How to Promote YOUR book on Amazon discussion

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Group Questions > Who can honestly say they are making regular profit on book sales and how do you do it?

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message 1: by Seth (last edited Dec 04, 2018 07:30AM) (new)

Seth Ules | 5 comments Hi there

I don't mean to be rude, but I have been through many forums for information on how best to advertise your book, but most of the advice I find is for free books or those on kindle unlimited. In the end let's all be honest, we want to sell books for money and make a profit. What I'd really like to know, is who is actually managing to do that? And if so, how? I haven't written anything myself yet to be published. I plan to, but before I do I want to compile as much information as I can find. All I know so far is that friends of mine have tried and failed. So I'd really like some advice from people who are actually making it work.


message 2: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Smith (christmasangels) | 9 comments Seth, you're not being rude,you're being honest I've had a book on Amazon "From The Green River To The Sea" for over 3 years with very few sales because there's zero promotion. I've tried to get Amazon promotion and fill out all they say to fill out and nothing happens. I wish I had continued to search for and submitted to a real literary agent instead of having Createspace put it on Amazon. I would suggest that, after you write your book, to find a real literary agent instead of going the self-publishing route with Amazon. A big waste of time.


message 3: by Seth (last edited Dec 04, 2018 03:58PM) (new)

Seth Ules | 5 comments Dennis wrote: "Seth, you're not being rude,you're being honest I've had a book on Amazon "From The Green River To The Sea" for over 3 years with very few sales because there's zero promotion. I've tried to get Am..."

Thank you for your reply Dennis. I'm sorry to hear that you haven't been making many sales with your book. Just out of interest what had you done to promote it? Did you use Facebook and Twitter? Advertise on any free sites? Also where are you from? I don't mean to be so nosey but I'm trying to get as much information as I can before I give this a go.


message 4: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Smith (christmasangels) | 9 comments I live in Ashville,Alabama. My book is an autobiography from age 6 to 22. Being pulled from pillar to post by a dysfunctional family. Raised in Indiana and joined the Navy. It covers all that. I paid for an ad on Facebook that did nothing. I paid for an ad here on Goodreads that has done nothing. I'm a 77-year-old totally disabled veteran and can't afford costly advertising. I have found that the publishing world is filled with scam artists. Let me know when you've finished your book. I would still advise you to get a real literary agent and stay away from self publishing. I wish I had. I've thought about writing a fictional novel but I don't believe I have one in me. I do wish you the best of luck.
Den


message 5: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 5 comments Dennis wrote: "I live in Ashville,Alabama. My book is an autobiography from age 6 to 22. Being pulled from pillar to post by a dysfunctional family. Raised in Indiana and joined the Navy. It covers all that. I pa..."

Thank you, Dennis. I would really love to forego the self publishing route and get a real literary agent, but my research has shown that this can be just as improbable. My plan will be to try both at the same time and see how I get on. I'll let you know when the book is ready to go, although it may be some time from now since I am barely past the third chapter. Are you still going to try to get a literary agent yourself? If so I wish you the best of luck too.


message 6: by Angela (new)

Angela | 1 comments The best advertising I've done is through teaching writing, public speaking engagements, and a nationwide book tour within the first six months of a book's release.

Best of luck to you,

Angela


message 7: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 5 comments Angela wrote: "The best advertising I've done is through teaching writing, public speaking engagements, and a nationwide book tour within the first six months of a book's release.

Best of luck to you,

Angela"


Thank you Angela. I don't really feel like I'm adept enough to teach writing, but I would consider public speaking in the future. Thanks for the tip.


message 8: by Vicki (new)

Vicki | 2 comments Getting an agent doesn't ensure you will find a publisher. Even if you find a publisher, you, as an unknown author will be responsible for your own publicity. From a publisher you will get editing and book cover service...but you are paying for that by lower royalties. That is after you spend a year or two finding an agent and then your agent finding a publisher.


message 9: by Seth (new)

Seth Ules | 5 comments Vicki wrote: "Getting an agent doesn't ensure you will find a publisher. Even if you find a publisher, you, as an unknown author will be responsible for your own publicity. From a publisher you will get editing ..."

