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Permlink Replies: 16 - Pages: 2 [ 1 2 | Next ] - Last Post: Jul 18, 2017 3:25 AM Last Post By: Evan Thomas
Evan Thomas

Posts: 4
Registered: 04/29/17
Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 2:30 AM
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Hi All,
I recently published my first sci/fi fantasy novel. I didn't expect to make a living writing but I also didn't expect sales to be so low :(
I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.
I've got a professionally designed cover that I believe looks good.
I've been using AMS and had 100's of clicks.
I had a large jump in sales during the free promotion period with KDP Select (to be expected).
At least some people have been reading it (KU/KOLL page reads).
The problem is, other than two reviews(1 in Australia and 1 in US), I've got no real feedback outside of family and friends(which obviously carries inherent bias) so am not sure what needs improving.
Is there something I could improve or is < 50 sales in 2 months par for the course?
https://www.amazon.com/Time-as-Power-Evan-Thomas-ebook/dp/B071SHSJHT is a link to my novel.
Any help/indication of areas I should look to improve from the myriad of more experienced writers than myself would be greatly appreciated :)
Thanks all
Cynthia E. Hurst

Posts: 1,706
Registered: 02/25/13
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 2:44 AM   in response to: Evan Thomas in response to: Evan Thomas
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The cover's good, your writing is coherent, and it sounds as though you aren't doing too badly, although giving away your only book was probably not the best strategy. It's not my genre, but I think you could improve your blurb. You drop names in, like Aris, without a clue as to who or what it might be. A person? An organization? Be more specific and you might attract more readers, especially if you follow it up with a second book. Oh, and you don't appear to have a copyright page, which you need. Good luck!
Evan Thomas

Posts: 4
Registered: 04/29/17
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 5:27 AM   in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst
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Wow! Thanks for the quick reply!
Thank you for the tip regarding being more specific in the blurb. I will definitely look into that.
Regarding copyright, it was my understanding that simply creating a work means that it is copyrighted under US and Australian law? Is this more for professionalism than legal purposes?
I am in the process of writing a second.
Thanks again Cynthia.
Joe

Posts: 156
Registered: 06/01/17
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 6:40 AM   in response to: Evan Thomas in response to: Evan Thomas
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Write the next book. One book isn't going to get you very far. You need to have a decent back list, and not take years to get it. Make sure you're in a genre that has a good market, don't mash too many things together. You can do a little promo on one book, but don't spend too much time or money on it. Write the next book.

Honestly, this is the same issue we all have, no matter how new or established we are. It's getting harder and harder to sell these days, so you have to be playing your A game all the time. Read, research, learn, practice. It's how we all do it. Well, those of us with any sense. Some people fall for that "be a Kindle millionaire!" crap.

Make a copyright page. You can look at other published books to see what they look like. IF you can, or when you can, file for actual copyright protection. It will serve you well when you get that nasty prove it's your book emails (the regular emails don't need much proof, just a general statement will do, but the other? Must have actual proof.)
rakesh negi

Posts: 20
Registered: 01/08/17
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 6:42 AM   in response to: Evan Thomas in response to: Evan Thomas
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the main part is promotion or marketing, go for Facebook promotion, twitter promotion and some other sites who promote books.
chiranjeev singh

Posts: 5
Registered: 07/17/17
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 6:54 AM   in response to: Evan Thomas in response to: Evan Thomas
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you book looks great. you could try facebook marketing and get some more reviews to gain sales momentum.
Evan Thomas

Posts: 4
Registered: 04/29/17
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 7:09 AM   in response to: Evan Thomas in response to: Evan Thomas
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Thanks all for the information.
Good to know that this is probably the norm Joe. I will look at some copyright examples and get onto that.
I must admit I haven't explored social media much yet Rakesh and Chiranjeev. I've heard Good Reads is also worthwhile.
Are there any other specific sites I should be looking at outside of social media and Good Reads?
Still amazed at the quick responses :)
writerbn

Posts: 4,780
Registered: 05/12/12
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 7:23 AM   in response to: Evan Thomas in response to: Evan Thomas
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Evan Thomas wrote:
Are there any other specific sites I should be looking at outside of social media and Good Reads?
Different tactics work for different authors, and even for different books from the same author. Personally, I wouldn't waste time on social media with just one book, but others may disagree. if you search the forums for marketing or promotion, there are lots of discussions.

