The End of Magic challenge, week 17 – Where The Hell Have I Been??

On 9th July I made a big ol’ public declaration to sell a thousand copies of my fantasy novel The End of Magic by Christmas, and I promised to keep folks in the loop with the ups and downs of sales and marketing with a weekly update.

A few caveats…

  • I can only do this in the USA… Unbound have the UK rights and I have no visibility on sales other than the twice yearly statements.
  • I’m going to stick with Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.
  • I’ll be counting both Kindle and Paperback sales.
  • Here’s week seventeen!

The more observant of you may have noticed a lack of updates in the last… ooh, let’s see… TWO MONTHS?!

What happened? Where have I been?

A few days after my last update, I got a long-awaited email from my lovely agent Ed Wilson. He had read the draft of my new book… and he had notes. Lots of notes. All good stuff that I was keen to get my teeth into, so I dug in and got started. On top of that I was also working on…

Those are my excuses and I’m sticking to them. But seriously, the book rewrites have been soaking up almost all of my time and energy. It’s been hard work, but I think it’s been worth it. The book is with a beta reader now, which might mean a bit more tweaking before it goes back to my agent, but the bulk of the work is done before it goes out on submission (I hope).

So what happens when you don’t do a single bit of marketing for two whole months? This… this happens…

Hmm. It’s almost as if Amazon has rigged it so that if you don’t spend ad money you won’t sell any books… hmm.

What to do now? Do I call it quits and focus on the next thing? That’s tempting. There are only forty days till Christmas. I’ve sold 137 copies and I need to sell 863 copies – that’s about 21 copies per day. It ain’t gonna happen.

But… dagnammit, I worked too bloody hard on this book to give up on it now, and it’s a good book. I get genuinely good reviews from readers. One big lesson from promoting Back to Reality earlier this year is that throwing money at Amazon does, sadly, work. We sold over a thousand copies in six months and we did that by spending about a grand on ads, which gave us visibility and momentum and it improved our ‘also boughts’ on Amazon, which is crucial. And we’ve not spent a penny since and we’re still selling a few copies every day at full price because of that momentum and visibility, so we’ve almost made all that money back.

Also, the option was renewed on my TV thing, so I have a bit of cash to splash.

Screw it. I’m going on an ad spending frenzy. I know not everyone can do this, but I’m running out of time. Let’s see what damage a grand can do between now and Christmas. Hold on to your hats, folks. There will be an update next week!

If you would like to help, then please do any of the following:

Buy a copy here in the US, or here in the UK

Tell your friends about the book

Leave an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads.

The End of Magic challenge, week 10 – Sales, glorious sales!

On 9th July I made a big ol’ public declaration to sell a thousand copies of my fantasy novel The End of Magic by Christmas, and I promised to keep folks in the loop with the ups and downs of sales and marketing with a weekly update.

A few caveats…

  • I can only do this in the USA… Unbound have the UK rights and I have no visibility on sales other than the twice yearly statements.
  • I’m going to stick with Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.
  • I’ll be counting both Kindle and Paperback sales.
  • Here’s week ten!

Blessed be fantasy author Michael R Miller, for it is he who broke my duck, popped my sales cherry, rang my bell, and gave me water after the longest drought. In other words, Michael was kind enough to include my book in his latest newsletter and got me a dozen or sales this week…

More proof, if we needed it, that the key to publishing success is to get your book onto a more successful friend’s newsletter. And hey, if you love fantasy or LitRPG then check out Michael’s stuff, because he’s amazing and he even started his own publishing house!

This was part of a week-long 99c/99p promotion, so these aren’t massively profitable sales, but they have got the momentum going again which is half the battle. I did ask Unbound, my UK publisher, to drop the price to 99p for the same period. They dropped it to 92p for about three days and then put it back to £1.87. I’m sure there’s some solid gold logic to this, but for the moment it escapes me.

You may recall in last week’s update that I was sinking in the search results. When you typed in “The End of Magic” on Amazon I was coming fourth and below the line…

To combat this I started a KDP campaign focusing solely on winning back that search result and I’m delighted top announce that after a week I am in fact… still fourth… But I swear that just a few days ago I was second! Really! I think this is an ongoing battle that may never end, but it has got me a few sales…

I think I’ll keep this campaign simmering away on the background as it might prove to be more profitable over time.

I also dipped back into David Gaughran’s excellent book Strangers to Superfans to get some inspiration, and I realised it was time to give The End of Magic’s blurb a bit of a refresh. For this I went to the wonderful BXP Group* on Facebook for their feedback and I was not disappointed. Their advice was considered and incredibly helpful.

