Swimming Upstream With The Big Fish

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When you are a self-published author you wear many hats. I’m editor-in-chief so I decide what gets published. I’m the author so I write the content. I’m the advertising vice president so I decide how marketing gets done. I’m the PR director so I get the word out about what’s happening.

With all that in mind, I’m going to toot my own horn a little today since I’m the only one who can. I’ve recently had some good sales for The Bow of Destiny as I continue to work on An Arrow Against the Wind. I’ve had some nice days where I’ve found my ranks on Amazon were very good – like this one on 10/29:

amazon-ranking

or these rankings on 11/21:

amazon-ranking-112116

That’s quite nice to see. But I got a little concerned about not showing up in the epic fantasy category anymore. However, this is actually because I’m higher ranked in another category at the moment – one of the two for Sword & Sorcery in the second screen shot. I did a little research and found that I was actually on the Top 100 for Epic Fantasy too, for a total of 4 lists.

But one thing that suddenly hit me was that I was hanging around with some major authors on that list – George R. R. Martin, R. A. Salvatore and Brandon Sanderson to name a several. In fact, I was outselling them in a few cases. Surprised, I took a look at the Sword and Sorcery categories and found the same thing (note that the screen shot of ranks is from earlier in the day while the screen shots from the top 100 are later in the day so things have changed a little bit).

Needless to say I was stunned to realize that my one little novel – my tiny little fish – was swimming upstream all on it’s own with the big fish. I don’t know how long these sales for The Bow of Destiny will last but it’s very encouraging while I continue to labor along with An Arrow Against the Wind. It’s all rather exciting and gives me a little hope that the release of the second book will see some sales out of the chute, maybe some solid pre-release sales too.

Here’s the Top 100 pages for Epic Fantasy as well as Sword and Sorcery for both e-books and all books:

epic-fantasy-top-100

sword-and-sorcery-1

sword-and-sorcery-2

In that last one, Sword of Storms from GOT was actually behind The Bow of Destiny. It’s good to understand where you are and with whom you are competing. However, it’s just little ole me, no publisher, no PR, no real advertising budget and certainly not a strong list of other books to support my sales in any way. It’s just one book from a first-time, unknown author, just hanging around with the big fish. That’s all for tooting my own horn. Anyone that needs to toot their own horn, please do so in the comments, I’d love to hear about your successes!


PH SOLOMONAbout the Author

P. H. Solomon lives in the greater Birmingham, AL area where he strongly dislikes yard work and sanding the deck rail. However, he performs these duties to maintain a nice home for his loved ones as well as the family’s German Shepherds. In his spare time, P. H. rides herd as a Computer Whisperer on large computers called servers (harmonica not required). Additionally, he enjoys reading, running, most sports and fantasy football. Having a degree in Anthropology, he also has a wide array of more “serious” interests in addition to working regularly to hone his writing. The Bow of Destiny is his first novel-length title with more soon to come.

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8 comments

  1. What advertising have you been doing other than plenty of blog posts?
    I am interested as my debut fantasy fiction story is released November 30th, I’ve been spying on you 😉 and other authors to see how you promote your book and you have done well to get to those positions. I don’t remember having that many options for specifying genre or keywords for my book to appear in all those categories when I uploaded it for pre-order.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment today. For advertising, I’ve been using a number of different channels to find what works for me good cheap ones to try are Bookscream, BookLoversHeaven.com and ReadFree.ly. I also use AskDavid for Twitter posts and that seems to keep a steady trickle of sales each day. I also use CoPromote for free. For more expensive services, I like BargainBooksy and BookBarbarian (this one does SF&F only). I do have a promoted post on FB that’s doing rather well on a daily basis but the settings are a little intricate. I’ve also started testing BookBub Ads which is different from a promotion with BookBub. There are several others. I suggest looking at these lists to find more and try them: https://kindlepreneur.com/list-sites-promote-free-amazon-books/
      https://jamescalbraith.com/2013/01/09/80-sites-to-advertise-your-book/
      https://ruthnestvold.wordpress.com/2014/12/22/starting-out-as-an-indie-author-where-to-promote-a-99c-ebook-sale/
      Mileage varies on any of these so keep to cheaper ones until you see you make sales. Also, if using FB or BookBub ads don’t spend much per day until you see sales/dollar that’s adequate to your price. For a debut book like you and me, I’ve decided to keep mine cheaply price (not free) since I don’t have more books and I’m unknown.

      With keywords, you have 6 commas to use so you can string words together between, the more often I mention epic fantasy, sword & sorcery as categories the more likely I’m in several additional categories. But stick to smaller categories where possible to be competitive. Also, in the blurb section, I’ve added extra lines with more such words. So, for example, I have a several excerpts from reviews that might have a category mentioned. Also, I have a beginning call to action to buy or read that includes some verbiage about my categories and added at the very end “additional topics include:” and list some there. I haven’t checked but I may be in several other lists because of this. The most your book page will show for rankings is 3 but it may hit more. A good book I’ve read that helped was Super-Charge Your Kindle Sales by Nick Stephenson. I’m going to read The Frugal Promoter by Carolyn Howard-Johnson when I get a chance for more ideas.

      There’s way too much otherwise to detail here or in just a blog post so I may write extensively about it elsewhere or in a book of my own at some point. Feel free to ask questions. I don’t have all the answers but I can say, try inexpensive avenues first to get some sales income and then put that back into more expensive ones but try to have something that works for consistent sales each day – I rely on AskDavid for that where I schedule tweets through that service daily. Work on something daily and use a holiday each month for an additional spring-board.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for that, have saved it for reference. I will be working on Nick Stephenson’s “magnets” approach and using Mark J Dawsons techniques. My first book will become a mailing list sign up gift as soon as I get organised with bookfunnel, changes to my own wordpress.com hosted site and mailchimp. Not sure what the selling price will be long term. 0.99 or ideally 1.99 for the sensible commission rate and to increase the value of signing up to the mail list. My first story is being sold in two parts due to the length. So I am releasing a second book at the end of February. To do “something” to advertise without too much time or money involved, I am trying BooksGoSocial $49 3 month deal that regularly tweets through 11 accounts with an audience of 750K book buying followers. Testimonials read well. I’ll let you know how it goes if you are interested. Facebook advertising will follow soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think I’ve tried BooksGoSocial. I’ve also found that Booktweeter.com is good if getting one of their specials for several weeks. A second book helps a lot too as the more books you have the more they support each other. I haven’t tried bookfunnel. I added my buy links on my sidebar which helps some. My site is still free on WordPress so I’m limited but I leverage what I can do with it as much as possible – made my main page a “kinda funnel” page with a link to opt into my blog for reading posts.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks so much. You’ve really accomplished something amazing though. I have a publishing house behind me with an advertising budget for my book (in addition to my own efforts). I don’t know that I could have pulled off the rankings I had on my own. Your success is really something!

        Liked by 1 person

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