There’s four P’s in becoming a writer + one

When you are a writer, it’s essential to know your standings among other authors. This is something that I don’t normally do. And that’s to check my ranking in Author’s Central on Amazon books.

It’s just something that doesn’t occur to me to do often. I’m so busy just coming up with topics to blog about. And then, I thought, an author’s RANKING might be interesting for my audience.

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There is so much more to becoming an authentic, verified writer. We just don’t sit down and plunk away on a computer keyboard. It first takes an idea. Sometimes an idea just pops into your head. And other times it comes from an inspiration.

The next step is the idea needs to germinate and grow. I write two weekly blogs. So, I have twice the workload. And I also try to put a monthly book out on CreateSpace and in the Amazon e-book store.

The inspiration to write this blog, came from roaming around in my Author’s central page. I found it rather interesting. This is the way the Amazon Bestsellers Book Ranking works.

You need to have more than four books in your bibliography. And I do.  Then they list your top three best sellers. My top three are…

Spog Goes to School (Spog’s Children’s Book Series 5)

#1, 481,785 in Kindle books store (paid) 66,168 spots today

Seychelles Survivor

#1, 762,106 in Kindle books store (paid) 2,557 spots today

Haunted Manor: Voodoo Murder

#1, 882,754 in Kindle books store (paid) 2,825 spots

Retailers selling your book, need to take part in the Nielsen BookScan. Your book to belong to one of the companies from which Nielsen derives its list of reported ASINs. The ASIN is the Amazon Standard Identification Number. It’s a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier assigned by Amazon.com. The number is used by its partners for product-identification within the Amazon.com organization.

For example. If your book is a partner with the Ingram Company, you can see the sales info. If your book is Print on Demand. Your publishing company may not report ISBNs to Ingram. Thus, you may not see any sales information. It will show up as, ‘current rank unknown.’ Most of my books show this prompt.

To see sales data for Amazon sales, you must take part in one of the direct-publishing programs. CreateSpace.com or Kindle Direct Publishing. CreateSpace is an Amazon print on demand company. For this reason, sales of your CreateSpace book on Amazon may not appear. Mine does not show because I print my books on demand.  It’s costly to buy books up front and then try to peddle them.

But, CreateSpace books might be eligible for enrollment with the Ingram Book Company. And then the book report sales go to BookScan. Does this sound complicated? Yes, for me anyway, it’s a lot to digest.

All CreateSpace Author members, can see a manufacturing report. This shows the volume of their books printed to meet the demand of various sales channels. Createsapce offers five or six free channels.

Amazon.com

Amazon Europe

CreateSpace e-store

Libraries – I just went to my local library yesterday to drop off some promotional literature about my print on demand books. Over half my books are already in the library. But, I reminded them that can get my new books to put on the shelves. This is because, libraries are in the Createspace channel of distribution.

CreateSpace Direct

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Any copyright holder can publish a Kindle book on Amazon for free. Members of the KDP program have access to reporting data. The information has a weekly update.

Amazon Bestsellers Rank History

The Amazon Bestsellers Rank History page shows the best seller rank summary of all your books. The Bestsellers Rank does not include sales from any of their International websites. And I belong to a few of these. I can get my international ranking through another source.

But, the Bestsellers Rank shows books in their (meaning Createspace) catalog. The ranking system tells the author how well their books are selling. This is relative to the sales of other books in the catalog.

Sales rank is a relative measure. Print books rate among all books in the Amazon Books store. Kindle books rate among the free or the paid books in the Kindle store. Remember, this number is a comparison of your book with all other books in the catalog For example:

Spog Goes to School (Spog’s Children’s Book Series 5)

Rates # 1, 481,785 in Kindle books store. The book was among 66,168 (paid) spots today.

Beyond the Twilight Zone

Kindle Edition

Current Sales Rank: Rates #2, 732,649 in the Kindle Store.

Beyond a Kiss: Book Five; Mia Perez series

Kindle Edition

Current Sales Rank: Rates #3,  343,493 in the Kindle Store.

You might think, gosh the book ranks in the one million, two million or three million range. Yes, that’s a lot of competition. And that’s why writers are among the group known as ‘starving artists.’

