Sunday, 15 November 2015

Impersonator - Forager Impersonator Trilogy Book 1

Now Available on Kindle & Paperback for 99c

* A Novel Set in the World of Peter R Stone’s Forager Trilogy *
Cover art by Indie Designz

A century after a global nuclear war, eighteen-year-old Chelsea Thomas has spent her life living in fear of Newhome’s paramilitary Custodians, due to a prohibited rogue ability.

In the past week, her twin brother – a forager – has uncharacteristically ran away from home and work after the mysterious death of a teammate; something has scared her normally unflappable father half to death; and their family is threatened with eviction.

But her brother’s disappearance presents her with a long-sought after opportunity to escape the prison town, since only the foragers – all men – are allowed to leave the town. All she has to do is impersonate her brother long enough to make her escape while foraging out in the ruins.

But she never counted on the kindness of Ryan Hill, a forager new to the team. Nor on barbaric Skel attacking the team the moment she makes her escape. She has to choose between making good on her escape or saving Ryan and the others.

Twenty-two-year-old Ryan Hill made one mistake at his last place of employment, and that earned the wrath of his fellow workmates, and cost him all of his friends.

Alone and dejected, he begins a new job as a forager, expecting more of the same. But then he meets Chelsea, masquerading as her brother Brandon. And though he falls for her ruse, he sees in her a kindred spirit. Could he(she) spark the beginning of a true, genuine friendship that looks past the faults of the other?

* Impersonator is Book One in a new trilogy set in the world of Peter R Stone’s Forager Trilogy. Although the Impersonator Trilogy starts three years before the events in Forager, it is not a prequel. It will catch up to, carry on, and draw to a conclusion the Forager Trilogy storyline.

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Special thanks to Indie Designz for an absolutely stunning book cover.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Using Kindle Direct Publishing KDP Amazon Marketing Service

Amazon recently made their Amazon Marketing Services available to Kindle Direct Publishing authors. As such, I decided to give it a go on Forager - The Complete Trilogy.

AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) runs a small ad on your book on similarly themed titles. Your book has to compete against titles submitted by other authors, and the authors who have set their Cost Per Click (CPC) highest get the best chance of winning the auction so that their ad shows. I did product-based targeting, putting Forager with similar books such as The Hunger Games, Divergant, and so on.

I initially set a limit of 5c CPC. Received 228 impressions and 1 click, no sales. 10c did just as badly. Then I read that other authors were setting their CPC up to 50c! The problem here is that I also read that it takes from 40 to 150 clicks before you get a sale, and this for a $2.99 Kindle book, which nets 70% profit per sale. If you do the math, at 50c you could pay $20.00 to $149.50 to get one sale. That's not good. Note that 50c is only your maximum bid, you could win the auction at a much lower price.

I eventually ended up setting a CPC lower than 50c, but significantly higher than the original 10c I tried and failed with. To date I have sold 8 copies of Forager - The Complete Trilogy through AMS, with 161,700 impressions, 189 click throughs, costing $50.88. So to get $29.92 sales, with around $20 profit, it has cost me $50.88. The winning CPC rate is around 26c

If I was only interested in profit, I would give up, but I am treating it as advertising. 161,700 impressions is fairly impressive, and the word is slowly getting out about  my book.

Update 17th May '16. I thought that the Kindle Unlimited pages read of my novels were a result of the AMS advertisement. For an experiment, I paused the ad for a few weeks, and then restarted it. There was no difference in the number or pages being read. I have now cancelled the ad.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Forager Cover Art

Forager - the Complete Trilogy (A Post Apocalyptic/Dystopian Trilogy) Kindle Edition

* This is a professionally edited, updated version of Forager - the Complete Trilogy, uploaded to Amazon on 21st May'15. * 

Forager - the Complete Trilogy - for one low price.
* 230,000 words and 823 pages.

The dull drudgery of twenty-year old Ethan's life is shattered when he rescues a mysterious Japanese girl from Skel savages while out foraging in the post-apocalyptic ruins of 2122AD Melbourne.

When he takes the girl back to Newhome, she breaks the town's rigid conventions in her attempts to get to know him, risking the dire wrath of the Custodians.

And though he knows the rules - that no man is permitted to be alone with an unmarried woman - there is something about the girl that completely captivates him.

Meanwhile, the Skel are ramping up their attacks on Newhome's foraging teams and infesting Melbourne's ruins in ever-greater numbers. Is this part of a larger plan that could spell the town's doom?

* This is a professionally edited, updated version of Forager - the Complete Trilogy, uploaded to Amazon on 21st May'15. *

Friday, 27 February 2015

How to Run a 99cent Kindle Countdown Deal Sale

If you enroll your book in KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing Select) you can enroll your book in two types of promotions. You can run either a Free Book Promotion or a Kindle Countdown Deal. To my understanding, you are permitted to enroll a book for 7 days per three month period, into either or both of these promotions.

Kindle Free Book Promotions

A quick word about running a Free Book Promotion. Unless your book is the first of a series and you have already published one or more sequels to the book, don't waste your time.

The first time I ran Forager Book One in a Free Book Promotion, I saw 800 copies downloaded, and zero follow-on sales. However, once I had published Infiltrator, Forager Book 2, I put Forager for free on B&N, iTunes, Kobobooks, Free-Ebooks and Smashwords, and Amazon soon followed suit by price matching the book to zero. Since then, I have promoted Forager Book One on numerous free and paid advertising websites, and have seen consistent follow-on sales of both Infiltrator, Forager Book 2 and Expatriate, Forager Book 3. In conclusion, the best way to sell the first book you write is to write a sequel, and then promote the first book on its free days or price-matching free days, which will then sell the sequels.

