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feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Curious if y'all have an opinion about marketability vs. truth-in-advertising. I'm writing a YA mystery novel with a female lead and a romance subplot and a supernatural element. From what I've read this is a bit of an (accidental) home-run in terms of large potential readership base. Slap a beautiful-but-approachable scared girl on the cover, put her in front of a forest, throw some scary-but-alluring monster eyes in the background, you've got yourself a marketable cover that technically all relates to the content inside. However, tonally the actual content of the book is much more old-school Nancy Drew; sweet, more than a bit nostalgic, the supernatural element ends up being a hoax, and the romance is all very innocent. The cover I have in my head is much closer to an Archie cover than a Twilight cover. How important is it to have a cover that conveys the right tone vs. having something that will reach the most sets of eyes? Would potential reviews reflect poorly if the reader felt like their expectations were in a different place? Would fewer readers bother finishing the book if they felt misled vs. a if I were to focus in on my smaller target readership? Would it be a bad idea to do the more marketable cover for the eBook and an illustrated, bubblegum cover for the print edition?

e: This is all very premature since I've only written half a first draft, but I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I want to make sure my own expectations are in the right place. But it brings to mind that Twilight-esque Romeo & Juliet cover from a few years back and the debate surrounding its effectiveness. The Nancy Drew crowd is a legit niche and I wonder if it makes sense to hyper-target them as I originally planned or go broad.

feedmyleg fucked around with this message at 21:19 on Nov 7, 2017

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feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Is there any merit to putting out multiple versions of a book, say one standard ebook and one deluxe ebook with illustrations and supplementary material with a slightly higher price? Or is that both presupposing there's an audience in the first place and also splitting that audience if they exist? Or are there additional considerations to not doing that?

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Gotcha, makes sense. I'd heard some folks talk about getting dinged for larger file sizes, so I was thinking 30+ illustrations might not be great for the standard version of the book.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



100% agreed. Reading that made me feel like it was going to be a worldbuilding-first book filled with paragraph after paragraph of boring alt-history. Cut it.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Speaking of, I've still got another draft to go before I'll need it, but can anyone give me a sense of how much it'll be to hire a decent independent editor for a ~75,000 word book?

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Well, a "serving suggestion" is a recommended size, not type. Also the book's title is "To serve Ghost" but your blurb says "serve a ghost"—which is it?

But otherwise the blurb is cute and fun. Based on the title, cover, and blurb my expectations were that it would be more of a (funny) cookbook than (cookbook-themed) cutesy pictorial, however. I think that would do well marketed as a children's book, though, it's cute.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Not that I'd expect the general public to make the same association, but when I saw the title I definitely thought it was going to be a ghost-based riff on "To Serve Man" from The Twilight Zone.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



freebooter posted:

Cover feedback please - anything I should ask to be tweaked? (Sorry, Imgur sucks these days, you have to click on it to see the whole thing). It's a 1914-set horror/adventure novel which I originally intended to be in the style of an Indiana Jones/Brendan Fraser's The Mummy romp, but which ended up pretty heavily leaning into horror, so the Gothic tone is appropriate.



I think it's a great cover that tells you exactly what you're getting into. However, if you're looking for feedback outside of that, 9 times out of 10 this thing is going to be seen as a thumbnail, and as a thumbnail everything gets mushed together to the point where it's difficult to understand what you're looking at. I'd try zooming in to just the locomotive/moon/bats, and/or increasing the contrast a bit or just bumping up the midtones of the sky, or as stated above, reduce some of the grunge that's cluttering it up a bit. Or, if you don't like the idea of zooming in, maybe bump up the size of the bats a bit and add one or two closer to the foreground—as a thumbnail their silhouette doesn't read as batty as would be ideal, they just look like floating blobs.

Also that book sounds rad, post the link when it's up.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



I'm literally a graphic designer and I'm going to have someone else do my book cover.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



And, uh, what might the silver standard be?

