Sleep in Your Guestroom and Other Random Thoughts for Authors
Jane Friedman addressed this topic in her Electric Speed Newsletter a short time ago, and I thought it was an area of the business side of writing that many of us might neglect. I’m one of them
Her article started off with the subject, “Sleep in Your Spare Bedroom.” We may think that if we put clean sheets on the bed and clean towels in the bathroom, maybe add some toiletries we’ve brought home from hotels, that it’s ready for guests. But are you sure? One of her guests pointed out that the shower didn’t drain, something she hadn’t thought to check when she readied the room. Embarrassing, and not the best impression.
How does this relate to authors? Our online presence is our guest room, and we might have a lot of them. When’s the last time you looked at your website as a guest? Or your social media pages. You have to log out in order to see what the public sees, although Facebook has a ‘view as a guest’ option. Or, you can recruit a friend to test everything—but it’s better if you see exactly what your “guests” are seeing.
I’m in the process of updating my website. It was functional, looked pretty good, but was outdated. Not only that, but the ‘under the hood’ aspects hadn’t been cleaned out in many, many years, which created some conflicts.
Does your bio need updating? Are all your books on your site, with properly working buy links? Are there broken links to anything? Do your social media buttons go where they’re supposed to? Have you added social media platforms? Eliminated any? Are you optimizing your SEO? (Do you know what SEO is, or why you should care?)
What about your contact form? Does it work? Send yourself a message. Does your newsletter signup follow the right steps? Do new signups get your reader magnet? When’s the last time you changed it?
Whether you do your own site maintenance and updating or hire out, it’s important to keep things current.
Have you looked at your author pages on all the sales channel sites? Or your individual book pages? (More on that later.)
And speaking of book pages…
If you’re an indie author, you can track sales and estimated royalties any time you want to. (Hint: Don’t “want to” very often or you’ll get sucked into the maelstrom.) You can adjust pricing as well.
BUT … did you know Amazon reserves the right to charge whatever it darn pleases for your books? I noticed this about a month ago.
I’d decided that my books were worth a dollar more than I’d been charging, at least the newer ones, so I adjusted the prices accordingly. Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Apple (via Draft2Digital) accepted them, no problems, and my royalties inched up a tad.
But something smelled fishy at Amazon when I looked at my royalty reports on my KDP dashboard.
The Zon had listed my new pricing, BUT they’d put their little slash through that price and were still selling a lot of my newly priced books at the old price. And, what was worse? One of my books was listed at less than half of my set price.
Now, if you’re aware of this and want to make some lemonade, you can let your readers know that for an unknown period of time, they can grab your book at a deep discount. But you have to notice it first.
I’d like to also point out that Amazon pays royalties at their list price, so the authors take the hit when they lower prices.
The easiest way to check your prices is to go to your public Amazon author page where they list all your books with prices. Saves checking 35 pages. Here’s mine.
(Note: Amazon likes to make readers think they’re getting a bargain, so they’ll often list the print price with that strikethough and show the ebook price, so you have to know the price for each of your formats.)
Another tip I’ve discovered. I had issues with my book descriptions refusing to include paragraph breaks. Editing them in Author Central is much easlier than dealing with Amazon, where they’re likely to add some new hoops to jump through. If that’s all you’re updating, definitely do it via Author Central.
What about you, TKZers? Any tips for authors—either as an author or a reader? Likes? Dislikes?
How can he solve crimes if he’s not allowed to investigate?
Gordon Hepler, Mapleton’s Chief of Police, has his hands full. A murder, followed by several assaults. Are they related to the expansion of the community center? Or could it be the upcoming election? Gordon and mayor wannabe Nelson Manning have never seen eye to eye. Gordon’s frustrations build as the crimes cover numerous jurisdictions, effectively tying his hands.
Available for preorder now.
Terry Odell is an award-winning author of Mystery and Romantic Suspense, although she prefers to think of them all as “Mysteries with Relationships.”