BookBub Promotion Case Study, with Shannon Esposito

BookBub Promotions

Author Shannon Esposito joins us in this episode to discuss her recent experience with BookBub.

Have you had the opportunity to run your first BookBub promotion yet?

Shannon Esposito

If you have, then you know how powerful BookBub can be as a tool for promoting your books to readers. But, do you know how your results compare to the results of other authors? If you haven’t run a BookBub yet, what should you expect when the time comes to do your first promotion?

In this episode, hybrid author Shannon Esposito shares the specific results of her most recent experience with BookBub. We walk through the entire process, from applying to BookBub, to pre-promotion planning, all the way through to post promotion results, with real numbers.

Karma Bitch CoverShannon indie published her KARMA’S A BITCH, the first book in her now three volume Pet Psychic Mystery Series in 2012, so the promotion was only able to lead readers into two more books in the series, but as you’ll hear during the interview, this promotion led to a significant number of new readers, reviews and, most importantly, sales.

In this 24 minute episode, we’ll take a deep dive into Shannon’s BookBub promotion, the free service she used the day before her ad ran, and go out six weeks from the promo date to review her results.

Show Notes

  • Shannon writes the Pet Psychic Mysteries, a series with three books.
  • She decided to run the promotion during a period where are book sales are historically slow.  For this promotion, she made the first book, KARMA’S A BITCH, free.
  • The day before her BookBub she ran a free advertisement with E-Reader Cafe, which generated nearly 2,000 downloads.
  • Shannon walks us through her day of watching free downloads, which she describes as surprisingly fun.
  • BookBub-LogoThe BookBub promotion generated 19,600 free downloads at a cost of $120.  The total free downloads for both BookBub and E-Reader Cafe were nearly 22,000.
  • Within 24 hours of running the back to back 24-hour promotion, she had added 50 new reviews in the US and her first 15 reviews in the UK.
  • We discuss the sell through she saw with the other two books in her series, and the surprising momentum of the free book, which continued to sell at extremely high levels after the promotion ended.
  • Shannon shares specific unit sales numbers for the series in the month prior to the promotion, the month of the promotion and the month following the promotion.
  • She learned that if an author is turned down for a BookBub ad for the US it is now possible to resubmit an application for an international ad which she says are cheaper and easier to get.
  • Shannon suggests all authors claim their BookBub author profile partners.bookbub.com.
  • Shannon is a hybrid author with a traditionally published book, FAUX PAS, being released in the US on December 1st.

Click here to listen to episode 61 of The Author Biz

Links:

Shannon’s website www.murderinparadise.com

Shannon’s Amazon author page

Social Media: Facebook and Twitter

E-Reader Cafe website

BookBub website

Writing Sales Copy for Fiction with Dean Wesley Smith

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Author Dean Wesley Smith is the guest in this episode of The Author Biz.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of writing sales copy for your new book?

dean wesley smithFor many authors, it’s a sense of terror. They’d rather write the next 80,000 word novel than sit down to write sales copy. Why is that?

One reason, according to today’s guest, Dean Wesley Smith, is that authors know too many details about the story. They want to include the things that make the story interesting and fun to read. As you’ll hear in the interview, that’s exactly the wrong way to go about writing sales copy.

Dean’s work, specifically through his blog, has been an inspiration to me and thousands of authors around the world. In fact, it was an author from Denmark, Diana Deverell, who suggested that I interview Dean for this specific topic.

How-to-Write-Fiction-Sales-CopyDean and his wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Guest in Episode 28) have been on the front lines of self-publishing for so long that some including Joanna Penn refer to them as the Godparents of indie publishing.

In this 55 minute show, we discuss writing sales copy, the value of not giving up, a subscription model for selling your writing to readers, Dean’s writing in public blog series, and more.

Show Notes:

  • Dean credits not quitting as the secret to the success of his writing career.
  • We discuss a series of blog posts that Dean wrote while he was ghostwriting a book for a New York Times bestselling author. He wrote the book in ten days and blogged about on his website. Then he turned that series of posts into a book called HOW TO WRITE A NOVEL IN TEN DAYS. The book he ghostwrote wrote in ten days went on to hit the NYT bestseller list.
  • In July, Dean began a quest to complete a short story each day of the month. He wound up writing 32 stories in 31 days while blogging about the process. The finished stories were published last month as STORIES FROM JULY.
  • In August, he realized he’d need sales copy for each of the stories. Rather than just write the copy, he decided to write and share his process with blog readers over a period of nine days. That series is being compiled into a book called HOW TO WRITE FICTION SALES COPY.
  • Dean explains why writing sales copy can be so challenging for authors,
  • Dean and his wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, had great teachers to help them along they way. They enjoy teaching through their individual blogs, online courses, and multi-day in-person workshops at their offices on the Oregon coast.
  • Dean and Kris launched their online courses as a way of making their training available to authors who couldn’t make it to Oregon.
  • We discuss the idea of authors offering a subscription service to their work, something Dean began a few years ago with SMITH’S MONTHLY. He explains the genesis of the idea, and we discuss how it could work for other authors.

