What’s Doin’ with Your Books in 2015?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Dec• 29•14

Striking a Balance

100+ Reviews

2014 has been a rip of a year in our indie universe. New promotion sites went online, Amazon tossed Kindle Unlimited into the mix in July  and the frenzy of Christmas books and collections literally swept the boards clean, and  indie authors have been trying to figure out the market ever since. Now the question is: What can you do in 2015 to get a slice of  the indie pie and put your books in front of readers?

The first rule: Promote.

2014 was my first full year of indie authorship. I started in June of 2013 and royally messed up. I spent  the entire second half of 2013 learning the ropes, finding the best editors and formatters, cover artists and networking. I learned which promotion sites delivered downloads and those that didn’t and still don’t. When I got on a site and a link didn’t work, I was told to clear my cache, use Chrome. Administrators insisted that their sites worked. Now, I have a tech guru check the sites. Links were not set or did not work. One site’s submissions page was all in Chinese. Huh? I paid for promotion on sites that instead of linking my title to a sales venue, the book link sent the reader back to the site. Not fair and not ethical to take my promo $$$ if the site doesn’t send a reader to my book’s buy page. If you want to know the truth, I got angry. I got vocal. Now, I just get smart. 50,000 impressions is NOT the same as 50,000 subscribers. I use Alexa to check a promo site’s reach. If a promoter just uses an email list… I ask how many are readers? How many are authors?

If you think it is only authors who have egos, you are as wrong as a dumb rock. Promoters are worse. I’ve been told, “I have to charge for my time.” Hey! Sweetie, so do I. Some promoters have an incredible inflated sense of self. When I recently questioned an administrator about not a single download for a paid promo, I was told, “It is up the the author to write a book that sells.” Well, dang. Goose me with feather. Yes, it is and I do. Another promo site invites authors to promote books on FREE for free. That’s nice. I did so. Next thing, I got an email from the administrator asking for a $25 donation because she ran the free promo.  Oops. Goin’ on my sh*t list, honey. Here is what an indie author needs: A return on investment. All of 2014 I kept a list and I started rating promo sites. I asked other authors about their experiences with sites to get a balanced view. Right this minute, I share my favorite sites in Useful Links on eNovel Authors at Work. Fair warning: If promoters keep annoying me and promising what they can’t deliver, I may start a second list.

The second rule: Network with like-minded authors.

The sincerest way to gather like-minded authors is to join a group or form your own. I founded eNovel Authors at Work. The group is a year old now and the knowledge, experience and support the active members bring to the table is invaluable. The main thrust of our all volunteer group is pay-it-forward. We have a webpage, every author has a books page, we engage in group events and we have a private Facebook page where we can share up to the minute news, promo sites that produce, those that don’t, and ehow activities. We have a Twitter account and a hashtag #eNovAaW. A single Tweet retweeted by our members has the possibility of reaching an aggregate of our more than 80,000+ followers. We have a monthly newsletter for readers. No chitchat. It is all about books and book events.

The third rule: Think for yourself.

Decide what is best for your book. Before Amazon unleashed Kindle Unlimited, my titles were all exclusive to Amazon. At the start of 2014 I set a goal to earn a $500 ROI every month.

No Perfect Destiny

99¢ New Release 99¢

That is not a huge sum in the scheme of things, but! I’m new at indie authorship and I reached the goal and then some–even with Kindle Unlimited, and having done little promotion since the end of October. I am rethinking exclusivity with Amazon. Here is why: To keep my titles in front of readers, I’ve learned I need to promote them more than once every 90 days FREE or in a Kindle Countdown Deal. I will put new titles in KDP Select until they have found an audience and gathered 100 reviews. After that I will decline Select and expand to all of the other sales venues. Via networking with authors experienced in other sales venues, I’ve learned using Smashwords may not meet my goals. Thus, I’m uploading my titles myself.

The fourth rule: Balance your readership.

I spent all of 2014 focusing on ebooks and left the paperback editions to linger in cyberspace. Beginning in February I am engaging in book signings. I’m starting with a signing at my neighborhood new and used bookstore and from there moving into the Kroger Author Program. I’ve ordered posters, bookmarks and in January will set the schedule. Kroger is a Texas and Louisiana grocers. Titles have to be approved for the program. I learned of the Author Program networking with other Texas authors. Book signing can also be arranged with your local libraries. In the far past, I did book signing at K Marts, Publix and used bookstores and was very successful. I have also bought and reserved promotion in one of the top journals in the traditional publishing universe, The New York Review of Books. You may  also upload your books for FREE to Booklife, a division of Publishers Weekly. Do your book a favor. Make dang certain it is professionally edited, formatted and covered. PW and the New York Review of Books is where the big boys play.

