Welcome to KDP! I hate to break it to you, but there is no simple way.
We're publishers as well as authors, so we're responsible for promoting our books. Search the forums for the many many threads on advertising, promotion, and marketing, because there is no method that works for everybody. A lot depends on the genre. (For example, a non-fiction book on a narrow topic about which the author was an expert would be promoted quite differently than a contemporary romance.)
Step 1 of course is having a book in a genre and niche where there are buyers. No amount of promotion will help a meditation, told in verse, on the author's twenties, during which she discovered spirituality and yogurt's healing powers, as retold for children in 10 pages. (I take that back, I might actually take a look, I tried to combine all the non-selling genres.)
Step 2 is making the book as good as it can be, well written, thoroughly edited, properly formatted, eye-catching cover, intriguing description.
Once you have a great book, you can start promoting. Social media is your friend. You can encourage friends & family to buy, though don't be obnoxious about it, and if they lie and say they are buying the book "even as we speak," don't make them "prove" it. Note f&f aren't allowed to post reviews, but at least some sales will get the book moving.
Write a second book and a third, equally good, equally compelling. Series do well. Don't expect overnight success.
Note that reviews come slowly if at all. How many reviews have you yourself posted of books you've read and enjoyed? In the last two weeks I sold about 200 copies of one of my books, resulting in zero new reviews. (This was a paid promotion, which you don't need to worry about until you have more books available.)
Dapo Sodade wrote:
I was hoping someone could be kind enough to assist with how to generate sales and reviews for my works. Any ideas?
If you haven't written something worth reading, something a lot of people want to read, there isn't anything you can do except flush money down the porcelain fixture. If you have, search "marketing" on the main forum page and learn what's succeeded or failed. Don't you think you should have done your homework about what it takes to be a publisher before becoming one?
Really? Because I disagree with the idea of having to study every aspect before you begin.
I'm a firm believer in learning in small chunks at a time. When I was writing, I studied how to write a good story. When I was editing, I looked up more rules than I care to remember and learned how to use tools to help. When I went to publish, it was all about learning what KDP likes, how to format for paperback and the steps to publish that. Each chunk was learned one manageable step at a time where I could really hone in and focus on doing that one thing well. Same with marketing. I didn't bother looking at all the forum posts I bookmarked on marketing until after I hit publish. THEN, I devoured them. Perhaps some people need the entire picture before they do anything. I find that leads to paralysis - where you are too fixated on trying to learn, you forget to actually DO.
I was referring to the part about writing something people want to read. I only write the kind of thing I like to read, for example. Given that, I am not surprised that is does not hit the bestseller charts, since, 90% of the time, visiting a book store makes me wish for a flamethrower.
I'm really loathe to respond to questions about ehow to sell books and generate reviews because:
1) I'm cruising 80 years old.
2) my neurologist says I have dementia.
3) my cardio guy says my heart has stopped beating.
That said, I'm always up for a challenge. Thus, since being diagnosed with a brain malfunction and told I'm dead, I've somehow managed to publish a half dozen books and sell the fool things.
The ehow of it is to do what C.Gold did/does. Learn what you don't know and don't come into this forum and ask stupid questions. All of the answers are gonna be negative. Nobody in this forum or any forum
can point you in the right direction because you don't say what kind of book you're written. Fiction or NF. Or provide a link to the unit so a savvy author can have look. A 29 page pamphlet ain't gonna cut it.
You might consider cruising Facebook to find a group writing in your genre, join and lurk to discover ways to market. The simplest way to sales is to promote your book on sites such as fkbt, fussy librarian, people reads.
bookdoggy, authorsXp.com, book circle, book zio and dozens of others depending upon your budget. Or you can hire https://pizzazzbookpromotions.wordpress.com/ to Tweet your book for a dollar a day.
Organic reviews come along when you've written a book that resonates with readers. Now, in these Amazon forums you're gonna hear "readers don't write reviews." But those lovely creatures have somehow managed to post over 2000 on my units. Here's a blog I wrote...more of a rant really, but it might give you a head's up. http://enovelauthors.com/hype-and-more-hype-whats-real/
My bottom line and most indie author's bottom line is: When we promote smart, we sell books. When we don't, we won't.
This is a really good answer for a dead person with dementia! Hmm.. crazy zombies sounds like a fun story idea.
Ahem. Anyway. The steps to selling your book. (This assumes you start with 1 book)
1. Write something compelling that's longer than those 100 page shorts. Ideally, reach for 60k or more words written to market.
2. Give this to a few people you trust and make sure you get positive feedback and at least one person with decent grammar skills gives it the thumbs up. Ideally you'd pay to have it edited.
3. Use a professional cover unless you know what you are doing in cover design. You can find some pretty good pre-mades for under $100.
Seriously - I can't stress the cover enough. You WILL make up the cost of the cover IFFFFFF your book is a good read (which it should be a good read, otherwise don't bother trying to sell it). So spend some money on your cover. Ugly covers get NO SALES. People do judge books by the cover. Don't skimp on this step.
4. Set up a decent price based on competition in your genre. You only have one book so you shouldn't give it away for free. Also, you need to price it higher than $0.99 if you plan to set up AMS ads or FB ads or any kind of pay by the click ad, because you will only lose money if it's under $2.99.
Let me just repeat that. DON'T GIVE YOUR ONLY BOOK AWAY FOR FREE!! Free makes no money and looks desperate. Sure people 'buy' these, but will they actually read it?
5. Decide if KU program is a good idea based on your genre. Many times it's a great way for new authors to get readers to take a chance on them. This also means you want a bigger book because page reads are your income and a short book gets you pennies.
6. Make sure your 10% Look Inside is as hooky as it can be. You want that first section to be like catnip to cats. Also make sure the rest of the book has good pacing, especially the middle area where a lot of authors let the story sag.
