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sunaynaprasad
June 5th, 2014, 11:54 PM
It has been almost a year since I've published From Frights to Flaws, and despite all the heavy marketing I've done, the professionally designed cover, etc, it only made 11 sales and a few were from people who I asked to buy. The content and story shouldn't be a problem since most people who reviewed it (who were all strangers) gave it positive reviews, mostly 4 stars. It is even supposed to be part of a series, but I don't want to publish the second book without seeing an improvement in sales of the first book.
If I were to remove the book from the market, I would build a bigger audience and republish it. But that might mean I would lose all my reviews on Amazon (there are 18 so far, only 2 verified purchases).
Any advice? Thanks.

J.T. Chris
June 6th, 2014, 12:03 AM
I wouldn't remove it from the market. Can I ask what sort of marketing you've done at this point? Have you requested book reviews, interviews?

sunaynaprasad
June 6th, 2014, 12:08 AM
So many things, including book reviews and interviews. It was also at a couple of trade shows (the Bologna Children's Book Fair and Book Expo). I actually am considering removing it from the market temporarily and then putting it back after I have enough fans. Will I lose the reviews, though?

J.T. Chris
June 6th, 2014, 12:13 AM
I don't see what benefit you will garner by removing it from the market until you have enough fans. Doesn't having a book on the market contribute to that? I checked out your book on Amazon, and it looks very professional, and the writing is good as well, so I believe you when you say that it isn't an issue of content. I know very little about publishing and promoting through Amazon, aside from it being a very tough gig. Have you tried advertising through social media and blogging?

To answer your question, I believe removing the page would incidentally remove the reviews as well.

sunaynaprasad
June 6th, 2014, 12:25 AM
Okay. So I won't remove it. I'll just keep writing other books and submit them for publication. I read from two places that it can help promote yourself.

BryanJ62
June 6th, 2014, 05:19 AM
Keep writing!!!

Put your head down and go. You cannot worry about things you cannot control. This is a tough field we are in but we all know that. We are all taking a chance and disappointment comes with the territory. You are a published author. That is a huge achievement. Never forget that. Now, on to your next book.

BryanJ62
June 6th, 2014, 05:25 AM
One more thing: I looked up your book on Amazon. I am going to suggest this to my daughters. You have some wonderful reviews and a bright future ahead of you. You have a lifetime of stories, I hope. Well done.

Schrody
June 6th, 2014, 01:43 PM
Have you try to enroll it in KDP? Or better yet, publish on more "platforms" like Smashwords, Barnes & Noble?

InstituteMan
June 6th, 2014, 02:47 PM
I am going to side with everyone else and say no, do not remove your book from the market, at least not without a pretty well developed plan for relaunching it. In the vast ocean of the market, I realize that it has only a tiny chance of getting traction while just sitting there, but it has a non-zero chance of getting traction while it is available.

As someone who enjoys pontificating but has sold far, far less of my work than you (as in I have sold zip, zilch, nadda), my thoughts probably merit a grain of salt or perhaps several pounds, but I wonder if releasing additional volumes of the series of books with as much marketing and promotion as you can muster might not pump up sales of the first installment. Personally, I am usually hesitant to embark on a series of books unless the series is completed or at least well developed. I just don't need to the anguish of, hypothetically speaking, waiting for George R.R. Martin to finish his next colossal manuscript (not that I am bitter).

Skodt
June 6th, 2014, 03:20 PM
It may or may not help at all, but getting involved in writing groups, creating a blog, writing reviews, making your presence known at many places. Also, try your hand at short stories; getting a short published in a magazine give you two things: 1- it gives you publication prestige- 2- it gives you a wider audience who will see your work.

Just keep plugging yourself every way you can. Try to get the local newspapers to contribute. Sometimes people will rally around the local writer. There are many avenues and no way to know what will work unless you try.

sunaynaprasad
June 6th, 2014, 04:22 PM
I actually have gotten involved in writing groups, written reviews, and blogs. I also made my presence in a lot of places. I was considering publishing a short story until I heard they don't sell too well. But submitting to magazines sounds good.

InstituteMan
June 6th, 2014, 04:39 PM
I actually have gotten involved in writing groups, written reviews, and blogs. I also made my presence in a lot of places. I was considering publishing a short story until I heard they don't sell too well. But submitting to magazines sounds good.

I think that this whole process just takes years and years when it works at all, alas.

There is a true anecdote that I shared on another thread relating to my professional life in the real world is something that shapes my thinking on this slog of writing for money. My business recently received work from someone who saw the work I did at another firm for one of his former competitors about ten years ago. If I hadn't been slogging away on what often seemed like thankless projects back then, I wouldn't be working now, at least not as much or as well.

