Marketing

Why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Went Viral

27 August 2014

PG thought this might be interesting since so many authors use social media to promote their books.

From Knowledge@Wharton:

If your social media feeds haven’t been clogged with videos of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this week, then you’re in the minority.

The campaign involves people dumping buckets of ice water on themselves (or being doused by others), sharing a video of the experience and nominating others to give it a try as a way to build awareness of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS.)

. . . .

With its combination of emotion, challenge and social currency, the campaign has become something of a marketing phenomenon, Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger said in an interview on the Knowledge@Wharton show on Wharton Business Radio on SiriusXM channel 111. The challenge has been passed among neighbors, friends and relatives, but also to celebrities including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Michael Jordan, Anna Wintour and Ben Affleck. Millions of videos have been shared on Facebook, YouTube and other social networks.

“People don’t want to be left out. Anytime you’re at a cocktail party and someone is talking about something, whether it’s a brand or a new band, … you don’t want to be the only person in the group who has no idea what they’re talking about,” noted Berger, who studies word-of-mouth and why things go viral.

. . . .

The ice bucket challenge has raised $53.3 million in donations for the ALS Association since July 29, compared with $2.1 million at this time last year.

Link to the rest at Knowledge@Wharton

Book Categories: A Modest Proposal

25 August 2014

From author Robert Bidinotto:

I’ve been pondering the whole way that books are categorized and classified, and how “genres” and “subgenres” are generated. I do so because we indie authors are always agonizing about how to categorize our own books within the existing genre and subgenre classifications on Amazon and elsewhere.

The process is now totally haphazard. There’s no defining principle or rational method underlying any of this. The ad hoc process seems to be: Some writer comes up with a fresh new story concept; he or she then spawns a host of imitators; next, somebody, maybe a reviewer, slaps a cute label on what all the copycats are doing, and voila! We have a new “subgenre.”

I mean, how else to explain things like “steampunk”?

Anyway, studying the Amazon fiction classification trees, it seems that there are two general ways in which genres and subgenres are defined:

1. By psychological interest — that is, by the kind of emotion or mental experience that we seek from certain kinds of books (e.g., horror, romance, humor, inspiration, mystery, fantasy, sexuality, adventure, etc.) There are a limited number of these core human emotions and experiences.

2. By topical interest — that is, by the kind of subject matter that arouses our personal interest and curiosity (e.g., history, biography, crime, espionage/spy, gay/lesbian, children, sports, politics, military, nautical, technology, science/sci-fi, Westerns, urban, etc.) Our topical interests can be unlimited in number and variety.

Given this, I’ve been toying with an idea — a way perhaps to think about and categorize stories a bit more intelligibly (I won’t say “intelligently”; others can be the judge of that). Maybe online retailers and booksellers might find it useful.

The concept involves combining readers’ interest(s) in specific topics, with the emotional experiences that they hope to get out of them.

. . . .

Topic + emotion = subgenre.

Examples: Western adventure, urban romantic-comedy, historical fantasy, sports mystery-thriller, technological horror, military humor, political-espionage thriller, etc.

Link to the rest at Robert Bidinotto

Here’s a link to Robert Bidinotto’s books

You Are So On (Because They Are, Too)

15 August 2014

From Writer Unboxed:

My address is 2025 Avenue of the Stars.

This is as it should be, of course. 90067.

With my sunglasses so firmly in place that I can barely read anything on the screen, I’m writing to you on the eve of Phil Sexton’s Writer’s Digest Novel Writing Conference in Los Angeles. It’s at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza again this year, the kind of hotel that’s designed to look good on you.

. . . .

There are certain dangers here, naturally. If the paparazzi are spotted, you can be trampled by starlets running toward them. And parts of LAX still seem to be undergoing the same renovation project that put Hangar No. 1 into place in 1929.

But one of the side benefits of being in Tinsel Town from time to time is a reminder that being on is no longer just something stars and motivational speakers worry about.

The more we talk about authors needing to market themselves, their brands, their work, the more we’re really saying that they need to be aware, be alert, stay on top of issues, to position themselves in and around the going media story about publishing and books and writing.

In short? Like a Hollywood hopeful, you want to be…on.

. . . .

In today’s edition of The Bookseller, my fine London colleagues Tom Tivnan and Felicity Wood are writing with special timeliness about what publishers’ growing understanding of consumer data might mean to how those publishers work with their authors.

