Amazon will auto suggest $2.99 with a 75% commission. Awesome you say, but stop right there and research. Is your name Stephen King, or Rowling, or etc. Many well-known and better selling authors then you and I sell some of their titles at $2.99. So I have a medical thriller called “Still With Eyes Closed” on Amazon, say I list it for $2.99, and right next to my listing is a book by Michael Crichton; who is most likely to get bought? Now don’t start with the ‘ifs’ you know as well as I do who is getting bought at $2.99.
I have also seen some indie authors set their price at $4.99, $6.99 etc. What gives? I will NEVER pay that price for an unknown indie author.
Okay you don’t want to drop below $2.99 because of that 75% commission; we’ll get into that in a minute.
But I am not suggesting setting the price at .99 cents. Let’s think about this as human’s reason on appeared value.
When you run a free promotion, buyers are fully aware that is a sale, likewise with a countdown or .99 cent limited timed sale. Buyers know their time is limited. So this article is focusing on a fixed price.
A fixed price of .99 cents can give the impression that the author may not value his own work (there are many others who suggest the .99 cents but I believe it is counterproductive). Also a fixed price of .99 cents screams ‘cheap’. It will also be reflected in the feedback. It’s just how people sees something below the $1 mark.
Now $1.99, that is below the well-known authors and above the ‘cheap’ listing, it’s under the $2 mark meaning affordable and it’s in the ‘I think it’s worth a try range’. I have sold more books at $1.99 then at any other price point.
Now at $1.99 you will only make 35% commission that seems stupid when I can make 75% at $2.99. Well consider, you fix your price at $2.99 and you sell 10 books a month. Great! I set mine at $1.99 and I sell 200 books in the same time period. Who made more money? Its volume you’re after, if you sell more books at the fixed price of $1.99 then at $2.99 which is the logical price point?
First off explain to me what a book launch is? Well simply put it is drawing attention to your book. Many indie authors will not like this post but then they may not be selling very well either.
The 100% best time to do a book launch or re-launch promotion is December 26th through December 31st right after xmas. People will get and give tablets and since new tablet users are not accustomed to the idea of reading on a tablet a new free Kindle book is a perfect time to grab a title. So set up a FREE promotion of your title that will start on December 26th. Then 3 days before the start date promote it on every social media platform, hit them all. Hit local internet info-sites; hit everything, over and over. Many times a day promote, promote, promote. When the FREE period starts; be just as aggressive, let people know that they can download your title for FREE for their new tablet. Explain how to read it with the Kindle FREE app. PUSH hard during the FREE 5 day period. Then a few hours before the promotion ends set the price at .99 cents. Leave it there for 5 days, being just as aggressive. After that 5 day period lock the price at $1.99 (I’ll explain in another post) continue to be aggressive in promoting your book, but now you have all that work that has paid off. Or has it? Did you plant seeds first? What?
Okay before the promotion did you follow the steps for categories that I suggested in another post? Also I suggest ordering about 20 hard copies of your book and GIVING them away to people that WILL agree to leave feedback. Build up the feedback. Sad to say there will be those who promise to leave feedback but will not (see my post let your yes mean yes) so forget them and ask those that have gotten a free copy that do leave feedback to leave good detailed feedback not just “good book”.
So you’ve given away 20 free books in exchange for feedback and 12 people followed through, you followed the steps in my other post on categories and you did the above. Now pay attention to Amazon.
During the free promotion period at some point you may hit #1 in the category that your book is listed in; Amazon updates these rankings every hour so check at the top of every hour. If your book hits #1 in your chosen category grab a screen shot and use it to promote your book. When you set the price at .99 cents check every hour as well, if you hit the top 50 for SOLD titles grab a screen shot, if you hit better numbers grab the screen shot. Use those screen shots in promotion. Those numbers build trust in readers that your title is a title worth buying. Also during the FREE promotion if a buyer buys a book in a similar category Amazon will cross promote your book for you, you do not have to do that work. So you have moved 1,000 free books and did not make a dime. Well guess what Amazon is now cross promoting your title in many other areas of Amazon and you did not pay for that advertising. So no you did not give the titles away for free, you got advertising for doing it that you would never have gotten any other way.
But what about FREE promotions at times other than xmas? Regardless of what month, always make sure they end at midnight on a Monday. Amazon has discovered that people tend to buy Kindle books mostly on Monday mornings.
In 2012 I wrote three novels that were spinning around in my head. One I cranked out in three weeks after dreaming it one night. When I launched them I had no one to guide me on formatting and I made 100% of every mistake, even right rag. I was beyond embarrassed. So I search KDE for pre-formatted book templates and found some (located in earlier post on this blog) and reworked all three of my titles, and even got a good editor. So I launched them again, 1,2,4,1,2,1 would sell ever few weeks. WHAT! I’m an author and a good one why are people not buying my books?
