Ad Placements

Today, while deciding whether to buy We Own the Night by Corinne Michaels, I decided to see whose books show up at the bottom where the paid ads go. I couldn’t remember if I had added her name to my AMS keywords or not, or if I did, if I inadvertently turned the ads off because I was kinda starting over with my ads in September. I’d just bought Dear Bridget I Want You by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward yesterday so now that I’m on a tight budget and need to make my Kindle Unlimited subscription work for me more (after not reading a single book for a year while I was subscribed to it at $10/month), I figured I’d check it out a bit more.

Well, I scrolled the ads at the bottom instead and found two of my books among the 17 ‘pages’ of ads. My bids for these two ads are probably between $0.16 – 0.18 and it I’ve just begun another ad just with Corinne Michaels’ keywords and We Own the Night at $0.25. We’ll see how that goes.

We’ll see how that goes.

I’m not doing that great on ads in general right now, at least, not with AMS ads. I have FB ads that I think are doing okay although they’re not doing Loving Ashe/Loving Riley books any good for wide sales. I got one sale yesterday for Loving Ashe and that’s after 2 – 3 days of no sales at all for both books with the wide vendors.

I’m going to announce that Loving Ashe/Loving Riley are going into KU for the holidays and it is what it is. We’ll have to see what happens then. Will it increase its income from what I’ve earned so far with it in the past year? Or will it not?

My theory is that KU will help it, if I’m doing ads across the board, whether it’s AMS or FB or doing promos KU promos for it. Cross my fingers!

So It’s KU For the Last Quarter

After much consideration, I will be putting Loving Ashe and Loving Riley into KU from October – December. I’ve been crunching the numbers of late and so far these have been my results.

From January 1 to September 23, 2017, these are the numbers for Loving Ashe, Loving Riley and the book bundle:

WIDE – $3240.31 (30%)
KDP – 7547.61 (70%)

TOTAL: $10787.92 (100%)

I put in an average of $300 – $600 a month towards FB ads for this series mainly to attract wide sales but when you end up with these sales numbers, you realize that idealism and wanting the other retailers to succeed against Amazon’s domination isn’t going to put food on your table. Hard data doesn’t lie and neither does simple math.

And if I were to run the advertising numbers against the sales numbers, my net royalties will be even lower.

It makes sense that despite paying for ads to drive sales to other channels, Amazon still dominates in sales. The screenshots below are from February 2017’s Author Earnings report with Amazon taking the largest chunk of the ebook sales pie.

 

From Author Earnings February 2017

Raising the Stakes

RAISE THE STAKES BY MAKING IT PERSONAL

IF THE CHARACTER FAILS, HE WILL:

Look bad in the eyes of those he cares about.

Disappoint someone who he is responsible for

Trigger a cascade of events that cause others hardship

Create fallout leading to another paying for his mistake

Need to make a sacrifice that hurts to give

Cause a grave injustice to occur.

Ruin his reputation

Lose someone he cares about

Cause himself great emotional pain and turmoil

Cause another (an innocent) pain or strife

Be forced to give up on a treasured goal or desire

Need to take a big risk to right the situation

Force another to take a risk with danger has increased

Be directly responsible for another’s death

Source: http://onesteopforwriters.com

Never Gets Old

I saw this last night in the Amazon Canada store and just had to take a screenshot. Right now, I checked and it’s back to #2.

But for now, seeing that orange banner feels pretty good.

In other news, my new release is SOL. Hopefully I can finish it before September 10. If not, then I will need to move the release date. I’m cutting it pretty close but the kid doesn’t go to school until tomorrow which means until then, my brain is fried with him with me the whole summer. Even weekends.

Beyond FB Ads

I scheduled these promos after Facebook disabled my ad account the first time. They’d end up disabling it two more times and luckily activating it again after I emailed them asking why. They never gave me an answer but when it first happened, I figured I’d put my ad money elsewhere to the tune of $175 (from the transactions I remember).

