Practical Advice for Self-Publishers--Increase Your Odds of Selling

shelleyo

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Interesting read, a lot of useful information, thanks!

I am wondering though, where can I find information on the right tags to use on my book? I've yet to find the right tags for erotic romance :p

Only Amazon really had tags, but they've been gone for at least a few months now. Do you mean on things like blog posts, or are you maybe talking about the keywords you choose when publishing?

If you're talking about keywords, then you choose those that are highly relevant to your book that people might search for. All erotic romances aren't going to have the same keywords, because one might much more steamy than another, one might contain some kinkiness that another doesn't, one might deal with certain relationship dynamics that another doesn't.

erotica and erotic romance would be gimmes, but you could also have tags like interracial romance, menage, bdsm, spanking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, and whatever other terms relate to your story.

ETA: I've read your blurbs. For yours, I'd definitely use interracial romance. If he's rich, get billionaire into a keyword.
 
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mypalsim

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There was much rejoicing.... yay!

This is exactly the kind of thing I've looked for on this forum, and it's the reason I joined it in the first place. I definitely will come back and read this several times.
Thank you!
 

SunshineonMe

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Really spot on.

The only thing I would add is -- get involved

There is a community of self-published authors, many of whom are very savvy marketers. Get involved in forums and suss out the ones who talk sense. When these writers set up promos you can join -- do it.

I'm not talking about the 'like my facebook page and I'll like yours stuff' (boy do I regret ever doing that!) but things like teaming together to create a huge book giveaway, or guest posting on a blog. For instance, I got involved in Elle Casey's summer book giveaway which involved about a hundred other authors all offering an ebook copy of their book as a prize. It resulted in a big increase in sales and I got a few reviews out of it, plus I reached my target audience.

Like Shellyo said, look around your genre. Who is self-published and killing it? Are they active in the community? Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to get your book alongside theirs. I've found self-published authors (well, often authors in general) to be very generous and helpful with their time. By getting involved you don't just help sales of your book, you make contacts -- and even friends -- along the way.
Can you direct me in how to get involved with other authors doing promos? This thread was amazing, a big thank you to all the contributors!
 

HistorySleuth

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I'm wondering how to get it off the ground. I'd like to find out more about how to do a book launch, the build momentum part before release, then when the release hits. I have a blog (2 actually, one is history) and I participate in a weekly hop. Do I ask my writing friends from there? Set up a blog tour? Have a contest? I figure there must be some order of things it's done in.
 

Raisa

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Sarah Dalton, I have to commiserate with your experience with reciprocal Likes on Facebook. It seemed like such a good idea!

Yes, I received over 300 new Likes in a week. Wow! All those new Fans! Look at all the sales this will produce! :snoopy:

The reality: I then had to deal with a News Feed jammed with the statuses of those I Liked in return.

The worst thing? At first, I read and responded to some of their posts. Then, I realized only one or two ever did so on my page. E-ver. It was labour intensive to visit each Page and unclick Follow.

Nor has this reciprocal arrangement ever resulted in a single sale! :Shrug:

I DO ask people I've already Friended to Like my Pages. That's different, as we've already agreed we have things in common.

I think it's a positive to realize when you are just not the social media type, or that a strategy won't work for you.
 

stormie

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My latest ebook isn't self-published, but I have to do most of the promo work. What I've found helps a lot is the Smashwords self-interview. You can pick which questions you want to answer, and it can be about you and/or your book. You can even go back and edit it (which I tend to do). Then it links to your ebook for people to buy it, and any other ebooks you have listed there.

You can read mine in the link below to get an idea.
 

RickieRi

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Shelleyo,

This truly is invaluable advice that you are offering here. I get a lot of book submissions/people who want endorsements/etc. that don't even try to pay attention to how a book looks and feels.

Heck, go to a Barnes and Noble (if you can still find one) and look at the covers of great books. Imitate that!

Also, regarding the aggregation question, I don't know if you guys are familiar with Fiverr.com, but there are sources there that will format your book for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, etc. for five dollars. In my experience, they do a good job and will work with you to get the edits right. One of our authors just released an eBook with a ton of graphics, and the fiverr contractor worked them in seamlessly.

So, while I have used an aggregation service in the past, I found them very expensive and not very helpful. Fiverr worked great and they were a lot faster.

I swear, Fiverr isn't paying me to say this. I would also check the sites Elance and Odesk to see if they offered the same services. The only thing about Fiverr is that it is soooo cheap!!
 

JamesBaldwin

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Interesting how author reputation is a big contributor to sales. I think that is one of the best things about social media, especially poor old Twitter, which is now so unfortunately abused by many self-pubbed authors to tweet their book titles over and over.

