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Apple Books – A Game Changer?

Apple Books – A Game Changer?

Back in the saddle y’all! Let’s get to it!!

Wow, it’s been a while since yours truly has written anything for Burning Embers.

To be honest I needed a break and I thank JQM for handling things while I was on hiatus.

So, what’s brought me back to the typewriter? What’s got me all fired up?

I’ll tell ya 😉

Apple has launched Apple Books for Authors! Woohoo!

It has a lot of cool things that make me want to do a series exclusive to Apple Books only and stop putting all my eggs into the KDP basket.

Why is Apple Books good? Well, as you know KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) has been dominating the indie publishing sphere since 2015 and frankly it’s gotten a bit too tight in restrictions for many authors.

The glory golden days of KDP are gone and over with and thus you either play by the might Zon’s rules or you get booted. Once you get booted you didn’t have many options…

Well, there is Draft2Digital but still KDP was the go to spot for your average reader in the mindset to buy and not peruse.

With Apple Books on the scene making it super easy for authors to publish on their platform I bet there’s going to be a huge change in the market. Will it be for good? Only time will tell.

The game changer

So, what’s got me absolutely crazy about Apple Books and why should you even bat an eye at it?

Take a gander at these wonderful options my fellow author friend:

Apple BooksKindle Direct Publishing
70% royalties on every book, regardless of price✔️
No file delivery fees✔️
No limitations on offering free books to customers✔️
No payments for preferential store placement✔️
No price matching✔️
No third-party ads✔️
information retrieved from authors.apple.com

Pretty stellar, right?

I thought so too and is super inticing for me to ditch KDP all together. However, keep in mind that Apple Books does not have a program like Kindle Unlimited.

Nor do I know if you can do print books through them or get free ISBNs (yes in some countries like the USA you have to pay for your ISBN numbers) through Apple Books.

Overall, I would have to say that this is a huge step up for Apple and I hoping this gives KDP a run for their money. A little competition helps keep things fair and we indie authors have been needing this for a while now.

What are you thoughts on Apple Books? Are you excited to give it a shot? Let me know.

Until next time…

Keep on rising above the ashes of obscurity!

Snowball Book Launch Technique

What in the world is the snowball book launch technique?

Um, Ray Brehm knows all about it and I’ve used a few of his suggestions to help me out.

Like setting up ads on BookBub to really target your ideal audience.

Or picking out your book’s keywords…

Some of the info is absolutely golden and easy to use in your own book launch.

Curious?

Paid Marketing and why you should do it…

Marketing Strategy

Paid marketing. It’s the bane of all authors who are first starting out.

Why? Because you have to pay for it.

Not like free advertising / marketing on social media or via word of mouth (through friends, family & customers.)

Also, if you’re like me then your paid marketing purse is rather small. But that’s okay.

You can still do paid advertising with a small budget. It takes a bit of planning but eventually you can make that purse grow.

I’m like you learning all the ropes and frankly you probably are doing the same thing I did about a year ago.

What’s that? Taking all the profits and not diverting some of it into an advertising fund.

How to plan your paid marketing budget

After reading tons of marketing and advertising books the following rings true in each tome:

  • Set aside a small portion of your earnings to re-invest into your advertising
  • As your sales grow so does your marketing budget
  • The bigger the budget then the more advertising that you can do for your books

Makes sense, right? It totally does…

So, the question is… why the friggin heck does no one do it?

Okay… okay… maybe YOU did it but have you re-evaluated how much you’re putting into the fund?

Did you know that as your profits grow you should also grow the amount that you set aside to advertise? Yes, if you haven’t done it you need to do it.

What’s a good portion to set aside?

Good question.

It depends. Can you spare like 50% of your profits to go back into the marketing fund?

Don’t gawk. Seriously, don’t. It’s not gonna help if you stand there and gawk.

In the beginning you may have to set aside more to amass your advertising powers a lot sooner.

Certainly, when you have the ability to do more ads or run ads in areas that have more eyeballs of potential rabid fans then you’ll get into the black faster.

So, as your profits grow you can choose to reduce the amount or keep it at 50% until the marketing budget gets to your desired target.

Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking they made it big without paid advertisement.

Even if they did they paid it out in blood, sweat, tears and time. Nothing is free. You exchange money or time to get things done.

Now, why should you do paid marketing?

  • Well, one you have limited time (unless you have a time machine or a Dr. Who tardis… mine broke)
  • You can select the audience that sees your advertisement
  • More potential fans will see your ad and will eventually buy your stuff or become more familiar with your name <-more on this in a few moments
  • Not subjected as much to your ad getting buried in the social media feeds

Derek Murphy has some good pointers in his post, “Everything you needed to know about advertising your book…” and what you should be doing for marketing. He says that you should start with a $20 budget and go from there.

The consumer mindset

Are you worried that showing your ad to your customer several times might anger them?

Yep. Same here. Though, did you know that it’s a technique used since 1885?

No? Well, believe it.

Why? Because my friend advertisers STILL use this technique to this very day.

Check out Thomas Smith’s guide called Successful Advertising in 1885

The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

Wikipedia – The Effective Frequency – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effective_frequency

Pretty weird, right?

Either way you and I have some work to do.

Until next time…

Keep on rising above the ashes of obscurity!

