Reflections In Hindsight

Grace in the Rearview Mirror…it's closer than it appears

  • Ephesians 4:29

    Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (NIV)

    **MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS COPYRIGHT PROTECTED. For permission on reprints or reusing this material, please contact the individual authors. For sharing the actual post, please use the share buttons.

  • Blog Archives

  • Blog Stats

    • 87,344 hits
  • RSS April’s Blog: A Writer’s Journey

    • Chicken and Waffles
      It’s been such a crazy-busy, crazy-fun week that I almost missed a week of A-Z! But never fear, the letter C is here.C as in chicken and waffles, Gladys Knight’s Chicken and Waffles to be exact.My daughter turned eleven this week, and to celebrate we spent a couple days in Atlanta with her Mamaw doing girlie stuff, like eating yummy food (because only girls […]
      noreply@blogger.com (April Gardner)
  • RSS Barn Door Book Loft

    • A Warm Welcome to Beth Wiseman
      It's a real pleasure to welcome Beth Wiseman to our site today! Welcome, Beth!Is there a story behind your book The Promise? Yes.  A remarkable story that is very close to my heart.  The Promise is inspired by actual events.  Someone close to me (we are calling her Laurie) traveled to Pakistan, married a man there, and was ultimately held captive.  I ha […]
    • The Promise by Beth Wiseman
      Back Cover Blurb:Mallory’s search for happiness leads her to a faraway place. There she finds heartache, betrayal--and danger.  Can the only man she’s ever loved rescue her before it’s too late?Mallory Hammond is determined not to let her boyfriend, parents, or anyone else get in the way of her #1 goal--to save a life.  She had that chance when she was a tee […]
    • A Blizzard Full Of Book Winners
      Once again, we offer you a warm welcome to the Bookshelf of the Barn Door Book Loft.And before we announce these eight winners we’d like to offer a special thanks to:Raelee May Carpenter who offered her Young Adult book: The Lincoln High Project. Misty M. Beller who offered her Historical Romance The Lady and the Mountain Man. Virginia Tenery who offered her […]
  • RSS Clash of the Titles

    • September New Releases Clash
      Welcome to the September clash!!Five new books for your bookshelf this month! From suspense to humor, these books are the newest addition to CBA. Which one lands at the top of your to-be-read pile? Based on what you see below, please choose the book that grabs you--the one you'd read first. Cast your vote below and help bring one book to the top of the […]
    • Announcing the 2014 Laurel Award Winner!
      2014 LAUREL AWARD WINNERAuthor Ruth Reid's novel A MIRACLE OF HOPEis the winner of Clash of the Titles's fourth annual Laurel Award.CONGRATULATIONS, RUTH!Ruth will receive the following: a beautiful banner to display on her website; a year-long page on COTT dedicated to the winning book, A Miracle of Hope; a "Heart of the Matter" radio in […]
    • ANNOUNCING THE LAUREL FINALISTS!
      The entries have been read and the scores have been tallied. Our unique panel of judges, comprised strictly of readers, has determined our three finalists. And they are…Ruth Reid's A Miracle of HopeJune Foster's Deliver UsCarole Brown's The Redemption of Caralynne HaymanCongratulations to all three!!(Of special note, this is Ruth's second […]
  • RSS Little Bits Blog

    • Are You Teachable?
      What? You think you know everything? I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news but no one knows everything. Oh, there is one, Hashem. He's omniscient. But no one else is. Even Yeshua (Jesus) isn't. He doesn't know the hour or day he will come again. Some people rejoice in learning something new. I tend to be one of those people. I read about […]
    • Too Blessed To Be Stressed
      I’m pretty addicted to computer games. There have been a number, over the years, I have enjoyed. Right now I’m playing Zynga’s Castleville Legends. I’m in an alliance of ladies who play and help each other. It’s a generous,  supporting group with a fair number of believers. We encourage each other and have a lot of fun. The ladies are from all over the US, p […]
    • 12 Reasons to Live in a Small Town
      Living in small towns has special challenges and delights. When I say ‘small’ I mean ‘small’. The town I live near has approximately 250 people. The county seat has 3600 and the county has about 16,000. So this is rural America. You might think this county was in the western states where the population is lower and space is not a problem. No, I live in Illin […]
  • RSS Living Our Faith Out Loud