*For those who don’t know, the BXP Group is a closed group exclusive to Chart Topper patrons of the Bestseller Experiment podcast. It’s a small group of really engaged writers who are now getting deals, bestsellers and awards and they really are the nicest, smartest bunch of people you’ll meet online.

Here’s the new blurb…

… and I’m still getting feedback from the group, so there will be further tweaks. Again, I think this is something that will need constant attention.

Another bit of good news is that I finally got a new customer review on Amazon USA…

Short and sweet – thank you, Tiffany!

That takes my total to 7 reviews with an average of 4.6/5. I still need more, so if you’re in the US and have enjoyed the book, do please leave a few words. It makes all the difference to the book’s visibility.

In the UK I now have 29 reviews with an average of 4.8/5. And many thanks to David H for this magnificent review…

The only disappointment this week has been the massive drop in Kindle Unlimited page reads…

Only 14… I had nearly 800 last week

Again, visibility is the key to upping these, so I need more reviews and more sales generally.

Here’s a summary of last week’s sales…

Kindle units sold: 19

POD Paperbacks: 0

Kindle Unlimited Pages read: 14

Royalty: $5.95

Advertising spend total: £4.94

And here’s the running total…

Kindle units sold: 112

Kindle Unlimited Pages read: 10,839

Royalty: $52.93

Advertising spend total (since 9th July): $468.94 (and £105.81 in GBP)

AMS: $108.73

Bookbub: $272.70

Still 888 units to go!

That’s 9 a day between now and Christmas.

Thanks again for all your messages of support and to everyone who’s bought the book or spread the word.

If you would like to help, then please do any of the following:

Buy a copy here in the US, or here in the UK

Tell your friends about the book

Leave an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads.

I’ve just finished with a client on a writing project and now have a slot available on my writing services schedule. If you’re looking for feedback on your novel or screenplay, or maybe you just need a second opinion on that submission letter that you’re sending to agents, I offer all kinds of services for writers at all stages in their careers. There are more details here.

The End of Magic challenge week 9, War of the Keywords

On 9th July I made a big ol’ public declaration to sell a thousand copies of my fantasy novel The End of Magic by Christmas, and I promised to keep folks in the loop with the ups and downs of sales and marketing with a weekly update.

A few caveats…

  • I can only do this in the USA… Unbound have the UK rights and I have no visibility on sales other than the twice yearly statements.
  • I’m going to stick with Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.
  • I’ll be counting both Kindle and Paperback sales.
  • Here’s week nine!

A busy week of writing for me, which means I’ve only had one eye on the challenge, so all that’s really happened is a continued trickle of newsletter subscribers thanks to the StoryOrigin promo (which you should definitely check out if you’re a fantasy fan – so many free books!)

However, I did notice something disturbing... You may recall that in last week’s update I was pondering whether or not to return to Amazon ads to boost sales of The End of Magic. By mid-morning that day I had pretty much decided against it, but a few days later I decided to check where I was coming in the search results on Amazon.

I opened a new tab, switched on my VPN and connected as if I was in the USA, typed “The End of Magic” into the Amazon search bar, and this is what came up…

Fourth! Bloody fourth! That’s below the line, too, so if the searcher can’t be bothered to scroll down (and few do) then I’m completely lost! I have to win the War of the Keywords. And how do you do that…?

Bloody Amazon ads.

It’s almost – almost! – as if the whole system is rigged to make you pay for Amazon ads. Hmm.

So I ran a keywords report on Publisher Rocket and I’m now running ads at $2-per-day to see if I can get back to the top of the search results. Grr. I’ve only been running them for a couple of days, so nothing yet. Even the KU page reads are drying up…

Here’s a summary of last week’s sales…

Kindle units sold: 0

POD Paperbacks: 0

Kindle Unlimited Pages read: 788

Royalty: $0

Advertising spend total: £2.86

And here’s the running total…

Kindle units sold: 98

Kindle Unlimited Pages read: 10,825

Royalty: $46.98

Advertising spend total (since 9th July): $464.00 (and £105.81 in GBP)

AMS: $102.78

Bookbub: $272.70

Still 902 units to go!

That’s 8 a day between now and Christmas.

Thanks again for all your messages of support and to everyone who’s bought the book or spread the word.

