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Book Talk & Exchange of Views > How many books do the best marketers among the indies sell (or give away) on average?

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message 1: by Andre Jute (last edited May 10, 2014 10:55AM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Draft2Digital is a distributor of ebooks. It's been in business for a year and some months, I think; for the greater part of that part it distributed also through Amazon, until it clearly sold too many books and Amazon for some spurious unexplained reason cut it off. Draft2Digital was marketed aggressively through Kindleboards, so it is easy to believe that it is chosen by the most aggressive marketers among a crowd that values sales above literature. In short, this isn't an average of everyone in indieland, this is an average of writers who think of themselves as hard hitters.

Here's Draft2Digital latest press release: "Draft2Digital is very pleased to announce today that we hit 25,000 books live across our sales channels and our authors have made over 3.5 million sales!"

Aha! There's no distinction made between a free giveaway and a sale for money, however little, nor between 99¢ books and those at a more profitable price for the writers. Still, it is indicative, considering the presumed class of marketer behind those books. The average unit "sale" of those 25,000 books was 140 copies, including giveaways and commercial transactions.

Mmm. That explains why trade publishers didn't want those "authors": there isn't enough demand for their books to pay for one good lunch in Manhattan.

However, we should be fair, and look at a normal distribution. It is very likely that, even among those who continually apply best marketing practices, as we're presuming of Draft2Digital's authors, there is a normal distribution, with 90% of sales in the top ten percent.

In that case we guesstimate, for the top ten per cent of Draft2Digital's authors, an everage of 1555 copies per volume, much more respectable. A writer with seventeen books each selling 1555 copies a year at $2.99 each will be earning a living, though still not enough to attract either a competent agent or a major publisher.

Of course, the top one per cent will be doing most of the business, and that will earn a living. That's 250 authors. Put that in the perspective of roughly 5000 novelists publishing a novel in any year under the previous dispensation, and it becomes clear that ebooks have performed a major service: the number of publishable writers has just increased by 5% from the efforts of a single distributor.

No wonder that Amazon cut off Draft2Digital: they wouldn't like that inflammatory potential in someone else's hands.


message 2: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments Very educational, thanks for sharing.

"it becomes clear that ebooks have performed a major service: the number of publishable writers has just increased by 5% from the efforts of a single distributor."

Doesn't that contradict your earlier assertion on the number of 'normally publishiable' writers -- or is that in addition to it?

I can't recall the blog post titles, because it was a long time ago.


message 3: by Andre Jute (last edited May 10, 2014 01:07PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
What I analyzed then, Kat, was whether there was any truth in the claim that those who are now indies wrote books that were "publishable" by the test of reading just like the books publishers selected for publication. This is what some indies present as being "unfairly excluded". I found that about 21% of indies wrote books that could have been developed to publication, which was more than double what the trad publishers drew out of the same pool.

But what I never said, because people were screaming and shouting and foaming at the mouth already, making rational discussion impossible, was that any reputable publisher would actually want to publish those books, regardless of the fact that they were relatively well written and/or could be knocked into shape.

Just because a book isn't crap doesn't mean it will be selected for publication. To make it publishable by a trad publisher three other conditions must first be met.

1. In addition to being well written, it must fit the publisher's publishing programme. If a publisher doesn't publish pornography, and very few do, it doesn't care how well written the pornography it is offered is, it just doesn't want it. If it doesn't publish cheap romances, or cosy crime thrillers, etc, it just doesn't want them.

2. No matter how well written, unless the book enthuses an editor, forget it. Not many editors are into gay pornography...

3. No matter how well written, no matter how it browns up an editor, if the book has no public, then it can't be published either. Publishers are not in the business of literature (however the indies want to define it), they're in the business of selling books. This is a hurdle of which most indies received a vivid demonstration after KDP confirmed their "right to publish". You hear them bragging of a single sale. You see time and again, when analyzing the boosting claims of the indies or their service industries, that in indieland the rule of the jungle applies to precisely the same extent as in trad publishing: most books don't sell, ten per cent of the players take home ninety per cent of the protein, and one per cent or more likely fewer make a decent living. Your median (thank average but it is more significant than that) book on Amazon sells fewer than five copies in its entire lifetime.