Click here to listen to episode 59 of The Author biz

Links

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me again this week. Do you have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the left of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The Author Biz Podcast on iTunes!

Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and mean a great deal to me. They matter in the rankings of the show, and I read every one of them. If you’re not sure how to leave an iTunes review, you can follow the step-by-step instructions here.

Thanks to Dean Wesley Smith for joining us this week.

Please note that Amazon links are affiliate links. You’ll pay the same price for anything you order, but The Author Biz will earn a small commission.

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Are small publishers the new curators of remarkable genre fiction?

Curation

Do you remember which network brought the television show, Mad Men, to screens around the world? How about Breaking Bad?

Do you remember your friends telling you that you had to check out those shows? Then once you saw them, didn’t you want to tell everyone who would listen to watch as well?

AMC LogoThese programs didn’t come from one of the large, over the air networks. They came from a small cable network, AMC.

We all have that desire to share the things we find remarkable, whether it be television shows, restaurants, or books.

I host a podcast called CrimeFiction.FM where I interview the authors of new release mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels. As you might imagine, I’m exposed to dozens of books each month. Some of those books are ok, some are good, some are great and a few are “tell your friends” great.

Most of the last category, the books I tell my friends about, aren’t the ones you see when you’re racing through the airport. They’re not on that table you see when you walk into Barnes and Noble.

In many cases, they come from the smaller publishers that focus on the crime and thriller genres. I’ve begun to think of these publishers as the curators of remarkable genre fiction.

Why it’s different with smaller publishers

The Big 5 Publishers have a business model, and a cost structure that requires huge winners. Editors are looking for books and authors that will sell at a certain volume, so they’re not able to take as many chances as they may like.

So, instead of releasing that great new book from a talented, but lesser-known author, they’ll ask one of their stars to publish two books a year instead of just one. They can project, with a fairly high degree of confidence how many copies the second book will sell.

The lesser-known author’s book is shopped around to other publishers until it finds one willing to try something different. Or, maybe the book is self-published by the author herself.

Books you want to share with your friends

I just released the 50th episode of CrimeFiction.FM, so that’s 50 books I’ve read and discussed with authors so far this year. Of those 50, six were “tell your friends” great for me. Small publishers published four of the six. One was self-published, and only one came out of the Big 5.

Of course, I’m not the be all and end all for deciding what makes a remarkable book. There are critics out there far more qualified than I to make those decisions. But when it comes to my definition of great - the “tell your friends” great, I’m the only one who can make that decision when it comes to telling my friends.

A great week of reading

My nascent theory that smaller publishers were publishing some of the best genre fiction began to develop in late April.

method-15-33-225-shadowI’d read some good, well-written books, but nothing was hitting that “tell your friends” level. Then I started (and finished) METHOD 15/33, an oddly titled book from debut author Shannon Kirk.

It was one of those books that was so good I didn’t want to start another one right away. But, I had other interviews scheduled, so the next day I turned to my next book, THE DEBTOR CLA$$, by Ivan Goldman, (published by The Permanent Press).

I remember sitting down to read Ivan’s book while my wife was at the grocery. I planned on reading for an hour – tops. I finished the book after midnight and went to sleep.

Debtor-Class-CoverThese two books couldn’t be more different. One was a thriller featuring a pregnant, sociopathic teen. The second, a dark, quirky, laugh out loud funny book, set in a collection agency of all places, exploring the effects of the recession on different classes of people in America.

I’m on a serious reading roll now. I’d finished my “required’ reading for the week a few days early, so it was time for some pleasure reading. The next night I pulled out something from an author I’d always enjoyed. One of those authors who consistently launch books onto the NYT bestseller list. After 20 minutes, I put the book down watched some television. I tried again before going to sleep that night, but it was a non-starter.

So what’s going on here? What was the difference between the two books I couldn’t put down and the one I couldn’t bring myself to finish?

Well, there were several, but rather than get into the details of the book, I’ll use another television analogy. Reading the first two books, was like watching early episodes of Mad Men. These books took me to places I hadn’t been before. The third book, which did turn out to be yet another New York Times bestseller, was like watching a mid-season episode of Castle.