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Hm. I've designed books for print before, just never an ebook. I assume that I won't be able to just brush off my languishing InDesign skills for this.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



divabot posted:

i mean, you need a cover that will look good at 160x100 and at 3200x2000

and maybe you'll need to tone the colours down from RGB to mere CMYK

and allow for createspace's Satanic ideas on how to print colours, wherein my own book has been various shades from blue to green for the same original image

Ah, I meant interior layout and design. But looking at Draft 2 Digital I don't want to give up that much control, so I'll either look at Scrivener's tools or just bite the bullet on the pricey one.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



I mean, that cover tells me it's set in space. If I were to read into it I'd say that the static-y quality feels very analog and implies a general sense of dread and unease. But that's not going to resonate in a thumbnail and it isn't compelling outside of that. Overall it just reads as "a story set in space."

Find a public domain space image you like and pay some poor sap on Fiverr or 99designs to add some text for next to nothing.

feedmyleg fucked around with this message at 09:06 on Jul 25, 2019

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



So, I just finished my first novel.

Well, finished is a loaded word, as I'm sending the manuscript out to friends-and-family readers this weekend to get general feedback to see if anything really isn't working, then I'm going to get it edited. But in the meantime, I'm working on cover and blurb:

quote:

edit: deleted

I've gone through the advice in this thread and books of the sub-genre on Amazon and it feels like this might be a bit more plotty than average. However, I think it gets the main bullet points across well and in an intriguing manner.

e: Ultimately I want it to come off as "Scooby-Doo with romance for teenagers."

feedmyleg fucked around with this message at 22:44 on Oct 2, 2019

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



I found Vellum to be really restrictive. Not being able to style certain elements was very frustrating so I took to InDesign. It was a bit of a learning curve when it came to working out some of the kinks on reflowable EPUBs but I think I've got the hang of it now

Only thing I'm worried about is Amazon's habit of skipping to the first chapter (due to KU page number payments I guess?) as my book begins with a quote and I'd really rather that not be skipped.

feedmyleg fucked around with this message at 10:18 on Sep 5, 2019

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Can you not create an Author Central account until after you've hit publish on your first book? I'm trying to get everything prepped for launch and it keeps trying to get me to select a book I've written before I fill out my profile.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Probably not a fair assessment, but that's what my mind jumped to as well. Blonde girl with big gun + scary indigenous art = MAGA fantasy.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Alright, I'm looking to release my (horror-adjacent) book mid-month to capitalize on Halloween hype. I'm still solidifying my full release strategy, but I'm about to put the book up for pre-order and need to pick a release date. Anyone have insight as to what day of the week would be best to release on? I could see Monday or Friday being equally good picks for different reasons. Or is it just better to go as soon as possible to get more time to build before the end of the month?

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



I'm in the same boat. My first book launches on the 18th and I'm going to be a mess for the next month I'm sure. SurreptitiousMuffin (or anyone else!) if you're up for a review swap I'd be happy to send an ARC, just PM me.

I'm going through my release checklist now and finishing up my marketing materials. Does anyone have any thoughts on my front cover:



Or my (somewhat revised) blurb:

quote:

Summer, 1959. An atomic monster is haunting the woods of small-town Bonnifield, and The Britannica Junior Detectives are going to find out what (or who!) it really is--unless romance gets in the way first.

Danny and Mary-Sue are amateur teen sleuths and best friends coming off of their biggest case yet, unmasking The Phantom of Prom and saving the dance. But as the shadow of the Cold War looms and nuclear destruction feels more imminent every day, Danny meets a young beatnik girl who helps him realize that life isn't all sock hops and soda fountains.

Horror-obsessed Mary-Sue stubbornly heads out to Mercury Marsh herself to interview an enigmatic young greaser who claims that what she's looking for isn't a spooky monster at all, it's a little green man from outer space--and he can take her to its flying saucer. The secret they discover out near the old cemetery, however, is far more frightening than anything in Mary-Sue's macabre magazines.