“Publishing’s increased focus on consumer insight and customer data,” they write, “is set to drastically change relationships with authors, informing decisions around acquisitions, contracts and publication itself.”

And if that line didn’t fully get your attention, go back and read it again. You may not be quite on, baby. Grab the sunglasses for better viewing and I’ll give you more:

Rufus Weston, insight director at HarperCollins [UK], explained: “Publishers are realising what Amazon realised much earlier: that our own data is a business asset. As physical sales become less important, it is more difficult to use the TCM to calibrate what a successful book or author is.

“We can now look at the social trajectory of a potential acquisition and use that to our advantage to set the advance. We’re seeing authors becoming more data-savvy, and I think we will see a further recognition that data is part of the business process. I can see us asking for a regular amount of tweets from a celebrity as part of their contract, for example.”

Note that this all is being phrased in a positive light. I mean, eureka!, right? Well, of course right. More data on how readers are reacting to authors’ interactions on this or that social medium? — means more info on how to enhance those authors’ readership with such knowledge. Big smile, darling, they’re all watching. Right now.

Author care will also be further improved by the rise of consumer insight, Weston said, with publishers better equipped to expand author brands through feedback. He added: “We can monitor an author’s interactions on Twitter and then say when is the best time for them to tweet, and who they should be interacting with. It will increasingly become part of the service we offer and [it] will also help to emphasise authors’ obligations for social media.”

Catch that last line? About emphasizing “authors’ obligations for social media?”

. . . .

Never does one hear, “It also can show us which authors to cut off at the knees if they’re not toeing the line and workin’ it the way our data says they should.” Heaven forbid. It’s all as bright as an ingenue’s grin on premiere night. Just before she tweets that selfie to her fans.

. . . .

And in case you haven’t felt personally digitally disrupted so far as an author? Let me suggest you feel harder.

When your publisher — or your self-publishing platform which may or may not be your friend — learns to gauge how well you’re getting out there to the folks, then you will begin hearing…things. About about your “profile,” your “visibility,” your “presence,” your “reach,” your “connection,” your “commuuuuuuuuuunity,” and your….on-ness.

. . . .

I’m saying the world has changed. And is about to change more. You don’t have to “worry about all that,” no. But somewhere, somebody is going to be worrying about all that for you, if you do want to have a bit of a career, a salable, going little thing here in the marketplace. They have to worry. So you may want to worry first, worry faster, worry better.

Link to the rest at Writer Unboxed and thanks to Louisa for the tip.

PG was about to let slip the dogs of snark, but he’s running behind this morning, so he’ll just ask a few questions:

If you had notable talent for understanding consumer data, why in the world would you work for an antediluvian organization like a publisher instead of a sexy modern company where you could do really cool stuff, get paid well today and receive stock options that might be worth a lot of money tomorrow?

If you’re an author who wants a publisher so you can just focus on writing, do you really want to focus on writing tweets in addition to writing books?

And receive critiques on your tweets? And quotas for how many tweets you must send each week?

If you’re an author who is data-savvy and tweet-savvy and can build your own brand, what, exactly is your publisher doing for you that justifies giving it the large majority of the money your books earn?

Particularly when all this online marketing, etc., is more likely to lead to sales on Amazon and other ebookstores than sales in traditional bookstores?

If your horde of followers on Twitter sees a tweet about your new book, any social marketer will tell you to include a link. Where is that link going to point? If you say to Joe’s Bait Shop and Book Store instead of Amazon, you flunk Social Marketing 101.

And if your hordes of followers click on the link, would you rather receive 70% of the money they spend on your book at Amazon or 17%? (Even less after your agent’s cut)

 

Kindle pre-order

14 August 2014

From Kindle Direct Publishing:

You can make your new books available for pre-order in Kindle Stores worldwide. Setting a pre-order allows customers to order your book as early as 90 days before your book’s release date.  When you make your book available for pre-order, customers can order the book anytime leading up to the release date you set and it will be delivered to them on that date.

One advantage of pre-order is that you can start promoting your book before launch to help raise awareness. You can promote your book’s pre-order page on Author Central, Goodreads, your own site, and elsewhere. Also, pre-orders will contribute toward sales rank and other Kindle Store merchandising even before your book is released, which can help more readers discover your book.

. . . .

