Are you stalking me? I feel like you are stalking me. Cause well, I moved to a bigger metal building, and told no one and yet Sunday morning and here you all are again. I mean, it's okay if you are; I just wanted it to be weird for all of us and not just me.
Come in; I'm not going to call the cops are anything; they'd just call Charles Xavier on me. Then I'd have to wear that itchy helmet again. Pretty sure that thing is the reason I am going bald.
Who is Charles Xavier? Just some guy in a wheelchair who runs a weird boarding school who is always trying to convince me to join him and his spandex-wearing 'professors.' Hard pass. Could you see me trying to fit this junk in spandex? No, thank you!
Today I think I will carry on with where we left off a few weeks ago.
If you missed the first part, click the button to go read it first.
Talking about my favorite topic—me. But more importantly, how I got to where I am today as an author—to sitting here, talking to all of you.
I left off at a bit of a cliffhanger, old writers' trick to make the readers come back. Also, an old guy trick to make them young people roll their eyes—yes, I am looking at you, Elle!
As I was saying, I was climbing the author mountain. Life was going good, I had taken my licks, and now it should be clear sailing, right? Cause I wrote a few books, and that means I have to be a success, right?
In comes the Big Six Traditional Publishing Companies. (They are the Big Five now, soon to be the Big Four, but I am talking about over a decade ago.)
First, a little back story—a flashback, if you will. My buddy Chet loves flashbacks!
Amazon algorithms use to treat all book sales the same in the rankings. What I mean by this is if Terry Goodkind sold a fantasy book and you sold a fantasy book, you'd both move up the rankings at the same pace. It was the way it should be.
It let us indies have a fairly even playing field to let our work compete with the big boys and girls. And the small extra ball in our park was the free kindle days we had. This put us on par with all the money the big houses use for marketing to sell books. All we had to do was slap our book on for a few free days.
I should note that back nearly ten years ago when you put a book on for free, you gave away 500 to 5000 copies a day. It was insane. Also, VERY lucrative.
The way Amazon's algorithms were set up, a free book still counted as a book sold at the end of the day. So, think about that for a second. You get some punk indie author (that's me) dropped his epic fantasy book on for free for three out of his five days and give away 7000 copies, then that book goes back to normal sale price.
Here is the fun part.
Suddenly, your ranking goes from say 500000 for fantasy to top 100 in fantasy because, as far as the algorithms are concerned, you sold 7000 copies, and that's where you deserve to be.
The great thing about this was the organic sales that happened over the next two weeks or so was pure money. You'd sell 300 to 400 copies a day, then trickly down every day to a few less and less, as your ranking slipped back down because you can't compete with the top dogs at that sales level long term. But at the end of those two weeks, you still sold 2000 to 3000 books, which made it very worthwhile to do.
Now Amazon only gives you five free book days every 90 days. But with those five free days, you could rock it and reap the benefits for weeks after.
There were times (and I miss these times) where the top-selling books on Amazon were all indies for a few days here and there, pushing all the other big authors right off the table for a bit. It was a beautiful thing. There were Facebook groups where we got together and planned to put our books on all simultaneously so we could clear the rankings, and it would be indie days!
As you can imagine, the Big Six did not like this at all. Heaven forbid they weren't in full control of what the world was reading and wanted anymore. So, in 2013 they paid Amazon millions of dollars to change the DRM algorithms against indie and traditionally published authors.
Indies were outraged and sued but didn't get far. Click the button to find out more on that if you would like.
So, what happened was now, on free days, you had to give away 30 free books to equal 1 'sale' in the algorithms as you can imagine this crushed indie authors moment of glory at having a chance to stand with big named authors if even for a little bit.
Since then, indie authors have never recovered from that blow as far as being able to gain that level of exposure without spending a ton of money on marketing.
A few of us prolific authors can climb the ranks with sales and new releases for a short while. But nothing like it used to be, and I can't see it ever going back that way. Not unless someone else created a bookselling platform like Amazon has but not play favorites cause they get thrown a few bucks. (Million dollar business idea right here up for grabs)
So, I wrote a book; it was going to be the best book ever; this was going to be easy now that I had taken my licks and learned the hard way, right?
I fell off the map for a few months. I didn't know what to do now. I didn't have the money to throw into a detailed and huge marketing plan, but I didn't want to give up. I had come this far; there had to be a way to continue to push forward.
Research upon hours of research on book marketing, 90% of it required money, and more than I had.
So, like any struggling authors, I stepped up my online game as much as I could as I continued to publish new works. I hit Facebook hard, Facebook groups and pages, Twitter, and several other random places. I also started setting myself up doing book signings at local bookstores, farmer's markets, and basically any place that would allow me to.
I contacted local radio stations, newspapers, and tv stations and was able to get some of them to bite and interview me. It helped my sales locally but not much beyond. But it was a good start.
Slowly, but surely I was moving my way back to a solid author level.
Que Facebook fucking author pages with new algorithm changes!
Once again, I will stop here. Shocker, right? But it's to build suspense for the next chapter in this. Many of you who have been using Facebook as an author platform for the last seven years or so already know what I will say about it. Those who started using it not so long ago don't realize how good it once was.
Do you want to see a magic trick? I can open my metal door without touching it. See how it opened?
Maybe get up now—and use it—I am kicking you out—I have to pee.
Indie author of the week