Vanilla is a product of Lussumo:Documentation and Support.
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Hocking sells her books for $3, and some $.99. But that's the point: by lowering the prices, she can make more on volume, especially impulse buys. Meanwhile e-books cost nothing to print, you don't have to worry about print volumes, shelf space, inventory, etc. And did we mention the writer keeps 70%?Previously one of the best selling Kindle writers was J.A. Konrath, but it was assumed he was popular because he previously had a publishing deal and so already had notoriety. That's not the case with Hocking, who published stories on her blog before turning to Kindle. In fact, out of the top 25 best-selling indie Kindle writers, only 6 were previously affiliated with a publishing house.Back of the envelope math suggests that selling 100,000 copies a month at $1 to $3 a pop and keeping 70%, Hocking can make millions per year, straight to her pocket.
So, I decided to try to remedy that. At the end of January, I put my entire Lawson backlist – four novels, a novella, and four short stories – out on both the Kindle and the Nook platforms. In February, I also debuted a new novella, SLAVE TO LOVE, and then in late February, I reworked the cover of Parallax, dropped its price to 99 cents, and put an excerpt from THE FIXER in the back of it. The goal was to use Parallax as something of a gateway drug to my Lawson series. The results have been amazing. Thanks to a series of incredible covers, the Lawson backlist is selling very well, indeed. As of this moment, THE FIXER alone has sold 450 copies on the US Kindle store alone. Priced at $2.99, the novel has earned me $900 and change this month. That’s 100% gorgeous passive income – and it’s 9 times what I made in total for the previous 9 months.Ah, but I’ve got more than one Lawson novel. I’ve got four. The other three are all selling triple digits. The novellas are closing in on 3 digits and the short stories are selling very well.So, by itself, the Lawson backlist was generating very strong sales during the shortest month of the year.Then I dropped the price on Parallax. Until I reworked the cover, I’d sold 4 copies all month. After I dropped the price to 99 cents, I sold many more copies. As of last Friday, I’d sold just over 150 on the Kindle and perhaps 50 on the Nook.
impulse buying territory
Would this work for comics?
What's more fascinating to me is that her social network presence appears minimal. Small followings on Twitter and Facebook. Word of mouth must've happened somewhere, but where?
Hocking credits her success to aggressive self-promotion on her blog, Facebook and Twitter, word of mouth and writing in a popular genre — her books star trolls, vampires and zombies.
TP: What has been your strategy for marketing and publicizing your books?AH: I didn't really have a strategy. I think one of the advantages I have is that stuff considered marketing is stuff that I do a lot anyway. I've been active on social networks and blogs for years.I also send ARCs [advance review copies] out to book bloggers. Book bloggers are a really amazing community, and they've been tremendously supportive. They've definitely been a major force that got my books on the map.When I first published, I did do a bit of promoting on the Amazon forums, but they're not really open to that, so I haven't really interacted there much at all in months. I hang out Goodreads, Kindleboards, Facebook, Twitter, and I blog. And that's about it.
Although Amanda didn't have a marketing strategy, she is completely correct that "stuff considered marketing is stuff that I do a lot anyway". In fact, she is a very accomplished marketer.First, she wrote a book that appeals to a specific target market. Second, she understands her target market and how her book can benefit them. Finally, she participates in her market using the modern book marketer's standard tool box: social media, blogging and book recommendation sites like GoodReads, Kindleboards and LibraryThing.
"To me, that was a price point that made sense for what I would be willing to spend on an e-book," says Hocking, who sets her own prices. "I use iTunes a lot, and it's 99 cents and $1.29 a song."For every $2.99 book she sells, she keeps 70%, with the rest going to the online bookseller. For every 99-cent book she sells, she keeps 30%.
It took about three or four months before she started publishing her own novels, first by hiring a freelance editor who edits her books as well as finding a core group of Beta readers, or readers that peer edit her work for grammar and clarity before she finally decides to send the novel off.
AH: I've taken every writing class I've had available. I took classes in high school, and I took English and writing classes in community college, but I dropped out of college. I also attended a local writing workshop two years ago.
