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Recently I signed up for yet another marketing course that promised to help me master Amazon, BookBub, and Facebook ads. I'm slogging my way through lots of content reiterating the tricky little ins and outs of each of these venues (stores?), the necessity of finding art for ads, writing copy for ads, making sure the copy for the ads matches the content of the book's actual blurb copy, optimizing all that copy, and more.

I'm getting good value for money, lots of posts of even more advice about how to do all this marketing, and I find I don't even have the energy to open the emails or follow the links. Additionally, the Usual Suspects we consider marketing gurus keep emailing me about their new info and new podcasts and new books. Much of the information is free. All it requires is my time and attention.

I'm exhausted. Maybe it's other things going on in my life. Maybe it's the sneaking suspicion that I could dance a lot faster and still not sell my books in far greater numbers. Maybe it's just the babble of too many people talking about obtuse systems that stubbornly refuse to make sense to the very people who want to pay to use those systems.

I think I've reached information overload. I advertise my books continuously, and they sell continuously in small quantities. Maybe I should forget about trying to up those numbers and just go on a beach vacation.

How about you?

Yes. LOL
I think the best thing I can do right now is keep writing books.  :smilie_zauber:
Bar & Grill [Public] / Re: Real ID
« Last post by Atunah on April 22, 2019, 05:45:49 AM »
I guess some stuff also depends on the state. I didn't have an option of real id or regular DL. I didn't even know about it until I saw this thread so I checked to see if I had a gold star. It seems Texas has been doing them a while. I wonder how many issues will come up when the day comes one can't board a plane without one. If each state is asking for different docs and certified stuff. Will be interesting.
Bar & Grill [Public] / Re: Real ID
« Last post by LilyBLily on April 22, 2019, 03:24:55 AM »
My state went to certified birth certificates at least 15 years ago. In all other respects, it's one of the most backward and wayward states in the nation. People move here to have it their way.
As an author trying to sell books in a fair marketplace (!), I resent long subtitles. As a book buyer I find them very useful.

As a member of a couple of reading groups for some highly busy genres, I can tell you that it's the readers who are driving this. They're the ones who suggest that it's easier to find what they're looking for if the author would put it in the subtitle. Sometimes they don't say it just that blatantly, sometimes they do.

It helps the reader rapidly sort through all the offerings in their genre to quickly drill down to what exactly they want.

If an author wants to reach them, then it's what they'll do.

This is one of those perennial debates. I think there's a big difference between a word salad subtitle and a subtitle that says, "A Heartwarming Second Chance Romance". One readers don't entirely understand and the other readers appreciate because heartwarming is code for not super steamy but still has some sexy bits and isn't clean (although, heartwarming is slowly being co-opted).

Subtitles can be tongue-in-cheek, they can help readers, they can also be lampshading (these are my favorite). This is yet another one of those things that it's not so much the act of using longish or descriptive subtitles, but how it's done.
How true! I think part of the problem is that some people use subtitles far more skillfully than others. My guess is that no one would notice if they were all well-crafted.
TV/Movie Talk [Public] / Re: What movie did you recently watch?
« Last post by Tom Wood on April 22, 2019, 02:35:50 AM »
Based on Ted Chiang's short story: Story of Your Life

And, based on the first book of Jeff VanderMeer's trilogy: The Southern Reach

Surreal and non-linear storytelling in both cases.
I think Amazon would (stupidly) like to get rid of them, but I believe the data they're gathering keeps telling them that would be a bad idea.

I think the ads side of Amazon is driving trying to get rid of also-boughts, because without them, they think there will be more money spent on ads.

One set of bean counters is fighting the other set of bean counters who know what also-boughts bring in.
Bar & Grill [Public] / Re: Real ID
« Last post by Bill Hiatt on April 22, 2019, 12:58:05 AM »
My license is up for renewal in July, and this time I have to renew in person. I can't remember the last time that happened, but it's probably a good thing. The DL picture is so old it looks as if I'm using my son's driver's license.

Anyway, I decided that, as long as I was going in anyway, I might as well get a real ID. (I'm unlikely to need to travel by air, and I probably won't need to visit any restricted federal buildings, either, but I figure I might as well be betrayed.

Unfortunately, I don't have a passport and can't find my birth certificate. I've ordered a replacement. As soon as I have it in hand, I'll make my appointment.
What are Amazon doing now? [Public] / Re: Also boughts vanished again last night
« Last post by Bill Hiatt on April 22, 2019, 12:36:46 AM »
The also boughts were one of the major innovations that allowed Amazon to dominate the ebook space. Getting rid of them is one of those head-scratchingly stupid moves that makes me think that now is a good time to buy Barnes & Noble stock.

