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1001nightspress

Posts: 3,873
Registered: 12/11/11
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 10:57 AM   in response to: davewright29 in response to: davewright29
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Yeah, that's common for erotica--a lot of people don't like to leave reviews. But that's fine--it isn't number of reviews that sells your work anyway, so I wouldn't worry about that overly. Plenty of erotica with no reviews at all sells just fine.

The other questions I asked weren't rhetorical, by the way.
davewright29

Posts: 128
Registered: 06/23/12
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 11:18 AM   in response to: 1001nightspress in response to: 1001nightspress
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Okay, here goes.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008AQGJZ6

Not for the easily offended I hasten to add.

Here is the link to my other book.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008CS6ZO2

I have also nearly completed a satirical novel about the increasingly crazily commercial world of soccer set in the near future.

1001nightspress

Posts: 3,873
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Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 11:40 AM   in response to: davewright29 in response to: davewright29
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Ah.

First thing--your covers don't look like covers. This hurts you in two ways: 1) You look unprofessional, and 2) in erotica, you look like plagiarized material, as most of those who just copy and paste free content from Literotica do covers like that. You are not doing the same thing--but you have that "look." Get decent covers! Correct shape, titles on them, that sort of thing.

Your formatting could be improved, especially around paragraph indents (look at the second book--they're weirdly large, and in the first book, they're uneven).

The good news is that you can write! Whew. :) But for a non-ficition-ish book (meaning, I assume it's supposed to sound like non-fiction, whether it actually is or not), it's a bit rambling. I'd suggest removing about 80% of the info in the intro for the first one, for example, and if I were your editor, I'd have suggestions for tightening in almost every paragraph. (Did your editor not mention any of this? Just curious.)

Did you get a proofreader? There were inconsistencies there--like one month abbreviated and one month spelled out in full, in the same sentence--that a proofreader should have caught.

Those aren't huge things, but they're things that would keep me from downloading the book for free (or paying for it). And they're things that can be easily fixed.

The soccer topic sounds very appealing. If you do a good job with that, it should sell. But do please, please get it edited and proof-read. Remember that when you self-publish, you're saying to the world, "I can handle all aspects of the publishing business just as well as traditional publishing companies." So, make sure you do that!
andresanthomas

Posts: 4,922
Registered: 01/01/12
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 11:53 AM   in response to: davewright29 in response to: davewright29
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OK, starting with the cover. It has to look like a cover. This does not. Crop it into a paperback book shape and slap a title and author name on it that can be read in the thumbnail size.

Then do a good proof of your book. You've got errors like missing punctuation. Then get the book, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. I stopped reading at the point where you had 4 paragraphs in a row that started "As I.."

I recommend getting some action going a lot closer to the front. As Hitch mentioned, this a short-attention span world. If you don't hook them with something interesting right up front, they won't go on. I recommend losing the huge long intro on why you wrote the book. We really don't care. We just want to read a good story.

I didn't read far enough to know if this was a good story or not, but ask yourself that. This is listed as a memoir. Is that what it is? Is there a point except rambling about some life experience for 500 pages? Why would someone else care? Is it interesting? Is it sexy? Is it inspirational? It needs to have some sort of point that we can grab on to. If it is just sexy and entertaining, ramp it up and log it as erotica instead.

You have the same cover issue with the other book as well. I didn't read any further to know about the content itself, but I can tell you that the blurb and the cover didn't interest me enough to even check the preview. You need to fix those in order to get people to even consider the book.
diamondlifestyle

Posts: 4,193
Registered: 07/02/11
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 12:07 PM   in response to: davewright29 in response to: davewright29
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lol deep breath we're not that mean, honest ;-)

Firstly, your cover. The image itself conveys exactly what the book is about, but it needs to look like a book. Get it cropped!

Next, the blurb. It's nit-picky but put a double return between paragraphs to break it up. That's a quick fix via author central.

Look Inside
You don't need full stops after your title and subtitle
Ditto the full stop at the end of the heading for Ch3 (but not for the others... consistency!!)

While your subject matter is clearly "niche" it's also interesting. Your writing is fluent and engaging.

So I think your problem is one of marketing. Aside from the cover - which I'd fix immediately - the other stuff is nit-picky to the Nth degree. Yes you want to get it right, but it's not killing sales right this minute.

