Author Topic: Could our books be competing with one another?  (Read 1972 times)

alhawke

Could our books be competing with one another?
« on: June 21, 2021, 12:52:50 AM »
Is this a dumb assertion? I notice that when I run ads in similar genres some of my books seem to cannibalize the success of the others. Is this my imagination? I'm thinking I'm hallucinating because we're talking about thousands of readers out there. But ... have any of you guys ran a new ad only to see a drop in sales from another? The authors, target books and genres are all the same.
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2021, 12:56:12 AM »
 :doh:

That's always been my understanding.

To run multiple ads side by side, they need totally different targeting.

But I think that's why AMS brought in the ads where you can put multiple books on each ad. That way they don't compete with each other.
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit, with a touch of the Supernatural. Also Spiritual and Games.



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alhawke

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2021, 03:04:41 AM »
Well, I also see a lot of sales on my higher rated books due to if advertising another book. It's like readers pick an choose the way they'd browse a store, which is fantastic cause they still buy, but it makes it tougher to sell older titles. It's all something to consider as I've found some great authors to advertise with, but they're duplicated.

Tweek, I'm really thinking of dabbling with Google ads because of you (you're using them, right?). I've only succeeded so far with BB. You're happy with Google ads?
 

JRTomlin

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2021, 03:43:35 AM »
Is this a dumb assertion? I notice that when I run ads in similar genres some of my books seem to cannibalize the success of the others. Is this my imagination? I'm thinking I'm hallucinating because we're talking about thousands of readers out there. But ... have any of you guys ran a new ad only to see a drop in sales from another? The authors, target books and genres are all the same.
imo that is the wrong way to think about it. If readers like your work, they will usually read all of your novels. The order they read them in doesn't matter that much.

Targeting the same things is a problem and one that the series ads don't solve since not all my novels are in the same series. I will only advertise one novel in a series but then one in another series will have to target the same authors (I usually target authors rather than particular titles) That means I may be driving up the cost of my own ads by bidding against myself, but I don't really see a solution except to only advertise one series.

ETA: By the way, does someone have a link to an explanation of Google ads and how best to target them? I have been reluctant to dip my toes into Google advertising. Most Google users aren't readers, so it would take some hellacious targeting.

« Last Edit: June 21, 2021, 03:51:45 AM by JRTomlin »
 
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alhawke

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2021, 06:47:02 AM »
And what you say about users clicking on a book in your ad and buying a different book is very true. I've found that as well. Although in my case it tends to help sell my old back catalog.
I have one strong selling book and they flock to it--at the expense of the other books (again, not that I don't love sales anywhere  grint ).
imo that is the wrong way to think about it. If readers like your work, they will usually read all of your novels.
I see your point. But for me, though I'm focused on an overriding romance theme in fantasy, I'm also in multiple genres: paranormal, mythical fantasy and sci-fi. So some, but many don't, move onto my other books. For now, I'm playing with pricing and working on excluding certain authors/categories for some ads.
 

alhawke

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2021, 07:00:52 AM »
The genre thing: yes, I know. I don't always make decisions based on marketing. Some of my decisions are over my love for a story, blind or otherwise (I mean, honestly I never thought I'd be so into paranormal but for some reason it works for me). But all my books are flights of fancy with strong elements of romance.

Are such choices a benefit of being Indie or a curse? My hope is that I can push through the marketing obstacles by being prolific. For now, I'm alternating a fantasy/paranormal book every three months. Not sure how long I'll do this. I have a feeling it will dwindle to a primary one. (I often do things the hard way).
 

JRTomlin

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2021, 08:45:14 AM »

I see your point. But for me, though I'm focused on an overriding romance theme in fantasy, I'm also in multiple genres: paranormal, mythical fantasy and sci-fi. So some, but many don't, move onto my other books. For now, I'm playing with pricing and working on excluding certain authors/categories for some ads.
Writing different genres does make a difference. All of mine are some subgenre of HF which is easier.

Figuring out the targeting is important though. You're right about that. I write medieval HF so for example authors who right WWII HF are not good targets for me. It takes a lot of fine-tuning to get even close to right.
 
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alhawke

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2021, 01:30:02 PM »
I think you're touching on that core question of why do we write. For some people this is their primary income source, in which case they'll do what it takes to maintain or grow their earnings. But for others this isn't how they pay their bills.
You and me both. This is not my primary day job. I'd love for it to be some day. Some of us probably need to see shrinks over how much work we put into this biz versus how much we actually get out of it--I surely do. But, yeah, I'm balancing money over "art". I often think that if I did win the lottery and got a sudden break with my writing, ironically, my art and creativity would suffer for it. And I also like to reflect on how awesome our freedom of expression is in writing Indie novels. I'm not sure you can find such freedom of expression anywhere else right now.

