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Sunday, February 17, 2019

Conversion rate and funnels.

I came across this article in Reedsy and thought it was worth letting you know about it.

Hi, there 👋
I hope you enjoyed the new look of my Reedsy marketing newsletter last week! I got a lot of good feedback from some of you. As you know, I'm always keen on getting more, so don't hesitate to hit "reply" and let me know your thoughts.

Note: if you're new to Reedsy, this is our weekly book marketing newsletter, where I share one actionable marketing tip a week — i.e. something you can implement right away. You can unsubscribe from it at any point by updating your preferences. If you're staying with me, let’s begin 🙂

The sales formula

Last week, I explained how finding readers is actually all about making sure that readers find you. Or rather, find your book (read here). But that’s only part of the equation.

Once a reader lands on your book's Amazon page, or picks it up from the shelf in a physical bookstore, there's still a chance — a high chance, actually — that they'll put it back, or leave.

I've been running ads for several authors for a while now, and the highest conversion rates I've seen on Amazon book pages (for paid books) have been around 30-35%. This means that for every three readers who visit your book page, two will leave without buying. And this is for exceptional cases. The conversion rate of most books is actually more in the 0%-10% range.

So what do you need in order to sell books? Well, you need people to find your book (traffic), and then you need these people to buy it (conversion).

Which leads us to the famous e-commerce formula: traffic + conversion = sales.

Most authors, when thinking about book marketing, think only about traffic. So my goal in this email is to get you thinking about conversion.

The conversion funnel

Now, you'll probably have heard the term funnel before, but what is it exactly?

In a nutshell, a funnel encapsulates the steps that a consumer has to take before making a purchase. For instance, a car dealership’s funnel for Customer X could look something like:

X views TV ad about new car > X comes to shop to check out the new car > X does a test drive > X buys the car.

At every point in the funnel, the dealership is going to lose potential customers (which is why, you know, this is called a funnel):
  • I might view the ad but don't like it;
  • I might go to the shop and be disappointed by the look of the car; or
  • I might find it horrible to drive. 
In your case, what might this funnel look like?

X comes across your book on Amazon > X looks at the cover and title > X clicks on it > X reads your blurb > X checks out your reviews > X opens the look-inside to read the first few pages > X buys the ebook or paperback!

Not every reader will go through every step. But many will, so the easiest way for you to increase your sales right now is to do a thorough audit of your funnel. As you're doing so, try and identify the steps where you might be losing potential readers. I urge you to take a moment to look at all your books’ pages on e-retailers and see if there are any quick fixes you could make:
  • Is there a glaring typo in your blurb, or in the first few lines of your “look-inside”?
  • Are you using HTML to bold or highlight the first sentence of your blurb?
  • If you have editorial reviews, are you featuring them?
  • Is your author bio (in Amazon Author Central) up to date?
I'm serious about this. 90% of the time, when an author comes to me for marketing, there's something wrong with their funnel. Or at the very least, something that could be greatly improved. The first step in book marketing is not bringing traffic: it’s improving conversion.

Conversion > traffic

While traffic and conversion are both important when it comes to getting sales, I believe that conversion is not only overlooked by authors, it’s actually more important than traffic. A simple change in your blurb might get your Amazon book page to convert at 15% instead of 5%. And this will effectively (and instantly) triple your sales without any additional effort!

More importantly, Amazon rewards conversion. If Amazon detects that a book is suddenly converting well, it'll promote it more. Remember, Amazon's goal is to sell books. So if their system has to choose between two books for a feature in a promo email, which book do you think they'll choose? The highest-converting one.

Now, you can't know what your conversion is on Amazon, but there’s a way to estimate it. And that’s a topic for a future newsletter.

Sorry to leave you on a proverbial cliffhanger, but more on this next week,

Ricardo, Founder @ Reedsy

Monday, December 03, 2018

Something's happening about shrinks.

I found this article and thought it would be of interest to authors. Do we jump to an easy label for our characters? Some TV dramas do, as it fits into the time slot. 

Is it better not to label the people with disorders in your story, but let the reader come to a conclusion as to what's wrong with the person?
What do you think?

Jumping to conclusions for a diagnosis.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Formatting for kindle

Do you find the task of formatting for kindle daunting. I did.

My easy to use guide will allow you trouble free formatting.

