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What if My Book Doesn’t Sell?

What if my book doesn’t sell? I think that is a question all writers at least think about. It is a legitimate question, but is it the most important?

I have put my best efforts into my latest book. Am I concerned about sales? Of course, but there are other areas that are more important. In my case, I have a website to maintain, a blog to write articles for, plus reviews to get for my book.

The truth is all of these things affect sales, but I choose not to focus on how many books have been sold. Long term that is important, but I write because I love to write. But sales don’t occur if people don’t know about the book.

Going forward, I am more concerned about getting the word out there to the potential readers. And that is going to require work on my part!

More about this on the other side of this break.

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Now back to the article.

What should I do about marketing?

The truth is that the more money you have available, the more you can do. But since you may be on a strict budget, I will discuss those things that are either free or inexpensive.

PRE-PUBLISH

I have divided this int Pre-publication and Post-publication. In Pre-publication your primary goal is to get noticed.

One way to get noticed is through book reviews. I have recently discovered a book review resource called Booksprout. You can try it out for free or signup for the $10 a month program or the $20 a month program. The essential difference between the two paid programs is that the $10 gets you up to 50 reviewers per ARC (Advance Review Copy) while the $20 gets you unlimited reviewers.

That is a very reasonable price. There are no guarantees about whether you get a 1-star, 2-star, 3-star, 4-star, or 5-star review. Only that you have the opportunity to get reviews.

Booksprout is recommended for pre-publication but can also be used for books already published. Booksprout explains how it all works on their website.

One warning: If you have your book listed in Select (KDP Select), you cannot use Booksprout. To use Booksprout cancel your automatic renewal of Select and when it reaches the end of its term, then use Booksprout.

Another pre-publish strategy is to make use of your email list. This strategy can be free or come with a subscription price. Email is a long-term strategy. By that I mean you can grow your Email list over time. You may need to experiment with your content and how it links to your book. But it is something that almost all ‘experts’ recommend.

Then there are ads.

You will need to look at what type of ad is your best. For instance, do you use a Facebook ad or an Amazon ad or a YouTube ad. Depending on which you choose there are rules that you would be wise to learn.

If you choose to run an ad, make sure to establish the budgeting with firmness. Advertising without control can end up costing you a ton of money.

Pre-Orders

Pre-Orders of your eBooks can accomplish two things. The first is the sales build up and are accomplished all at the same time; thus, providing your book a surge right at the beginning which Amazon will notice. Secondly, potential buyers will notice the surge and be encouraged to buy.

Pre-Orders are only for eBooks on Amazon, but if you have a website and sell your books (see under Post-Publish Website for more information), then you could create your own Pre-Order for print books. I plan on experimenting with this for my next book.

There are additional strategies you can use, but these four ideas standout and can work for a small budget.

POST-PUBLISH

Three of the four strategies you used for Pre-Publish can be used also for post-publish. Obviously, Pre-Order is no longer available once the book is published.

Reviews

Booksprout can be used for published books. See Booksprout for more information. Make sure to include all your reviews. That means the bad ones as long as you have more good ones. It lets people know that you are providing them honest information and it gives you the opportunity to review the reviews.

Ads

Ads are recommended. No matter which platform you use it will probably be your most expensive item. But a successful ad can make a big difference.

Website

Your website can be an integral part of your advertising. If you have reviews, you can post them on your website. This can be very important, especially if you sell your books on your website. KDP allows you to buy and sell copies of your book through the Author Copies program. That is only true of print books, but it gives you a great advantage.

I mentioned in Pre-Publish the idea of selling your books on your own website and offering your readers a Pre-Order of the print book. As far as I know there are no restrictions on doing that.

Ads

All the options you have for ads in Pre-Publish are available in Post-Publish. You might want to remember that books sold by Amazon have a 60-day window. Meaning, that the proceeds from the sales are not paid out until 60-days have passed.

But if your ad directs buyers to your website, then you get instant payment.

These are just a few suggestions. The more money you have available, the more you can do.

But one last principle: Don’t focus on the sales. If you are writing with the idea of making big bucks you may or may not succeed. But if you fail in that endeavor you could become discouraged.

I suggest you focus on why you write. I write because I love writing. Whether I become rich or not is not my focus. I love writing and will continue to write as long as I continue to love doing it.

