Marketing Fiction on the Kindle - How?

20 replies
Hey everyone,

I've searched the Warrior Forum a little bit on this subject, but really haven't found anything that hit home for me.

I am curious about a few things in this type of a niche.

So basic marketing plan as far as I can figure out would be to own a blog and to hit social media pretty hard in order to market your Kindle fiction book and build an email list.

A few questions I have, if anyone has experience or knowledge in this type of deal:

1. Is there really anything for you to SEO optimize? I mean would you try optimizing for say the horror niche if you're in that niche? Or the fantasy niche?

2. Is forum marketing a valid strategy when your profits are only going to be in 35 cent range to maybe around 75% of 2.99?

3. What would one even talk about on their blog to keep it fresh? I imagine just the journey of writing the tale in general. Maybe a little bit how they promoted it as well. I know on the backend if your fiction becomes successful, could always make a course on making money as a fiction writer.

4. Is there any paid traffic that could be worth it? Maybe paying to get your Facebook fan page up to 500 fans and letting it grow from there, taking an initial loss for the potential gain?

I have been thinking all about this lately as I just published my first short story up on the Kindle. I have tons of fiction pieces I am writing that I want to publish and I would love to really make it happen income-wise with my fiction.

I mean, sure beats the hell out of ad revenue sites and spinning articles about kitchen appliances haha.

Would love to know what the Warrior Forum can brainstorm up as a valid marketing plan for a work of fiction.

Thanks again!
#fiction #kindle #marketing
  • Profile picture of the author Chris Lockwood
    One strategy that works for fiction is to have multiple books and offer one of them free (such as the first in the series) to get people to sample your work. I'm assuming you're not well-known among your target audience- getting your name known is the hardest part.

    You can also write reviews of other books in your genre to get your name out there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    This article might be of interest to you. It even references a book that he published a book called "How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months".

    Good luck.

    John Locke, 'Donovan Creed' Author, On Selling A Million eBooks
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  • Profile picture of the author DeeAnkary
    Following on to what Chris said, try the series route. Trilogies seem to be all the rage, so that might work.

    Listmania is also a good way to get your book and your name out there. You could create a list of say "Scariest Camping Stories" (I'm terrible at fiction.... sorry!), include one or two of your titles, together with some bestsellers in your genre.

    Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author Why9999
      Read the story of Amanda Hocking also. She used a combination of good writing, book reviewers and social media.

      Also, you should be asking this in on the Kindle Writer's Cafe forum, Create Space forums, etc. There are quite a few established authors there that have made good sales on Amazon and in print.
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      • Profile picture of the author Paul Gram
        Originally Posted by Why9999 View Post

        Read the story of Amanda Hocking also. She used a combination of good writing, book reviewers and social media.

        Also, you should be asking this in on the Kindle Writer's Cafe forum, Create Space forums, etc. There are quite a few established authors there that have made good sales on Amazon and in print.
        Yes that's a good forum to check out but a word of warning: like any forum, there are people who "fake it till they make it" and give out advice like it's tested fact when many times it's pure theory, speculation, and guesses.

        That being said, you can find lots of great information there (and here) but also do your own testing and use your own common sense as well.

        Also, right on about Amanda Hocking...you can learn tons from reading her blog. She goes into great detail about how she marketed her books and it's 1000% legit.
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  • Profile picture of the author healthseocontent
    Before I go into my tips, I want to offer you a little information about myself...I have been writing professionally since 2000, and I used to sell fiction for side income. I was able to make a few hundred dollars a month with a very small amount of marketing and publishing very little. I never put much time into those projects, but the return was well worth it.

    Fast forward to 2012, and I've much more experience as a marketer and a writer. I plan on getting back into publishing fiction and I have more time to put in and thusly expect more money.

    I just want to add this disclaimer because I am basing this on what I have done in the past and what I am doing now.

    Now, for my two cents.

    I don't know where you are in your writing process, but fiction, like all book writing, should be promoted before published so as to begin with demand. At the very minimum, you should have seen that there is demand for your type of work when you completed basic market research.

    If you haven't done any market research, do that now!

    You want to create visibility for yourself as an author and in your niche, and how you do this is up to you. I like to build character blogs and social media presences for my most marketable (and relevant) characters. I make it clear these presences are created to promote my story universe, and I start to build an audience.

    To captivate the audience, I write blog posts that are humorous and relevant to my writing...what you blog about is dependent on your kind of book. A mystery author might do things differently than my snarky paranormal posts and instead adopt an investigator's persona and "share notes"...I hope that you get the idea. If not, just say so and I'll give you some examples.

