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poetry thoughts writers

Book Marketing: Spend money, make money?

The other day I was updating some information on my Amazon book page and I noticed this:


   Then yesterday: 

It’s just my free sample book, but #5 in the free-short-poetry-reads-45- minutes category is pretty cool. I wasn’t happy with the cover resolution so I did a full revision on the book and republished. adding a better cover and updating some of the links.

I had finally decided to spend some money and purchased Publisher Rocket. It is a tool that compiles Amazon Ad search terms, category rankings, and book keywords.

You can use this information to position your book into the popular searches, or into ones with less competition. in the case of the latter, you have a better chance of being on the first page of reader searches.

I don’t think that I would have been able to come up with all the terms on my own, or it would have taken me a great deal of time.

My Amazon ad impressions have gone up and have translated to a few more sales. The #5 ranking for the free book is probably due to the increased visibility. Is it worth it? Well, I do have to sell more books to recoup the cost of the program, and you know my view on Amazon ads ( Amazon Ads: Here, Mr. Bezos, take my money and run). But I can’t argue with more people seeing my books.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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SOC Saturday: -sty

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday where this week’s prompt is to find a word that ends in “-sty”. While trying to find the best word, I kept thinking about the pros and cons of each. I would have continued, but the phone rang…

Frosty. Good for the snowman. Bad for the inside of your house.

Rusty. Good name for an old truck or a really old man. Bad name for the fiancé you brought home to meet your parents.

Crusty. Good for the bread you just baked. Bad for the leftovers in your fridge.

Hasty. Good to be when time is of the essence. Bad for decisions.

Nasty. Good when the weather gives you an excuse to stay home. Bad when you taste the crusty leftovers in the fridge.

Toasty. Good when it is a warm bed. Bad when—Wait. there’s nothing bad when it’s toasty, right. It’s the perfect adjective. Stay toasty!

-Leon

Want to participate?


 Here are the rules:
 1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
 2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
 3. I will post the prompt here on my blog every Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The,’” or will simply be a single word to get you started.
 4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours.  Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.
 5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read all of them! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later or go to the previous week by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find below the “Like” button on my post.
 6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
 7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
 ​8. Have fun! 
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writers

Thursday Thoughts: Book Bub Ads

Last week I complained a bit about Amazon ads, so to be fair, I’ll give BookBub some airplay.

BookBub operates in much the same way as Amazon does, it that you have to win bids to get your ad shown, and if someone clicks on your ad, you get charged that amount. So, you have to know what your profit margin is for each book and price your bid accordingly-you don’t want to pay people to read your book. But if you don’t bid high enough, your ad doesn’t get shown. Also in the mix is that if someone clicks your ad, the likelihood that your ad gets shown goes up.

Their ad design is straight-forward and there is no vetting like Amazon does, so once you create your ad, it’s live. There are many variables for the ads, so it’s difficult to compare one author’s ad to another. If your ad is not doing well, they email you and suggest that you either up your bid (of course) or redesign. I’ll show the ad that BookBub uses as an example of a successful ad, along with the one I created.

One of the suggestions was to use BookBrush to create ads. I suspect they are owned by BookBub. What is nice about it is the ad is the correct size (300 x 250), so no tweaking required, and you can layer text and images for a professional look.

They give you a chart to show how well- or poorly- your ad is doing:

The best I achieved was 5 clicks on ~2000 impressions. Not great. As you can see, this is ad #14.

There are many variables for success. The popularity of the genre, bid amount, etc. The one controllable variable in all this is the cover. People do judge a book by its cover. Since I like my cover, it’s hard to step back and critique, so what do you think? Let me know.


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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readers writers

Friday Review Share — Stevie Turner

Today it’s the turn of Friday Review Share to support Indie authors.  Please leave a link in the comments to a review you’ve had on Amazon or Goodreads for one of your own books.  A link to the review and a description of the book would be great (or the review itself if you like), because let’s […]

Friday Review Share — Stevie Turner
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thoughts writers

Amazon Ads: Here, Mr. Bezos, take my money and run.

Now that Mr. Bezos has stepped down, I’ll do a little bitching.

Are creating Amazon ads making you want to bang your head on the wall? No? Then you’re not doing it right, I guess.

It took me almost two weeks to get an ad running on Amazon. Now, this wasn’t my first attempt–several had run recently–but this time was quite frustrating. Everything has a learning curve, and Amazon’s ad platform is no exception. Reading through the tutorials and the FAQ’s gives you a cursory knowledge, but by no means does it cover all you need to know.

I did other research online, there are many others before me that have done the legwork and produced good lessons. Still doesn’t make it any less confusing. I’m sure my rambles here won’t be any different.

It all comes down to getting your ad to show on a customer’s search page or on their Kindle. You do that by winning a bid–like an auction–against other ads in your genre. Highest bid wins and gets shown, reader sees it and hopefully clicks on it and buys.

I was doing an online course where one author was quoting that when he started his adds, he was getting 200 000+ impressions/week @ pennies/click, which translated to a very cheap advertising campaign and high sales. After digging deeper, those statistics were from 2016. Four years makes a lot of difference when it comes to competition.

I would love to be able to win a bid to have my ad shown to potential readers for > $0.10 when I create my ad, most of the suggested bids for each of my keywords* run from $0.50 to more than $1.00. Which means if someone clicks on my ad, I pay Amazon–let’s take the lower amount– $0.50.

Let’s break it down for profit. I get ~$0.60 if it is read on Kindle Unlimited (approximately, because just like the ads, the royalty structure for KU is not easy to grasp), so I make $0.10. So, I do a lot of free promotions for this version. If it is bought as a Kindle eBook, I make $2.00 – $0.50 = $1.50. That’s not too bad. The problem is that not everyone that clicks the add will buy. It would be nice to have 100% conversion, but that is never going to happen. Even 50% is a lofty goal, in reality it is around 10%. I also have a paperback option which is a higher royalty still.

So basically, with a low conversion, I usually wind up paying more in fees than I make in royalties. I know that advertising and marketing are essential to book sales and all advertising costs money. I would be satisfied to break even since I’m just starting out. Where are those bygone days of $0.05 clicks?

With all my rambling, I still didn’t get into my dealings with customer support, which was the impetus for this this post.**

-Leon

*That’s another topic.

**That’s another topic as well.


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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Tuesday Thoughts: What word(s) do you always spell incorrectly?

What would we do without spellcheck? Would we miss the little red squiggle?  Years ago, when word processing wasn’t a thing, we would have to look words up in a dictionary. Remember those? I didn’t think so. A dictionary was (still is, really) a thick book of every single word, in alphabetical order, with important information about pronunciation, word type, origin, and definition.

The problem was, if you didn’t know how to spell it, how can you look it up? Well, no one really needs to look up a word if they can’t kinda spell it, but it does take longer the less correct letters you know.

And don’t get me started on the “i” before “e” rule. It is so full of loopholes and exceptions, it’s like studying tax law.

Now to the point. What words always–or almost always–warrant that red squiggle? I had to write post-apocalyptic stories to be able to spell apocalyptic correctly. I still have to look at my fingers when I type it, and it still never looks right.   

My two most commonly misspelled words are: definitely and immediately.

What about you?


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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On Writing: The Junk Drawer of Ideas

(Thanks, Stevie Turner, for the inspiration for this post! )

Everybody has at least one. Only one if they are lucky. One in the kitchen (pencils, twist-ties, battteries, keys, etc.), one in the workshop (old bolts, screws, extra IKEA parts, allen wrenchs), well, you get the idea.

Writers are the same. I know I always have ideas floating around that if I don’t write them down, I’ll lose them. So I jot them down. A title: Sometimes They Leave, an opening line: “It was a dark and stormy night…”, or a catchy elevator pitch: Rambo moves in with Sheldon Cooper. Oh, the shenanigans!

Without ideas, there’s no possibility of a creation. Here’s a glimpse into Mr. Einstein’s notebook:

I suspect that many of my ideas won’t go any further than just that, but there is always a chance that I’ll be inspired to revisit one of those ideas and it will become the next greatest—well, maybe just the next story. To quote the philosopher Lloyd Christmas: “So, you’re saying there’s a chance?”

***Addendum Feb. 9

I just had another thought. As a writer, all my ideas have a chance at becoming a story. It’s just that some have a better chance than others. Want to bet on the longshot?

“Three life-long friends discover that they are identical twins during their annual road trip to the Twine and Jute collectors convention in Wichita.”   

Sounds like a best seller to me.

Want to participate:

Rules:
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/party/8c063aea15e3491ba1c1a2c3133d9e03

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humor music poetry readers writers

Weekend Wrap-up: Feb. 6

In case you missed it, here is quick recap of some posts that I wrote, and others that I came across this week. So get a coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy.

This week in my blog:

Read part 2: The View from Here

A few posts that I found interesting:

Futuristic Fiction: #Research for #Writers, Part 4, Agriculture.

A Small Collection of Recent Poetry

Why Do We Blog About Books?

If you still have a few minutes, why don’t you take my short and entertaining survey? Lines by Leon: The Survey It’s just a quick way of getting to know how my readers find me and their reading habits.

Enjoy the rest of your day! If you think anyone else would enjoy my writing, feel free to re-blog any posts.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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Weekend Wrap-up

I thought I would do a quick recap of some posts that I wrote, and others that I came across this week. So get a coffee or tea, sit back and enjoy.

This week in my blog:

If you want a challenge, Try this: Fun Friday: Wait. What? My thoughts on current events: Thursday Thoughts: Do we need another plague story? Calling all Poets (and poetry lovers): A new (relatively) poem and my latest campaign on the author promotion site, StoryOrigin: New Poets Book Trailer: Music Monday And finally, I would like to get a few more thoughts on readers and writers, so since you still have a few more minutes to take my entertaining survey: Survey: Reader or Writer

Don’t forget to read last week’s installment of my short story, The View from Here before Sunday’s post. Comments always welcome.

A few posts on writing that I found interesting:

Enjoy the rest of your day! If you think anyone else would enjoy my writing, feel free to re-blog any posts.

-Leon


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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humor readers thoughts Uncategorized writers

Thursday Thoughts: Do we need another plague story?

The Andromeda Strain, No Blade of Grass, The Stand, Twelve Monkeys, Oryx and Crake, World War Z. Need I go on? When the pandemic was in it’s infancy, the most streamed movie – ‘cuz what else are you going to do when everything was getting shut down? – was Contagion.

Now I had watched it within the last year before the proverbial s#@% hit the fan, so I didn’t feel a need to partake in the trend, but what I do remember was that it was quite accurate in how it depicted the spread. Something like this was going to happen eventually. Superbugs in hospitals, antibiotic resistant strains, the increasing population combined with the ease of travel anywhere in the world – yeah, it was going to happen.

I mentioned a few of my favorite pandemic stories. People like to read about disastrous events, both fictional or true, and as writers, we want to entertain our readers. So, when an event like Covid-19 occurs, interest increases, readers read, and writers write.

Now, I wish I was a faster writer. By the time I finish my plague book/story…What? You didn’t figure out where this was all going?

Back to the question:

Do I need to work on my photoshop skills? – Most definitely.


Leon Stevens is a composer, artist, and author of three books (so far): Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose, and Pictures, The Knot at the End of the Rope and Other Short Stories, and Journeys: Eight Original Pieces for Classical Guitar

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