The fifth rule: Boxed sets are hot.

Even if you only have one title, networking with other authors who write the same kinds of books, i.e. romance, mystery, or young adult, can lead to three or more authors joining together to form and promote a boxed set at 99¢. Boxed sets have a life usually 4 to six months. During the life of a boxed set, an author can continue to promote the title separately. I will have titles in two and possibly three boxed sets in 2015.

The sixth rule: Go to a writer’s conference.

      New Release

New Release

Early in my writing career I went to several conferences a year, local and national. I even went to a by-invitation-only conference in the UK. The key to attending a conference is knowing what you want to take away from the conference. I am keen on meeting and networking with other authors. Keep in mind few of us are as successful as keynote and luncheon speakers. Too often I have visited with authors at  conferences whose egos sagged in the middle after hearing so many success stories. Don’t fall prey to that. Every conference offers authors a promotion spot. Take advantage of it. Prepare your posters with thought, have bookmarks and giveaways that catch the readers attention. You may not sell a book, but the experience is valuable. I’ve chosen and paid for one conference that appeals to me  for 2015.

The seventh rule: Save all of your pennies in the kitchen.

Did that throw you a curve? Laffin’. Well, I’m superstitious. 2015 is a Leap Year, only 28 days in February. To have great good luck all of 2015, you save all of your pennies in the kitchen in a jar or in your junk drawer…where ever. Just do it. I’m Southern to the bone, which brings me to New Year’s Day. Black-eyed peas and cornbread is our Southern good luck food. It works for me. What ever the tradition is in your culture–don’t skip it. We indie authors need all the luck we can gather.

I never like to wrap a blog post without sharing the best way to gather organic reviews: Put this gentle gem right after THE END in your books.

Thank you for taking time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review.  Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. 

Jackie Weger

Friend Me on Goodreads

I’m Jackie Weger.  Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome and please do share any great ehow ideas to my list. That is networking. We love it.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


  1. Dale Furse says:

    Great rules, Jackie. I’ve never been to a conference and had wondered if they were worthwhile. Also I’m confused as to what to do at one. Maybe a separate post digging deeper into the usefulness of conferences would be great information I for one could use.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Dale: Thanks for commenting. Usually convention and conference coordinators send out an info kit about the sessions. You choose topics that are meaningful to where
      you are in your career. I might sit in an aspiring author session once in a while, but seldom. You rub shoulders with other authors at your assigned tables for breakfast, luncheons and dinners. You visit the hospitality rooms. Those are usually hosted by agents, editors, publishers or the convention/conference host. Best by far is meeting other authors, connecting and networking face-to-face, and not in the vacuum of internet cyberspace. The conference I’m attending is in late June. I’ll know more when I return because with the advent of ebooks, things have changed.

  2. KJD says:

    As usual Jackie, you talk a heck of a lot of sense.
    I’m a follower and a believer in your sage wisdom.

    Thanks for posting.

  3. Mike Markel says:

    Thank you very much, Jackie. Excellent advice, as always.

  4. Rebecca Dahlke says:

    As for promotion sites, I too have found some that click to their site first. This is so that they can get affiliate payments from Amazon… but it doesn’t sit right with me, when I’m paying them to promote my book. And as we all know, readers want ONE click to buy the book.
    I’m also paid a lot more for advertising in 2014 than I did in 2013 or 2012. But that’s the game we all need to understand: Promote or sink to the bottom of rankings!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Rebecca! A site owner can still get that affiliate fee no matter where the book is posted on FB or Twitter because the fee is built right into the link. Drawing readers back to a site is to build the Alexa ranking. I also am not happy with sites that insist the reader or visitor register or sign in to see a list books on promotion. That is gate keeping and another way to build an Alexa rank.

  5. Vinny O'Hare says:

    Great post. I love the #3 think for yourself.

    Too many authors are listening to what doesn’t work for other authors. I was recently on a thread where they bashed a book promotion site because they delivered no sales. After a little digging I found out that they actually own a competing website. They never even used the service mentioned 🙁

    Not to toot my own horn but if you are using a book promotion site send them an email with questions before using them. If you get no response that should be a hint of whats to come.

    Sixth rule is also good – I would add go to a book festival and meet other authors and see what is working for them. Last year when I went to the Tucson Festival of Books it was a real eye opener after talking to so many authors. Looking forward to it again this year.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thanks for commenting, Vinnie. Do you have a link or a addy for the Tucson Festival of Books? That sounds like fun and we have a number of authors in that neck of the country. As for bashing promo sites. I don’t in public. And I do query site owners. If a site owner won’t tell me his or her name, I ain’t doing business with them. I do notice some site owners don’t educate themselves about our industry. Start ups that build their subscriber lists on the backs of authors annoy me. I am happy to support a start up, but charging $25 to promote a book on a Facebook site with 1500 “likes” won’t cut it. “Likes” are not subscribers. In eNovel we have members with 7 to 10,000 likes on a Facebook page. People tick that ‘Like’ button and move on. Indie authors are more savvy by the day, if not the hour. We need promoters. We won’t sell book without them. We just need more transparency. Too often we ask for transparency and get huffy replies–or none at all. Promoters need books to stay in business. Indie author provide those books. We just ask for a level playing field. I’m glad you stopped by. It is always nice to hear from you.

