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Marketing Tactics > Am I doing something wrong?

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message 1: by Dan (new)

Dan Jr. (danlong79) | 9 comments I have tried what I have heard and known. From advertising on Amazon and book pages on Facebook and calling podcast people local to be interviewed just to get the book seen and acknowledged. I don't know if its the topic that no one wants to touch but I just though it was a good "What If" book idea i had. I put this down as a thriller but it has drama in it as well dealing with people leaving their families because of the events of the book. Am I labeling this wrong maybe. Thank you for your insights.


message 2: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) This topic is pretty broad and has been approached over and over again. I would suggest reading through past posts to get some ideas of what others have done, but keep in mind that success in this business is 1% skill and 99% luck.


message 3: by Jean (new)

Jean Connolly (jeanconnollyauthor) | 1 comments I've been busting my ass trying to get my book noticed by so many people, and I barely get any bite, if any at all. So I understand why you would thing you're doing something wrong. I think the same thing every day. But just keep pushing and believe in what you're doing. Your hard work will pay off!


message 4: by Frank (new)

Frank Kelso (frank_kelso) | 31 comments Dan: You say you're advertising on Amazon. Do you mean AMS?
Are you in KDP Select and KU?
If I didn't use KDP Select, KU , and AMS, I'd have no sales at all.
KU alone pays the costs of my AMS adv. (about $400/mo)
I started my ads at $5/day and tweaked to get the clicks/sale numbers in my favor, then increased ad spend as clicks/sales increased. 500+ keywords for AMS
(Look at KDP Rocket to learn keywords for your book.)
If you're advertising on AMS & FB and not getting any sales, go back to the basics. Look at your cover again. Look at your blurb and tag lines.


message 5: by Dennis (last edited May 02, 2018 03:58PM) (new)

Dennis Fried | 32 comments I will be the bearer of bad news. In today's world, it is an extreme long shot for self- or small-publishers to sell enough books to even break even. Even the major publishers lose money on most books they publish. If you try to get an agent, they don't care how good the book is or what it's about. They will tell you that you need a "platform." A platform is an already established media presence with thousands of followers who are potential purchasers of your book. In other words, "Congratulations on your book - contact me when you're famous." Agents and publishers are constantly researching the media landscape to find people who seem to have a large following. Then they will encourage those people to write a book, any book, doesn't matter how lousy. And those are the books you will find in the stores. And it is from that group of books that a few will end up selling well.


message 6: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Fried | 32 comments Hi Frank. I don't think we're disagreeing. I just think our definitions of "selling well" are different. For me, it means you're making 5, 10, 15, 20 K a book. Perusing your offerings on amazon, taking into account the prices, giveaways, and rankings, I don't think you're doing that. And that's fine and in no way is this meant as a criticism. But I think it's very important that authors new to this business have a clear-eyed understanding of the economics involved, and the inherent monetary risk/reward ratio.


message 7: by Jenna (new)

Jenna Thatcher (jenna_thatcher) | 132 comments Frank, it seems, though, that you're one of those people that's 'all in'. I think that attitude is part of what can make things happen. Sure, you need a good book, but if you're giving it everything you've got, sales are bound to happen.
I tend to be a hobbyist. (Says the girl who's getting ready to publish #3, and it's been about 6 months...) But I can't handle the stress of pushing my book and worrying abotu advertising - then it isn't fun for me. I write to write and let all those ideas out, and I think sometimes people need to remember that that's OKAY.
Ah, soap box. Sorry.


message 8: by John (new)

John Day Jenna wrote: "Frank, it seems, though, that you're one of those people that's 'all in'. I think that attitude is part of what can make things happen. Sure, you need a good book, but if you're giving it everythin..."
As I see it, there is no right or wrong in seeking high monetary rewards, or fame, or writing in the hope of getting read.
The bit that is not good is brilliant stories that no one reads.
No one can know if a book is good or bad, for them, unless they read it. If they don't know it exists, they will never read it.
A good or bad book will not sell itself. A good story from an unknown author is also unlikely to be mentioned by anyone, be it reader or blogger. So forget about word of mouth, it does not happen until a critical mass of interest is generated. Then, regardless of the readability of the story, it will catch on and become a new fad or fashion. To achieve that critical mass requires marketing and a generous budget.
It appears you are similar to me in as much as you want your writing (your pleasurable pursuit) to be read and enjoyed. You will probably enjoy the odd message from a grateful reader more than the money. That is all I get out of writing, knowing readers are seeking out and reading my books.
I publish for free, all 7 books so far and a new series being written now. The new books are selling the old books, with no marketing or Facebook involvement. Just look at the rating for Secret Cargo, or Espionage London. A lot of people are reading my stories and I am so pleased about that. It is all the reward I need.
I wish you every success and feel sure you will get noticed in time.