Oh wait it’s not them but marketing. WHAT! So I bought two books “Crush it with Kindle” and “Sell More Books With Awesome – Amazon Descriptions”. The book that proved to have the greatest value was “Crush it with Kindle”. You can find both on Amazon for free. I am going to summarize some of the primary tips and suggest that to get the greatest benefit that you download the two books.
In May of 2015 I read two books that helped me to understand that I was marketing my books incorrectly. I submitted myself to the 7 month long course of change. I had to change my keywords for Amazon and Google; I also had to change my categories for KDE which proved to be an undertaking. (More on this in another post) I changed my book descriptions to include keywords not in my keyword search. I also used HTML descriptions that included SEO. By July I had completed all this work, but it would not be until December that I would see results. After completing a novel the author must do the above correctly the first time and then do a full book launch. But when is the best time to do a launch? In all the source material I read it stressed launching a new title from December 26th to December 31st. WHAT! Here was the reasoning. Many people get tablets for xmas and by the end of day December 25th they have it set up and ready to go, but reading a book on a tablet is new to those who may have gotten a tablet so at the launch of a book offer it free for the full 5 days to encourage new tablet owners to download your book.
As December 26th approached I thought to myself that I don’t have just one title, I have three and I marketed them all wrong for years. So I opted to re-launch two titles at the same time. On December 26th 2015 “The Boy in The Wood” and “David’s mark” was re-launched for the full five day period for free. There were nearly 1,000 new downloads making my total sales to that point of all three titles in excess of 5,000. I was happy, but would stage two be just as successful? On December 31st near the end of the day the price of both went to .99 cents. Again the sales were strong. I left the price at .99 cents for a full 5 days, at the end of which set all titles to $1.99. Since December 31st I have had continued sales of all three titles in the Kindle versions and in Prime. I am happy but wish they were stronger.
So what is lacking? Two things that I am aware of would help if readers were to follow through. First; leaving feedback is critical to authors for readers that enjoyed the book to express their views in the form of feedback. Why? Leaving your positive thoughts on the book will encourage others to purchase the book as a good choice to read.
The second point is simple, if you enjoyed the book and want to share positive thoughts simply talk about it with friends and family. Tell others what you liked and why you would recommend it as a good read.
These two very simple steps can increase the awareness of indie authors all throughout Amazon and increase their sales. In order for the Amazon indie author program to survive readers that have positive thoughts need to leave those on the site and share them with others.
What was you doing 30 years ago today January 28th 1986
It was about January 20th 1986 that I packed what few belongings I owned into my 1969 poo brown Chevy Impala. On the back I had stuck some black on orange numbers and letters to read NCC-1701 USS Enterprise, why not the car was almost as big as a starship. I tried to stuff a full sized floor console TV in the passenger seat, but alas the TV was too big. My tires were bald; I had a rear main seal leak and less than $10.00 in my pocket, but I was determined to cross country. I departed from Dallas Texas and pointed my car to Livingston Tennessee, wherever that was. Although I strongly disliked my birth-dad, I had no other place to go. I was now homeless.
It was a sunny day when I left Dallas, warm enough that I did not need a jacket, but piled in the back seat was all the clothes I owned and several blankets. I took one last look around at my cousin’s place and pulled out of the driveway to get on 35-E north so I could hit I-40 East. It did not take long before I ran into winter. It got bitter cold quickly. By the time I hit Little Rock I was running low on gas, oil and had no money left. I had however learned of a ‘driver in destress’ program sponsored by some churches along major Interstates, I approached the first church door with much trepidation. I explained my situation and was handed a gas voucher which also included two quarts of oil and given a coupon to a local fast food restaurant. I was set to go for about another 150 miles.
It was a very frosty morning and a snow storm was moving in when I hit West Memphis Arkansas. On the radio was a talk debate over the American Government doing away with a National Holiday in favor of adding Martin Luther King as a National Holiday. I had just passed a sign letting me know I needed to change lanes to continue East on I-40 when I thought ‘why all the fuss’, George Washington has one, why not, I also remember they should make a National Holiday for American Indians.
As I got into Memphis I looked at a sheet of paper that listed the names of the churches that assisted drivers, I made my way to the next one on the list. I was again handed a voucher for gas and oil, but instead of giving me a coupon for a meal at a restaurant they gave me a small brown bag of food. I thought this was much better as it would last me a little longer. I was still homeless.
I hit another church in Nashville which allowed me to make it all the way to Livingston Tennessee. I had turned off I-40 and got on TN-42 North. About midway a car passed me in the opposite lane doing about 90 mph, not long after he spun sideways and another car impacted the driver’s side, basically crushing the driver into the passenger, their mangled bodies crushed into one. Later I was to learn that the driver had just broken up with his girlfriend and he was drunk and upset. That girl would be a part of my life, but for a short time.