    I focus on building a list of truly interested readers who would want to buy my fiction, and then that list will get notifications about when/where my work is available in addition to my monthly newsletter which has articles similar to those on my blog and fun little quizzes, sidebars, etc. My fiction is tied to a webcomic, so I can share exclusive strips there, too.

    I'm also giving away my first novel[la] via an auto-responder sequence for all subscribers...again, I'm looking at the long-term so I want to grab in readers that will keep buying my work.

    I am looking for guest posting opportunities on relevant blogs.

    I am compiling a list of reviewers interested in my type of work to whom I'll send review copies.

    I am making myself available for interviews.

    I am sending out press releases.

    I am working with a professional cover artist.

    I am making sure a professional line editor and proofreader get a good bit o'time with my work before publishing. I also work with beta readers. Not marketing per se, but releasing a crap product will destroy future sales.

    I'm also building up a niche site where I'll review fic in my genre to get more well known in that niche.

    I am also planning on joining relevant reader groups and forums.

    Finally, I am going to do a small webseries on YouTube and have trailers for my major releases.

    Now, as I said, I've been semi-successful (I achieved my goals, which were small scale at the time) at marketing and earning from my fiction, and now I am starting all over with a fresh new genre (one which I am better suited to) and more marketing and writing experience.

    By the way, I write fiction under a not-so-secret pen name (Vanette Kendall) so as to keep it separate from my freelance health writing.

    Something I didn't mention is pricing. I definitely have worked hard with that market research to determine the appropriate price for my works and set my price accordingly.

    Hope this helps! If other Warriors are interested, I will do a case study thread about marketing Kindle fiction as I progress. Note, however, that a lot of my branding and marketing work will be done to also promote the webcomic series and overall universe that my husband and I are developing with our publishing firm.
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  • Profile picture of the author GregtheWriter
    I would love to be updated on your case study!

    I just finished my 5 day free promotion of my short story The Devil Machine.

    I got 438 free downloads, and 3 actual sales so far. (With 1 copy borrowed - still unsure on what borrowing all entails).

    I am unsure if these numbers are normal, I honestly was pretty surprised by the huge amount of free downloads considering my author fan pageon FB only has 33 likes and is about the only place I have actually promoted the piece lol.

    Pretty exciting though for sure.

    And good tips all around.

    I actually thought about doing trailers myself, once I get back home to my big mac I may make some up for The Devil Machine and my other short story I will publish soon (The Athlete).

    In terms of market research, I would be interested in knowing exactly how one does market research for fiction with the Kindle.

    My works are pretty varied, I write everywhere between horror, science fiction, fantasy and modern.

    The only real theme in all of my works is that they are usually:
    1. Tragedies
    2. Extremely twisted
    3. Either aim for a certain theme/symbolism, or take a cliche but make it unique by putting that cliche in new scenarios that haven't really been done with it. (A good example, one of my stories involves a man able to regenerate every part of his body at will. So... he is kind of lazy and hates working and prefers to just rip-off insurance companies by filing for Workman's Comp after staging accident after accidents. It gets a lot darker, but that's the premise haha)
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    • Profile picture of the author MarkR
      This is a great thread. I'm venturing into this realm in an effort to help my 15 year old daughter, who wrote her first book at 13, become the next Amanda Hocking. Not rich, not famous, but fulfilled, happy, content.

      That's a great place to be.

      Thanks again for the insights.
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      • Profile picture of the author RhondaG
        Originally Posted by MarkR View Post

        This is a great thread. I'm venturing into this realm in an effort to help my 15 year old daughter, who wrote her first book at 13, become the next Amanda Hocking. Not rich, not famous, but fulfilled, happy, content.

        That's a great place to be.

        Thanks again for the insights.
        There is a teenager names Rachel Yu that writes books for children and does very well on kindle. I downloaded one of her books just to see how it was don. "A Dragon Called Dragon". Of course if was very simply, made for little children, but it was cute and on 99 cents if I remember correctly. She does have someone illustrate those books as well. If you daughter wants to write, please encourage her.
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        • There are lots of fiction writers with blogs -- figures, eh? -- and you should consider networking with them by leaving comments. (Real comments, no spamming!)