My advice to people is not to use social media to relentlessly plug a book. Your best use of time is in mentoring people and connecting to your audience over a longer period of time. Readers are people and enjoy being treated as people. It is also very inspiring to interact with readers and potential readers in this way.

I would argue that a mailing list is essential. Owning your readership, in that sense, gives you invaluable insight into who is reading you and gives you a direct line of contact to your readers. I've already had good results with my email list, and my work isn't even out yet.

Websites: I see a lot of self-published authors with websites that don't do their books justice. My intuition on the matter tells me that - in general - an author's website must integrate with their works as much as possible at this point in history. As soon as someone finishes a book they enjoy, they generally get online to investigate the author. What are they going to find?
 

Autumn_Breeze

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I have been considering self publishing a few of my works for sometime now. I am so happy I seen this. There was so much useful information. I'm going to link my friend, who is already self published, so she can see.

Thanks so much. :D
 

cwschizzy

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Great info, especially if traditional printing doesn't work out. Thanks a lot.
 

Old Hack

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Great info, especially if traditional printing doesn't work out. Thanks a lot.

To nitpick your terminology: it's "trade publishing", not "traditional publishing"; publishing is a whole lot different to printing; and don't equate printed editions with trade publishing only, or digital editions and e-publishing with self publishing only, as both businesses use both formats.
 

napow27

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I like the extend of the information you've provided in this post. I'm taking notes and I am publishing my first book this week. I need all the information I can get. I'll let you know next week how it all worked out!
 

mercs

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All great advise but if I have to give one piece, I will say "Goodreads" without hesitation.

Eryan and Collectors are part of a fantasy series. I believe in them, I have put plenty of hours into them, I have paid for covers, I have thrown them out to the world...and nothing.

The reality is that why should people read an unknown author writing another fantasy series?

The figures on the previous page regarding what people look for is true in my mind. You need people to buy into you, to leave genuine reviews and to recommend you. Goodreads gets you to readers. If you join plenty of groups, offer your work for free and provide a giveaway, you will get interest...

My giveaway ends tomorrow and has over 650 requests already. My book has been reviewed 8 times (6x5 star, 2x 4 star) and is on 260 shelves currently to be read.

You can't get that sort of uptake anywhere else -if you can, please share it here and I will do that too!

Some months I was having single figure sales. I'm now getting 30-50 per month since. Not spectacular but definitely worth signing up and talking about your work...
 

meangene01

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I recently read somewhere (can't remember where at the moment) that if you can sell a few hundred books in one day you will climb into the top 100 section of Amazon. I would think that getting into the top 100 might spur new purchases as well. I'll try to find the link and post it.
 

HistorySleuth

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Shelleyo mentioned up thread the importance of having the right key words, and I agree. I picked one category right when I put my kindle book on amazon, 19th century history.

The other one, I picked biographies & memoirs>true crime> murder but in reality, in the amazon categories online it came out biographies & memoirs>true accounts>true crime> murder & mayhem. Nothing like the choice given when I set up the book. It never made it into the top 100 for murder.

The book has murder yes, but no mayhem involved. So after three weeks I went back in and got rid of the murder subcategory so it would be under all the true crime. That did the trick. It started wavering in and out of true crime top 100, but Now it has been consistently in the top 100 for that category.

Sometimes you assume wrong too. I thought I'd have my best showing under crime but I was wrong. It has been in the top 100 for US history, 19th century since a week after I posted it. Never occurred to me people would be intrigued by murders in the history section, I thought they'd be looking for presidents or major events, not a local murder.

So sometimes if you find you're way back in the rankings, try switching up the keywords.
 
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Avery Grey

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To use romance as an example, a broad romance that you don't classify down into a subgenre is easily overlooked. Make it an angsty new adult romance, a light-hearted and funny new adult romance, a paranormal romance, an erotica paranormal romance, a Scottish historical, etc. And then write your next book in the same subgenre, and the next. Don't go from erotic paranormal romance with a lot of humor to a viking historical romance with a lot of murder, dourness and death. Don't disappoint the readers who picked up the first one and loved it for what it was by veering too far away from it.

I'm very new to this, and struggling with classification. I had thought my trilogy was "Historical Romance", but was told by a reviewer the sex was more Erotica. Is "Historical Erotica" even a category? (I tried to search for it in a thread here, to no avail).
 

Avery Grey

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Sign up for a free author's account on Manic Readers.com. As soon as you publish a book and upload the info to MR, the site mods will tweet about the release of your book (and I didn't even know that until recently). After that, offer your book for a review. I got a 4-star review only a week or so after offering mine on MR.
Is the review posted only on the Manic Readers site? I had never heard of MR before (or Bookbub either), and am wondering what their reach is.
 

Avery Grey

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