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Good idea for Amazon authors

Harold Wilson

I'm going to post this here because it's a clever trick that I know works - because it worked on me.

There's someone writing as "Laurence Dahners" on Amazon, with a buncha books available. He's got his own website, which is mainly links to the Amazon pages.

There's a variety of subjects, with a kind of "hard sf" backbone to them, without the edgy "check my computations" thing that a lot of hard-sf guys have.

The writing is good, and the editing is good. I still found some errors, including some dumb ones, but they were few and far between.

(My point being, first you need a quality product!)

The idea I want to point out is that at the very last page OF THE STORY - not "of the book", or "of the text", but right at the end of the story, there's a link to the next book on Amazon.

I'm reading the stuff on Amazon's cloud reader, which is to say, their web version of the kindle platform. So when I am RIGHT AT THE END OF THE STORY, going "oh, damn, it's over!" ... there's a link that will take me to the next story, and all I have to do is click "buy now" to keep reading.

It's worth pointing out that this guy has some standard "author's afterword" boilerplate, and occasionally there's a "here's some free chapters from my other book" stuff as well. But those things all come AFTER the end of the story and the link to the next one.

If the "next in series" link wasn't right there at the end of the story, I'd probably miss it. If I didn't miss it, I wouldn't be trying to keep the good feeling of reading the story going, so I wouldn't be as anxious to read on.

Anyway, that's it. If you're publishing for money, steal this guy's good idea: make sure that there's a link to your next-in-series right there after the words "The End." or however you end your stories.

He got me for 14 books so far yesterday and today. (Remember: first have a quality product!)

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

For anyone who knows Calibre.

When I did my first novel, I converted the Word doc manually to XHTML/CSS so I put in links, like my email.

But when I did my last novel, I fed the docx file directly into Calibre. Is there a way to put the links in the Word docx file so Calibre creates active links in the ebook (to do what Harold is recommending) or do I have to manually edit the .epub file's XHTML after Calibre generates it?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Switch Blayde

@Harold Wilson

He got me for 14 books so far yesterday and today.


You read 14 novels in 2 days? Wow!

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

But when I did my last novel, I fed the docx file directly into Calibre. Is there a way to put the links in the Word docx file so Calibre creates active links in the ebook (to do what Harold is recommending) or do I have to manually edit the .epub file's XHTML after Calibre generates it?

Absolutely, I do it in my own books. Just highlight the phrase you want (i.e. the title of the next book), right-click it and select "Hyperlink", and add your webpage address for the next book in the series. One cludge, though, if it's a one-word title, MS, at least, won't offer you the hyperlink option, so you'll need to monkey around or use a larger text and edit it down to the actual title later.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

You read 14 novels in 2 days? Wow!

He never said he read any more than a single book, however, he bought all 14. However, many authors who are heavily into this type of marketing focus on incredibly short mini-novels (really just short segments of a larger single volume), which keep readers jumping from one book to the next like a crack addict. After they buy all 14 books, they often don't buy anything from anyone else for the next year, waiting to finish off all the books they downloaded in a fit of passion.

Not saying it's the case here, but it's what most 'Amazon sales experts' are busy hyping now.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

He never said he read any more than a single book, however, he bought all 14.


Since the link was at the end of each book, I thought that's when he bought the next one. But maybe they are short.

And thanks for the Word tip. I'll try it.

sharkjcw

Checked 2 of Laurence Dahners books both over 1700 KB, 270 plus pages not a short story or novela

Harold Wilson

@Switch Blayde

You read 14 novels in 2 days? Wow!


Yes. Slurp-slurpity-slurp. I just checked "book 4" (because it was on top) and it says 232 pages. So they're not super long books.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Harold Wilson
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

CW,

No, I bought them one at a time. If you start charging me for essays, I'll stop reading.

IMO, these were "good" books - the kind of things you'd by for an airplane flight in the airport bookstore. Not serious literature, but good escapist SF. Hence, "first, have a quality product."

But I wanted to point out that having that one link there at the end made it REALLY EASY for me to keep going.

As the old Radio Shack book said, "If you want to catch a mouse, make a noise like cheese."

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Switch Blayde

You read 14 novels in 2 days? Wow!

CW said that when speed reading he can manage 700-1,200 wpm. At that speed a 200+ page paperback can be read in under 2 hours.
... But 14 books in 2 days? WOW!

Ernest Bywater

@Switch Blayde

You read 14 novels in 2 days? Wow!


A lot depends on how big they were.

