Book Discovery Strategies #1: Two Free Books

Price has been a major point of contention among self-published authors since the publication of the first book through KDP. Through its royalty structure, Amazon guided authors to price their books between $2.99 and $9.99 if they wanted a bigger return. Pricing lower was usually reserved for special sales or shorter works. Since Amazon didn’t allow authors to price books for free outside of its exclusive KDP Select program, few authors considered the strategy behind free books until the discovery of permafree. Amazon will price your book free if it’s free on other platforms. Google Play, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords will let you set a free price for your book, so if you publish a book there and then contact KDP Support to let them know about the price match, nine times out of 10, you’ll have a free book on the biggest ebook retailer in the business. Getting your book free isn’t a strategy by itself. You need to use one or more free books to increase your chances of discovery. Nick Stephenson’s Reader Magnets strategy, which we’ll refer to as the Two Free Books model, got a lot of attention early this year for its ability to add […] Read More

Getting Your Book Ready For Discovery

In our previous piece on book discoverability, we noted that the first part of readers finding your books revolves around traffic. The more people who come across your book sales pages and website, the better chances you have of making sales. We also noted that the second part of discovery is making sure your books are ready to be discovered. Without necessarily categorizing it as such, we’ve talked a lot about discovery preparation on Author Marketing Institute. It’s essentially a matter of winning tiny comparison shopping battles with similar books in your genre. If someone is looking for a dark fantasy book by a new author, then he may compare your dark fantasy novel with another similar looking title. If you have significantly fewer reviews and your description sounds less compelling, then you’re going to lose out on that sale. Aside from hiring out a top-notch cover designer, there are four key areas you can set up to make sure your book is strongly considered when readers discover your sales page: 1. Try to Get 100-200 Reviews Many strategies exist for book discovery, and having a lot of high-rated reviews helps nearly all of them. For example, when you’ve got […] Read More

What Is Book Discoverability?

Authors, like many entrepreneurial artists, put a lot of value in tricks. They’re willing to sell books for free or set up a mailing list because they’ve seen other authors do the same thing. The problem comes when writers employ some of these tricks without understanding the basic concepts behind them. At their core, many tactics related to book marketing have to do with book discoverability. At its center, book discoverability can be any one of a number of ways in which readers find your books. In the old days, book buyers only had a few ways to discover their next read. You could see a book on an end cap in your local Borders or you heard about the latest bestseller from a newspaper review. If you were self-published, you had essentially no chance of getting your book out to the public at large, though you could still do well enough if you brought traffic into your website. Now, the number of methods for book discoverability has grown exponentially, which is great for readers and a new challenge for authors. Book Discoverability Broken Down We’ve already mentioned the methods of book discovery like BookBub, permafree series starters, and social […] Read More

Why You Should Sell Your Books on Apple

After spending a significant amount of time learning the tricks of the Amazon self-publishing trade, you may feel as though you’ve gone as far as you want to go. After all, it can take a long while to truly understand how KDP works and how to get sales up from a trickle to a deluge. You may think that it’s not worth trying more challenging platforms like Google Play and Apple’s iBooks. Before you carve that decision in stone, there are several benefits of selling your books on Apple that you may not be aware of. First and foremost, exclusivity on Amazon isn’t right for all books in all genres. Even though Amazon’s dominance is mostly unchecked, e-readers are waning in popularity. Before long, Kindles could become more of a curiosity people pick up on eBay rather than something they’ll consider buying. As a result, you need to be prepared to reach your readers where they’re reading. An increasing number of people are reading on their phones. Since Apple products are among the most popular mobile devices, your lack of a presence in iBooks could cause you to miss out on a large and growing group of readers. Here are […] Read More

How to Obtain and Use iBooks Review Codes

At this point you’re likely used to trying to get your books reviewed on Amazon. Perhaps you have a list of bloggers or you’ve created a special email list for people who will automatically get review copies of your latest books. Regardless of what you’re doing to get reviews, it’s important that you request reviews not just on one platform. If you fail to get as many reviews on your iBooks products, you may be missing out on an opportunity to sell more copies there. Authors selling direct through iBooks gain 250 promo review codes for each book once they’ve made a request. According to Apple, these codes can be distributed for reviews, media, and testing. Once you’ve obtained the codes, you must provide them as quickly as possible because they expire within one month’s time. By following Apple’s rules for review codes, your books will show up with higher ratings and they’ll have a much better chance of closing the sale. Here are five detailed steps for obtaining your 250 iBooks review codes: Visit iTunes Connect through your Apple account. You must have “legal level” access to obtain the codes, so it’s best to do this yourself as opposed […] Read More

