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Thread: I only know that I know nothing


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Moshe Ben-Or

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Registered: 12/28/15
I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 3:45 PM
 
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So, I've been messing around with creative and keywords, trying to get my lead-in book to sell better. My creative gets plenty of clicks, but the sales are below par. I'm just not attracting the people who are likely to buy the book, most of the time. At this point, I am getting better conversion rates from the romance readers than from the hardcore SF folks I expected to be my primary audience.

Speaking of all that, I did not expect the romance readers to even look at the story, but there seem to be plenty of them who not only like it, but outright love it.

Therefore, I conclude that I know nothing about fishing out likely members of my audience from the general mass of amazon visitors.

Any constructive suggestions as to keywords and ad creative would be much appreciated.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01A0AM7IW
Etienne

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 6:37 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
 
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I like the cover. However, you need an editor.
Snapped, bowed, thundered, muttered, retorted, smiled, and laughed are not valid dialogue tags, and do not take the place of the verb 'said.'
Collectively, they make the book virtually unreadable.

Also, both the ? mark and the ! point take the place of the comma in dialogue. In one spot you have blah blah!", The comma needs to go.
etcetera
C. Gold

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 8:58 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
 
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Strong woman on the cover, blurb talking about a strong man.... I can see how romance readers might try it. Does it actually have romance in it? If so, you might try adding sci-fi romance as a category if you are getting those readers anyway.

Oh forgot to add that the Look Inside is quite confusing. You have no TOC and you start the Isabella story without any chapter heading. When that ends, you have a dedication and a disclaimer, and then you begin what I assume is the real start of the book, once again with no chapter heading.

Edited by: C. Gold on Jun 20, 2017 9:01 PM
Moshe Ben-Or

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 9:36 PM   in response to: C. Gold in response to: C. Gold
 
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There is much romanticism in the story, but it is not what is conventionally called "romance". I would not put it into that category, because it simply does not fit. It is nothing like the standard tropes of the genre, and any reader looking for explicit "romance" in the sense of the Amazon category would be gravely disappointed. It would be like putting "Life and Fate" into the romance category, or "Romeo and Juliet", though, of course, my poor scribbling holds not a candle to either.

The romance readers who do like it seem to be of the ones for whom the romanticism weighs more heavily than the romance. There are no chapter headings and no TOC because there are no chapters.

It is interesting that the post-title preview seemed confusing to you. I take it you decided that the bold ellipses enclosing it are some kind of chapter headings?
Moshe Ben-Or

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 9:43 PM   in response to: Etienne in response to: Etienne
 
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Thank you for your advice. I am afraid you are simply wrong about verbs in the dialogue. There is nothing wrong with any other verb taking the place of the verb "to say", as long as said verb is applicable to dialogue. People, in the real world, do, in fact, snap, mutter, thunder, laugh, smile, ask, reply, chuckle, etc, etc. These verbs are routinely used in classic literature, and have been since the Epic of Gilgamesh.

But thank you anyway. I agree that the person who expects flat dialogue and uncreative schoolmarmish "creative writing", where all dialogue is punctuated with "said Joe", would be better served by something from the YA category. I welcome suggestions for creative and keywords that will repel such a prospective reader before he clicks on my ad, and will attract solely the grown-up reader.
steven morris

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 10:04 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
 
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There's nothing wrong with using 'interrupted' etc in theory, but in practice it slows the reading experience. When you use 'said' the word becomes virtually invisible and the sentence flows better. It's a mistake a lot of foreign people make when they're writing in English.

As an example, the first sentence of your second book is

"Ever go up the wall?" Interrupted Maria.

It's the first sentence so who's she interrupting exactly? It's a pointless use of the word.

An editor would help you immensely.

Edited by: steven morris on Jun 20, 2017 10:06 PM
C. Gold

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 10:25 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
 
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What am I supposed to think seeing ellipses? A change of scene is what they traditionally indicate, not a preview. I'm not a mind reader and what you've done is very non-standard. You don't use any chapters at all? YIPES!

All books I've read call out previews, prologues, and chapters. You want to be different, that's fine, just know that some readers will probably be put off by that.
Moshe Ben-Or

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 10:25 PM   in response to: steven morris in response to: steven morris
 
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"Ever go up the wall?" Interrupted Maria. is the first sentence of the preview. The preview, of course, is snatched out of the middle of a scene, as indicated by the bold ellipses enclosing it. In the scene itself, Maria happens to interrupt a long reminiscence by her interlocutor, and it fits just fine. In fact, it sets the tone and conveys emotion, which is what it is supposed to do.

But I will take this as a second vote for previews confusing potential readers. The ebook reader on Amazon does not have the physical book in hand, so it is not clear to him that the preview is a preview. In the physical book it is printed on the back of the title page, and so does not confuse. But I can see how the ebook reader might expect to jump right into the beginning of the book.

As far as the other bit of your advice, thank you but no thank you.

Moshe Ben-Or

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 10:34 PM   in response to: C. Gold in response to: C. Gold
 
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The book consists entirely of scenes arranged (mostly) in chronological order. There are no named or numbered chapters. It is an uncommon style in the West, yes, but not too uncommon. Maybe 15-20% of books I have read in English use this style.

What would indicate to you that the few paragraphs you are about to read are a preview snatched out of the middle of the book? The interesting part here is, when I added the preview, sales increased. I have been in the top 50 in my category, at times, when the darned ads are not priced out. The reviews, of course, speak for themselves.

In general, I am aware that conversion rates will be unusually low regardless, because I plunge the reader headfirst into a truly alien culture and force them to think, not to mention face very uncomfortable concepts and situations. Star Trek this is not. But it would be nice to get the conversion rates up a bit.
Moshe Ben-Or

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 10:46 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
 
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Now, this is interesting. The first book's look inside starts with the cover. But the second book's look inside starts with the preview, skipping the cover and the title page, and hiding the lead-in ellipsis that would indicate a preview from the viewer altogether. Anyone know what governs where the look inside opens?
C. Gold

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 10:47 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
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I browsed through a few of the books on my Kindle and of those that had summaries, they were always titled as something, either the name of the book or Summary at the top of a new page. Also, most of them were actual summaries instead of a chunk of text taken out of context. Finally, they always appeared after all the title, copyright, dedication, disclaimer stuff and just before the actual chapter 1 or Prologue.

The whole thing about not using anything but said and asked is about making sure you show rather than tell. I'm a horrid abuser of these too and I see it in writing all the time which is how I picked up on it in the first place. However, I do intend to go through all my dialog and make sure I'm adding more showing rather than relying on creative dialog tags to tell the reader what to feel.
C. Gold

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 10:58 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
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I believe the Look Inside tries to start at the first header 1 style formatted page title which is typically either Prologue or Chapter 1.

Found this on the kboards site:

Yes, you can set your book to open anywhere you wish. If you are not handcoding your book, it involves unzipping your epub, finding the package file (it will have the .opf extension), and editing the file (adding or modifying the guide section).
Basically, you need to add this in the guide section (scroll past the manifest and spine):
<reference type="text" title="Story" href="filename.xhtml"/>
Where "filename.xhtml" is the name of the file for the section of your epub that you want your book to open to
Moshe Ben-Or

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Registered: 12/28/15
Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 11:06 PM   in response to: C. Gold in response to: C. Gold
 
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It's not a summary, though. It is precisely what it is in the print version, a teaser. Common with print books in the SF genre, especially the classic military SF ones, but clearly not common with kindle books.

I'm going to have to think about how to make this more obvious. Clearly, sales going up substantially after it was added tells me that it was correct to add it. I'm getting the old folks like me, who grew up leafing through pages. But now I need to get the folks who are used to ebooks to figure out it's a teaser scene.

As far as the "show not tell", if you show the character laughing, screaming, blurting, muttering, interrupting, etc, you are clearly showing. Dialogue that goes "blah blab blah," said bob, "blah blah," said john, for pages on end, is flat and boring and shows nothing. Those who advise doing things like this are used to "action novels" where there is no dialogue longer than four lines, sandwiched between the gory shootout and the explicit sex scene. I do not write things like that. That's YA stuff.
C. Gold

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Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 11:14 PM   in response to: Moshe Ben-Or in response to: Moshe Ben-Or
 
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Moshe Ben-Or wrote:
The book consists entirely of scenes arranged (mostly) in chronological order. There are no named or numbered chapters. It is an uncommon style in the West, yes, but not too uncommon. Maybe 15-20% of books I have read in English use this style.

What would indicate to you that the few paragraphs you are about to read are a preview snatched out of the middle of the book? The interesting part here is, when I added the preview, sales increased. I have been in the top 50 in my category, at times, when the darned ads are not priced out. The reviews, of course, speak for themselves.

In general, I am aware that conversion rates will be unusually low regardless, because I plunge the reader headfirst into a truly alien culture and force them to think, not to mention face very uncomfortable concepts and situations. Star Trek this is not. But it would be nice to get the conversion rates up a bit.


I have over 2000 books on my Kindle and probably 1000 books in my spare bedroom that says differently. Perhaps you've read 15-20% with this style, but this is the first I've ever seen and that spans sci-fi (yes, including some Star Trek), epic fantasy, fantasy, fantasy romance, romance, paranormal, urban fantasy, mystery/thriller. You say you are trying to get the conversion rates up yet you are unwilling to bend towards western style while trying to sell to a western audience. That makes no sense to me.

Forgot to add that I found the teaser far more captivating than the first chapter and I'd definitely want to read more of that story arc. Why not put the title Teaser above the text? That should clarify it well enough. But put it after the dedication and disclaimer.

Edited by: C. Gold on Jun 20, 2017 11:16 PM
Moshe Ben-Or

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Registered: 12/28/15
Re: I only know that I know nothing
Posted: Jun 20, 2017 11:18 PM   in response to: C. Gold in response to: C. Gold
 
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That's interesting. If it really opens on Header 1, that would be very convenient. I can readily test this by uploading a version where the title page uses the H1 tag. Thank you, you are being more helpful than most folks on these boards.
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