This fun and spooky love-letter to 50s sci-fi b-movies and YA detective novels reads like Nancy Drew and Archie investigating The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Thing from Another World.

Or my trailer (aka the ad I'll be running on Facebook et al):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SDduJFp40w

Or my website?

I'm putting together a Facebook campaign right now for a pretty decent spend, and I'm looking into BookBub and the other similar services mentioned in this thread. I'm also slowly putting together a social presence but I'm not expecting much out of it because I'm awful at social media. I've decided that $3.99 was the sweet-spot between "this is cheap enough to take a risk on" and "this book is expensive enough that it might be good" but I'm open to thoughts on other price points.

Since I'm a hobbyist and it's my first book, my real goal is going to be to get as many people as possible to read it, rather than try to make any money on it—or even to stay in the black. Does anyone have any tips on just casting as wide a net as possible?

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Thanks so much everyone! Preorder is highly appreciated. It's all very encouraging :3:

I submitted my final ebook on Monday and I'm putting together the print version right now. It feels a bit unreal. If anyone wants to tap my cover artist hit me up, they're amazing and I couldn't believe how affordable they were for how fantastic the work is.

As for the Britannica name, I never refer to The Encyclopedia Britannica (though I do call the character "the boy with the encyclopedic brain") but it's both a play on the character's actual last name (Oxford) and I did a trademark search before I went with that name and found lots of registered trademarks with Britannica in them, so I think I should be covered.

Hopefully I don't screw it all up in the marketing!

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



So, uh, apparently I'm really bad at marketing? This is my first book so I have no established authorial presence or mailing list, I've never been a part of any community that is book-related online, and I have no significant social media presence outside of my personal FB/Insta accounts—so those are the holes I'm starting out in.

I launched my book on the 18th and have had sold ~80 copies across Kindle and paperback. I'd say at least half of those are people I know, if not closer to 75%. I've been running small Facebook ad sets to hone in on my audience and I'm down to a $0.35 cost-per-click, which I understand to be quite good. The problem is that none of these seem to be converting to sales—I ramped up my Facebook ad-spend yesterday for Halloween week (my book is somewhat spooky) and spent $60 to get ~200 link clicks that resulted in... 2 sales. And even then, one of those was paperback, which I believe only show when they ship, not when they're bought, so let's call that 1 sale. I'm even getting a smattering of likes and comments on my Facebook ads and have converted a whopping 13 of those to page likes. Like... how did I get 8 likes on my ads last night but 1 sale?

I've got the thing on KU but I'm not seeing a single unit shipped there, despite running a couple of ads specifically calling out that it was on KU. I've got seven 5-star reviews, all from friends. I've changed my blurb a few times but have seen no uptick in sales associated. I ran a couple of ads on BookBub which had dismal 0.08% and 0.18% CTRs. I'm running a Bargain Booksy promotion this week. I know this isn't terribly outside of the norm, but it's very demoralizing. I figured I'd at least be able to get a few sales per day with a pretty low ad spend.

I thought I'd gotten a pretty good handle on my prime demographic, the "Cozy Mystery" reader. According to Facebook insights my clicks are mostly coming from liberal women in their 30s-60s so I've been trying to target them, but I'm just having such a hard time getting any traction at all. It makes me feel like I'm missing something extremely obvious. Can anyone take a look at my Amazon listing and tell me if anything obviously doesn't work there?

At this point I wonder if my book isn't just too niche? I know my next step is to get out there more and just feel skeezy plastering my book all over Facebook groups and messaging individuals on Tumblr and reaching out to blogs and figuring out how to convince people to get on a mailing list and whatever, but I was hoping to at least get a steady drip of sales from ads before then so I could focus my time and energy on it. But I've been putting ~4 hours a day into this since launch and seeing nothing come of it is pretty depressing.

