Archives for the month of: March, 2015

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I recently received a press release from the professional public relations firm ESMI entitle How to Price an E-Book.

The release is written by Kim Staflund and is promoting her two books How to Publish a Book in Canada . . . and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit!, and How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price!.

So here’s an indie author who claims both her books have been Amazon bestsellers telling other indie authors or those considering becoming indie authors how to sell their books and make money. What’s new about that? Libraries must have and entire bibliographic classification complete with it’s own Dewey Decimal code taking up considerable shelf space about this very topic. And now Kim Staflund has published two more. So what?

I guess it’s the hyperbole in the titles as well as unsubstantiated claims and misleading statements that gets my blood boiling.

Staflund claims her POD books became best sellers on Amazon priced at $19.99. Here she muddies the water a bit – these are paperbacks not e-books and the press release is entitled “How to Price an E-book. So what are we talking about here, e-books or paperbacks or is she purposely being misleading?

According to Staflund, her books reached bestseller status because “of their quality content combined with using various online and traditional marketing techniques—not because of low pricing.”

There doesn’t seem to be an optimum pricing point for POD books, but this statement contradicts all the information I’ve seen from Amazon and Smashwords regarding the pricing of e-books. Both these sites have data complete with graphs that show the optimum price to maximize sales and profits. Since both these companies work on a royalty basis, they don’t make money unless you make money, it’s in their interest for your book to sell.

Amazon says, considering you’re a nobody, the optimum price for your e-book on their site is $2.99. A lower price won’t increase sales, but it will diminish profits. A higher price won’t increase profits because it will diminish sales. At Smashwords the optimum price is $3.99.

There’s all kinds of gimmicks (like buying your own books) that might spike your sales for a very short period, but over time these are the prices that work and they should know.

Staflund goes even further with this incredulous remark:

“It will likely take an author forever to make back the money it cost to properly publish a book if the retail price is set at $2.99 per copy. Additionally, such a low price truly devalues content.”

Even the most delusional author must be aware nobody cares, the reader or the publisher, if they’ve spent the last ten years of their life writing a book and, even at minimum wage, it cost them a quarter of a million dollars in work hours. The truth is in this free enterprise system the value of something is the maximum price it will sell for – consistently.

Furthermore, if saying a low price devalues the content of your book what does having no sales at a higher price say? And, oh yeah, who decides if the content has any value in the first place?

So who is Kim Staflund and why is she saying these things?

Staflund’s the founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG), www.polishedpublishinggroup.com, where she “works with businesses and individuals around the world to produce professional quality audiobooks, e-books, paperbacks and hardcovers using a supported self-publishing business model. As a bestselling author (sic) and sales coach, she shows authors how to sell their books using all the effective traditional and online tricks of the trade.” (This, from someone who uses a public relations firm to help her promote her own books.)

She further claims to have “a substantial sales and sales management history combined with over 20 years of book publishing experience within the traditional and new publishing markets.”

I checked out her website and it is very similar to those of Amazon and Smashwords in that it accumulates all the information necessary from an author, including a properly formatted manuscript, that is necessary to publish a book with today’s technology.

Once Amazon and Smashwords have this data they can proceed to publish your book on a royalty split basis. You can purchase expertise at any point along the way including the formatting of the manuscript, designing a book cover, and additional marketing services, but you don’t have to.

If you’re patient and persevere you can do it yourself.

For books, from 201 to 300 pages (max. 90,000 words, the category my novel The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic would fall into) Polished Publishing Group offers: two (2) ISBN numbers; copy editing; cover design, proofreading; a hard proof; both paperback and e-book formats; book signing; two-year online distribution term; print-ready files returned to you.

The price is $4,750.00 cdn.

There’s nothing illegal or immoral about what Staflund is doing. If you don’t have the time, inclination or the computer savvy to navigate through self-publishing sites then there are countless “experts” like Staflund that will do it for you for a fee.

What I find objectionable is her claims that she has special expertise on How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price and further more that she can show you How to Publish a Book in Canada . . . and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit! There are just too many variables to be able make these bombastic claims.

Be wary of so called experts that make unsubstantiated claims and charge you a hefty fee for what you can do yourself for nothing. Today, having 20 years of experience in book publishing is worth almost nothing. The industry is evolving so quickly what you learned today is worthless tomorrow.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic (now in paperback) are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients (now in paperback). http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

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IMG_0001 copy copyMore delusion.

I just completed another “giveaway” of one of my novels on Booklikes www.booklikes.com

Between January 24 and February 28, 2015, I offered 50 electronic copies of FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend. Forty-two people requested the book.

Because I want my readers (even non-paying ones) to be able access my book in as many formats for as many devices as possible, I decided to take advantage of a free coupon code, a feature offered by Smashwords, one of the sites FOREST is self-published by.

In my email acknowledging the winners I instructed them to go to the Smashwords site at

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/515038

click on “buy a copy” and insert this coupon code – I provided them with the coupon code.

I wrote, “Smashwords will send you a link and you’ll be able to download the book free of charge. This method allows you to download FOREST in six different formats including ones for your iphone, tablet or computer as well as e-pub and mobi.”

I indicated that the coupon would expire on March 31, 2015.

