The KDP Countdown deal Results are in! #indie #indieauthor

Well, I’m astounded by what a little advertising can do. These aren’t the massive results others have achieved, but it is the BEST I have ever done, and the best Visions of Zarua has ever done. I’m ecstatic, and my self publishing verve has been restored!

So how did Visions of Zarua do during the 99p / 99c countdown deal?

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The deal ran 20th to 27th July 2017

Day 1 – My efforts consisted of Tweeting, blogging, Facebook, Instagram – the usual suspects.

COST = MY TIME. SALES = 0

Day 2 – BKnights

COST = $11. SALES = 3

Day 3 – My Facebook Ad: Aimed at 15-30 age group male/female in UK and US with interests in reading, fantasy etc. Total of 9 interests.

COST = £6. SALES = 0

Note – I picked this age group as they had shown the most interest in previous ads. There were 1,169 people reached – 16 likes and 1 link click (to Amazon book page). 12 photo quote clicks were recorded – obviously having the photo quote took away from the amazon link click. (A few days later I invited these people to Like my facebook page.)

Day 4 – Bargain Booksy Ad

COST $40. SALES = 24!

Finally making progress, although I haven’t covered my costs. There were 21 sales in the US and 3 in the UK. 

Day 5 – Facebook Ads attempt 2

This time I ran two ads, 1 US and 1 UK. I upped the age range 16-65+ male/female. I reduced interests to 4.

I also used the Amazon book page as the direct link for the Ad, rather than have the universal link in the wording of the ad as before.

US 14 likes, only 2 link clicks (234 people reached)

UK 2 likes, 21 link clicks. (470 people reached) No idea if these resulted in sales.

COST = £8. SALES = 10 (5 UK / 5 US) – Maybe a result of Bargain Booksy and / or facebook ad?

Day 6 – Booksends

COST $35. SALES = 28

Very happy with these figures!

DAY 7 – Bookrunes.

COST = $25. SALES 9.

I was interested to give Bookrunes a shot as they advertise to UK, US, Australia and India. Even though the deal doesn’t run in all those countries, it’s still very much needed exposure.

And guess what,

Day 8 = 3 sales in Australia!

Extra: Amazon Marketing Services

I also ran an AMS ad throughout the whole KDP countdown deal. The results take a few days to finalise, but so far it looks as though it received 1847 impressions, 1 click and 1 sale. That sale cost so far $0.07. I have a profit WOOHOO! However, that’s the worst an AMS ad has ever performed for me. It was a sponsored product ad with 48 keywords, but they would not let me mention anything to do with the sale or price in the ad so that doesn’t help matters. I also still have an ad running for Visions of Zarua all the time, so the two ads will have been very similar.

The deal has ended, but I have my fingers crossed that more sales will trickle in over the next few days / weeks.

Final Thoughts

Over 8 days Visions of Zarua sold 77 copies. 17 UK 57 US and 3 AU.

I may be out of pocket but it doesn’t matter because 77 new people own my book and countless others have seen it! Even though I haven’t hit any bestseller lists, I’m still happy with the results.

In the past I’ve sold in Canada, Germany and been read in India – so I really can say that Visions of Zarua has been read Worldwide. If I hadn’t had the guts to self publish back in 2015, no one would have seen my work, and no doubt I’d be out in the real world right now trying to find a job that fits in with school hours and term times – boring!

Instead, I’m fully pumped and ready to get on with book 2 in the Silent Sea Chronicles so I can start this crazy business all over again.

P.S – Thanks to my blogging friends who gave me words of advice and encouragement when I had a wobble a few weeks back.

P.P.S – I’m still desperate to get some reviews for The Lost Sentinel (and Visions of Zarua). I want to try a repeat experiment with countdown deals for The Lost Sentinel soon, but it only has 4/5 reviews on Amazon and some ad sites require 10+ reviews. Can you help?

If you’ve read either books, please consider reviewing them on Amazon. If you would like a reviewers copy, please get in touch.

Now I’m planning a whole week without the internet – well almost. I’ll still be checking my emails, wordpress comments etc, so please add your thoughts and comments. I love to interact, that’s what makes this whole thing worth the effort.

Thanks for reading!

Visions of Zarua Amazon link

The Lost Sentinel Amazon link

#Mondayblogs Call for help & advice with KDP Countdown Deals #indieauthors

I would like to ask for help and advice for my upcoming KDP countdown deal.

My second attempt at the countdown deals starts in the UK and US on 9th December – if I have set it up correctly this time!

Visions of Zarua will be 99p on 9th & £1.99 on 10th December.

It was a bit of a non event last time as I didn’t know what I was doing. Now I’m hoping to generate some interest via Amazon’s sponsored products & product display Ads. I will also have a Goodreads Ad and Facebook Ad running for those few deal days.

