Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Does Project Wonderful Increase E-book Sales?

Sadly, not for me. Here are the facts:

Over the last month, I used Project Wonderful, a penny advertiser, to try and increase my e-book sales.

I decided to focus on one e-book in particular, a science fiction short story called AN UNCOMMON COLD available on Amazon. My goal was to generate at least one sale of the book, since I had sold none of that particular title yet.

First thing was to make the ad. It was quite simple to do on Project Wonderful--mostly an image of the book cover and a quick tag line letting people know what it was.

Next, I invested $5 in Project Wonderful (the minimum amount possible.) Then I started checking out possible websites on which to advertise. I narrowed down the websites into two categories: blogs dedicated to short story writing/books and geeky video game sites.

Project Wonderful is like e-bay in that you bid for advertising space. The ad of the highest bidder is placed onto a website until a better bid comes along. I kept my bids low, about 5 cents or less per day, which landed my ads on about 6-7 blogs per day for about three and a half weeks.

Results: No sales.

My ads were on web pages that were viewed more than 1,000,000 times. Out of those million views, I had a total of 21 clicks. And, as previously mentioned, out of those clicks, no purchases.

I did find that the geeky video game sites had the most page views, but the fewest clicks. The majority of the clicks were from two authors’ blogs. Not sure what this means, except for the fact that marketing on geeky video game sites was near useless for me.

To sum up, I’m still looking for that one low-cost marketing avenue that is going to help get my e-books out of the unknown slush pile of independently published works.

Have you had any success with paid advertising?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The World's Largest Slush Pile?

One e-book author recently called Smashwords the world's largest slush pile. The description made me nod my head in agreement. Smashword announces with pride that it has published 2,861,763,709 words--as of this morning.) While that number makes them feel good, it makes me feel in-discoverable (if that's a word.)

However, does this mean Smashwords is no longer an effective tool for an indie author? I don't think so.

Let me tell you what I do like about Smashwords. To begin, if you follow the instructions and get accepted into their Premium Distribution program, your book goes directly to Sony, B&N, Apple and Kobo. This saves me a ton of time going to each of those different vendors. That said, my sales through those vendors have been dismal. However, that doesn't reflect Smashwords' performance.

Smashwords does all of this for free until I make a sale and then they take a small portion. Other services (like bookbaby) require money upfront.

I especially like Smashwords for it's professional look. (Gotta be honest, I think the book pages look pretty good.) Even better is its simple coupon system. When I contact blogs and others about reviewing my book, I offer them a free copy. If I were to send them to Amazon to get my ebook, I would have to pay Amazon for a coupon to give to them and then there is the possibility that the person could use that coupon to purchase any book (not necessarily mine.) That's right. Coupons on Amazon are for a set amount, not for a certain book title.

With Smashwords, I generate a coupon for my book (for free) and then send that coupon to those blog reviewers. If they own a Kindle, ipad, Kobo, sony, etc, it doesn't matter. They can download any type of e-book format on my book page to fit their needs (including an html version.) I'm not out a penny.

Have I sold a ton of books off of Smashwords? No. Has Smashwords helped me in marketing my books? Absolutely. How much have I had to pay Smashwords to do this for me? Practically nothing. Can't beat numbers like that.

Speaking of Smashwords coupons, if you'd like to have a free copy of my latest e-book called Treasure Hunters, use the coupon code: BL25Y. You'll see just how easy it is. Hurry though. It expires soon!
Friday, August 12, 2011

End of an Era

In one week I will send my youngest child off to first grade. I thought I'd be excited, but I'm not. First off, it's the end of an era--I've been a stay-at-home mom with kids since 1996. That's fifteen years. Second of all, this puts a lot of pressure on me as a writer to get more done.

Previously, I've had the excuse (and it was real) that I could only write in short snippets. Well . . . now I've got six whole hours solid. The question is: Will I be more productive? How long can I focus? Will I succomb to the temptation of Facebook and other potentional time-wasters? How long can I write without falling asleep at the computer? (I have really low iron and get to bed at midnight and wake up at 5:30 a.m. which doesn't help.)

I've decided it all comes down to goals. Plain and simple. Sometimes my writing goal is the number of words written. Sometime it's to get through a chapter. I'm not sure what is best. Maybe there is a better way; all together.

What kinds of writing goals do you find most effective?

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I'm a mom and author, among other things. I enjoy writing middle grade and young adult books.