In short then, Kat, when I said there were quite a few publishable writers among the indies, that didn't in the least imply that they would ever have been published under the trad regime. They would still have had to match their book to a publisher's existing publishing programme, enthuse an editor (today an agent and an editor), and match the book to a market. And all of this assumes on top of those high barriers that they were professionals seen to be professionals, a very high barrier for most of them, as you can see daily in the fora. Indeed, almost all the indies I know who appear professional are members of ROBUST.

Mmm, I see now the last par, of the four articles starting at
http://coolmainpress.com/ajwriting/ar...
which you refer to, made the point: "Whether these authors, even after they met the quality parameters, would have enough sales to be worthwhile to the present megapublishers is a different question. But here’s a hint. In the first period considered, the 1970s, an author was viable if his hardcover sales justified a print run of 2000 copies. Quite a few hardworking indies with excellent books, presented with utmost professionalism, don’t sell 2000 copies."


message 4: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments It's been awhile since those were posted.

In the first period considered, the 1970s, an author was viable if his hardcover sales justified a print run of 2000 copies. Quite a few hardworking indies with excellent books, presented with utmost professionalism, don’t sell 2000 copies."

Very true.


message 5: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments Andre Jute wrote: "A writer with seventeen books each selling 1555 copies a year at $2.99 each will be earning a living, though still not enough to attract either a competent agent or a major publisher. ... Quite a few hardworking indies with excellent books, presented with utmost professionalism, don’t sell 2000 copies."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to make a strong case against publishing independently, even if the writer is hardworking with an excellent book presented professionally.

In fact, the publishing business, whether traditional or not, seems to favor those entities that can sell dozens of titles for more than $2.99 each. While Amazon has enabled anyone and everyone with a dream of being published to do so for themselves, only Amazon (and any other distribution channel) will make money on the vast majority of titles.

"Of course, the top one per cent will be doing most of the business, and that will earn a living."

So the revolution in publishing has all been in favor of distributors like Amazon, sellers of publishing services (again like Amazon), and readers who clamor for cheap, plentiful titles in formulaic stories that can be churned out quickly.

So nothing new really.


message 6: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
I wouldn't warn off aspirants, LeAnn. It's amazingly difficult to tell who will cut it and who won't: vide the numbers of MSS trad publishers chose that didn't earn their advances. The profession is more open now than at any time in history.

The revolution is that books not commercially viable under the trad publishing model can offer indies a living under the KDP model. In time the most prolific of the authors who take advantage of this opening will be able to earn a living from writing, and I think that because they take home a larger percentage of the book's price than trad authors, there will eventually be more indies making a living from fiction than trad authors. Note the qualifications: eventually, and they must be prolific. That, anyway, is what I see in the crystal ball of those D2D numbers, though you should remember I made quite a few large assumptions and jumps of faith.


message 7: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments Andre Jute wrote: "I wouldn't warn off aspirants, LeAnn. It's amazingly difficult to tell who will cut it and who won't: vide the numbers of MSS trad publishers chose that didn't earn their advances. The profession is more open now than at any time in history."

I guess that's fair, Andre. It's just that there's not a lot of pragmatism floating about when it comes to publishing, especially indie publishing. Right after Hugh Howey released his "report," I read Michael Bunker's blog post titled "Is Traditional Publishing A Choice? Not Really." Despite agreeing with his basic premise, I think that indie publishing isn't clearly the right path for hardworking writers who write excellent books and present them (and themselves) professionally. Plus, for all the touted control that indie publishing offers aspiring authors, the reality is much less positive if they must write prolifically to feed whatever the current reading tastes demand. Since it's a readers' (that is, buyers') market out there, writers who want to succeed at the indie game will have to convince more than a few gatekeepers to be successful.

