Book Publishing News 03/03/17

the Big Boys are coming after the IndiesPenguin Random House Sales Decline Almost 10 Percent in 2016

Recently the biggest of the Big Five publishers, Penguin Random House, reported that sales dropped 9.6 percent in 2016. The decline is directly related to the drop in ebook sales in 2016.

According to their annual report, the company plans to employ a “differentiated pricing” strategy. This may mean Penguin Random House could begin to compete with small presses and Indie authors in the “low price” Kindle ebook market.  At the very least, it sounds like the Big Boys are coming after the Indies. Time will tell if the “Biggest of the Big Five” can adapt to the shifting landscape of the ebook market.

Barnes & Noble Continues to Close Stores;
Amazon Continues to Open Stores

“Last week, Amazon opened a store in Chicago, Illinois, its first physical bookstore not in a coastal city, and the second of the seven it plans to open this calendar year. Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble plans to open four new stores and close 12 by April 30, according to David Deason, vice president of development. It already closed the only general-interest bookstore in the New York City borough of the Bronx. Last fiscal year the company closed eight locations.” Read the full article.

Amazon Announces Its Influencer Program

The Amazon Influencer Program is exclusively designed for social media influencers with large followings and a high frequency of posts with shoppable content. An intuitive vanity URL makes it easy for customers to find, browse and buy the products introduced to them through social media influencers. The program allows influencers to earn fees for purchases they drive through their social media platforms. This program is currently in beta mode and open by invitation only.” ~ Amazon

If you are a social media influencer interested in joining Amazon’s Influencer Program, click to apply.

 

Tips for Marketing Your Book

 

Readers are Leaders, Buy a Boy a Book

Dead Calm, Bone Dry Curse of the Black Avenger

Hooking Readers With Your Words

Hooking Readers With Your WordsDuring my devotional time this morning I came across this story.

“For my tenth birthday I begged for and received a shiny new fishing pole. On my first trip to the brook, I was squeamish about pushing the worm onto the hook, so I quietly decided to use the bologna from my sandwich instead. My brother wondered why the fish were biting for him but not for me. I just held my pole up, shrugged my shoulders, and smiled. As my brother reeled in the fish and began to clean them, I had a horrible realization. If I caught a fish, I would have to do the same. I quietly pulled in my line, removed the bologna, and threw the line back in with no bait. I had decided I didn’t like fishing. It was more enjoyable to pretend to fish!” ~ Upper Room, Oct 5, 2016

Does this describe your writing career? Are you one of those authors who prefers to sit on the bank without bait on your hook?

They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.
They were in a boat …  preparing their nets.
Matthew 4:18-21

Fishing for readers is hard, often messy work. We have to prepare, cast, and clean our catch. Sometimes worms drown for no good reason. And sometimes, when the tide is right, wind light, and fish hungry, we catch readers with our wormy words.

Go fish.

 

One Author’s Approach to a Successful Book Launch

Some weeks back I asked an LPC author what she did to make her book such a hot seller. Below is her detailed roadmap to success.

I have a Prayer Team–three devoted Christian prayer warriors–to whom I report almost weekly with answers to prayer and prayer requests. These three women whom the Lord put on my heart to invite immediately said yes. They have been praying for me from the time I wrote the book in earnest. Currently, I have these prayer categories (each with specific prayer requests): Agent & Publisher, WIP Novel, Web Site Etc., Speaking, Conferences, Health & Protection. Last year they prayed us through the whole process of editing, book cover, and planning for my book’s launch. This year they are praying for the writing of my new novel and for the promotions of my first LPC novel, including that God would start of wildfire of word of mouth among readers. The four of us thank God a lot for all he is doing.

Business Cards–I designed business cards online at Staples.com (500 for $10.50). They have my picture–the one that appears on the back cover of my book–on the left hand side. On the right hand side: my name in red with Author in black  beneath, then my book’s title in red with its genre in black beneath. There are four lines in black with my email address, website URL, blog address and author Facebook address. It’s a simple card with lots of white space. 