  6. Jackie, your determination to succeed, no matter what it takes, is what sets you apart from other indie authors–that and your storytelling ability! If I had half of your drive and your ambition, I might be able to make something of myself. Still, you inspire me to do the best I can with what I have. In terms of marketing and promoting, I’m rethinking 2015, too. I’m taking your suggestions to heart–those I can pull off, anyway. Thanks for all the help you’ve given me and the rest of our members the past year.

  7. Laurie Boris says:

    Good stuff, Jackie, thank you. I’m re-evaluating almost everything for 2015. Sharing/partnering with and learning from other authors…that’s still fabulous. 😀

  8. Julie Frayn says:

    I’ve always wanted to go to a writer’s conference. We have Wordfest here annually (not a conference exactly, but a series of events all over the city and in Banff). This year I want to see if I can be an author there, not an attendee… And I plan to tackle the local bookstores and have them carry my paperbacks. Going to be a fun year!

  9. As usual, you have been very generous with information, Jackie. Another excellent post, thank you for sharing; and good luck with those book signings! Sounds really exciting 🙂

  10. Hi Jackie,
    This post will be an integral part of my marketing and promotional plan for 2015. I will post this and share.
    I would add one thing; print media coverage. My article in the paper has translated into two book clubs next year and 33 paperbacks sold. The ladies I’ll be sitting with are in South Tampa, where my murder mystery takes place. That is all part of my plan as I write the next book in the series.
    Thank you for your wisdom and energy. You always provide the push I need to get on with it.

  11. Great article Jackie, I’m printing it out as a reminder. This year is all about focusing and using the info I’ve gathered from you wonderful eNovel authors as well as continuing to update that info. This article is a great reminder as to how to stay focused on the right path. Thanks again for all you do Ms. Jackie!
    From one Southern gal to another!

  12. Jackie Weger says:

    Thank you all for your comments. Here’s the skinny: It is not about me–I don’t have wisdom. I have information. It is about all of us growing together and supporting one another and sharing what we learn. Everything I do or you do might not work as we hoped. But! By Golly, I’m willing to try things on a leap of faith. I might misstep and fall off the log, but hey! I can swim. So can all of you. You never know…there might be somebody or something interesting down in that puddle. If there is, I’m latching on.

  13. Jackie,
    thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience…as always in a very entertaining way!

    So far, there haven’t been any comments on #5, so this is where I would like to weigh in. YES, boxed sets are hot!

    Our readers go nuts for boxed sets. By far the most downloads if free, the most purchases if on sale, and the most Read & Reviewers, if it’s in the R&R program.

    I LOVE featuring them!

    Good luck with your books in 2015.

    And, as a Southern boy I have to tell you to not forget about the collard greens for New Years! :o) – Jay

  14. Joanne Hill says:

    Fabulous stuff, Jackie. 2015 is definitely the year of promo now I’ve got six books up and I’m really happy with all of them – looking forward to seeing the results this time next year!

  15. Thanks for your insight into this confusing world of being an indie author. I appreciate it when one of us takes the time, and makes the effort, to find out what works, and then shares it. I’ve found authors to be very generous in promoting others (I sure do!), as evidenced by so many authors-helping-authors on Facebook. That said, the Kindle Unlimited thing is still on my iffy list; my overall sales $$$ have not yet been affected badly, but we shall see just how much damage the program can do to a 3.99 book. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Jinx: Here is the snag. It doesn’t matter whether a book is priced at .99 or 9.99. If it is downloaded as a Kindle Unlimited borrow–you get paid the rate for that month–anywhere from $1.33 on up–but it will never equal 70%–with the exception of it being a nice return on a KU borrow on a .99 cent book. Even so–the borrower has to read not less than 10% of the book for the author to get any $$$ at all. That is in the USA market. Books sold outside Amazon.com and Amazon UK may not be affected.

  16. Sarah Lane says:

    This article is packed full of helpful advice as usual. Too bad Canada has gotten rid of its pennies!

    Sarah Lane
    Author of The God of My Art

  17. I love this post, a logical, thought out list of rules for Indie authors to follow to success. Thanks, Jackie!

  18. Love it! Great advice!


Leave a Reply