So which route should an aspiring author commit herself to? I mean, the given here is that the aspirant can't really know from her limited perspective that her book is or isn't commercially viable under a trad publishing model. She might believe that it's worthy of publishing and that a trad publisher would want to publish it should she be able to connect her MSS to the right agent at the right time, etc. How long should she wait before taking illusory control over her publishing career? Because once a writer has taken that step down the seductive indie road, I believe she's less likely to find a trad publisher. That's my own personal leap, based on another assumption: that indie publishing might be another path to landing an agent and trad publisher (for those so inclined) as a kind of proof of concept. Should an indie not sell well, then that can be taken as a proof, just not the one the indie believes in her heart of hearts.

I will never be as prolific as your analysis suggests is necessary to earn a living. Even if I get back on track and continue to write steadily for the next three decades, I will just about reach the magic 17 titles that you cited up-thread. Of course, I would never identify a target number for myself because writing novels isn't about turning out widgets for me.


message 8: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments "So which route should an aspiring author commit herself to?"

The answer is going to be different for everyone, having said that, I'll jump off the cliff:

Indie publishing pays better PER BOOK, even at $2.99 an e-book, than you or I will be paid by trade publishing.

This isn't an easy business - it just isn't. We all have trouble in one way or another.

Look at J K Rowling - she's made her fortune working hard, writing and promoting her Harry Potter books.

The ingrained habit of writing is likely still there. But she's been typecast - so when she tries to write something else, she gets a world of crap.

Then, when she goes through all the time and trouble of creating a penname that should have held up...some idiot shoots their mouth off and destroys thousands of dollars of background AND sinks her new book.

My point is - it doesn't matter who you are - sh!t happens, or doesn't happen, in some cases.

I think the best thing to do is become part of a cooperative that advertises books for it's members. The thing is, I haven't seen a good working model of one, nor have I been able to come up with a way to make it work.

Awesome Indies was close, but it's very time consuming to run something like that and any attempt at quality control will likely get you shot in the foot.


message 9: by Andre Jute (last edited May 11, 2014 09:54PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
LeAnn, I can't tell you what you should do. I can tell you, though, what I do: I never met a reader until my indie experiment started, and then I was horrified by the book burners and outright scum on the Amazon fora. But I was never likely to pay the slightest attention to any reader's opinion; I do exactly as I did in trad publishing, writing books I want to write, without the slightest regard for whether they will sell. Some sell, some don't, but I don't pretend to be able to predict which will be which. (Anyone who tells you different is a liar or deluded.) I think nothing of telling my story in some difficult format either, writing minimalist novels and screenplays and linked novellas to a theme that until the whole is finished I don't bother to explain to anyone. It's not that I don't care about marketing -- I used to be a boss marketer, the best paid advertising executive in the world, so clearly I care -- it is that there is in books absolutely no evidence that persistent marketing works any better than my casual, halfhearted scattershot methods.

But note that I made -- or at least did for her first year as writer -- my protege Dakota Franklin do at least the minimum of conventional marketing, because there is absolutely no evidence either that it doesn't work, and anyway, she should learn to do as her editor says. I also influenced her to write hefty, meaty books of lead thriller length (well over 100K words), because it seems obvious to me that the indies, turning out ever shorter “books” in their efforts to earn a living, will eventually cause a reader backlash; and, anyway, Dakota's style and stories appeal to the upper middle classes, who don't mind paying but have certain expectations of quantity as well as quality, with a Dick Francis novel setting the minimum length in her market.

I'm horrified by this pervasive American attitude that writing is about money. Almost every professional I know believes that attempts to tailor books for maximum sales just about guarantee insulting sales. Generally speaking, professionals pay lip service to servicing their readers, and then quietly do what I do, ignore amateur opinion and write the book they really want to write. The questions you raise therefore hardly ever arise with the pros at my end of the spectrum. But there are pros at another, ultra-genre end of the spectrum who do write rigorously tailored books, for instance at Harlequin, though the formula wasn't set by a writer but by editors and marketers of vastly greater experience. I just laugh helplessly when I hear the clowns on the fora pontificate earnestly about marketing books, and note that tomorrow or next week at the latest they will say exactly the opposite.


message 10: by LeAnn (last edited May 12, 2014 06:19AM) (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments K.A., yes, indie publishing pays better per book, but obviously the number of books sold matter as well. If a writer can feel certain that her book wouldn't even be published traditionally for whatever reason, then indie publishing makes sense. The odds favor that choice in general, but maybe not specifically.

