Tag Archives: marketing

Book Sale Advertising Cost

Not many things cause me to jump for joy, but today as I looked at my book stats on Amazon ranking, I noticed Be Still was ranked higher. How did I get sales? Facebook advertising. But that came at a cost of $30.00. One sale with a royalty of $1.75 at the cost of $30. This is marketing! Welcome.

I’m still not being condescending. As an author and entrepreneur, and non-marketing expert, I have had to experiment with several avenues of advertising. Next month I will try Pinterest as I have found that Twitter has not panned out at all (and was very expensive). Another marketer contacted me today stating they could get my books into the hands of 100 bloggers and reviewers and would only cost $3,500. I asked how many they would guarantee would actually leave reviews and/or blog review, they had no answer. Again, buyer beware.

As an independent author, I will continue to try different avenues of marketing. For now I will set my sights on preparing for the 2017 L.A. festival of Books coming up soon. I did find this venue to be great for making contacts and creating an email list. Sales weren’t fantastic, and I didn’t recoup my costs, but the exposure was fantastic.

Sales to date have been good however, much of that has come at a cost of trial and error. I try and bring what I learn back to my blog but I still haven’t found that ultimate trick to “find readers.” If you have advise on Pinterest advertising, I’d love to hear from you.

Tania L Ramos RN BSN

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But Where Are the Readers?

After publishing, the real hard work begins. Post a link to your newly published book and you’ll get the obligatory responses and purchases from select friends and family. But there are well over three million books in publication, ready to be purchased or downloaded at any given time. What makes yours stand apart?

Of course you’ll need a social media presence, but be ready. Despite social media interaction, which may devour hours of the day, you may receive one or two, Hey wanna book swaps? Great to at least get ratings, maybe readings, perhaps a solid review, but those are few and far in between. Not to mention you are either buying their book or buying yours and gifting it to them. I’ve had sales off FB and Twitter, and lots of to be reads off Goodreads. Most of those well intentions come from other authors looking for reciprocity.

Where do you get the readers? The following? Some companies offer marketing. I have tried several and gained several new authors as followers. But where are the readers? Your best bet is book bloggers, but good luck getting on their reading list any time soon. The good bloggers are backed up at least nine months. I have tried independent small marketing firms, mostly because I like to support the Mom & Pops out there. However, I have been burned by a few of those and recently disputed a fee through PayPal for one such company claiming they will publicize my book to over 15,000 readers on their blog and even more across social media for $14.99/month. I paid and never heard from them again.

Being listed as a writer on Facebook, I quickly realized that I am now targeted for sponsored ads relating to writing, editing, publishing, and anything interconnected to the industry. I look through the ads, do my research, read the comments, look for reviews and find that most authors are greatly displeased with these services. After all, they can only guarantee exposure not sales. Writers have been targeted by pop-up companies and services in mass this year. Authors are a consumer targeted group.

Then there are free books. Many authors boast, and rightfully so, about giving away 10,000 books on a KDP free day. It’s all for exposure and the cost (but no profit) of gaining exposure. And somehow, and this is just me, I feel like the adage: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? I know those readers too. Many only look for free books and will not BUY anything indie. Many readers download free books from unknowns and don’t read them (bless the ones that do AND leave reviews…they are few). One friend shows me her Kindle with hundreds of free downloads, but she admits to rarely reading them, and often erases them to free up memory to download new free books. I ask why she downloads them and she proudly says, “I really do have good intentions.”

baseball1Writers beware! You will pour your heart and soul into birthing characters, plot, and story line. Some writers have only a family following. Some have a very small dedicated following. The greater majority sell under twenty books. This is in no way meant to be a downer but an insight into a whole new world that will take your hope and dreams and make you work harder than you ever thought possible. Many writers give-up, because marketing can consume your day, which in turn means you aren’t writing, which causes a bit of writer depression. There is a vicious cycle that consumes even the brightest of eyes. Those that succeed do so by sticking with their talents: write, publish, market, repeat. As Tom Hanks said in a League of Their Own, “If it wasn’t hard everyone would do it. The hard is  what makes it great.”

The best advice I have come across to date to sell more books is: WRITE MORE BOOKS.

If you have any great advise for indie authors or have a service you’d like reviewed, leave a comment below.

Tania L Ramos RN BSN

Follow me on TWITTER and FACEBOOK or visit my WEBSITE

Why Giveaway Your Talent?

Many authors, painters, and sculptors get asked this question: Why is it so much? Newbies, you will want to read this.

Coming from a very artistic family, my brother was often asked why his paintings cost so much? I have been asked to give books away for free.There are several ways to gauge a cost: How famous is the creator? How much time went into creating this work? How much were the materials to create this work?

The one people most commonly will understand is how much material went into the work. They are more apt to understand a higher cost of something if, say a sculpture, was made of copper. The one people don’t usually understand is the value of time.