Robin Reads: $60 (I would need to sell 161 units to break even at 0.35 royalty per book)
BargainBooksy: $80 (I would need to sell 288 units to break even)
LoveKissed: $15 (22 books sold to break even)
LitRing: $5 (14 books)
LoveKissed (NEED): $15 (22 books)
TOTAL: $175 (500 books total to break even at 35% royalty per book)

Let’s see what happens. I’m writing this around 10:50 am and will update below with the final numbers. I don’t even spend this much on my FB and AMS ads, just saying…

Verdict so far: it does NOT look good. 

Loving Ashe was supposed to be promoted on BargainBooksy at its regular price ($2.99) back in July 30, but because I had scheduled a 99 cent sale on August 14 because Robin Reads was available (and I wanted to try them out to the tune of $60 after Facebook disabled my ad account and I freaked out), it was then moved to 8/14. I also scheduled Love Kissed Author Promotions for this and with Robin Reads and Love Kissed newsletters having gone out before 10 am and with only 28 sales (this includes a bump in sales from my own newsletter sent out at 4am), let’s say my $60 to Robin Reads was better spent on Facebook or AMS ads on a FULL PRICED book.

Robin Reads
Love Kissed email post

Bargainbooksy just confirmed their post via email after 10 am so it remains to be seen how that does. That cost $80 and honestly, it’s money best spent on AMS and FB ads next time. Honestly, if I’m spending close to $180 in one day for these newsletter “boosts”, the only worthwhile one is really Bookbub. I could have just handed them my money and called it a day. Instead, this is a very expensive lesson learned.

Bargain Booksy listing which is placed towards the bottom of the email. Easily lost after people go through about 10 other books before they see this one.
Ranking close to 11 am

And then there’s Need, my Drazen World novella discounted to 99 cents for the month of August by Kindle Worlds (I have no control over this) and so I signed it up for Bookzio which came out today but the rank hasn’t budged so that’s a fail.

Bookzio’s email post
Ranking as of 10 am this morning. No change.

It’s going to be featured by YourNewbooks.com on 8/18 so we’ll see how that goes. That’s a free listing by the way – and this goes for Bookzio as well, courtesy of my KDROI add-on.

FINAL RESULTS ARE IN:

Amazon: $18.31 (65 sales)

D2D: $6.06

TOTAL: $24.14

Loss: -150.86

FINAL VERDICT: If I’m doing any newsletter promo, I’m better off saving for a Bookbub OR just advertising steadily every day via FB and Amazon. Also, be quiet in the forums. Don’t ruffle any feathers and keep writing and publishing more books.

Secret Project Launched

So I’m sitting here with a late cup of coffee (it’s 3 minutes to noon as I write this) because I spent the whole morning doing research for my upcoming release, managing my advertising, and editing the website and the new release for the, um… other pen name.

Yes, she released her book and it’s out there in the wilds of the Amazon Kindle Unlimited jungle. The book is sexy, smart, and made a whopping $3.43 in her first four days. It’s also 99 cents, that’s why, so royalties only amount to 35%.

Don’t feel bad for the pen name though (or do, it’s up to you) but I’m looking at this as an eye-opening exercise in starting from the beginning. Because I can’t advertise the secret pen name, said pen name has to start from scratch like she doesn’t know anyone in the business. And really, she doesn’t, which means no one knows anything about her either much like, you guessed it, any brand new author.

What this secret pen name does have is experience and lessons learned from lots of mistakes. So armed with no platform, “secret” (I might as well name her) did the following:

  1. Website
  2. Mailing List
  3. Patreon – no patrons yet because she has yet to officially launch it
  4. Facebook Page
  5. Paid a virtual assistant to “pimp” her book out to Facebook groups for a day which got her 10 Page likes on her page
  6. Paid to have her book included in a website that sells books like hers sometime in August
  7. Added her book to be promoted for free to certain newsletters starting sometime in August

What I still need to do:

  1. Write a short story as a bonus for signing up to the mailing list.
  2. Write the next two books in the trilogy so I can then bundle them together in one volume in addition to the three books sold separately.

You could say it’s How to Self-Publish and Market a Book and Build Your Author Platform… 101.

It’s actually fun minus the urgency and sense of panic I felt in the beginning of NOT having a platform and nonexistent sales. I know they will come as long as I do one thing: write more books.