message 9: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Post deleted. Feel free to share what has worked for you, but without self promotionb and without telling people that hiring a professional is a requirement.


message 10: by Margret (new)

Margret Treiber (themargret) | 12 comments Crap, I can't even get my own family and friends to read and share my links. It's humiliating. My own stepmother promotes for a famous author for free and would never even admit to her friends that I was a writer and that they should read my novel. Like I was an embarrassment.

Finding someone on Instagram with a bunch of followers and getting them to post links to my book seemed to help. But I had to pay them, and money is not unlimited. Facebook did nothing. Bookbub didn't seem to do much. Some Fiver campaigns actually bore some fruit. My Goodreads campaign is stagnant. I can't find that magic clickable add. I never tried Amazon. Amazon has my account all jacked up anyway.

I'm pretty close to giving up. All this work for barely any result makes me feel like a complete loser.


message 11: by Jenn (new)

Jenn Webster | 14 comments I too am struggling; But despite the fact that I do, I keep going and remain positive. I am still writing, both with my blogs and for other social media, as well as future eBooks. Don't ever give up-Just keep on writing. Write like no one is reading it.-JW


message 12: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Margret wrote: "Crap, I can't even get my own family and friends to read and share my links. It's humiliating. My own stepmother promotes for a famous author for free and would never even admit to her friends that..."

Might be time to examine why you're writing. Is it for the joy of it? Because you love to create? Or is it to gain approval of family and friends? My dad won't read any of my work until I somehow become John Grisham. Fine by me. It was never about him, anyway.


message 13: by Margret (new)

Margret Treiber (themargret) | 12 comments Dwayne wrote: "Margret wrote: "Crap, I can't even get my own family and friends to read and share my links. It's humiliating. My own stepmother promotes for a famous author for free and would never even admit to ..."

I can't help but write. I get depressed when I don't at least edit something. And the magazine rejections get brutal. The places that don't pay are happy to accept my stuff, but the markets that pay are dog eat dog, man. They will fight tooth and claw for a token t-shirt payment. I'll write anyway, but damn it would be nice to have people read it once in a while.


message 14: by Ian (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 269 comments Margret wrote: "I can't help but write. I get depressed when I don't at least edit something. And the magazine rejections get brutal. The places that don't pay are happy to accept my stuff, but the markets that pay are dog eat dog, man. They will fight tooth and claw for a token t-shirt payment. I'll write anyway, but damn it would be nice to have people read it once in a while."

Sounds like you've figured out some of the reasoning Dwayne was referring to. #1 - you need to write, so you're going to keep writing whatever. #2 - you want at least some people to read it.

I'd like to ask - are the non-paying markets enough to satisfy #2? Presumably they have readers. If so, is it worth pursuing paying markets if it's not yielding results and making you miserable?

I am still struggling with marketing, too. I think almost everyone does. I enjoy writing. I want to be read. $$ would be nice - at least enough to break even - but I see that as the long game. For now my approach is to keep doing the parts that I enjoy, write more stuff, get it out there, and try the occasional new stab at marketing when I feel like it. See what brings results and what doesn't. Do more of the former and stop doing the latter.

My impression is there is no magic formula, just patience and persistence. And keep in touch with your own reasons for doing this.


message 15: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 21 comments Everyone will tell you to identify your target audience. I don’t know about you, but my target audience is me. I write what I want to read. I know that my tastes differ from those of my friends and family.

I understand that it can be disheartening to read these accounts of other authors whose ravenous horde of Facebook friends will review, promote, and market their work. I’ve read those posts claiming, “I just announce the new book on social media and my 7 billion followers each buy 3 copies.” I’ve begun to suspect their claims may be exaggerated.

My circle of family and friends typically do not promote my work. Their interests differ from mine. Just because it’s important to me, does not mean that it is of the same importance to everyone else.

