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Apologies & Book Sales Analysis

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Apologies!

I’ve been away for awhile, and I apologize for completely abandoning my blog and WordPress over the last few months! THANK YOU to all who remained loyal to my site during my absence. Some personal issues crept up: a new job, my Mother (who has dementia) moving near us, writing a new book, family, children, sports and so on. Everyone has busy lives, right? Is this any excuse to give up my blog? Not really.

The first thing I noticed when I came back to my site was that it needed a major face-lift. I’m trying out this new, colorful theme. Please let me know what you think.

Paperback vs. E-Book

This morning, since I am writing a new novel, I was motivated to analyze my book sales since the publication of my first novel in January of 2014, “Secret Agent of God: the Captive Clairvoyant” which is available in both paperback and e-book formats. I consider my first book to be my sales guinea pig.

Here is what I discovered. Although it may not be terribly shocking to seasoned Authors, it might help some new Authors who are in the process of publishing their first book.

I had originally planned to only publish my second book in e-book format since unit sales of my e-book are 5X the sales of my paperback. However, the sales dollars generated from my paperback, while not record setting, are almost 8X the sales of my e-book. Huh?

I attribute this to one thing (tried and true publishing 101): in person sales. Working book fairs, craft shows, farmers markets, donating books and simply talking about my book to people I know or meet has generated more sales dollars than anything else. You can actually make a decent margin on purchasing books and re-selling them yourself. Where this hurts you is in Amazon ranking where you get zero credit for these sales.

This is the paper I used to work for. One of the articles I wrote for the paper helped spark the idea for my first novel. A few years later, the paper covered a book fair where I was one of the Authors. Ironic?

Bay Weekly

FREE, Countdown Deals and Full Price Sales:

I will try any advertising method just out of curiosity. Free does help your sales rank but I always wonder if anyone reads the free books they download. I rarely get around to reading free books and am more motivated to read a book I paid for even if I only pay .99¢ for it. However, my unit sales from year one, where I stubbornly refused to give my book away for free to my second year when I completely caved enjoyed a 90% unit “sales” bump.

That being said, I tried the .99 price point for my book and did not like it. I felt cheap! I felt like I needed a shower after every sale. Furthermore, I did not in reality, sell more books at that price point than I did when my book was priced at the golden number of $2.99.

Paid Advertising:

Yes, I tried this too. I found out I’m really good at spending money. This is the reality of advertising. Advertising is a mode of spreading the word about your book. I look at advertising the same way I view gambling, never spend more than you can afford to lose. There are multiple factors involved in a good campaign and you need to analyze what you did right and wrong. It helps to start with a good product, but even a good product can be sabotaged by a bad campaign. If I could afford it, I would hire someone to do this for me.

With Amazon advertising I managed to spend 6X what I actually made in sales. However, I did experience a huge increase in KENP, Kindle Edition Normalized Pages Read. Huh. Amazon pays royalties on these which is a nice bonus. The hope is that after reading some of your book, the reader is inspired to purchase it.

I have very little success with Facebook advertising, but I also have a small following there. Why? I really do not like Facebook. I quite often resent it. I keep my account because if I do not, I know that I will lose track of people who no longer live in my general vicinity which constitutes most of the people I know. Sound familiar?

I have had the most success with Twitter advertising because I love Twitter and have a considerably better following there. Make sense? I engage more there. And I feel as though the advertising capability is better suited for targeting, better reporting and allows me to customize my own campaign. Actually, I have fun with all of the charts and graphs and statistics they offer and therefore will actually go look and find out what I did wrong and right.

TWEET HIGHLIGHTS

Top Tweet earned 404 impressions

& Secret Agent of God: The Captive Clairvoyant via

So what have I learned? I have learned that I need to continue to diversify my marketing efforts. Free is OK if I only use it on occasion, but free is not a price point, it is only free. I like Twitter! I need to remember to blog once in awhile. I need to advertise wisely and not just roll the dice and then be to be lazy to do the analysis.

