Two Weeks In

Hello! It’s been two weeks since Andromeda Rhoades Liberation: The Local War (Book 1) launched, my first foray into self-publishing. Two weeks in, I’ve sold 1 Kindle edition, 1 paperback, 1 hardcover, and 567 pages read on Kindle Unlimited. Not exactly New York Times Bestseller numbers, but in line with what my research prior to launching led me to expect. Here, I’m once again grateful to the YouTubers out there who are honest about their book sales numbers. One author said she didn’t make her first sale until the third month after launching her book. Another said he made $400 in his first month. That’s a far cry from the ‘Earn $50,000 a month’ hype. So, the honesty out there helped me set realistic expectations for a first novel from an unknown author.

I really enjoyed writing Andromeda Rhoades Liberation and I’ve already finished the first draft of Andromeda Rhoades Firestorm: The Local War (Book 2). As I said in a previous blog, though, first drafts usually suck. My first drafts are no different. The idea behind a first draft is to get “idea on paper.” (And, no, I don’t use paper.) Now is when the real work begins—rewriting. That’s where an idea turns into a professional novel, hopefully one people will want to buy and read. I’m about 50 pages into that process. After that will come polishing, because I believe writers owe the best product they can do for their readers.

Back to Andromeda Rhoades Liberation. Sales and marketing are not my strong suit. My “day career” is technical. I expect to make mistakes in marketing. Probably a lot of them. This first self-published novel is a learning experience for me. For example, after spending about two months researching how to market a novel prior to launching my book, one recurring theme stood out: Most authors need multiple books to achieve success. Related, the consensus advice is not to use paid advertising for a first book; save the paid advertising for when an author has at least three books. Based on that, I decided not to pay for advertising for Andromeda Rhoades Liberation, at least at the beginning. (This may be one of my mistakes. Stay tuned to future blogs to find out!)

That’s not to say I won’t pay for advertising in the future. Right now, I’m trying to understand how Amazon works and get at least 3-4 weeks of baseline sales data with no paid advertising. The baseline will allow me to understand exactly what affect future paid advertising is having.

Understanding is a different matter. My book can’t sell if people don’t see it. When an author publishes through Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon gives them 7 slots for keywords or phrases, and asks the author to select two categories. Two weeks in, I type the exact keyword phrase I used in one slot into the search bar and search. Being a new author with few sales, I would expect to show up on or about the last page. Actual result: My book doesn’t show up AT ALL. Seven pages of search results: no Andromeda Rhoades Liberation. Switching to category, I selected Military Science Fiction as one of mine: 75 pages of search results for Books/Science Fiction and Fantasy/Science Fiction/Military and, guess what, my book doesn’t show up AT ALL. I checked all 75 pages. This is one aspect of what I must learn from this first effort. If my book isn’t showing up, of course people aren’t going to buy it. Now, that said, I did find it on page 3 of the search results for New Releases Last 30 days, and I have sold three books, plus some Kindle Unlimited reading.

So, I probably will do a limited paid advertising at about the 4-week mark to see if that makes a difference. And to learn. Especially to learn. Does the cover entice people to click on it? Is the book description compelling enough that people will buy it? Do people enjoy reading the story as much as I do? Paid advertising might answer those questions. If you’re wondering, I am doing some non-paid advertising through the Colorado Authors League and a few other places, and I plan to explore Goodreads this weekend.

My main focus right now, however, is getting Andromeda Rhoades Firestorm finished. Then, I’ll move onto Andromeda Rhoades Alpha: The Local War (Book 3).

Have an awesome day!

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