Thursday, July 11, 2013

When your books sales go Thelma & Louise on you...

For the first time since September, I'm experiencing a huge slow down in sales.  I'm not sure the culprit but I have read that this is normal even for the best of the best. They call this phenomenon a Sales Cliff and it sucks because the timing sucks - I'm counting on this to help cover my expenses for my road trip I'm taking in September. What I make this month determines how much of a cushion I have to cover the days I'm not paid from my regular day job.

I did find out that you can contact Amazon's customer support and ask them to put you in a category you can't see (because it's not listed). The trick is to be nice with them and be patient. I sent them an email yesterday and I'm waiting to hear back from them. By asking them, they can place you in multiple categories on top of the normal two you are only allowed to pick.

Another thing you can do is release another book. That helps too but I'm in the middle of two projects right now. I don't think I will be able to get done in time for it to make a difference and you don't want to rush your books.

Quality will always win, hands down. Put out a good product and try to get reviews and that should solidify your books place. Put out a crappy product and the negative reviews will kill your book, even if you fixed it..

Also keep in mind that no matter how good your book is, there will always be someone, somewhere who hates your book. They may think it sucks, or think a 5 year old can do better. IGNORE THEM.

On the opposite side of the coin, you will probably have fans who think every word you type is gold and you can do no wrong. In other words, continue doing what you're doing. Our audience will find us in time.

Most importantly, as I said before, you want to have a email signup form on your website to start capturing email addresses. This will take time to gather them but in the long run, you'll be glad you did.

Let's say you have 500 email addresses. Tell them that on Friday (such and such date) your book will be coming out and they will most likely follow your link on that day. When Amazon sees a lot of interest/buys on your book, your ranking will go up. They call this an Amazon Rush.  :-)

Second most important thing to have is a professional book cover. This stops people from browsing and makes them stop and look at your description.

What they are looking for is "Can I trust you to give me a good experience?" How you word your description is the next most important thing...

Third - A Killer Description. This is very misleading because you don't really want to spill the beans and give away what your book is about. That's part of the joy of reading.

Instead, your description should be like a sales ad, starting with any awards/kudos or acknowlegements from someone important.

This establishes trust that you are going to give them a good experience. Your description is basically trying to tell someone "relax, you're making the right decision."

Add a few blurbs and follow up with a final saying like "If you love ____________ then this book is for you!" to seal the deal. The name of the game is to get your product onto people's devices. (A Sale.)

Just remember that sometimes no matter what you do, you can't change the Amazon winds that blow into your sails or not. You can do everything right and the wind just isn't blowing. Try not to be discouraged.

Use this time to double check everything, strengthen anything the needs tweaking, work on trust and relationships with your readers and bloggers because they have access to lots of people who are readers. One good blogger with a huge following can really turn a bad month into a super month.

It's going to suck this month for me in sales but that's okay. (It may change but I'm basing it on the current trends.) I'm working on getting more quality content out, I'm checking and rechecking things and I'm working on making my image (called Author Platform) better so readers trust me, as they should.

For me to reach my goal of making enough money to stay home and write full time, I need to find 1000 new readers every month. That's it... just 1000. Consistently. Once I can do that, I'll be able to stay home and focus on pumping out more books, and do the things I want to do.

However, this month feels like that goal is so far away and I'm back at square one/Day one. That's okay, I know what's possible. I've already proven it.

Did you notice I said goal and not dream. Goals are attainable and are under our control. Dreams are out of our control and may or may not be attainable. For example...

Goal: I'm going to write 2000 words minimum every day. (This is a realistic thing that can be done if you focus.)

Dream: I want to be a New York Times Best Seller. (This is a nie dream to have but getting on the NYT best seller list is something that just has to play out on its own.

So many factors out of my control have to happen. For one, lots of people have to buy my books in a short period of time and do so over a certain amount of time. There's other factors too but you get my point.

Do what you can, Don't worry about what you can't control.

As Joe Konrath says: "This is a marathon, not a sprint."


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Update on things...