Marketing Madness Begins Now

Marketing Madness - Social Swarm

Marketing madness is the theme for the month of March.

What kind of marketing madness will we be talking about?

Hmmm. Good question.

My answer to you would be free vs paid strategies which would involve social all the way to paid advertisement.

Knowing that your budget for advertising might be rather slim we can discuss ways of fattening up that purse so that you can get a better advantage in the market.

Sure, there are plenty of free ways to advertise your book but that’s only half the battle.

Now a days you need to use paid advertising to ensure your books don’t get sunk into the unknown.

In my opinion… needing to pay to get your book noticed sucks. However, if you want to get unstuck then you need to heavily consider setting up a paid advertising plan.

OMG! But there are so many platforms… which one is right for me??

Yeah, I hear ya…

Let me let you in on a secret.

You’ll want to focus your advertising dollars where your ideal audience hangs out the most.

So, don’t spend those dollars on all the platforms. Instead choose one and stick to it.

For instance…

If you know your audience spends the majority of their time on Facebook then your dollars are well spent there.

I know, I know… what if your audience splits their time between Instagram and Facebook? Then go with Instagramor at least that’s what I would do…

We’ll talk more on setting advertising budget next week as well as a glimpse at BookBub, Goodreads and a few other sites to promote your book.

For now, go ahead and make a list of places and sites that your audience may or may not hang out. It’ll help when we do the planning next week.

Until next time…

Keep on rising above the ashes of obscurity!

Piracy and what to do about it…

Piracy sucks and hurts all of us. Yes, even you.

Piracy in any form can hurt businesses.

Piracy to any indie or traditionally published author it is a total P.I.T.A. (pain in the butt*) when you find your book is listed on a site that is obviously a nefarious ne’er-do-well front.

As a side note… I’m totally cool with people sharing my books. I’m not okay with people passing my stuff off as their own and making money off of my work.

As of late there has been an increase of pirate sites that are supposedly selling stolen eBooks for a low low price.

So, $0.99 is too much to pay on Amazon but a person is willing to buy the book off of some sleezy site for $0.01??

Um. Wow. Okay then….

Let’s talk costs and why piracy hurts

It’s bad enough that the cost of publishing a book can be rather high ($200 if you’re lucky and all the way up to over $3000) but on top of that amount there’s the need to advertise.

Advertisement is necessary to hopefully getting some of your investment back and making sure that your book doesn’t fall into the pit of no return. No book ever should go there but sadly… they do.

However, let’s break down the costs of publishing…

  1. Writing a book (the time spent to write it) – $60 for writing app & lost time with friends & family priceless
    • Late nights / Early morning = sacrificing time with your family and friends
    • Cost of the writing software – sure you can use the free stuff
  2. Editing – Can be as low as $200 all the way up to $3000 (or more)
    • Editing software (either of these)
      • Grammarly – $30 / month
      • AutoCrit – $30 / month
      • Consistency Checker $0 / month
      • Draft Free?? – Don’t know… never used it
      • Hemingway App – $0
      • Master Writer – $10 / month
      • ProWriting Aid – $70 / year
      • Smart Edit – Free*
      • Beta Readers – Some will do this for free but don’t abuse their good will and they won’t catch everything
      • Professional Editor – Depending on the type of edit from concept all the way to proofreading the cost will vary. The more intense the edit then the higher the cost. Timeline also affects the cost too. Don’t expect this to be cheap.
  3. Book Covers – $100+ (you can get a cheap one… if you’re lucky)
  4. Formatting – $50 a book and for each variations (paperback + ebook = $100 … does not include updates later on)
  5. Proof copies of your paperback – As low as $5 and I’ve heard some pay as much $100

What’s the total?

If you’re lucky then you might be able to squeak on by with paying only $180 if you chose to go with a free writing app, AutoCrit for grammar checking, one ebook cover, formatting for one ebook and skipping the paperback edition.

However, you’re out of $180 bucks unless you sell your book to a lot of people.

How do you do that? Advertisement, my friend.

Yup, you need to advertise your book otherwise it will never see the light of day.

So you put aside a $20 / month budget (b/c that’s all you can afford) to advertise your book.

Even if you do everything right eventually you’ll run into issues.

Like your book being pirated and either being given away or sold for a super low cost.

Should you throw your hands up in the air and give up?

Nope.

Instead, do what Nate Hoffelder explains in his article eBook Piracy – How to Respond If Someone Steals Your eBook Online.

He suggests that you tell google about the DMCA infringement. Google will delist that site in a heartbeat.

Next contact the domain providers and hosting company about the a-holes. They’ll rip that site out like a bad weed.

Yet, here’s the sad part…

Your book is going to be pirated again… and again… and again.

It never stops.

The bright side of piracy

If and only if the site that is supposedly selling your book or giving it away for free is doing well then take that as free advertisment.

The more people who get their hands on your book will eventually lead to a review. Reviews can be tricky to get and so extra eyes on your stuff helps in the long run.

Also take a glance at Joanna Penn has 3 reasons why Authors shouldn’t worry about Piracy.

In conclusion…

Yes, piracy sucks. It’s a bad bad bad thing that all indie and traditional published authors have to endure…

But, there is the flip side that more people will see your stuff and you might be the next diamond in the rough.

Until next time…

Keep on rising above the ashes of obscurity!