Episode 137 – Litsy, Ads For Everyone, and the Future of Audio

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Question of the Week: Now that the exclusivity requirement is dropped, will you try KDP Ads with your non-exclusive books? Why or why not? Also, what book should Abigail review next for our new segment?

Back from his day at the polls, Jim joined Bryan to talk tips on hustling, writing a novel quickly, and reader social network Litsy. After thanking their patrons, Chris Syme (and her book Sell More Books With Less Social Media http://amzn.to/2dRIefz ), David King (and his book Hitler Out of Time http://www.hitleroutoftime.com/amazon ), and Simon Goodson (and his book Wanderer’s Escape http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AZ7YSFQ ), the troublesome pair took on stories about book covers, European ebook lending, post-election book bumps, KU Australia, the future of audio, and Amazon’s new policy on KDP Ads. This week’s Question of the Week: Now that the exclusivity requirement is dropped, will you try KDP Ads with your non-exclusive books? Why or why not? Also, what book should Abigail review next for our new segment?
What You’ll Learn:
  • What authors can learn from the habits of successful professionals
  • How authors can write a book in five days’ time
  • How authors can use Litsy to connect with readers
  • Why computers were trained to judge books by their covers
  • What library patrons in the EU can expect when renting ebooks
  • How the election season affected third quarter sales and what’s next
  • What Australian Amazon users can expect from Kindle Unlimited
  • How Adobe’s new audio editing app can manipulate speech
  • How more authors can now advertise on Amazon
Question of the Week: When did you figure out that you were meant to be a self-publishing author, and what made you determine this?

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  • QotW: My first book was a nonfiction in the niche where I was an editor just as trad publishing in that area tanked. Publishers moved rapidly from the “publish anybody” model of the ’80s to telling potential authors, “We’ll take you if you can guarantee 1000 purchases from your already existing platform” (1K= ~1/3 of the initial print run). I published indie. Duh. That was 2009/10. Since then, I’ve been learning to market. This and other podcasts are instrumental in connecting me with resources.

    Which brings me to your initial question concerning the book review segment. The pieces I appreciate most on the Sell More Books Show are those that digest blogs like the Digital Reader and pieces from Kboards. I already listen to all the podcasts and read books recommended by those podcasts, but I can’t seem to find/make the time for the blogs. On the other hand, the blog digests on SMBS are often the most relevant tips and news for my writing/business.

    • And yes, I do realize that I’m answering the QotW listed at the bottom of the page, not the one (at the top) that was read out in the show.

      • Bryan

        Yeah, there were two DC, we cheated this week :).

        • Maybe even three. 😉

          Under the resources/links: “Question of the Week: When did you figure out that you were meant to be a self-publishing author, and what made you determine this?”

    • Bryan

      So glad you’ve found the podcast helpful, DC! Good to know your thoughts on the segment. We really appreciate the feedback!

  • Dale Ivan Smith

    Love the Sell More Books Show! First began listening a couple of months ago, and really appreciate the tips, the news items, and especially Bryan and Jim’s insights and positive mindset. (That includes Jim’s “rants” 😉

    Regarding the issue you discussed of public libraries lending eBooks: I work for a large public library in Oregon. We have several eBook platforms–the largest being Overdrive, a national company that provides libraries with eBooks and provides a system for circulating those books. Digital books are treated exactly like physical books in Overdrive. An individual eBook is checked out to a specific patron for three weeks, just like a print book. We purchase a certain number of books from publishers, as well as indie authors. Publishers often price library editions of eBooks much higher than retail, or place a restriction on how many times a book can be checked out before needing to be replaced, to mimic the replacement cost of a well-used physical library book. If all the copies of a particular title are checked out, patrons must get on a waiting list for a copy. Not ideal in my opinion, but as an indie author I also appreciate the importance of paying content providers 🙂

    • Bryan

      That’s helpful info, Dale. Thanks for the additional info based on your experience! Really glad to have you as a listener!

      • My library uses OverDrive like @daleivansmith:disqus talks about, and I put myself on the waiting list for books when it’s one I like. I don’t mind waiting, but I also wouldn’t mind paying a small fee to rent the book rather than waiting for it or buying it elsewhere.

        My library has a shelf of new and popular print books that you have to rent at first. Eventually they go into the lending program, but the first few weeks they are more restricted to ensure people REALLY want to read them and don’t just take out a stack of books they aren’t really going to read.

        I don’t think a library should be able to lend an unlimited number of copies. They should buy more or if there was a way (one day) to get royalties back to the author for the additional rentals, rent more.

        • Dale Ivan Smith

          My library goes the opposite direction with high-demand new release titles: we purchase additional copies which are masked from the online patron access catalog (OPAC), and thus can’t be put on a reserve list. Instead, if you find these “lucky day” copies on the shelf when you visit, then it’s YOUR lucky day and you can borrow them right then and there, for the standard 3 weeks (no renewals).

          • I like your system!

          • Bryan

            Ooh, lucky day copies. Nice!

        • Bryan

          Really interesting about the renting popular books point, Roland. Hadn’t heard of that.

      • When a library (via Overdrive) ‘buys’ one of your books I assume you just get the one sale, not a sale or royalty for each borrow of your book, correct?

        • Dale Ivan Smith

          I believe that is correct.

