This week we talk to bestselling self-published author Dave Chesson, otherwise known (mainly by the SPA Girls) as the King of Keywords. He’s the genius behind the Kindlepreneur.com blog, which provides loads of step-by-step information for self published authors, and he’s also the creator of the fabulous app KDP Rocket, a tool you can use to do research into your next book topic, find keywords and categories for your current book, and to create a massive list of keywords for Amazon Ads.
Among his many talents (which include being a nuclear engineer!!) Dave is a total self-confessed data geek, which means he loves diving into the analytics surrounding Amazon and selling books. Which was great for the SPA Girls, because he was happy to chat to us about keywords, categories and selling more books on Amazon. Yay!
One of our favorite quotes from Dave was “I believe the day you start writing the book, is the day you start marketing the book.” Listen in to hear just how to do that!
Quick Links to sites mentioned in the podcast:
Video: How To Succeed With Amazon Ads (via 20Booksto50K Vegas Conference featuring Dave Chesson and Scott Paul)
Dave’s podcast The Book Marketing Show
This week we talk about Kindle Unlimited, or KU, as it’s commonly known. KU is the exclusive readers’ programme for Kindle customers on Amazon, which authors can join as long as they give exclusivity to Amazon. We discuss the pros and cons of going into the KU programme versus going wide on all the different platforms available to self published authors, plus we cover some of the different marketing tactics you might employ, and ways to effectively use the KU platform as an author. It’s an information-packed episode, and if you’ve been wondering whether to join KU, or if you’re trying to find ways to use it better, this is an episode you won’t want to miss!
For Writers: How to get into KU: Sign up your book exclusively to Amazon via KDP Select for 90 day period at a time. Your book will automatically be included in Kindle Unlimited Program.
For Readers: Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s ebook subscription launched July 2014. Costs $9.99 per month and readers can read unlimited books in the program, but only download ten at a time.
From Amazon: “Kindle Unlimited is currently available only to US customers on Amazon.com. Customers in the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, India, China, Japan, Brazil, Mexico and Canada can sign-up for Kindle Unlimited in their local Amazon marketplace. We also plan to expand this service to other countries. Please stay tuned.”
Authors earn an amount per page read (which changes monthly – last month – Sept – it was 0.0044c per page)
Simplification – easy to upload to one provider
Additional revenue stream from Amazon – sales and reads
All Star Bonuses – in addition to Page Reads the top authors earn monthly bonuses (from $1k – 25k)
ebook borrows can improve your visibility and sales ranking in the Kindle store
Money – can be difference between replacing your income or not
Amazon = easier discovery; wide needs long build and $
All Your Eggs Into One Basket / Exclusivity
Don’t know what the rate is until the 15th of the following month
Don’t know what pages are read from what books
Reviews from KU readers are not verified
Don’t know how KENPC is calculated – AMZ doesn’t share how it’s calculated.
Issues with page reads calculations / authors not believing they were getting paid correctly
Can be hard to switch to Wide having built audience in KU
This week we talk about NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Every year in November, writers around the world challenge themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days. For newer writers, it can seem like an insurmountable challenge, but even just joining in and being part of the NaNoWriMo environment can be inspiring and energising. It’s been getting bigger and bigger every year, and for the writers who manage to ‘win’ (ie finish 50K) it’s an amazing achievement. There are stories everywhere of people who’ve started their writing career with NaNoWriMo, going on to publish many books and have successful careers.
So what’s so great about NaNoWriMo? That’s what we discuss in this episode of the SPA Girls Podcast – why it’s been so successful, the aspects of it that we love, and why we think you should be doing it this year. (And don’t miss our surprise challenge at the end of the episode!)
Join us HERE on facebook
Sign up to Nanowrimo
This week we’re dealing out the “truthslaps” – in a loving way, of course. Wendy, Cher and Shar discuss ten truths for self-publishers that will help you navigate the choppy waters of a new indie author career. We want to be positive, but also realistic, so we are holding nothing back here. This is a rewarding (but tough) business and it requires patience and persistence. When you’re starting out you’re more than just a writer, you’re launching a small business with a pretty steep learning curve. Fortunately there’s a ton of help out there and here in the SPA is the best place to start!
- You do need an editor and someone to proofread.
Your book deserves good editor so that you are giving it the best chance of success. A proof reader at the end of your process will make it even better.
- You do need to set up a mailing list/newsletter. This is one of those things that must be done sooner rather than later.
- You do need to be prepared for a slow start and a long haul. Be Passionate. Be Patient.
- Do your own research and due diligence. Listen to others’ advice, but always rely on your own research and gut instinct. Whether it’s genres, marketing methods, advertising resources or self publishing “gurus”, always remember there’s no such thing as a magic wand!
