Friday, April 29, 2011

On Panhandling And Rigging The Game - Plus A FREE Crit Offer And A Book Promotion Tip You Too Can Use

(P.S. Empty query queue!)

After the last couple of parties, I've gotten a few emails from some very lovely folk asking why I don't put up a Donate button and/or wondering if there isn't something else they could do. Occasionally, I get those same suggestions from people who submit queries here. After all, I just posted the 80th query yesterday and we've seen 1-2 revisions for many those, as well as 13 synopses and their revisions.

I am humbled by such kind thoughts.

A Donate button, however, makes me squirm. Too direct, I guess. And while cash is always nice, I'm living fine within my budget right now. *salt, wood, fingers*

BUT I am not above an indirect approach or shameless promotion among friends.

Now, I could tell you that simply buying Spoil of War and/or Extinct would be thanks enough. (And THANK YOU to those who have!!)

But I would NOT be doing a good job mentoring if I didn't remind you that's not the best approach to marketing.

Book Promo Tip: Manipulate The Market

Gather 'round my friends, because whether you self-publish or have the backing of giants for the digital editions of your work, I have this to say: Amazon rankings are god. Based on secret algorithms, the rankings determine what additional co-marketing and product placement your book receives. Say you consistently sell one book a day for a month. Nice, but the book will never climb the rankings. If, however, you don't sell any books for 29 days, then sell 30 books on the 30th day, your book will zoom to -- well, it depends on the genre and subgenre and how the competitors are selling on that day in comparison, but the ranking will improve substantially and the likelihood of better product placement increases, which potentially gets some needed momentum going.

Of course, the day of the week matters, too. Folk tend to buy more online at Amazon on the weekend. That means you have to sell comparatively more books to move up the ranks on Saturday or Sunday. So you want to do your pushes -- to the people you can personally reach out to directly or indirectly -- during the work week, preferably right before the weekend. That way you can capitalize on any rank increases at the most optimal time of buying for the general public. And you want to try to get shills valued targeted customers to buy your book on the SAME DAY, or at least within the same couple of days, to have the most impact to your rank.

** Are you getting THIS level of promotional tipping from the OTHER blogs out there? I thought not. **

So, as a fine, practical example, if you feel you've gotten fair advice from this site either through a direct critique or by sucking it up through osmosis and you really want to say thank you, simply purchase Spoil of War and/or Extinct Doesn't Mean Forever on Thursday, May 5, or Friday, May 6. (Don't worry, I'll remind you.)

Get a Free 5-Page Crit

I'll even sweeten the pot by offering a 5-page crit to anyone who purchases both books on those days (or to anyone who has purchased both in the past month)(Just send me an email and let me know; you're on scout's honor -- I believe in you).

  • If you have a Kindle, you'll get a better formatted book and I'll benefit from the ranking thing if you buy direct from Amazon.
  • If you have a nook, you'll get a better formatted book and I'll benefit from the ranking thing if you buy direct from B&N.
  • If you don't have a reader, then buy the PDF from Smashwords. You can read a PDF version on any computer and on a reader if you get one later.
These are DRM free, so if you already own them or the titles aren't your cuppa, you can always gift your purchases. In fact, I'll be happy to trade out one format version for another! If you're reading through a feed, click through and look in the sidebar for direct links to the books in the various stores.

Now, if I put up a Donate button and you even considered donating, you'd give at least $5, right? This way, you're out less and you gain MORE.

Or, as those great Not Sold in Stores ads would put it:

*Offer good through May 6, 2011.
** Based on Extinct retail value of $2.99 on 4/29/11, Spoil of War retail value of $2.99 beginning 6/1/11, and comparable cost of $55.00 on 4/29/11 for a 5-page crit offered at (um, yeah. good luck with that).

Please, please. This is all in fun. No pressure intended!
Just the best compromise I could think of for those who've asked.
THANK YOU just for being a part of this site's community!


Julia B said...

That seems like a great opportunity for me to get those books. I will do as you suggest :-)

Cliff said...

Phoenix, you are missing an important point. I don't own (or want) a Kindle but I bought both these books from Amazon and I can read them, using Amazon's Kindle applications, on my iPhone, my Android, my iPad, my Windows PC or my Mac.

It's still the best format and app for reading ebooks, even if you don't own an actual device.

Michelle4Laughs said...

If I didn't have them already, I'd buy them. Good Luck Phoenix. And thanks for all the help with my queries.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Still getting this new laptop set up and one of the things to try and get done this weekend is the transfer of my Kindle for PC account. Then, oh yeah then, I will be purchasing some wonderful books.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

@Julia: Thanks!!

@M4L: You're welcome! And those other pages are coming soon...

@Sarah: Transferring is easy! It's a simple add then remove. Click the Help link in the upper right of any page, then go to "Your Kindle Content" under "Kindle Help and Tools". You can add a new computer/device from the buy pages, but I recently found this page to remove the old device.

@Cliff: I'm a HUGE advocate of the free Kindle app. I have one for the nook, too. And, like you, I don't own a 'real' Kindle or nook either. I've mentioned the app to a lot of people, and more than half have told me they've ditched it off their computers because it crashed their systems or was slow to load or whatever. I guess I'm a bit gunshy now about mentioning it.

Kay Elam said...

And after we buy and read the books we need to go back to Amazon and review them.

vkw said...

Okay . . . I get helping increase your standing but if someone doesn't have Kindle, Nook, then if I'm getting this right, it doesn't help.

I also understand not having a donate button but what about a paypal button on your site?

If I buy from smashwords, does that help your standing anywhere?

Phoenix Sullivan said...

@Kay: YES! Reviews would be amazing. And thank you for YOURS!

Extinct has 3 now on Amazon US, but Spoil doesn't have any.

On B&N, Spoil has two starred ratings but no word reviews and Extinct doesn't have either.

@vkw: You're right. If someone doesn't have a Kindle or nook or one of their apps, then buying from Smashwords doesn't help ranking-wise because Smashwords isn't set up to do much in the way of cross-promoting.

However, I didn't want Kindle-less, nook-less, app-less folk to feel unloved or to feel like they couldn't get a 5-page crit out of this. So I didn't want to leave them out.

I'll post benchmark numbers before and after because I know a lot of people are interested in real-world sales and what does/doesn't work marketing-wise.

A quick overview of Spoil's paid sales since Apr 1, when it went up for sale:

11 copies - B&N
37 copies - Amazon US
13 copies - Amazon UK
07 copies - Smashwords
68 copies Total

McKoala said...

Oooh, I like the planning. I don't have Spoils of War yet, so remind away and I'll join the gang that weekend!

fairyhedgehog said...

If only I hadn't jumped in and bought them straight away I could be part of this! What a great idea!

Chelsea P. said...


I actually tried to buy Spoil of War through amazon even though I don't have a kindle and they Wouldn't Let Me. Now I can, yayyyyyy!

@Phoenix, this is a fantastic idea!