I agree that writing and publishing isn't an easy business. It's definitely one largely outside the control of writers. My question was more about evaluating my own decision-making and trying to understand various consequences now that I have more experience and knowledge.

A few years ago, while I was still reading agents' blogs, I read a post by Nathan Bransford, an agent whose posts I always found generous and compassionate, if still pragmatic. I think his advice about trying to get an agent applies to indie publishing, maybe publishing in general. Those of us not in Andre's top one percent must paradoxically pursue writing in all seriousness while not letting it take over our lives to the exclusion of other crucial, and more certain, priorities, such as family.


message 11: by LeAnn (last edited May 12, 2014 06:31AM) (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments Andre, I admit to a desire to earn some money from the fruits of my labors, but that's never defined my reason for writing. As a young adult, I consciously rejected the idea that I should take what I felt was the easy way out and write genre books, despite having a few genre favorites (and now I believe the best genre books are not as easy to write as I once thought).

Your comment about professionals believing that attempts to tailor books for sales will guarantee insulting sales reminds me of a conversation I had as an aspiring novelist with my father-in-law, an MBA who reads only NY Times bestsellers like John Grisham. He very "helpfully" suggested that I adopt Grisham's approach to getting published. He said that Grisham had met with publishers to determine what they wanted to publish. Whether his story was actually true or not never occurred to me. I didn't believe that approach guaranteed anything on its own merits, nor was I willing to become a hack to call myself an author. (If truth be told, I didn't think at the time that I could write to a publisher's specification because I didn't want to turn the creative part over to someone else.)

When I finished The Last Stratiote, I told my husband that it is a good book that no one would want to read because of what you have called its upmarket flavor. I'm fine with that. The literary merits take precedence.


message 12: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments I agree with Andre, there's no way of knowing what types of marketing effort are going to pay off. So you might as well write what you want to write and publish it yourself.

I had the good fortune of making a splash in the UK with my first e-book, over a year after it came out, using KDP Select the first month it was offered. After that it didn't work. The experiment cost me my B&N sales, which have never recovered.

My e-books make just enough money to pay the copy editor, and maybe the cover artist, for the next book.

However, as Andre pointed out, there are more people making a living as writers than ever, because as Indies they can make a lot more money.

What baffles us (I think) all is the number of people who make a living writing porn. (scratches head) I'm willing to try anything once...except that. I'd laugh until I hurt myself.

Andre...did you ever get Dakota's books back on Amazon?


message 13: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments K. A. wrote: "What baffles us (I think) all is the number of people who make a living writing porn. (scratches head) I'm willing to try anything once...except that."

I'm not baffled. Not willing to write that genre (no matter what euphemisms are applied to it) or read it though.

We can only hope that it's a trend that won't hold. Even the most titillating subjects lose their effect when they're commonplace.


message 14: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments I understand.

From what I saw online in the world of fan fiction -- the same world that gave us '50 Shades' young women were consuming 'slash' (as in f/m or f/m/m and m/m/m) at a frenzied pace.

Strange, strange world we inhabit.


message 15: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments I just read the Wikipedia article on it. "Strange" doesn't begin to cover this brave new world we inhabit.


message 16: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
CoolMain Press, with the agreement of all the writers, deliberately removed all their ebooks from Amazon. If the experiment works, it'll be permanent. So, at present we're not putting Dakota's, or any of our, books on Amazon. Instead we're launching books on presale in markets that match our authors better, like Apple and B&N, via Smashwords and D2D.


message 17: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments Were Cool Main Press books previously available in all those channels? Have you considered Google Books as well or is that not a good distribution channel in your opinion?


message 18: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments LeAnn wrote: "I just read the Wikipedia article on it. "Strange" doesn't begin to cover this brave new world we inhabit."

I don't mind a bit of spice now and again, but there's an 'ick' factor.

I have a gay writer friend and he's furious that 'his' genre has been hijacked by clueless writers of 'mommy-porn.' That made me scratch my head, but I'm not about to investigate. Passing on that option.

