First Anniversary: Just Another Day at the Office

office-site-all

$0.99 / £0.99 / EUR0.99
Amazon | Kobo | Google Play

If you’re on the mailing list, or you’ve seen my Facebook page lately, you will have noticed I’m having a sale of one of my books, Just Another Day at the Office. If you’ve followed me for a while (or you are actually spying on what’s happening in my head), you might have noticed that this is the first time I’ve discounted this book. I’ve donated it to giveaways, I’ve given free copies away on my page. I have never sold it at a discount.

There’s a reason.

A look at my author page on Amazon reveals I have a bunch of books out. Except for the two Gratis Anthologies, they’re all fairly similar: cheap, cheerful, short. Just Another Day at the Office is my début novel, with the rest of my works being around 1/4th-1/5th the length. It’s my premium product, the thing I’m most proud of, because it’s the first (and currently only) work I have published which I can point to and say:

“Yes! I can write a novel. I can finish something.

Consequently, I am now discounting it for a reason as well. The story, which I first published as four individual parts, was completed a year ago on 23rd May 2013. It’s all too easy to forget these milestones, and I almost did if not for some advertising I had bought months ago, which I expected to use for something else. That something else isn’t ready yet, which actually turned out OK for me. It gave me a prod in the ribs to hurry up and do something with it, that’s a bit more meaningful than just push one of my freebies. As soon as I realised the timing, everything fell into place.

So this week for me is a time of reflection, even though I’m rushed off my feet to make this sale a success. It’s a time to realise that I’ve come quite far in a year, yet there’s always time for improvement.

I’ve made mistakes: I really should have written more last summer, instead I became lax after publishing Just Another Day at the Office, the full edition and paperback. I should’ve figured out how to advertise properly before too. But that’s OK, I’ve learned a lot anyway.

In 2012 I dipped my toes in and published one short story. In 2013 I wrote a novel and a few more bits and bobs. I also got involved in my first collaboration with other writers, in the form of the first Gratis Anthology, which was a raving success. In 2014 I’ll finish my second novel and like to think that I have generally upped my game with improved covers, and a more level headed approach to advertising.

Things are heading in the right direction, let’s see what the rest of the year will bring!

George & Lucy from Just for One Night go International!

 Onenight3-portuguese Onenight3-italian Onenight3-spanish2

It’s an exciting month, dear readers! In an effort to expand and make the most of the books I’ve already written, I’ve been researching other markets lately. I’ve been considering branching out into audiobooks, especially now that ACX has opened up to UK authors. For those that don’t know, ACX is an Amazon related company which allows you to produce an audiobook that will then be sold on Audible. You can either hire a narrator and pay them upfront, agree on a royalty split, or do it yourself. I’m still deciding 🙂

Also, I’ve signed up on another website, called Babelcube, which is similar to the royalty split model offered by ACX, except it’s for translations rather than audiobooks. And a little while after I put up my short story Just for One Night, I started getting offers from translators.

Here’s how it works: I uploaded a description of the book and sample, translators make an offer on books they’re interested in, submitting a sample, the author decides whether or not to proceed, and if so, both parties agree to the contract. Then the translator starts working on the first 10 pages, which I suppose serves as a lengthier sort of sample, the author then needs to approve or make suggestions before the translator does the rest.

After the translation has been completed, the author needs to provide the cover image (Babelcube suggest that it’s the same as the English version, but with the translated title the translator provides), and the book can be published. Once everything is confirmed for publication, Babelcube will start uploading the book on sites like Amazon, Kobo, etc., as well as a lot of smaller, regional sites.

By the way, throughout the entire process, there’s a private messaging system that can be used to keep in touch with the translator. That way, if they have any questions about how to best translate certain phrases you’ve used, they can simply ask. Similarly, I was able to ask my translators to let me know an appropriate translation for my tagline, “Uncensored Romance”, so I could put that on the cover as well 🙂

So at the moment, I’m waiting for the Spanish book to start showing up everywhere, I’m about ready to publish the Italian one, and I have a Portuguese translation still in progress. I’m curious to see if I’ll get offers for other languages!

Covers, covers, everywhere!

For the past month or so I’ve been neck deep in covers. I’m looking at old ones, tried improving upon them without changing the overall look too much. And then I did a few weird and totally far-out experiments with totally different graphics. If you’ve been keeping an eye on my Amazon book listings (why on earth would you?), you may have noticed that some titles have started looking totally different, and then looked sort of normal again after a while. Here’s what happened:

1. Branding

I have decided (for better or for worse), that I want all my books to have very consistent branding, at least as far as my name goes. If you look at an Amazon page and one of mine pops up, it should be obvious (to those who know me) that it’s one of mine. How I’ve done it is by putting my name in exactly the same place on all covers, with a cute swirly symbol and a darker bar behind it. This is the case now for all my erotic titles (At First Sight hasn’t got it, because I thought perhaps it’s different enough that it should stand out). Examples below

office-site-IIoffice-site-allladies-sitecover-1site

 

 

 

 

 

2. Abstract or not?

Perhaps I’m overthinking things, but when I read a blog post such as Joanna Penn’s on different approaches to covers and how they affect sales (hopefully), I tend to get a bit excitable. So I went ahead and looked high and low for suitable stock images I could use for some of my covers so that they’d have people on them. Because apparently people sell.

office-site-allJAD-girl-siteOnenight3-site?????????