When I arrived in Livingston I had no idea where to start looking for my dad so I pulled into an old service station that had a shed behind it. I asked the attendant if I could park beside the shed, and explained why. She allowed me and told me I could also use the bathroom to clean up. I pulled in tight next to the shed and locked the doors, it was now in the single digits and the snow was falling large and heavy. I grabbed all the blankets from the back seat and put on as many layers of clothing that I could and stretched out on the front bench seat. It was now the 22nd and I had not slept since the 19th, having bipolar does have a few minor advantages. I slept deep and heavy.
The next morning I awoke to a landscape covered in several inches of snow, eight or perhaps more. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and exited the car via the passenger door. As soon as I stepped out I felt a lion scratch the right side of my face, blood was now coloring the white snow. I quickly brought my hand to my face to assess the damage, when I pulled it away it too was now covered in bright red, dripping drops on the pristine white snow. The lion was no longer anywhere to be seen, but the low hanging roof covered with shingles was next to me, its claws still showing. I had run into the shingled roof of the shed and with the bitter cold, exposed skin and exposed shingles my face had suffered as if a lion had clawed me. I went inside and the same attended was there, she owned the small station and managed it herself. She saw my face as I made my way to the bathroom where I cleaned up as best as I could. I do not remember if she gave me coffee, but I am sure she did. I asked her if she knew Doc Watts, nope. I asked her if she knew of a way to reach out to someone in town. Again she said she did not.
I exited the small wooden service station and stood under the roof overhang. I could not live in my car for too much longer, I was out of resources. I looked around at the small pathetic town, my visibility had been reduced to a few feet, and the snowflakes were fat, thick and blowing sideways. Next to the station was a Pizza Hut, no doubt it would remain closed for the day, but across the street was a tan building with the call sign WLIV, a radio station. I carefully ventured across the street and entered the building, having no idea what to ask. Inside it was warm, and behind a desk sat what I hoped was a kind young woman. I noticed the office had never left the early 1970’s and neither had her desk, this radio station was not raking in the money. ‘May I help you she asked?’ What on Earth should I say? I begin by explaining where I had come from and why I was there and asked her of there was some means to put on the air that I was looking for a man named Doc Watts. Her reply shocked and terrified me. “Is he the man standing behind you?’ I turned to find myself looking in the face of my dad, I nearly peed my pants. He asked what I was doing in Livingston and I told him I was looking for him, he told me to follow him to his house.
Once there he told me that he was out looking for work, I think more likely cigarettes and something to get drunk on, and he had seen me cross the street. He and his wife told me I could have the upstairs, she resented me showing up. The next day the snow had stopped and the sun made an appearance so I started looking for a job, but in a town as small and depressed as Livingston that would take time.
On the morning of January 28th I was walking downstairs when I heard on the TV that the Challenger had blown up. I stopped near the landing and sat on one of the steps and watched the news as it showed the shuttle taking off and then coming apart. My tears fell unabated. After I had seen enough I went back upstairs. The rest of the day I felt lost and alone. I had placed great value on the space program and trust in the science of mankind, and now it had somehow all come apart. At that time in my life I had no other hope.
So do you remember what you were doing this day of January 28th 1986?
These are all the remaining photos from the Blizzard of 2016. Taken between Friday 22nd to Sunday the 24th.
Oh little angel
Oh little angel
You were born as this gender
With you it was not consulted or as if to even ask would be inferior.
You are but innocent and for that alone you must suffer
But still your temper's
As if by some means, some miracle from the divine you were not in any real danger.
But you were in danger, you were in the threshing floor,
milestone around your neck, in the deep,
in the dark on the streets
by all the nashing teeth.
how did you even get so far.
Mental, physical, emotional, literal painful scars.
Oh little angel what big beautiful eyes you had, the innocence of which shared by all young kids.
But don't cut the cake
Dad hasn't come home it's late.
See the look in his eyes, whose is that, something have changed.
And you will never get back that day.
Not even if you traverse the galaxies and stars, it's gone away.
And you wanted to cry, but how could you have known.
You needed to save those tears because it would be a lifetime of pain away before you would ever find a real home...
It wasn't your fault,
oh little angel, it wasn't your hand around the knife that made the real mark.
Did the only thing you could. Your In charge
now. Keep everyone alive
the pain, battle, dark.
Oh little angel look how far
You have come.
Title: The Star Agency Book 1 of The Star Agency Chronicles
Author: R.E. Weber
Before I get into the pro/con of the book I wish to express a few thoughts. 1) I usually avoid series books. They tend to drag out over years and years, the author in some cases dies or alters too much of the story etc. However in this case the synopsis seemed very interesting and I like science fiction so I gave it a go. 2) It surprised me how much Weber and I thought alike. In all three of my published book (published under DeWayne Watts and sold on Amazon) I insert Star Trek references. I started watching Star trek at age 6 and in all of my books I weave it in the conversations of the characters. Weber did the same and it brought a smile to my face each time. So I assume that Weber enjoys Star Trek. He also inserted a single reference to Star Wars, but hey my son likes Star Wars.