I can choose to let that stop me, or I can keep writing. I believe that there’s an audience for every story. It may take some time for them to find one another. I live convinced that there are others out there whose tastes run similar to mine and who would love to read my work. That’s where I choose to focus.


message 16: by Margret (new)

Margret Treiber (themargret) | 12 comments Ian wrote: "I'd like to ask - are the non-paying markets enough to satisfy #2? Presumably they have readers. If so, is it worth pursuing paying markets if it's not yielding results and making you miserable? "

The non-paying markets are very small and don't get a great deal of reader attention. Plus, I do think that if a writer is submitting to a magazine, there should at least be a token payment. It is a matter of respect. Not that I am some awesome, ground-breaking writer, but I did make the effort to write the thing that brings the magazine readers. Give me five bucks or something, sheesh.

It's a blessing and a curse that the internet has made it so easy for people to write and self-publish. I started writing when I was young, but life. I jumped back in a decade ago and the competition is fierce. People try to say that it is now more egalitarian. Anyone can write a book and be read, but it is really not. Unless you're someone famous very few people will even bother. Deborah Harkness in my stepmother's case. Yeah, I pretty much dislike poor Deborah Harkness. She's probably a lovely lady, but my evil stepmother ruined for me.

As far as I can see, persistence only works if you also have money, connections or are really good at social navigation. If you are a misanthrope like me, shmoozing is not easy. And time is another thing many of us have as an enemy. We have to have these crappy day jobs that steal our productivity even more. Maybe in retirement? (Do I even get to retire?)

I may try more Fiverrs or maybe Instagram again. The mysteries of Instagram are getting less elusive as time progresses, so maybe I'll get my own following and try it that way. But no, I am not showing anyone my bobs. :)


message 17: by Margret (new)

Margret Treiber (themargret) | 12 comments Ubiquitous wrote: "I understand that it can be disheartening to read these accounts of other authors whose ravenous horde of Facebook friends will review, promote, and market their work. I’ve read those posts claiming, “I just announce the new book on social media and my 7 billion followers each buy 3 copies.” I’ve begun to suspect their claims may be exaggerated. "

Okay, so it's not just me that gets irked by that. Because damn.


message 18: by Dennis (last edited May 21, 2018 09:58AM) (new)

Dennis Fried | 32 comments If you are the kind of writer who completes a book, can't get it published or sell any, puts it in a drawer and then writes another, and another, then writing is your hobby and sales success would only be an unexpected bonus. But if your writing is sustained by the hope of commercial success, even very modest success, you are highly likely to end up bitter and disappointed.

Once you get passed your family and friends (and even some of them will disappoint you), you cannot imagine how hard it is to get people to pay money for a book (especially YOUR book). Most people don't read, and then most people who do read probably don't read your genre. The majority of books that are published, even by the Big Guys, don't make back their costs.

The really sad part about it all is that writers like most of us here end up feeling like they failed: their writing was not good enough, they didn't market extensively enough or effectively, etc. In truth, the quality of the writing is one of the least important factors in the ultimate success of a book. And in most cases it doesn't matter what kind of marketing you do - it won't make much difference.

These days it's an extremely rare book that will sell in any numbers at all unless the author is already a celebrity of sorts, with many thousands of fans and followers. And then it hardly matters how good the book happens to be.

I know I will be accused of being negative, but the truth is often unhappy. And please don't be one who replies to this post, who takes issue with it by describing what great success they've had by doing X, Y, and Z, and never giving up, etc., and then I go to Amazon and find their book's ranking to be in the hundreds of thousands or millions - which means a copy might sell every two or three weeks.

I am not trying to discourage anyone from writing, or promoting. I'm just trying to make people feel less battered and shattered, and let them know that that their experience is par for the course for the vast majority of authors.


message 19: by J. (new)

J. James | 2 comments Ubiquitous wrote: "Everyone will tell you to identify your target audience. I don’t know about you, but my target audience is me. I write what I want to read. I know that my tastes differ from those of my friends and..."

I also write what I want to read. When I published my first book, I had the rush of family and friends who bought it simply because they love me. After that, it was zilch. I didn't promote, either. Just let it sit there and pick up a sell or two every six months. I was thrilled because I knew those were strangers who had found me.