Any advice at all would be appreciated.

feedmyleg fucked around with this message at 11:36 on Oct 29, 2019

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Well, that's the thing, though: I'm not trying to make money. I'm just trying to get anyone at all to click that Buy button and read it. I'm happy to be in the red on this thing, but my $60 customer yesterday did not instill confidence that I can do that in anything resembling a sustainable way.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Thanks for the advice, all. Just essentially needed to hear that my experience wasn't outside of the norm and I shouldn't give up on the marketing attempt yet. It's just a bummer that writing a (by all accounts) good book in a popular sub-genre with an attractive pitch isn't enough to get a bare minimum of readership. Yesterday was a repeat of Monday with throwing money at zero sales across multiple advertising platforms. But hey, at least a decent number of people liked and loved my ads overnight 😒

I do plan on turning it into a series, but I also want to write another book in between. So hopefully I can knock that one out a lot faster than I did the first book. But seeing that nobody outside of my social circle is particularly interested in reading the first one isn't exactly a great incentive to do it all over again and write a sequel. Guess I shouldn't be surprised that this industry is different than any other—it isn't as if my musician or comedy friends have a significantly different experience in their fields, so I'll just be keeping that in mind.

feedmyleg fucked around with this message at 18:59 on Oct 31, 2019

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



The quote is new in the blurb and cut down from a longer paragraph in an attempt to keep as much above the fold as possible, so it's more fragmented than in the actual prose. I tried to pick something that had a mysterious feeling to like I saw in some others, it but might have gone a little too obtuse there. I'll swap something else in and see if it moves the needle at all.

If you don't like the "weird scooby doo style prologue" then yeah the book isn't going to be your cup of tea as it very much is a riff on exactly that, but the prologue does tie into the rest of the book for sure. It's an in media res end to a previous adventure that sets up a new story. The stilted prose is a throwback to mid-century YA fiction like Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys which have a more formal approach to their prose. It's something I specifically asked early readers about and nobody else bumped up against it, but it's good to know that it does rub some folks the wrong way.

Still, honest feedback appreciated.

feedmyleg fucked around with this message at 23:53 on Oct 31, 2019

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Thanks for all the advice, folks. This whole world is very new to me and there's just so much confusing and disparate information out there. I'm sure it'll just get easier over time but as someone just entering this arena as a total outsider it's a bit overwhelming.

Jalumibnkrayal posted:

How are you targeting initially? Author names? Genre? I find author names to be the best, and I don't limit anything else except to focus on USA if that's my market.

Mostly genre and a few different interest-adjacent groups on Facebook. I spent some time last week focusing on author names and learning more about the niches of the sub-genre, so I'll be looking to apply that for next week. Up until now I've been trying a lot of things that probably have been dead-ends like targeting fans of certain movies and TV shows who also like mystery fiction/cozy mysteries. On Facebook ads I can't seem to go granular in ways I want (like targeting "Nancy Drew" or smaller authors), but I've been figuring Amazon ads out a little more this past week so I'll try to get more focused on authors there.

quote:

Your book self identifies as a cozy mystery but you're in the Teen/YA subgenre. Cozy readers skew a lot older than teens, so you might be hiding your book in a section your readers don't check out. If you do want to target teens with your book, you might want a new cover. Yours is a throwback to those 50's classics, but all the bestsellers in your genre have more photo realistic covers.

If it is a cozy, is there a murder? There is almost always a murder that's being investigated. You might just be off on the tropes and cozy readers are not finding what they're looking for.

Definitely something I've been concerned about. There's no murder in the book which I know sets me apart from a lot of other titles in the category, but unless I'm missing something there doesn't seem to be another sub-genre it slots into better. When I'm looking at the results for my manually-targeted ads on Amazon, I definitely get the highest CTRs for people searching for cozy mysteries, though. I played around with a more realistic cover at one point, but it felt like a bad fit—my book is decidedly light, and anything that had a darker feeling felt like I was selling something else. So far my highest ranking that I've seen is #22 in "Teen & Young Adult Detective Story eBooks" so maybe I'll just re-double my efforts in that direction.

quote:

I mean there are readers out there, it's just a matter of setting your expectations. Were you expecting hundreds of sales? Is that a reasonable expectation?