 

 

 

 

 

Result: Apparently those people don’t sell. I’ve changed the Just Another Day at the Office cover back, despite being particularly proud of my efforts there and promptly sold some copies the very moment the cover reverted back to the old one. Talk about market feedback. The cover for Just for One Night is still like this on Amazon currently despite not having a wonderful effect on sales either. Why? Because I fucking adore it.

3. I think I’m getting better at this shit

Excuse me while I go overboard patting myself on the back, but I think my cover design skills have developed just a little lately. I’ve been staring at top 100 listings in my genre, trying to find something – anything- that would work for me. And although all the shirtless male torsos with rippling muscles seem to perform well, if you’ve read any of my work you’ll know that wouldn’t just be cheesy, it would be dishonest and horrible if I went down that route. (Also, stock photo sites don’t seem to offer the kind of shirtless male torso I’d want to see, without the addition of a grumpy face, a weighing scale or a tape measure, and that’s just not sexy).

*drum rolls* I give you…. the before & after shot!

cover2-kindlecover-1site

 

 

 

 

 

I fixed it, am I right? 😀 (Feel free to tell me otherwise, but the bar with the pretty swirly thing is staying! ’tis my brand now!)

Onenight2-siteOnenight3-site?????????

 

 

 

 

 

Again, I think the second one is better (though not as good as the third one, because that gloomy pub picture in my mind is almost horror-like and the story is really rather sweet & sexy).

Let me know what you think?

Are you a Book Reviewer?

Authors love it when someone takes the time to review our work. Especially if the reviewer has taken the time to really think about the story, characters, or whatever else they’ve commented on.

And as a reader myself, I also find reviews so invaluable when trying to decide whether a book is really for me or not.

That is why I would like to help!

If you read & review Erotica for your website, blog, Facebook page or whatever, please get in touch! Send me details of where you publish your reviews, using the contact form, and I’m happy to send you free copies of my work. And no, I won’t expect you to lick my ass and say my work is pure genius (unless you really think so!). I expect honesty & impartiality.

Obviously I expect that whatever I send you is used exclusively for the purpose of reviewing it and doesn’t end up on some pirate website somewhere. But that should go without saying.

I’m on Authorgraph, are you?

authorgraph

This morning I read an old blog post on writesexright.com about Authorgraph. I’d heard of it before but not really thought about joining. But then, over a steaming hot cup of tea this morning I figured it’s free, let’s give it a go.

In case you haven’t heard of it yet, Authorgraph is a website that allows readers to request autographs from their favourite authors. It’s free to join, and does look like loads of fun to me!

So I’ve added all my books. Not sure what, if anything, will come out of it. And I haven’t got a clue what my autograph should look like either so I might have to do some quick thinking if someone actually requests one.

The Amazon Free Promotion Experiment; 2

amazon

Back in November I did a blog post about my first experience doing a free promotion with KDP Select on Amazon.

This initial free promotion was a bit of a failure considering I fell ill and didn’t manage to tell a single person about my free book. However, the results were interesting, giving me a baseline for what to expect with zero promotion.

Just to recap, I managed to get a bunch of downloads;
Amazon.com – 87
Amazon.co.uk – 33 (one of these was me)
Amazon.de – 11
Amazon.fr – 1

And the book reached spot 98 in the Amazon UK Erotic Fiction Free Bestseller category.

This time, I’m giving away a different book, Just Another Day at the Office – I and I even have a bit of a cunning plan.

  1. I’m spamming the hell out of Facebook especially and to a lesser extent Twitter and Google+. If you’re my FB friend, you might want to ignore me during this period, after getting your free copy of course!
  2. After reading the free book, readers who want to read more of my work can actually do so because I have more published (Last time the free book was my ONLY book).
  3. Just Another Day at the Office – I, obviously, is only the first part of a larger work. My free promo coincides with the launch of part two. Hopefully my free promo will hook readers into buying the next part.
  4. Compared to last time, I have some lovely writer friends who are helping to put the word out about this promo, and I even have some reviews already up on the book I’m giving away which should make it more attractive.

I cannot wait to see how this promo will play out!

Check back later, when I’ll update this post with the results.

Please note when comparing figures that the first giveaway lasted only one day, the current one will last two days.

The results are in!