    • From Now On, with Susan A. Royal
      Remember, friends, MuseItUp is a Canadian publisher, so some Queen's English rules apply.Introducing Susan A. Royal, a fellow MuseItUp Publishing author, to talk about her new book,From Now OnAbout the Book:     Griffin has traveled across centuries to reunite with the woman he loves, but he and Erin may not get their ‘happy ever after’. Not if Lady Iso […]
    • Book Review Desperate Dreams by Kim McMahill
      Desperate Dreams: Deadly ExodusKim McMahillc. 2012Prism Book GroupISBN: 978-0984764587Price 3.9911.99Buy on AmazonBuy on Barnes and NobleSet in the scary near-future, Desperate Dreams is a dystopian story about a state-controlled society attempting to reduce crime and corruption by moral bankruptcy.McMahill tells the story of four teens plotting to rebel aga […]
    • World Wide Blog Hop and High Stakes WIP
      I'm pleased to follow Cherie Burbach in a World Wide Blog Hop.Cherie posted here last week: http://workingwritersandbloggers.com/2014/10/17/world-wide-blog-hopWhat am I working on?I'm currently at work on a project that follows my 2010 award-winning novel, Meander Scar. The story takes place in that year, and I wish I had been taking better notes a […]
  • RSS Nearly Brilliant

    • Book Giveaway: The Beckoning by Michael Minot
      In celebration of Michael Minot's new book, The Beckoning, Nearly Brilliant is giving away one copy of the book (print or ebook, winner's choice). To enter, leave a comment below with your email stating why you'd like to win a copy. Here's more about the book and the author.Several years after graduating from law school, Michael Minot dis […]
    • Free and Discounted Kindle Book Deals
      Don't miss this special promo for free and discounted book deals on Kindle Books and TipsThe Treasure Seeker: The Quest to Find God, Spiritual Intimacy and Value is just .99For more freebies and deals, sign up for their ezine. www.fkbooksandtips.com 
    • BOOK REVIEW: THE BECKONING BY MICHAEL MINOT
      Michael Minot, a lawyer, is a former atheist who now follows Christ. The Beckoning is not only his story regarding how his beliefs changed but an orderly and methodical account of how the methods he applied to find authentication and proof of God’s validity as he conducted research of the scriptures.While still single, Minot was challenged by a Christian fri […]
  • BLOG NEWS

    Thank you for your encouragement and support for the past three years. We've had fun connecting with you and hope you've found useful material here on Reflections. And here's the but... Reflections In Hindsight is closing on December 21, 2012. Elaine and Sophie and I can be found over at http://authorculture.blogspot.com; April can be found at Clash of the Titles, http://www.clashofthetitles, http://www.aprilgardner.com and watch for news for more novels from her!; Janet is ever-present on the Internet with her very special words of wisdom and grace at http://www.janetperezeckles.com, and Luther--who knows where he'll show up next, but I'd watch my back if I were you... Book Reviews are always important, so I, Lisa, will continue to offer them through my blog, as well as those promotions for your new books or book launches, or your news.
  • Second Monday: Sophie Dawson

  • Tuesdays – Promotion in Motion

  • Wednesdays: Life of a Writer – April & Positivity – Lisa Lickel

  • Thursdays – Luther’s on board

  • Fridays – Revolutionary Faith, Devotions by Elaine

  • Saturdays – Janet Perez Eckles

  • Sunday – Reflections Book Reviews

  • Blog Authors

  • The Barn Door

  • The Barn Door Book Loft. Free Books! Book Giveaways.

  • John 3:16 Marketing Network widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)>

Tips on How To Sell Books on Kindle

Posted by Lisa Lickel on April 9, 2012

You just can’t hear enough advice on how to promote your books. ~Lisa

Tips on How To Sell Books on Kindle

 

First of all, why should you listen to me, an unknown author, tell you how to sell your book on Kindle? A little more than a year ago, I was a semi-retired professor of U.S. Women’s history who, besides a few academic articles, had never published a thing. What I did have was a manuscript of an historical mystery I had written 20 years earlier, based on my doctoral research on working women in the late nineteenth century. In the 20 years after writing the first draft, while I pursued my teaching career, I found an agent, collected rejections, lost an agent, published briefly with a small Print on Demand (POD) press, rewrote the manuscript several times, and I was now giving the book one more chance. I also owned a Kindle, which I loved. After serious investigation, I decided to publish my book, Maids of Misfortune: A Victorian San Francisco, as an ebook with Amazon and Smashwords, and in print through CreateSpace. I paid for a cover design, but put the book up on Kindle myself. That was December of 2009.