Crumbly Writer

@Harold Wilson

Yes. Slurp-slurpity-slurp. I just checked "book 4" (because it was on top) and it says 232 pages. So they're not super long books.

Is that 232 Amazon books (with vastly different content if it's on a table or PC than if it's on a phone? It's impossible to rate a book's size based merely on kilobyte size, since the vast majority is simply the cover, with much of the rest going for either graphics or internal processing).

If, on the other hand, Amazon lists the paperback version (presumably a 6x9"), then it's a more standard size where we can calculate the word count.

Crumbly Writer

@Harold Wilson

But I wanted to point out that having that one link there at the end made it REALLY EASY for me to keep going.

As I mentioned (about the tendency towards releasing short stories as 'novels'), it's a counter-tendency readers need to be cautious of, but I think that's mostly limited to Amazon Direct.

I've been using the 'link at the end of the story', but it may not always be obvious. I list the next book in the title font, and provide a link in the "Other Books by the Author" section (which clearly isn't the same thing).

That said, given how long it takes to produce a finished product, it's hard to list the next book for a newly released book. Also, with 16 books to my name, it takes a LONG time to update each and every book on a variety of different venders (though I've got lists of each of my books on Amazon, Smashwords, lulu, createspace, etc.)

Now I'll have to go back and ensure I have a direct link at the conclusion of each story.

The other important aspect of quality, is that new books tend to sell more older books than the produce in direct income. If you produce a book that people like, you may sell a few 'new' copies (i.e. to customers who have never read you before), but each one stands to purchase your other stories (ex. 10 new readers, each purchasing 10 of your books means a tenfold increase in sales. Those links (the ones on the "Other Books" section) are equally vital.

Replies:   Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson

@Crumbly Writer

The other important aspect of quality, is that new books tend to sell more older books than the produce in direct income. If you produce a book that people like, you may sell a few 'new' copies (i.e. to customers who have never read you before), but each one stands to purchase your other stories (ex. 10 new readers, each purchasing 10 of your books means a tenfold increase in sales. Those links (the ones on the "Other Books" section) are equally vital.


I'm not actually sure that's true. For me, it isn't.

In general, if I get the book, then I remember where I got it from. And if I want another one, I'll go back there. It might help to include a "direct link" to your author page, either on the selling site or on your personal web page.

But Amazon does a perfectly fine job, for me, of showing all the other books by this author after I buy one.

In regard to new books selling older ones, I'm not sure how that works overall. I got referred to this author because I read another author's book (Amazon suggested "if you bought that, you might like this"). I actually didn't feel the urge to buy the suggested book, but I took a chance on a different series by the same author (the one I mentioned at the top of this thread) and wound up liking his writing so much that (at this point) I've bought almost all his products.

One thing I think helped was the $0.99 "first book" in some series. The subsequent books were 4 and 5 bucks, but the first hit was almost free.

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Harold Wilson

One thing I think helped was the $0.99 "first book" in some series.


Most authors on wattpad say they do that.

They also say you need to get your next book out there quickly. If you don't, you'll be forgotten.

Replies:   Joe Long  Harold Wilson
Joe Long
Updated:

@Switch Blayde


They also say you need to get your next book out there quickly. If you don't, you'll be forgotten.


I've experienced that here.

I commented in another thread recently about story stats, where I was typically getting download totals for each chapter of about 85% of the preceding chapter. That held when I was getting a chapter out every two to four weeks. Twice in the last year it took several months get out a new chapter and the stats suggest I was forgotten by many.

Replies:   Harold Wilson
Ernest Bywater

There is an element of truth in keeping delays between new story / book releases down. However, it's not as critical as many people think, because the people who like you works will look out for them. What you will lose is the very casual reader who'll want the sequel as soon as they finish the first book. Thus books in a series need to keep coming close to each other, books from different story lines won't be affected by delays by any amount worth speaking of.

No, against that, posting new chapters in an on-going serial has the sequel issue magnified by ten. The problem there is people get used to the cycle, and get upset when it breaks. Also, take too long with the next chapter, and they wonder if you've given up on it - not good, because many will give up reading it.

I often go long periods without a new book, due to real life issues, but I always finish the story before posting, thus my readers know once a book starts to post it will continue to post until it's done, because they know I upload it all to SoL and let the system deal it out.

Ross at Play

@Ernest Bywater

Also, take too long with the next chapter, and they wonder if you've given up on it

... and when you do post the next chapter some may have lost faith in your ability or willingness to eventually finish it.

