SFFMP 162: Finding Success in a Niche, When 99-cent Novels Make Sense, and Bucking Cover Trends with Amanda Milo

Our guest this week launched her first novel in April of 2017 to great success. Amanda Milo’s science fiction romance, Stolen by an Alien, stuck in the Top 250 overall in the Amazon store for months and remained near the top of the scifi romance Top 100 too. She’s since published two more novels in the series for the rabid fanbase that she’s already established.

We brought her on to ask about how she launched to such success, why she’s continued to launch her books at 99 cents, and how she used some atypical (for the genre) cover art to find her target audience.

Here’s some of what we covered in more detail:

  • How Amanda launched her novel without professional editing or a cover that she loved but made it work anyway.
  • Combining 99 cents, Kindle Unlimited, and a story written for a niche audience to find success.
  • What level of sex readers are looking for in the science fiction romance category.
  • Some popular story types in the genre.
  • What readers expect from the alien abduction trope.
  • The challenges of writing strong female characters and balancing them with some of the romance tropes of rescues or abductions.
  • Using the cover, especially in romance genres, to signal to the reader what to expect as far as heat level, in particular.
  • Why Amanda has stuck with 99 cents so long for her books.
  • Whether novellas and shorter stories can work in scifi romance.
  • Using a Facebook page and Facebook groups to connect with readers.
  • Pre-orders or no pre-orders?

You can visit Amanda Milo on Facebook or check out her Amazon page to try out her novels. Her Facebook group, Amanda Milo’s Minions, is also accepting new minions.

 

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SFFMP 136: Successfully Indie Publishing and Marketing While Running a Family

YA fantasy author Katie Cross joins us this week to discuss how she’s published eleven books while working and raising a family, and how she’s sold a lot of those books too!

Here’s a closer look at some of the topics we covered:

  • Finding time to write when you have a job and a family.
  • Whether YA ebooks do well and some of the challenges of self-publishing for that audience.
  • Some of the defining features of young adult fiction.
  • Keeping books selling when you’re not able to publish super frequently.
  • Selling well in the YA market.
  • Using Wattpad as a platform to gain readers and potentially get recognition.
  • Getting invited to the Wattpad advertising program and how much authors can make.
  • Getting more interaction and reads on Wattpad by asking questions at the end of installments and posting regularly (Katie was posting M/W/F for one of her books).
  • Tips for getting a Bookbub ad.
  • Facebook marketing and Facebook groups.
  • Determining which marketing is worth your time when your time is limited.
  • What Katie’s typical launch strategy looks like.

Visit Katie on her website or on Facebook and check out her YA fantasy books. You can also join her “indie author life” Facebook group for advice on self-publishing and marketing.

Note: Katie realized she had her numbers a little off in our chat about her Bookbub ad, so she sent me this correction to post here:

In the podcast I share my BookBub numbers several times and mention selling 3,500 books on Amazon with my recent ad, but I checked back on those numbers and it was close to 3,000 books WIDE on all distributors including paperback and audiobooks (which are also affected by BookBubs) and includes all sales overall (including spillover into the other books in my series). <— This encompasses just the first week. 

So it was not just my BookBub ad book that reached those numbers. I wish! Historically, however, by the end of the month, it’s likely I will reach 4,000—or beyond it—in sales from the BookBub tail. I have in the past seen upwards of those numbers from BookBub ads.

So sorry for that mess up! Transparency is really important to me so I wanted to add that caveat here. 🙂

 

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Facebook Marketing: Selling Books, Building a Community, and Does Advertising Ever Help?

Today’s show is dedicated to Facebook marketing. How do you use the popular social media platform to sell more books and keep current readers engaged? We took turns answering questions, based on our experiences. We may not be gurus, but we’ve all been on Facebook as authors for 2-4 years, and we had quite a bit to say!

Here’s a little of what we covered:

  • Separate author page or personal page, what’s best?
  • One page or one for every series?
  • How do you get readers to find you and like your page?
  • How important is interaction, and how do you get people to engage with you?
  • Facebook advertising, pay-per-click and boosted posts, are they ever worth it?
  • Groups, can they help with anything?
  • What about events?
  • Has there been a decline in the effectiveness of Facebook over the years?
  • What’s the future going to bring, and how will it impact authors?

 

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