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Old 01-22-2011, 01:10 PM   #1
JulieMack
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Success Stories with Publishing on Amazon

Hi,

I just wanted to ask if anyone has published an eBook on Amazon and had create success with selling it there?

If, so any tips or advice.

If not, why do you think that is?

Thanks!
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:12 PM   #2
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This would probably be better off in the Writers' Forum. Would you like me to move it for you?
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:29 PM   #3
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Sure - thanks!
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Old 01-22-2011, 01:31 PM   #4
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Moved.
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMack View Post
Hi,

I just wanted to ask if anyone has published an eBook on Amazon and had create success with selling it there?

If, so any tips or advice.

If not, why do you think that is?
Hi again, Julie:

Well, I didn't create my ebook on Amazon. I created it in Smashwords and they sent it to Amazon. I did, however, produce the paperback in Amazon's CreateSpace, and that was easy.

Success with selling it? Well, I can't claim that - yet. Hope someone who can will come in with their secrets. My lack of success could be any one or more of the following:

1. It's a crappy book that no-one wants to read
2. It's a good book that no-one wants to read
3. It got lost in the 200000+ new books published every year in the US alone
4. It's too early to tell
5. It didn't have the PR power of a big publishing house behind it
6. I didn't know how to tag it well to get it on everybody's search list
7. The cynics and vultures who circle around in MR will come up with a bunch of other excuses that I've forgotten or suppressed.

I think 3 is very important, probably followed by 5 and 6.
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Old 01-22-2011, 07:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James_Wilde View Post
Hi again, Julie:

Well, I didn't create my ebook on Amazon. I created it in Smashwords and they sent it to Amazon. I did, however, produce the paperback in Amazon's CreateSpace, and that was easy.

Success with selling it? Well, I can't claim that - yet. Hope someone who can will come in with their secrets. My lack of success could be any one or more of the following:

1. It's a crappy book that no-one wants to read
2. It's a good book that no-one wants to read
3. It got lost in the 200000+ new books published every year in the US alone
4. It's too early to tell
5. It didn't have the PR power of a big publishing house behind it
6. I didn't know how to tag it well to get it on everybody's search list
7. The cynics and vultures who circle around in MR will come up with a bunch of other excuses that I've forgotten or suppressed.

I think 3 is very important, probably followed by 5 and 6.
LOL - thank you for your honest feedback. Did not know you could publish from Smashwords to Amazon - are you seeing sales on Smashwords?
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Old 01-23-2011, 10:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMack View Post
LOL - thank you for your honest feedback. Did not know you could publish from Smashwords to Amazon - are you seeing sales on Smashwords?
Nope. So far it's only the free downloads. If they all buy a copy, I'll be able to afford a luxury pizza and maybe a can of coke.

Doing better with the paper version, also at Amazon. I've sold one there. It was the one I bought myself to send to my granddaughter. It was actually cheaper to buy one copy at $12.99 and have Amazon ship than to pay $6 and some cents and have CreateSpace send it via the US postal service.

In the near future I'm going to work out a breeze of a marketing plan which will turn things around.

But seriously without the publishing houses behind you, or some serious luck with reviews, I think you're talking small change for indie-publishing. You do it for love, not for money. Someone I regard as a success and have as one of my role models is K C May, whom you will meet on here. I saw that she had a give-away deal on her latest book, to see how many would be sold, sorry, given away in a week. The figure was slightly over 300 books. It would be interesting to know how many would have stuck with it at, say $0.99, $1.99 and $2.99. I think you have to be with a publisher to go much beyond that price and still see sales, but I 'd be glad if someone in here with more experience will come in and correct me, and give us all some hope.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:15 AM   #8
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I think you've hit the nail on the head there, James. Free downloads tell you nothing about how good (or otherwise) your book is; there are many people who are just "hoarders" who will download anything that's free for no reason other than it is free. It's only by asking people for money (even if it is only 99c) that you'll get an indication of what people think of your work.
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Old 01-23-2011, 11:21 AM   #9
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There are quite a few Amazon success stories out there (look up Amanda Hocking, Stephen Leather & J.A. Konrath, for example).

