SFFMP 166: Best Price Points, Does Book Length Matter, and Tips for Selling More Books Wide with Mark Coker

One of our earliest guests on the podcast, almost 150 episodes ago, was Mark Coker, the founder of Smashwords. We had him back on this week to talk about some of his predictions for the coming year and marketing tips derived from the 2017 annual survey of the Smashwords sales and distribution data.

Note: we had some technical issues so weren’t able to stream live, but we hope to be back at our usual time of Tuesday 6pm PT/9pm ET next week.

Here are some further details of what we discussed with Mark:

  • Changes in Smashwords over the last three years.
  • How much more successful authors are on iTunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, etc. when they make use of pre-orders.
  • Mark’s new podcast Smart Author (check out the episodes on analyzing best practices of bestselling authors and how to sell more books with pre-orders for starters).
  • Being careful about being too dependent on one retailer and helping to ensure other retailers stay relevant.
  • Data showing that, despite people forever talking about short attention spans, longer books sell better.
  • Some sub-genres of science fiction and fantasy that are doing well — but Mark advises that you should write what you love rather than following trends.
  • Which price points are most effective, and data showing that $4.99 has become more viable (if you’re charging $2.99 or $3.99, you might not lose sales by going to $4.99).
  • Pricing for boxed sets, whether by individual authors or as multi-author collaborations.
  • How many of the bestselling Smashwords authors are using free series starters.
  • What to do with a $500 launch budget.
  • Tips for selling in the Smashwords store itself.

If you want to hear more from Mark, check out the first episode he did with us: SFFMP 25: Marketing, Pre-Orders, and Distribution with Smashwords Founder Mark Coker.

Here’s his blog post from last year that includes his slides covering the 2017 Smashwords survey data.

You can visit Mark on Twitter or on the Smashwords blog. You can find more information on his Smart Author podcast here.

 

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SFFMP 152: Pricing, Category Stuffing, Launching with Three Books, and Marketing Cross-Genre Novels

This week, we answered some listener questions that had been piling up. We touched on a variety of topics, such as…

  • Should you try to put your books in as many categories as possible, and what can we do about books that shouldn’t be there knocking us out of our Top 100s on Amazon?
  • Amazon’s page of keywords for getting into unlisted categories: Selecting Browse Categories.
  • How many downloads a day can you expect from permafree titles?
  • Is it worth trying to sell English novels in countries where English isn’t the primary language?
  • How can trad publishers get away with charging 9.99 or more for ebooks, and can indies do this if their books are well edited and professionally done?
  • How do you market cross-genre books that fall into more than one category?
  • How do you guys feel about killing characters, and does it ever get easier?
  • How does your plotting process work?
  • Has anyone tried Kobo Plus yet and gotten results?
  • Where you can advertise as a newer author with less than twenty reviews on your book? Here are the links to the spreadsheets Lindsay mentioned (that C. Gockel maintains). We’re not sure if they’re up to date though, so let us know if you know of a good and recent resource. Where to Advertise Free Ebooks | Where to Advertise 99 Cent Ebooks.
  • How did Lindsay relaunch her pen name successfully after a long gap between releases?
  • If you want to write three books before launching any of them, can you use novellas as part of the plan?

Jeff and Lindsay are working on new projects, but Jo has some links if you want to check out what he’s up to right now. Here’s his serial-in-progress: The Adventures of Rustle and Eddy. Also, he’s recently done a series of “How I Write” blog posts, which cover his plotting process, among other things.

 

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SFFMP 46: Getting More from Your eBook Advertising with FreeBooksy’s Ferol Vernon

Tonight, after Lindsay tripped her way through the introduction (talking *and* pressing buttons… too much pressure), she and Jeff interviewed Ferol Vernon from Written Word Media. He and his wife are the founders of such sites as BargainBooksy, FreeBooksy, and New in Books. We wanted to know what he could tell us from the point of view of someone running one of the sites where we authors like to advertise.

Here’s some of what we talked about:

  • What are the Freebooksy and Bargainbooksy sites, and why should readers and authors be interested?
  • Ferol’s thoughts on what makes one book perform better (more clicks and sales) than another for any given genre.
  • The importance of good cover art and whether there are any genres where cover art doesn’t matter quite as much.
  • Authors getting more bang for their advertising bucks by stacking promotions.
  • The blog post Taylor (a Written Word Media employee) did on “How to Price Your eBook to Gain Readers and Maximize Author Earnings
  • Are free books still effective?
  • Is it possible to promote a mid-series book or are series starters always going to be more effective?
  • Do certain genres have a higher percentage of click-through?
  • Should you write different blurbs for these sponsorships than you do for your book on Amazon?
  • Can putting a book’s accolades (i.e. USA Today Bestseller or winner of such-and-such award) help get more clicks and sales?

For more information, or to submit your book for an advertising slot, check out BargainBooksy, FreeBooksy, and New in Books (the last one is a new site of theirs that features new releases, so no minimum review requirements and no need to put the book on sale).

 

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