Moving Forward

by Ashlynmathews on May 22, 2015

MovingForwardHave I ever mention how hard it is to work full time, raise four boys, write a book or even sell a book? I can say the day job and raising my boys with the hubby is a cake walk compared to writing and selling books.

Writing is hard. There are things called characters, plot, goals, motivation, conflict (ugh, I don’t like conflict), the beginning, middle and THE END.

But of course, the end isn’t really THE END. There’s formatting the book and uploading the book onto various vendor sites.

Afterward, there’s something called promotion, or what I like to refer to as “discovery” or “reader awareness.”

After all, how will readers discover your book in the big ocean of books out there without some type of promotion? And if you’re an indie author without the backing of a large publisher or a huge reader base already, or just new, period, then the uphill climb can seem steep indeed.

I believe to succeed in this “marathon” of writing, publishing, promoting (and repeat), authors need to be dynamic. Yes, I used the word authors rather than writers. “Authors” encompass writing, publishing and promoting (and repeat). Writers write but haven’t moved forward toward publishing then promoting. However, it’s not bad to be a writer, which brings me to my discussion with the hubby. Really, just yesterday, I wanted to revert back to being a writer, and forget publishing altogether. But after our talk, I realize I can’t give up what I love to do, and what has been my creative outlet–writing, publishing, formatting (I now love formatting), and uploading (love this too).

Basically, the gist of the conversation (why I wanted to give up) was, “But it was 99cents! I can’t believe they returned my book!”

Amazon’s return policy isn’t stated in large print on their site. However, I believe it’s one of the few vendors out there that will let readers buy then return ebooks within seven days.

There’s a lot of discussion out there about the merits of the return policy. Some people love it. We all should have the option to return what we don’t like. Yeah, I can understand that point. But I was never one of those gals that wore a prom dress with the tag still attached then returned it the next day. Nor have I ever returned an ebook I didn’t like or didn’t finish.

I don’t leave bad reviews. I just don’t finish the book. Do I buy from the author again? Hell, yeah! I like the author and their previous works. Unfortunately, that particular book didn’t keep my attention. And with the “full time, raise four boys, write a book or even sell a book,” comment, you can see I don’t have much time to read a book much less write one.

On the author side of the argument is the abuse issue. Did a reader buy my book, read it then return it? It’s easy to read a book within the seven day grace period. Having access to my dashboard at Amazon, I see trends. All of my paranormal romances has been read then returned by someone in Spain. Yep, each time I release a PNR, someone there buys it and returns it that first week the book is out. Am I peeved? Yes. But looking at the bigger picture, my return rate from January 2015 to April 2015 is 2%. I’d like it to be zero percent, but I’m happy with 2%.

Okay, I’ve gone off on a tangent again. Let’s get back to “discovery” and “reader awareness,” along with being dynamic!

To survive in this industry, an author needs to keep going forward. Try new promotion ideas. What worked last year might not work this year. Use social media by following and liking the right people or entities. That’s how I discovered many of the book promotion sites. Check the sites’ popularity and how many sites link to theirs by using Alexa.com. A site with lots of views and activity will have a lower number. Basically, use the world wide web. There’s loads of information to be had there.

Last year I went indie. The learning curve was high and my tracking of sales wasn’t the best. This year, I decided to do a better job of tracking what works and what hasn’t worked. To up the chances of my books being discovered and because I want to be dynamic rather than static, I decided to narrow down how I promote.

Here’s my promotion plan for my newest PNR release Wolf’s Red, based on how successful my previous campaign (Near Perfect-99 cents, Torn– new release special 2.99, UnMarked 99 cents) was for the month of April.

Now, because Wolf’s Red is a new release priced at 2.99, I had limited options. However, the “new release” part enabled me to use sites that welcomed new releases at a bargain price, usually a book priced 5.99 or lower. I chose three sites:  Awesomegang.com, DigitalBookToday, and BookLemur. I’ve used Awesomegang and BookLemur with success. However, this will be the first time I’ve promoted with DigitalBookToday. I’m also using ReadingDeals to hopefully get more reviews for Wolf’s Red.

Aside from these promotion sites, and doing a print giveaway at Goodreads, I also decided to put two of my short stories (If Only-contemporary romance and Protector-paranormal romance) into Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited is the subscription program Amazon rolled out last July. Unfortunately, by putting these two books in KU, I have to follow Amazon’s rules and go exclusive with them, pulling these titles from Apple, B&N, etc. I can live with exclusive for 90 days, the period set by Amazon.

Again, it’s being dynamic, switching things up a little bit. I think the risks are low (exclusive, price of promo) but the rewards are high (exposure, gain more readers). What have you done that was “dynamic?”

Here’s my non-book related “dynamic.” At my annual review with my boss at the day job, I suggested creating a new position specifically for ME based on my love of training, teaching and mentoring new people. Guess what? She loved the idea of the position of “training coordinator”, and is going forward with human resources to create this position. How cool is that? Yes, I have an awesome boss, and she’s a dynamic person. Dynamic (constant change, activity, or progress) propels. Write on but also move forward, propel, be dynamic!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie July 2, 2015 at 5:41 pm

I’m not sure how I came across Near Perfect, but I’m glad I discovered your writing! This was a great book and I really liked how you developed Bryce and Lucy. Most of the time I wanted to dislike Bryce, but you did an incredible job helping me to understand him and have faith he was going to make the right choices in the end. Do you have future books planned to be released soon for this series? I read on your site you were looking at Claire/Tristan and McKenzie/Marcus. Looking forward to reading more!

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Ashlynmathews July 2, 2015 at 10:45 pm

I’m so glad you like the series! Yes, there is a plan spin-off of the series with the above couples you mentioned. I just don’t know when the books will be released yet but I do have a general idea of their stories :). I hope that answers your question. Thank you for contacting me!

Bests, Ashlyn

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