Adjusting my strategy
Strategy implies forethought and careful planning. While no one would accuse me of spontaneity, little in my life is actually part of any carefully planned strategy, certainly not as pertains to my writing.
Triple Burn came out last week. It already received one lovely review and a request for a sequel.
Sequel? I hadn't planned on that.
Looks like I'd best get cracking on the current work-in-progress and figure out what to write for a sequel.
I'm trying out different book promotion services in an effort to penetrate more deeply into the target market so people at least know my book(s) exist(s). Past efforts with Facebook ads had dismal results. Book tours, likewise, disappointed. Inclusion in Megabook Deals for Six Shots Each Gun and Hidden Gems Books for Bear of the Midnight Sun did not come close to breaking even with book sales; however, I might try them again with other titles.
I've come to accept that such promotion is a cost of business; marketing is necessary evil.
I've campaigned for reviews. Honest reviews. Thus far, reviews trend toward the positive which I hope continues. Every author holds that hope in common. Do the reviews translate into improved book sales or book ranking? I haven't noticed any discernible uptick, but one can always hope.
Keywords and key search terms are under review. My publicist, bless her, will do the heavy lifting there. She's the marketing expert. We hope that updating keywords and key phrases will make it easier for potential readers who enjoy the kind of fiction I write and search for it will find my books and, if I get lucky, take a chance on one.
My publicist has a plan in place. We tweak it, adjust to changing circumstances and trend reports. One pending adjustment will be new covers for the Russian Love series, which includes Russian Lullaby, Russian Gold, Russian Dawn, and Russian Pride. With the able assistance of someone who knows what she's doing, the new covers will conform to the current trend in cover design for mafia romances. Look for muscular, dangerous looking, smoking hot men who may or may not be wearing shirts.
Another fan wants me to continue that series.
I'm going to pull several poorly performing titles from Amazon exclusivity and "go wide" with them. That means they'll no longer be available as free reads with a Kindle Unlimited subscription--that requires exclusivity with Amazon--but other platforms like Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple's iBooks, and Kobo will carry them. The process will take some time, as I must find another platform on which to publish them. Some of those books may receive new covers, too.
Publishing has become a process of adjustments. Maybe it was always like that.
Authors often appear to be money-grubbing manipulators. However, why is it so terrible to want to boost our book sales? An indie author puts uncounted hours into writing a story, pays an editor (or should pay an editor), and then countless more hours revising. Additional costs go into cover design and, for some, book formatting. Self-publishing with an eye toward a quality product incurs a hefty cost. Royalties present one way--the preferred way--to recoup that cost so it can be applied toward producing the next book and maybe with something left over.
So, what does an author earn? If we go by Amazon's general royalties, an author earns 35 percent of an e-book's purchase price. For a $0.99 book, that's $0.34 per copy sold.
Editing a 50,000-word book easily ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars, depending upon the depth of editing needed, the number of rounds of editing performed, and the rate charged by the editor. Cover design covers a wide range, from cheap to exorbitant. Let's not even bother with formatting or the value of the author's time for this discussion. We'll "guesstimate" the cost to produce the hypothetical, 50,000-word book at $1,250.
The author must sell 3,677 copies of that e-book to break even on those costs--before taxes. Most authors never come close to recouping their investments.
Publishing a book is no get-rich-quick scheme. The competition overwhelms unknown or little known authors. Career or business coaches tout that publication of a book enhances their clients' credibility and authority. However, any author who publishes fiction knows that he or she cannot rest upon the laurels of the past book; another must always be in progress.
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