It takes a lot of practice, persistence, patience and promoting in our trade to eek out a living. It also takes discretionary cash. Books aren’t free for the writer. We pay for each book with the hope we can sell them to the general public. The most lucrative way is to hold a book signing. And this avenue takes all of the (four P‘s) and a lot of cash.

You might think a writer makes a lot of money. This is a misnomer. That is, unless you’re lucky enough to sell a lot of books. Depending on the retail sale of a book. A writer’s royalty can be a few cents to maybe three dollars and a few pennies.

I call it a hallelujah moment if a book sells. I know when this happens because it shows up in my band statement. Someone recently bought a book online through a catalogue. But that sale didn’t affect my ranking. Most likely because more books in the same category sold more than my one book. I’ve even watched my ranking drop. But, I take this lightly.

On the same note, I’ve seen my ranking improve. My best educated guess is the group of books in my same genre, is selling one copy a week. And my book’s sales rate remains the same. Perhaps, even my book sold two copies in one week. So, this is an indicator why my rank improved.

Of course, it’s a two-way street. My rank may still drop even though my book kept selling one copy a week. This is why I refrain from checking the numbers. I’m not into roller coasters and the nausea I get from the ride.

Amazon Author Rank is based on sales of all your books relative to the sales of other authors. The Amazon Author Rank shows how an author’s book sells relative to other authors. Like the Billboard charts, lower numbers are better. An author with the Amazon Author Rank of #1 will only appear as an author in the top 100.

Of course, this is a dream of mine. To be listed in the top 100. But, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Amazon looks at paid sales of all the books sold by an author on Amazon.com. This includes books in Kindle too.

My author ranking is  #136, 842. I consider this pretty darn good. This means that I have 136,742 more books to sell before I rank in the top 100. It’s a doable goal.

As of a few moments ago, I had 9,222 visits to my K. Lorraine website http://klorraine.com. One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to reach 10,000 views by December 31st. I’m almost there and I have seven months left in this year. ‘Hip-hip-hurray,’ for my accomplishment.

My fan base has grown leaps and bounds. I couldn’t be more humbled or I couldn’t feel more blessed. And that’s where the (P word) patience falls into play. I’ve been writing all my life. But, I didn’t publish until 2013.

It’s taken, (P word), persistence to grow my fan base. It’s taken (P word), practice to hone my skills. It’s taken learning to market my talent. And it’s taken time to (another P word), promote my books. But it’s taken a strong faith in god’s Will and an a lot of prayers to keep the pace steady.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Until next week.

Happy reading,

K. Lorraine

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P.S.

Be sure to drop by my other blog, ‘No Shoes Required.’ http://www.noshoesrequiredblog.wordpress.com. You can also get there by going to http://klorraine.com and click on the ‘No Shoes,’ icon.

You never know what you’ll find there. It’s fun. It’s flirty. It’s fabulous. And it’s fashion at its best. You never know who might show up as a guest blogger either…

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Creating a buzz

 

buzzIncreased foot traffic to web blog – 100 overnight visits…

Well, this number is already outdated, because this morning, there were 29 more visits to the K. Lorraine blog. That’s one nice thing about statistics, they frequently change.

There are a lot of things that come my way daily. It is this stuff that causes me to alter my priority tasks – to set the intended blog aside  – and to write a different one. And that’s what happened to me the other day when I checked my website (blog) foot traffic footprint.

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There are always a lot of things swirling around in my head.  It is with the help of the Lord, Jesus, that I’m able to descramble the jumbled mess and write my blogs, book proposals and books. But reviews can be the magic where-with-all that a writer appreciates.

REVIEWS are the greatest asset to a writer, whether you are a newbie, or a well seasoned author. I’m going to use the example of my the book, Poetry in Motion that I wrote several moons ago.

I’ve been keeping a running tally on how many reviews, views and LIKES that the book gets on a weekly basis. Today is Monday, September 19, 2016 and I just checked my Facebook page. I was amazed that the poetry book had been awarded 412 views and 26 more LIKES during the past week.

The statistics a book gets can be instruments of its success. But, a lack of reviews is often times the cause of why a book failed. So when a reviewer cares enough to critique an author’s work, from dialogue to sentence structure, it can be a precious gift.

Have a tizzy fit if you must, when the review doesn’t measure up to your expectations. Shout hallelujah when the critique was fabulous. But, perhaps, the criticism can be used for the betterment of your next book… and just maybe, you published on your own, too quickly. This is a bitter pill to swallow.