 

Since then, I have sold over 10,000 books, the vast majority of them from the Kindle store. I now average 55 books sold a day, and I am making enough money that I have retired completely to work on the sequel, Uneasy Spirits. When I started, I had no particular expertise and no fan base, but I did have access to a world of advice being put out daily on blogs and websites hosted by indie authors, designers, editors, and marketers. I found that when I put their advice to work, was patient, and persistent, it paid off. Here are some of my tips distilled from what I learned from others and my own experience.   

 

Tip #1: Think about selling from the buyer’s perspective. When a reader goes to buy a book in a traditional bookstore, they either go to the store looking for a specific book because they have heard about it, or they browse the shelves and tables in the store and discover a book. Then they either buy it or they don’t. As an author of an ebook, you need to figure out how readers are going to find out about your book or find it among all the more than 800,000 books in the Kindle store. Then you are going to have to do everything to make sure that once they have found it, they buy it.

 

Tip #2: Hang out where readers of Kindle books hang out. While you can promote your book through traditional means (print reviews, book tours and signings, mailed postcards, conventions, business cards), increasingly this is a world where potential readers hang out in cyberspace. They find book reviews on blogs like Mysteries and My Musings that specialize in reviewing the genre they like, they look for lists of books on line (Cozy Mystery List or Historical Mystery Fiction), they “like” the facebook pages of their favorite author or favorite subgenre (Mystery Most Cozy), they follow twitter #tags, they join reader sites like GoodReads, and they subscribe to blogs and groups that cater to Kindle owners like KindleBoards, Kindle Forum, Kindlechat, or Kindle Nation Daily.

 

As an author you need to go to these sites, sign up, become active, and participate in the conversations. Most of these sites let you put up a profile picture, and if people begin to see your face, they will begin to feel like they know you. Your voice in a comment or a guest blog post or a Goodreads review will tell a potential reader if they think they will like your perspective on the world. Your customized signature, with links back to your author website and or blog, and small pictures of your book covers, linked to your Amazon product page, play the role of your business card. The more times a potential reader runs across your name and your book titles, the more likely they will decide to put that name and book title into their search bar when they are looking for new books to download.

 

Tip #3: Besides having a well-written and edited book, your cover design, interior design and formatting are the most crucial elements to success. If you are going to shell out any money out front-this is where to spend it. If the cover looks home made, or you can’t read the title and author in a small thumbnail, or if the cover doesn’t convey the type of book it is (thriller, cozy, etc), then the reader isn’t going to make the effort to find it, look at, it or buy it. If the book is hard to read and has lots of formatting errors in the excerpt, they will also take a pass. If you have the technological expertise or design experience, you can do this yourself, but if you don’t, this isn’t where to skimp. There are lots of freelancers out there with reasonable rates. See a recent post on do’s and don’ts of cover designs or the blog by Joel Friedlander, The Book Designer

 

Tip #4: Make sure your book is ready for prime time before you start to promote. Your product description needs to be well-written, your excerpt must be available, and you should have at least 4-5 reviews written by professional reviewers (not just friends and family members). There are more and more websites, blogs, and enewsletters that are willing to review ebooks, and with Kindle gift certificates you can easily send a free copy to a reviewer. Most professional reviewers will then go on and put their reviews on Amazon. However, it is a good idea to have a print edition (POD) to send to those reviewers who insist on this.

