Is a K-Lytics Amazon Book Market Research Report Worth It?

The short answer is

Yes GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

(For those of you who don’t see Thor in the GIF, the answer is YES!)

I first heard about K-Lytics through Chris Syme’s Smarty Pants Book Marketing podcast “How to Do Market Research Before You Publish & Sell More Books

What is K-Lytics? It is essentially a service that does data analysis on all the books being sold on Amazon. These kinds of market research reports are very common throughout the retail sector and in other areas of business. But K-Lytics (I believe) is the first such marketing service to focus on the e-book market.

When a Facebook ad popped up in my feed advertising a new report for $27 in the genre that my pen name is working in, I decided to try it out. To my surprise, it also came with two other more targeted sub-genre reports. Simply reading these three reports as a whole gave me a much better understanding of current market trends.

The K-Lytics report objectives were as follows (and posted here with the permission of K-Lytics):

  • *Assess the Kindle market for:  Paranormal Romance*Create a “Virtual Bestseller List” for the target keywords based on true Amazon Sales Rank, not display sequence*Provide an estimate of the market size and “drop-off”:
    -#1 Bestseller, Top 20, Top 100, Top 500, etc.
    -Copies sold per day and estimated monthly royalties*Develop a comprehensive market profile including:
    -Kindle category usage and performance
    -Price levels, page length distribution, short reads share
    -Typical cover art, top authors and top publishers in the segment*Identify the best keywords for titles and descriptions

    *Provide a Top 100 title database with all key book data points including book descriptions for further research and reference

The main genre report was 79 pages. The second sub genre report that was included was 74 pages. The third sub genre report was included was 63 pages. All of them had very detailed charts and graphs, enough to satisfy the most hungry of data junkies.

But what if you are math challenged, you might ask? I hate numbers!

Actually, I confess that usually when I am confronted with math I usually look like this:

What GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

In addition to the three reports you also get access to videos that go through the reports and explain how to interpret them, and what the significance of each conclusion means. The video on the main genre report was about 30 minutes long. The other two videos were about 10 minutes each. It was like having a data scientist walk you through the report, but with real everyday easy to understand language.

As for the actual findings of the report, it was interesting to see how the number of copies was calculated for various books based on sales rank along with the estimated royalties (something you could probably spend all lot of time trying to figure out and do very poorly). Each report did this for the top 100 books. To see the range of sales and royalties was eye-opening.

The report also included all the descriptions for the top 100 and the book covers of the top 30 bestsellers. It was very interesting to see the trends. Weeks after I bought the report, I was working on my blurb for my latest novel and found myself going back to the report to browse the blurbs. It was SUCH a time saver to have it all there for me. It occurs to me that this would also be the case if I was trying to get a feel for the covers in the Top tiers of a subcategory. Yes, I suppose this is something you could spend a lot of time doing yourself, but for me, I’d rather spend the time writing.

Writing GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Even though I have been studying this market and scouring Facebook threads and forum threads and talking to authors in this genre for years, I still learned some things. I only wish K-Lytics been around a couple years ago. I could’ve saved myself a lot of time.

If I was considering writing a new genre to make money, or if I was a serious introvert who did not have the time or opportunity to network with other working authors, I would absolutely without a doubt order a K-Lytics report on that genre before attempting to write in it.

Will I order another K-Lytics report again? Right now, I could see ordering this once or twice a year in my chosen genre just to stay on top of things. They have higher tiered memberships, but right now, I’m just not making enough (as in I’m not making anything because my books aren’t out yet) to justify those expenses.

On a random note, it occurs to me that for the true newbie indie author, Chris Fox’s “Write to Market” might pair very well with a K-Lytics report indeed. Hmmm…Ideas!

Unfortunately, I just don’t write fast enough to write to market, but maybe one of you will! And if you do, let me know how it goes!

 

30 Day Dragon Diction Challenge Day 2

This blog post is being dictated as part of my 30 days/blog posts Dragon Dictation challenge, in which I’ve challenged myself to dictate and post 30 blog posts. Click here to see the original post and learn more about the challenge!

Please note that the links in this post are affiliate links by which this blog may earn a commission. 

Got an Author Newsletter? You need a Privacy Policy!

If you are an author with a mailing list or in the process of setting one up, it is a good idea to have a privacy policy listed on your website that details what you’re going to do with the personal information you collect.

According the Small Business Administration’s article “7 Considerations for Crafting and Online Privacy Policy,” you primarily need to have the following:

1. Explain How You Collect and Use Personal Information

While not required by law (although the Federal Trade Commission prohibits any deceptive practices), creating a privacy policy is important if you want people to buy your products. This is particularly important if you are involved in e-commerce or if you collect information in surveys or marketing forms. Every customer has a right to know how you collect and use their information.

Online privacy policy generators (just run a search on that term and you’ll find them) can help you craft a policy. As you craft yours, be sure to clearly explain the following:

  • Your Cookie Policy – Cookies are used to store user preferences or shopping cart contents. Clearly explain your cookie practice.

  • How You Share Customer Information – Customers need to know that their data will only be used to complete the transaction and that any further use of that data (including selling or distributing it) requires their consent.

  • Contact Information – Make it easy for your customers to contact you or file a complaint.

Clearly, if at some point you are considering using Facebook ads and any of their targeting/tracking methods over on your own website, you should probably have some type of disclosures about cookies.

