Advertising and Marketing

Are KDP Select 5 day free promotions still worth running?

By: Ginger | Posted on October 15, 2021

The self-publishing landscape shifts and transforms itself so regularly that it’s always a good idea to test the waters and try new things. What was once best practice often becomes less effective, and if you are afraid of change then you’re in danger of being left behind. For many reasons, I see more and more authors dipping their toe into the wide waters, eschewing Amazon exclusivity for a chance to reach a different audience. Many of those authors flocked to KU when it was new, to the point where it actually seemed like a bunch of those other big eBook retailers were on the brink of collapse. But what once may have seemed like a no-brainer to some now feels more like a pair of handcuffs they’re anxious to cast off. Many of the things that made KU worth trying at first were negatively altered with each new iteration, and… Read More >

Is it worth having an author website?

By: Ginger | Posted on August 27, 2021

A little while back, Virginie Carmichael went into the ins and outs of having your own author website, but one of the questions that still remains for many authors is whether they really need one in the first place. With Facebook Pages and Amazon Author Central accounts both offering a place to reach and communicate with readers, some authors think investing in a domain name and website is a waste of time and money. For some further perspective on the question, Ginger is here to weigh in with his own views on the pros and cons of investing in your own website.   Is it worth investing in an author website? We’re nearly two decades past the “dot com” boom, and these days people are far more likely to ask for your ‘handle’ than your ‘dot com’ when they want to keep in contact with you – which raises the… Read More >

From the Mailbox: Advertising on Facebook Questions

By: Ginger | Posted on August 20, 2021

Our weekly author blogs cover topics to do with writing, marketing, and advertising books, but sometimes authors send us specific questions that we like to address. As we’ve done for Amazon related ad questions in the past, this week we’ve rounded up some of the most commonly asked questions about using Facebook for advertising, and Ginger has put together some answers which might will be useful to many of you.    Question #1 I was running a Facebook ad at $5 a day and getting a cost-per-click (CPC) of $0.19. I decided to double my spend, but my CPC immediately rose to $0.39. That means I’m paying twice as much for the same number of clicks! What did I do wrong? One of the most frequent problems I hear about authors is that they just can’t scale their advertising. Every time they increase their ad budget on Facebook, the CPC… Read More >

Is self-publishing success easier or more difficult on Amazon these days?

By: Ginger | Posted on July 16, 2021

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of occasionally reminiscing about the “good old days” of writing, back when you could spend more time in your author hat than all of the other hats you have to wear to achieve self-publishing success these days. But I also recognize that we can’t live in the past, and we have to deal with the here and now – which is why so many of our blogs are focused on the skills and tools you need to succeed as an author TODAY. Much has changed over the years, but different doesn’t necessarily mean better or worse. That’s why we thought it would be interesting to look at the question about whether or not all of the changes Amazon has made to self-publishing have made things easier or harder for authors.   Writers are nostalgic. It’s in our DNA. While regular people remember birthdays and anniversaries,… Read More >

From the Mailbox: Amazon Advertising Questions

By: Ginger | Posted on July 9, 2021

Our Friday blogs aim at helping self-published authors by covering broad topics to do with writing, marketing, and advertising their books. Sometimes authors send us questions via email as well, and one of the most asked about topics is Amazon ads. So this week we’ve rounded up some of the most commonly asked Amazon advertising questions that we’ve recently received, and Ginger has put together some answers that will be useful to many of you.   Question #1 I’ve followed all your advice about generating keywords and setting your bid – but my ads aren’t getting any impressions! What am I doing wrong? Advertising is elegant in its simplicity. Normally, there are only three variables you need to worry about, and impressions is one of them. Impressions refers to the number of people who see your ad – and when it comes to Advertising on Amazon, if you’re not getting… Read More >

How the writing career blueprint has changed

By: Ginger | Posted on June 18, 2021

There’s no doubt that the self-publishing landscape has changed a lot in the last few years, and it will undoubtedly continue to evolve. When I first started publishing back in 2013 or so, the rapid release/high volume strategy was definitely the most reliable path to success, and that was without any sort of advertising at all. But as more books started to fill out the digital shelves, it became harder to get noticed. At that point many of us pivoted to using ads, which at first were wildly successful for very little spend, but as competition grew, so did ad prices even as their results became less impressive. Still, many self-published authors continue to earn a living with their writing, but simply having the ability to tell great stories isn’t enough anymore. As Ginger points out, you also need to be willing and able to not only formulate a plan… Read More >

Market to your genre, but write for your audience

By: Ginger | Posted on June 4, 2021

One of the benefits that self-publishing has brought to the book world is a breadth of genres and sub-genres that were previously underserved (if not completely nonexistent).  While those sub-genres may not have been profitable for a big publishing house to chase, due to their smaller overall size, they can still be profitable for an author making the much higher commissions that self-publishing brings. That’s why it can pay to write to your audience if you’re passionate about a type of story that isn’t typically the biggest sellers. The trick is finding that audience that shares your interests and wants to read those stories, which means that even though your story may be unique or different than what’s expected within your genre, your marketing efforts should still continue to conform to norms. Otherwise you may not be able to find and attract that core audience in the first place.  … Read More >

The Logistics of Selling Signed Paperbacks

By: Ginger | Posted on May 28, 2021

I love eBooks, and I admit that it’s been a while since I’ve cracked open a paperback, but there’s no denying that I sometimes miss the feel of holding an actual physical book in my hands. Of course, there are plenty of other readers that prefer hard copies over electronic. But regardless of which end of the spectrum you fall on, there is still something special about getting a signed copy of a book you love. Often these copies are handed out, or sold, in-person by the author at a conference or bookstore signing, but just because you’re a self-published author that never attends these things doesn’t mean you can’t also get in on the action.   Here are the steps that Ginger uses to sell signed copies of his books, but you can also use them to send out free copies as gifts, prizes, or even rewards to valued members… Read More >

Designing Covers by the Numbers

By: Ginger | Posted on May 21, 2021

There’s a reason we keep circling back to the importance of a solid cover. It’s the first thing readers see when confronted by a sea of other choices, and if it can’t entice a click to your product page, it doesn’t matter how great your book is.  I see it all the time with the ARC program as well, because readers are even picky about the books they get for free. Covers that fall flat end up with way fewer sign ups than similar books in the same genre with well-designed covers. Not only should a cover look like it was done by a professional instead of homemade, but it needs to contain the right genre-specific elements to sell the reader on the idea that this book is the one they’ve been looking for. So just as we argued last week in terms of using data to plan your ads,… Read More >

When it comes to your ads, don’t trust your gut!

By: Ginger | Posted on May 14, 2021

Often, the quickest way to fail when it comes to promoting and marketing your book is to make decisions on how you feel. Feelings are great when it’s time for writing, but only cold, clinical data can truly guide you forward after publication – or talk you off the ledge when you’re ready to quit. It doesn’t matter if you’re an entrepreneur, a billionaire, or an author looking to market your latest novel – numbers don’t lie!   A few months ago, we published a blog about how to calculate the value of your advertising spend. Since then, I’ve worked with several authors who’ve benefited from a deeper dive into the subject, since it’s one of the biggest and most deadly stumbling blocks for those authors hoping to make a living out of writing. The Importance of Data Billionaires become so through fractions of a percentage. An increase of a… Read More >