What has helped me with my sales is continuing to publish. I put 6 novellas on Amazon and then found that suddenly everything was selling. I'm actively promoting now, and the numbers are going up. I think, for a lot of us, it's a snowball effect. you start with something tiny, but you keep rolling and watch it incrementally get larger.


message 20: by Jay (new)

Jay Greenstein (jaygreenstein) | 249 comments I looked at the excerpts on Amazon, wearing my manuscript critique hat, so I'm pretty sure I see the reason for the situation you describe. Unfortunately, Goodreads seems to have dropped the ability to send personal mail, and this is not the place for critiques. So I'll say only that:

a) it's not a matter of talent, potential, or the plot.
b) You'll find the solution in a copy of Dwight Swain's, Techniques of the Selling Writer, a book I feel should be mandatory reading for every hopeful writer.

Hope this helps.


message 21: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
Margret wrote: "Crap, I can't even get my own family and friends to read and share my links. It's humiliating. My own stepmother promotes for a famous author for free and would never even admit to her friends that I was a writer and that they should read my novel. Like I was an embarrassment."

I confess that despite working on my debut since summer 2015, my family still does not know (okay, my sister does). Because I am not sure how they would react. I am writing fantasy. My mother, by what I remember, was reading historical novels (not sure if based on truth or if it was historical fiction) in past and my father is into Sci-Fi, but mostly in movie form.

Personally, I take writing as my hobby. It's a way to let my mind wander creating the story in a world that, at least for now, very few people know about. I don't know if I'll sell anything, let alone in any significant numbers, but I'll keep writing until the story is complete, because I want to know how it ends. If someone else reads it and likes it, I'll be glad for it. If I break even on the costs (mostly talking cover design here) or even get to + (even if by a single dollar), then I'll be happy.

Hell, I think the hardest step for me will be to enter the beta stage because that's where the first "stage fright" comes.


message 22: by Felix (new)

Felix Schrodinger | 138 comments I can't even get my own family and friends to read and share my links.

Know the feeling all too well - "A prophet is not without fame......."


message 23: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 356 comments Jay, the ironic thing is, the book you mentioned by Swain has significant content errors in its very description, and yet it has over 400 reviews!


message 24: by M.L. (last edited May 22, 2018 08:55AM) (new)

M.L. | 1126 comments Some of Swain's examples sound so sexist they made me wince. It comes from the babes and bullets era but still some solid advice.

General advice is practical. Specific is also good. So, took a look @Margaret's book. I read a few pages, read the sample. I thought it was great. It moves, it's interesting. Loved the character. My only thought is the price. Nothing to do with value or content but at $5.99 it's almost priced itself out of the market. Do what works, write a sequel.

On the question original 'am I doing something wrong' general info is good but sometimes you need to drill down. Each book is individual. My 2 cents.


message 25: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
$5.99 is really a lot for a ~200-page book (if I am looking at the correct book and seeing correct page count). At that price, I'd expect an epic, at least as a fantasy reader. It feels like novella for the price of a full-length novel. The books I usually read at that price are either sequels to something I enjoyed or books with triple the page count.
That's just my personal opinion, of course.


message 26: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
No book should be "mandatory reading" for any author. If you get something out of it, Jay, peachy. If you want to recommend it, fine (which you have at least a dozen times on these boards). But, we're all different animals. Elephants can't be trained by lion tamers and so on. What works for you won't work for everyone. I haven't read the book you like to peddle so I have no personal opinion on it, but I have seen many try to push Stephen King's On Writing as some kind of Gospel, the alpha and omega, of all books on writing. I thought it was okay, but nothing to get excited about. To each his own.


message 27: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 915 comments First off, you don't want family and friends reading your books unless it is a genre they normally read. You need to maket to the genre of the book. Look at the cover. Does it show what genre it is? Next, the blurb. Is it one which would make you want to read your book? Where are you promoting the book? Is it where fans of your genre go? What types of ads or promos have you done?