The sites that I've had good results with are E-Reader News Today (ENT), Free Kindle Books & Tips (FKB&T), Fussy Librarian, and a couple of smaller ones that I don't remember. I also use AMS (Ama*zon Marketing Services) pay-per-click ads. However, your results can and will vary.
Brad the wronger

Posts: 114
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 9:28 AM   in response to: Evan Thomas in response to: Evan Thomas
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When I followed your link, I fully expected to find yet another book written by Homer Simpson. I was pleasantly surprised.

I have just ticky tacky little ideas to offer.
First, your cover is good but looks a little more like horror than scifi. One way to punch it up a little is to change the title to a bold red color. Red works very well with black, gray, and white.

I think Joe mentioned you need a title page and copyright page for front matter. Look in another book and do the same as what they do.

The lines of your book seem crowded together. Did you 1.5 space? Consider double spacing. It makes it a little easier for the reader to read. I also prefer the margins justified left and right, rather than a ragged right, but that's personal preference. It just seems to look better.

You have your author name listed as Evan Thomas, but on the cover you have a middle initial. The only other Evan Thomas that I saw at Amazon is a political biographer, so you shouldn't have any problem sticking to an author name without the middle initial.

Just a few ideas about your writing style, which seems quite good, by the way.
Your point of view drifts here and there. Maybe you're using an omniscient POV, which works if done well.

At one point, you mention someone getting stabbed by a small knife. Make it a big knife. It's more thrilling. The only way a small knife is interesting in a story is if a spy is using it to slay another spy in a dark alley, using the small knife he keeps hidden rolled up in the waistband of his underwear. Otherwise, big is more threatening.
Dejant should have to prove his identity somehow to the guards each time he crosses a threshold, especially when he gets to the doors to the King's keep.
"Halt, who goes there?" came the call... sounds a little soft. Guards at the keep will be much more stern than that. "Halt!" a guard bellowed, his baritone voice echoing off walls. The massive armored man stood guard before wooden doors, a lance in his grip. "Who goes there?"
Once again, Dejant would need to prove not just his identity, but his worth to see the King, no matter how urgent the message or if he was expected.
You don't need to do a complete rewrite, but consider punching up the first few pages of the story, the ones a customer sees when shopping.

Sometime today, somebody will come along and tell you to write your next book, which for some reason has become a motto here in these forums. Make this book absolutely perfect before you consider sitting down to your next project. Don't make the same mistake that so many others make, believing that having eight books in a series will somehow magically improve their ability to write a good story, but instead make the same mistakes over and over.
Anyway, good luck.
Cynthia E. Hurst

Posts: 1,706
Registered: 02/25/13
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 9:47 AM   in response to: Evan Thomas in response to: Evan Thomas
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As to the copyright, yes and no. Yes, it's automatically copyrighted, but it's a good idea to include a separate page that simply says something like (c) 2017 by Evan Thomas (or use the middle initial -- I got sent to the political writer, too), then another line that says All Rights Reserved. You can register your work for $35 with the US Copyright Office, which will give you more legal protection, should you ever need it.
Adetola sokunbi

Posts: 1
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 3:05 PM   in response to: Evan Thomas in response to: Evan Thomas
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Hi all am also a first time author with a book -the blessed criminal and I don't understand why I haven't made any sales.. Am still writing the book but have published 5 chapters though and I think its good...I need help and advertisements
Ward Rogers