7. Sign up for Instafreebie. Choose the free plan to start with and get 10% of your book up there as a sample. Then try to get in other group giveaways for your genre. Make sure to find ones that accept samples and don't require email lists. You can also just leave it up and let it accumulate claims over time (like 1 every other day).
8. Find Facebook or other social media groups and forums to join and look for ones that allow you to post a link to you book in a post for that purpose. Each group has different rules (much like this forum) that you want to read and respect before trying to sell.
So far, you've spent no money on advertising but you've got your book out in front of strangers. If you've put your book in KU, you can see how many page reads it gets and get an estimate for whether people are completing it or ditching it based on your book rank and pages read. Book rank jumps up each time a borrow happens even though these aren't recorded anywhere. So keep an eye on rank and mark down when it jumps and you have no actual sale. That's a borrow. This is where you find out if people like your book or think it blows.
Here's where you start to make money-spending decisions. Do you want a mailing list? If so, pay the ten bucks a month for IF and you can capture email addresses of people who claim your free sample. You can choose to force email signups before they get the sample, or leave it alone and get more voluntary people. Up to you on how you feel about that. You can sign up for Mailerlite or Mailchimp (or both) and integrate IF with them so that your emails go right into your newsletter making account. This is useful for sending news announcements to your subscribers about your new second book (and so forth).
If you accumulate subscribers, you can do newsletter swaps with other authors in your genre where they showcase your book to their readers and you do the same with their book. This spreads your book to more eyeballs than had seen it before and potentially gets you more buys.
You can set up AMS ads. Use the cheap 1 dollar a day budget ads to start with so you don't blow through your money.
I've also been playing around with boosted Facebook posts. Not their ads, which suck money and do little (my ad fu on FB sucks still). But with a boosted post, you can spend a dollar a day like your AMS ads and usually get enough clicks to make me think these might be ok to keep using to sell your book. Like all ad stuff, you need to watch it and see if it's effective for you.
There are a lot of promo places out there, some free, some charge. I used BargainBooksy and was fairly pleased with the results.
All this is conservative, low spending because you have just a single book. The best way to make money is to have more books, preferably in a series. Then you can start getting creative with the pricing of the first book that leads people to your series. That one you can then make $0.99 or permafree. You can give the entire book away in Instafreebie (make sure it's not in KU). This strategy assumes your book is compelling enough to get people to buy the non-free next book in your series. Although you will see a drop offf from the first book to the next book to the third, usually past that, people read the remaining books to the end.
This is how indies make money. Write several books in a series that are good reads for their genre with eye candy covers.
As for reviews -- those come naturally over time and a lot of sells. Those are probably the best way to get them. Or you can try a service like Hidden Gems. Just be careful if you go this route to make sure the service you use falls within Amazon's terms of service for reviews.
I had a highschool physics teacher who represented Australia in the 1932 Olympic games as a pole vaulter. After that he became a high school teacher who retired at 65, but continued pole vaulting until he was 80 years old. He gave up pole vaulting because he feared he might break an ankle, which would then interfere with his cross country skiing.
He went on to become famed in our snowfields (yes Australia has snow fields, one of which is larger than Switzerland) teaching skiing and restoring mountain huts along snow trails.
He finally gave it all up at the tender age of 102.
So there's a lot left in the fuel tank yet
PS..he was a damned good physics teacher too...it became my best subject.
Oh ouch! Back away slowly from the flamethrower! I write what I want to read but fortunately that is also what the market likes.
Let's just say that in my case, the market is huge, but requires carefully isolating with keywords when it comes to ads. I'm in the black now, overall, and my readers do like what I write, at least judging by the reviews. But my ads just can't break even anymore, because AMS costs per click have gone through the roof, and I have a huge number of non-performing keywords among the few performing ones.
I've just hired some start-up folks to do ad targeting. Looks like they are going with a pure clean-sheet machine learning approach to start with. We'll see where that goes. I have fairly low expectations, but for the $100 it will cost me over the two months I will give them, it's worth a try.
What I really wish for is a system of anti-targeting. If you hated this book, you'll love...
So many people chiming in with absolutely NOTHING USEFUL TO SAY, yet they talk, talk, talk...
How to push sales? It's rather simple. Get a cover that speaks to your GENRE. It needs to be eye catching. If it's not, it doesn't matter if you've written the best book on Earth, very few people will look at it because they do not know what's in it until they start reading.
Once you have your cover, use AMS (Amazon Marketing Service) and promote it within Amazon. Social media doesn't do crap. Social media is for you to connect with CURRENT READERS, not get new ones.
When you use AMS, target other authors IN YOUR GENRE with books similar to yours. Bid low, and wait. Do NOT use automatic targeting. Go to the Top 100 list in your genre, pick the authors with book covers that LOOK like yours, and target them. Go to the newly released lists and do the same thing. Check back every week and you'll probably find a couple more. Get a list of at least 100 keywords, but 300 would be closer to average. You need a lot, because one keyword is not going to do it alone.
That will drive eyeballs to your cover. If people decide to read it, expect about 1% of them to leave a review.
All of us here are already doing all that, aerki. And datamining Goodreads, and datamining our positive raters' reading history, and targeting our own also bought list. These approaches have driven CPC into the stratosphere.
You have 50+ volumes in a series. A $0.50 click in a top 100 first-page carousel slot is affordable to you. Even if one in a hundred buys the sequels, you still make good money. Most of us do not have a 50-volume series.
I understand your pride at discovering America while simultaneously inventing the bicycle, but trust me -- there has to be a better way. We talk because we know from a lifetime of experience -- someone will find the better way. Talking stimulates thinking.