The other difference was that the two books that kept me reading were from smaller publishers that focused on the type of books I enjoy reading. The book I didn’t finish came from one of the Big 5.

Am I saying that the only place to find great crime fiction is through small publishers? No, of course not. There are some fantastic books published by the large publishers. But from this reader’s perspective, it’s the smaller publishers who are providing real value by curating remarkable genre fiction.

This is a guest post I did a few months ago at The Permanent Press blog.  You can read the original post here.  I hope you’ll agree that this version is formatted a little better 😉

 

 

Using Facebook Advertising to Grow Your Author Biz, with Mark Dawson


If I see something that I know will work, or I think it could work, I’m prepared to work really hard to understand it.

Author and Facebook marketing expert Mark Dawson is the guest on this episode of The Author Biz.

Mark DawsonWhen you think of Facebook advertising for authors what’s the first name that pops into your mind?

For many listeners who email me with guest suggestions, that name is Mark Dawson.

Mark was a guest on the show last September when we discussed how he used his email list of 2,300 to launch his books to the top of category best seller lists at Amazon.

One year later that list has grown to over 25,000 readers.  His most recent launch landed HEADHUNTERS at the top of category bestseller lists, and it reached #102 for overall Amazon sales on the second day of its release.

Headhunters by Mark DawsonIn this 57 minute episode, we discuss the details of Mark’s launch plan, as well as his laser-like focus on building an email list. Then we get into some of the tactics he uses to grow that list, which includes the effective use of Facebook advertising.  Mark walks us through his process for creating Facebook ads with specifics that you can begin using immediately.

Show Notes:

Mark was a guest on Episode 10 of The Author Biz last September when we discussed the different ways he uses his email list to launch books.

Mark believes the biggest driver to the success of his author business has been the laser-like focus on building his email lists.

We discuss why Mark thinks your email list is so important to build readership.

Mark surveyed his readers last year for the first time. The results he got back were extremely useful when it came to marketing and pricing his books. He wrote a two-part series on the survey and the results.  You can read Part One and Part Two by following the links.

Mark describes a partnership that he and thriller author Russell Blake are jointly running to build both of their lists. He offers some advice for authors on finding the right partner for joint marketing plans.

Mark shares the specifics of the launch plan he used for his latest book, HEADHUNTERS, the 7th book in his John Milton series. The launch landed the book at #102 on the overall Amazon sales list.

We discuss the value of long-term thinking and how Mark applies it to his business. He explains why adding a reader as an email list subscriber is far more important than simply having them purchase a book and not subscribe.

Mark has grown his list from 2,300 to over 25,000 in the past year.

Self-Publishing-FormulaWe discuss the genesis of Mark’s Facebook advertising course, The Self Publishing Formula, where he teaches authors to effectively use Facebook advertising to gain new email list subscribers and to sell more books.

Mark walks us through the process he uses to set up Facebook ads.

Mark explains how to use your existing mailing list to create a custom Facebook targeting group, by using the Facebook power editor.

Mark’s course is scheduled to re-open in October, and he’s offering an hour of free training at www.selfpublishingformula.com. I’ve spoken with several authors who have found the free material extremely useful.

Click here to listen to Episode 58 of The Author Biz

Links:

Mark’s author website www.markjdawson.com

The Self-Publishing Formula website www.selfpublishingformula.com

The Forbes article featuring Mark, Amazon Pays $450,000 A Year To This Self-Published Writer

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me again this week. Do you have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the left of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The Author Biz Podcast on iTunes!

Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and mean a great deal to me. They matter in the rankings of the show, and I read every one of them. If you’re not sure how to leave an iTunes review, you can follow the step-by-step instructions here.

Thanks to Mark Dawson for joining us this week.

Please note that Amazon links are affiliate links. You’ll pay the same price for anything you order, but The Author Biz will earn a small commission.

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Refusing to Give Up as a Formula For Success, with Robert Gregory Browne

-I started writing when I was 16 and didn't

Robert Gregory Browne is the guest on this episode of The Author Biz podcast.

Robert Gregory Browne

Robert Gregory Browne

What’s the secret to the success of your author business?

I’ve been asking a version of that question to many of my recent guests and I love the way the answer to that single question sets the direction of the show.

For today’s guest, screenwriter, turned traditionally published author, turned indie author, Robert Gregory Browne the answer was his unwillingness to give up.  To keep persevering when success didn’t fall upon him immediately, the way we all hope it will.

Robert kept at it, taking 19 years to achieve his first real success as a screenwriter and reinventing himself a few times along the way.