    • Is the selection process for Overdrive similar to the one used to acquire physical books for the library? Many people think that having your Indie book in the Overdrive means it will be in the libraries, but that’s not true.

      Audiobooks, too. I listen to a lot of them via Overdrive, and I almost never see an Indie book in the system.

      • Dale Ivan Smith

        That’s right, Overdrive accepting your book means it is on their platform, available for libraries to purchase. You’ll need to contact individual library systems and see what their request for purchase process is like. These days that can be via an online form.

        • Bryan

          Good info, Dale. Thanks again for coming by and sharing!

  • Stella Wilkinson

    I wanted to say that I really liked the new book review segment, but would say please don’t use it for fiction books. There are a million blogs and podcasts for fiction, but none (that I know of) that review books written for authors. This could be incredibly helpful! Like most authors I have very little spare time, and often dither over whether to bother with a lot of them. Can she do books like Write, Publish, Repeat, and Steven King’s On Writing, and Chris Fox and anything else new that actually looks useful? That is the point of the show, right? 😉

    • Bryan

      Good to know, Stella! Glad you liked the segment, and we’ll definitely keep it for nonfiction books.

      • I think focusing on books for authors is a great idea.

        • Bryan


  • Stella Wilkinson

    RE: Amazon sponsored ads. Yes, I was already using for my KU books, and pretty much the day they opened it up I set up an ad for a perma-free book. It doesn’t start running until 1 December, and I know there will be zero profit in it, but am really interested to see how the ad performs on a free book.

    • Bryan

      Ad for a permafree?!?!?! I hadn’t even thought of that. Please let us know how that experiment goes.

  • Lavie Margolin

    Bryan continues to be cryptic about KDP ad success 🙂 Only the shadow knows… KDP ads worked for me when they were only 10 cents a click but when they became more expensive, it just didn’t work.

    • Bryan

      I didn’t sign an NDA or anything. Just trying to be a good friend of people who tell me things in confidence ;). Thanks for your two cents.

  • I’ll probably try the Amazon ads before too long, but right now I’m testing out Bookbub ads. I’ve heard good things about the Amazon ads, so I’m curious to try them.

    I enjoyed Abigail’s segment. I’d like to hear her review The One With All The Writing Advice by Platt & Truant. That one was so good I’m going to get it in paperback.

    • Bryan

      How are the BookBub ads working for you, Stacy? Ok, I’ll pass that recommendation along to Abigail.

    • Abigail Dunard

      Thank you for the comment! I’m a fan of their Sterling and Stone podcasts, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy The One With All The Writing Advice. (Though I may need to brush up on some episodes of Friends.) I will add it to my to-be-read list. Thanks!

  • Chris Syme

    Yes–jumped on the bandwagon right away to do some testing.

    • Bryan

      Nice, let us know how it goes, Chris!

      • Chris Syme

        Will do.

  • In as much as KDP ads offer yet another way to reach my target readers it only makes sense to give them a try. The real question as always is will I be able to make them work for me. As I will be rebranding my debut novel Synergy Of Hopes with a new cover and blurb in the new year this may have come at a perfect time for me.

    I liked the way Abigal gave us an incentive to give Joanna’s non-fiction book a closer look but need to hear how she deals with a few fiction books before I can give an honest answer to this part of your question.

    • Bryan

      She’ll probably just do nonfiction books, Edwin. At least for this show :).

      • In that case I can see her review segment becoming a valuable resource for all us listeners.

        • Bryan

          Great! Likewise.

  • N Dixon

    Interesting thoughts on public library digital lending. Whatever subscription models a library adopts, I think it’s important that learning about and promoting literacy remains central to the mission. Although it might be quicker to download and purchase a book on your ereader, what if you can’t afford it? I admire any author or publisher who takes this into account by providing their catalogue to a library. Authors do get paid per borrow in the UK via the Public Library Lending Rights.

    • Bryan

      That’s a very important point, N. Thanks for the comment.

  • Just dropping in to say… That’s my uni! (Kyushu University aka Kyudai)

    And I was on Litsy for a while, but I haven’t opened the app in weeks :p Then again, I was never very good at bookstagram so… (also the character limit meant I had to write a second, different review for litsy)

    Ok, going to listen to the rest of the episode.

    • Bryan

      Oh wow! Nice :). Ah, I still need to check out Litsy. I’m not a big “apps” person because I worry about getting sucked in! Thanks for the comment.

  • L R W Lee

    Like another listener, I launched my first ad on AMS the day I got the email from them…and it’s for my permafree first book in my series. I’ve also added an ad for my box set. Thus far I’m paying $.08-$.11 per click and at that rate it’s a no brainer to use AMS. I’ll be curious to see how long the CPC stays that low as more folks get in. If it’s anything like Google Adwords, things got REALLY expensive with time.

    As for the review segment, I liked it but it needs to be a lot quicker/shorter.

    • Bryan

      That’s awesome. Good work!

      Thanks for the input on the segment!

  • Are there any good resources for how to successfully use AMS? I tried the old version a year or so ago, and sold nothing so it would be nice to not have to start from zero.

    • Bryan

      Hey Roland. I’m doing a webinar with Derek Doepker about AMS ads on the 30th. Shoot me an email and I’ll give you the link.