H.P. Mallory, another self-published paranormal e-novelist, has sold 70,000 copies of her e-books since July. Her success caught the attention of traditional publisher Random House, with whom she just signed a three-book contract. "Selling e-books on Kindle and Barnesandnoble.com basically changed my life," Mallory says. "I never would have gotten where I am today if I hadn't."Others are profiting, too:• The No. 4-selling Kindle book (it has been as high as No. 1) is The Hangman's Daughter by German novelist Oliver Potzsch. It's part of AmazonCrossing, a program offering translations of foreign-language titles. More than 100,000 copies have been sold.• Novelist J.A. Konrath, who has sold more than 100,000 self-published e-books, gets more than 1 million hits a year on his blog, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing (jakonrath.blogspot.com). His novel, Shaken, hit No. 9 on the Kindle list last year.
I wonder if you could create a visual novel (or choose-your-own-adventure) within an eBook?
This is a really nice idea. I think I'd like to do one of these, but being a graphics tart, I'd probably try to get someone to code an ePub-like version, so that I could have colour graphics, interactive page buttonsand save game features and so on. And it would have to be iPad or Web based.
This is a really nice idea. I think I'd like to do one of these, but being a graphics tart, I'd probably try toget someone to code an ePub-like version, so that I could have colour graphics, interactive page buttonsand save game features and so on. And it would have to be iPad or Web based.
Not only does Stephen Leather, Britain's leading "independent" writer, estimate he has occupied the number one spot on Amazon.co.uk's Kindle ebook bestseller lists for "90% of the last three months", he is also selling "somewhere in the region" of 2,000 ebooks a day – and making big profits in the process.Leather, who celebrated his seventh consecutive week at the top of the Amazon chart with his novella The Basement, about a serial killer in New York, also occupies fourth place with Hard Landing, another thriller, and 11th place with Once Bitten, a vampire novel....Leather enjoys a successful parallel career writing "big international thrillers" for Hodder & Stoughton. But last August, when Amazon.co.uk opened its Kindle store, he saw an opportunity: "I was lucky, in that I had three novellas Hodder had turned down because they were in a different genre from my other books and too short to work as conventional paperbacks. But I realised they might work for the Kindle."Leather realised the Kindle was going to be "pretty much the most popular Christmas present ever. It occurred to me that on Christmas morning, when people got their Kindle, the first thing they would do would be to buy the books they'd always wanted – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the new Grisham. But they're relatively expensive. After that, people would start looking for cheaper books. I figured that if I could get several of my books in the top 10 or top 20, then when people started looking around for bargains I'd be perfectly placed."To maximise sales, he priced his books at Amazon's minimum for independent writers – about 70p (the equivalent of 99 cents). At this level, authors receive a cut of only 35% of the price; under Amazon's pricing structure, this rises to 70% if they price their books above the equivalent of $2.99. He then went on various forums to drum up awareness. Within a couple of weeks, all three titles were in the top 20 and "by November I'd knocked Stieg Larsson off the top spot".
Christopher Smith, who wrote the novel "Fifth Avenue," priced his novel at $2.99 when he launched it last October. He says that with some social media outreach--he did an iPad and a Kindle giveaway for those who tweeted about the book--and little else, the book quickly reached the Amazon Top 100 and peaked at No. 4. After the initial rise, Smith then decided to drop the price of the book to 99 cents to maintain his ranking in the top 100, which is key to generating sales...."When I went to 99 cents, I was going for longevity," Smith says. Later, when he was firmly planted in the Top 100, he started playing with pricing and listed the book back at $2.99. For every $2.99 book he sold on the Kindle, he needed to sell six books at 99 cents to make the same amount of money. While he drifted downward on the best-seller list, if he priced at $2.99, he says he was making significantly more money."To keep the book on the list as long as possible, I'd just switch it back to 99 cents and it would quickly climb the list again," Smith says. "Rinse and repeat. This went on for months."
In the long run, publishing niche fiction in niche languages (say, scifi in Finnish...) gets a whole lot easier.