Category: Goodreads

Free copies of A Death in Duck

Those of you who obsessively check my Amazon and Goodreads pages (or is that just me…?) will have Final-Book-Cover-Vector-v4seen that the cover artwork for the Lindsay Harding series has recently undergone a facelift. In celebration, I’m giving away three signed copies of A Death in Duck with the older artwork (the original Doberman cover) to the first three people who post reviews of either book on Amazon. Or better yet, review both books and then post your reviews on Goodreads as well! 🙂

Book2-v3 (2)Once you’ve left your honest review on Amazon, post the link in the comments section below. I’m interested in your opinion–both critique and praise–so please opine freely!

Reviews page for A Murder in Mount Moriah
Reviews page for A Death in Duck

If you’ve posted a review previously, THANK YOU. Just post the link to claim your free book! I’m also running this contest via my mailing list, so I’ll post updates in the comments section below as the free books are claimed.

 

A writer and his money are soon parted.

I recently got a message via Goodreads from a “fan” of my work, offering me a discount code for an advertising service for authors. Although I was flattered, I immediately caught a whiff of something seafood-y. A quick Google search showed me that this kind of scam had been perpetrated on a number of indie authors via blogs and websites. I reported the “fan”, who was subsequently given the boot from Goodreads. This reminded me of some advice that David Gaughran gives in his marketing guide for indie authors, Let’s Get Visible. He points out that there are a TON of services that claim to provide exposure/publicity/instant fame and fortune to writers, but only a handful have any kind of track record for delivering results. (I’ll save you a bit of time and just tell you that Bookbub, ereadernewstoday, and Pixel of Ink are the top ones). Having never paid for publicity myself, I can’t personally vouch for any particular service, but other writers can. Watch out, though. Bookbub, in particular, is hella expensive, and we all know that just because something is outrageously expensive, doesn’t mean it can deliver (my cable internet is a perfect example of this).

All I can tell you is that I’ve been approached by people offering to Tweet about my book, to blog about my book, to create an interpretive dance about my book, or whatever. Some people, like the awesome 52booksorbust, do it out of the kindness of their hearts or to generate traffic for their own sites or because I dated them in high school. But whenever one of these services want money, I know that something’s up. The better sites and services don’t need to try to find authors–the authors find them, in droves. I know it’s frustrating to try to gain exposure for your book. Actually, frustrating isn’t the word. It sucks like a medieval leech doctor. But unfortunately, that’s the lot of the indie author. If you want to be a trailblazer, you’ve gotta be willing to wade through knee-deep muck with a machete in your hand. There are no shortcuts. If you want ideas for marketing, look to the Kindle Community. Whatever crazy marketing scheme you are considering, our fellow authors have probably been there, tried that.

scam alertOne more resource that I’ll mention is the blog Writer Beware. This mostly relates to scams involving vanity presses, shady agents, and ersatz publishing houses, but it’s definitely worth checking out for indie writers.

Remember that, as an indie author, your profit margins are slim. Since I started trying to monetize my writing in July of last year, I’ve made coffee money, but not a great deal more. Unless a marketing opportunity has a good chance of netting you a big return, do not part with your hard-earned coffee money. You’ll need it to fuel your next literary endeavor.

Publicity from Goodreads giveaway

My Goodreads giveaway closes out on January 15th, so enter today!  https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/75303-a-murder-in-mount-moriah. So far, about 500 people have entered to win. The vast majority of those have added A Murder in Mount Moriah to their to-read lists, which, if those people also have the automated Goodreads feeds to Twitter or Facebook, could mean a whole lot of eyeballs looking at my book cover. I’m really curious to see how many of those will translate to sales. Presumably, people don’t buy the book during the giveaway period, in case they end up winning. I guess I have to hope that the “losers” will stumble across it on their shelves in a few weeks’ time, see the positive reviews, and buy a copy. In other news, I had a nice sales bounce last week when my fellow Little Spot for Stories author Nicole Loughan‘s series became a Kindle bestseller. It looks like a few dozen people checking out the Little Spot website picked up my book as well as hers. I think I also picked up some sales from my recent New River Valley Voices reading, the recording of which has been in heavy rotation on the local public access station.

Do KDP giveaways boost sales?

At the end of December, I ran a short freebie promotion for A Murder in Mount Moriah. I really can’t say whether it worked or not. I’ve continued to sell 1 or 2 copies of my book each day. Would my sales numbers have dwindled without the promo? Impossible to say. I did pick up a new review on Amazon.co.uk this week and a new rating on Goodreads. It’s always awesome to get positive reviews from strangers. I’m trying to gird my loins for the inevitable first negative review. I tend to think that people who would be attracted to a cozy murder mystery about a chaplain are slightly nicer people than, say, blood-and-guts sci-fi thriller readers, so hopefully it won’t be too cruel when it comes. I just can’t imagine some nice suburban grandma ripping me a new one on Amazon.

Anyway, I’d say unequivocally that KDP Countdown 99cent/pence promos work. Not sure about KDP freebies. The jury is also still out on the Goodreads giveaway. (My current giveaway ends on January 15th, so it’s too soon to tell.) I think all these things increase visibility, which can’t hurt. But clearly the Kindle Countdown is the only one that translates directly to money in your pocket.

To Free or Not to Free, That Is the Question.

My indie publishing guru, Nicole Loughlin of littlespotforstories.com, told me that it’s important to boost your Kindle/Amazon ratings in the run-up to Christmas in order to capture the interest of the many millions of shoppers who receive Amazon gift vouchers for Christmas. Once your books drops out of the top 100,000, you lose a lot of visibility vis-a-vis other books. (i.e. when someone searches “cozy mysteries”, I want A Murder in Mount Moriah to pop up in their search, and when they buy a cozy, I want AMiMM to pop up in Amazon’s  “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” suggestion bar). I’ve only sold 3 copies this week (!), so my book is lurking dangerously near that 100,000 mark. I therefore had to decide whether to run another $0.99 promotion or to do a few days’ giveaway. I’ve had modest success with both methods in the past. My book wasn’t eligible for another discount promo until January 20th, which I feared might be too late for that post-Christmas bounce, so I opted for a few freebie days. Ideally, this will generate a few post-Christmas sales and/or a boost in my visibility. It may also generate some new reviews, which are another big part of improving visibility. I’ll let you know what happens.

p.s. I’ve had 175 people register for my Goodreads giveaway during the first few days. Woot!