Are there any other free or cheap promo sites that will help me? I really want to draw some attention to the sale and make it worthwhile this time around.

Help from the blogging community would be greatly appreciated. If you could reblog and retweet my posts on those days I would be very grateful.

I also want to set up a Rafflecopter paperback giveaway in the UK before Christmas. I haven’t run one before, are there any tips anyone can offer?

Thanks in advance.

#Tuesdaybookblog #Bookreview Getting Book Reviews by @RayneHall #indieauthors

Getting Book Reviews by Rayne Hall

Part of the Writer’s Craft Series

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Blurb

Reviews help sell books.
When browsing online for their next read, most readers are drawn to the books with many reviews. More and more readers glance at what other readers have to say about a book before they hit the ‘buy now’ button. The more people have read and liked the book, the more they want to experience it for themselves. This is a known psychological factor called ‘social evidence’, and it plays a big role in purchasing decisions.
The more reviews your book has, the better, especially if they are genuine, personal, thoughtful and positive. Reviews can multiply your sales and catapult your book to the top of bestseller lists – but how do you get them?
Perhaps you’re a new author and can’t get those crucial early reviews to start the train rolling. Maybe you’re a seasoned author and your books have garnered reviews, but not as many as you need to break out. Or perhaps you’ve gone the corporate publishing route, and find that your publisher’s publicist isn’t getting your book the attention it needs.
This book shows you many proven strategies to get the reviews your book deserves. Instead of urging you to labour through tedious, spirit-draining procedures, I’ll reveal quick, fun, empowering tricks.
All my suggestions are legitimate and ethical. In this book you won’t find methods for manipulating, faking and cheating. Strengthen your readers’ bond with you, don’t sabotage it.
Most of the methods I suggest are free, although some incur expenses. You will definitely need to spend time. You can apply them all these techniques, or cherry-pick the ones you like now and keep the rest for another time or a different book.
At the end of most chapters, I’m sharing mistakes I made and learnt from. They all seemed a good idea at the time.
Rayne

My Review

First thoughts

Since I self-published for the first time in 2015, I’ve been trying to increase my book’s profile on Amazon by getting more reviews. This book sounded perfect to help me do that.

Summary

Each chapter in the book covers your options when trying to gain reviews. They state the method, along with pros and cons for each and lessons learnt by the author. There were chapters on things like beta readers, approaching amazon reviewers, review circles and general product review agencies.

Writing Style

The book has a friendly, easy to read style just as the previous book of Rayne Hall’s I read and reviewed recently. Why does my book not sell? 20 Simple Fixes

Issues

My only real issue was that I’d already learnt alot of this by myself the long and hard way! It would’ve been great to have a manual like this to work through, to save time and effort.

Final thoughts

I have stumbled my way throughout the process of self-publishing and the same can be said for the way I’ve tried to get reviews. I have made connections with some brilliant book bloggers and gained some wonderful reviews, but I wish I’d known about this book long before I hit publish; things like putting a personal letter at the back of the book would have been easier if addressed beforehand.

This is a quick read, and one you can go back to again and again for sound advice.

Recommend to

I think this book is most helpful to authors who are soon to publish. Of course if you have already self-published, there are still plenty of helpful tips in here for you.

Rating  4 stars

#WWWBlogs My top ten tips for New Writers #indieauthors #writers #amwriting

I’ve been writing novels for over 20 years and as this is the anniversary of my first year of self-publishing, I thought it would be great to go back and revise the advice I had for new writers at the start of my own journey back in November 2015.

1. Online courses

I’ve completed both novel writing and short stories courses. You learn as you write and having your assignments critiqued by experienced tutors helps you improve as you go along. Online course can fit around your work and family.

2. Go to writing workshops and creative writing classes.

I’ve attended several adult education classes over the years, and a couple of one day workshops. Meeting like-minded people was a real turning point for me. Critiquing and editing others work helps you look at your own work more objectively. Also having others critique your work helps you develop that famous thick skin all writers need.

I’ve made writing friends from classes too. It’s so important to have people in your life who understand the struggles of a writer. Now with online forums, and blogs etc. it’s easier to connect with other writers, but I still think the workshops can play an important part in the learning process.

3. Enter competitions, especially those offering critiques

There’s nothing worse than sending your story into a competition and never hearing anything again. Not knowing where you’re going wrong. The critiques can help you grow as a writer. And if you follow the suggestions made, next time your story may just get placed.

4. Don’t rush. Don’t pitch too soon.

I’ve made this mistake many times. Thinking the book is ready and contacting the agents I would love to work with, or the publishers that accept unsolicited submissions. Once they’ve turned your book down, there’s no going back. It’s the same with some novel competitions; once they’ve seen your entry you can’t resubmit when you’ve made a better version. If you do it looks unprofessional.

