facebook/Twitter
  • You must visit each eNovel member author page, comment and share it
  • You must subscribe to our newsletter. It is all about books and events. Published monthly or less.
  • We do NOT trade reviews. Don’t ask.

The above is critical and key because established members do all of the above for you. Basically, we are one another’s Street Team. You have access to our Preferred list of promoters and discounts those promoters may offer eNovel members.  Our Twitter Account is here.  We have a registered hashtag #eNovAaW.  eNovel retweets all Tweets with that hashtag.  Our members engage in group promotions several times a year and we share the expenses of those promotions i.e. Rafflecopters, Book tours or whatever promo members design that will get our books visible. We do not promote erotica. eNovel is not the place for a political or religious agenda or rants against Amazon. eNovel does provide members with the tools to be successful. But, you have to use them.

Send your query for membership to Jackie Weger:  enovaaw@gmail.com Please include the link to your Amazon Author page. Once accepted into eNovel, Amy Vansant is eNovel’s volunteer Webmistress. Effrosyni Moschoudi oversees and monitors eNovel Twitter.  All members are encouraged to insert this gentle plea after THE END of your books:

Thank you for taking time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review.  Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you, (author name).

Note: If we find that your Amazon bio and book descriptions need revising–we’re gonna tell you. Read this article on Book Descriptions. Here is an article on Amazon bios.

Would love it, if you Follow me on Amazon or subscribe to eNovel's newsletter.

First author to follow on Amazon is me.

We do not like to see any member leave, however do let us know and we will remove your author page and access to The Hub.  We consider a member inactive after six months of no activity. If eNovel is not for you, please do keep in touch. Our articles are timely, instructive and tell it like it is.  Fun Facts: eNovel authors have an aggregate of above 210,540 active Twitter followers.  When we Twitter…we TWEET loud. Does that gentle plea at the end of  a book work? Yes, it does. Our members have above 14,000 reviews on 400+ books. Our membership hovers around 50 members. Those who have composed gems of book descriptions and are professionally edited with engaging covers have snagged 70+ Bookbub slots.  

Success is never instant. It takes at least a year to get up to speed in indie authorship. 

@Copyright 2015 Jackie Weger