Yup, it’s the same advice I hear from every successful author (not the one-hit wonders, by the way, but I’m talking about indie authors since that’s what I am) out there. Write more books. Tell more stories. Entertain your readers.

Isn’t that what storytellers do?

Third Time’s the Charm. Looks Like I’m Out.

Yup, I’m afraid I’m officially out of Facebook Advertising. My ad account got disabled for the third time in 17 days after I turned this ad set back on:

Both of these ads registered 10/10 on the relevancy scale and had good CTR and CPC numbers. And judging by the lack of sales from July 1 – 17, they also got me sales while they were running.

Maybe the people who keep telling me that someone is out to get me are right. Someone is out to get me and they’ve tagged this book as reason enough to disable my account every time.

Oh, and this time Facebook did not give me any recourse to appeal, whether on the ad itself or the disabling of the account – they didn’t even notify me that the account was disabled. The only reason I knew was because they charged Paypal for the ad balance within three minutes of submitting those ads above.

And when I received the email saying that my ad was APPROVED, it took me to the ad manager panel but its buttons are all greyed out and the user (me) is not authorized to use it. And of course, that lovely notice above.

It will probably hit me later, the full deactivation of my ad account and at this point, there’s nothing I can do unless I want to wallow in self-pity and cry, woe is me. So someone is out to get me. So I’m not going to hit my sales targets this month. It is what it is.

In the meantime, it’s back to Plan B and keep writing that book. Only I’m not writing that book…

Fussy Librarian Free Promo

Today is a free promo for Finding Sam on Fussy Librarian.

Here’s a closer look. It’s under Romance and it cost me $5 to have the title listed.

I forgot to check my stats this morning because I was busy making Ripl videos for Drazen World but while checking my aggregate stats at 1pm, I noticed that Finding Sam was ranking high in the Amazon Free Store.

And it made it to #3 in its subcategory.

Because the book is with Pronoun, I cannot see the live stats–like how many copies have been downloaded–until tomorrow. And even then, they’re SO late with reporting with so many delays so I can’t even really trust their numbers anymore. What matters is that hopefully there’s sell-through to Finding Sam Part Two and In His Heart.

You’re probably wondering why I have this book for free and aren’t I devaluing my work by doing so? Didn’t I spend a long time to write it? Isn’t it special?

Yes, it is a special book (like all my books), but like any marketing decision, I’m also looking at the long game. I mentioned “sell-through” and that means that even though Finding Sam Part One is free, I’m hoping that people will buy Part Two for $2.99 and if they really are hooked on the story more, maybe they’ll continue with In His Heart, which is Olivia and Josh’s story.

In the past, I used to give away my books for free all because the “gurus” told me it was the best way unknown authors could get discovered. Well, if you only have one book, it’s not a good marketing decision at all because once that reader gets to finish reading your book, there’s nothing else for them to buy if they like it. Worse, if you don’t have a sign-up to your mailing list at the end of the book, also called Call to Action or CTA, then they don’t really have any way to find you either. I see this all the time in new indie books and sometimes, in the second and third books they release. It’s as if they don’t want the reader to find them. The words “get to” is italicized above because sometimes people just grab the book because it’s free but it could be a year before they even crack it open to read.

However, if you have another book, a sequel–or even better, three or more books in the series–then that first book that you gave away for free is your loss leader. It’s why printers are so cheap when you buy them because companies make more money from the ink that you’ll need to use the printer.

Does that make Finding Sam Part One a loss leader? Yes, it does. And that’s okay. The story runs over 132K words and after offering it as a full book for three years, I finally decided to split it into two books. Why it took me so long I don’t know but it’s also the first time I’m actually feeling proud of it, and I mean that in a marketing mindset. I was just never ready to deal with marketing it because I dedicated it to my late best friend who lost her battle with ovarian cancer.

Anyway, it remains to be seen what happens tomorrow. Sales have been inconsistent that I’ve given up checking on my stats. It says I sell X number of books but the sales amount doesn’t compute. It’s always less than what I’m supposed to be earning and I’ve stopped trying to figure out WHY. Just hustle harder. That’s the name of the game.

And before I go, here’s the final look before I call it a day.