5. Start building your online profile now.

I’ve been blogging since July/Aug 2015. A lot has happened in a year and a bit. I’ve gained followers and made many online connections with writers and bloggers. I’m close to reaching 4K followers through the various platforms – Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads. I’d say that’s not too bad for a year, though the time involved has taken me away from my writing. Challenges like the April A-Z blog challenge and running my own my blog tour in Jun/July were very time-consuming, but lots of fun and well worth the effort. 

6. Beta readers can make a huge difference.

Especially beta readers who are writers themselves, who understand the structure and techniques of writing. I’ve been lucky enough to have made some really good friends from writing classes. We’ve kept in touch and still occasionally meet up to critique each others’ work. They’ve offered honest criticism about where I’m going wrong, but also shown me my strengths as a writer and their encouragement has been a big boost to my confidence.  

7. Join a book group

I’ve been a member of several book groups. It’s really interesting listening to readers critiquing books you’ve read, and to imagine how your own book might be seen from the readers’ perspective. They also force you to read outside your comfort zone, which can help you grow as a reader and a writer.

8. Get all the professional help you can afford

This is in the form of critique companies, professional editors, paid for beta reads if you don’t have writing friends you trust to be honest with you, cover artists, proof readers. The list of help available is endless and you need to work out what is most important to you and where you need to invest the money most. My first choice would be a good editor every time.

9. Know when it’s time to let go and move on

This is probably the hardest part; to tell yourself it’s finished, and let go of your book as you hit publish.

This is also true once you’ve been published for a while. You need to stop obsessing over your sales, book ranking and the amount of reviews you have or haven’t got. There is only so much marketing you can do, and as I have been told by many professionals, the best thing to do is get another book published.

10. Enjoy the journey, and celebrate being a writer

It’s an amazing feeling creating worlds and characters, and not everyone can do it. It takes hard work, dedication and an absolute determination to succeed.

Now that Visions of Zarua has been published a year, I look back and think wow. All that hard work has paid off. I’ve gained over a dozen wonderful reviews in that year and that is proof enough that it was worth taking a chance on self-publishing. 

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What is your advice for new writers?

Help, I’m going to a self-publishing summit! Any advice? #indieauthor

I’ve finally decided to put myself out there and attend a self-publishing summit next week. I haven’t been to any network events before and I hope this will be the start of me gaining confidence as a writer.

It’s easy enough to sit at home and think you’re a writer (I still cringe when I state that’s my occupation), but to actually physically go out into the world is a gigantic step for me. I don’t know how much I’ll get out of the day, but I’m nervously excited about the opportunity and looking forward to meeting some like-minded authors.

I have my notebook and pens ready, business cards to hand and I plan to have some book blurbs prepared to share. The trouble is I’m the world’s worst at selling myself. Whenever I hear the words ‘So what’s your book about?’ my brain freezes and my tongue disappears inside my head.

Have you been in this position? Do you have any tips for being more confidant, or advice to make the most of this networking day?

I look forward to sharing my experience with you and hopefully I’ll have lots of new ideas to put into practise for my current self published novel, and the book I hope to publish early next year.

Results of the poll ‘Are book trailers worth it?’ #indieauthors #writers

Last week I ran a poll to see if it was worth my time and money investing in a book trailer (original post). As promised here are the results.

40% stated it’s a waste of time.

40% stated they would consider buying a book if it had a good trailer.

20% voted other – (waste of money, don’t know what a book trailer is)

0% have sold books because of a book trailer

0% find books to buy that way.

I’ve had some interesting comments from other bloggers who mention other options available to people wanting to make their own trailer. As well as Fiver, there is iMovie, moviemaker and an Animoto app. I’ll be looking into these in more detail when I get the chance.

I still haven’t decided whether to go ahead with the trailer idea. And if I do, will I make the trailer myself or pay for a trailer to be made for me. It’s an extra marketing tool, but there’s still no saying it will encourage people to buy the book.

I like the idea of having a trailer to add to my Amazon page and post on YouTube. Plus there’s the option to get people to watch the trailer for entry into Rafflecopter and Amazon giveaways. These would be great for the trailer’s exposure, but yet more expense.

As one blogger said; ‘While I’ve watched a few book trailers out of sheer curiosity, I’ve never *wanted* to see one. They don’t tell me anything the blurb doesn’t tell me, and I have other things I’d rather watch.’ Lilyn G of Sci-fi & Scary.

So, after this little experiment, I remain undecided.

My thanks to those who took part in the poll, and to those who’ve taken an interest in the post.

Have you anything to add to the discussion? Has this poll encouraged or discouraged you to make or pay for your own trailer?