You’ll list your book as you would with any other KDP book. When you’re adding a new book, on Step 4, “Select Your Book Release Option,” you will choose “Make my book available for pre-order” and set a date in the future. That’s it.

Though your book isn’t available for download yet, we’ll still publish a product detail page for it within 24 hours of approval. Customers can order the book anytime leading up to the release date you set and it will be delivered to them on that date. However, customers won’t be able to download sample content for pre-order books.

You can list pre-order books in all marketplaces except Amazon.com.in, where pre-orders are not currently available. Your book will release at midnight local time in each marketplace.

. . . .

When you list a book for pre-order, you’ll need to upload the final version or a draft manuscript of the book file for review. Typically, a draft manuscript would be something like a complete book that might still need copyediting and proofreading. We won’t show the version to customers, but we’ll need to preview the content for compliance with our Program Policies before creating the pre-order detail page. It will go through the same review process that any other KDP book would. Your final version must be uploaded 10 days before the release date you set.

Link to the rest at Kindle Direct Publishing and thanks to Brandilyn for the tip.

What Kind of Writer Are You?

10 August 2014

From Kristine Kathryn Rusch:

Generally speaking, a good publicity campaign starts by defining the campaign’s target audience.

Here, however, instead of figuring out your campaign’s audience, we’re going to figure out who you are. Because until you know your strengths and limitations, you can’t do any planning well.

What I know about you is that you’re a writer.

. . . .

I also know that you want as many readers as possible to find your books. In a perfect world, the readers would find your work without anyone doing anything.

. . . .

I’m very good at marketing. But that doesn’t mean I like all of it. In fact, I hate some of it. I know how to do it, and I would rather have someone else help me than do it myself.

However, I also know there are some things that will take me five minutes and take someone else hours. I do those things, and maybe, someday, I’ll train the other person.

Part of my attitude toward marketing comes from the fact that I have done it since I was a teenager. I learned to write ad copy in junior high (yes, in the days before those years were called “middle school”). I learned to write good ad copy in college. I did a lot of PR and marketing for various companies in my twenties.

And, for my sins, I did countless on-air pledge drives for the non-profit radio station I worked at. When you do on-air pledging, you know immediately when your pitch is working and when it isn’t. The phones ring in the studio if you’re doing well, and they’re silent if you’re not doing well.

. . . .

[T]he most important commodity you have is time. And the best thing you can do with that time, my writerly friends, is to write.

Finish the next book and the next book and the next.

The more product you have on the market, the greater the chance that readers will find you. It’s the simplest way to market your work and the one most suited to writers.

But we’re all different.

Which is a real bummer. Because what most writers look for is one-size-fits-all marketing.
If the marketing strategy used by Writer John put his first novel on the bestseller list, then clearly that marketing strategy will work for every writer. Right?
Sorry. Nope. It doesn’t work that way.

Marketing follows a standard statistical model. The outliers are complete opposites. The successful outliers are the handful of people who invented the strategy. The complete failure outliers are the handful of people who are the very last people ever to try that strategy.
The packed middle is filled with all the writer-lemmings who follow the one-size-fits-all marketing crowd. They have some success, but mostly, the strategy gives them just enough traction to disappoint them—because those writers didn’t make millions like the successful outliers.

. . . .

The idea that each book is the exact same product, the way that each jar of peanut butter is the same product, is hard-wired into the conventional publishing wisdom.

As readers, we know that’s wrong. What Huckleberry Finn has in common with The Goldfinch is that they’re both novels. But they are not the same book or even the same kind of book.

They appeal to different readers.

Sure, you could do a Venn diagram of the readers for each book, and find a overlapping subset of readers who like both books (that subset includes me), but most of the readers only like (or have read or want to read) one of those two books.

The books are dramatically different. The way that peanut butter and hummus are different. Peanut butter and hummus are both food. They’re (usually) both brown. They can both be spreads for bread or crackers. But peanut butter and hummus don’t provide the same eating experience.

They’re not even close.

Link to the rest at Kristine Kathryn Rusch and thanks to Sandra for the tip.

Wattpad: Engaging Readers as You Write

7 August 2014

From author Mary W. Walters via Write, the magazine of the Writers’ Union of Canada:

Sometimes I have trouble writing the next pages of a work in progress. It’s not that I am short of ideas. It’s just that I have a lot of other urgent matters that require my attention (paid editing work, posting to Facebook, reading books, visiting family and friends, checking out the latest Rob Ford antics… the list goes on).