Do I want to make money? Of course! I have a vision that God has given me and money would make that vision a reality. But whether I write or not is not dependent on sales.

I love reviews. Occasionally, as time permits, I review books by other authors. But reviews of my books are valuable. They not only tell potential readers what you think of the book, but they help me sharpen my craft and make me a better writer.

I plan on submitting more of my books to be reviewed on Booksprout, but you don’t have to wait. If you buy one of our books from Amazon, you can post a review. Or you can try Goodreads where I am listed as R. Riddle.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Liar, Liar

The Riddle Report 03 12 2021

Yesterday, 03 11 2021, President Joe Biden took to the airwaves for his first speech since taking office on January 20th. In his speech, he took full credit for the ongoing manufacturing and distribution of the vaccines. This is a lie.

But the speech was sort of a 50-day celebration I suppose. Prior to the speech he signed the latest Stimulus Package, which means money should be going out to deserving people this weekend. Although the package was passed without Republican support, the stimulus checks were supported by both parties.

So, he was celebrating the passage of a 1.9 Billion package that was loaded with pork.

News Item #1 “The Big Lie”

“A year ago, we were hit with a virus that was met with silence and spread unchecked.

“Denials for days, weeks, then months that led to more deaths, more infections, more stress, and more loneliness.”

That was his opening line and it was the big lie.

Instead of silence look at the following timeline:

  • January 3, 2020 – the United States offered to help China investigate the virus. Although later repeated, the offer was never really accepted.
  • January 6, 2020 – the CDC issued a Level I travel notice for Wuhan, China.
  • January 17, 2020 – CDC began screening 3 international airports.
  • January 20, 2020 – Dr. Fauci announced the NIH was already working on developing a vaccine.
  • January 31, 2020 – by the end of the month the administration had:
    • Issued a Level III travel ban (widely criticized by Biden and other liberals as being paranoia)
    • Organized White House Coronavirus Task Force
    • Declared a public health emergency
    • Announced Chinese travel restrictions
    • Suspended entry into the U.S. by foreign nationals at risk of transmitting the virus.

Does that sound like silence to you? Denials? The only denials came from Biden and company. Trump did deny statements and accusations by liberals, but he and his administration were already engaged.

News Item #2 “The Implied Lie”

“You lost your job. You closed your business. Facing eviction, homelessness, hunger, a loss of control, and maybe worst of all, a loss of hope.

“Watching a generation of children who may be set back up to a year or more – because they’ve not been in school – because of their loss of learning.”

Was any of that untrue? No!

But the implied lie that it was Trump’s fault is demonstrably false.

Most of the above statements happened in states that were near or were in total lockdown. Most of those states were run by Democrats who ordered the shutdowns. But most Republican run states did only partial shutdowns and began reopening as soon as possible.

A case in point is Florida where the Governor began reopening the state despite liberal protests and media condemnation. New York, which totally shutdown, led the nation in deaths, and just about every other category.

As for the schools, this happened in virtually all states, but again the Republican led states began working to reopen the schools as quickly as possible. It hasn’t always been pretty, but it has been largely successful except for one problem.

The Teachers union.

Despite assurances from CDC and the Dr. Fauci, teachers have been opposed to reopening the schools. The result has been a shortage of teachers and children being robbed of their education. And now, parents are actively pushing for the reopening.

News Item #3 “The Vaccine”

“When I took office 50 days ago, only 8 percent of Americans after months…”

Another implied lie: that nothing had been done toward vaccinating people by the Trump Administration. Let’s look at some more facts:

  • December 11, 2020 – Johnson and Johnson vaccine approved for use
  • December 18, 2020 – Moderna’s vaccine approved
  • January 20, 2021 – Trump’s last day in office; 1.5 million vaccinated
  • March 11, 2021 – 1st 50 days of Biden Administration; 1.4 million vaccinated.

Do the math: Trump administration vaccinated 1.5 million people between 12/11/2020 and 01/20/2021 for approximately 27 days; Biden administration vaccinated 1.4 million people between 01/20/2021 and 03/11/2021. Or put another way, the Trump administration vaccinated 100,000 more people in 23 less days.

Lest I forget, the Trump administration partnered with Johnson and Johnson to increase capacity to manufacture more vaccine and in record time. Translate the word ‘capacity’ to build a factory and you get the kind of commitment made.