And by the way, I am running a Kindle Countdown Deal starting February 8th until February 15th. Check out my book if you dare!

Thank you for reading and keep writing!

 

 

 

 

FREE eBook Promo! & Here’s Why….

#‎FreeFriday‬ and Saturday 7/17-7/18 Read: http://t.co/OK0GFdB6J3 ‪#‎RRBC‬

Why Give Books Away Free?

When I first published my book, I was dead set against giving it away for free. Something about spending years of my life on something and then just handing it out gratis didn’t sit well with me. What I didn’t comprehend then was the massive uphill boulder roll of marketing a novel. It doesn’t matter how good your book is if no one knows it exists. Swirling in a storm of millions of books, it’s easy to disappear and maybe never even be seen at all.

So I tried the free book thing.

For a spell, I became obsessed with Amazon’s Ranking system. My novel hitting some of the Top 100 Lists was a drug, and I needed more. I began running monthly promotions and viola, my everyday ranking remained solid. Better yet, actual sales followed. HMMMM, maybe Amazon does know a thing or two.

Here’s a snapshot of my current non-promotional rank, which changes often.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,045,884 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

 

Why is seeing your book in the Top 100 is worth every free book? Because it means people are potentially reading your book. It means the cover, concept, writing, marketing copy, title, or something in that mix interested them enough to take the time to download your book.

Without readers, we writers lose our purpose. We are asking readers to take a risk. We are asking them to give us their time, which in many ways is much, more valuable than money.

Happy reading and keep writing!

Advice to my Twenty-Something Self:

I was ‘home’ in Rhode Island for less than 24 hours because my mother’s annual Christmas visit now includes travel escort service on both ends. Once your parents reach a certain age, this is as it should be, but it’s also a reminder of the passage of time and just what that means. As a side benefit my sister visited on the front end of my mother’s stay and I had the opportunity to see some friends and relatives on the back end. This doesn’t happen often now that I live over 400 miles away from ‘home’. I come from a large family and the holidays were always a big deal in more ways than one. Now we are all scattered about the country and at best only get together for weddings and funerals.

 

As the youngest of this large family, I became an aunt at ten-years-old and am now a great aunt. Scary thought. One nephew and two of my nieces now have spouses. Soon there will be more grand nephews and nieces. I often think of my nieces and nephews as being perpetually in their twenties, but now, some are approaching their thirties. Yikes. Twenty years can disappear just like that.

 

One of my nieces just passed the bar exam and is now working at a law practice. I was listening to her talk about her life which is really just beginning and it got me thinking. In my twenties all I wanted was to have ‘life experiences’. Now in my forties, I just want time to slow down or to stop altogether. Sometimes it feels like I sprinted through life, anxious to complete the next thing on some invisible list. I rarely cast a look over my shoulder fearful that was behind me might try to hold me back. It’s OK. This is what we are supposed to do when we are young. Live. Have no regrets. There is plenty of time later to ruminate.

 

But if I could go back and advise my younger self, there are few things I would tell her:

 

  1. Money is a means to an end and nothing more. Learn how to save it. If you are fortunate enough to have a good job, max out your 401K from the start. You’ll need that money later. Trust me.
  2. Live within or below your means. ‘Stuff’ will not make you happy it will only burden you.
  3. Never say never! You will eat those words so often you’ll begin to choke on them.
  4. Love is all that matters. Marry for love. Marry your best friend. You might be poor, but you will be happy and you’ll find a way to survive, together. It still won’t be perfect but you will be happier than many others.
  5. Give to charity. Self explanatory. No matter how little you have, someone else almost always has less and could use some help. Sometimes a little kindness is all a person needs to get back on their feet and moving forward again.
  6. Have children. A career is a wonderful thing, but if you can’t manage to ‘do it all’ and you must choose one or the other, you’ll regret not having children if you really want them. They are our greatest achievements, even when we make mistakes raising them. You will have many jobs in your lifetime and several that you will never lament leaving. If having children is not possible, be the best aunt you can be to the children of your siblings and friends.
  7. Travel. It will expand your mind, teach you compassion, and open your eyes wider than any other experience ever will.
  8. Right now you are taking your young skin for granted, but your forty-something self will thank you for doing this one simple thing: Start wearing sun block every day, especially on your face and neck.
  9. Be worthy of trust. It will make you a good friend.
  10. Stop talking and do. Do something you are passionate about, even if it can only be a hobby at first. You need money to survive but you need fulfillment to be whole.
  11. Take care of your body. We each only get one and the better you treat it now, the better it will carry you later.
  12. Marriage is tough. See #4! Nothing will test your resolve more. Sometimes you will want to quit. You’ll need to decide what is and what isn’t a deal breaker. See the rest of the list, especially #3.

If I could go back and tell my younger self these things and she would likely ignore me and say, “I’ll never be as old as you”. Then I would look back at her and say, “Girl, you have so much to learn!”

Happy New Year all!

 

Like this post? Check out my page turning thriller: “Secret…”

Are you kidding me!
www.eileenslovak.com

Top Five Things I Can Never Bloody Well Find In My Own House!

Got children? Then you know what I’m griping about.

From the moment my two, sweet, bundles of joy were born it was clear nothing was mine anymore. I can tell you that as they grow older the issue only magnifies. For the most part, as parents we resign ourselves to this. We embrace sacrifice. It’s a big part of the job. Although, I would be remiss not to admit that sometimes, I’m driven slightly mad by the smallest of missing things.

  1. Scotch Tape: I don’t mean just at Christmastime, when there is never any tape left, and I’m certain I’m contributing to the soaring stock prices of CVS and 3M. I mean every other day of the year. I search the junk drawer, I rifle through the office – no tape. I finally find a wad of it wrapped around a piece of red construction paper with little sparkle hearts stuck to the outside – under my daughter’s bed.
  2. A Pen That Writes: There are pens everywhere in the house and each one has exactly enough ink to write the first letter of the item that I’m desperate to add to the shopping list. The rest of the letters are written in invisible ink. I’m sure that I’ll remember what I was trying to write once I get to the market – not so much. Picture a middle-aged housewife standing in the center of the canned goods aisle, cursing at a mostly blank piece of paper.
  3. Toilet Paper: There is nothing more infuriating than being stranded on the potty, and then noticing the empty brown cardboard roll. The more I buy, the more they use. I wonder if I am really raising two baby elephants, because the size of their behinds are grossly out of proportion with the amount of toilet tissue used.
  4. A Brush: I love that my daughter has long, golden locks that she brushes all on her own now. I don’t love using the ‘free comb’ leftover from school picture day to try to make sense of my hair. I know for a fact, that there are at least five brushes in the house because I purchased them all. What I don’t know is where on earth they went. One guess is under the seat of my car, a place I cannot go easily without risking throwing out my lower back.
  5. The Good Snacks: I know, I ask too much to even fantasize that I should share in the good snacks…even the few that I hide. That’s right, I just admitted it, and if you’re honest, you’ve done it too. Squirreling away food is an all time parenting low, but I never claimed perfection. Snack stashing is futile anyway. No matter where I conceal them, they are always eventually found, and not by me. My parental brain is so scrambled most of the time, I forget my hiding spots. The worst is ‘the look’ and the comments when they discover the treats, “Wow, Mommy! Seriously! You hid these?”

My own mother raised six children and is a saint by comparison to me. Although, I do remember her having occasional outbursts of, “Don’t touch my things!” It was usually over something small, and seemingly insignificant like a safety-pin. My siblings and I would look at each other and shrug, “What’s her problem?” I know it took awhile, but I get it now, Mom, and someday so will my kids.