There are too many 'boy wizard' books too. I enjoyed Harry Potter, but I'm not a 'fan.' But some of the books I've seen touted on many sites are little more than fan fiction with the serial numbers scratched off.

But there is a LOT of good Indie books out there, and I'm happy to say there's all the backlist I could ever want to read. I'm a BIG fan of backlist.


message 19: by Andre Jute (last edited May 12, 2014 01:59PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
LeAnn wrote: "Were Cool Main Press books previously available in all those channels?"

Yes.

LeAnn wrote: "Have you considered Google Books as well or is that not a good distribution channel in your opinion?"

Google may well be a good distribution channel; I don't know because I haven't looked at them for distribution, and have no intention of wasting time looking at them. CoolMain has no intention of distributing via Google, as Google is even more pernicious than Amazon. In fact, I called the Board of Directors of Google "slimy thieves" when they tried to steal every book in the world first for free and then for a one-time payment of $60, and were only stopped by the grace of god and a wide-awake judge. There is no guarantee that once Google has the image of your book on disk they won't at some other time do something equally arrogant and thuggish and dishonest.


message 20: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments There is no guarantee that once Google has the image of your book on disk they won't at some other time do something equally arrogant and thuggish and dishonest.

I suspect they're all slimy thieves. I'm just not in a position to take the moral high ground. Then again, I think the idea of being available everywhere might not really make sense. If your typical reader buys from Apple and B&N, then there's no reason to be available everywhere.


message 21: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
It's not fashionable to have morals these days, LeAnn.

Not every book is suitable for every reader. There are also readers a writer, if he is smart, won't want, because they can damage the image or ruin the enjoyment of other readers.


message 22: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments Andre Jute wrote: "It's not fashionable to have morals these days, LeAnn.

Not every book is suitable for every reader. There are also readers a writer, if he is smart, won't want, because they can damage the image o..."


I don't think it's ever fashionable to have morals. In this case, I'm going to pretend that it's a murky issue and that I'm not immoral. (My books are just about everywhere online.)

As for avoiding the wrong readers, if you have a way to control who reads my books, I'd love to hear it.


message 23: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
LeAnn wrote: "Andre Jute wrote: "As for avoiding the wrong readers, if you have a way to control who reads my books, I'd love to hear it. "

You can control who reads your books by where you market them, say Apple rather than Amazon, by the cover design, by the quality and aim of promotional material, by your public associations, etc. Doesn't work infallibly but the effects aren't negligible either.


message 24: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments Branding! It's all about branding.

Target your market with subtle visual clues...which I've found is easier said than done...just like everything else.

Maybe I can get a few more hits now.


message 25: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments Andre Jute wrote: "You can control who reads your books by where you market them, say Apple rather than Amazon, by the cover design, by the quality and aim of promotional material, by your public associations, etc. Doesn't work infallibly but the effects aren't negligible either."

This is probably where I could use help. Although I've studied some of the factors that go into cover design, I'm still amazed at the number of readers who read my books who shouldn't.

I can't pull my books from Amazon because that's where most of my sales are, but I certainly agree that Amazon isn't the place for my ideal reader. If there are specific places to promote my books for Apple/B&N customers, please share them because I do have significant sales in those channels.

Beyond a media kit and occasional online posts, what other promotional materials do you use? I know some genre authors hand out "swag," but I don't see the point (even for them). Bookmarks? I don't think so. I fear that I don't have the networking associations for the readers I want to attract -- probably not typical book club readers, but definitely not the typical Amazon low-price reader either.


message 26: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments K. A. wrote: "Branding! It's all about branding.

Target your market with subtle visual clues...which I've found is easier said than done...just like everything else.

Maybe I can get a few more hits now."


Yeah, it's the subtle thing I'm failing at.


message 27: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
I don't think anyone has any idea of how to promote to readers who use Apple devices. B&N has some fora, or had, but we haven't been there for years. Smashwords has various promotional devices and we supported a weeklong event earlier in the year, with a small but definite bump in sales as the result. We used to place advance review copies on LibraryThing but the effectiveness was decreasing, not just for us but for everyone. Through all this our most valuable asset has been a mailing list for advance review copies that got us reviews and a a bit of buzz. None of this is directly linked to sales, but then I don't expect it to be.


message 28: by J.A. (last edited May 12, 2014 04:33PM) (new)

J.A. Beard (jabeard) I suspect they're all slimy thiev..."