- You do need a basic web site. And don’t forget to set up your Amazon Author Page (and other retail sites) Listen to our podcast on Zhushing Up Your Amazon Author Page for detailed advice.
- You do need to be professional at all times. Everything you say or do on social media will have a consequence. Respect yourself, respect your process, respect other writers and most importantly, respect your readers.
- You do need a good cover. The cover is the window to your product – make sure it’s the best you can afford.
- You must believe in yourself and learn to deal with any comparisonitis. Trying to copy others is good and bad, and there may be other reasons your book isn’t doing as well as another’s.
- Do use other beta readers that aren’t your family and who will tell you the truth! You want honesty, not unhelpful ego-stroking. Remember you can take advice or choose to ignore it.
- Do keep studying and improving your craft. Remember “it’s all about the story”. Tell it well and never stop learning.
Check out our Author Overwhelm book for tips on coping with comparisonitis and information overload.
The Naked Truth About Self-Publishing is also a must-read.
This week we tackle Christmas. Not literally. I mean we’re not going after Santa or anything. No knocking him to the ground, and sitting on him til he gives us presents. That would be weird, right?
No, this week we’re talking about what self-published authors should be doing over the Christmas period to promote their books to the hoards of eager Yuletide book buyers.
It’s a prime book buying time of year, and no one wants to miss out, right?
In order to do the best research for our eager listeners, we talked to several other authors (in forums and people we know) for their advice on this topic, as well as using our own experiences. We even discovered a few tips that we didn’t know about and are planning to use this year for ourselves!
If you’ve been wondering what you should do to promote your books this Christmas, you need to listen to this episode!
Do nothing level – some big names say don’t bother as it’s too competitive over this time.
If you are promoting over Christmas, get started now!
Written word media – FB ads goes up by 30% Desk top Ads goes up 180%
If you don’t know how to do FB ads, then don’t make this the place to start.
Good cheer level – an opportunity to create goodwill.
Sending Newsletters that aren’t aimed at selling.
Offer freebies – a short story or novella sent specifically to your list.
You could try a ‘twelve days of Christmas’ promo – make sure it doesn’t cost you too much.
Recipes to cover the holidays are a great idea, especially if they are from your area or country.
Acknowledging your readers incorporating feel good subjects.
Potentially this no-sales approach can lead to an uptake anyway, which is a great bonus.
The Special Christmas book level – is it worth it?
We’ve had varying comments whether this is a good idea.
Maybe put it up for cheap or put it in a boxed set over this period.
Having the word Christmas or Holiday could be in the subtitle rather than the title to make it saleable all year round.
Needs to go out the beginning of November. If it’s in print use this as a buy now prompt for shipping dates. (21-23 Dec last dates for shipping)
Romance, especially small town, home and hearth, books are a natural fit over this time of year.
Normal promotion level
Promoting your non-Christmas books as presents. Print books will do potentially do better.
Brian Meeks, notices Facebook Ads are more competitive (harder to get) but he does get more impressions.
Mailing list promotions like ENT, Robin Reads, Bookbub, it could already be too late to apply for them.
Bookbub has also said that the buy through rates are not much different to the rest of the year.
Planned late run Level
From Christmas day to mid-January these people are hitting the people that have just received new devices or gift cards.
Make sure you know the rules and where you can use your affiliate links for any books you promote – yours or other people’s in your website or newsletter.
You can also use prizes for competitions, or FB and Amazon giveaways.
Buy products you might like to use when they are on special. Like Cyber Monday, Black Friday etc.
Be aware of the shutdown dates for especially Amazon and iBooks.
Loading and making changes or asking queries might take a lot longer prior to the shutdown dates.
It’s a risk to launch at Christmas, but some experienced authors do well!
This week we talk to fantasy and young adult author Katie Cross about being a military wife, learning to be a nap-time authorpreneur, and making every moment count. She also gives us some amazing productivity tips for authors who are trying to squeeze their writing career into already busy lives. Katie impressed us right from the start of the interview when she talked about having done some writing before we got on the call. My paraphrasing summary of her words: “It was a choice between going on Facebook for ten minutes, or doing some writing. I decided to do some writing, and managed to get almost a thousand words done in that time.”
It’s always good to be reminded of the things that we can achieve if we pay a little more attention to what we’re doing, and how we choose to spend our time!
It’s a great interview, Katie is hilarious, and we loved chatting to her. (And we’re totally impressed by everything she’s able to achieve in her day!)
Katie’s website: kcrosswriting.com
About Katie: “This is really pretty easy. I love cookies. I have a toddler and two vizslas. I live in the mountains of Colorado and am definitely a Bigfoot believer. I’m an extrovert and a conversation-obsesser and dessert snob.
Follow me on social media to get all the updates on book releases, glimpses into the author life (basically I just take pictures of my dirty dishes so that I feel better about not doing them cuz I’m writing), and lots of delicious food.