Furthermore, I said that if they didn’t want to take advantage of this option to just reply to my email and I would send them an EPUB or MOBI file directly.

The emails announcing them a winner went out March 1 and by March 4 thirteen people had used the coupon at Smashwords. I know because Smashwords lets me know.

As I write this on March 6, no one has replied to my email and asked for the book to be sent directly to them, and no more coupons have been redeemed. I’d be surprised if any more were though they do have until March 31.

Thirteen out of 42 is not quite 31 percent. Two-thirds of the people that “won” my book aren’t even interested enough to take a couple of minutes to respond to an email to get it in the most convenient format.

To me, this is further evidence that “free” is equated to “no value”.

Despite what those marketing “experts” tell you in their books on how to become a best selling author, on their (paid subscription) sites, or during online seminars, giving your books away will not enhance your sales, nor encourage numerous reviews.

There’s not even any indication that giving away books increases readership because there is no way of knowing how many of those 13 that actually downloaded Forest will read it?

More delusion.

I think I’m going back to my original premise – if it won’t sell, it ain’t good (blog post 2013/05/31).

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic (now in paperback) are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients (now in paperback). http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

IMG_0004Hi, my name’s Rod and I’m an analytic-holic

Here’s my story.

I’m no different than most of you, a struggling writer searching for an answer to “the big question”, how do I get my work noticed amidst the plethora of prosaic publications available in this day of unfettered self-publishing opportunities?

What? You thought “the big question” had something to do with the meaning of life? You obviously aren’t an author.

How to do this? Well, I didn’t see any harm in trying out some the websites that offered to post my book for free. What harm could it do, a couple of sites that might generate some reader interest? After all, everybody else was doing it and they didn’t seem to have any problems handling it – or so I thought.

I admit I might have gotten a bit carried away. Information about my novels including sample chapters, buy links, boring stuff about the person who wrote them, and much more appears on no less than a dozen sites that I know of and likely some I’ve forgotten.

As I became more familiar with these sites I discovered they provided statistics about visitors to my address on their platform. The first I got intrigued with was Bublish. The site opens with Author Metrics including Bubble Views, Profile Views and Conversions. It was interesting to see what “bubbles” attracted the most “views”.

Because Bublish “bubbles” are linked to Twitter I soon became enthralled with Twitter Analytics and the number of impressions, engagements and the engagement rate – the number of engagements divided by the number of impressions, plus links, clicks and retweets.

By now I was frequently sampling Goodreads –stats which indicated who had added, reviewed, rated or were planning to read my books.

Authorcentral at Amazon had sales info, and rankings according to book sales and the Neilsen Bookscan. Google Books did the same but went further indicating the number of book visits, visit with pages viewed, the number of pages viewed, and visits a with buy link.

It got worse once I self-published.

Smashwords stats included page views, downloads, and sample downloads. They even had stats on search engine optimization.

KindleDirect and CreateSpace had details regarding the breakdown of royalties by week and month in GB, EUR and USD.

Each day I was wasting hours checking these reports and analysis and despite all the information available there never seemed to be a logical reason why one tweet got 103 impressions and another got only 2 – or at least no logical explanation to me.

I’d wake up the next morning with a statistical hangover and vow to not view this information for the entire day and finally get something meaningful done. But by early afternoon I’d weaken. What harm could a peak at Twitter analytics do just to take the edge off? What’s this? A whole lot of impressions? Better check and see if that generated more sample downloads on Smashwords, and so it would begin all over again.

As they say, “Half measures have availed us nothing”, and it’s not just half measures. Apparently neither has my obsession with analytics. My “searching and fearless inventory” of all things analytical shows my Amazon author ranking is 663,606 of out of 1,100,000, and that’s probably on a good day.

Other demoralizing stats include LibraryThing ranking my popularity at 3,689,591 and dropping; 126 followers on BookLikes which is less than the number of books I’ve given away to it’s members; and, 16 followers on Twitter in including a social media manager who wants to “boost my online visibility” and a same day grocery delivery superstore I’ve never heard of.

And so it is that I admit I am powerless over the lure of analytics. Just for today I will not check my stats on any site, and furthermore I will only check them at the end of each month, and only once.

I’m into day three – the sweating is now intermittent, my hands still shake but I no longer slop my coffee. I hope tonight I’ll be able to sleep.

Stay calm, be brave, watch for the signs

30

 

My new novels, FOREST – Love, Loss, Legend and The BIG PICTURE – A Camera, A Young Woman, An Uncompromising Ethic (now in paperback) are available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003DS6LEU and at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/raglin

Read Reviews https://readersfavorite.com:book-review:39014

Visit my publisher’s website for excerpts from, and buy links to, my three novels, Spirit Bear, Eagleridge Bluffs, and Not Wonder More – Mad Maggie and the Mystery of the Ancients. http://www.devinedestinies.com/?route=product%2Fauthor&author_id=92

More of my original photographs can be viewed, purchased, and shipped to you as GREETING CARDS; matted, laminated, mounted, framed, or canvas PRINTS; and POSTERS. Go to: http://www.redbubble.com/people/rodraglin

View my flickr photostream at https://www.flickr.com/photos/78791029@N04/

Or, My YouTube channel if you prefer photo videos accompanied by classical music

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsQVBxJZ7eXkvZmxCm2wRYA

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