I've been publishing on Amazon since 2013. I've never had any notable success outside of a few downloads around the initial launch.
However, with my most recent book I've put a lot of effort into marketing. A recent free promotion saw about 100 downloads, (free, right?) But a recent marketing effort saw 250+ link clicks in one day, and not one sale. I average around 100 link clicks a day, so I feel my advertising is doing well, but what I am looking for is advice on what I am doing wrong. Is it the cover? The description? The genre? Lack of reviews? I understand that it's a tough market with plenty of competition, and I don't believe for a second that Amazon fudge your numbers to zero (The proverbial would have hit the fan long before now if that were the case) but in business terms: 250+ link clicks and no sales mean I am doing something very wrong.
Ben you need to learn how to edit. In the first paragraph I can see in a number of areas how the narrative can be simplified...the first sentence almost has a tautology. Suggest leave the book up, but get to work on some tough editing, the principle being "How can I simplify this sentence? Then upload the revised file. It's a long road, but you have made a start.
Simple is best...
The cover could use a professional touch if you can afford it.
@Tink I'll bear that in mind, I have been thinking of getting a new cover designed. Thanks for the advice.
@Donna I just took a look, and those are Chapters rather than page numbers. (It's a book split into parts and then chapters.) Although, bearing your point in mind perhaps I could put 'Chapter...' before each one?
Lots of clicks but no buys means that the cover and ad copy are attracting attention. But it is the right attention? Your ad could be misrepresenting your book. Like yelling out, "Free cars!" and handing out Hot Wheels when people were expecting real cars. Not that I would mind getting Hot Wheels for free.
What is your ad copy? And what are you using to market your book?
The ad copy and book cover might be doing well to convey Western, but then people look at your tag line and blurb or Look Inside and bail. I noticed your blurb doesn't do a lot to sell this as a Western in the 1800s. You might tweak the text to answer the question of when and where and confirm that this is indeed an old Western. The only hint I had was the cover and the word 'ranch'. I didn't really pay attention to the title text at the top, and it's a good idea to assume others may not read that.
Your tag line: “There are no true heroes in this story,” he said. “I’m your villain, and you’re mine.” isn't all that compelling. I'd dump this and go for more of a revenge line, like They destroyed her life. Now it's time for revenge. or One woman's revenge is another man's nightmare. or maybe Before Bonnie and Clyde, there was Ruby and X. Travel with them as they paint the sand red in their bloody quest for revenge.
You continuously forget apostrophes in your possessives. But grammar is your least concern. I think the opening chapters are your biggest problem area. You are trying to establish normal family life, but there is no tension other than a brief oops, shouldn't have told Mom about Bro's dreams. I was bored halfway down the first page. Granted, I don't read Westerns, but I would expect them to have more excitement in the opening scenes. I would study the top selling Westerns and their Look Insides to see how their opening scenes are done.
Check out this book's Look Inside: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FVIEHKO Buck Hawkins had never known a bottle of whiskey to freeze. This one had. And he'd finished it just a few hours ago. He tilted his head and ducked his chin, an attempt to escape the wind-driven sleet pellets that threatened to shave the stubble off his left cheek and take his ear with it--if the ear didn't fall off first, along with various other Hawkins appendages.
Now that's pretty gripping. We get an idea of how cold it is, along with a very detailed description of this person's character as you read farther down.
Your book's first page talks about wind a lot. Arizona flat land. Dust. Stagecoach. The fact that your main character dozes. But nothing about her character or what she's thinking. It sounds like people enjoy the story once they get into it, but you might be losing many before they discover how good your story is due to the lack of a hooky Look Inside. Why did she go out and sit on that rock? She knows it's the harvest. Why is she avoiding it?
If you know people who enjoy Westerns, ask them to give you feedback.
I'd also look at that one reviewer's comment about research issues and maybe update the text to fix those issues. Historical fiction lovers do tend to get picky about details like that. Though that's not why they aren't buying the book.
Oh and you won't know if people borrow the book in the KU program except by watching for rank jumps. So if you are getting page reads, maybe your ads are working.
I liked your cover, by the way.
Get someone to beta read it, someone who maybe doesn't like westerns and will slash it for you and not worry about if they're offending you. Every time I do that I'm surprised by what I've missed.
One of these days we really need to get a writers group going. Like a support group - "Hi, I'm _______ and I write westerns/romance/mysteries (etc.)" Could be good.
George Garrigues wrote:
In an ebook, you waste precious "Look Inside" space by putting the Table of Contents at the front, or so I've been told. You can put it at the end, or so I've been told.
Poor advice, or so I've read in KDP's guidelines:
"Place the HTML TOC towards the beginning of the book and not at the end of the book. This ensures that a customer paging through the book from the beginning encounters the TOC naturally. Incorrect placement of the TOC affects the accuracy of the 'Last Page Read' feature. Correct placement ensures that the TOC appears in sample downloads of the book. "
According to the help pages addressing reader experiences and quality complaints, a "misplaced TOC" can be one of the reasons a quality warning label might be placed on a book's sales page. Generally, it's better to know and understand KDP's standards than to rely on others who obviously don't.
1) Get some books on writing, if you haven't already. I like the ones from Writer's Digest. Also, "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers". Although if bad writing stopped people from buying books, Dan Brown would be cleaning toilets for a living. Pro tip (from a non-pro): get rid of superfluous words. "The horse slowed and came to a canter" can be "the horse slowed to a canter."
2) "Story of one woman's revenge set in the old west" feels really generic. What sets this book apart from others like it? Even something simple, like she unwittingly falls in love with the man she's out to kill.
3) Open in media res. There is nothing to grab the reader in the first lines. It's just a long description of a woman we don't know or have any reason to care about riding a horse.
4) If a sentence does not move the plot along, create atmosphere, let us get to know the character better or simply entertain us, throw it out. Make every word count.