There is so much whuch goes into the marketing of a book. Make sure your keywords and categories are correct. Then look at the cover and blurb. Most of the time, the issues are there. Marwt to those who read your genre so your book isn't mixed in with a category which doesn't fit your book. (That is what happens when you mother who reads historical fiction reads your sci-fi book.) I ask what type of books people like to read before I mention my books since some one who doesn't read my genre isn't my target audience. Also patience is needed. Like writing, marketing has a leanring curve.


message 28: by Bella (new)

Bella d'Amour (bella_damour) | 1 comments I've given free copies to family & friends and hear nothing back from them. I choose to think it's because it's not their cup of tea. I write for myself and I think my efforts are pretty good for the category they're in. I know my 2nd book is much better than my first because I learned a lot from the 1st (and from my editor).

I was happy to have a few sales from strangers because I was afraid of a big fat zero so my expectations were exceeded. I was excited to have over 200 people download my 1st book for free only to realize people may never get to it among the hundred other free books they have also downloaded.

Amazon advertising does work but you may not earn back what you spend. I choose not to spend much right now since I don't have it to waste (because I haven't learned the ins & outs of keywords yet). I'd rather use it for good editing and proofreading. I've decided to focus on my writing and finishing my series, at which time I'll promote so there are more than a couple of books to buy if people like even one book in the series.

My personal experience leads me to believe that marketing takes up as much time as writing and if I'm not going to put that much time into it, my chances of success will be limited.

So, back to writing for me...


message 29: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Tomas wrote: "$5.99 is really a lot for a ~200-page book"

That's about what I spend on coffee during an average writing session in a coffee shop or the library. It's a shame we're conditioning ourselves to think our books are worth less than a couple of cups of coffee.


message 30: by B.A. (new)

B.A. A. Mealer | 915 comments Thomas, I agree, but with the advent of e-books where there is no cost other than the author's time to write it (supposedly since most forget you have to pay for the programs, and for the cover, and formatting if you can't do it) the indie authors decided to use low prices to get readers. Like everything else, when everyone jumps on the band wagon, it becomes an expected thing, so now anything over 2.99 is considered expensive in an e-book.


message 31: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 405 comments Dwayne wrote: "Tomas wrote: "$5.99 is really a lot for a ~200-page book"

That's about what I spend on coffee during an average writing session in a coffee shop or the library. It's a shame we're conditioning our..."

I’ve thought that many times. Books take years to write, but people look at the price and scoff if it’s more than a few bucks (even if it’s a know author), but they’ll gladly buy a round of coffee or drinks for a casual acquaintance/co-worker. I believe it’s the end result. I know a guy who sold over three hundred copies of his book before it was published because he was using a crowd sourced method, this suggests people were helping him. Once the book came out it was crickets. I guess since he no longer needed help to get a professionally made book in hand, people changed from helping a friend to “I don’t read books/that genre.” I'm rambling now, so I’ll stop.


message 32: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Phillip wrote: "I’ve thought that many times. Books take years to write, but people look at the price and scoff if it’s more than a few bucks (even if it’s a know author), but they’ll gladly buy a round of coffee or drinks for a casual acquaintance/co-worker. "

What seems to be working for me these days is playing both sides of the coin at the same time. I price everything what I believe is fair (.99 for short stories, 2.99 for novellas, collections, and certain humorous works, 5.99 for my novel). Every so often, usually around the weekend, I change the price of two or three items to free. I don't really market much anymore as that only seems to get my books in front of people who aren't interested in my genres. So, I see some spikes every few days of people grabbing the free stuff. That's usually followed with a few sales. Not many, granted, but it's something.


message 33: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
Compared to the traditionally published book, you don't lose money that the publisher, the agent, the printing house and the retailer would take, which is around 70% even for ebooks (because publishers inflate the price of ebooks to the level of a paperback to increase THEIR profit). The current prevalent prices of self-published ebooks reflect that.

Self-published author gets more money from $3 ebook than traditionally published author gets from $10 ebook.


message 34: by J. (new)

J. James | 2 comments I think it's challenging to find the right price for your books. You spend countless hours creating this work, but the end user may spend less than a day consuming it. For us, it's the culmination of a lot of time and effort - which is worth more than $3 - $10. For the readers, it's an afternoon's entertainment, and they may not want to spend the money on something they may only enjoy once. (With the coffee, they already know what they're getting. With us, they're taking a chance.)


message 35: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (last edited May 23, 2018 07:36AM) (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 731 comments Mod
J. Leigh wrote: "With the coffee, they already know what they're getting. With us, they're taking a chance."