I've seen a lot of red flags with Amazon recently. I just went through a months-long customer service nightmare where emailing did f*ck all to resolve anything. Perhaps I should start a new thread about that. In any case, there are other issues with the company: Bezos's divorce, censorship scandals, random ebooks and audiobooks disappearing from customers' libraries, all sorts of problems with the Createspace migration, and the fact that AWS is basically propping up the entire company.

In the next five years, it wouldn't surprise me if Amazon spins off or sells KDP. Even if it doesn't, I believe that it's going to exist in a very different (and probably much diminished) form by that time. Getting rid of the also boughts is just another way they're shooting themselves in the foot.
Is there ever a good time to buy Barnes and Noble stock?

The sad thing is that I don't think Amazon is trying to get rid of or diminish KDP. There's not a whole lot of love between Amazon and large trad publishers. Part of the reason KDP exists in the first place is to give Amazon an alternate content stream. And that part's worked if Data Guy is to be believed. The last available figures (admittedly dated now) indicate that a majority of sales in romance, science fiction, and fantasy ebooks are indie sales. DG's recent presentation at the Nebulas, which you can see referenced in one of the other threads, provides more recent data that show that science and fantasy at least are still indie-dominated. That's a lot of book sales. And as long as Amazon wants to keep KU, it has to keep KDP, because most of the trads still haven't bought into the KU model.

None of that means, however, that  Amazon won't kill the whole thing off through poor decision-making. And now that books are only a small part of Amazon's business, I think it's possible that if KDP becomes too much of a nuisance (scammers, scandals, etc.) that Amazon might wash its hands of it. An announcement that KU is being phased out would be the first indicator that something like that is becoming more likely.

It's also not impossible that, if the US ever decides to actually enforce antitrust laws, Amazon could get broken up, though that would involve way more than KU. I could see a situation in which (just the storefront) is one company, and each product or service line becomes another company. For instance, Amazon Studios would be completely separate. The Amazon imprints would be spun into a different company, with KDP maybe being separate or being part of that publishing company. In the latter case, there'd probably end up being more gatekeeping. Amazon Web Services, Amazon Restaurant Services, Amazon Home Services, AmazonFresh, etc. might each be a separate company. Of course, there are many other possible patterns.

I checked my Also Boughts again this morning, and they're still there. I think Amazon would (stupidly) like to get rid of them, but I believe the data they're gathering keeps telling them that would be a bad idea.
Marketing Loft [Public] / New Amazon Ads Search Term Report Tells the Real Story
« Last post by LilyBLily on April 21, 2019, 11:10:09 PM »
I just downloaded the new search term report (find it under "Advertising Reports") on my keywords from Amazon/AMS ads and it's stunning. Tells exactly which words potential readers used to find my books.

It's eye-opening about how misdirecting one of my titles is, too. I do not write "domestic discipline spanking" books but clearly there is something about my book that is making the wrong people look at it. Got to change that. grint

I haven't digested everything yet, and so far I've only looked at the past month's data. There's even a column for Total Return on Advertising Spend. At last!  :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
Bar & Grill [Public] / Re: Real ID
« Last post by Maggie Ann on April 21, 2019, 10:23:17 PM »

In the meantime, people were walking in with just their green cards and getting a license.  :HB
Ha. That is because by the time we get the green card we already have 10 folders of stuff and fifty back  round checks and get to do it over and over again. And god forbid your green card date runs out when its time to renew the drivers license and renewing the GC takes a year. No ID. I had to convince the lady at the DPS that the sticker on the back extending my card was something put there by official means. Valid visa. I almost didn't get it this time around. I can't really function without a driver license here.  :dizzy

Oh, and I can't renew online anymore either now with the new rules. So I get to sit there for 4 hours while by husband just does a click click.  :icon_eek:

I couldn't renew online either but not because of documentation. I couldn't find myself in the system and had to make an appt to go there in person. My license had the correct address, but the system had my old address, and since we had to search by address, I became a non-person. Got it fixed and the lady suggested I go upstairs to voter's registration and check that. Sure enough, I'd been getting mail from them at the new address, but the computer had my old address.

All fixed now, but I don't renew for another ten years and I definitely won't be driving by then.
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