 

Tip #5: Make your pricing competitive. Go to the specific categories in which your book will show up and look at prices of your competitors. If you aren’t a big name with a new release, $2.99-3.99 is probably the safest price point for genre fiction. While 99 cents is ok for an initial offering, and an excellent way to get a bump in sales to send you up the rankings, you really have to sell a lot to make up for the loss of the 70% royalty Amazon gives for books between $2.99-9.99. For example, if you look at the vast majority of other books in the historical mystery category, they are $6 and above, often for books that have been out for five or more years. This means there is a good chance they have either already been read by the buyer, or simply seem too expensive for an ebook, when the paperback or hard cover book may be only a few dollars more (or sometimes even the same or a lower price than the ebook. What are those traditional publishers thinking???) No wonder I am out-selling those books.

 

Tip #6: Don’t make your big promotional push prematurely. Banners on Kindle sites, promotional packages on Kindle Nation Daily, paying for an ad blitz, or promotional contests, can cause a temporary bump in sales. But only if everything else is in place (see tip #4.) If the book ranking is too far away from them top 100s in the rankings of any sub-category, a temporary bump isn’t going get the book up high enough in the rankings to self-perpetuate the sales. One of the wonderful things about self-publishing is that you have time. Time to tweak your cover or book blurb, time to get those book reviews, time to correct errors in the text, time to build your readership and your rankings. Then spend the time and money on the big promotional push.

 

 

Tip #7: Use Amazon’s browsing capabilities effectively. If you were selling your book in a traditional bookstore, you would hope that the buyer would find your book by browsing the bookshelves. They would have the best chance of finding your book if it was on one of the bestseller or bargain tables at the front of the store, or had a little “staff recommends tag” on the book on the shelf. What would be awful would be if your book wasn’t shelved in the right place, so the potential reader looking for a good mystery to read didn’t find your book there because it was shelved in general fiction, or romance.

 

What is truly wonderful about publishing on Kindle, is that your book will be recommended or find its way to the bestseller table along side the traditionally published books at no additional cost or personal contact with the bookstore.

 

First, when a buyer goes to the Kindle store, if they have purchased book in your category, your book may show up in the list that says “Recommended for you.” Or, your book can show up on the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” list at the bottom of the screen. I’ll never forget when I went to look for an Anne Perry book–the star of Victorian mysteries—and found my book on that list!! If you sell enough books, Amazon will actually send out little emails to targeted customers saying that they think they might like your book. Talk about free promotional support!

 

Finally, if your book sells enough and has good enough reviews, your book can make the over all top 100 ranked books on Kindle (I have made it to the 200s, so I have hope) or more likely, it will make it to the top 100 in a sub-category (as I have in historical mysteries) and be called a best seller. Readers browse through those best sellers looking for books to buy. If you make it into the top 10-20 books in a specific sub-category, this means when someone browses in that category that your book will pop right up on the screen, ready and waiting for an impulse buy.

 

But none of the above is likely happen if your book can’t be found in the right browsing categories. As an indie author, this is your responsibility. When you upload your book you have five choices of browsing paths. Think carefully, but inventively. If I had just listed my novel in the main category, “mystery & thriller,” Maids of Misfortune would be competing against 32,000 other books in the Kindle store. But if I instead chose the sub-category of “mystery,” my book would then be competing in a group of 8000. Better odds, but still not great. When I went even further, and chose an additional sub-category, “women sleuths,” my book now is in a category with 5300 other books, giving it even better odds of being found. However, when I put in the right tags on my book as well, for example the tag “historical,” and the buyer puts that tag into the search box, because 5300 books is still too much to for them to browse though, my book becomes one of only 446 books listed. Bingo! In fact if you do that today, Maids of Misfortune comes up number one.

 

Check to make sure that your combination of browsing categories and sub-categories and the tags you have listed gives you the most competitive advantage. Initially, because of a computer glitch, Maids of Misfortune didn’t show up in the historical mysteries sub-category. I still sold books, but not that many of them. Once I got this fixed and got my reviews in place (tip #4) and lowered my price (tip #5), I did my one big promotional push and got my short story on Kindle Nation Daily shorts (tip #6). Maids of Misfortune then ran to the top of the historical mysteries category, where it has been ever since, and my sales success began.

 

So, time, patience, persistence, attention to my 7 tips, and, of course, a well-written book, and the Kindle store can be a great place for indie authors to sell books.

 

This post originally was a guest post on The Henderson Files. Other of my posts can be found on my blog, M. Louisa Locke’s Front Parlor.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,245 other followers

%d bloggers like this: