SFFMP 118: Writing Longer Books, Pricing Higher, Web Serials, and Generating Multiple Streams of Income to Go Full Time

Drew Hayes, superhero/litRPG/urban fantasy author, joined us for this week’s show. He got his start with web serials before Wattpad was ever a thing, and he grew a fanbase so that when he launched his first ebook a few years ago, it did great right out of the blocks. Since then, he’s started several series, including urban fantasy with a small press, and gone full time as an author.

Here are some of the details of what we talked about tonight:

  • How Drew started publishing his work on the web and wrote the first year of his Super Powereds story before ever creating an ebook.
  • Are web serials still popular, and would it be worth starting one as a new author coming in now?
  • Can a podcast be useful for growing a fan base?
  • Writing longer books (of 200,000 words or more) and pricing a little higher — will the market accept that?
  • Succeeding as a full-time author on about three releases a year.
  • Why Drew decided to sign with a small press after he’d had success as a self-published author.
  • How long books can be great for the audio format, since some listeners buy the longest books they can get for their monthly credit at Audible.
  • How Drew uses Patreon to bring in extra income and also keep in touch with his fans.
  • Why he’s stuck with going wide and hasn’t joined Amazon KDP Select for more than a brief trial.
  • His thoughts on advertising (he hasn’t done much of it!) and what’s working for others he knows who do more.
  • His interesting launch strategy to get a lot of reviews on release day…

Drew’s blog post on the basics of advances.

You can visit Drew on his site, check out the Authors & Dragons podcast, or find his books in any of the online stores including Amazon. You can also check out his Patreon campaign or the new book he has coming out later in February: Forging Hephaestus (Villains’ Code Book 1).

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

SFFMP 109: Paperbacks, Bookbub PPC Ads, and Is Kindle Unlimited Bad for Authors?

We had a few technical issues on the show tonight and ended up recording it in three Zoom sessions rather than in Google Hangouts, but hopefully things will get spliced together, and you won’t notice too many hiccups. Jo, Lindsay, and Jeff chatted about their experiences with being wide (in all the stores) versus having some series in Amazon KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited. They also answered some listener questions and covered everything from using Bookbub PPC ads to how long series should be to how they price their books.

Here are a few more of the specifics they went over:

  • If Kindle Unlimited is bad for authors and whether we should be objecting to being exclusive with Amazon on principle.
  • Whether you should hold off on releasing your first book until your second book is ready to go.
  • How the business and taxes side of things works for self-publishers in the U.S.
  • Using Books2Read universal links to tidy up your newsletters and make it so you only need to share around one link.
  • Jo’s results and sales percentages after being wide for many years.
  • How permafree has ceased to get as many downloads and be as effective for Jo in the last two years.
  • When it’s worth it to release paperbacks (and some of the benefits to having them done).
  • When it’s worth doing audiobooks: see Lindsay’s blog post on Audiobook Options for Indie Authors.
  • How long it took the guys to turn a profit with self-publishing.
  • How long should a series be before things begin to taper down and successive books aren’t as profitable?
  • What’s the best time of year to launch a new book or series?
  • How do you determine the best price for a novel or novella?
  • How long should you put a book on pre-order for?
  • When in a book’s life does it make sense to rebrand and do a new cover, blurb, title, etc.?
  • Thoughts on Vellum for ebook formatting.

If you’re stopping by before December 15th, 2016, you can grab books by both Jo and Lindsay in the Leading Ladies Fantasy Bundle at StoryBundle.

Also check out Lindsay’s short story, “Remnants” in the You Are Here anthology.

If you haven’t tried Jeff’s mysteries yet, the first one is available in Kindle Unlimited on Amazon. Or you can grab his first Tales of Lentari book for free.

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

SFFMP 93: Straddling Genres and Succeeding with Multiple Different Series with Rachel Aaron

Popular fantasy author Rachel Aaron joined us today to talk about succeeding with books that straddle genres, launching later books in a series, and turning your writing into a business, among other topics.

Here are a few more subjects that we touched on:

  • The challenges of writing across genres and marketing books that don’t fit tidily into a category
  • Rachel’s experiments with advertising and what has worked best
  • Using a pre-order to increase sales of an entire series and how to build launch buzz over several weeks
  • Some of the perks of being in Kindle Unlimited (Rachel explains why she believes KU readers are less likely to leave bad reviews)
  • How audiobooks have become a significant source of income for Rachel
  • The challenges of maintaining a high degree of productivity after this becomes a full-fledged business

Visit Rachel on her site, check out the fan art she mentioned, or take a peek at her first Heartstrikers book on Amazon.

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

SFFMP 92: How to Use KDP Select to Sell More Books with Susan Kaye Quinn

We got a lot of great information from today’s return guest, science-fiction and paranormal romance author, Susan Kaye Quinn. In addition to writing genre fiction, she’s penned For Love or Money, a book that talks about the ongoing debate on whether to write to the market, to write your passion, or to try and find the spot where the two areas mesh.

Since Susan has been doing a number of experiments with Amazon’s KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited promotions lately, we focused on that during the show, trying to find the information that would help authors work KU to their advantage and do better with the promotions available to those in the program.

Here are a few specifics we covered:

  • Being wide (in all the stores) and having a permafree title versus being in KDP Select with a 99-cent title
  • How to have a successful free run while in KDP Select and why “getting the attention of borrowers” matters more than anything else
  • How borrowers are almost like an entirely different store with their own eco-system
  • What to do if you’ve been wide and are bringing older titles into KDP Select
  • What some of the problems might be if your books just aren’t selling as well as you wish
  • Figuring out if a book or genre is a good match for KDP Select
  • Whether pre-orders are a good idea when you’re in KDP Select and you’re relying on borrows (which can’t roll in until the book is live)
  • Dealing with readers who might be upset if you switch from being in all the stores to being exclusive with Amazon
  • Figuring out whether you should give KDP Select a try based on how well you’re doing in other stores
  • Whether you should save up books and launch them in a cluster or try to stagger them to release over time
  • Places to advertise KDP Select titles

Stop by Susan’s site, check out her books on Amazon, and sign up for her popular For Love or Money group on Facebook. Lindsay is there as are many other indie authors.

Also check out Susan’s previous appearance on the show if you haven’t already: Episode 36.

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

SFFMP 90: From Struggling to Find an Audience to the Top 1000 on Amazon with John L. Monk

This week’s guest, John L. Monk, is the author of The Jenkins Cycle and Thief’s Odyssey, cross-genre books that never sold as well as he wished, despite marketing efforts. About six weeks ago, he published Hell’s Children, a book firmly entrenched in the post-apocalyptic genre. He took some ideas from Chris Fox’s Launch to Market book and managed to release into the Top 1000 on Amazon for the first time, and his book has stuck and continued to sell well even after the dreaded “30 Day Cliff.”

Here are a few things we touched on:

  • The challenges of marketing cross-genre fiction
  • Making life (and marketing) easier by writing in specific genres with commercial appeal
  • Why John chose post-apocalyptic fiction for his new book
  • Staggering your book launch so that you’re selling some copies every day instead of firing everything off at once
  • Making acquaintances with other authors and networking so that they might mention your book to their Facebook followers or mailing lists
  • Launching into KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited and at 99 cents for the first week
  • Why putting fancy new covers on books that weren’t well targeted in a specific genre might not make much of a difference
  • Keeping readers interested in older titles
  • John’s experience with being wide and having an Apple rep and why he ultimately enrolled in KDP Select
  • Working with other authors on an anthology or joint project to spread the word about your work to new readerships

You can find John at his website, on Facebook, or check out his books on Amazon. You can also look into his new joint project, American Demon Hunters. Thanks for listening!

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

SFFMP 89: Launching Books to Stick, Amazon Algorithms, and When Advertising Is Worth it with Chris Fox

Today, we talked about launching books, writing to market, taking advantage of Amazon algorithms, and when advertising is (and isn’t) worth it with return guest Chris Fox.

Here are some of the specifics that we covered:

  • How Amazon works to push new releases (that show potential) with its algorithms, newsletters, and also-boughts system
  • How important being in KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited is right now to stick on Amazon with a new book
  • Whether to list a book for pre-order
  • Whether it makes sense to use Facebook and Amazon ads (available for those in KDP Select) during a book launch or afterward, to keep the momentum going
  • Relaunching a series that had a lackluster original launch
  • How much pricing figures into a book launch and whether starting at 99 cents is a good idea to gain momentum
  • Using a prequel to grow a mailing list

Check out Chris’s first military science fiction novel, Destroyer, on Amazon, or pick up his latest non-fiction title, Launch to Market.

You can also visit his YouTube channel for some inspiring and helpful videos.

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

SFFMP 83: Using the Slow Burn Launch Strategy to Stick on Amazon and the Pitfalls of Genre Hopping

The guys chatted about their recent experiences with book launches and also how their genre hopping adventures are going. In addition, they discussed the slow-burn launch strategy that a lot of indie authors have been using to great success.

Here are a few more details of what they covered:

  • How does their launch strategy differ now than from when they were first starting out?
  • Using three books to launch into a new genre or a new pen name, or at least committing to writing and publishing three before giving up.
  • The challenges of genre hopping (even within the umbrella of science fiction and fantasy) and whether or not it’s going to be a career killer.
  • How they’ve gone about finding beta readers to use before sending a manuscript off to an editor for a final pass.
  • Critique groups Lindsay has used for science fiction/fantasy: The SFF Online Writing Workshop and Critters.org.
  • How KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited are playing into most successful book launches now.
  • When pre-orders make sense and if one should consider selling at a lower price during the pre-order.
  • How just launching your book and sending out an announcement to your newsletter subscribers probably won’t be enough to make your book “stick” on Amazon.
  • Segmenting and staggering your newsletter so it goes out to different groups of subscribers over multiple days to fight against the “Bookbub Effect.”
  • Booking “new release” ad slots on sponsorship sites and how many of them are offering that now.
  • Kboards thread referenced in the show: Slow burn launch for stickiness by Aimee Easterling [includes links to many of the siates that will book new releases]
  • Another one: A mini-guide to launch promo services by Nicholas Erik

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

SFFMP 74: Does Permafree Still Work, Planning a Series, and How to Write Backmatter

Welcome to a new installment of Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast–The three hosts share a lot of their experiences as authors as well as answering questions from listeners. Have a question? Check out the Facebook group and ask!

“If there’s a typo and no one notices, does it really exist?” — Joseph Lallo

  • Jeff shared his experiences in working on a new genre. Lindsay had good advice–Give it three books! Writing three books in a different genre allows you to gain more traction and offer the first book as permafree for ninety-nine cents. Along those same lines, Jeff admits that he’s learned that he needs to work on one project at a time–especially when it’s in two different genres. Focus on one, complete it–It works better for him.
  • Both Jeff and Lindsay (using her real name this time) have been considering breaking into KU (Kindle Unlimited). They’d both be starting it with a new series if they start KU. It might upset those who purchase their books in places other than Amazon, but they are still interested in seeing what comes of this new venture.
  • Joseph has just released the 4th book in his sci-fi series (the ‘sexy girl cover’ was shown–watch the youtube for the shot… Look up the book and see what, accidentally, made boobs show up for his preview).
  • He also was able to talk about his recent experiences with pre-ordering. Joseph does a lot of pre-ordering in general–Which results with high first-day sales, but not necessarily a lot of sales afterward. He offered three month pre-orders which he says helps give people plenty of time to pre-order. He’s planning on doing some experimenting with the pre-ordering in regards to the length of time offering the pre-order.
  • He’s focused on more than the pre-ordering, of course, and is working on commissioning more audiobooks. He admits that the audiobooks don’t always sell as quickly… But Lindsay is pretty sure that he’ll earn out in a year–especially with how long his book is.
  • When it comes to cover designers and editors, all three agree that it might be wise to have some ‘backups’ or at the very least, be like Lindsay and secure someone for a week a month for a particular amount of time to ensure that you don’t wind up with an awful backlog of work that needs to be done.
  • Paperbacks might be slow to come by, but working out the dynamics of paperback formatting is more difficult than e-book. It doesn’t hurt that authors might be notified of a few typos before the work is set as a paperback.
  • Kindle Unlimited seems to work best for books that have just been released. It offers you the opportunity to cultivate sales at the same time as people are borrowing them. But author beware — make sure that you have taken your books from EVERY distributor or Amazon might pull your books off.
  • Lindsay had a few tips to share when it comes to putting a book out for YA on Amazon. You have to be really picky with your categories to ensure that your books don’t wind up in the hands of eight-year-olds (unless that’s where they belong). Try “young adult” and “teen” to have it place properly.
  • Another bit of advice–It could be advantageous to try advertising in a different category on BookBub to increase visibility from other people.
  • Like Jeff, Lindsay is planning on releasing a sci-fi series under her ‘real’ name for the first time. She’s decided to write three before releasing the first one so that she can launch them quickly, maybe even all at the same time.
  • Again, really focusing on your categories/genres can be extremely helpful. ‘Hunt’ for categories that are underserved but your work would fit into.
  • Promoting a small number of your books at a time can help increase sales of all your other books as well.
  • All three have had experience with permafree. They’ve noticed that offering the first book free can be very helpful in getting readers to pick up a whole series.

 

Questions from Listeners

  • Matthew from kboards wanted to know about the effectiveness of permafree and how it had worked out in the careers of the podcasters.
    • Things have changed–There are more free books out there and you also have Kindle Unlimited to compete with as people are signing on. It doesn’t necessarily give the same amount of success as it used it.
    • You’ll want to make sure that you have several books following the free one in order to make a better impact with our series.
    • Don’t JUST put it out for free. Keep promoting it.
    • A big benefit to free–Everyone is more willing to try something if it’s free. It can feel less obtrusive in promoting it than if you are asking everyone to buy your book.
  • Edward tweeted a question about Lindsay taking her novellas and making them into a book series.
    • She fell in love with the characters and had to create more. Lindsay reminded everyone that while novellas might not sell as well, they’re worth doing if you love doing them. She had to expect that people wouldn’t read the prequel novellas, so a difficulty was introducing everyone organically.
  • Maree wanted to know what calls to action should be for debut authors?
    • Jeff said that reviews can be most important for someone’s career. Make a call to action about reviews to get more people giving their thoughts. It also wouldn’t hurt to get people to link people to your website.
    • Joseph said that why reviews are important, but getting someone to sign up for your newsletter allows for you to ask for reviews later (and have more opportunities to do so).
    • It’s best to do one call of action because once someone clicks out of the book they might not come back to see all that is listed below.
    • Lindsay is planning on offering prequels with a mailing list signup, as well as putting the first chapter from the next book and as links to the other books.
  • Liz wanted to know about how the podcasters plan series (if they plan them ahead of time)
    • Jeff does not. He has an overall storyarc but doesn’t really started a story planning on a series, but he will keep going until interest dies out.
    • Joseph originally planned some series to be shorter (trilogies, stand alones), so he had blanks as he worked, not sure how they were going to get filled.
    • Lindsay knew how her Emperor’s Edge series would end when she began it. She didn’t mean to start one series but it ended up growing. It can depend on the amount of worldbuilding. She thinks that when you are doing something very epic and expansive then it could be good to have milestones planned. But you also might want to make it so that it could be wrapped up in three or eight depending on how well it goes.

 

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

Like us on Facebook.

SFFMP 70: Retold Fairy Tales, Kindle Unlimited, and Finding Less Competitive Categories with K.M. Shea

Fantasy author K.M. Shea talks about how she’s found a lot of success publishing retold fairy tales and is now a full-time author. We covered…

  • The perks of publishing in a category that is underserved by traditional publishing and that isn’t hugely competitive.
  • Why K.M. has everything in KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited now (yes, she’s tried going wide too).
  • Monitoring page reads and payouts in Kindle Unlimited to make sure it’s working for you
  • Pitfalls and things to be careful of when retelling fairy tales.
  • Creating a series even when your books are stand-alone — is there a theme that can pull them all together?
  • Encouraging more reviews for books by offering free extras for all when certain numbers of reviews are reached.
  • Connecting with readers and giving them lots of extras to turn them into ravenous fans who want to see you succeed.
  • Choosing a cover style when you’re in a category where this isn’t a Big 5 presence and examples are all over the place.

If you’ve enjoyed the show, be sure to check out K.M. Shea’s books on Amazon. She recommend starting with The Snow Queen, Book 1.

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

SFFMP 66: Writing and Selling Paranormal Romance with Elle Thorne

We chatted with up-and-coming indie author Elle Thorne today about writing and selling paranormal romance. She’s been publishing for less than two years, but she’s been very prolific, has numerous series going, and has contributed to several boxed sets. She’s doing quite well for herself.

Here’s some of what we discussed:

  • Rocking it with novella length fiction
  • The difference between urban fantasy and paranormal romance
  • The challenges and rewards of writing in a popular genre
  • Following trends in PNR versus just writing what you’re passionate about
  • Boxed sets — the challenges of committing to writing new fiction for a set and when it’s worth it
  • Effective ways to increase your mailing list sign-ups
  • Kindle Unlimited and KDP Select for PNR and novella-length fiction
  • Looking at the top book covers in your genre for inspiration
  • Becoming a part of existing Facebook groups in your genre as a means of promotion
  • Doing cross-promotion with other closely related authors to increase your reach
  • The challenges of getting sponsorships with the shorter fiction
  • Tips for authors just getting into PNR

Check out Elle’s books on Amazon — right now you can get Protection, the first in her Shifters Forever series, for free. You can also visit her on the web at Elle Thorne and see what she’s up to on Facebook.

 

| Open Player in New Window

Click to download the mp3.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on iTunes.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast on YouTube.

Subscribe to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast via RSS.

1 2