I, like everyone, would rather just succeed right away. I am sure you are in the same boat as me there. There are stories of people who were overnight successes, but when you learn more about them, turns out they usually spent years waiting tables and writing on the side, or something like that. Even good work is not promised a reward in the market, but at least it has a chance, and at least it establishes a reputation and builds a foundation for future success. Keep at it, and let us know how it goes, both the good and the bad.

A_Jones
June 6th, 2014, 10:48 PM
Could I ask why you chose self publication in the first place? Did you send it out to agents?

sunaynaprasad
June 6th, 2014, 11:43 PM
I like the beauty of being in control with your book and getting it done it just a few months. I didn't want to send it out to agents since I knew it would be really really hard. I even heard of a woman who dealt with five years of rejections from agents.

Blade
June 7th, 2014, 02:09 AM
I will jump on the bandwagon here as well' If you have made an honest effort with the writing, publishing, promotion and whatever I think you are indebted to let results lie as they fell. Think only of proper sowing, so to speak. It would be a different matter if your effort was sloppy, hurried or misdirected; a comedy of errors that was best withdrawn from.

As well if you do eventually become a popular author the mysterious withdrawal of an introductory work really would cast some doubt on your authenticity and competence. It would really look like 'easily defeated'.:blue:

sunaynaprasad
June 7th, 2014, 03:35 AM
I studied the craft, got it edited a bunch of times, and even tested it out on readers I didn't know personally. My effort was honest.

dvspec
June 7th, 2014, 01:46 PM
A writer I know, gave some really good suggestions from his own experience. I don't know what your budget for marketing is, but he recommended BookBub. It runs between $200-300. He coordinated his free days with the release on BookBub and saw a 20,000 download jump of his free book, IN ONE DAY. He was working on the KDP platform. Even if only 10,000 of those people read it and 5,000 like it, he now has 5,000 more fans that will talk about his work.

An aside to this is, I don't care for his books. There isn't much character development or any general point and the plots are weak. If you can do some of the same stuff he did, though, and your book is better, you will establish a following. He has one.

If the $200-300 range is to much for your budget, he also suggested FreeBooksy at $50 and Fiverr.com where you can get a bunch of stuff for $5. On Fiverr.com he said he found a woman, though he didn't mention her user name, that suggested his books on her blog and saw a huge jump in down loads. You can learn how to market, get a cover designed, get reviews and all kinds of other stuff there. I am not affiliated with Fiverr.com. I only have an account, and I haven't used it to do anything but look.

I clicked on your link and found that the back of the book description is weak. You shouldn't have to take it down to change that. You worked so hard on the inside of the book, but the back isn't doing it's intended purpose. Do some research at the book store or library and look at how the back covers are written. It needs a hook and a little mystery to get the reader to open the cover.

Also, I would suggest taking advantage of the free days where Amazon offers your book or a sample for free. At least offer a few pages for free. I won't buy a book, no matter how cheap, if I can't read at least the first few pages. Give away free E-copies to get other reviews and get word of mouth going. Also, make sure you are marketing it toward the age group you want. Kids have money and they can pester parents if they don't.

Another suggestion is to do a YouTube video where you are reading excerpts of your book. It hits the right age group and people like hearing the writer.

Good luck to you.

TWErvin2
June 7th, 2014, 02:35 PM
You cannot depend on one book in a series/genre to carry the day. Maybe a first novel will take off and pave the way for future successes, in a series for example. Often that is not the case.

While promoting is one thing that can help, as has been said above, more novels (in a series or even within the genre) can make a difference, especially as your novel is listed as 'book 1'. Many readers are not interested in starting a series and waiting for it to be finished or the next book. You're an unknown, and they have no clue if you're a one book author, never to publish again, or if the series will be continued upon.

Plus, each new release is a new chance to market, with something new, and not the same 'old' novel.

I would keep the reviews by keeping the novel available, and build upon that. There are many novels out there that have far fewer and far less positive reviews, and you're fortunate in that your reviews are in excess of actual sales, although verified purchases that Amazon lists tend to carry more weight than those that are not (with potential readers).

Once you have several books in a series available, you can promote through places like Bookbub, or run other promotions where you can work to garner interest in the first novel with others available to readers.

It is also beneficial if you write the series such that readers can pick up the second (or third) book first and enjoy it without having to have read previous ones in the series. Although boldly stating that the current one is book 1, might deter this notion to readers, even if you write the series in such a manner.

Good luck and keep writing! It is the most sure path to potential success. (and I say potential, because as others have said, the competition is stiff and you can only give it your absolute best--and persistent--shot)

Bloggsworth
June 7th, 2014, 02:53 PM
I've just watched "Searching for Sugarman", it took Rodriguez 30-40 years to be discovered...

sunaynaprasad
June 7th, 2014, 04:00 PM
I am strongly considering the free eBook promotion idea. I am planning on submitting my book to Freebooksy, booktastik, and eBook booster. I hear that bookbub tends to only take the highly elite and can reject books.
Also, why do you think my book description is weak? I had it critiqued in a writing class taught by a commercially published author. Everyone liked it.

dvspec
June 7th, 2014, 04:19 PM
Since you asked, I copied and pasted the description here for an edit.