Yes, I've heard this a lot. It does put me off, but at the same time so do a number of things with self publishing. Are you speaking from experience? Do you have or have you had an agent? Or do you perhaps know someone who has? Many thanks.


message 10: by Vicki (new)

Vicki | 2 comments I have a friend who self published 3 novels back in the day when it was a bit pricey to do so. In 2016 she published with one of the small publishing houses. Her book was a top seller on Amazon and has over 1K customer reviews. She is now trying to get out of her contract with them...they have right of first refusal on her next book, which she wants to self-publish. She had to do all of her own publicity...including a road trip in her own car at her own expense to do book signings.


message 11: by Florian (new)

Florian Scherzer | 1 comments Hi Seth,
My answer might be a little late, but as an author (in Europe) who can’t really live from his fiction alone, but earns enough with his book(s) to pay his family a nice long holiday trip every year, I can give you one advice: Do not rely on Amazon. They’re evil and mean and will try to squeeze every cent out of you they can. They won’t help you promote your book. You will be nothing but more anonymous content to fill their shelves.
What you could do: Write an exposée (1 page), start your text and find the best 30 pages, don’t layout any covers, send the exposée and the 30 pages to every agent and publisher you find. Small local publishers will treat your book with love and respect but won’t make you earn a lot (that’s what I did). They will also give you a lot of freedom with the layout of your cover and advertising. Big publishers want to di everything themselves. You will get very good proofreading and lectors that will help you improve your book. But they will also change some of it for sales reasons. The biggest problem with big editors is that you won’t be very important to them either. Unless you’re an aspiring bestseller.
So, my real advice is: try to find a local editor, promote the book yourself on Facebook (ads, normal posts are invisible), get a newspaper review (still the most important thing. Call journalists, don’t email them, they won’t read it). Don’t be disappointed if things don’t work out.
Have a nice Christmas
Florian


message 12: by Ash (new)

Ash Lingam (ashlingam) | 24 comments I don't claim to be an expert, but I would not go the publisher route. I have spent two years figuring out Amazon Science (my personal label), and their algorithm. I have found that if you follow the process you will in fact get your book out there to Amazon readers. I have been working successfully with Amazon for nearly two years now with twenty books making money and Amazon has treated me fantastic. I honestly do not have one bad word to say about the firm. The rule is basically, good cover, the first thirty pages of the book must grab the reader. And at the end of the day, you're book must be well written and in a good genre. If not you're barking up the wrong tree.
I think that the best advice is diligence and hard work. That is what makes Amazon work for the writer.
You can publish a book on Amazon for free if you can edit your novel. (not advisable) But there are no publishers that are going to allow you to earn 70% as Amazon does.


message 13: by Ella (new)

Ella James (artisanbookreviews) | 8 comments Two fabulous award winning book review and book promotion websites.
Authors and readers are raving about these blogs.
https://www.artisanbookreviews.com
https://www.chicklitcafe.com
Visit them and be inspired and entertained.
If you are an author, they can make your book shine with their captivating book reviews and increase your sales through their effective and "targeted" marketing campaigns.


message 14: by W.L. (new)

W.L. Wright | 4 comments I've read just about all the comments and my two cents is I self published just a little over a month ago and glad I did. Since self publishing I have had over 2000 people read my stories. That includes novels, short stories (all free online) and a few poems now and again (also free). For me that's fantastic and I see everything growing the more I write and participate on online communities and forums including my sales.

All 3 books are in the KU program. I did the free book 48 hours for two books and 5 days for one. Got a ton of downloads and that was cool. Then things kept going pretty great as I launched one book per week for three weeks. Since that was over I have made sales, I still get reads but as I write my next book I feel the quicker I get it out the better. But, I respect my stories enough and readers to take the time it takes for the story to be great.

As to reviews, I have had one review on two of my books and both are great but one is only on Goodreads and not on Amazon and I wish it was. But it's not so it is what it is. I try to not to get too caught up in the review thing because I think in time it just happens.

Sometimes those tons of sites that are asking for tons of money for "reviews" I think that is the only way up the ladder where you need to be to get a good bunch of rocking sales that you will celebrate wildly about. But then I also know you can make it without doing any of that and that is the course I am taking and honestly I can't afford any of that anyway.

I do Amazon ads and I have made sales and get reads from that but I am still upside down on clicks as to any profit from it. But I am at, as just about all agree, too soon to tell whether it's going to work out the other way. Amazon KU I think has been positive and I think Amazon has been great putting my book into some of their emails!

As a writer my desire is for readers to read my stories and that is already happening. That wasn't happening while I was submitted through the traditional publishing world. I did get a short story published and that was cool but I am glad to have my novels out to the public rather than cooped up waiting for an agent or publisher to say yes and I figured out that was no success guarantee either.

