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. 

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!

 

How to Launch a Self-Published Book: 10+ Real Strategies and Results

How to Launch a Self-Published Book 10+ Real Strategies and Results

I’m in the process of studying strategies for an indie book launch, more specifically, online book launch strategies for a self-published novel. I’ve gone through the following books all (listed here in no particular order), of which have been important in helping me understand different methodologies.

Susan Kaye Quinn’s 10 Step Self-Publishing BOOT CAMP: The Survival Guide For Launching Your First Novel

Chris Fox’s Six Figure Author

Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies

These books were good to help me establish a baseline of techniques and understand some of the different methods one could use. My take away is that there isn’t just one best way to launch a book. There are lots of ingredients and lots of ways to combine them. As someone once said (I’m sure), there’s more than one way to make a cookie.

But how do these ideas work in practice? I’ve also been doing some research on how other authors have launched their books. The market is changing so rapidly that I believe that authors who recently launched books are the best experts to learn from.

Here is a roundup of 10 real life book launches within the last two years to learn from, ranked by the most recent ones first. I’ve included debut and midlist authors trying to break into the top hundreds, as well as authors like Joanna Penn who already have a relatively huge platform and fanbase. As a result, theirs is a very large range in terms of goals and results. Different techniques will work differently depending on the point you’re starting out at.
With each interview, I’ve also included the cover to each book (or series) that each post/podcast discusses that links back to Amazon so you can see for yourself how their books are currently doing now.

To me, it’s clear that not only are there many ways to bake a cookie, there are many different types of cookies to be made ☺

1. How I made over $1,000 the First Month of my Book Re-launch by Brandon Ellis (May 2017)

“I spent $313 for the promotion and I made just over $1,000 in 30 days. KU (Kindle Unlimited) had a great deal to do with the amount of money I made and I suspect that a lot of people who saw my promotion on the promotion sites, and on the promotion newsletters, grabbed my book from KU.”

(Note that this is for the relaunch of a trilogy, not a new single title book. Still there are definitely insights to be gained!)

2. Fantasy Writer Joynell Schultz’s Book Launch Results (April 2017)

“It was the best launch I’ve ever had! (Okay, okay. It’s only my second one.) I hit #17 on one amazon best seller’s list and #3053 in the overall Kindle store.”

3. Results from the Book Launch with Zero Budget from Urban Fantasy author Holly Evans (February 2017)

“Total number of pre-orders: 164
Number of sales on launch day: 24
Number of page reads on launch day: 1,850
Highest rank on launch day: #4,800
Needless to say I’m absolutely over the moon with these results. I’m completely overwhelmed and grinning like a Cheshire cat.”

4. Self Publishing Formula SPF-053 The Book Launch Process – with by thriller author Mark Dawson (February 2017)


Note that this is a podcast, but if you go to the website and scroll down, there is a transcript available.

“I put it up. I then emailed the advance team and said, “The book is live, ready for reviews”, and I’ve mentioned how I go through that process before. Within 24 hours, it had 100 reviews so the team really came through. A lot of them also bought the book, even though they got it for free because I put it up at 99 cents to start with. So they get the “verified” tag which means those reviews are less like to be stripped out by Amazon, and I was ready to go. I then emailed the list and then we started to see the actual real sales at the full price because I pushed the price up to sales price.”

Also well worth listening to / reading is their podcast episode How to Launch a Book from May 2016, which talks about another one of Mark’s book launches.

5. Thriller author Martha Carr’s 6 book Launch Over 91 days (November 2016 – February 2017)

This is a mini-roundup of the podcasts from the Author Biz that cover Martha Carr’s launch of 6 books over 91 days. The first podcast is from November 2016, and the most recent podcast, the 5th one is from February 2017. I’m assuming that there will be a 6th episode later down the line to discuss how sticky her books were as a result of this super rapid-fire release. Note that there are no transcripts for these podcasts.

TAB098: Walking a Series Launch Tightrope, with Martha Carr

Martha Carr Launch Strategy Case Study – Episode 1 of 6

CS02: Martha Carr Launch Strategy Case Study, Episode 2 of 6

CS03: Martha Carr Launch Strategy Case Study, Episode 3 of 6

CS04: Adjustment Time – Martha Carr Launch Strategy Case Study, Episode 4 of 6

TAB108: The Audiobook Production Process with Martha Carr and Jill Smith

(Excerpt below is from the show notes of the most recent podcast episode)

“Released The Butterfly Effect, the 6th book of Wallis Jones series on 2/22
Released six books in 91 days (rapid launch process)
Launched using the process of Michael Anderle’s breakout series
Makes an average of $17/day from this book alone
Hit the $45/day mark
Books #5 and #6 of Wallis Jones are in the top 100 of Financial Thriller New Releases”

6. How To Hit The USA Today Bestseller List As A Single Author With Ad Stacking by Thriller author Joanna Penn (August 2016)

Note that this is a podcast, but if you go to the website and scroll down, there is a transcript available.

“Results
Total number of books sold @ 99c (reduced from $6.99 for the week)
Total books sold: 6231
Total income from box-set sold: $2524
Total extra income in the week from other books – comparing previous weeks income so can be extrapolated as related to the promotion: $1654
Total income: $4178″

7. How I launched My New Release and sold 20k Copies by Fantasy author Daniel Arenson   (August 10, 2016)

“As a result of these efforts, during its first month Earth Alone sold 10,000 copies, received millions of Kindle Unlimited page reads, and hit the Amazon Top 100 bestsellers list. In the following month, it went on to sell an additional 10,000 copies, still riding the high visibility from its successful launch.”

8. Rocking Self-Publishing Episode # 157 – Successful Launch Strategies with John L. Monk (July 2016)

“As of 7/21/16, Hell’s Children is currently ranked #1050 in the Kindle Store, and #6, #22, and #22 in its subcategories. His sales commissions cracked the $300 mark in daily sales towards the third and fourth week of his launch. In the fourth week, he saw sales of 50-70 a day. As of the interview, he’s had 600k-700k page reads through KU.”

9. Why Preorders Killed My Book Launch and Other Lessons I Learned Marketing My First Fiction by YA author Derek Murphy (January 2016)

“So technically, not a bad launch, for a first book by an unknown author. But I’m exhausted, and it was expensive, and it didn’t earn much money back (yet). If this was my only book, I would still count it as a failure. But because it’s part one of the first book in a potential series, and since I’m trying to finish 10 more like it this year, it’s only the very beginning.”

Check out also, the second post related to the above launch. Note, he talks about using some gray hat methods to get his book higher up in the rankings, which may not be to everyone’s taste.

Fiction book launch strategies continued (Shearwater part 2)

10.  Zero to $10k Per Month in 90 Days, with Michael Anderle (January 2016)

“Here’s the short version: Michael published his first book, DEATH BECOMES HER on November 2nd, 2015 and earned $6.00. He wrote and published two more books in November and generated Amazon royalties of $427 for the month.

In December wrote and published one more book (bringing his total to 4) and ran his first Facebook ad on December 18th. His total Amazon royalties for December was $3,700.

On January 11th, he published his fifth book. For the period of January 1st, through January 24th, he’s generated Amazon royalties of over $10,000.”

Also WELL worth examining is the additional PDF Michael Anderle typed up for the Author Biz audience of things he DIDN’T get to talk about. It’s linked in the show notes of the podcast.

Bonus Book Launch Stories – Nicholas Eric’s Mini Guide to Launch Promo Services

As a bonus to the 10 stories I linked to above, I’m also including the Kboards thread where SF writer Nicholas Erik collected 13 book launch threads posted on Kboards by various authors.  Nicholas’s Mini Guide To Launch Promo Services is also well worth a read.

What’s the line where Amazon starts magically pushing your book? This question can’t really be answered, but it seems that you need to sell 250+ copies in a week for the algorithms to pick up and notice (note: this was originally estimated as 100 copies; I now believe it’s much higher for most genres). There are obvious exceptions to this rough rule – and KU borrows skew this – but that’s a solid benchmark to aim for. I sold 110 of a space opera and 150 of an urban fantasy book and didn’t get sticky, so the “sticky threshold” is dependent on the competitiveness of your sub-genre – I’d say aim for the Top 20 of your sub-genre, preferably Top 10.

Have you launched a book within the last two years? Do these stories match your own experience? Contact me if you’d like to share your story here with a guest post (either with your name or anonymously!)