If you would like to help, then please do any of the following:

Buy a copy here in the US, or here in the UK

Tell your friends about the book

Leave an honest review on Amazon or Goodreads.

Oh, and I’ve just finished with a client on a writing project and now have a slot available on my writing services schedule. If you’re looking for feedback on your novel or screenplay, or maybe you just need a second opinion on that submission letter that you’re sending to agents, I offer all kinds of services for writers at all stages in their careers. There are more details here.

The End of Magic – week 2

Another week passes and I’m currently at 35% funded with 73 wonderful backers. A big welcome to everyone who’s joined the adventure in the last week. Your pledges mean the world to me.

I’m also amazed to see that the ‘Be in the book’ pledges have sold out! Thank you Craig, Phill and Andy… I look forward to giving you all glorious deaths on paper very soon.

I’m currently hitting my target of 1% per day, and if we keep this up then we should be fully funded on 4th May, so if you’ve already pledged please continue to spread the word and let any fantasy fiction fans you know that the book is coming. Word of mouth is the best way to help make this happen. Here’s the link: https://unbound.com/books/end-of-magic/

We discuss The End of Magic and how Unbound work in this week’s episode of The Bestseller Experiment podcast. Have a listen here… http://bestsellerexperiment.com/unbound-and-the-end-of-magic/

 

 

We had one of those Youtube live show thingies on the podcast this week…

I’m often stopped in the street and asked, “Hey, Mark. How do those Youtube live show thingies work on the podcast? They look so much fun. How can I get involved, man?”

And I say, “Dude, it’s an exclusive for our Patreon thingy supporters. They get first dibs on all sorts of cool stuff, like the Youtube live shows where they can ask me and Mr. D questions about writing and publishing and stuff, and interact with us via the miracle medium of the Youtubes. We talked about how long your project should be, how to find other writers who will give you feedback, the kinds of deals a debut author can expect from a publishers and tips on building your mailing list, and there’s a whole long debate about swearing. It’s a fuckin’ gas, baby.”

“But can’t I just download the edited highlights a week later on the podcast?”

“Yeah, and that’s a stone groove, but nothing beats actually being there, and you get live pictures on the Youtube and sometimes people get naked.”

“Really?”

“No. Tell you what just check out the highlights of the last show here, and then sign up to our Patreon. It’ll totally wang your doodle.”

*

PS. We wrote a book. You might like it. Others do…

SHANNON MAYER

We got Mike and Linda Carey on the podcast!

I first met Mike Carey about ten years ago. We shared the same agent at the time, and have to admit I struggled to reconcile this friendly, soft-spoken man with comics like Lucifer and Hellblazer, but I soon learned that people who write horror stories tend to be the nicest and most well-adjusted creative types out there. Having written a few horror scripts myself, you soon find that you can put all your anxieties and dark thoughts on the page where they belong.

I was delighted to finally interview Mike and his wife Linda for The Bestseller Experiment podcast, and we cover some key topics, including…

  • How comics can help you structure a story, and the key differences between comics, novels and screenplays
  • How co-writers can find a single voice with harmony and negotiation
  • How your short story can evolve into a full-length novel
  • How sequels can evolve from the negative space of the first story

You can listen now here!

If you liked that and want some more, we’ve started having post-podcast deep dive discussions for our Patreon supporters. You can support us and get the extra content here.

And if you’re looking for something to read over the Christmas holiday, then grab a copy of our novel Back to Reality on Kindle now!

Back To Reality quote sheet.006

Four days to go!

And in today’s daily podcast we talk reviews and launch teams. We’re basically begging at this point: please buy our book (BACK TO REALITY, out Monday October 16th!!), and please give us a review… any review… stopping random people in the street counts as a review at this point.

This is longer than most of the other mini-episodes. Mostly we repeat ourselves as the mania increases, we give a big shout out to our amazing launch team, I namecheck a couple of author friends, Kit Cox and Graeme Williams, and then I get a little ranty at the end about mailing lists. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW

Joanna Penn on the Bestseller Experiment

On this week’s podcast we spoke to Joanna Penn, and blimey O’Reilly it’s an episode crammed with a ton of useful information on marketing and social media for authors. I’ve listened to it three times already to transcribe it for the Vault of Gold and it still hasn’t all sunk in.

One small note; we were using Zencastr to record this episode, which is normally as good as gold, but for some reason I sound like a Dalek gargling Listerine for most of it, and then at the very end I sound like I’m trapped in a tin box. Apologies for that. Normal service will be resumed shortly… CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW