Marketing Strategy for 2016: There I go, Pivoting Again

Apropos of one of my 2016 resolutions—to stay nimble when it comes to marketing—I have once again changed my primary marketing strategy for the first part of 2016. In 2014, my main strategy rested on having my series of Victorian San Francisco mysteries in KDP Select and doing monthly 99 cent promotions of each book through the Kindle Countdown tool provided for books in KDP Select. With no new book out that year, this strategy did a great job at keeping the three books in my series visible and selling. Then, in the summer of 2014, when Amazon introduced the subscription service Kindle Unlimited, I found this strategy no longer served my books as well as it had. That was when I decided to switch strategies for 2015. See Time for a Pivot: Kindle Unlimited and Marketing in 2015 for Read more…

Looking forward to 2016

2016 Resolutions: Spend a greater percentage of my time writing: This seems to be a common theme among fiction writers this year. For me, this means putting the writing first, being more efficient with the time I spend marketing, and continuing to use the strategy I developed last year to increase my productivity. This strategy (which consists of alternating between my historical fiction and my new science fiction series so I am writing on one series during the times when I am researching, plotting, and publishing work in the other series­) enabled me to actually double the number of words I wrote last year. Write more but shorter blog posts: I have neglected my blog this year. On one hand, I felt increasingly like I had nothing new to say in the rapidly evolving self-publishing/ebook environment. On the other hand, Read more…

The unexpected effect of the “perma free” strategy on my productivity

In a post entitled Time for a Pivot? I detailed a shift in my marketing strategy for 2015. In 2014, all my books were in Amazon’s KDP Select (which requires exclusivity) and I used the 99 cent Kindle Countdown KDP Select tool as my primarily form of promotion. In December 2014 I took all my books off of KDP Select in order to sell them in a variety of bookstores (Apple, Nook, Kobo, GooglePlay), and for these first six months of 2015 I have been using the perma free strategy (making Maids of Misfortune, the first book in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series, permanently free) as my major promotional tool. I also committed to writing more short stories, getting audiobook editions out for the next two novels in my series, and writing a short story for a new science Read more…

Time for a Pivot? Kindle Unlimited and Marketing in 2015

Everywhere I hang out as an author, I see blog posts discussing the effect of the introduction of Kindle Unlimited (KU) on authors’ sales. For those authors just waking up to this discussion, Kindle Unlimited is the subscription service Amazon introduced in July. Subscribers pay a monthly fee and can borrow all the books they want that are in the KU library. For most books by indie authors to be part of that library, the book must be enrolled in KDP Select. If you have ever read my blog before, you will know that I found that enrolling the books in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series in KDP Select was very rewarding—even though it meant accepting the terms of enrollment that prohibited me from selling my ebooks in other stores. If you are interested, click here for a list Read more…

Maids of Misfortune in German

Notice that Victorian woman on the cover? She looks almost exactly as I picture Annie Fuller, the main protagonist in my Victorian San Francisco Mystery series. Which is lovely, since this is the cover of the new German translation of Maids of Misfortune, the first book in that series. Available now for pre-order, this edition is coming out in print and ebook in exactly a month, on September 2, 2014. So how did this happen? As an independent author, I knew that getting my books translated into foreign languages would be more complicated than if I had a traditional publishing contract and/or agent. And, while I knew of other indie authors, like David Gaughran and Joanna Penn, who were working to find translators on their own (often using a royalty splitting agreement), or using a distributor like Babelcube, which matches Read more…