That's another important factor. From my own experience (please keep in mind that all I said in this regard is reader's perspective), the more people rated/reviewed it positively, the more willing I am to pay more for that. For an author established in his/her genre, it's well possible to sell 200 pages for $6. For someone completely unknown, I doubt it.

When my debut is complete, I am not sure I could start at $6 even though it's going to be somewhere in 650-700 pages range, because no one knows who I am and if my work might be worth it. By length, maybe. by quality? Only time will tell.


message 36: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) I'll never get the coffee analogy. First because I can't remember ever paying more than a buck or two for coffee, and second because this is like comparing the price of a car to the price of breakfast cereal. These items are not relevant to one another.

But yes, in my opinion, $5.99 is high for an ebook, so I would be hard pressed to pay that. However, I don't speak for everyone.

And price is only a small factor. The truth is, whether you're doing something "wrong" or not is irrelevant. Write a good book. Write more good books. Market them a little or a lot. But at the end of the day, remember that success in this business is mostly luck.


message 37: by L.K. (new)

L.K. Chapman | 150 comments After my first novel I often thought about sales of my book with the coffee analogy, but as Christina says, it's not really comparing two things that are the same. A cup of coffee can only be sold once, whereas a book that has taken a year to write can be sold over and over, and could potentially make a full years salary, even at a 2.99 price point, if you sell enough of them. I get that that may not sound very helpful because getting books sold isn't easy, but the more books you have available, the more sales might begin to stack up, and if you have several books each selling at 2.99, with readers hopefully going on to buy your other books, the maths can begin to add up a bit better.


message 38: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Christina wrote: "I'll never get the coffee analogy."

Okay. The other day I spent 10.99 on an ebook that was roughly the same length as Margaret's. Granted, it's by John Steinbeck and he is considered by many to be a great writer and all that, but still - a book is a book. I might get just as much enjoyment out of Margaret's as I will Steinbeck's.

Coffee is often consumed rather quickly. Now, I would doubt many enjoy a good cup of coffee as much as I, however, I do enjoy a good book more. Yesterday I was reading a John Updike novel and everything around me vanished I was so engrossed in the scene.

Maybe I need to move to Texas. Coffee around here usually goes for about $2.00 to 4.00 a cup, depending on where you go.


message 39: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
L.K. wrote: "A cup of coffee can only be sold once, whereas a book that has taken a year to write can be sold over and over..."

True, but I'm looking at it as a consumer. I buy a cup of coffee and once it's gone it's gone. If I want more, I have to buy more. If I buy your book and enjoy it, I can read it over and over without having to continue to pay you.


message 40: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Murrell | 405 comments Christina wrote: "I'll never get the coffee analogy. First because I can't remember ever paying more than a buck or two for coffee, and second because this is like comparing the price of a car to the price of breakf..."

I think the coffee analogy works more when authors are talking about friends, family, and coworkers. Many authors complain these people who know them won't support them, but they'll turn around and buy them a cup of coffee. Many authors (I feel) would prefer the people in their lives used the same couple bucks to buy their ebook. Even if they don't read the book, it will rise in the ratings/algorithms and perhaps be stumbled upon by the casual stranger. Obviously, if the analogy is applied to the stranger from the get go, it loses its point. A stranger doesn't know the author or what he/she is getting. The first cruel lesson of self-publishing is that 500 friends on facebook will likely lead to five sales, and one reader. Obviously, these numbers are pulled out of thin air.


message 41: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Gamble (wendygamblesf) | 12 comments An Indie author is doing all the marketing work themselves vs a traditional publisher so why should there be a price difference? You either pay someone to market or pay yourself to market.


message 42: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Wendy wrote: "An Indie author is doing all the marketing work themselves vs a traditional publisher so why should there be a price difference? You either pay someone to market or pay yourself to market."

I see it as going even beyond all that. A lot of Indies seek out interviews. They have book signings. They have parties when their books are released. In most every way, we act like trad authors - except when it comes to pricing. Then we get shy about it and think, "Well, people don't really know who I am, so I better not charge much for my book."


message 43: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Fried | 32 comments I think there are two kinds of new writers. The first are the ones who are confident that what they write is good, and they have as a goal to make non-trivial money by writing, and maybe even serious money. For those writers, there is no reason to price their books any less than the books published by the biggies. Selling books cheaply in the hope of hooking readers for future efforts is not smart business.

