Author Topic: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?  (Read 3928 times)

LilyBLily

Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« on: January 04, 2019, 12:05:39 AM »
Currently I'm throwing money and effort away trying to goose sales of my books that are wide.

I've tried Bookbub CPC ads. Meh. Maybe 3 or 4 sales for $75 spent?
 
I've tried newsletter ads. They all produce negative ROI. And yes, BookBub has turned down a few submissions of mine. Currently I can't actually afford one of their featured ads, so I'm not trying.

I've tried short-term free. Over 2k downloads, not a single review, no sell through. 

I've tried Kobo promotions. Meh, and most of the time they turn me down. In all of 2018, I sold 4 books through those.

I'm trying Facebook ads again now after listening to a ton of current advice on just exactly how to sell books...that apparently, no one wants to buy. I got one sale out of two ads with 130 clicks and $78 spent, and the clicks cost $0.57 and $0.64 with total combined impressions of 9,700. The sale resulted in a very nice comment on my FB ad, very ego boosting. But no other sales are happening. I just paused them.

I've got a new FB ad running right now and the click cost is only $0.18. I might be able to ascribe 2 sales to it. So far, the ad has cost $3.96, which is a mere $0.16 less than my profit on these sales. But, hey! I'm in the black! Wait. That book is in KU, so it doesn't count. Not wide.

People constantly say that selling wide is work. Please describe the kind of work you have used to produce significant sales wide. And please describe the genres you're selling well in wide, because so far, I've gotten nowhere with women's fiction and contemporary romance and a couple other more obscure niches.   

 
 
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Maggie Ann

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2019, 12:21:44 AM »
I understand that Kobo is inundated with requests to include romance books in their ads and that it's hard to get one of their romance promos.

I have one series direct with Kobo now and I can classify it as a historical mystery. The first books is permafree and the following three are 99c. My sell-thru rate is 1.3% and that includes three of the boxed sets at $2.99. The ad cost me $5 so I'm in the black and I can get a coffee AND a pastry with my profits.

I will be putting a romance series direct to Kobo this week, but I don't have high hopes for it.

Freebooksy does move audios for me, but at $100 a pop, I'm still leaving money on the table.

So, I'll be watching this thread to see if there's something I'm missing.

           
 

Post-Crisis D

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2019, 01:38:34 AM »
Watching too.  By the end of this month, all of my books will be out of KDP Select.  So I need to decide whether or not it's worth it yet to go wide or if I'll just be doubling the work and halving the sales.
Mulder: "If you're distracted by fear of those around you, it keeps you from seeing the actions of those above."
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ragdoll

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2019, 01:54:23 AM »
Caveat, the name I'm posting on has zero books out. It is for thrillers/crime fiction. I will go wide when I release them. Highly unlikely I will advertise. These will also be the first books I didn't do my own covers.

I have 2 other pen names with books published. Both are erotic romance. Any "advertising" I have done on my books was perma-free on serials (gawd I miss those days) or series, or shorts with the exception of three shorts/novellas that were translated last year and the translator was getting a cut as payment. I think it was $100 I did but I had the translator run the ads and didn't bother with looking at what the cost/results were. The translator already had access to far better places on FB to just drop the link. Translations came to approximately 3k gross revenue from the numbers below, most of it on Amazon.

One of the names (and I don't have the income split out) doesn't have any social media. Out of 11 or so books on the name, I have months where nothing for the name sells on Amazon. But it has mostly SF/F so I usually see sales on it on Nook. It also has the oldest, most meh covers from my being a DIY. Maybe this year I'll recover the books, tweak enough to warrant a new ASIN and publish them again.

Depending on the platform, I (eta my primary pen name) have 49 single titles from shorts to novels and 3 collections. Amazon has 52 plus 4 since I decided to try the translations in KU and that turned out to be a dead zone.

I am quasi active on Facebook, nowhere else in terms of reader outreach. I have a newsletter of about 600 subscribers after I nuked my last newsletter of nearly 6k because the rates were too low (was really stupid to nuke it). By quasi active, I interact with readers and other authors, but I think the most feedback I've gotten on a post was a non-book post and it was about 100 reactions, so, really, I suck at facebook. I will post about a new release usually only on release week. I only released 4x in 2018. Those new releases are about 1/4 or less of my 2018 income. The only titles in KU are the translations (again, that's a small part of my income and the page read money is minute).

Anyway--2018 numbers are my lowest since 2011. Assuming my records are correct, those numbers are as follows:

Nook  9019.52
Apple 4991.37
Kobo 4711.94
Google 998.22 (only has about 30 titles on it and I've been adding those slowly over the year, about 1/3 was from the translations)

Amazon 33846.8

I am a proponent of "passive marketing" - genre (niche or big market that can sustain little fish), description, cover (doesn't mean it has to be awesome, it has to be not ugly and conform to genre expectations), title (the billionaire, the doctor, the mechanic, the cowboy -- can you have a normal length title but still have a crucial keyword in it?), and metadata (keywords and the already listed title).