Kindle Countdown Deal Promotions

Websites The Complete Forager Trilogy was submitted to during its 99c Kindle Countdown Deal.
Once I had completed all three titles in the Forager Trilogy, I combined the three titles together to form The Complete Forager Trilogy. I decided to enroll The Complete Forager Trilogy in a 99cents Kindle Countdown Deal. I was treating my book as a 'new release,'  and the prices listed below are what I believe I paid at the time. Note that prices are subject to change, and vary according to the book's genre and promotional package ordered.

Digital Book Today $30.00
Readcheaply Free
Bargain Booksy $35
eBook Lister $10.00
eReader News Today $15
Korner Konnection Free
Flurries of Words Blogspot $5.00
People Reads $8.99
The Fussy Librarian $14.00

This is a snapshot of The Complete Forager Trilogy's ranking on Amazon's Best Sellers Rank list just after it had hit its highest point (it had got up to 2,450) durinng the Kindle Countdown Deal week. I sold over 230 copies of the book. Unfortunately, I do not know which of the listed websites brought in the greatest numbers of sales, apart from eReader News Today, which brought in 89 downloads in one day.

More Comprehensive List of Sites to Submit a 99cents Kindle Countdown Deal

Here is a more comprehensive list of websites to which you can submit your ebooks to during a 99cent Kindle Countdown Deal. Note that prices are subject to change, and vary according to the book's genre and promotional package ordered.

Addicted to eBooks free but queue
Ask David $15?
Author Marketing Club $49 for a day
Awesome Gang $10 $35
Bargain eBook Hunter $15
Best eBooks Free free
Book Basset $22
Bookbub Many options
Book Goodies free Book Gorilla $50
Book Sends $40
Books on the Knob free
Digital Book Today Many options
eBook Lister from $5 to $20
Ereader Utopia from $5 to $15
eReader News Today/ $15
 Fiverr BKnights $10
Free Kindle Books and Tips $25
Flurries of Words from $5 to $15
Free Discounted Books Varies
Girl and Kindle Book Promos $5 and up
Kindle Nation Daily $99 +
Korner free
People Reads $8 and up
Pixel Scroll $15
Read Cheaply free submission
Sweet Free Books $5
Sweeties Picks $5
The Fussy Varies
The Kindle Book Review $40

Things to Note:

Important Note - Many websites recommend that you increase your Kindle book's price immediately before the Countdown Deal, and then lower it immediately after the sale. eg. Book's price is normally $2.99. You change it to $5.99 before the sale so that when it is discounted to $0.99, it seems a better deal. After the sale you change the price to $2.99 to try to keep sales going. Please note that Amazon have clamped down on this unscrupulous practice. If you change the price on a Kindle book, KDP will not permit you to enter the book into a Countdown sale for the next 30 days. Furthermore, as soon as a Countdown sale is concluded, the book's price is locked for 2 weeks.

Bookbub is reputed to be the best place to submit Kindle books on their free days and Countdown Deal days. Sadly, I cannot personally report on their results, because each time I submitted a book to them, the rejection email came back so quickly that the ink had not yet dried on the submission I'd sent to them. Things that may help in your book getting accepted by them are: have a professional looking book cover, have the book professionally edited, have a ton of 5-star reviews.

Facebook boost page/post advertisements. I tried once, and got back 10% of the 'likes' per $5.00 that Facebook had anticipated I would get. None of those 'likes' equated to sales/downloads. I cancelled the ad before the day was out.

Facebook Groups. There are many Facebook groups for authors to post their books during their free or 99c days. However, be aware that most of the people who follow those groups are authors and therefore have zero interest in the books you post on the group's page.

Fiverr. Be careful of Fiverr ads. Some ads promise top results, but when you examine the sites they submit your book to, you may find that they submitted your book to sites that require payment, such as Bookbub. And as they obviously did not pay, those submissions were ignored.

Twitter. Firstly, I would like to thank all who tweeted and re-tweeted my tweets about the Forager line of books. However, on only a couple of occasions when my book was tweeted as being free was there a small increase in downloads, and when the trilogy was tweeted at 99cents, there were zero sales. And to be honest, it is no surprise. So many twitter accounts follow 2,000 accounts and have 2,000 followers themselves. Unless you are a celebrity, your tweets simply get lost in the crowd.

Banner Ads, I tried this once on a website that had high traffic, but it resulted in zero downloads of Forager, even though it was advertised as being free on the ad. Let's be honest, when is the last time you clicked on a banner ad?

Book Blog Tours sound promising, but I had no success with them. I submitted Forager to a promotional book blitz tour when it was $2.99. It was featured on 37 websites, but resulted in zero sales. A mere 8 people listed it on their to-read list on Goodreads. One positive thing from book blog tours, though, is that some of the hosting sites may review your book. Although Forager got a few reviews that way, most bloggers simply listed an except from the book rather than reading and reviewing it.

I have also had a great deal of experience in promoting Forager after it was price matched by Amazon to free. Since then I have seen over 6,500 copies downloaded. I may at some stage write a post about which sites I used and the successes I had with them.