          Lillie Ammann's blog is a good place to start. Lillie responds to every comment on her blog and publishes a month-end list of top commenters with links back to their blogs. Check it out.

          fLufF
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        • Profile picture of the author MarkR
          Originally Posted by RhondaG View Post

          There is a teenager names Rachel Yu that writes books for children and does very well on kindle. I downloaded one of her books just to see how it was don. "A Dragon Called Dragon". Of course if was very simply, made for little children, but it was cute and on 99 cents if I remember correctly. She does have someone illustrate those books as well. If you daughter wants to write, please encourage her.
          Thanks for pointing Rachel out. I'll have my daughter review her work. She was very impressed with Amanda Hocking's Blog. We'll check out Lillie Ammann's Blog also!

          This is great stuff, very inspirational/educational for me and my 15 year old.
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        • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
          Originally Posted by RhondaG View Post

          There is a teenager names Rachel Yu that writes books for children and does very well on kindle. I downloaded one of her books just to see how it was don. "A Dragon Called Dragon". Of course if was very simply, made for little children, but it was cute and on 99 cents if I remember correctly. She does have someone illustrate those books as well. If you daughter wants to write, please encourage her.
          I recall reading that she was one of the top authors and enjoyed a share of $70,000 split amongst 10 of the top from the KDP program in 12/2011.
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  • Profile picture of the author Orator
    Did you ever consider getting a book trailer done? You can use the summary of your book, hire a voice actor from Fiverr, and then just use the cover art for the video. Then submit it to YouTube, and other video sites. You can also link to it in on your Amazon author's page.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mbullard
    A few questions I have, if anyone has experience or knowledge in this type of deal:

    1. Is there really anything for you to SEO optimize? I mean would you try optimizing for say the horror niche if you're in that niche? Or the fantasy niche?

    Yes, listen to what somebody else said and do research. You can optimize your title, description, and tags.

    2. Is forum marketing a valid strategy when your profits are only going to be in 35 cent range to maybe around 75% of 2.99?

    Yes. Not only will it help you sell more books; it will also help sell more of your next book.

    3. What would one even talk about on their blog to keep it fresh? I imagine just the journey of writing the tale in general. Maybe a little bit how they promoted it as well. I know on the backend if your fiction becomes successful, could always make a course on making money as a fiction writer.

    Talk about the characters. Talk about the writing process. Ask visitors for feedback or opinions on what they would like to see in a story.

    4. Is there any paid traffic that could be worth it? Maybe paying to get your Facebook fan page up to 500 fans and letting it grow from there, taking an initial loss for the potential gain?

    Sure there is. Adwords. Facebook Ads. Fiverr. Etc. And yes, they can be worth it.
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  • Profile picture of the author GregtheWriter
    Hey everyone.

    Appreciate everyone's comments :-)

    My little short story has died off in terms of downloads now since the free promotion. In last 11 days or so I've had 447 downloads, only 9 of them being sold after the free promo.

    Still, I am enjoying it. I heard Locke didn't get any sales really for 9 months for his novels, so there is hope!

    I was using Fiverr for some stuff, but the voice over idea is definitely something going add to my repetoire of promoting the books - especially once I get more fiction out there.

    I'll look around for more blogs in my particular writing niche.

    My writing blog is kind of a mix of where I talk about marketing in general, fiction writing and writing online for money.

    (For instance talked about Content Authority and Infobarrel, while also posting flash fiction.)

    My goal is for the blog (and this may be too broad actually for the blog) to be a great resource for people who want to live as full-time writers, as well as people who are fans of my fiction.

    MBullard, you had some good info there. Though I'm still wary of doing any sort of paid advertising where my profit margin has to be underneath 35 cents - save for maybe to build up a fan page or a Google+ page.

    Once I get a full novel and charge between 1.99 to 2.99 I might change my tune on it though - of course would have to check competition on fantasy/horror related keywords

    If anyone else has published kindle fiction successfully, love to hear what you've done and the results :-)
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  • Profile picture of the author jazzgirl
    This website shows you how to upload and promote your kindle ebook
    http: //www .kindleboards. com /index. php/ topic, 42600.0.html

    You should just upload it, and learn from there. You can change anything after it has been uploaded, so no reason to wait and not take action because you don't have a blog and stuff.
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  • Profile picture of the author rayray7
    Fiction is a tough nut to crack, but the following might get you discovered quickly:

    1 - go to https://kdp.amazon.com and create a giveaway. do it for one day free.

    2- go here Amazon's Top Customer Reviewers and email as many reviewers as you can. the good ones have email addresses listed. Be unique in your approach as they get tons of review request. Do not be surprised if you get an awful review.

    3- Try creating a press release with a wide distribution channel. I am currently doing a press release for one of my ebook in my signature.

    some other tricks, i would rather not have listed openly, but the above three should get you going in the right direction.
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