The second kind of new writer does not regard their writing as a business. It's something they've always wanted to do, to actually get a book "out there," and if some strangers actually buy it, that's just a bonus. For these writers, there is no reason not to price their books cheaply, or even for free.

I cannot criticize them for doing this. But I do think that when you have tens of thousands of writers operating this way, it does tend to devalue the worth of books in the eyes of the "reader in the street."


message 44: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Phillip wrote: "I think the coffee analogy works more when authors are talking about friends, family, and coworkers. Many authors complain these people who know them won't support them, but they'll turn around and buy them a cup of coffee. Many authors (I feel) would prefer the people in their lives used the same couple bucks to buy their ebook. Even if they don't read the book, it will rise in the ratings/algorithms and perhaps be stumbled upon by the casual stranger. "

Treating friends and family like customers is a good way to lose relationships. Expecting them to buy your book is like expecting your co-workers to buy fundraiser items for your child's school. It's a courtesy some might do, but others won't, and some who do may silently resent you for making them feel obligated.

As for the devalue argument I keep seeing crop up: authors, like any creator, have the right to price however they like. The price of my books has no bearing on yours and vice versa.


message 45: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
I think you're grossly over-simplifying things, Dennis, by trying to put writers in one of two categories. I am serious about it, and I'm confident in my abilities. I set my prices where I feel the books are worth. However, I do occasionally drop prices and often give things away for free. The audience I'm trying to reach is small and fickle, meaning I am constantly reworking my strategies to get my work in front of them.

I don't see how someone giving all their work away for cheap or free would devalue what I'm doing, nor do I see how my offering a free book here and there would devalue anyone else's work. I've heard this stated here and there, though there seems to be no evidence for it.


message 46: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Fried | 32 comments First, let me reiterate that I said that I can't criticize anyone for selling their work cheaply or even giving it away. But as for the devaluation argument, there is all the evidence in the world for it. When your neighbors sell their house cheaply, the comps are affected and all the houses in the immediate area have their market values affected. When one hamburger chain reduces their prices, the others have to follow or they lose business. When American factories realized how much cheaper Mexican labor is, they started moving their manufacturing to Mexico, and now those same jobs are moving to China because the labor there is even cheaper. This phenomenon is a fundamental of economics. When it comes to commodity items (and most books fall into that category), people see no reason to pay any more than they have to for what seems to them to be essentially similar items. And the word for that is "devaluation."


message 47: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 347 comments I think the debate about price of books and coffee is slightly skewed to what you can get for a dollar. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the price is determined by what the market will bear, but in most cases, with books, the problem with sales is not so much the price of the book, but how to get it in front of the right readers. There is just too much supply. The answer might seem to be to be different, to offer something where there is little competition, but that tends to take you into a very niche audience, and once again, how do you get noticed? The short answer to all this is, nobody knows how to break through. We do what we can.


message 48: by Leah (new)

Leah Reise | 356 comments I had trouble choosing an appropriate price for my debut at first, too. So I researched other books that were similar to mine. I felt the worth of my well-edited book was probably a little higher than what I went with, but chose the average price of $3.99 for the books with my page count. For my paperback, I went with $11, which was slightly higher than the average I think.

When it comes to family, only a few close family members and friends read my book, but the ones who read it were the supportive family members and friends who happen to like the genre I write. They also knew I based some of my characters off of them, and they were curious what was revealed! Nothing bad, though. But I never expected family and friends to read my book. I realize not everyone is interested in the subject, even if my book is good. So I write for me, and hope for the best.


message 49: by Zana (new)

Zana Hart (zanahart) | 13 comments I wrote three cozy mysteries and began to see where I might be able to get a decent bit of income, but frankly I got tired of weaving the plots. Now I am writing a series of fairly short books, my memoirs. I was being interviewed the other day by a librarian at the local public library and I had already given them the fiction. I showed her the memoirs and could physically see her recoil when I suggest the library might want to buy them. "That would be way down on our list," she said. Hmm, so I guess I am writing mainly for myself!


message 50: by Anne (new)

Anne Lovett | 20 comments Unfortunately, it's hard to sell a memoir unless you're famous or had something really out of the ordinary or awful happen to you.


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