BTS027, My Revision Plans for Book Two, A Huge Tech Fail, More Amazon Ads, and a Book Promo Update
My Revision Plans for Book Two, A Huge Tech Fail, More Amazon Ads, and a Book Promo Update
There’s light at the end of the tunnel for the second book in my James Lalonde series. I’ve made a tonne of progress this week on fixing the issues in the story arc. In book marketing news, I started dabbling in Amazon ads for the US store. I’m going to share why I turned off the ads on the UK store. On top of all of this, I experienced a few exciting author first’s this week.
So, stay tuned for all of this and much more.
Before I dive into this episode, I just to let you know, this episode was recorded on February 24th, so this show is primarily me looking back at the weeks starting from February 10th, 2020 to February 23rd, 2020.
Book Two Update
I’m excited to announce that I made a decision about the story arc and plot issues, I highlighted in the previous episode. The decision I made means I will need to do a complete rewrite of the novel. Now, that I’ve subtracted a subplot from the story, book two is a short novel of around 50,000 words which is not great. Well, I’m not happy with that one. But, I’ve also decided that by the time the reader gets to the halfway point in the third act, there will still be three possible suspects for the crimes.
After all of this decision making, I created a new scene by scene synopsis for book two. Actually, it’s more like a film treatment than a synopsis, but that’s just me getting technical. Due to the creation of a new list of scenes, I’ve added nine new scenes to the story and cut five scenes. The five scenes were cut because they relate to the romantic subplot that I deleted from the story arc. It was sad to see it go, but I felt that it wasn’t serving the story.
The next step is to go through the suspect’s character arcs and create new scenarios and give them believable motivates to commit the crimes. After this, I need to back through the new scene list and added these changes to the existing scenes. All of this should result in me adding a few extra scenes to the synopsis and outline, or making additions to scenes.
Overall, with all of these changes, I’ve estimated the story will reach, 57,000 word, which still makes it a short novel. However, the story is much stronger, and that’s what matters.
My Revision Plans for Book Two
For this novel, I decided to approach the revisions or in my case rewrites a little differently than I did for Missing. This time, I will revise each scene in order. And, I’m going to pay attention to all the known issues at once, instead of performing multiple passes. But I’ll need to see how it goes. After this, I’ll create an editing checklist and go through the manuscript one last time, before handing it off to my editor. I’m hoping to use the same editor as last time, so this might delay my release date as well.
You’re probably sensing a theme here.
Nevertheless, I need to play this by ear instead of getting hung up on a publishing date, so soon.
Another Price Change
On Monday, February 10th, I changed the price back to $2.99 USD, and I got no sales for an entire week, which was disappointing. But, I think the lack of sales has a lot to do with the fact that I still have no reviews. I realise that reviews don’t really affect sales, but because I’m a new author, my books have no social proof, so at $2.99 USD, the book probably feels like a risk. And, that’s understandable.
In light of that, I’ve decided to bring back the 99 cent sale in every region, until I have at least 10 reviews on Amazon, and at least one on each of the other platforms. A couple of days after bringing back the sale on February 17th, I received another sale on Amazon, on February 19th, breaking my week-long sale draught.
The Book Sales Trap
Throughout these two weeks, I’ve started to feel tempted by KDP. I’ve only sold a small number of copies of Missing across all of the platforms, and a good portion of those sales are from Amazon. At present, Missing has only been on sale for twenty-nine days. That’s a day shy of one month. To be frank, I haven’t done everything I can to market my book. So far, I’ve been avoiding building my email list by advertising my free short story.
A Task for Next Week
Next week, I’m going to ditch my excuses and make a few changes to the chapters released on my blog as posts. The next step I need to take is to share the new posts on my author Facebook page, and boost the post to my predesigned target audience. Before I do this, I might make a few minor tweaks to this audience before I boost the post. In next week’s podcast episode, I’ll let you know how I got on with this as well as any budgeting decisions, and hopefully the results, I’ve received so far.
My Sales Report
Just as a side note, over on my Patreon page, I will release my income report for the last 30 days. It will be a monthly break down of my books sales and the costs of Self-Publishing. The video will be available from March, 7th, which is the same day this podcast episode will be released. If you’re supporting the podcast on the “Pick My Brain” tier which is $2.00 a month plus sales taxes, then you’ll have access to this video in the Patreon feed.