  • I place one in each of my books, handy to use as a bookmark or to contact me.
  •  I also offer the business cards to those who ask for them. This usually happens by my starting a conversation with “Do you like to read fiction?” If the answer is yes, I tell the them that my novel came out recently. If that excites them and they ask about the novel, I tell them the title and its genre at which time they scramble for a paper and pen to write the info down. That’s when I offer the card. They receive it like its a prize and some say they will tell a friend who also likes to read. This whole thing takes about 30 seconds. I keep a supply of cards handy in a leather business card holder in an outside pocket of my purse.

Thank You Letter–an 8-1/2 X 11 page with my author photo in the upper left corner followed by text where I thank them for their interest in my book and offer ideas to help spread the word if they would care to. I fold these once and insert them in each book along with the business card.

Facebook–I keep in touch with friends and family through both of my FB pages–sometimes thanking them, sometimes sharing good news, sometimes encouraging them to spread the word or write reviews. They’ve been quite kind. I also visit their pages and post comments regarding their interests. I think this has a big influence.

Website–I update it to keep visitors current on what’s happening with my writing and speaking.

My blog–I build relationships with my devotional blog. I don’t mention my book here and have a lot to do to make my blog more traffic friendly. But I have had some shares along with comments.

Blog Tour–I had so many offers to host me and my book on the bloggers’ sites. I’ve also asked a few and plan to ask more. I answer any comments. Those blog appearances seem to make a big difference.

Amazon Reviews–I encourage readers in person, by email, on Facebook, through the thank you letter–every chance I get–in a kind and non-pushy way. I think this a a big factor. I also thank reviewers and briefly answer any question they might pose. And when a reader lets me know how much they enjoyed the book, I not only thank them in all sincerity, but encourage them to use those words as a review on Amazon.

Speaking Events–I booked one a month beginning with February. Each in a different town. Other than the two launch parties in January, this is where I sell the most books. People love to have them autographed with a small personal note. Some buy multiple copies to give out to friends and relatives.

Friends & Readers–love to share online about my book so I join in those conversations when appropriate. I feel it’s all about the reader–not how many books I sell. As I care about them, they seem to spread the word about my book without any or very little encouragement from me.

God–more than anyone or anything, God deserves the credit for how book sales are going. I thank him constantly, careful not to take the credit. No matter what I do, and no matter how well I do it, I cannot make anyone follow through with a purchase. Only God can. I can pray for a wildfire of enthusiasm about my book, but only God can make it happen. I do what I can, but I look to Him to make my book succeed and bless readers.

How To Remove a Negative Amazon Review

You can't so pray for new reviews

A few days ago an author contacted me regarding a negative, one-star Amazon review. He asked it there was anyway to have the review removed. I said I’d check, but that I doubted Amazon would remove the review. Amazon is notorious for removing positive reviews from friends, family members, or fans who know you and enjoy your writing.

But a negative review from someone who admits they did not read the book?

Below is Amazon’s response to my request.

How to remove an Amazon review

Hello, I’ve read the review for the book titled “___________________”. I understand your concerns, but the review doesn’t violate our posted guidelines, so I’m unable to remove it in its current format.

(this is the review)

negative one-star review

So how can you get a review removed from Amazon? My experience suggest you cannot. What you can do, is write great books and pray for positive reviews to bury the negative reviews.

 

Good luck and keep writing!

Kindle Sales Starter

How to push your book to the top of a Kindle sub-category

Kindle Sales StarterIt’s no secret that Kindle is the secret to your book’s success. Some authors still hold out hope that bookstores will rebound and carry their book, but the fact is, most bookstores do not want books from small houses and unknown authors. Bookstores want best-selling books from big-name authors. The good news is, you can still make your book a “blessed-selling” success. All it takes is effort, friends / family, a small amount of money, and persistence. Let’s look at the process.
(Note: this exclusive blog is restricted to LPC authors. Sorry 🙁

Do book ads work?

