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Using Affliate Marketing

September 28, 2012 1 comment

Here’s a tip I’ve known about for over 10 years but could never make work for me until just recently.  It’s called affiliate marketing, and it goes like this:

You sign up as an affiliate (let’s say on Amazon).  You list Amazon products (books, treadmills, telescopes, whatever) on your site.  Anyone who clicks through and buys that product, you get 4% of that sale.

Amazon now gives you the opportunity to create your own “aStore” in which you list products and encourage people to buy them.  If they do (or if they buy anything on Amazon after that initial click-through), you get 4% of the sale.  So now you can sell other people’s books and ebooks and make money on every sale YOU make.

This does not affect the royalty the author gets.  It is classified as advertising costs by Amazon.

Even better, you can set up an aStore (or just do simple affiliate links) and sell your own books–and make 4% commission on every sale!

To employ this strategy, go to https://affiliate-program.amazon.com/  Join for free.

Then create links to your own work by clicking on the little Twitter icon in the upper “ribbon” that appears at the top of every Amazon page.  Copy just the URL from the Twitter post it generates.  Then paste that into Hootsuite to shrink it and use THAT URL in all of your direct-to-Amazon postings on Twitter, Facebook, etc.

You can also see on the ribbon at the top how to create an aStore, link to the page for your website or blog, create widgets for your website or blog, etc.  Lots of possibilities with this one, and you can do far more than just your own books as well.

I now have several aStores.

One for my work:  http://astore.amazon.com/stacistallings-20

One for Grace & Faith:  http://astore.amazon.com/gracenfaith-20

One for my publishing company, Spirit Light:  http://astore.amazon.com/spiritlightbooks-20

One for my new site Christian Kndle (not a typo, that’s the name of it, Christian Kindle was already taken!):  http://astore.amazon.com/christiankndle-20

I promote and cross promote from my blog/websites to these and through these to earn more commissions on everything I sell.

Barnes and Noble has an affiliate program as well, and I believe it pays 6%.  I just haven’t had time to look into that, but believe me, I WILL… 🙂

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Ad Campaigns

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Believe me when I say the LAST thing I ever thought I’d be writing about was Ad Campaigns.  Alas, Karen Baney, the instigator of Grace & Faith, led the way for me in this area too.

A couple weeks ago, Karen and her husband Jim, opened a new site for authors–Christian Ebook Today.  http://www.christianebookstoday.com/  They were offering advertising on their site and in special packages.  I decided to try it to help them out and just to put a toe in the water.  Wow!

I was amazed what that little toe did in boosting sales.  Now it wasn’t BIG MEGA bucks.  But it certainly was enough to do two things #1 Convince me to do it again #2 Show me that sales really DO come from buying targeted spots on quality sites.

So I’m now exploring other options at sites like The Kindle Book Review, WorldLiteracyCafe, and Digital Book Today as well as Karen’s site.  I’m still not convinced that I can swing with the Kindle Nation advertising crowd, but maybe that will change.

I do have to say, it helps immensely to have a great cover, at least 10 really good reviews, a great description, a good price, etc.  Just putting up advertising isn’t going to pull sales in without those things in place, but it might be a good way to boost sales of titles that DO have all of those in place.

Go slow.  Use your ad campaigns to increase your reach on “waves” you’re building.  Integrate the ads into what you’re already planning.  Don’t just go buy a bunch of ads and think that will make your sales go through the roof.  It probably won’t.  But it might boost them enough to make you, like me think, “Hmmm… I think I want to try a little more of that.”

Further, since my foray into buying advertising, we’ve started selling advertising for both the Grace & Faith blog and Christian Kndle.  So check them both out and see if any of them fit your needs!

Records, Sales, and Counting

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

One of the things you will want to do from the first time you publish a book is to track your sales.  Now if you’re a traditionally published author, this can be quite difficult as you won’t see sales in real time.  You will get a quarterly statement, and that will make this lesson very difficult to implement.

For those who are indies, however, I highly recommend putting in place a counting, record-keeping system, however simple, so that you can track sales as you go.

(Side note:  I am adding this lesson in after the series is finished because over the last 9 months I’ve learned the value of doing this.  Thankfully I started from the beginning of my Kindle/Nook career because it’s given valuable insights over time.)

The first month I published on Kindle and Nook, I sold 63 ebooks.  I kept track of the sales on a simple Excel spreadsheet by tallying how many of each title I sold each week.

The second month I sold 48 because I had outside commitments and couldn’t invest the time in sales.

The third month I sold 68, and at the end of that month, Grace & Faith was born.

The fourth month, I sold 72.  That was my goal–to sell more than I had in month 3.

By the fifth month, I had learned some of what I teach you in this course–specifically Twitter and Facebook, and I sold 168 ebooks–more than doubling the month before.  By now I was seeing patterns in how my books sold–more on the weekends, more when I tweeted about a certain title.

The sixth month, I sold 320 ebooks.  That was in January 2012, right before my life took a dramatic turn!  Amazon came out with KDPSelect and after watching some of my friends do it, I put one of my books up for free Feb. 1 & 2.  It wasn’t long and I had to adjust my record keeping to daily sales, and it has gone bigger and better ever since then.

I have learned some things by being able to look back at my records and by tracking them every day (when the sales got enough to warrant that).  #1 I sell about 1/2 the books I will sell for that day overnight.  #2  Stacking waves works.  Planning them out 3 months or so in advance really helps.  #3 Every day is different.  You will have up days and down days, and there really is no rhyme or reason to a particular day, so look at overall trends rather than pegging your hopes on a single day’s sales.  #4  Amazon will break and lag for no apparent reason.  Don’t panic.  Just record when they put something up.

I have gotten to where now I have each title and the approximate profit from that title multiplied by how many I’ve sold to come up with a subtotal of sales for the month.  Then I have it to where it will add everything up and tell me what I’ve made for that day.  I “close out” the books every night, noting how many books I sold that day and the dollar amount I made.  I’ve learned that a good day on a high-priced title will match or exceed a great day on a lower-priced title.  But a lower priced title may end up selling more copies, thus landing on a Best Seller list and can out-sell over time a higher-priced title.

Admittedly not every author will want to go to this much trouble.  But being able to look back on these records has given me valid insights into my personal sales that I could not have gleaned any other way.

If you are an indie author, you can track your sales at https://kdp.amazon.com/  on the Reports page where you uploaded your book to Kindle on the Bookshelf page.  The Amazon system only gives the total monthly sales for each title–to do daily or weekly, you will have to write down the new total and figure out how many new ones have been sold since you wrote it down last time.

If you’ve published on the Barnes & Noble site, the tracking place is http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/  BN does their tracking differently and you have to check every day because they don’t give you a by-title breakdown after the one they give on the day of the sale.

Bottom line is… figure out a tracking system that works for you and use it.  If you’re serious about growing sales, that’s the yardstick you will need to measure how you’re doing.