33: 12/08/15 Back To The Future: new Amazon link

For me to gain control of the Amazon marketing of The Traveling Man, Bookbaby has to stop distribution. I then upload The Traveling Man at Amazon myself, which means that Amazon treats it as a new book and gives it a new link. I lose my old link and Amazon ranking. In theory, I keep my reviews because the books are identical. Then I’ll have to go to all the social media places where I’ve placed my Amazon link and change it to the new one or potential readers won’t be able to find me. Yeah, I know, it’s like I’m starting over.

You can be sure that I won’t make this mistake again. Marketing control is absolutely essential to making sales. Changing the link at Facebook and Twitter won’t be difficult, but there are a lot of Pinterest pins that I’ll need to change. Plus, I’m at a Pinterest standstill until I complete this transition because I don’t want to create pins that I’ll just have to change. And this doesn’t even include changing links at all the promotion sites I’m listed at or asking reviewers to change the link in The Traveling Man review on their blog.

There couldn’t be a worse time of the year for solving this problem. But waiting won’t help. Not having marketing control is crushing my sales, so I’ve just got to go for it. (Right now, I can’t even see how my sales are going because I have to wait 90 days for Amazon to pay me to see what my sales were. Currently, I’m waiting to find out how I did in September. I’m guesstimating the size of my problem by comparing click through rates vs. actual sales vs. my Amazon bestseller ranking for a particular time period.) I still hope to be all switched over before January, when folks start spending their Amazon gift certificates and new Kindle owners start buying eBooks.

On the up side, traffic has increased on my social media sites, particularly on my Facebook writer page and at my website. Thanks to all my friends for their support!

As per usual, if you read The Traveling Man, I would appreciate your honest review at the place where you bought it (Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, etc.). Just scroll down to the customer review area. Doesn’t have to be an essay; eight to ten words would do the trick. (Of course, I wouldn’t turn an essay down if you had it in you.) Just looking for your honest opinion. Take a look at what others have written and you’ll get the idea.

That’s all for now. Any thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.

32: 12/1/15 Knowing What I Didn’t Know: Rethinking my strategy

Rethinking my strategy. Originally, back in March of this year, as I was finalizing my plans to bring out The Traveling Man, my thinking was this:

I had an excellent product (Kirkus review as evidence), so I went with a low set price ($2.99—less than a cup of coffee, no barrier to a reader) and broad distribution to as many booksellers as possible. (I went with BookBaby for distribution. They did everything they said they would.) I’d learn whatever social media I had to and by the end of the year all would be good (whatever I thought that meant).

Now I know that my thinking was entirely wrong. I still think I have a great novel. But now I know that people won’t take a chance for $2.99 because the market is flooded with books. If readers don’t already know your name and your writing, they expect free books or $.99 books. Similarly, I haven’t had all that many sales, but the vast bulk of my sales have come from Amazon. I’ve had a few sales from Barnes and Noble and iBooks, but I’ve had no sales at all from most of the booksellers The Traveling Man is distributed to. And my sales have been hurt by not being an Amazon Kindle Select author, where Amazon Prime members and Kindle unlimited members can read for free, but I get paid and it counts in my Amazon paid ranking. And so far a social media, now I know that the more well known you are, the more it helps you. For example, if I tweet “Michael King The Traveling Man new thriller January 10” and the person reading the tweet knows me, they may pay attention. But it they don’t already know me, my tweet means nothing to them. It just a stranger shouting.

So at least for now I need to retrench and find a way to narrow my distribution to Amazon, so I can take full advantage of their market strength as I get ready to bring out The Computer Heist. I have to be ready to run special discounts and use social media to get the word out. And I have to find ways to improve my social media presence and get more book reviews. Success breeds success.

I want to take a moment for a special shout out to my Rave Reviews Book Club friends. I learned a lot last week as a Spotlight Author. And I got a lot of tweets and retweets. (Which turns into a lot of looks and click-throughs, but no sales because my $2.99 price is too high. Did I tell you already that I’m a slow learner?)

As per usual, if you read The Traveling Man, I would appreciate your honest review at the place where you bought it (Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, etc.). Just scroll down to the customer review area. Doesn’t have to be an essay; eight to ten words would do the trick. (Of course, I wouldn’t turn an essay down if you had it in you.) Just looking for your honest opinion. Take a look at what others have written and you’ll get the idea.

That’s all for now. Any thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.

28: 11/3/15 Three book review types

There are three basic book review types, which serve, I think, different but overlapping purposes: the professional review, the website review, and the customer review.

The professional review, written for a review journal—Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, Midwest Review, NY Times Book Review, etc—offers the validation of your work from a disinterested party. How good is your book? Such a review will tell you in terms of comparison to the other books being reviewed or having been reviewed in the past by that journal. If you can get such a review, you can use it for a cover blurb, first page blurb, etc. So you want this type of review when you first release your book or right before you release your book. And this proof of the quality of your work might be just what you need to persevere during the long, drawn-out marketing campaign that you’re about to get into. Having trouble gaining readers? Well, a good professional review tells you that your problem is marketing, not your book.

The website review, depending on the number of followers that the site has, may offer similar validation. But besides validation of the quality of your work, the website review connects you to everyone who follows that site—people who have a definite interest in that reviewer’s opinion or subject matter, which, I think, shares your book with a group of people who may be more specifically interested in your topic than readers at the professional review outlet. The more of these potential readers you reach, the better.

Customer reviews, except in the case of mega reviewers who have followers similar to website reviewers, are retail reviews. They show your quality by shear mass. After all, anyone, by dint of effort, can accumulate ten or twelve reviews, some of which may not be accurate (If they were traded for or written by family, etc. Just saying, we’ve all seen these reviews). But fifty reviews? There must be a variety of opinion, even if the reviews are all good, which helps a potential reader to evaluate (along with reading the opening pages) whether your book is for them. And if a large number of these reviews are written by website reviewers? Well, just imagine the multiplier effect in terms of the number of potential readers who will see the review. So, ideally, you’d want all three types of reviews to get complete review coverage.

I just want to shout out to all my social media friends—whether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or catch me at my website, https://michaelpking.org , thanks for your support!

As per usual, if you read The Traveling Man, I would appreciate your honest review at the place where you bought it (Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, etc.). Just scroll down to the customer review area. Doesn’t have to be an essay; eight to ten words would do the trick. (Of course, I wouldn’t turn an essay down if you had it in you.) Just looking for your honest opinion. Take a look at what others have written and you’ll get the idea.

If you have any advice on how to attract readers, I’d love to hear from you.

My Publishing Journey

I’ve gotten my first ebook out. I’ve read a lot of information about what I should do to market myself–write a blog, get going on Facebook, Twitter, etc, learn how to manipulate metadata–but what what will really work for me? Or for anyone like me, a person who’s not “expert guy” or “tech guy” or “marketing guru”? This is the place where I’m going write about all the different ways I try to get my ebook The Traveling Man noticed, and then try to evaluate which ways seem to work the best.  Maybe I’ll be successful, and maybe what works for me will work for you as well. Let the journey begin.