Like thrills, chills and dark humor? My Amazon U.K. e-book Promo begins Saturday 10/18-10/25: “Secret Agent of God”

Also available for readers in the U.S.A., not on sale but still a bargain: http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Agent-God-Eileen-Slovak-ebook/dp/B00IDEI76Y/ref=tmm_kin_title_popover?ie=UTF8&qid=1413385183&sr=8-1Got

Top 100, I’ll Take It!

Secret Agent of God

Secret Agent of God

I’m running a promotion on my novel, “Secret Agent of God.” It’s a Kindle Countdown deal for .99 through this Sunday, 9/5. I went to copy the link for a tweet that I was writing and discovered the e-book had hit one of the Amazon Top 100 lists @#66. So I take this as a sign not to quit writing today.

Amazon Top 100 Lists

The interesting thing about writing is that writers think about quitting pretty regularly. For example, I was considering pulling the plug on this blog as recently as last week. I enjoy writing here periodically, but I am not what you would call a “pro blogger”. I guess my reason for quitting was why do it if I am not going to give it my all? Right? The same could be said about writing. Very few writers have the time and resources for 100% devotion to their craft. So why bother?

I think about giving up writing from time to time. It would be nice to have a hobby like painting or airplane model building or quilting. Do those hobbies drive you to the brink of insanity? Do they cause you to talk to or at least mutter to yourself regularly? Do they fill you with doubt and self loathing? Do they keep you up at night? I wonder if a quilter ever wakes at 3:00 a.m., sits bolt upright and then staggers around in the dark looking for the pen and paper that should by her bedside for brilliant o-dark-thirty revelations. I would be willing to bet airplane model builders sleep like babies with flying dreams all night and that painters spend their REM time skipping through the streets of Paris.

So just quit, right? What is the big deal? One less writer in the world…who cares? There are millions of us after all. Except that quitting is simply not an option, is it? We’re compelled to write, even if no one reads what we write, even if we write for a tiny audience. One person is an audience. It’s all about perspective. Keeping the right one will keep you writing.

Thank you readers! Here’s the link if you are looking for a witty, gritty, page turner to keep you up at night!

Book Link: “Secret Agent of God”

Mooving is for the birds!!!

Mooving is for the birds!

Mooving is for the birds!

 

By my calculation, my family has moved four times in the last nine years, and we are getting ready to do it again.

Let me just say the entire process is extremely stressful. ‘Back in the day’ as a single person, I moved plenty, but then it was just a matter of tossing a few sad pieces of furniture into a friend’s pickup truck, and finding a new apartment. Moving with a family has multiple moving parts. Add in selling and/or buying a house and you have a whole new stress level.

Cat on ceiling!

Cat on ceiling!

 

It’s hard to say whether myself, or my husband is more high-strung throughout this process. We seem to take turns. However, we’ve been blessed with a Real Estate agent who manages to talk us down off the ceiling periodically.

I wonder is it the great unknown that causes all the anxiety? The what ifs which normally thrill me as a writer, are enough to make me become unglued as the head of this moving project.

As for my writing, it has taken the proverbial backseat yet again, while I sort out all the details of this move.

I feel badly for my children who would rather be enjoying a fun-filled summer and are instead stuck with me negotiating with contractors and cleaning out closets.

I am aiming for a bird-like a philosophy. Birds build new nests regularly. I found this article about Robins,  www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/robin/BuildNest.html stating that they may build between 20 and 30 nests over the course of a lifetime. Birds go through a whole process in selecting a suitable site for their nests, collecting materials and putting the structure together with their beaks as their only tools.

Dove in England

Dove in England

Perhaps I needed reflection on this today, humbled by my feathery, woodland friends. Or maybe, moving is truly for the birds!

Thanks for reading and I know I am behind on Artistic in the District. There is more good to come as soon as I smooth out my ruffled feathers!