{edited for clarity
« Last Edit: June 21, 2021, 01:38:33 PM by alhawke »
 

notthatamanda

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2021, 08:47:23 PM »
:doh:

That's always been my understanding.

To run multiple ads side by side, they need totally different targeting.

But I think that's why AMS brought in the ads where you can put multiple books on each ad. That way they don't compete with each other.
AMS says that if the ads come from the same account they don't bid against each other. I've tried it, testing different ad copy with the same keywords, still got clicks below my bids.
 
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Crystal

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2021, 05:24:20 AM »
People say readers will read all your books, but I'm starting to doubt this.

I think most readers will read some of your books.

Whenever I do an informal poll, most of my readers have read some of my books, not all. And these are readers who are already on my mailing list or in my Facebook group, who are interested enough to answer a question or fill out a form.

Most people don't go back and read your entire backlist, especially if it's on the longer side (I have 30+ books at this point).

Heck, I had a reader tell me she was "saving" my other books for later, because she wanted to know she'd have something to read. That's sweet of her, but it's entirely possible she'll forget to get to them.

So, yes, I think your books are competing against each other. I try not to run too many ads, on the same platform, at the same time. I perma advertise my two most popular series, but I mostly focus on different audiences, and then I advertise my latest release.

I've noticed when I run heavy ads to multiple books in a series on AMS, I do eat into my profits. So I try to avoid that, except for new releases, or campaigns with multiple targets.

In the grand scheme of things, the competition of your other books is pretty minimal compared to all the other books in your genre. It won't hurt too much to have some audience cross-over, but you do want to keep it to a minimum if you want to keep your ads efficient/have the best possible profit.
 
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R. C.

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Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2021, 05:45:30 AM »
People say readers will read all your books, but I'm starting to doubt this.

I think most readers will read some of your books.
...
Most people don't go back and read your entire backlist, especially if it's on the longer side (I have 30+ books at this point).
...
So, yes, I think your books are competing against each other.
...

I agree, I do think similar ADs compete against themselves, and each other, for limited eyeballs. 

However, I think the pricing issue is the primary driver for poor/negative results. I content (here come the counter arguments) the $0.00 and $.99 loss leader has created an widespread expectation of lower cost books.

The follow-on buy, in business terms: recurring revenue, is the wave we are all trying to catch.

With a market now trained to expect $0.00 and $.99, anything else is a very hard sell.

R.C.
 
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alhawke

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2021, 06:08:10 AM »
AMS says that if the ads come from the same account they don't bid against each other.
But they must a bit? I suppose some algorithms can try to block, but I don't know how AMS can fully prevent cross advertising indirectly.
All my ads are BookBub. An example of competition there is when I put myself down as an author to advertise. This gives a lot of hits due to my BB followers. Now I'm losing readers focus onto new books.  :doh:
However, I think the pricing issue is the primary driver for poor/negative results.
I'm working on pricing as one aspect of control. If people aren't buying other books I'm selling, I can drop the price to try to lure them a bit.
People say readers will read all your books, but I'm starting to doubt this. I think most readers will read some of your books.
It's kind of ironic, isn't it? We're told as Indie newbies to publish as much and as quickly as possible but readers aren't going to like everything in your store.
 

Crystal

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2021, 09:06:08 AM »
Yes, I think people overstate the interest of the average reader. And even the average fan. Most readers aren't super fans. Most readers who like you will only read a handful of your books.

Look at your behavior in other formats. Do you listen to every album from a band? Watch every TV show from a creator? Listen to every episode of a podcast? Etc.

I have a theory that the most profitable way to run a pen name is with hyper focus on a niche... And hyper focus on another niche in another pen name. But obviously that would be a lot of work and kinda boring too.

I think it is easier with more books. You need to sell less of each. But I often wonder if I'd be making the same amount day to day with say twenty books or fifteen books. If an average reader will pick up one backlist series, am I really making more with four barely advertised backlist series vs one?

Maybe... But maybe not.
 
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LilyBLily

Re: Could our books be competing with one another?
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2021, 10:04:12 AM »
Agreed. A writer I discovered recently has a series in a historical period not of interest to me. I just don't want to read those books, even though I have read everything else of that author's in a different historical period. In fact, this holds true with more than one author I follow, come to think of it.

There are some pseudonyms that an author has only published one three-book series in and I can tell from the writing that the author is no beginner, but there are no clues to the author's other titles in other subgenres.

So sometimes I won't follow and sometimes I can't. 
 
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