The reason why I’m putting it behind a paywall is, I will be sharing actual sales figures and where the sales are coming from. Most people share a certain percentage of sales come from this store, and from this region, without disclosing the actual sales numbers. And, my inner accounting nerd feels obligated to point out that those types of reports are not income. If you don’t ever share the total number of sales, then the percentages are meaningless. I will point out that my sales are not glamorous by any means, but it’s what I’m getting as a new author.
Throughout the last few weeks, I’ve been carefully collecting data in a spreadsheet which I will go through in the video, in detail. My aim is to share an honest account of self-publishing as a new fiction author who isn’t enrolled in the KU programme.
On February 17th, I paused the Amazon.co.uk product display advertisements campaign that I had started on February 7th. Interestingly, the ads on the UK store weren’t generating conversions and as a result, burned through my daily budget and kept asking for a budget increase. Honestly, it was money down the drain, with very little return. I’m obviously doing something wrong. I just haven’t figured it out, yet.
Advertising on the US store
I sent an email to the KDP support desk because I was having problems starting an advertisement on Amazon.com. KDP got back to me and explained that even though I can see the payment method, I needed to add it again. Even though the response was a bit confusing, I added my credit card again on the advertising platform for the US Amazon store, and it worked. As a result, I started advertising on Amazon.com.
The advert to be approved, but I’m not getting may clicks probably because the US store is quite competitive in terms of advertising space. Throughout the week, I’ve slowly added and changed elements in the product display campaign. Just for the case of clarity, the ads I’m doing display my book in specific categories, and under certain products. For some reason, I didn’t realise you could target both categories and products at the same time. So, that was a bit of a facepalm moment for me.
At the moment, I’m only using product display ads and not the keywords ads because I don’t understand how that works. And I know you need about 300 keywords, and I don’t know how to do that.
Email List Lessons
Actually, I’ve also learned another important lesson that’s worth sharing. I’m not going to purchase email list promotions for lists that don’t segment by genre when you sign up for the advertisement. Because sending out a list of books of multiple genres to all subscribers is not effective, and I feel like I’m throwing money away. But, I will spend money on the email list promotional services that are targeted like Bargain Booksy. And, I will use Book Doggy again, because the sales figures were quite good, considering I’m a new author.
A Few Firsts
In other news, the “also bought’s” have started to populate on Amazon.co.uk but not in the US store. There are only two, but the books are in the mystery, thriller, and suspense genres.
So that’s a win.
In the same vein, as the “also bought’s,” I had my first subscriber from the back of my book. However, they took the free story and unsubscribed. So, I’ve had my first freebie seeker.
And, I’m considering that a win too.
The first two months of 2020 have been plagued with tech issues for me. My MacBook was starting to crash a couple of times a week and was starting to die after four and a half years of service. And, I was wondering whether I would be able to continue recording podcast episode this week. Usually, a Mac will last at least ten years for me, but this computer has travelled a lot and experienced daily use. It’s a bit sad, because I’ve written three books and a short story on my that computer, and I published my first books on their as well.
So, it has sentimental value.
My New iMac
On Sunday, February 16th, my husband talked me into buying an iMac. I told him that I needed a computer for video editing, podcasting, and writing, then I left him to do his nerdy research.
That’s how he likes to do things.
Whereas I’ll buy the cheapest iMac, I see. Which I’m now starting to realise is possibly a mistake. He made a tonne of modifications, including an extra 16GB of RAM and opted for a 1TB SSD Drive instead of the 1TB Fusion Drive, and I got Final Cut Pro—but I don’t know how to use it, yet. My new iMac arrived early on Thursday, February 20th. In the original order, Apple said that it would arrive somewhere between February 25th and February 28th.
My new iMac, moments before unboxing.
Setting up my new iMac via Wifi. ??
So, that’s all of the tasks I completed in terms of writing, book marketing, and email marketing. Over the next few weeks, I will start focusing more on email list building and less on pay per click advertising. Next Saturday, I will release another diary episode, where I will continue to discuss my writing and book marketing endeavours.
If you have any questions or have tips on book marketing that you would love to share with me, please leave them in the comments section, below.
Thank you for listening, and happy reading and writing, everybody.
I’m Amelia. I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Missing, the first book in the James Lalonde series. On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process. Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.