Casting the BonesSince becoming an indie author in 2012 Robert has either written or been involved in the writing of a dozen novels. He’s written his own books, he’s co-authored books, and he’s launched a fascinating new project, THE LINGER SERIES, which combines a story idea he had several years ago with an epiphany he had while binge-watching House of Cards on Netflix.

In this 53 minute episode, we get into the value of not giving up, Robert’s willingness to experiment and his thoughts on the craft of writing, which he’s expressed in his new book, CASTING THE BONES, An Indie Authors Guide to the Craft of Fiction.

Show Notes:

    • Robert began writing when he was 16 and didn’t see his first success as a writer until age 35 when he sold a screenplay to Showtime.
    • He sold his first novel at age 50 and credits never giving up as a chief reason for the success of his author business.
    • Robert explains how and why he transitioned from traditional to indie publishing in 2012.
    • LingerWe discuss the LINGER Series - A fascinating experiment in trying to determine if the binge-watching habits people have developed through watching would transfer to reading.
    • We discuss CASTING THE BONES, Robert’s new book for authors.
    • One of the points Robert makes in the book is that the best way to write is the way that works best for you.
    • A discussion of the “show don’t tell” rule beginning authors try so hard to follow. Robert believes “show AND tell” is a better approach for many of us.
    • The value of getting some distance from your work as a way of helping  authors to determine if a book is ready to be published.
    • The importance of making connections with other authors through conferences, events, and even social media.
    • Robert shares his thoughts on the benefits and pitfalls of using Facebook as an author.
    • Robert began using the “sign up and get a free e-book” technique that many authors are using to increase the size of their email list several months ago. He shares his experience using the technique.
    • Robert shares his thoughts on what’s working now for authors and the value of publishing high-quality books and building your catalog.

Click here to listen to The Author Biz no. 56

Links

Robert’s website, www.robertgregorybrowne.com

Purchase CASTING THE BONES at Amazon

Purchase the LINGER series at Amazon

Braun Haus Media website

Robert’s Facebook page

Barry Eisler’s post on JA Konrath’s blog – Shocking WSJ Discovery: Higher Prices=Lower Volume!

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me again this week. Do you have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the left of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for The Author Biz Podcast on iTunes!

Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and mean a great deal to me. They matter in the rankings of the show, and I read every one of them. If you’re not sure how to leave an iTunes review, you can follow the step-by-step instructions here.

Thanks to Robert Gregory Brown for joining us this week.

Please note that Amazon links are affiliate links. You’ll pay the same price for anything you order, but The Author Biz will earn a small commission.

Creative Commons image by aatlas 

The Importance of Persistence with Jordan Rosenfeld

The Value of Persistence

Author, editor, and writing teacher Jordan Rosenfeld is the guest in Episode 43 of The Author Biz.

What’s your biggest need as an author? It’s different for everyone, isn’t it.  For you it might be more readers. For me, it’s finding enough writing time each day to make meaningful progress towards my goals.

JordanLeaning-200x300But there’s something else we all need that’s easy to overlook.

Persistence. What some might call the ability to keep on keeping on.

Today’s guest, Jordan Rosenfeld, is the author of five books. She’s also an editor, a writing teacher, and a coach.  Her most recent book is A WRITER’S GUIDE TO PERSISTENCE: How to Create a Lasting and Productive Writing Practice.

Writer's Guide to PersistenceShe’s also a big believer in treating your writing as a practice. In fact, she believes the more we treat our writing as a practice, the less likely we are to give into pressure, self-sabotage, and to taking bad advice. Which in turn allows us to persist as we build our author businesses.

In this 46 minute interview, we learn the value of persistence to authors, the importance of treating your writing as a practice, and more:   (more…)

Market or Die – A Down and Dirty Chat about Author Marketing with Jennifer Fusco

Jennifer Fusco is the guest in this episode of The Author Biz.

When I say marketing, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind?

Is it positive, or negative?

Jennifer Fusco

Jennifer Fusco

Most authors aren’t in love with marketing.  For many it’s a chore.  Something that has to be done, rather than something they enjoy.  Writers want to write, not market.  But marketing is something that must be done if an author wants her work to be found in today’s world.

My guest in this episode is Jennifer Fusco.  She’s a marketing professional with over a decade of experience at one of the largest companies in the world. She’s also a romance writer, with her first book coming out this fall.  But for our purposes today she’s the author of the newly released book, MARKET OR DIE - A Down and Dirty Guide to Marketing Your Book.

Market or Die CoverJennifer says that “Marketing is about building relationships. And those relationships will generate demand for you and your work.”  That’s it.

Jennifer has the unique ability to take the tried and true fundamentals of sound marketing strategy and translate them into something that’s understandable, and actionable for authors at every level.

We’re spending the entire 49 minutes of this interview talking about marketing for authors.  Some highlights include:   (more…)

Writing with a Purpose with guest Heather Ashby

Writing with Purpose

 

Award-winning author Heather Ashby is the guest on this episode of The Author biz.

Heather Ashby

Heather Ashby

What’s the single best thing anyone has ever told you about your books?

Well written? Brilliant? Just like (insert bestselling author name here), only better?

Today’s guest, Heather Ashby has heard all of that, and more. But she’s also heard that her military romance series is being used as a healing tool for the wives of soldiers with PTSD.

Heather’s parents both served in the military. She served in the Navy, her son served in the Army, and her husband is a retired naval engineer.

UnforgettableHer original goals for writing were primarily to craft entertaining stories, but beginning with her second book, a theme of healing developed in her books. And she’s allowed that theme to grow with each successive book.

But that’s just the start of the story. Heather has also partnered with the Fisher House Foundation, a charity that provides housing for military families at no cost while their wounded warrior loved ones are receiving treatment.

We dig into these topics and explain how this all ties into your author business during this 51-minute  interview. Other highlights include:  (more…)

Is it Time to Add an Author Assistant to Your Publishing Team?

Author Assistant Image

Author’s Assistant Kate Tilton is the guest on this episode of The Author Biz

Can you remember the last time you felt like you were caught up with the work surrounding your author business?

I know you’re busy.

You’re writing, revising and polishing one book while you’re planning the next.

Kate Tilton

Kate Tilton

You’re trying to carve out time to stay active on social media. Tracking deadlines for your cover designer, editors, and your formatter. And you’ve got to do something about getting your series into audio.

I know you don’t have time to sit down and listen to this, so you’ll listen while you’re walking, or running, or picking up the kids.

And you’ll be glad you did listen because today we’re talking about what can be the busy author’s best friend. The author assistant.

Kate Tilton has been an author assistant since she was 16. She tells you  what she, and others in her growing field can do to help you spend more time on your highest value work.

Writing.

She explains how authors utilize assistants and what those assistants can do to simplify your busy life.

In this 48 minute episode, we’ll discuss the role of the author’s assistant and how finding the right one can help to fuel your career.   (more…)

Find the Right Editor for Your Book

Finding your Editor

Are you ever curious about editing?

15843227904_766c3718c7_c

Bryon Quertermous

Oh sure, we all know what editing is, at least as it pertains to our writing. But my experience of editing is probably much different than yours.

Authors published by the Big 5 wonder if they can find the type of editor they’re used to working with if they indie publish their next book. Indie authors wonder how much control they would lose if they signed a contract with a Big 5 publisher. And, of course, new authors wonder how to find the right editor.

Being a naturally curious fellow,  I searched for an editor that could clear some of this up for us. Someone with Big 5 editing experience, who’s now working as a freelancer.

Bryon Quertermous is an editor and an author. His first book, MURDER BOY, is being published March 31st.Murder Boy - Bryon Quertermous

He has over a decade of publishing experience that began in New York with Random House. He spent time spent running Angry Robot Book’s crime fiction imprint as well as working as a freelance editor for New York Times bestselling authors. Books he’s edited have been selected as the best of the year by USA Today and Library Journal among others.

Bryon answers my questions on editing and more in this 52-minute interview, including:  

  • Bryon describes his career in publishing, which included stops at Random House, Angry Robot Books and Carina Press (an imprint of Harlequin) among others.
  • How the indie community supports one another when it comes to information sharing and recommendations for top professionals.
  • An in-depth conversation covering the different types of edits and the importance of each of them, with a focus on Bryon’s specialty, the developmental edit.
  • Byron shares his thoughts on whether or not there is a quantifiable difference between the quality of the editing provided to Big 5 published authors vs. that available to indie published authors.
  • How much should an author be prepared to pay for a developmental edit?
  • Laura Lippman describes Bryon’s new book, MURDER BOY, as a “Dark comedy with a heart.”
  • Bryon describes MURDER BOY and explains why he wanted outside help for the developmental edit of his book.
  • Bryon shares his making it up as he goes along marketing plan, and the way serendipity comes into play when you’re hand selling books to local bookstores.
  • Bryon offers advice to traditionally published authors interested in becoming hybrid authors
  • Bryon offers some surprising advice to first-time authors who will soon be looking for an editor.

Click here to listen to The Author Biz no. 36Links

Bryon’s Website - www.bryonquertermous.com/

Bryon’s book – MURDER BOY

Loren Estleman’s Website

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