In this video I share how to setup a powerful strategy to get more followers and sell more books.
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“Make a blog.” “Every author needs a blog.” “You only get readers if you build a blog.” How often have you seen this sentiment repeated? Yes, blogs are very important for authors, but there are very few people who talk about actually making a blog and what goes into it. Buying a domain and host are only part of the equation. Making sure that people come to and read your blog is important, and you also need to consider what you write. This will help you ask yourself the important questions so that you can get your author blog up and running.
How often will you write on your blog? Having a schedule helps you focus your efforts on making posts, and it also gives readers an idea of what to expect from you. Some authors write daily posts, but that isn’t recommended or even normal because this takes A LOT of time away from your book writing. Most authors write blog posts weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. You could also choose the sporadic schedule of just writing when something happens (like finishing a book, having a conference or beating some record), but this is better when you actually make it big and have a large number of people reading your blog. It’s better to set a schedule while you’re building an audience to ensure that they don’t forget about you.
Unlike frequency, which can be boiled down to a matter of preference and time, content is much harder to quantify for author blogs. There is some preference here, but most authors only write about a handful of subjects. Announcements are probably the most common blog posts. Talk about publishing your book, getting an award or making appearances. This tells people where your career is going and what they can do to follow you. You can also write marketing posts about upcoming books, share cover images to get people excited and run events (like giveaways or Webinars) to generate excitement in your book. Others also share reviews of their books from newspapers or influential blogs.
However, you might notice a trend here. Nearly all of the topics above cover your books, and yes, that’s a bad thing. Your author blog should also be about you, the author, and what you’re going through. What’s going through your head, what makes you tick? People don’t just follow the trail of books you leave behind, they also want to follow you as a person. Tell them about you as a person every now and then or you’ll end up with a lot of unsubscribers because they won’t want to just hear you marketing your books.
There’s no reason to build a blog unless you intend on directing traffic there. Let’s cover the basics: put your blog URL everywhere. Have a social media account? Good, put your website there. Have any offline marketing? Great, slap that URL somewhere on the bottom. Make sure your website is everywhere, otherwise people won’t know where to go.
Next, time to do some SEO work. Don’t worry, you won’t need a full course in the subject, just some basic tweaking. A lot of people will find your blog by searching for your name or the name of your books. Make sure that your blog is optimized for these search terms. Just mentioning them a few times and linking them to your social media account should be enough.
Guest blogging has become popular, and it’s the perfect way to increase your circle of author friends. Just ask other authors if you can write an interesting post on their blog, and return the favor by giving them a space on your blog. That’s simplifying the process a bit, but the essence of this method is to just get the word out on someone else’s blog.
Having a regular publishing schedule won’t ensure that people come to your website. The best way to remind people that your blog exists is to announce updates. Post updates on your social media accounts, make an email list and, if needed, update your homepage so that it shows the newest blog post.
Making an author blog is fairly easy, but too many authors get caught up in the details. Just figure out how often to post content, think about what people want to read and do some marketing work to ensure that people find your blog and keep coming back. It’s almost like making any other blog, but you’re focusing on your creative career and making sure that people follow you and spend their money on your products.
Is Enrolling in KDP Select the best choice? While it ties your book down to Amazon and away from any other publisher, it does give you benefits such as access to programs like Kindle Unlimited. This is Kindle’s digital version of a library because it allows subscribers to borrow books at a monthly rate rather than buy them separately, but now there’s a major question that authors must be asking themselves: is Kindle Unlimited really worth it? How much are authors making from this program, and is it really the big deal that Amazon made it out to be? In brief, yes and no, but there’s more to it than that.
As of March 2015, every book rental is netting authors $1.33. If you compare it to the $2 you would have made from a sale if your book is priced at $2.99, then it doesn’t seem too bad. On one hand there is an obvious decrease in per sale/read profit, but there’s also the potential for more money is more people borrow the book. Not only that, but you have to understand that you get paid as long as the borrower reads at least 10% of the book.
At the same time, this is the lowest per borrow rate since the inception of Kindle Unlimited, and the number is abysmal when compared to the previous program: Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). When Unlimited first started in July 2014, authors were making about $1.81 per borrow. It then dropped to about $1.50 per borrow for the next two months, and then an average of $1.40 per borrow for every month except October and March (which both tied at $1.33).
Things start to look even worse when you look at the per borrow rate before Unlimited, when there was just KOLL. This is a program that allowed Prime members to borrow one book per month. The lowest rate at this point was $1.86 per borrow during December 2013, which is higher than the highest point of Kindle Unlimited. It reached a high of $2.51 per borrow in October 2013, but the number was consistently over the $2 mark until Unlimited was rolled out.
While everything might seem like doom and gloom if you look at the numbers, you have to understand why it’s so much lower than before. In truth, Amazon is investing nearly 3x the amount of money that it did during the early days, and it’s expected to triple its investment again in the coming months to keep up with the growth and demand of Unlimited.
During the early days of KOLL, Amazon only invested about $1 million into the pool, but the payouts were higher due to fewer books and fewer overall borrows, which allowed participating authors to really reap the rewards. It then increased to $1.2 million during the second half of KOLL’s lifespan, and then grew to $3 million after Unlimited was released.
While it may not seem like it right now, this lower per borrow rate is actually a good thing because it means that more people are borrowing books, but Amazon is having a hard time properly funding it. There have already been talks about getting more money to authors, but currently they are having a hard time scaling author rates with the growth of the program.
Getting the Most
Even though Unlimited has been around for a little over half a year, it’s far too early to say if it’s here to stay. However, there are some definite tips that you can use to get the most profit from this program, especially since every KDP Select book is automatically entered anyway.
Serial writers are typically making the most because each book segues into the next. It’s much easier to convince readers to pick up the next novel when they don’t have to pay for each book. Unlimited allows them to borrow the next book when they are finished, which means more money for you. Creating a quality product is obviously the best thing you can do, but keeping them coming with a series is the best way to keep readers happy.
Is Kindle Unlimited worth it? For some yes, but for some no. The per borrow rates are at their lowest, but that could all turn around in a few months. At the same time, authors who are getting more borrows than buys might see a dip in their profits.