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.
On today’s show, we talked about publishing in an underserved niche that’s too small to attract the attention of the Big 5 but that could potentially be lucrative to authors. Our guest was paranormal and science fiction romance author, Veronica Scott, and we also discussed some of the many things she’s doing to foster growth and awareness of the SFR genre among readers who might be interested. Even though we talked about scifi romance specifically, the interview might be of interest to other authors writing in smaller niches or doing cross-genre fiction. We discussed some of the challenges of marketing these types of books.
Here are some of the specifics that we covered:
The challenges of marketing books that don’t fall into the main categories on Bookbub and other promo sites.
The opportunities that indies have by writing in sub-genres or niches that are too small to interest traditional publishing.
Surfing through also-boughts on Amazon and also using the YASIV tool for finding related books and authors to target as keywords for ads.
How scifi romance has gotten more competitive over the last few years and whether it’s still possible for new authors to break in and reach the Top 100.
Some of the key reader expectations in SFR and differences between romances and scifi with “romantic elements.”
Science fiction romance and adventure romance author, Anna Hackett, regularly has 80-100 reviews on her books within a few days of release. We asked her about how she created a great team of reviewers who get early copies and leave prompt reviews. She’s also increased her productivity substantially in the last couple of years and often publishes a short novel each month now, so we asked her about that too.
Here are a few more specifics on what we covered:
Mining your existing readers/newsletter subscribers to find people for a review team (and how to get started building that mailing list if yours doesn’t have many subscribers yet)
The logistics of contacting reviewers with advanced review copies and making sure they can download the ebooks to their readers of choice.
How many reviews you should be shooting for with a new release
Increasing productivity by giving yourself deadlines (even if you don’t have to publish on a certain day)
Writing shorter novels, if it makes sense for your style and your genre
Keeping all the balls in the air when juggling multiple series
Tips for newer authors trying to get those early reviews
Focusing on writing and publishing books as the most effective form of marketing
Whether there’s a downside to giving away review copies to readers who likely would have purchased the books
Do book giveaways and contests help garner more reviews?
If Anna’s books sound interesting to you, she has several permafree adventures that you can check out:
Tonight we interviewed the prolific Anna Hackett, a science fiction romance author from Perth Australia, who has a number of series going. She started with traditional publishing but soon shifted to self-publishing, and she has plenty to talk about for folks who are thinking of adding romance to their science fiction or fantasy.
Here’s some of what we touched on:
Working romance into your science fiction/fantasy — any pitfalls or advantages?
Going from traditional publishing to self-publishing
The benefits of writing in a small niche
Watching successful authors in your niche to see what they’re doing for marketing
Advice for new authors looking to self-publish
Tips for being prolific
What kind of cover art works best for science fiction with romance in it?
Using a free novella to encourage people to sign up for your newsletter
Are blog tours ever worth it?
The challenges of advertising “science fiction romance” when there’s never a category for it on the sponsorship sites such as Bookbub and Ereader News Today
Marketing tips for those who don’t have a big advertising budget