Now if this forum you run is as vast as you claim, what's stopping people from buying your book? Firstly we have to assume some of it is guilt. No-one wants to be caught with your particular memoir on their Kindle if it's their own little secret, too. Perhaps the title is a little [i]too[/i] obvious.

I've had a look at your forum. Nice and prominently noted, and in a sticky thread too. 400+ views. So what's going wrong??? Your overall tone is far too apologetic ("I think it's value for money", "it's the lowest they'd let me charge" etc). You should be telling people that this book will speak to them - they'll laugh, they'll cry, they'll nod along because everything in it is true. Take a look at a review I left on GR for the sort of tone you're aiming for... http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/307785931

Go for witty, go for slightly-disparaging, go for "this is a book that you will understand, from an author who understands you." Don't beg and plead and thank them, make them desperate to read more. Use some of that lovely forum space to give them a little snippet of what to expect - something funny or moving (interpret that how you will...) that conveys the tone of your book. You've got them somewhere where they're prepared to sit and read and they're open to what you're saying -- use that!!!!!

Also, let's have a bit more qualification. Why should you write this book? These guys are (one assumes) out there doing what you're writing about - what could you possibly teach them in your book? On both your banner on the homepage and your sticky post you say "my book" - well who the hell are you? I'll tell you who you are - you're the guy who owns the forum, who has 30+ years experience, who has created this community of like-minded people. You are their bloody god - or you should be. So not "my book" mumble mumble please thank you, noooooo, I want to see "From the founder of UK Punting, a man with over thirty years experience of the scene, comes an epic memoir of his experiences...the good, the bad, and the ugly" or whatever. Hype yourself up, because no-one else will.
booknookbiz

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Registered: 03/04/10
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 1:02 PM   in response to: diamondlifestyle in response to: diamondlifestyle
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I'm going to echo much of what's been said here:

1. The covers [u]need[/u] to be done professionally; that alone should help boost sales. The fact that they look amateurish--like something someone picked from istockphoto or wherever and just slapped up there, without even the pretense of a book title--is indubitably hurting you. If I saw that, I wouldn't even pop open the "look inside."
2. The blurb is uninspiring. I personally do not care for the direct plea "read about...;" I prefer something vastly more creative. I'd go for a very humorous tone, that doesn't "ask" the reader to read it, but [u]induces them to do so with the cleverness of the blurb[/u].
3. I admit, the idea that there's 550 pages of this sort of recitation kind of makes my brain hurt...I can't imagine, literally, where the story line goes, or what the point is. I mean, I get it; it's a recitation of your myriad sexual encounters. Are they funny? Entertaining? Riotous? Is it basically a collection of unedited and non-curated "Dear Penthouse" letters?
4. If the answer to "funny, entertaining or riotous" is yes, then the hell with the start you've got--nuke that intro, which is VERY rambling and although you can clearly write, it's a skosh boring. (Sorry). I would, in fact, move it to the back of the book.
5. Then I'd find the best 'bang-up" (sorry, couldn't resist) story you've got, or at least a real wowzer, or a funny one--something--and start THERE. Then flashback to your disappointment with BBW. I think starting with the rather dismal BBW experience doesn't help you.

As a chick, it's hard for me to become really enthused about a book with 300 or 500 or whatever stories in it about your life with prostitutes, so...it's not something that I'd buy, myself. BUT, the advice I gave you, above, comes from a professional standpoint in a different business-that of producing books and getting them sold. You do have some [i]bona fide[/i] writing talent (nice change from the usual queries around here!), but I'll also reinforce what the others said: you could [i]really [/i]use a professional editor. I suspect that your book would lose at least 100 pages if edited properly--there's a ton of rambling in there that you could lose that would make it a tighter, faster and more engaging read.

You have skill in writing, but you haven't learned to edit yet, and I think your approach--starting with your first dismal experience--will not induce readers. Find your funniest or most startling or whatever story (get another opinion, too, about which is best, while you're at it), and use that FIRST. Edit it ruthlessly, tighten it, make it shine and make it your opening. Fix the cover; fix the blurb, and I think you've got something that could sell. For what you've implied, as the promise of the book, your start just isn't...[i]enough[/i].

My $.02, FWIW.

Hitch
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andresanthomas

Posts: 4,922
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Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 2:35 PM   in response to: andresanthomas in response to: andresanthomas
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And one more thing- If this is erotica, then it needs to be erotic. It needs to titillate and be sexy. I didn't read far enough to know if you get to that or not, but if that's where you're going, don't be afraid or apologetic about going there.
davewright29

Posts: 128
Registered: 06/23/12
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 3:04 PM   in response to: andresanthomas in response to: andresanthomas
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Thanks for all this advice. I will try to take it on board. I have previously been told I can write but can't edit!
I have had a couple of plays produced in local competitions and the director chopped and edited one to pieces.

I was aware of the formatting problems and tried to correct them, but they were still showing up. I have had another go and resubmitted the corrections.

I will now try to address the problem of the cover.

Thanks again.
monkey2009

Posts: 1,095
Registered: 06/03/12
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 3:05 PM   in response to: andresanthomas in response to: andresanthomas
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I would agree about the cover. I didn't get a chance to look inside however.

I would google author/reading groups about your genre. There are tons of face book pages and groups relating to erotica, I know I joined a few.

I am sure there are customers who would be willing to buy your book- sex sells- and won't be embarassed to have it on their kindle.

You do know you can download the kindle app to a phone or pc for free so the buyer doesn't actually need to own a kindle. (I didnt know that either until recently.)

Check out goodreads- although offhand I cannot recall their policy on quite such blatent adult material. There are a ton of book forums many of which do take erotic- worldliterary cafe, Kindleboards, Kindleforums do check their policy on adult material though.
sued2

Posts: 896
Registered: 06/15/12
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 4:15 PM   in response to: 1001nightspress in response to: 1001nightspress
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Your covers are terrible. The first one is what? I wouldn't call it a cover at all. The second looks like an ad for watches or cellphones. You definitely need new covers.

I think that the genre, itself, is a hook...the cover is the bait.
diamondlifestyle

Posts: 4,193
Registered: 07/02/11
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 2, 2012 12:46 AM   in response to: monkey2009 in response to: monkey2009
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GR will let you put up anything you like. In some of the closed groups I'm a member of they have loads of NSFW content - text and pics
shellydog

Posts: 103
Registered: 12/13/11
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 2, 2012 1:27 AM   in response to: davewright29 in response to: davewright29
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Hello,

Don't worry - it takes a while I have had my only book with Kindle for 6 months now...a slow start but now sell 40 a month in the UK and am seeing sales in the USA build up to 20 a month plus my first 4 lending reads there. I get paid as regular as clockwork each month.
I do one KDP Select promo a month and that helps a lot. I have had a PR Sheet done with cover and a bit about the book which has resulted in (approx 13 mentions in regional papers and magazines).The Book has had 17 reviews (and still has a 4 start rating). I do one promo a day to a magazine radio station etc...keep it active. I was on holiday recently and anyone I saw reading a Kindle I mentioned the book too. The book wont sell its self. Have managed about 6,000 copies so far including KDP Promos. Subject matter a Labrador Dog around a working Lifeboat Station Non Fiction. Dont Give In.. (Pat yourself on the back for writing a book also!!) - Good Luck Shelleydog. UK
davewright29

Posts: 128
Registered: 06/23/12
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 9, 2012 10:55 AM   in response to: shellydog in response to: shellydog
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Not sure what's going on.

Had no sales at all for a week and now had four today.
Could it be that Amazon don't always tell you instantly and these sales have actually accumulated over several days?
indietmaried

Posts: 398
Registered: 06/20/12
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 9, 2012 11:29 AM   in response to: davewright29 in response to: davewright29
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Congrats on the new book release...I'm new myself, so I can relate. BUT I do want to say - selling ONE copy is an achievement in itself - don't focus on the numbers. From what I've been told (over and over) on these forums is that sales will take you time. G'luck!
yorkiegal

Posts: 137
Registered: 10/17/11
Re: Dismal sales - help!
Posted: Jul 9, 2012 11:38 AM   in response to: davewright29 in response to: davewright29
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You seem to be off to a good start to me. I was happy to sell a couple each month!. I spoke to my local bookstore where my book is for sale in paperback version and they say that all fiction sales are down because of Kindle. Hmmm.
Just glad we have a fantastic tool as this for our use. Where would we be without it Kindle.
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