Character Development: I was able to jump right into the story; it was a quick start to ‘feel’ for the characters. I was able to reach back to when I was 13 and identify with Theo and put myself in his place. I was also able to understand his relationship with the other characters in the book. As I read I became Theo, but back to when I was 13. I believe any reader could easily understand Theo and agree with the things he did. His interactions with Jules and his aunt were very real and spot on. I have had in my past similar relationships. Later in the book his relationships with other important characters was also very easy for me to get into.
Plot: As with all stories there are flat spots, or transitions that seem to move slowly. Although Weber had them early on and a one later, they were far from dead flat spots. He kept me engaged and moving forward. I thought that was interesting, regardless of what needed to be narrated to move the plot he kept it moving. This is very difficult to do as a writer. You have areas in the plot that detailed narrative must be written and some authors go flat line dead. He never hit the flat line. For example sometimes readers will ‘skim’ because the narrative seems to move slow, although he had slow spots I was never tempted to ‘skim’, he kept me fully engaged. He developed the plot well and as I mentioned moved the reader forward.
Dialog: It took me a few pages to get that this was written in United Kingdom English and not American English. In case you may be wondering, there is a huge difference, just set the native language on your computer to British English and you will notice. After I realized that it became easier to understand certain phrases and wording. I watch a lot of movies out of the UK and some from the north of England that use heavy Gallic, so I was able to understand the use of non-American wording. The dialog was well written and kept true to the primary characters.
Narrative: Weber did a very good job on the narrative, very interactive and involved. A few flat spots, but nothing that stood out as dead. He kept me engaged and intrigued.
Character Development: Nothing of serious note. He did a good job drawing out the primary characters.
Plot: Again noting negative.
Dialog: Just one single little point. At two places he used ‘movie’ dialog from American Television from the 1980’s. What is that? In the 80’s it was very popular to have a character say “Oh I will….I will” It was a reparative statement to emphasize or stress a point. It was very much in use in the 80’s but fell away over time. This was the very first time I have seen it in a long time. Although it does not detract from the plot, it is easier to use that phrase then to use narrative to describe the character expression or body language to add the stressor. But again it did not detract; it was just a surprise to see it in a modern novel.
Narrative: As with dialog only one point. He makes three references to the Cheshire Cat. “Theo smiled like a Cheshire Cat” as example. This was a serious shortcut to describe a ‘mischievous smile’ or ‘cynical smile’. In essence a shortcut to describe how the character was smiling. But here is my point, when a book is being sold on a worldwide scale using a reference that is native to a certain country will be lost on some in other countries. Also “Alice in Wonderland” is not being read by younger readers and the above phrase is in the book and not the movie. So even if someone may have seen the movie the phrase may be lost, a reader of Weber’s book may not get the point of the Cheshire Cat. Also when the recent incantation of the movie was released there was a documentary released on American Television that exposed the author of “Alice in Wonderland” as a child predator and the story is about his activities (hidden within the story) and he also wrote it to entice two girls that lived in his area. The documentary went into grave detail about why he wrote the story. Since I suffered a horrible childhood (My account ‘David’s mark’) and I watched the documentary when I see this phrase in the book I skipped it. On that note this is more of a personal pick. However I to refer back to the fact that on a worldwide scale this phrase would be lost on many.
Final Thoughts: Weber did an awesome job for a science fiction novel I could not write sci-fi. Since I love Star Trek many have encouraged me to try to write sci-fi but I know I can’t. Weber did a great job and I will buy the rest of the series. He really opened a door to a new sci-fi saga. I told my son that his book was equal to the start of the Star Wars series (not like it but as good as). I also feel that this is worthy of movie quality. We need a new sci-fi movie series. Also I think that this series is a perfect YA series, Young Adult. I have tried several times to write a YA series aimed at boy’s ages 10/11-13/14 but I can’t write myself there. Weber DID it. He wrote a perfect adventure series for that age group. I was taken back to my childhood and really poured myself into this story and the whole time I was reflecting back to the Hardy Boy’s novels I read when I was young. I would love to see Weber also include this in the genre of ‘Young Adult/Sci-fi, I believe the young kids would eat this novel alive, it is a perfect YA adventure series.
Well done Weber and I enjoyed this very much.
DeWayne Watts: I started out writing short stories and poetry. Some of which was published in the 1980's. I have parts of 5 novels written and have completed 2 novels. I have been married over 25 years and raised 2 wonderful sons who have been a great addition to the human family.
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The 3 Novels/Books Written By DeWayne Watts
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"The Boy in The Wood"
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