So for anyone who wants to jump out there then jump. Like me you might not regret the experience and you might just love it like I do even if you aren't jumping up wildly over wild levels of book sales.


message 15: by Amy (new)

Amy Raines (amyraines) | 3 comments Seth wrote: "Hi there

I don't mean to be rude, but I have been through many forums for information on how best to advertise your book, but most of the advice I find is for free books or those on kindle unlimit..."


Seth wrote: "Hi there

I don't mean to be rude, but I have been through many forums for information on how best to advertise your book, but most of the advice I find is for free books or those on kindle unlimit..."


Hi, I'm new here and have already published 17 books on Amazon. I have answered this question a few times based on research and facts. Most authors don't even sell a single book in their entire life so if you sell a few copies- you're already way ahead of the game.
That being said, I have come across something new and interesting- DAW Publishing, an imprint of Penguin/Random House is accepting unagented submissions. They do have some guidelines and rules in place dealing with genre and word count but may be well worth the endeavor. I am currently working on a book to submit to them (word count usually has to be more than 80,000 for DAW) and will happily give updates on my progress with them.
If you would like to check them out the link is https://www.penguin.com/publishers/daw/. Either way, I will let you know how it goes as I go through this process.


message 16: by T.C. (new)

T.C. Michael | 24 comments “Regular” profit isn’t quite the right way to put it, because you’re not making profit until you’ve earned enough to pay yourself back for what you’ve put into the book. Then, you ask yourself how much your time was worth to pay that back too. If you’re currently writing as a hobby, then no need to calculate that.

The first novel I wrote and self published probably costs around $450, which isn’t bad. But, it could be done cheaper and more expensive. Many things went wrong at the time (early 2014), but I’ve probably only earned $200 back. I’ve dropped that project for now and moved onto a few others.

I wrote and published another book in 2017, a book helping writers get published. It broke even within 8 months, granted it was cheaper. Not counting paying myself for the hours I put into the book, I profited around $150 after breaking even.

Jumping to 2019... I’ve published four books to help writers get published. The main and largest book came out in mid-February. It broke even within about 5 months and has been giving me a small profit. Under $100 so far. The other 3 smaller and cheaper books have not broken even yet. I am still learning about marketing and building my platform. Many things are still going to happen before the end of the year to boost more profitability. I also have an agent showing interest in one book, so we’ll see how that goes.

So, to answer your question: I am a self published writer who has published six books on Amazon. Two short stories previously, but have since been unpublished. First book I consider practice, second and third books have made a profit (not big) and the three following books will within a few months.

My Feb. 2019 release has hit a category bestseller list on Amazon at least half a dozen times.

If you want to see what books I’m talking about, click below.

Short Literature Pro Market 2019 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N2LL98S/...


message 17: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 174 comments Amy wrote: "Seth wrote: "Hi there

I don't mean to be rude, but I have been through many forums for information on how best to advertise your book, but most of the advice I find is for free books or those on k..."


Re major publishers accepting unagented submissions - do not ever pay a publisher to publish your book. They may say it is to cover marketing. Publishers market books as part of their raison d'etre. Do not pay them to do this work. The money should flow from the publisher to the writer, not the other way around.

If in doubt, google the publisher arm thoroughly. See what writers and journalists have to say on the firm. Try googling the phrase from a major publisher: 'monetizing the slushpile.'

The firm you mentioned may be perfectly acceptable and work in your best interests.


message 18: by Amy (new)

Amy Raines (amyraines) | 3 comments Hi Clare,

You're absolutely right! I have said this very same thing to several of my author friends and even published some articles about it. Real publishing companies do not ask for payments from the author, Vanity Publishing houses do. A very dear friend of mine published a book with a Vanity Publishing House that scammed her out of more than $45,000. I can not stress how important it is to research your prospective publishing company before submitting or committing to them.
Just a tip: Vanity publishing houses do the exact same thing a self published author does, using the same exact avenues of distribution only they charge a ton of money.
If I could leave any advice for anyone when it comes to publishing it would be easy- either self publish or submit to a traditional publishing house and steer clear of the vanity houses/presses.
We authors and writers have way too much time, patience, love, effort, and passion tied up in our work to let some random company ruin the whole thing by taking advantage of us.
Sadly, there are way too many people and places ready and willing to scam authors so please... keep your wits about you and do some research.


message 19: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 174 comments I think this can't be said often enough, Amy, so keep it up!


message 20: by Amy (new)

Amy Raines (amyraines) | 3 comments I agree it is one of the most important parts to remember when an author begins to search for publishers, agents, etc...

