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Chris Pistols
Oct 20, 2008

Piss Crystals


First time posting in this thread, hope I can get a few pointers!

My Dad has been writing for a few years and started off with (what I would call) a vanity publisher. He fell out of love with that and self-published on Amazon. He's asked me for help with the Kindle advertising side of things and I'm desperate to help him, but I know there will be pitfalls that need to be avoided.

I'm not an author and the closest I got to the publishing industry was working in Waterstones for a few years. Before I start researching Kindle advertising, are there any big things I need to be aware of? He recently mentioned a 'must buy piece of software' that would help with Kindle advertising and, rightly or wrongly, that rang alarm bells with me.

I know it's cheeky asking for support when it's not even my own book, but I trust this website of strangers over other websites of strangers. Grateful for any advice you can offer!

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Chris Pistols
Oct 20, 2008

Piss Crystals


Thanks, both!

Zaepho posted:

Cherry picking but the vanity publisher bit twigged me. Lets go back to the beginning. Has the book been through al least one round of professional editing?
Next up, consider the cover. Is it constructed/designed similarly to the books near the top of the rankings in the category? (Also is the book categorized correctly?)
Then the Blurb and Back Cover copy. These need to be good to get people to buy it.

I would work through those items before throwing money at getting people to the amazon purchase page. If the cover isn't great or the blurb isn't catchy/intriguing no matter how many people you get to land on that page it'll be a losing game.

This book hasn't been through professional editing, no. Having seen a lot of self-published stuff working in bookshops, I'd say the cover and blurb stand up pretty favourably against other YA books (and much better than his previous 3!). Not sure if it's the done thing to share Amazon links in this thread; he's very happy with his two 5 star reviews so far ("It's technically a 5 star rated book!") so I wouldn't want to ruin that by inviting criticism he hasn't sought out.

Everything I've read so far points to categorisation being key; I'll run through the prompts in the OP with him as a starting point!

pseudanonymous posted:

What does your dad actually want? Like does he want to make money writing self published books on Amazon? That generally requires writing 4-6 books per year minimum and building up a back catalog. Does he just want to be heard or feel like a writer? I would try to find out what he really wants before you invest a lot of time or money.

This is a great question and one I'm not certain he has an answer for himself. I think he mainly likes the idea of being an author: he's retired from his old field but still doesn't seem to click with the idea that creative fulfilment and commercial success don't necessarily go hand in hand. He's not worked in a creative industry before and I think this is a challenging lesson for him to learn.

What's clear is that he's not looking for input, feedback or criticism on his already published book; he just wants to reap whatever it is he's sown. If he has a stab at advertising and nobody picks up the book, I think he'd find peace with that. What I'm worried about is him putting money into a scam that preys on inexperienced authors. What software could be be talking about that helps with Kindle advertising? Why would you pay for that on top of what you'd be paying for the advertising in the first place? This could be a legit thing, this just isn't my industry and I can't say for sure either way!

Again, thanks for your answers. I know this feels like I'm asking "what plate should I serve food on to make people like it? Do not ask about what food is on the plate", but I'm just trying to be supportive without pouring cold water on what he's worked hard on!

Chris Pistols
Oct 20, 2008

Piss Crystals


Enormously helpful, thanks a lot! Feel a lot more confident moving down this line now that I know what this software actually does. I think this is as much as I can help him without moving to to a more critical approach of his work (which neither of us want), so thanks very much for helping me with this.

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