While the FTC and many states do NOT yet require websites to have privacy policies, it’s a good idea to have one because some states (and some countries) do. California, Delaware, and Nevada all require “operators of Internet websites or online services that collect personally identifiable information” about their residents “to notify consumers about how that information is used.”

And quite honestly, in my own author mailing list, I have no way of knowing where those subscribers are based because I don’t collect mailing addresses, only emails.

Because I AM based in California, my website IS required to have a privacy policy.

But not every indie author (especially this startup indie author) has the money to pay an attorney the money to draft a privacy policy.

Luckily, googling terms like “free privacy policy template” or “free privacy policy generator” will bring up a whole slew of websites.

But which one should you trust?

According to this attorney roundtable podcast on the Smart Passive Income Podcast (which is well worth a listen, or going to the site and downloading the transcript for free, to because 80-90% of what this show talks about setting up a business structure applies to indie authors), some of these policies are junk.

Luckily more Internet searching turned up the San Francisco Better Business Bureau website, which links to a privacy policy template. I trust the BBB because it’s a non-profit that I’ve actually heard of. I copied and pasted their template, aand modified it to use for this website (just scroll to the bottom, and click Privacy Policy which currently links to an external google doc because I’m still trying to figure out this wordpress theme).

Even if you’re not in California, the San Francisco BBB’s privacy policy template pretty much covers everything you need (I think) and is worth a look, if you’re looking around for a free privacy policy template.

Please note that I am not an attorney, and this is in no way meant to be legal advice.

Mailerlite vs. Mailchimp: A Comparison for Authors and Other Artists

I’ve attempted to use a bunch of different mail providers including Mailchimp, Wix Shoutout, Sendpulse, and SendinBlue. Of all of them, Mailerlite is absolutely the one that I would recommend for the startup indie author with Mailchimp coming a close second. Many people recommend mailchimp because they allow up to 2000 subscribers on their free plan, while mailerlite only allows 1,000.

MailerLite Email Marketing for Small Business

However a comparison will show you that mailchimp gets really expensive fast as your subscriber lists grow.

With mailchimp,  $65 will only allow you to add up to 5,600 subscribers.


However mailerlite, $65 lets you add up to 20,000 subscribers. That’s a QUITE a difference!

Granted mailchimp has sorts of bells and whistles, like integration with facebook and instagram ads. Yes, at some point I may look to mailchimp for that kind of integration, as ads become a more important part of my strategy, but my little startup author business just isn’t quite there yet.

But the pricing is not the only reason why I think Mailerlite is #1 for authors.

Mailerlite is #1 for authors because of the sheer responsiveness of their customer service. Anytime I have a problem (which is not that actually that often), their customer support is fast to help. If you are not tech savvy, note that Mailchimp does not offer any individualized support for their free plans. And even if you are kind-of-sort-of tech savvy (like I know super basic HTML kind of saavy and am confident I can learn wordpress given enough time), there are certain things when it comes to newsletters that I feel much better being able to rely on customer support.

As an anecdote on how responsive Mailerlite is, an author friend of mine sent a suggestion to Mailerlite that they add Bookbub follow buttons to their social media options.

It was done THE NEXT DAY.

In comparison, when another author with a paid subscription requested the same thing of mailchimp, their response (and I’m paraphrasing here because I did not actually see the response) was that they would look into it.

I’m not tech-stupid, but it’s nice to know that mailerlite has my back, especially as I’ve been venturing into the world of DRIP campaigns and automation sequences. Let me tell you that setting one up is not necessarily the most intuitive thing (though mailerlite makes it a relatively simple process). In my first automation sequence I did make a few mistakes (random tip: add an a friend to your first automation sequence so that they can confirm that your emails are going out in the right order). Thankfully with mailerlite’s help, I was able to get things corrected.

If you’re interested in mailerlite and haven’t signed up yet, and have found this post helpful, please consider using my affiliate link here to sign up for a free account. Note that if you are also subscribed to Instafreebie and you have the two accounts connected (with your Instafreebie subscriber addresses being sent over directly to mailerlite, you’ll get a 30% discount.

MailerLite Email Marketing for Small Business
Have you used other mail providers that might be better at serving a startup indie author’s needs? Let me know in the comments!

 

Why Every Author Needs a Website

If you are an indie author (and even if you are a traditionally published one), having your own website is an ABSOLUTE MUST.

If you do not have a website, Do NOT Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.

Why?

You need to have an easy way for people who are interested in your work to get in touch with you. In my former profession as a book reviewer, there were sometimes self-published authors who submitted books for review that were excellent and worth pushing forward and getting more press.

But when you googled them, nary a name was to be found.

Sure, I could have spent time emailing my editor, trying to track down the author, but that was more time than I had (and they certainly weren’t paying me enough to spend that time).

So I would shrug and move on to the next book for review.

I’ve talked to other reviewers about similar experiences. Sadly, it’s a not an uncommon occurrence.

If your author name can’t be found on Google, it’s like you’ve never written a book at all.

If you think you don’t have the money for a website, you’re wrong. At the very least, you can set up a free Wix website, and link it to a social media profile at facebook and twitter, and *boom* there’s your social media presence.

I used Wix for 3 years when I was really just starting out, but now I’m using WordPress which is being hosted by bluehost. I also bought my domain at namecheap for under $10 (which also comes with free privacy protection so that you can stay mostly anonymous).

For more detail about why I switched from Wix to WordPress, click here. And there is a panda.