News Item #4 “What it Could Have Been”

It would have been a great time for President Biden to show his commitment to unity. All he had to do was acknowledge what the Trump administration had done and congratulate or thank them. Then he could have bragged about how he was continuing the work. Instead, he tried to take all the credit.

News Item #5 “the 25th “Getting the Truth”

If you want the truth, you have to get out there and find it. It isn’t really hard, but your local paper isn’t going to tell you, nor is your television. And you can’t trust the social media. Facebook, YouTube, and others only want you to talk about their agenda. Your traditional sources of information are no longer reliable.

But the good news is that there are newer resources such as Rumble, MeWe, DuckDuck, and others. Find out what works for you. But in the end, it is your responsibility to find the truth.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.

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Antitrust lawsuit against Facebook

The Riddle Report 12 09 2020

This is big news!

The FTC and 48 states have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. In the lawsuit they allege that Facebook has engaged in unlawful behavior to eliminate social networking competition.

While there are several aspects to this lawsuit one item caught my eye.

“Facebook’s unlawfully maintained monopoly power gives it wide latitude to set the terms for how its users’ private information is collected, used, and protected,” the states said in the lawsuit. “In addition, because Facebook decides how and whether the content shared by users is displayed to other users, Facebook’s monopoly gives it significant control over how users engage with their closest connections and what content users see when they do.” Emphasis mine.

Let’s narrow it down: “In addition, because Facebook decides how and whether the content shared by users is displayed to other users, Facebook’s monopoly gives it significant control over how users engage with their closest connections and what content users see when they do.”

It has been an increasing complaint by Facebook users that Facebook controls who sees our posts. And here you have the government saying the same thing. But that control, in my opinion, goes deeper than anti-competition. It also has become prosecutor, judge, and jury over what should be free speech.

I would support Facebook efforts if it was just trying to keep the internet clean from filthy language and pictures, but now if they don’t like the political content of a post, they feel quite all right censuring and removing that content. And they are not the only ones doing this. You also have Twitter and YouTube acting up.

It is high time that these monopolies were reined in!

I understand that these monopolies feel that there is a lot of misinformation out there. But the American people should be the arbiters of what is good and bad, not a corporate CEO or committee.

The ongoing discussion about voter fraud is a legitimate discussion. In the public courtroom of opinion both sides should be able to state their case. The fact that Facebook and others use their power to squelch opinions other than their own shows a disdain for free speech and the free intercourse of opinion.

America has no use or room for businesses that operate in this matter. I don’t know where this lawsuit will go, but I sure hope and pray that they’ll get more than a slap on the back of their hands.

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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Book Marketing: Facebook

Using Social Media as a marketing tool is a multifaceted subject. But we will only be looking at a few uses.

What is Facebook?

According to Wikipedia: Facebook is a for-profit corporation and online social networking service. Founded by Mark Zuckerberg on February 4, 2004 it is located in Menlo Park, California.

Primarily it is a very popular social networking site where users can easily interact with one another. Facebook has grown tremendously and is now not only for personal communications but has a strong business flair as well.

Facebook ads give advertisers an alternative to Adwords. For authors it might just be the preferred format for advertising.

I can only speak for myself but I have been very disappointed with Adwords whereas Facebook ads have done better for me. At the very least Facebook offers a credible competitor.

One of the factors that I like is that Facebook has a large database that can be defined narrowly. While Adwords has similar capabilities Facebook offers, in my opinion, a stronger defining tool that allows me to determine or customize my audience by geography, age, gender, interests, and more.

It is also tied to my Business Page which is a plus.

Do you have a Facebook business page?

Whether you use Facebook Ads or not having a business page gets you name recognition. And it can serve as a landing page. In my case I have designed other Landing Pages, but I do use my Facebook Business Page as a Landing Page in some ads.

You can also use your Facebook business page not only to inform existing and potential customers, but to act as a conduit. For example, at the bottom of this blog article you will see a statement that reads, “Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.” This allow you to comment on my blog, plus while on the page you can “Like” my page and “Signup” for Authors Academy.

I have barely touched on what you can do with Facebook, but I think you get the point: Facebook deserves to be an integral part of your marketing.

Your comments are welcome. Just go to my Facebook page and leave a comment about this article.

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 R. Frederick Riddle is the author of several books. For more information on him visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured.