One of my daughters is a capable artist and headed to an undergraduate program in Medical Illustration soon. As an aside, she is getting smarter about posting her art to websites and beginning to think about how to charge for her work. I’ve recently had similar discussion with some other writers about how they price their novels. What is really being discussed here is “Penetration Pricing” vs. “Premium Pricing”. Based on my own experience, it sounds more complicated than you might first think, but it is really not that complex.
In a recent blog, Neil Patel shared an article titled: “Modern Online Marketing Education: 18 Courses and Resources”. There are only a few blogs I follow closely, and Neil’s is one of them. I know of no one who provides so much value so clearly. In his most recent post, his intent is clear given the title. Too many writers don’t understand that their success has as much to do about marketing as it does about writing well. That is why most books published on Amazon never sell more than 20 copies. Writing blogs can help you write better, but you have to know who you are targeting to sell.
My first novel has been the #1 bestseller in its category in the UK, and it has made it into the top 10 of nine Amazon bestseller lists worldwide. My sense is that when most US authors post their book to Amazon, they don’t think twice about their overseas or international sales. This is a mistake because there are a lot of big markets outside the United States. You can fall further behind or you can ramp your sales. About 10% of my volume is now coming from non-US Amazon sites.
I have not translated my novella into any other languages, and I have spent less than $10 on advertising outside the United States. Here are a few things you can do in about an hour to help ramp your own international book sales…
So this was cool… Last night one of my 12-year olds asked me what was my favorite book when I was her age. I told her Dune. The other book I thought of, though I was a bit older than 12 when I read it, was one of the few books I’ve read several times. It was Leon Uris’ Battle Cry. It is the story of Uris as a young man in the Marine Corps in some of the most vicious fighting in the Pacific during WWII. Though the book rambles a bit and is a bit choppy, I was deeply impressed by his depiction of coming of age in combat. I was also engaged by how he showed the development of the unit. A bunch of young men became an unrelenting fighting force.
My Vietnam War novella is small in size and stature compared to Battle Cry, but my story is also about young men coming of age in battle. In some ways, I’m sure, my novel is a product of Battle Cry and many other stories and life events.
For those of you who don’t remember him, Leon Uris was one of the big names of fiction in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. His books consistently hit the New York Times Bestseller lists and were made into movies.
I never imagined I’d see my first novel side-by-side with his on Amazon’s bestseller list, but it happened today.
My novel is climbing Amazon’s bestseller lists! Now at # 6.
Like many writers, I spent a lot of time worrying about how to get published. Once I did publish my story, I quickly realized I needed book reviews. Under no circumstances would I pay for Amazon reviews. Now, after a year, I have gotten 38 book reviews. That may not sound like much, but they are all legitimate, and more than a fourth of them have been from Amazon’s top reviewers (“Top 100”, “Vine Voice”, etc.). And 24 of the reviews have been 5-star reviews. The rest are 4-star reviews with just 1 3-star review. This is important because it will help drive sales forever. How did I do it?
I don’t normally do much off-the-cuff editorializing on my blog, but I’m intrigued by Amazon’s recent announcement that they are going to attempt to get rid of bogus reviews.
I think it is a great news. This means that serious novel writers will have less BS competition out there.
I had this discussion the other day with some other writers. In short, we concluded that getting published is easy. Getting paid for your fiction is hard.