For those who post as they write it's probably best to have several chapters ready to go before starting to post, and attempt to maintain that buffer. Then when life gets in the way of your writing, you're unlikely to loose many readers if you announce in a blog that your schedule for posting will be every second week for while.

There's another reason that is a wise strategy to adopt. When you re-read chapters just before posting for the first time in a few weeks it's likely you'll spot things worth correcting that you wouldn't notice when actively working on a chapter.

Switch Blayde

@Ernest Bywater

However, it's not as critical as many people think, because the people who like you works will look out for them.


This thread is about selling on Amazon. SOL is different, like with chapter releases. An author can pick up a following on SOL and they will check for new stories, but Amazon doesn't work that way. If someone stumbles upon your novel on Amazon and likes it, they will look for others. But the contrary is also true. If you don't come out with another soon, you'll be forgotten.

sharkjcw

I get notification from Amazon on new releases. If I like an author I click follow button on the authors profile page to get notices about new releases.

I would suggest to any author on amazon to set up your author page and keep it updated. That is how people will follow you on amazon also set up a subscriber e-mail list to so you can send out an e-mail when you release something.

Harold Wilson

@Switch Blayde

Most authors on wattpad say they do that.

They also say you need to get your next book out there quickly. If you don't, you'll be forgotten


If you have only one book in a series (but plan to write more) I think you might as well leave the price set higher. The "loss leader" idea works when there is somewhere to recover your losses. Otherwise you're just devaluing your work.

If you don't write series... I got nothing.

Bane books does the loss leader thing with some of their big writers (Drake, Flint, Ringo, Weber, maybe others). A lot of their "first books" are in the Free Library section of their website, and at least one series' first book sells in paperback for $0.99 (Weber).

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Harold Wilson

@Joe Long

I commented in another thread recently about story stats, where I was typically getting download totals for each chapter of about 85% of the preceding chapter. That held when I was getting a chapter out every two to four weeks. Twice in the last year it took several months get out a new chapter and the stats suggest I was forgotten by many.


Man, that pisses me off.

If I'm reading a serial, I generally do the "Bookmark next chapter" thing. So the next chapter automatically shows up in my library, which is my main interface to SOL. (I go there, look for updates, then check new stories.)

If your chapters are far enough apart, I'll forget what's happening, or who the players are. If I read forwards and can't recover, and don't get 're-excited by the chapter, then I just delete and remove the serial, and move on.

I'm not a huge fan of recaps at the top of chapters, but if you write slow, you should probably add them.

Replies:   Joe Long
Joe Long
Updated:

@Harold Wilson


Man, that pisses me off.


I totally understand.

When I moved here in the spring of 2016 I had a backlog of several chapters and got them out every few weeks. After that I was able to keep up the writing to get a new chapter about once a month. Then last summer I had several issues that seriously cut into my writing and I've only finished three more chapters.

I absolutely intend on finishing and have the word processor open almost every day, but I know I've let down the readers.

With SOL already providing links to all the earlier chapter I haven't seen a need to write recaps. I follow a pair of serial stories at AFF and even when they come out every three or four weeks I routinely go back and read the last couple paragraphs of the preceding chapter to refresh my memory of where the action left off.

Crumbly Writer

@Harold Wilson

If you have only one book in a series (but plan to write more) I think you might as well leave the price set higher. The "loss leader" idea works when there is somewhere to recover your losses. Otherwise you're just devaluing your work.

I've found that the $.99 price point doesn't work for me, because my readers are fairly consistent, and my sales don't vary much if the price rises or falls. I do discount the first book ($2.99), charge more for my current book ($5.99), drop it after it's been out for a while ($4.99) and charge more for the final book in a series, since readers will already be committed to purchasing it ($6.99).

Modifying existing prices is a pain, but not as much as is updating each of my books to add links to each new book!

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


Modifying existing prices is a pain, but not as much as is updating each of my books to add links to each new book!


What if all your books had a link to your author's page? That has all your books. When you publish a new book you only have to change your author's page.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

What if all your books had a link to your author's page? That has all your books. When you publish a new book you only have to change your author's page.

I've done that for years. Every single email I send has a link to my website, each of my books do, yet I receive more site visits for each post I maked to LinkedIn than I do for every book sold. (I track daily visits to my website.)

Readers just don't seem to click those links.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel

@Crumbly Writer

Readers just don't seem to click those links.


I'm one of these readers. I prefer reading books on my Sony Digital Book Reader PRS-T1. I disabled its WLAN function to save battery capacity. Public WLANs are scarce in rural Germany. Even my WLAN at home is barely usable in my bedroom. So I'm not using those links.
HM.

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