If not thieves, then thugs. I mean, seriously, is anyone going to make a principled argument that, for example, Apple hasn't operated as a rapacious thug-like mega-corporation for quite a while (and if people don't think so, then let's look at how they treat their supply chain, collusion, long history of capriciousness in regards to the app store, et cetera). Amazon's issues are more trendy to air right now and well-known, and Barnes and Noble's problem is just that it's a thug past its prime (though things like their fights with the publishers even recently have hurt authors and readers).

So, with the stipulation that selling at any of the large vendors is, on some level, a moral compromise, let's focus on the more practical issue of why authors should avoid Google:

1) Less of control than a lot of other vendors. That is to say, Google likes to do things like just randomly discount books without the author's approval (even Amazon likes to ask first). Not in a price-matching sense, just in the "now we'll discount this book", which can have ripple effects at other vendors due to price-matching.

2) It doesn't even have any sort of decent market share, and it's been in the game for a while now. So why compromise oneself and lose control for a vendor that doesn't even move books. I mean, say, what you will about Kobo, at least they don't randomly muck with your prices.

So avoiding Google, I suppose, is one of those situations where one can somewhat have their 'cake and eat it too' in the sense one can avoid them for whatever ideological reasons one likes, while not really harming one's sales and even, arguably, actively protecting one's books from a business perspective.

While we're discussing things, LeAnn have you considered changing the cover of The Last Stratiote? I haven't looked into any research regarding it, but I have three personal experiences (one with one of my books and two with my wife's) where I found that monochromatic ebook covers tend to murder sales (in all three cases, replacing with a less monochromatic cover of similar basic design but no other changes to the books resulted in significant increases in sales).


message 29: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
Mmm. One thing that works is tying books to events that engage the interest of the public. Sales of IDITAROD definitely pick up at the eponymous event in March every year, and I make the years main effort for this book then. Also, Dakota has 5000 Facebook fans (Facebook won't let her have have any more) and she tells them the name of her book which relates to whatever auto racing event enthuses them at the moment. The one being published this week, GOD'S SCOFFLAWS https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/da... is set against the background of motorbike racing. You can normally see a bump in the sales of the book that relates to a current event, in the next fortnight for the motorbike races, Formula One, and the Indy 500. But current events are no good to you, and anyway they need to recur at reasonable intervals.


message 30: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments Last fall, I was asked to list a title with a book club that I really didn't think matched my readership, but I'm paid by who "checks" out my titles, so I decided not to ignore this opportunity. Anyway, the guy running the site has been creating videos and online seminars in how to market and sell books for the club's authors. It might be worth a look, Kat, since you've got a paranormal romance.

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If you try it out, let me know if he's got any "surefire" tips.


message 31: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments Andre Jute wrote: "lso, Dakota has 5000 Facebook fans (Facebook won't let her have have any more) ..."

Does she have a personal Facebook page that's public or does she have a Facebook Author page? I ask because I know that trad authors have in the 10s of thousands of fans but personal pages are limited to 5,000 followers (different term used here, I think).


message 32: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments J.A. wrote: "While we're discussing things, LeAnn have you considered changing the cover of The Last Stratiote. I haven't looked into any research regarding it, but I have three personal experiences (one with one of my books and two with my wife's) where I found that monochromatic ebook covers tend to murder sales (in all three cases, replacing with a less monochromatic cover of similar basic design but no other changes to the books resulted in significant increases in sales)."

I hadn't yet considered changing the cover ... your personal experience is helpful, but I tend to ask around to readers I like to attract (some of which have design experience, though not of book covers). I'll certainly quiz them, maybe even iterate a few changes to see what they think (because it's easier to respond to iterations of visuals than simply describing them).


message 33: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments Changing the cover for 'Swallow the Moon' helped with face-to-face sales and the e-book sales have shown an uptick.


message 34: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
"Thugs". I like that, Jeremy. Again and again I'm struck by how different the attitudes of real publishers and these vendors are, as reflected in their very different treatment of writers. Even the nastiest trad publisher never dared consider writers a commodity to be switched on and off, like water from a tap, as Amazon, Kobo and B&N do.