Do book ads work? At least once a week an author will email me to ask if a specific website is a good place to advertise their book. I often tell them that online ads do not sell books. Ads create book awareness, but reader recommendations remain the primary reason a book sells. A Publisher Weekly review may help make a book known, but it’s those Amazon and Goodreads reviews that cause consumers to click and buy. (Note: a PW review is not an ad and thus carries more clout with readers.)

That said, at LPC we have advertised on any number of websites to see if we can find one that provides steady consumers for our books. Here are a few we’ve tried.

The Vessel Project – 4 stars

vesselproject.com/advertise/

The good: Price. For around $21, VP will promote your book to their subscriber email list, tweet your ad, mention it on Facebook, and give your ad its own page for the duration of the promotion. (5 days, I think). Each book promotion ad is tweeted at least five times to a following of 30,000 readers for an estimated impression value of 150,000. VP followers may also retweet a particular ad. Add to that the 8,000 VP Facebook followers and you have exposure to close to 200,000 readers. If you’re an author who earns at least $1 per book sold, then you only have to sell twenty-one additional copies to cover the cost of your ad. The owner is responsive – always a plus.

The bad: Your book may not appeal to VP readers. We’ve seen upwards to seventy-five books sold in a day and as few as none. I suggest you subscribe to the VP newsletter, visit a book’s Amazon page the morning the newsletter releases, (8:am), check that book’s sales ranking, and review its ranking later in the day. If you see a noticeable increase in the book’s sales ranking, then take note of the author, genre, number of reviews and stars, and its sale price. That might give you some idea of which books work best for VP subscribers.

In summary: We are pleased with our advertising results on the Vessel Project.

Goodreads Ads – 3 stars

www.goodreads.com/advertisers

The good: Goodreads ads are great for book branding. I cannot say with certainty that each ad generates new sales for us, but for print copies, we noticed a slight uptick in sales when a book was featured on Goodreads. We normally select a 20-cent per click charge with a $5 daily budget.

The bad: Goodreads ads do not seem to help eBooks. For us, it’s primarily a print book advertising option. As more authors advertise, the less exposure your ad may receive. And if you have multiple books, this can be an expensive way to advertise.

In summary: Goodreads ads seem to create reader awareness. You only pay for clicks, not impressions, so for the money, these ads can be an effective way to get your book in front of readers.

GoodKindle – 2 stars

www.goodkindles.net

The good: Price. Each ad is only $19. Each book gets its own page and (so far) that page remains on their website, thus providing an evergreen, SEO affect.

The bad: We tried one book and sold one copy as a result of the ad. Maybe it was the time of year (right before Christmas) but we expected better results.

In summary: The owner of the site responded to our inquiries and that’s always encouraging.

Readers in the Know – 1 star

readersintheknow.com

The Good: You can create an account with up to three books in your account. We took advantage of their 60-day free trail. The latest pricing on their site shows this service is around $30 US dollars. Each additional title (you can list up to three for $30) is around $1.50. The interface was easy to use and the ad ran as scheduled.

The bad: We did not see any increase in sales.

In summary: Maybe we tried this service too soon. I seem to recall the owner was building his business so he may not have had lots of traffic to the site. Still, even $30 for an ad that doesn’t generate any sales is too much to spend.

 

There are lots of websites that charge to advertise your book. The challenge is finding sites whose ads translate into sales. As a general rule, for ever dollar you spend on advertising you will need to sell one book to cover that expense. My general impression is that the real winners in online advertising are the sites selling the ads.

We’ve tried advertising on Facebook but Facebook has this weird policy that precludes any ad with text that exceeds a certain threshold. (I think it’s around 15% text). Since most book covers have a title, author name, and tagline or quote, our books fall outside of Facebook’s guidelines. (And I’ve yet to see Facebook deliver increase sales for the ads that did meet their guidelines.)

I’ve heard Bookbub is a great place to advertise your book www.bookbub.com/home/ but ad prices range from $55 to $1,700.

If you had success advertising your book online, I’d love to hear your thoughts.