Downloads; 2157 in total!
Amazon.com – 1887
Amazon.co.uk – 202 (one of these was me)
Amazon.de – 55
Amazon.fr – 2
Amazon.es – 2
Amazon.it – 1
Amazon.co.jp – 1
Amazon.ca – 7

Rankings:
#4 in Free Erotica on Amazon.com!

#9 in Free Erotica on Amazon.co.uk!

Reviews/Likes
I’ll be honest, I am not sure how many likes I had before the promo so it would be hard to measure any effect. But on 6 and 7 February (while the book was free) I did manage to get two awesome reviews on Amazon.com and one on Goodreads. Also, a few people marked it as “to read” on Goodreads on the 6th.

Resulting sales
It’s too early to tell if now that Just Another Day at the Office – I is no longer free, I might get sales based on how it performed in the rankings. I will post an update about this in a week or two. But, part two, which I launched at the same time as the free promo (with very limited marketing efforts comparatively) managed to achieve quite a few sales in these two days. Some will have been by readers who were already waiting for it to come out, but I suspect that a fair number were from people who may have wanted more of the same story after reading part one.

UPDATE:

18th Feb – Almost 2 weeks after the free promo, I can see a clear trend in my sales on Amazon. Note the graph below. the horizontal axis represents days, 1 being the day I did the free promo. The vertical axis shows the total sales up to that day. (Growth = I’ve sold something, Flat = no sales).

After giving away part one for free on 6 Feb, you can see a sharp rise in sales immediately after, since things have calmed down but I am still seeing more sales than I normally would during times when I’m not actively promoting my work. There is also a little effect on sales of Ladies’ Day, which I haven’t promoted at all for months.

Salesperday


Verdict
This went way better than I expected! I never thought I’d get close to 1000 downloads, never mind exceeding 2100! And hopefully using the free giveaway as a hook to get readers to try out more of my work will pay off beyond these few days as well. I’ll definitely do this again, whether with the same book or something new perhaps.

The Amazon Free Promotion Experiment

My last blog post, for those who read it, already announced that I have self published my first ever work on Amazon. For better of for worse I opted to enroll in KDP Select which means I can choose to give away the ebook for free during 5 days in each given 6 month period.The downside is I am locking myself into an agreement to exclusively sell on Amazon, and not on any other ebook market places such as Smashwords, Apple iBooks, etc.

Now, obviously I’d prefer people to buy it so I get paid royalties, but I have read on other author’s blogs that a free promotion can do wonders for future book sales. So I thought I’d give it a go.

For 24 hours yesterday, my ebook, “Ladies’ Day” was available for free on Amazon Kindle. Now I was planning to be very productive and promote this fact on Facebook and Twitter, and also on this blog, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

Instead of waking up fresh and ready to spam the internet, I woke up with a terrible sinus headache and opted to stay in bed all day. I didn’t post a single link to my book page, didn’t tell a soul that it would be free for 24 hours. Though not ideal, at least I figure this free promotion can serve as a benchmark for any future marketing I do. And for the benefit of other self publishing authors out there, I decided to publish my figures for what might happen when you give away an erotic story (normal price $0.99 or so) without doing a single bit of promotion for it.

Downloads:
Amazon.com – 87
Amazon.co.uk – 33 (one of these was me)
Amazon.de – 11
Amazon.fr – 1

Rankings:
No idea what it was like yesterday but this morning I was ranked 98 in the Amazon.co.uk Free Bestsellers within the Erotic fiction category. My book was nowhere to be found in the Amazon.com bestseller list. This tells me that potentially the market for Erotica in the UK is very small, if I can make it into the top 100 with only 33 downloads.

Reviews / Likes:
I don’t see any discernible increase in Likes on my book, but then I haven’t really been keeping tabs a lot on how many likes I had before. There have been no reviews.

Verdict:
I have no idea yet if this was worth it. But it seems once you start giving stuff away for free, someone or other will notice and download it. This alone is quite promising. I’ll have to assume that at least some of the people who got a free copy will read it, at least in part. And just maybe they’ll later be inclined to leave a review, even if it’s negative.

On the other hand, the next time I do a free promotion, I hope to actually manage to plaster my link all over Facebook/Twitter and maybe websites that list free ebooks. And if I do that, I should be able to see fairly easily if the downloads I’m getting are similar to these current figures, or if there will be a visible increase in downloads due to the social marketing efforts I’ll be putting in.

2 Weeks later:
Although of course I was very pleased that I managed relatively many downloads with zero promotion, it’s the commercial results that count. To be honest there haven’t been any that I could find.
No reviews as a result of the free promotion.
No increase in sales that could be attributed to the free promotion.

Next time I give away my book for free and actually advertise that fact, I’ll write another post which should show a dramatic difference in exposure and hopefully an increase in sales by the end of it.