Posts: 1,308
Registered: 12/02/16
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 5:22 PM   in response to: Adetola sokunbi in response to: Adetola sokunbi
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Adetola sokunbi wrote:
Hi all am also a first time author with a book -the blessed criminal and I don't understand why I haven't made any sales.. Am still writing the book but have published 5 chapters though and I think its good...I need help and advertisements

From a cursory glance:

  • It's just 21 pages.
  • It's grossly overpriced ($10 on .com).
  • Your cover is unappealing and has nothing to do with your story.
  • Your blurb does nothing to entice the reader inside.
  • Your formatting is poor.
  • Your English is substandard.
  • You display no understanding of narration, dialogue or any of the other skills in which every writer must become proficient.
  • As you admit, it is unfinished -- who in the world would want to buy anything incomplete?
Lynniemj

Posts: 1
Registered: 02/27/15
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 6:07 PM   in response to: Evan Thomas in response to: Evan Thomas
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Very nice cover. I don't read much sci-fi but the story sounds interesting also! Good luck!
Jonathan B

Posts: 4,415
Registered: 10/23/12
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 7:50 PM   in response to: Brad the wronger in response to: Brad the wronger
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Brad the wronger wrote:
Sometime today, somebody will come along and tell you to write your next book, which for some reason has become a motto here in these forums. Make this book absolutely perfect before you consider sitting down to your next project. Don't make the same mistake that so many others make, believing that having eight books in a series will somehow magically improve their ability to write a good story, but instead make the same mistakes over and over.

Two things. Writing more and more does make you a better writer. The common adage is that you need to write a million words before you begin to become proficient. In the old days, you had to write your million words before you landed a publishing contract. Now, we just self-publish our first efforts.

Second, having eight books may end up with the writer making the same mistakes over and over, but it also gives the write a much larger footprint in Amazon, and hence a much better chance of being found by prospective readers.

I agree that we should all strive to make our books as good as they can be. However, I would rather have eight books that average 4.5 stars than spending all that time perfecting one book that will average 4.8 stars.
Brad the wronger

Posts: 114
Registered: 07/13/17
Re: Trouble gaining sales momentum - First time author
Posted: Jul 17, 2017 9:49 PM   in response to: Jonathan B in response to: Jonathan B
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To a certain extent, I agree, and to an extent I have to disagree.
Now, we just self-publish our first efforts.
First efforts are rarely worthy of publication. That's painfully obvious with a quick journey through Amazon. But so many new writers don't understand that. They think all the successful writers do is sit down at a computer and churn out books, make a bunch of money, and they can do the same. Maybe that worked for you, but you had a lot of education, and you write about what you know. That can be seen in other writers as well. Some people are just good story tellers; unfortunately, not everybody, including a lot of writers with books for sale at Amazon.

Writing more and more can make someone a better writer, if they learn from their mistakes and improve their craft. Have they taken any classes, read about character development and plotting, suspense and conflict? Did they pay attention to what was said in reviews and assimilate that into their writing? Once again, you have. But that doesn't mean all other writers have. By encouraging someone to jump right back into the next book without learning more about the craft of writing, or how they can improve as a writer, isn't helping them at all.

being found by prospective readers
If those books are junk, those readers won't go back for more. It's not a matter of style or preference, it's a matter of just not being a good writer, and refusing to learn how to get better. Of course, numbers win that. More books means more discoverability. The trade-off is that if an author is discovered to be not very good, nothing will ever change their rep in the eyes of readers who got cheated by reading a junk book.

I still believe any author who publishes something for sale needs to make that book as good as they can to provide a quality product for the customer. If it's not, the customer feels cheated and won't go back for more. We're selling both a product and a service. By providing a book, we allow someone the distraction of entering a different world, if only for a while to escape the profound level of BS in the world today. Evan, or whatever the OP's name was, has already given himself a great head start in mastering writing, at least from what I read in his Look Inside. I hope he continues to learn and improve, rather than just churn out stuff as quickly as he can. That would be a shame.

Honestly, I don't know why I care. I should just walk away.

Edited by: Brad the wronger on Jul 17, 2017 10:00 PM
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