Twelve-year-old Alyssa McCarthy can no longer stand the toughness <I don't know what that means. By tough, do you mean abuse, emotional distance, what?> of her uncle and wants a better life. But <Not sure on this, but starting a sentence with and or but is usually frowned on.> one day she discovers not only the existence of magic, but also a villain hunting her down. <Why? Give the villain a name, don't call him/her/it a villain. The villain uses magic and magical technology to kidnap Alyssa to the Fiji Islands. As much as she wants to go home, she has to face some dangerous challenges first. Not only that, the villain himself must also be defeated. Can Alyssa succeed, even with the help of her mentors?

Of course, I have not read the book and have no idea what it is about other than Alyssa and magic and getting magically kidnapped to Fiji. Actually, that is the problem. From what I have read, that is all I know. Her uncle is mentioned, but why? He doesn't seem to play into the story much, so why mention him on the back of the book?

I would rephrase to "While <fill in blank> Alyssa discovered <her magical skill or whatever.> <bad guy name here> discovered <what ever the reason is, he is after her> and . . . oh, this isn't working. I don't know enough about the book to be able to rewrite it. I'm going to check out your reviews, one of them looked pretty detailed. BRB

sunaynaprasad
June 7th, 2014, 04:35 PM
I'll have to ask my publisher if I can change the description. The only thing is is that it is on the back cover as well as many websites of which I had done tours and promotions on. Also, what if the publisher says no?

dvspec
June 7th, 2014, 05:12 PM
This will give you a starting place.

As for having it critiqued by a published author, that doesn't work. The back of the book is about marketing. It should have been assessed from a marketing standpoint, not a writing one. I am considered a published author, but I only have two stories in a local magazine published. That does not make me qualified to critique the back of books. I do, however, have a degree in PR and that will probably be more useful to you.

Alyssa McCarthy discovers magic afterher babysitter becomes the victim of a spell that <what did itdo?>. Blamed for the <what ever happened to the babysitter>by her strict Uncle Bruce, Alyssa is punished. <Something happenshere, but I don't have enough info> and a magic statue warnsAlyssa of danger from a dark magician who wants to kill her because<?>. Using magic to kidnap Alyssa <did the cousin getkidnapped as well?> Master Beau transports them to Fiji where he<attacks? Torments? I don't know enough> her/them.

With the aid of her cousin Hailey,<others> she must battle the dark magician to return to herhome and <do what.>

Like I said, that will get you started.

A couple of your reviewers compared it to Harry Potter. Play that up. Even if you don't agree, use the name as an SEO booster.

I wasn't able to see how you had the book categorized on Amazon, but you want to go to the last possible category. As the writer I know said, "Do you want to be #50,004 in Mysteries or #1 in Cozy Mysteries?"

Also, your website is way to simple to load as slowly as it does. I am currently working on my own website and have become aware of the mystical world of source code. It looks like you used WIX, but I think you might benefit by finding a computer friend that can take a look at it. It may be something as simple as the picture you uploaded is to big or it might be more complicated. My service maybe jacked up today, but it took six seconds to load. That is an eon in computer time.

This may seem weird, but I have the urge to help you with your copy and bio. If you are interested, PM me. I don't claim to be an expert and you can ignore some or all my suggestions, but the offer is there.

dvspec
June 7th, 2014, 05:19 PM
I don't know enough to answer that question. If they use a hyperlink to your book and the cover on those websites, then changing the cover but leaving the path the same would change it on those sites. Without more information, there is just no way to tell though.

I can see the purpose of self publishing and I agree with your reasons. I'm wondering about your publisher though. They obviously sold you the added cover art option, but what else did they offer? Do you have a contract with them, or did their part end when they published the book? Read your contract in detail.

Another question to answer is, do you have control at Amazon or do they? Can you make changes to the listing or do you have to go through the publisher?

sunaynaprasad
June 7th, 2014, 06:22 PM
They offered me the contract to sign. I'm not sure who has control whether it's me or Amazon.

dvspec
June 7th, 2014, 06:26 PM
I don't think Amazon would. It would be between you and the publisher, but I don't know. Who offered a contract? Did you sign?

sunaynaprasad
June 7th, 2014, 09:52 PM
The publisher offered the contract, which I signed. I just rewrote my blurb, too. Now how do I PM you?

dvspec
June 7th, 2014, 11:00 PM
Click on my user name and under my avatar, it will show something like Message or Private Message. Don't expect a quick response though, I'm on my way to work.

sunaynaprasad
June 7th, 2014, 11:26 PM
Okay. I probably won't hear back from my publisher until later this week.