Romance Authors: Enter Our Custom Book Cover Design Giveaway ($300 Value)

No strings attached. Click here to enter our Romance cover design giveaway. The winner will receive a custom book cover design (in digital form). Winner will be notified on July 2nd. Use the cover to refresh an existing book that might not be selling well, or for a new book you’re about to put out. Cover are VERY important. Here’s some bonus content for you. Watch the replay of cover pro Derek Murphy at our Author Marketing Live! event in 2014.

How to Earn More Money From iBooks

  iBooks is renewing its commitment to indie authors. With Nook Press on the decline, iBooks is well-positioned to take over is solid number two spot for many self-published authors. While the platform is not without its drawbacks, namely the difficulty to publish directly from PCs, iBooks provides several key ways to earn more money from your books. Here are four strategies you can use to get the best bang for your buck from Apple: 1. Use the Affiliate Program One well-kept secret among Amazon success stories is how much money some big-time authors earn from the Amazon Associates affiliate program. The program not only provides you with additional earnings if readers buy through affiliate links, but it also returns additional money when readers go on to buy other products. Apple’s affiliate program works in much the same way, except you’re able to tap into lots of digital media affiliate commissions you never would’ve thought of. When a fan buys your book on iBooks using your affiliate tracking link, a cookie is placed that tracks all other items the customer buys in the immediate short-term. For example, if a customer picks up your book through the tracking link, and then […] Read More

How to Distribute Non-ACX Audiobooks

ACX is by far and away the leader in self-published audiobooks; we wouldn’t have done an entire series on the platform if it weren’t. That being said, there are some instances in which you might want to consider going a different route. While ACX recently opened its doors to British self-published authors, there are still many parts of the world in which ACX is not available. Additionally, if you’re interested in getting your books on non-Amazon platforms, then you may want to consider selecting the nonexclusive contract and trying to distribute your audiobook on these other platforms. Unfortunately, Audible has such dominance in the audiobook industry, that it’s doubtful you’ll make many sales from other platforms. Since there is no telling what the future of the audiobook industry holds, here are a few options you might want to consider if you want to get your book elsewhere: 1. OverDrive OverDrive is a platform that distributes e-books and audiobooks to libraries. There are tens of thousands of libraries in the United States alone, which means that distribution with OverDrive could get your books into the hands of many potential readers. The main caveat is that OverDrive is very selective of the […] Read More

How ACX Earnings Work

Here’s where we get to the good part. Once you’ve gone through the entire audition and production process, and if you have your marketing plan set up for success, you’ll start to see some purchases come in. Unlike Amazon’s KDP dashboard, you can’t track your sales in real time. When you get your monthly royalty statement, there are a few things you need to be aware of to fully understand what types of new readers have picked up your audiobook. Since your book can have as few as seven different prices without considering occasional sales, it’s worth taking a deeper look at what your royalty statement can entail. Here are five things you need to know about your ACX earnings: 1. The Split As we’ve previously mentioned, there are different potential royalty splits depending on how you created your audiobook. If you selected Pay for Production by paying up front for your book, then you’ll have a 60/40 royalty split. Audible will receive 60 percent of each sale, while you collect 40 percent. You must choose to be exclusive to Audible for seven years to get the 40 percent royalty, which drops to 25 percent if you go non-exclusive. While […] Read More

How to Work With Your Narrator

Once you’ve chosen your audiobook narrator, you may feel as though your side of the work is done. After all, you’ve done your part and now the narrator has to do his, right? While you won’t have to sit beside your narrator as he spends over a dozen hours reading, correcting, and mixing, it’s in your best interest to make your audiobook a collaborative process. You only get to listen to a several-minute audition and a 15-minute sample if you go through the normal Audible channels. That leaves a lot up to chance on the creative side of things. Additionally, you’ll want to start figuring out the marketing aspects of your project, which is a 50/50 joint venture if you’ve done the royalty share deal. If you make both sides of the process collaborative, then you’ll end up with a better product that sells more copies. Here are six action steps you should take once your narrator begins work on your audiobook: 1. Schedule a Call You’ve already gotten to know your narrator, but now it’s time to figure out how you can best work together. In the early stages of the process, your narrator may need some creative input […] Read More