I read an interesting remark by Richard Riley, a well-known columnist – blogger,  and I liked what he wrote. “Chances are you are not a perfect writer. There is no shame in that. It’s OK not to master every element of the story. Every writer has his or her strengths and weaknesses. Those strengths exist because they are rooted in your passion. Don’t drive yourself crazy honing and fine-tuning a novel to try and make it perfect. Do rewrites, of course. Carefully edit your manuscript, of course, but don’t let elemental imperfections prevent you from publishing.

I strive for perfection in my writing. I’m quite sure that you also strive for perfection in everything you do. But, it never fails, that I will publish a book, or post a blog, and ‘Blam’, there will be a glaring mistake staring me in the face.

The world of publishing has changed greatly. Thanks to the internet, self-publishing,  online bookstores, bloggers, social network sites, with their help, has helped the writer to get reviews. It is also a proven fact, the author who contributes to their own success has a better chance to see the favoritism of their books rise.

Many reviews are downright fake. Many reviews are written to persuade… you hear what you want to hear. Most often, you don’t get the whole truth about the quality and accuracy of your writing. Thanks goodness due to the technology of the internet, self-published authors have more control over their work than you might think. Reviews  are important, but the author should remember that most beta readers are ‘reader reviewers’, or amateur reviewers.

Authors should take note of what the reviewer said and not just the rating given. Reviews are a great avenue to becoming a better writer. Use your reviews in your marketing strategy.

Self-published authors are encouraged to use their website, their blogs, even offer to be a guest blogger on another’s blog. Another effective avenue of getting your writing out there is to send out emails about your written work. Use handouts and business cards. And don’t forget about, PSA’s (public service announcements) in your hometown. The ever so effective –  ‘word of mouth’ is one of the best sources of advertising.

Author’s for the most part, are responsible for their own careers. Contact other authors for their help in  promoting your work. We are in this together. Media exposure is not a guaranteed miracle.

One of the questions I get asked the most, is… “Why are you giving your unpublished coffee table book, UPSIDE DOWN away FREE on your website?”

My answer was simple… I would rather have a million people from around the world come to my blog and see my artwork and read the companion stories, than not have anyone see my creativity at all. However, I do include a copyright provision for the protection of my hard work.

Richard Ridley always has sound advice. He recently wrote in a blog, “You cannot succeed with online strategies alone. Step outside into the real world and meet your readers. Build a solid Brand. Master your craft and write well. Your time will come if you keep on keeping on.”

The best advice I’ve heard from my research was, don’t expect your family and a few close friends to sustain a review campaign. It is vital to get viable reviews from unbiased strangers. In order to accomplish this, means you will need to query for those reviews. That brings me around to the following-

I had NO CLUE that ‘Poetry in Motion’ was going to be as popular as it has become. I didn’t even have it in my head that this would be my first book to go so far. In the first two days after the book was released, it had gotten 192 LIKES and 10 comments and reviews. Not bad for two days of promoting the poetry book.

In fact, I had a whole other book in mind that I thought would make a big splash with my reading audience. And that book was, The Playboy Prince. The book is showing well, but it is a novel, and I think most readers prefer not to invest the time in reading longer stories.

Once again, I thank everyone who continues to display favorable reviews for ‘Poetry in Motion’, a book of 52 contemporary poems in various genres. All of my books are  available on the K. Lorraine website http://klorraine.com and at Createspace.

P.S.

The adult coloring book Fun in the Florida Sun, featuring the zany retired Florida couple, is picking up speed. The book is trending well around the globe. The coloring book is getting an average of 10 LIKES daily with several views, comments and reviews. Not bad Walter & Katy. In fact, there were 10 additional views today.

I’ve also sent a book proposal to Barnes & Noble to see if I could generate enough interest to get the adult coloring book on their store shelves. I’ve used some of my own marketing strategies, and I have three book signings in play, with the possibility of a few more. Walmart has taken an interest in Walter and Katy Shuster and Ancients of Day in downtown Roswell has already put the coloring book in their store.

Keep up the good work, Walter and Katy Shuster.

Thank you God and the K. Lorraine fans for the sunlight that shines upon my world.

Thank you for joining me this morning and reading today’s blog.

Happy Reading, K. Lorraine

 

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