vb – (often foll by: on) to chatter or babble pointlessly or at unnecessary length
n – pointless chat; chatter
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014
Before we dive into the meat of this post, and my string of honest excuses for a lack of recent weekly posts, I wanted to share a little about the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal I’ve had going on this weekend. (Then I swear we will buck down to brass tacks 😉
Yay! SWIM as I call She Walks in Moonlight is FREE for one more day via Amazon Kindle. I’m super grateful to everyone who already stopped by to pick up their copy!
Now that I’ve officially and shamelessly promoted (hides behind hands) I wanted to reach out to my fellow authors on a marketing side tangent. 🙂 This was technically my first year to try my hand at some legit Black Friday Weekend deals on my books. In order to do this, I had to keep SWIM with Kindle Select. I’ve read and heard much about the pros and cons to keeping exclusive with Amazon. I will tell y’all this much – when you stick with Amazon, they stick with you. Otherwise, when you expand distribution, you will have a difficult time climbing ranks. If you don’t care about rank on Amazon, and already have a great thing going say with iBooks or Kobo or Nook, no worries. But if you’re like me, and you are working to find exposure, select may be the key for you.
I had to make a hard choice (well, not too hard) recently regarding KDP Select. While researching marketing strategies for my current series’ I discovered I had been employing the wrong specific strategy for my platforms (slaps forehead and bangs head on figurative desk.)
So much of my writing career has been spent in either obscurity or random peaks of fringe popularity. I’m not complaining, however because a.) I’m super grateful for those sweet moments of book love & b.) It’s my own darn fault. Too often I discover new things that make me wish I had learned them before hand. Basically I learned this…
Disclosure: What I’m about to reveal to you is largely based off my own experiences, and the research of other smarter people 😉 Links to be shared further below!
I started writing going exclusive with Amazon KDP Select. This means, for those of you not in the know, you can only sell your book digitally through Amazon. You can still widely distribute the print version of your book wherever you want. But Amazon alone holds the rights digitally. In exchange, you can use their promo days to go free or do price countdowns. Also this gives Kindle Unlimited readers access to read your book for small fees/free. You get paid a small amount for each page read.
What I learned recently, is while going KDP Exclusive can really help boost your sales and numbers aka- visibility, it won’t last. You will lose those numbers, unless you find a way to keep up your sales. The great thing about Amazon is once you reach a certain level or tier (namely in the 10 thousands or higher) they will help to keep you there. But if you fluctuate, they will see your peak sales as a fluke and after that promo, back into obscurity you return.
After I initially published KDP Select, I took them out of being Amazon exclusives, and published my books through Smashwords which pushes you out to Nook, Kobo, Book Depository and iBooks readers, to name a few. Which is really fantastic. Smashwords allows you to make your own coupons and helps you reach out across platforms and countries to people who otherwise would never discover you. But if you go wide, Amazon stops promoting you. So you lose that visibility. The best way to maintain your platform with wide distribution is to focus on building your newsletter and writing more books (first free in series also helps!).
It should all be about writing amazing books, publishing legit professional (and edited!) packages, right? That’s why we got into this business after all, right? It wasn’t a business, it was our passion. It was our desperate need to get those stories down on paper or PC or tablet. If only that passion was enough to fund our bank account as well as our muse.
The hard fact you have to face sooner or later, if you’re like me, is that to survive in this industry, you have to be competitive. Yes, definitely support your fellow authors and don’t ever stop reach out and making bridges and connections. We Indies are a community and that’s what it should most definitely always be about. But we also learn from one another, we compete against each other in truth. I’ll admit though, sometimes we band closer together because we are independent. It’s easier to look on bigwig publishing houses as bad guys. But that’s not true either. Yeah, they have more money to push their ticket money makers. And Stephen King will always be in the top ten, same as J.K. Rowling. We can’t all be a Colleen Hoover or Amanda Hocking and break through to the top as Indies. Most of us won’t ever break past the thousands. But making this about numbers isn’t enough either.
It’s been my professional experience, that you can’t survive on passion or ambition alone. To be a successful author, you have to combine both, along with everything that makes you uniquely you. For me, I book blog as my way of giving back to the community I love to support. In turn, they help support me right back. We keep each other above the high waters when times get tough and the market gets over-saturated.
And something I wish I had learned from the beginning, is consistency. Write sequels in succession and don’t skip years like I did. You may lose your audience that way. Write monthly newsletters (yes, I finally caved and made one lol. If you sign up, I promise to only bug you once a month 😉 And finally, blog when you say you’re gonna blog. I still struggle with it, perhaps now more than ever, as I’m both mom and business support manager for Najla Qamber Designs. (cool side note- Najla has done all my book covers. one of those cool examples of how online networking can literally change your career 🙂
I haven’t shared a Weekly Writerly Wittering in weeks, ironically enough. I recently published my third Heaven’s Edge Novella: Tamn (possibly my favorite) and also my first adult contemporary romance, She Walks in Moonlight. I have kept busy connecting with bloggers and organizing mini-tours. I had forgotten how busy book releases can be, and I haven’t even fully begun to promote them. But I’ve been using this experience to learn from past mistakes.
I placed SWIM on sale for Black Friday. It’s exclusive to Amazon, along with Stay, my New Adult Paranormal Romance. And right now I’m using my romance novels as a little side experiment. So far SWIM has reached a good number of people. But it hasn’t done as well as promos I’ve done off holiday weekends. Instead, my current book blog hop giveaway is faring way better. And that’s okay. There is a helluva lot of media and mediums pulling at our attention out there right now. So I’m super happy to have reached the potential readers I have. (thanks btw if you are one of the lovely readers mentioned!)
As we switch gears from one holiday to the next, with New Year’s Resolutions in mind, I hope you will take the brave plunge with me as we continue to strive for better. In life, I’m blessed and lucky to have no complaints. I have everything I need and more than I could ever want. Sure, my family has faced more than one trial/tragedy this year, and the Houston Hurricane hurt us financially. But Thanksgiving did remind me just how much I have to be thankful for, my health, my family. And the unbelievable fact I’m making a living helping the industry I love most. I write and I work and I live each day excited for what new opportunities and knowledge I can uncover. I think in another life I would have been content to be an old world librarian, ancient temple priestess or a nun painting books in a monastery 😉 Because the fact I’m creating and helping others create books gives me such an internal pleasure, it definitely makes up for the fact I’m not famous. I’ve said before and I mean it when I say I wouldn’t want to be famous. Because the little niche I’ve carved in our mini-world allows me to do the very thing I’ve dreamed of since I was a girl. I’m excited to take this journey with you. 🙂 Now before this post rounds out too much like a NYR…
I hope you were able to learn from my experience and past mistakes today. I would love to hear from y’all too, especially if there are things you would like to share of your own experiences. But also too, let’s share what we’re thankful for as we approach the Christmas Season and the New Year. Sappy and sentimental I may sound, but hey, tis the season, right? 😉
Goals for this week/month
Write more Bound Beauty before NaNoWriMo ends!
Read at least two more books.
Finish Silver Hollow P3 rewrites (sooo excited to share this new edition with y’all next year!)
“Kindle Best Seller Calculator” – This is mostly just fun 🙂
“A Tale of Two Marketing Systems” – by David Gaughran (this post is largely what educated me on my recent epiphanies!)
“Ultimate Book Marketing Guide” – Courtesy of BookBub