SFFMP 134: When to Hire a Personal Assistant, Facebook Live Events, and King Arthur Fantasy with K.M. Shea

On today’s show, we talked to return guest, fantasy author K.M. Shea. She specializes in retold fairy tales and King Arthur fantasy, and she’s definitely exploited the fact that these are fairly small and underserved sub-genres. If you have any interest in fairy tales, check out her last interview with us: Retold Fairy Tales, Kindle Unlimited, and Finding Less Competitive Categories.

We talked more about her King Arthur series today and also about some of the business/marketing things she’s been working on in the last year. Here are some of the details we covered:

  • Whether it makes sense to go back and deeply edit one of your early books or series.
  • Whether the fairy tale niche is still fairly underserved and if it’s easier (compared to popular categories like urban and epic fantasy) to break into the Top 100.
  • Finding a personal assistant to help with your author business, when it’s time and where to look.
  • What the going rate is for an author PA or VA (virtual assistant).
  • How much work do you need to have to outsource before someone might be interested in hiring on?
  • Do you need to worry about non-disclosure agreements? Sharing passwords?
  • Kitty’s experiences experimenting with Amazon ads, Facebook ads, and free Bookbub runs for a couple of her fairy tale novels.
  • Doing Facebook Live Events alone and with other authors, and whether these things actually sell books.
  • Kitty mentioned Kevin Kelly’s 1000 True Fans site and how she works to cultivate a good relationship with her readers.
  • Whether joint author promos can be effective for selling your own books.

You can visit KM Shea at her website or on Facebook, and check out her books at Amazon, including her retelling of Beauty and the Beast and Enthroned, her first King Arthur story.

 

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SFFMP 127: Book Launch Tips, Mistakes People Make with Amazon Algorithms, and Writing a Trilogy in 12 Weeks

Today, Chris Fox joined us to talk about book launches, book RE-launches, reasons why the Amazon algorithms may not be plugging your book, and writing a trilogy in twelve weeks. The author of non-fiction titles such as 5,000 Words Per Hour and Writing to Market, he’s joined us twice before on previous episodes:

Writing 5,000 Words an Hour and Selling Zombies and Werewolves

Selling More by Writing to Market + A Novel in 21 Days

Here’s some of what we covered today:

  • What Chris has been up to since finishing his Void Wraith Trilogy, the military SF he wrote to market last year, and how it ended up doing overall.
  • Why he’s writing a trilogy in 12 weeks and planning to release the books in rapid succession.
  • Some of the benefits of writing more than the first novel in a series before publishing any of them.
  • The importance of taking time off and taking time for passion projects.
  • Strategies for launching into crowded niches.
  • Whether Chris will do 99 cents for his launch of Book 1.
  • Using Facebook and Amazon ads to find a target audience and whether they’re proving effective (and affordable) right now.
  • Why it’s worthwhile to think about your character names instead of just throwing things out there.
  • Accountability tricks for sticking to one’s goals.
  • Launching a novel when you haven’t built up a list yet.
  • Why you might not want to tell everyone you know about your new novel — the confusing effect that can have on Amazon’s algorithms.
  • Relaunching a novel or series that didn’t do well out of the blocks.

You can find Chris and his video series on his site or on his YouTube channel. You can order Write to Market and Six-Figure Author on Amazon, and his new book, Relaunch Your Novel, will be out in May. You can also check out his fiction, starting with Destroyer or No Such Thing as Werewolves.

 

 

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SFFMP 108: Amazon Ads, Mastering Email Marketing, and Effective Social Media

Today, Jo and Lindsay chatted with Tom Corson-Knowles, non-fiction author, host of the Publishing Profits podcast, and entrepreneur. He does a lot of work with authors and has seen what’s working well for branding and improving sales, so we had a good discussion, covering everything from Amazon advertising (which has recently opened up to be available to everyone, not just those exclusive with KDP Select) to email marketing to social media.

Here are a few of the highlights of what we discussed:

  • What exactly Amazon ads are and how they work for authors.
  • How much you can expect to spend and what a respectable ROI or ACoS (Advertising Cost of Sales) looks like.
  • Product Display ads versus Sponsored Product Ads.
  • Keyword targeting and scaling up if you’re not getting enough impressions/clicks.
  • Making sure your cover/brand is appealing, since you’ve got to lure browsers away from the book page they’re on to click your ad.
  • Whether Amazon ads can make sense with a 99-cent book or a permafree one (and series starters versus stand alones).
  • Best practices when it comes to email marketing.
  • What your first follow-up message should look like after a new subscriber signs up.
  • The types of goodies you can give away to entice readers to sign up.
  • Whether you should start separate email lists if you branch into other genres.
  • How often you should be emailing your list as an author.
  • Whether you should worry if you get unsubscribes after sending out a newsletter.
  • If you should consider a pop-up to get more reader signups from your blog or website. (Tom uses SumoMe for handling pop-ups and signups.)
  • When it makes sense to ignore the common advice of “You have to be on Facebook” or “You have to be on Twitter.”
  • Finding ways to market online that jive with your personality and what you’re willing to do.

You can check out Tom’s courses on his site, take a peek at his books on Amazon, or subscribe to his podcast.

 

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