I would add one more - consistency, but I am crap at that. Even when I was writing serials, I would do other books, sometimes longer books, in between the installments (and definitely so with novel length series).

I know people don't talk hard numbers a lot. It's "gauche" but I think advice about spending money should include real talk of money. Someone will come along and say "I make six figures a year because of my marketing." That's nice, but, please clarify. Do you NET six figures?

Finally - before you lay your $ down, consider this recent article. It plays to my confirmation bias, but even I found it eye-opening.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/12/how-much-of-the-internet-is-fake.html
 
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David VanDyke

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Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2019, 02:23:16 AM »
OP--it's hard to know what to say specifically, without knowing what your specific books/covers/genre/niche/style are. There are so many reasons why the tools might not be working for you that without that info, it's hard to say.

I know how I got my stuff to work, but without being able to examine yours, it's tough to know.
Never listen to people with no skin in the game.

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Those who prefer their English sloppy have only themselves to thank if the advertisement writer uses his mastery of the vocabulary and syntax to mislead their weak minds.

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angela

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Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2019, 02:28:05 AM »
You said "short term free" and I think that's the problem. Permafree still works wide.
 
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ragdoll

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2019, 02:42:46 AM »
You said "short term free" and I think that's the problem. Permafree still works wide.

Building on what Angela said, I will add that I didn't do perma-free until I had a total of at least 10 titles. And I would say not just any 10 titles. They were similar titles. I have a mix of contemporary and paranormal. What if I had 8 contemp, 2 paranormal, with none of the ten related to any of the other ten except by genre. And say it was a paranormal I decided to put perma-free? What happens? Maybe I sell a couple more of the other paranormal, but, for the most part, I would have wasted a lot of the eyeballs I pulled in from the perma-free as they would have predominately been interested in only one of my paid titles. I might not have even looked like a paranormal author, such that the brains attached to those eyeballs dismissed so much as the idea of downloading the freebie.

I would think if it's not worth doing perma-free yet because one only has a few titles (or a few titles within the genre), then it's worth even less doing paid advertising.
 

notthatamanda

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2019, 03:01:35 AM »

I've tried short-term free. Over 2k downloads, not a single review, no sell through. 

People constantly say that selling wide is work. Please describe the kind of work you have used to produce significant sales wide. And please describe the genres you're selling well in wide, because so far, I've gotten nowhere with women's fiction and contemporary romance and a couple other more obscure niches.   


No sell is a red flag to me.   Is that a change from when (I'm assuming) you were in KU?  When I went wide, my sell throughs on Amazon remained virtually the same (4% for contemporary romance, 2% for new adult).  To clarify, I used to do 4% and 2% when you combined sales on Amazon and KU pages read, sales picked up the slack when I was out of KU and it is more profitable.  Obviously these numbers are rounded but I have enough history on both trilogies, to be confident in that.  They are very consistent, and consistent on other platforms, except for the New Adult, which the read through is higher on Apple.  I assume younger people read books on their phones and this trilogy appeals to them, but I'm just guessing.

To answer your specific question, I do Contemporary Romance, one New Adult romance trilogy and one women's fiction standalone.  I can't say I'm selling "well" but I am doing much better than I was in KU.   I sold nothing on Kobo until I got the free romance listings.  I probably just lucked out with timing on that one, I keep submitting, but nothing yet.

Why I sell books on Apple, B&N, Google I have no idea. 
 

C. Gockel

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2019, 04:41:11 AM »
I found advertising 99-cents wide was super expensive, and not worth it. They don't convert to paid customers better than free books do, and it's a lot harder to get those 99-cent sales.

I think if you want 99-cents to be your intro price point you're better off in KU.

Permafree has worked really well for me wide. My Archangel sci-fi series conversion is 10% from book 1 > book 2. My I Bring the Fire UF series conversion is 12% from book 1 > book 2. (At $2.99 for Archangel conversion was 80%. For IBF at $2.99 it was 90%. The thing is, at free I give away so many more books than I did at full-priced paid, that I make it up in volume.)

I write super slowly and so I only wait for 3 books to come out to go permafree.


I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
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ragdoll

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2019, 04:56:43 AM »
I write super slowly and so I only wait for 3 books to come out to go permafree.

Three books in a series? That's definitely reasonable, especially with more in same genre.
 

C. Gockel

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2019, 05:16:49 AM »
Three books in a series? That's definitely reasonable, especially with more in same genre.