Almost all people are paid by time;  by the hour. You put in 8 hours at work and you are paid for those 8 hours. Of course, the hourly wage will depend on the type of work. Let’s just say that any indie artist is paid minimum wage (in CA that’s $10). As an independent author, writing a novel may take me 300 hours (that’s being generous). In theory, I should make $3,000. But nobody is paying me. My income comes from sales of books.

On average, an independent author receives about $2.00 from the sale of a physical book and $1.75 from the sale of an e-book. Those prices fluctuate depending on how they went about publishing, so +-$1.00 in either direction.

Here’s the math:

At a $15 dollar book, making only $2.00 royalty per book, I need to sell 1,500 books to earn minimum wage for my 300 hours. the average indie author sells 10 books. It’s a labor of love.

Here’s some more math:

I pay an editor $1500 to edit my book. I pay $100 to buy an ISBN for my book to be sold. I pay $500-$1500 to have someone professionally format that book. Then, I either publish on my own (Amazon) or go through a vanity press, in which you can tack on another $1,000 to $5,000 dollars. So recoup those costs, I’ve got to sell another 3,ooo+ books.

But wait! There’s more.

A book lost in cyberspace is just that: Lost. Now I’ve got to let people know this book is alive. As an independent author, I’ve got a few devote friends and family, a loyal stalker or two, but no huge fan base that jumps for joy whenever a new book comes out. So I have to start marketing. My latest Facebook ad cost $38.83 to reach 2,300 people total. But that’s just reach. I need clicks. I need purchases!! Of those 2,300 reach 171 clicked through to see what I’m selling and about 7 downloaded the e-book. I spent $38.83 for 7 sales and made about $10.

The question again: why does a book, painting, piece of art cost so much? Why can’t you float me a book for free?

Because it cost more than I may ever recoup and nothing is ever really free. Even if I gave the book for free, it actually cost me my soul. See below for my October royalties. In total there were 9 books or e-books sold (ignore the 19 I had an author order of 10 books in there). Total gross sales were $68.83 and royalties paid to me were $15.40. I made about a quarter of the gross or $1.71 average per book. Who else would work for that?

october-royalties

 

So why do it? I get asked that quite a bit. Why? Because writing is in my soul. This is what brings me comfort and peace. And if i could write for a living, I would absolutely do it. Once a year, maybe twice, I’ll get a great review, or someone who says that my story touched them or made them think. One person said she picked up the phone and called her father after ten years of being estranged from him, after reading my book Be Still. Yeah. That’s why. Happy reading and happy writing.

Follow me at Facebook and Twitter. For more information on my books visit the author webpage HERE

Tania L Ramos RN BSN

Is it Time to Walk Away From Advertising?

After the high of writing and completing a manuscript comes the tedious task of deciding how to publish. Once that task is complete, and if you went indie or small press, next comes the crucial stage of marketing and advertising. I think many indie’s hit this strong and with so much excitement, but most would agree that they are writers not marketers. Short of  having the money to dish out into marketing/advertisement many of us are left to figure it out on our own.

At what point does an author step back from the day consuming chore of marketing/advertising to become a writer again? And is there a point at which an author gets marketing fatigue and goes on marketing disability?

A book will not advertise its self. When I’m not actively marketing my book it is not actively selling. I’m not of a name yet where people search me out. After life got in the way I took a moment to go back and look at my royalties for one book. I sold three in the first two quarters of this year sans marketing. In two weeks I revamped my energy and went back on the social media road. In two weeks I sold more than I did in the first two quarters.

When is it time to walk away from advertising and marketing? When is it time to say you gave it your best and now its on to the next project? How much do you promote older books when you release a new book? The answer: You are always selling. Your new life title is Author and Director of Marketing & Sales. If you want to sell it, you need to promote it!

trinity-college-old-library

With over 3,000,000 books available online, you need to make sure people see your name and titles.

Tania L Ramos, RN & Author

Be Still on Amazon & BN

The Human Prospect

Social media is changing. Better? Worse? Every time I look at how to market there is some new media out there. I couldn’t possibly keep up, not with all the current changes. Read on how to market for indie authors and you will undoubtedly get Facebook, Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Reddit, and more.

Many years ago when this was all new it was easy to market on these social media avenues. You were among the first which meant you topped the market when these sites went ginormous. It was like investing stock at pennies and hitting the payload a short time later. But now, you are a small fish in a huge and crowded ocean.

Why stick with social media? Its one of those hideous necessities. In all honesty, outside of blogging the rest of it for me is tedious work. I’m a writer, and I’ve said it before but allow me to say it again: marketing is not my forte. Does it work? Yes, it works as far as numbers go. I posted a few weeks ago how I hit these sites hard and fast for a week and saw major spikes in my numbers, but they did nothing for sales.

Is there a human aspect? Yes. I handed out flyers, bookmarks, and did a few small “vendor” events. These weren’t bookie type events, but more geared toward direct marketing vendors. At times when I’m late on the list to sign up as an It Works vendor, I’ll ask if I can set up a book booth. Most people want their money and allow me in. For the most part, I get to talk with people and interact and hand out tons of material. Most say they use some electronic device now and will order it online. Some do, most don’t, but in the mix of things I am able to sell a few books here and there. Depending on the booth cost, I rarely make my money back, but I sell books, gather an email list, and get information out.

The human aspect of one-on-one interaction seems to fair better than social media sales. Can’t say this is true of all writers, of course when Sparks or Palahniuk posts a new book online I’m all over it…but they aren’t indie. They are whales swimming in a sea of millions of indie writers. Maybe someday I’ll be a whale and my mere presence will command sales, but until then fellow indies, don’t forget to step out of your little writer’s cove and try a new aspect of sales marketing: the human aspect.

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Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Meeting Other Humans

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Read “Be Still” on Nook, Kindle, paper & hardback

An Empire of Books

This is a public service announcement for all you future authors, writers, and teller of stories. Reader beware!

When I started on this journey way back in Februray of 2011, I did so to fill a void. I was on state disability and had time to pick at a few dreams. I wasn’t about to run off and try to join the ranks of megastardom in motion pictures (yet), because I had a dream most of my life to write. I wrote all the time, so let me clarify: I had the dream to start, finish, and publish a book. And so I did, in three short months. From my brain came When I Thought I Was Tough, and I quickly published it to the free website, Bookemon.com.

I was ecstatic and walked on cloud nine for a few days. Then another story pelted me like a wild snowball smack in my face. When I finished Be Still, I knew I had to do this one better. It had to be available on more than one website and I wanted it to look professional. After lots and lots of research, I chose Iuniverse to publish my book. I’ve received tons of criticism for this choice of “vanity press,” but I stood and stand by my decision. For a nominal fee (not cheap), my book was put out on every ebook source known to man, plus made available in hardcover and softcover through most major bookstores. The book sold well, but this is where the warning comes in …

Regardless of how or where you publish your book, you must be comfortable with the decision. Other authors will come at you with why their choice was better and how you were “screwed.” I hear it to this day, but I stand by my decision to be made available on more platforms than just Kindle, or only ereaders. I also know that with my limited time I was unable to do the brunt of the work in publishing on my own. Research is key, and can take up a great majority of time.

But if publishing is key then publicity is the door. Without publicity there is a book sitting on shelf that noone will know of. Be sure to budget for your publicity, marketing materials, and editing. Oh lord, please don’t forget to edit. I can say, I have easily put out far over $1500 into marketing materials, and add another $1000 into booking events/shows.

Be prepared to launch a second career in the art of marketing and publicity. Be prepared to sell the farm and maybe not make the money back. We all want to be the next J.K. Rowlings and write the next 50 Shades of Best Selling Books, but the reality is that a majority of us will find our place on the shelves of friends, family, and those we swapped books with on social media. The more you publicize the better the market.

So how do you sell a million books? Write a million stories and sell each one once. The bottom line is this: you are a writer, and if one person leaves one review–good or bad–someone read your book. That is the first step and its the one you’ll remember. Don’t work toward selling one million books, work toward touching one reader. And if you make a few friends and grow a fan base along the way, then you’re indie, and indie is a wonderful experience.

Tania L Ramos, RN and Author Building an Empire of Books

My 1st Book Party. About five people weren't in the picture :-(

My 1st Book Party. About five people weren’t in the picture 😦

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Dilemma: Creative Writing or Marketing

This month I have a very rare, and probably my last, opportunity to get free financial aid for college.  I always figured if I went to pursue my Bachelor’s degree it would be in nursing, though that idea never made me happy.  Now with online schools, the world has opened up to more opportunities.  My eyes were wide with all the fantastic classes I could take, degrees I could pursue, and certificates I could obtain.  First of all, you should know this about me: I’m a sucker for flashy titles. My goal in life was to be Dr. Tania L Ramos, RN just so when a doctor sarcastically asks me where I got my medical degree, I could give a real answer.

Radinat, blue eyes are arrogantSo I decided instead of pursuing a higher level of education in nursing, which I like, but it’s not my passion, I would look into pursuing a degree in writing.  I figure there is still so much learn, and I love to learn. Given half the chance, and if it paid well, I would be a professional student.  So I looked into writing degrees and found a zillion of them: creative writing, writing for film & media, story line writing for gaming, writing psychology, professional & business writing, freelance media, journalism and more. My head spun around. Oh the choices!

Then I stumbled across a marketing and media degree program, and the confusion really set in. I love writing, but i’d like to sell more books. After all, I’d love it if writing were my career not my hobby.  So a degree in writing or marketing? Any thoughts? Maybe I can put my mom through marketing school? Hmmmmm

Tania L Ramos, Author (and RN)

Be Still

Surviving the Writing Apocalypse

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