I have often envied those writers with editors and literary agents standing at their sides like midwives, encouraging them through their labour, reminding them of the rewards of manuscript delivery, telling them how much the world wants to see their next baby, and finally urging them to “push.”

When I heard about Wattpad, an Internet platform for readers and writers that attracts 27 million unique visitors per month, and 200,000 uploads of writing per day, I thought it might be part of the answer to my problem. And it has been. But it is also other things.

. . . .

The important part of making Wattpad work for you is to remember that it is a social media platform. If you don’t engage with it (read others’ works, respond to comments, participate in forum discussions), you will miss out on the very important reciprocity factor, and your work will languish. Further, thanks to algorithms, the more readers you attract, the more readers will find you on their own.

For me, Wattpad has become part of an overall marketing strategy for my fiction which boils down to infiltrating as much of the Internet as I can. My goal is to attract attention to Seeds and Secrets — the novel I am creating on the platform, which I will eventually pull down, revise, have professionally edited and bring to market — and to entice readers to seek out other, already published works of mine that they can buy right now. For me, Wattpad serves in a small way the same marketing role that YouTube does for musicians.

Once the piece is up there, the effort to attract readers begins. You can contribute to this process (but probably only once) by emailing all of your friends and inviting them to check your story out, and by posting your Wattpad link to other social media sites. Of course, you also want to encourage visitors to your page whom you don’t already know, and you can do this indirectly by reading and commenting on the writing of others on the site, getting involved in the discussion forums, and entering the informal competitions Wattpad puts on from time to time. The goal is to get people to “follow” you so that they will be notified whenever you post a new installment or an update.

Every time someone takes a look at a segment you have posted, your “read” counter goes up. Readers can also vote for or post a comment on your work. The more reads and votes you get, the greater are your chances of being noticed by even more readers.

. . . .

I’ve also found a few very careful and helpful readers on Wattpad who will probably help me get through Seeds and Secrets far more quickly than I would ever have done on my own. Seeds and Secrets is the story of a 47-year-old seed researcher who, attempting to keep her ancient Lhasa Apso alive after its sibling expires of old age, inadvertently discovers a formula that makes the dog start getting younger. She starts taking it herself, and soon all the relationships in her life are screwed up. Like most of my fiction, Seeds and Secrets explores a serious subject by means of a commercially palatable plot. I love it when readers not only get the surface story, but appreciate the underlying themes and also recognize my passion for wordplay and sentence structure. I’ve found readers like that on Wattpad. Plus, there is a definite motivation to keep going when people start asking when you’re going to post the next installment.

It is also important to keep contributing work to Wattpad in order to retain your readers’ interest. My goal (sometimes interrupted by life) is to post at least half a chapter every week, and to comment on a couple of other people’s work every two or three days.

Link to the rest at Write

Here’s a link to Mary W. Walters’ books

The Liliana Nirvana Technique

3 August 2014

From Hugh Howey:

No, the Liliana Nirvana is not a secret massage chakra technique. But it may be the secret to launching a successful self-publishing career.

The effectiveness of this technique hit me at RWA. I attended a panel entitled “Self-Publishing Q&A.” It was two jam-packed hours of tossing out questions to mega bestselling authors Barbara Freethy, Bella Andre, Courtney Milan, and Liliana Hart. Of the four, only Liliana entered self-publishing without first having had a career with a traditional publisher. This anomalous beginning stood out during their introductions, but the uniqueness of Liliana’s success disappeared during the Q&A. Why? Because Liliana published as if she had a traditional publishing history.

. . . .

The idea is this: Annual releases are too slow to build on one another. And not just in the repetition of getting eyeballs on your works, but in how online recommendation algorithms work. Liliana suggests publishing 5 works all at once. Same day. And she thinks you should have another work sitting there ready to go a month later. While these works are gaining steam, write the next work, which if you write and edit in two months, will hit a month after the “hole” work.

Why does this work? I think it has to do with “impressions,” or the number of times people see a product before they decide to take a chance on it. (In this case, the product is your name.) It also has to do with recommendation algorithms and how new works are treated on various online bestseller lists. From my own experience, I know that it was following WOOL with four more rapid releases that helped my career take off. I followed these five releases a month later with FIRST SHIFT, and I released a work every three or four months after that (SECOND SHIFT, I, ZOMBIE, THIRD SHIFT, plus several short works).

. . . .

Simultaneous releases have a similar effect on one another. While it’s still a chore to get initial readers, every sale will lead to recommendations for 4 or 5 more of your works. This is far less likely with a lot of time between those initial releases. Some authors will tell you you’re crazy to sit on a product while you write more, but this method has quite a track record.

Think of how it worked for authors who came from traditional publishing. Critics of self-publishing try to wave off the success of authors like Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, and Joe Konrath to some imaginary massive following they won from their publisher, but they have told me that this isn’t the case. They didn’t gain a massive following until after they regained rights to their backlists and self-published. When they did get those rights, they secured works that were already written and edited. They could do some minor tweaks, update cover art, and release those works in rapid order.

Link to the rest at Hugh Howey and thanks to Jessica for the tip.

Here’s a link to Hugh Howey’s books

Marketing From a Village

31 July 2014

From author Gwen Bristol:

This past month the local writer’s group I’m a member of held its own book-fair at one of the local parks.

For the first hour, I went, mingled with my fellow writers and watched the band and food vendors set up for the weekly Fridays on Vine concert. Everyone seemed excited, hopeful that the concert and the sign welcoming the public to come meet local authors would bring a stream of locals through the pavilion.

No one said it aloud, but we all watched people gathering on the grass and at the picnic tables as if we might know some of them. As if they might see us, come running in (with their friends, of course) and buy books.

Only a handful of visitors trickled through while I was there, and I don’t think more than a few books got sold, but I still consider the night a success.

. . . .

I overheard one author say to another, “I don’t know. Sometimes I think we’re all just buying books from each other.”

That may be true. I came home with stacks of bookmarks and two books from my fellow authors, but here’s the deal:

To succeed, self-published authors and traditionally-published authors with little or no marketing budget must be united.

We need to sell the works of other authors as well as our own writings. We need to pass out those bookmarks to every potential reader we meet.

In a world where Talkers and Sneezers make ideas like great books go viral, we need to form tweet teams and street teams that will actually pound the pavement occasionally.

We need a village, and we need to sell to the villages we live in.

Link to the rest at Gwen Bristol

Here’s a link to Gwen Bristol’s books

Publishers need to rethink their marketing deployments and tactics in the digital age to take advantage of their backlists

29 July 2014

From veteran publishing consultant Mike Shatzkin:

Well-articulated complaints about the way traditional publishing compares to self-publishing have recently been posted by two accomplished authors, one who writes fiction and one who writes non-fiction.

These point to what most publishers really should already know. Some fundamental and time-honored truths about publishing need to be reexaminedas we continue the digital transition. And one of the things that really needs to change is the distinction between backlist and frontlist.

There is a real baked-in logic to how publishers see their responsibilities and effort allocation across their list. Books have always been launched like rockets. The publisher commits maximum firepower to getting them off the ground. Most crash to earth. Some go into orbit. The ones that go into orbit have “backlisted” and, like satellites, it takes no power or effort to keep them in orbit for a long time if the initial blast-off gets them there.
In fact, a virtuous characteristic publishers have always recognized about backlist stands in the way of developing the right 21st century approach: backlist books sell without the marketing effort that it takes to introduce a new book.

. . . .

My Logical Marketing partner, Pete McCarthy, who worked for both Penguin and Random House in his corporate career, points out that titles in the backlist make can make up more than half the profits for a Big Five house in a given year.

. . . .

Experienced publishers learned over the years that it didn’t matter what promotion you did for a book not fully distributed. If it wasn’t available in stores, promotion and advertising wouldn’t make it sell. Savvy publishers would ignore news breaks or marketing opportunities for books that had gone through their peak bookstore distribution cycle — which can be as short as a few months or even less if a book doesn’t gain initial traction — because chasing them was wasted effort.

None of this is true anymore. Any break can get around quickly, or even “go viral”. And there don’t need to be books in any stores for a break to move print and digital copies. For many categories of books, most copies are already bought online. It’s probably the case for the majority of titles published and it is true for periods of time for just about any title, particularly an older one past its bookstore peak that has a sudden moment of relevance or fame.

. . . .

The common experience of the two authors who have switched from traditionally published to self-published and written about it is that some marketing effort, including price-fiddling, applied to long-ago backlist can resuscitate a dormant book and that fact, combined with the higher share of revenues self-publishing brings, can make the effort of managing their own publishing business well worth the effort to them. Another component is that both authors want to work on making their books sell.

Of course, this constitutes a loss to the publishers whose initial efforts helped create both the product and the platform that the self-publisher and the self-publishing infrastructure (most prominently Amazon, but there are plenty of players there) then capitalizes on.

. . . .

There is a critical strategic question here that the industry has not resolved. Authors really need to control and manage their own personal web presences and decide on how to best leverage those presences — in conjunction with their publisher(s) or not. But managing a personal web presence is knowledge-, cost-, and labor-intensive and there is no great correlation between how well a person can write and how well they can manage their online opportunities. Still, an author can’t really totally entrust that work to any one publisher, because each is only really interested in the books they publish.

. . . .

[T]he fact is that it is easier to do intelligent and targeted marketing for a book that is a year old than for one that hasn’t been published yet.

But publishing organizations are not structured to take advantage of that fact. In the past ten years, the ratio of marketing personnel to sales personnel has changed in every house: more marketers and fewer sales people. But there has not been a comparable shift in marketing deployment between new titles and backlist. If publishers want to stop losing their most marketing-savvy multi-book authors to self-publishing, that’s something that urgently needs to change.

. . . .

Publishers need to recognize that if authors can sell their backlist more effectively than their publisher(s) did, the publisher was doing something wrong — or failing to do some things right. Authors are right to leave and take matters into their own hands when that happens. Publishers further need to recognize that the authors who can effectively market themselves are the very authors they most want, and that figuring out how to create an environment of collaborative synergy with them is what the successful publisher of ten years from now will have done. 

Link to the rest at The Shatzkin Files and thanks to Terrence for the tip.

It’s painful to see an industry that has the well-being of so many talented authors under its control demonstrate that it is clueless about marketing books outside of traditional bookstores.

As PG has said before, he regards Mike’s thinking as representative of some of the ideas floating around the best minds in New York publishing. Unfortunately, calling the ideas discussed in this article Online Marketing 101 would be defamatory to Marketing 101.

Again, the thought that authors’ financial welfare is in the hands of such tradpub marketing morons is depressing.

2014 Smashwords Survey Reveals New Opportunties for Indie Authors

7 July 2014

From The Smashwords Blog:

[W]e examined aggregated retail and library sales data of Smashwords books and then crunched the numbers based on various quantifiable characteristics of the book. 

For this year’s survey, we examined over $25 million in customer purchases  aggregated across Smashwords retailers including Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, the Smashwords.com store, Sony (now closed), Diesel (closed), Oyster, Scribd, Kobo, public libraries and others.

. . . .

The goal of the survey is to identify Viral Catalysts. 

. . . .

The underlying premise of my Viral Catalyst concept is that Viral Catalysts help drive reader word of mouth because they increase reader satisfaction.  Although every author would love to learn the single secret fast track magic bullet to bestsellerdom, there is no such single secret.  Ebook bestsellers become bestsellers based on multiple Viral Catalyst factors starting with book quality but also influenced by cover design, breath of distribution, pricing, marketing, luck and myriad other factors.  In the Smashwords Survey, we seek to identify potential Viral Catalysts that are quantifiable and therefore measurable.  

. . . .

The ebook sales power curve is extremely steep – This isn’t a surprise, but for the first time we share some numbers along the curve (see the slides in the Series section).  A few titles sell fabulously well and most sell poorly.  An incremental increase is sales rank is usually matched by an exponential increase is sales.  Despite the steep sales curve, a lot of Smashwords authors are earning good income from their books.  Your opportunity as a Smashwords author or publisher is to do those things that give you an incremental advantage so you can climb in sales rank.

Readers prefer longer ebooks – We observed this in the prior surveys.  Longer books sell better, and when you view the data through the prism of the power curve, it becomes clear why longer books give authors such a huge sales advantage.
Pricing – The highest earning indie authors are utilizing lower average prices than the authors who earn less, but this doesn’t mean that ultra-low prices such as $.99 are the path to riches.  $2.99 and $3.99 are the sweet spots for most of the bestsellers.

. . . .

Series yield sales advantage – For the first time, we examine the performance of series books.  This new analysis is enabled by the fact that in September we launched Smashwords Series Manager which allows us to capture enhanced metadata on series.  The results are interesting!  Series books outsell standalone books.  

Link to the rest at Smashwords and thanks to Deb for the tip.

Next Page »