  1. Firstly, open your document in Word and make a copy of your manuscript on a zip drive (pen drive) or email it to yourself.
  2. Now select Control 'A' to select your entire document.
  3. Copy and paste this into a new document.
  4. Go to 'Proofing' (I won't go into where to look for this as different versions of Word have it in different places. In the dialogue box click on 'Auto Correct Options'. This will bring a new box up and click on 'Auto Correct' tab and uncheck all the ticks. Do this with 'Auto format as you type.'
  5. Note; if you need to type curly punctuation quotes after you have unchecked everything. Go back to 'Autoformat as you type' and re-check the 'Straight quotes' with 'Smart quotes' box. You can easily uncheck it before saving your document.
  6. I assume that you have page numbers and headers and footers. Remove these.
  7. Do not try to change font size or re-align anything.
  8. Select 'Control' + 'A'. This will select your entire document. Now go to 'Paragraph'  'Indents and spacing' and select single spacing and 'special first line'. 'By' 0.6 cm. 
  9. Select 'Ctrl' + 'F'. Type in 'chapter' and realign the first line of each chapter by clicking on the top arrow and moving it in line with the bottom arrow.
  10. Do the same with any scene breaks.
  11. Now check that you haven't lost any italics or bold lettering. You'll need to fix those either by looking at your original copy of your manuscript.
  12. Now click on the reverse 'P'. This will show up extra spaces between letters in your document and and arrows if you have used the tab key in error.
  13. You now need to go through your entire document and remove these extra spaces, tab arrows and anything else that shouldn't be there. Sounds like a horrible job. Take care not to back space too far and delete text or punctuation.
  14. Now to do this the easier way: Select find by using 'Ctrl' and 'F' keys at the same time. Select 'Special' below. Click on 'white space' twice to go to any double white spaces that shouldn't be there. When you're done select 'Special', 'White Space' and 'Claret Character'. That helps you find every white space that shouldn't be there. Just keep going until you go through all the 'Special' options.

  1. When you're done. Go to the beginning of your manuscript and press 'Control' + 'Enter'. That will give you a new page break. You can insert your title page and your name here with a copyright symbol.
  2. Press 'Control' 'Enter' again. On this page you can put any contributors or acknowledgements.
  3. Press 'Control' + 'Enter' and here you can enter your copyright paragraph. 
  4. If you want a 'Table of Contents' you will need to ensure all your headings are headings by checking them. Go to Outline view or Document map and see if any are not there. If they are missing you'll need to fix this before you can build a TOC. 
  5. Click on 'References' in Word 2013. Select 'Custom TOC as you will need to untick 'Page numbers' and 'Right align page numbers'. Ensure you have ticked the 'hyperlink' box.
  6. Insert a page break after your TOC by using 'Control' + 'Enter'.
  7. If you are missing some page breaks at the end of some chapters, now is the time to do them. Firstly, go to the end of the chapter where you need a page break. Select 'Ctrl' + 'Enter'. Or you can do this by another method. Go to the end of the chapter and select 'Insert' and select 'Page Break.' Again - this will depend on your version of Word.
  8. There must be no more than 4 paragraph spaces anywhere in your document.
  9. If you have section breaks or page breaks where you don't want them, remove them now.
  10. Do not try to start a new chapter with a blank page on the left as it doesn't matter with Kindle and doesn't look good to have blank pages everywhere.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Perma free on Kindle and other sites.

I was of the opinion that giving away your book wasn't never going to get you anywhere. 💁

Wrong and right.👀

If you have one title, then offering this for free isn't going to get you anywhere.

If you have a series, it offers the reader a chance to see if they like what you write. 

Offer them an incentive to read book 2 by giving them a preview via Instafreebie or Book funnel or a similar company. They have to subscribe to your email list to get it. Don't offer this at the front of the book but at the end. If they don't finish the book, they don't get the offer.

Subscriber's are they way forward. 

You can let them know when you're launching a new title. 

Offer them incentives and more.🙌

Happy writing.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Marketing your books - BookBot


There are exciting things happening with Facebook. Recently, they've launched a new product called a Chatbot. It's eary days yet, but the results people are getting are very positive.

What Is a Bot?
"Bot" is a generalized term used to describe any software that automates a task. Chatbots, which anyone can now build into Facebook Messenger, automate conversation -- at least the beginning stages of it."

Authors are getting great results from BookBot Bob.

How does it work?

Bob is a new promo tool with a difference. It does not ask subscribers for an email address. Bob sends readers info about free blurbs + links, and Bookbot Bill sends info about discounted book blurbs + links, both right in Facebook Messenger. Readers decide which genres they want and the boys send them a book in each category. As simple as that. To sign up and check out Bob and Bill’s titles, go to the Bookbot Bob home page and click on the red rectangle that says “Hi Bob!”
FYI, Bob just added an email function for readers who wish to receive discounted pre-order books.
You fill in the form and pay the small amount to book your slot or alternatively, you can support the crowdfunding campaign and get free promos forever.

Thursday, July 06, 2017

What works on Facebook and what doesn't


I recently went to a Facebook meetup in Sydney. 

Things that I learnt from this meetup and other places.

  1. Don't keep posting 'buy my book'. It will turn potential customers off.
  2. Start a conversation. Let people connect with you. Don't expect that your book sales will suddenly go crazy. It's more an organic approach.
  3. Try Facebook Message Bot. It's fairly new and not too crowded yet. You can set this up to funnel your prospective customers to your product.
  4. Post videos which hint at what you do.  
  5. Post offers of free stuff or a competition.
  6. Always remember Facebook is like the old fashioned town square. People meet people and have coffee and discuss the things that interest them.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Smashwords 2017 analysis on book sales

I've just read the Mark Coker annual report on what's happening in the book sales world....

What categories are selling best, what you can do to get those sales happening and what price points work best. 

Surprise, surprise... it's not always the $0.99c price point that drags readers in to become buyers. He has the figures to back up the $4.99, $3.99 and $2.99 price points.