One Month In

Welcome and hello! Just completed my first month as a self-published author and I exceeded my worst fears, though nothing to brag about. Andromeda Rhoades Liberation: The Local War (Book 1) sold the equivalent of six copies. Better than zero, which was my worst fear, and still in line with my expectations.

I approached this from the beginning as a marathon, not a sprint. Even I hesitate to buy books from a first-time author, or the first book of a new series. That’s why I’m working hard on Andromeda Rhoades Firestorm: The Local War (Book 2). My plan is to finish and publish this winter, likely early 2023, then publish Andromeda Rhoades Alpha: The Local War (Book 3) late summer 2023. That will complete Andromeda Rhoades, the first “triplet” (a.k.a. trilogy) of the planned nine-book series. Sundown Rhoades, the second triplet, will follow, and the series will wrap up with the final triplet, Crossed Rhoades. I already have ideas for two more sagas in the Local War universe: the Stormrider Saga and the Story of Cyra Dain, but I’m keeping my focus on the near-term goal. One book at a time. Kind of like those long road marches when I was in the Army: just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I’m also working to improve my understanding of marketing for a self-published author. As I mentioned in my previous blog, marketing is not my strong suit. Even after two months of research before publishing Andromeda Rhoades Liberation: The Local War (Book 1), I found I still didn’t really grasp the details. One message did repeat often—“I made a lot of mistakes”—so I’m approaching marketing as an on-the-job learning experience during which I will make mistakes. My hope is that by the time I publish Andromeda Rhoades Alpha: The Local War (Book 3), I will understand better what works and what doesn’t.

During my first month on Amazon, I did no marketing. The writers’ group I belong to did highlight my book on their social media site and on Goodreads, but I saw no sales that matched the timing of that. So, doing nothing I sold six copies. That is now my baseline. For October, I am doing a modest Amazon Ads campaign. Nothing fancy. I’m letting Amazon determine where they show my book. I’m going to let this run for the entire month of October. In November, I’ll make one major change (perhaps using targeted keywords instead of letting Amazon choose). Then I’ll make another change in December, see what happens. This way, I can hopefully build a good data set that will allow me to focus my marketing campaign when I launch Andromeda Rhoades Firestorm: The Local War (Book 2).

That’s not to say I’m taking a hands-off approach. The research I did on Amazon Ads says the author has to constantly monitor and adjust the campaign, either every day or every few days to start, to see which keywords are working and which ones aren’t. Amazon provides a lot of marketing data, and that’s another aspect I need to learn. This month, if I don’t get “clicks” then either the ads aren’t showing in the right places, or the cover isn’t enticing people to click (I’ll do a separate blog on the cover design). If they click but don’t buy, then either the description isn’t selling, the buyer is getting the wrong impression from the cover, or maybe a new author like me with (currently) no reviews just isn’t enticing enough. So much to learn!

Have an Awesome day!

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