WriterJohnB
June 22nd, 2014, 03:10 PM
It's the publisher who has control, I'd wager. It might be better to learn how to upload and publish a book using the kindle tools, which are not that hard to figure out. Then you'd be in control.

As for sales, I've published several novels, some self-pubbed, some through publishers, and never had much success. I do get royalty checks each month and they are increasing, but I tried all sorts of promotion and the only ones that worked (for hard cover) were going to events where I could talk about my books. Since I work full time, I can't sit around and promote all day, so I've slacked off. I'll do more after I retire next year.

Sales are a crapshoot. I published my daughter's first novel 10 days ago and it's already on an Amazon best-seller list and looks like it's going to really soar. And there was NO promotion other than a few mentions on facebook pages. Go figure.
Don't take your book down. Keep on plugging with promotion and working on the next in the series.

Good luck.

JohnB

dvspec
June 22nd, 2014, 06:43 PM
Wow, now I'm curious about your daughter's book. What's it called?

WriterJohnB
June 22nd, 2014, 08:05 PM
dvspec,

It's called She's My Ride Home, by Jackie Bushore. She wrote it while in college, also while in my writer's group and submitted it to 10 agents. She got 4 phone calls the first day, signed with a top agent, a major publishing company was interested, but wanted a rewrite. She complied, but then they wanted another rewrite. Since she was in college she just let it drop. I suggested she stick with it, but I always let my kids make up their own minds. I've been bugging her for years to let me publish it, but she was a triple major, then joined the army, Basic Training, Officer Candidate School and then Explosives Ordnance Disposal School, which she's about to graduate. She finally sent it to me a couple of months ago.
The thing is, it's girl/girl romance, which is a real hot seller these days. Yes, it's a very well written book and a good story, but it's all about the market for your genre and also timing. I held off until the very beginning of summer (beach reading) before publishing. I was going to do a free promotion for the first few days, through KDP select, but it began selling immediately, so I decided to let things run their course, which was several hundred copies the first week.
I also think it helped that her publisher and editor (ME) has learned what NOT to do and therefore avoided the usual first-time novelist mistakes. But it's her book, and I'm proud as can be. Blowing my own horn, I free lance edit and have had some of my clients have modest success. I hope to write and offer professional editing full time after I retire next year. I might even open a publishing company where I collaborate with an author on editing, formatting, cover, e-publishing and hardcover publishing, but hard cover is not for profit, it's just so the author can purchase low-cost copies for promotions and gifts. Hard cover is not profitable unless you can sign with a major publisher - I've tried 3 small publishing houses and would have been better to self-pub.

krishan
June 27th, 2014, 11:51 AM
I had a look at the website of your publisher Friesen Press (http://www.friesenpress.com/). They appear to charge quite a lot of money for services that could be acquired for free or for relatively little expense elsewhere. Many of their books don't look particularly professional. I wouldn't buy books from them, or review books that they had published.

For your next book, you might be better off using the money that you would have given to Friesen Press to pay a cover designer, editor and proofreader, and to promote the book through some of the means that others in this thread have suggested.

You could also consider publishing through a more traditional route. The advice and support of an agent or publisher could be invaluable in shaping your books, and might result in a higher level of sales.

TristanAPC
July 7th, 2014, 07:38 AM
sunaynaprasad (http://www.writingforums.com/members/44170-sunaynaprasad) - my advice would be to get your next book out ASAP and then link to it within your first book. Run a free promo on Kindle Select. Get your book out there to as many readers as possible and build your following. Then start on book 3!

Don't be scared to give your books out for free - what you may lose initially you can recover in the long run when you get customers for life!

BallerGamer
July 24th, 2014, 11:19 PM
I help manage my girlfriend's short stories, and from my experience the bulk of your sales will come in keywords. That's right, random people that are bored and looking for a book to read and inputting different phrases in the search engine that'll match their interests. I was promoting her works to friends and the such for the first week, and only two people bought it, and it's most likely two of her closest friends that said they'd buy it.

When I did my research on categories and keywords, and angled it in a way so that her book appears closer to the first page of a certain keyword, she's been selling at least 10 copies a day. I know for a fact that these aren't our friends either because people from the UK and Australia are buying it.

Here's one website that I sought out after discovering the importance of keywords that will shed some light on it:

http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/02/28/keywords-metadata-discoverability/

You'd be sort of surprised how important keywords is to the marketing of your ebook. It's literally some peoples jobs to manage keywords so that the rate of people discovering it on Amazon is high.

dvspec
July 25th, 2014, 05:11 AM
That is an awesome link BallerGamer. Saved to favorites.