As promised, I wanted to let everyone know I have submitted my novel Of Evil And Innocence to DAW Publishing after doing some tedious research. As soon as I know anything at all, I will post it here.


message 21: by Rajiv (new)

Rajiv Bakshi (authorrajivbakshi) | 12 comments For a new Author , how many books he or she is able to sell to recover his cost incurred on self publishing . How much he needs to sell to be a good author ? I too published my book on short stories : Journey from Guwahati to Machhiwara . I spent around ₹ 25000 ( 400 $ ) for same . It's a self published book . Now book is in 20 countries , 202 libraries in India , 14 libraries in USA .


message 22: by Garima (new)

Garima Gupta | 2 comments @Raji those are good statistics


message 23: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 174 comments Amy wrote: "I agree it is one of the most important parts to remember when an author begins to search for publishers, agents, etc...

As promised, I wanted to let everyone know I have submitted my novel Of Evi..."


Wishing you the best of good luck!


message 24: by Phillip (new)

Phillip Strang | 1 comments Phillip Strang
Reading down the comments, message 12 from Ash shows that he understands the reality. If you're a new author, don't pay a publisher, vanity or otherwise. It's as easy to self-publish on Amazon and to promote there. If your book is worthy, the publishers will find you, but the truth is that it is rare that one book, no matter how good, will break through the melee of thousands of new books each week. It does happen, of course, but don't believe that it will happen to you. Sure, believe in your book, but understand the commercial reality.
I've got 23 books on Amazon, over 300 ads, mainly in the UK, and I'm making money with them. If you've got one book, you need to look for a profit on each and every ad. If you've got 23, you can take a different view. With 3M impressions each month, over 300 sales from Amazon ads, I'm also getting organic sales due to the books ranks, as well as page reads.
It's been said before by others, but the secret is either an unique book that takes off, or another book. And in a series. It's a tough game if monetary return is a factor.


message 25: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Jeanmougin | 3 comments Our book has been out about 3 weeks and we're coming up on about 100 copies sold with 13k KNEP read. I don't really know if that's good or bad (there seems no easy way to judge) but we are making enough of a turnover that we should be able to pay for a cover for our second book by the end of the year. From there, it seems to me that the goal should just be to make enough money for the next book and the one after that. I've heard a lot of authors say that they mainly start to turn a real profit once they get a few books under their belt because if people like what you write, chances are they'll read another book by you, especially if they're voracious readers.

I guess it all depends on your definition of success. For me, I'm just thrilled that people are buying/reading the thing.


message 26: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 174 comments E.M. wrote: "Our book has been out about 3 weeks and we're coming up on about 100 copies sold with 13k KNEP read. I don't really know if that's good or bad (there seems no easy way to judge) but we are making e..."

Try making your own covers. Start now and by the end of the year you should have two or three you're happy to use.


message 27: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 174 comments A series will sell. Get the first book right and people will come back for more. If you have new ideas go start a second series.
Personally I dislike cliff hanger type series. Don't do that, because readers may follow on once, but they quickly get tired of a writer who can't write a proper sewn up conclusion. And all the reviews will mention that this is a cliff-hanger ending, deterring many new would-be readers.


message 28: by E.M. (new)

E.M. Jeanmougin | 3 comments Clare wrote: "E.M. wrote: "Our book has been out about 3 weeks and we're coming up on about 100 copies sold with 13k KNEP read. I don't really know if that's good or bad (there seems no easy way to judge) but we..."

We're pretty happy with our artist, not too expensive but not cheap either. Besides, I like to help other artists and we get the bonus of having beautifully drawn pictures of our characters (which we want anyhow).

Good advice about the cliffhangers though. I'll definitely keep that in mind as we work through the second one. Thanks so much!


message 29: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 174 comments Oh, if the cover pictures are actually drawn, yes you want to keep that artist. Think of branding - this artist's covers are now the brand for the series. Readers should be able to tell right away that these books belong together.

If you write a different series, you can use a different artist or not, but again all those covers should look as though they belong together. You could use a different font for the lettering. And if the second series is a different genre of course they will look different anyway from the first series.


message 30: by Nat (new)

Nat Kennedy | 3 comments What I've read is that most authors who make money at this have 15+ books out. I have a day job and can't quite do that.

I have one book published through a small press in 2015 and 5 books self-published under a different pen name over the last 3 years. My small press launch made more money than the years of the self-published books, but it hasn't made much money since.

(I have professional covers and editing. I am lucky to get a book done a year, my goal is two.)

That's my experience! Good luck to everyone.


message 31: by Clare (new)

Clare O'Beara | 174 comments Thanks, Nat. Keep up the good work!


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