My own books are also selling reasonably well on Amazon. I will say that there is no magic bullet. Like actually writing the book - you have to set goals, plan, research and be very determined.

Also what works for one person, won't work for others. It is also, for most people, a slowish burn process. Selling the first 100 books is slow and difficult but once you have sold more than a 1000 it gets easier (partly because you know better what works, but also your book likely has reviews and is getting known).

Some basics though:

Title, cover, genre and description. You need to get all of these right to establish credibility.

James, I think your title is intriguing but I'm struggling to connect it to the description.

I quite like your cover. Again I'm not sure it the pic really goes with the title. Personally I might go closer in on the house and bring up the saturation a little.

Description. The description on Amazon isn't really selling the book to me. Descriptions aren't really descriptions - they are a promise. And what you should be promising is a few hours of quality entertainment to the right audience so you need to use the right language (suitable to the genre) to draw readers in.

Genre. Not really sure from the description on Amazon what the genre is. It says romantic drama on Smashwords as a tag - what's it comparable to Cold Mountain, Twilight or something else?

James, I couldn't find your Kindle book on Amazon which is perhaps why it isn't selling. I suggest you bypass Smashwords and upload it directly as other authors often have the same problem with it taking forever to appear there via Smashwords.

Your paperback has no tags which'll definitely make it harder for people to find it. Join the tagging thread on this board once you have some.

Create an author page via authorcentral.amazon.com (and also authorcentral.amazon.co.uk).

Run some giveaways. Particularly via Goodreads - and also via other popular blogs. I would be very happy to run one on my own blog if you drop me a PM (I have run giveaways for UK and US bestselling authors). These won't guarantee reviews but will certainly help get your book noticed. Note a giveaway isn't the same as making the book free as the scarity creates demand.

Get some reviews. See RedAdept in particular.

Last edited by greencat; 01-23-2011 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:55 PM   #10
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@Greencat.

Thanks a jillion for these points. I'll give them a lot of thought. I've been worried about several of them myself, but it's good to get someone else's confirmation.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:25 PM   #11
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Smashwords still has issues to work out with Amazon before they get any books up there. I prefer going through Amazon directly anyway, unless I wanted to post something free. The Kindle Direct Publishing system (formerly DTP) doesn't allow prices below $0.99, whereas smashwords does.

Also, if you want to sell books, find reviewers who review books in your genre and follow their submission guidelines. Get your name out in the blogosphere in front of reader eyes. Your name is your brand. Sign up on Goodreads, Shelfari, and LibraryThing. Post giveaways (contests don't work). Write a blog. Network with other writers in multiple places.

It's a LOT of work, but it will be worth it in the end. And you have to have patience. Success doesn't happen overnight.

Good luck!
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Old 01-24-2011, 06:45 AM   #12
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Julie, there's another thread on the same page as this (it's been moved, don't know where, but you can get to it via the original link) called "Help with Marketing". I think it's that one which has a couple of useful pages linked by K C May. I found them worth bookmarking and/or copying and saving.
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Old 01-24-2011, 08:57 AM   #13
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"Help with Marketing" was merged with "Marketing: What Works," since that is the older and more established thread.

It is located in this Writers' Forum, and may be clicked on right here:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=108506


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Old 01-24-2011, 09:34 AM   #14
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If you're looking for success stories and viability of independent publishing through Amazon and Smashwords, Joe Konrath is a good one to look at.

http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2010/1...es-and-no.html

Though in this post he also highlights the bajillion other authors who are up and coming with sales. With the proper skills, it is a viable way to make a living.
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:46 AM   #15
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Description. The description on Amazon isn't really selling the book to me.
Same for me, I found the description very confusing and vague. Is this an Eastern-Western romance? An ugly duckling-turned into- a swan story when the Chinese girl heads West? A coming of age story of a young girl/boy, etc.

I was itching to rewrite the description (after I had a bit more info)...

I liked the cover actually, it showed a sort of East-West fusion for me.
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