That's fair. I suppose my expectations were a bit arbitrary—I would've been really happy with a few hundred sales and absolutely over-the-moon if I cracked a thousand, but that might just not be the reality of the market. At this point my goal is to just get a review from someone I don't know.

quote:

What are you doing for four hours a day post-launch?

Mostly reading about self-publishing and tweaking ads. I also wasted time making social content that isn't going to reach anybody. I've still got a ton to learn, I know. I was just trying to learn it while doing it, which is surely folly.

divabot posted:

yeah it is. Nothing's wrong with the book, you just ("just") haven't cracked how to market the drat thing.

Get people writing reviews. Get your friends, acquaintances, dentist's dog etc to write reviews of it - Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, do people even have frickin blogs any more, etc. Stress the Kindle Unlimited aspect.

You won't get rich out of it, but you may get your name out there.

Heck, do you have a local newspaper? Call and see if they want to fill a space. TRY IT ALL.

edit: also i just tweeted it so there, get your volunteer shills to do that too

https://twitter.com/davidgerard/status/1193290704627347456

Really appreciated! And yeah, I'm planning a few ground-effort things here and there, but over the past week I've just been continuing to try and hone my Facebook and Amazon ads. I'll hit up some more F&F for reviews this week and do a push in some other directions. I've for sure got some avenues left unexplored.

Also, a big part of feeling really down on this was that I was totally misreading part of my KDP dashboard—I'd been under the assumption that "Free Units Ordered" represented KU downloads, not books that are priced at free. So I thought my ads weren't even getting any KU traction, which felt absurd for how many clickthroughs I was getting—it really is dumb that they don't let you see that figure anywhere. But I assumed all of my page reads were coming from the purchased ebooks, so I'm feeling a lot better about that.

And sadly my father's biggest social media following was on his MySpace, so I can't even rely on nepotism.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



That crop, uh, kinda misses the point.

Otherwise agreed. The beige needs to go, the ricepaper texture needs to go, the dropshadow and outline on the text need to go, the arbitrary boxes need to go. All that stuff makes it look extremely self-published in a bad way—reminds me of small-press books from the 90s in a bad way. Just make the photograph full-frame and lay the text over it. Also seems weird to not to have an author name on the cover when it's a memoir.

Super quick and dirty with zero thought given to the text, but:



Feels much more modern to me in terms of framing and layout. I like the asymmetrical text in Icon-Cat's example, which adds a feeling of class and/or poetry.

feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



I was bummed when I found out they own Abe Books, too :(

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feedmyleg
Dec 25, 2004

EVERY FAIRY TALE NEEDS ITS HERO.



Overall I think it looks really good, it's a nice clean composition that fits with your first cover well. If you went with that I think you'd be golden. But to nitpick since you asked, I don't love how the bottom edge of the moon is fully blown out and blends into the clouds, especially with how clear the subject is in comparison. The moon also appears to be using exact same source as the first book cover, which might link them together in a positive way but feels a touch lazy when looking at them side-by-side. The biggest thing for me, though, is that the werewolf's face is a bit too wolf-like. Maybe in your text that's how werewolves look and you want to stick to it, but when scanning across it I think the face could look more monstrous so it reads more as a supernatural creature on first glance instead of an animal. Right now it's not until I stop and look at the details of the body that I see that. Also, just a thought that may be unnecessary: there's nothing to indicate that this werewolf is, in fact, on the western front. I'm assuming that's referring to World War I, so is there any way you could have some detail from the war make it in there? Is that a trench behind the werewolf? If so, some barbed wire or parados perhaps? Again, just a scannability thing to reinforce what makes your book cool and unique compared to any other werewolf story.

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