Yeah, all in same genre would be good...but that isn't what I did.

I have 6 novels, 1 novella, and a bunch of shorts in UF. Also, there are 2 novels that are in that universe that are a little more romancey ... and then I have 4 sci-fi books and 1 novella in my Archangel sci-fi series.

I went wide and permafree at 3 books. Working on Book 5 for that sci-fi series now.

I do have some fans who have read all my UF and all my sci-fi, so there has been some read-thru.


I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
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Jake

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2019, 05:26:12 AM »
Watching too.  By the end of this month, all of my books will be out of KDP Select.  So I need to decide whether or not it's worth it yet to go wide or if I'll just be doubling the work and halving the sales.

In the short term you probably will do double the work and get half the sales. But if you're serious about going wide you shouldn't be discouraged by that. Think long term.
 
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C. Gockel

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2019, 06:45:56 AM »
In the short term you probably will do double the work and get half the sales. But if you're serious about going wide you shouldn't be discouraged by that. Think long term.

If there is inadequate sell-thru from free downloads, it's better to stay in Kindle Unlimited. You can figure that out while you're still in Kindle Unlimited with free runs.


I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
C. Gockel | facebook | tumblr | website
 

Maggie Ann

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2019, 12:14:23 PM »
In the short term you probably will do double the work and get half the sales. But if you're serious about going wide you shouldn't be discouraged by that. Think long term.

If there is inadequate sell-thru from free downloads, it's better to stay in Kindle Unlimited. You can figure that out while you're still in Kindle Unlimited with free runs.

KU died a sudden and untimely death for me which is why I decided to go wide. Anything I make from wide is an improvement over my nearly non-existent KU page reads.

I'm still getting sell-thru on my $5 Kobo promo. Nothing spectacular, but it's my first promo and I'm pleased to have any results at all.
           
 

ashleycapes

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Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2019, 03:52:26 PM »
For me, it's work that's for sure - but after around 4 years my wide income has been climbing and it's currently around 30-40% of my total, though it does fluctuate.


I'm epic fantasy/supernatural suspense/steampunk so that plays a large role, since the epic fantasy has that big pool of potential readers.

What works best for me is certain promo sites (Bookbub of course) that actually cater to a wide readership. I think my audiobooks have made a difference to sales on other platforms too. Always having the links for other retailers for my newsletter and newsletter swaps/group promos make a bit of a difference too. Some recent keyword work in my description on a perma-free helped a bit for me on Google Play.

Joint author anthologies that again, don't focus wholly on Amazon, I think also contribute somewhat.

https://www.amazon.com/Steampunk-Fairy-Tales-Leslie-Anderson-ebook/dp/B01DHKEUXM



I think my approach seems to ad up to casting a really wide net with various possible entry points into my books and then just stubbornly sticking around and releasing more stuff.


Of course, my genre probably plays a bigger role in some ways, than any other single thing I try. For instance, nothing makes my poetry sell and for my ghost story/supernatural suspense it's far less than the epic fantasy, despite me employing the same techniques for the most part.


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fleurina

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Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2019, 09:36:48 PM »
Hello,
I was wide for a while and ironically sold more BEFORE I made the first book in my series perma-free - it was 99p and had started to sell quite well on Apple - then nothing when it cost nothing apart from when I did a Fussy Librarian promo.  Go figure. I was also getting some library borrows.
Just before Christmas, I popped all my books into Select (to make life easier) and now can't wait to get them out. It's the second time I've tried and it doesn't work well (for me). My page-read rate is pathetically low. However, I have not spent much time (or money) on AMS ads. I'm planning more of a campaign when I get the first of my next series out this month.
In 50 days when I get my get-out-of-jail-free pass, I'm going wide and sticking with it no matter how steep the uphill climb.
Okay, that's my two pennies worth.
Good luck to you all - may we all reach the top of the self-publishing mountain.
Jan x


 

LilyBLily

Re: Going Wide is Work, Going Wide Doesn't Work, Which is It?
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2019, 12:31:23 AM »
I have one romance series that has always been in KU. I plan to leave it there. It gets steady reads at a low level because I run an Amazon ad for the first book in the series.

Recently, I did a Kindle Countdown on the series opener when I launched Book 4 in the series and I think the combination pushed sales of the others somewhat. However, each book in the series gets more reads than sales. The only way I think that dynamic might change would be if I made the first book in the series $0.99 permanently and dropped the prices of all the rest to $2.99; there are a lot of $0.99 shoppers. But I'd have to garner four times as many sales versus one read, and I wonder if that would happen.

Once I have half a dozen titles released in that series it might be worth pricing them that low to encourage sell-through. There's no rush. These are not books riding a trend.