LeAnn, I misspoke. Dakota has a personal page with "friends", limited to 5000. She didn't see the point of a professional page and now it is probably too late. But I have three of those and only one, for IDITAROD, is worth the work that goes into it.


message 35: by LeAnn (new)

LeAnn (leannnealreilly) | 159 comments Andre Jute wrote: "Dakota has a personal page with "friends", limited to 5000. She didn't see the point of a professional page and now it is probably too late."

That probably depends on her, Andre. I added a professional author page last fall, but I didn't have 5,000 followers. I think with a little work that she could invite her current followers to "like" her new Author page (I also have book pages, but I don't think that it makes sense to have separate book pages due to the workload). She might not bring all of them over to the new one, but she can administer both pretty easily from the same account and "share" items between them.


message 36: by Andre Jute (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
And I might add that the reason my IDITAROD page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Iditar... is worth it is that it is where I take my annual busman's holiday, among friends, and the page makes no demands for the rest of the year. For the rest, I tend to read my personal Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/andre.jute.5 with interest for the variety of people who send posts, and I post there about once a week, and the other pages get shares from that page when I remember and have time.


message 37: by Christopher (new)

Christopher Bunn | 160 comments Morals out of fashion? No one knows what'll pay off in marketing? Rapacious corporate thugs? Hordes of porn writers? Too many boy wizards? Clueless mommy-porn writers?

Amen, I say.


message 38: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments Wow - Nathaniel, thanks for the warning.


message 39: by Andre Jute (last edited May 29, 2014 03:20PM) (new)

Andre Jute (andrejute) | 4851 comments Mod
This isn't directed at you, Nathaniel. It's a general note for everyone. We have several other members prone to worry too much about their covers and the appearance of every tiny detail of their books.

***

It's a mistake, often expensive in both money and misdirected attention, for writers to worry too much about what their books look like. Besides being a novelist, I'm a boss reprographer (typographer, graphic designer are more common names) with among my credits work on seven or eight of the best recognized brands in the world, and the designs of some iconic journals, and so on. But even so I was *never* invited to make any input to the typography of my books, and was generally shown the cover of my books after they were fait accompli, too late to change anything, often not at all until my box of complimentary coplies was delivered. I asked the reason for this once, and my publisher said they didn't want to waste my time with inessentials, and my editor, a chum, with a few drinks in him, said interfering authors had scarred his psyche on the subject of the cover more than on any subject to do with the actual quality of the writing.

We hear the excuse about perfectionism, all aspects being right, and of course it is true that indie authors must attend to a great deal of necessary trivia that in better times were taken care of by the publisher's back rooms. But it's just an excuse. A writer's work is writing, not typesetting, not designing covers, not wasting time on inessentials. A regular book cover designer of the right education and background (not the jumped-up clowns who think the ability to start up Photoshop makes them designers), though he may by my standards be paid peanuts, is always likely to design a better cover than 99.999999999999999% of writers.

Better is anyway a relative term in covers, as it is not in quality of writing and editing, where the last, tiny marginal improvement, if not made, ruins the whole. Go stand in front of a shelf of best sellers in either hard- or paperback and tell me honestly that you can make an analysis of the covers that proves that any (competent) cover helped more to sell the book under it than any other (competent) cover and you will grasp that I have this right. Then see how many reviewer condemn a whole otherwise good book for some single, small point of grammar or clumsy phrasing or whatever picayune matter strikes them wrong -- and for them takes down the whole book with it. Again, it's such common experience, it's not hard to grasp this point either.

Such a beautiful day. Off for a ride on my bike with my paint kit.


message 40: by K.A. (new)

K.A. Jordan (kajordan) | 3042 comments "We have several other members prone to worry too much about their covers and the appearance of every tiny detail of their books."

Guilty as charged.

Kench


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