Hi everyone, I wanted to give you guys an update on what's going on in my world, why so quiet, etc. For one, as much as I keep reading about "You have to write and maintain a killer blog" that is just not me. I don't know how to write killer blogs and don't know how to entertain people who come here so I'm just going to be honest and just be me. Maybe this way you can connect with me better, who knows.

June really sucked for me in the writing department because I was dealing with a lot of personal things, mostly related to moving. Everyday I'm doing something productive when it comes to learning about marketing, having a platform, etc. but the most important thing is to write. It's crazy how the simplest thing is also the hardest. There are some who are great at sitting down and pumping out book after book. For others, it's a challenge. It's not a matter of time, we all have 24 hours in a day. It's about prioritizing our time so we do sit down and write.

Well we're in the month of July 2013 now and I am writing again. I'm working on two projects, one of them is Episode 3 of Self - Aware (A Zombie Series) and How to be a ghost hunter (A step by step guide for beginners). I'm trying to wrap up How to be a ghost hunter but there's so much information I want to put in that book and I don't want to half-ass it. Yes I can publish a bare-bones book and then add more stuff to it later but I want to do it right the first time if possible.

One of my challenges as a writer is a personal one... I'm all A.D.D. which means I have the attention span of a goldfish. I'm easily distracted and a great multi-tasker but it's staying focused that's always a daily challenge. I'm experimenting with blocking off time to write and seeing if I can do that every day to the point that it becomes a habit. They say that once it becomes a habit, things should be easier. For the record, I have no problem writing, nor being creative.

In fact I consider myself very blessed in that department. I have so many good ideas and dialog flows naturally out of my head. Last count I have about 18 book concepts of things I want to write, the problem is sitting down and writing them. I need to focus on one project (or two at the most) and just knock it out. Getting myself to sit down, turn off facebook, my Nexus 7, and all distractions and just write is a challenge.

However, while this is a challenge, it's NOT an excuse. I own up to everything and I'm constantly challenging myself to do what I need to do. Every day I'm reading, studying, learning or doing something that is reading/writing related and the stuff I'm learning I'm slowly bettering myself with the wisdom and knowledge gained.

Again, this has got to be one of the most challenging things I have ever done in my life (being a writer.) You can't just write a book and throw it out there and hope people will find it and eat it up, spending their fortune on it, making you rich beyond your dreams. No, you have to not only write it, edit it, proof it, format it and write a good description and find a cover that works, you have to market it and yourself to the world.

There's lots of hats you have to wear and it sucks but that's the price of being a self published author. The positives (and I try to focus on that) is that I am the boss of me. These are my words and the story I tell is straight from me, not some publisher who determines how my book will turn out. I like this freedom and I've got lots of stories still yet to tell.

The 10,000 hour rule
I've been reading and hearing about this 10,000 hour rule that if you want to be good at anything, you've got to put in the time. In this case, 10,000 hours. Since Sept 2012, i've been putting in a lot of hours and I know I'm not even close to finishing my 10,000 hours yet. Gah! I do believe in it, I've just got to do the time and I've still got a ways to go. I just wish I was there. (Don't we all?)

Sales have been slowing down these last few months and as a result my ranking on Amazon has been taking a hit. Ranking (from what I understand) is how well you are seen on Amazon. The less people see you, the less sales you get. (I could be wrong, don't quote me on that.) I just know when my numbers plummet, my sales dry up. I am happy to report my Got Ghosts? Series are my best sellers.

I wish my Anica Storm & The Wand of Time would sell but it's hardly noticed. Ironically it's selling better in pieces than it is as a whole. That is my baby and pride and joy. .I'm not ready to write part two yet as I have many other books that I want to publish first. Books that I think I can write in less time. (Book 1 took over 3 years to write.)

 Don't get me wrong, I love Anica and that world she's in and I have a total of 8 books I want to write in the Anica series but that's going to take some time to write but if I can get a routine down where I can write everyday, I might see what  I can do to get Book 2 out sooner. I've already written some of it and it starts off action packed! I just hope to keep that up.  :-D <3

So there you have it.

If you're a fan of my work, please let me know, I would love to hear from you guys. Thanks!

Steven W.