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Are You Leaving Money On The Table?

October 5, 2021 by in category Writing tagged as , , , ,
the pink pad

Happy October and Fall.

I recently listened to Joanna Penn’s How To Make A Living With Your Writing and Productivity For Authors. I highly recommend both books, no matter what stage or level you are in your writing career.

I have been a published author since December 2014. However, it wasn’t until the past few years that I realized I wasn’t a very good steward or caretaker of my writing career. I often tell people I’ve written several books. Instead, I should have been saying, “I’m an author as well as a small business owner.”

Listening to Joanna’s books just emphasized my poor caretaker skills. As writers, we’re storytellers first, then business people. However, if we don’t understand the business side, we’re simply hobbyist. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a storyteller who gets paid.

Let me take a few moments to chastise myself. I’ve not been as focused as I could be. I set goals and fall short. I used to create a production schedule, which I probably should go back to. I tried a Kanban board system in 2019. I liked it, but then COVID hit and I didn’t give Kanban a second thought. I tried sprinting and writing blocks, but failed to stay consistent. I’m also guilty of not having a daily writing time. Instead, I’d wait for the muse to visit me. I’m also guilty of letting distractions run rampant in my life.

It was sort of funny how I came to listen to Joanna’s books. I was sitting in the drive through at Raisin’ Cane waiting to order dinner. Don’t judge. I’m a healthy eater, but a girl likes some chicken tenders and fries every now and then. If you know anything about Raisin’ Cane, the line is always long. I didn’t want to listen to music, and I had just finished the Kevin Kwan Crazy Rich Asians series . . . the books are so much better than the movie. I was going to listen to a podcast and saw Joanna Penn’s name and thought, why not read or listen to one of her books. I downloaded How To Make A Living With Your Writing. There’s so much good information about goal setting and time management.

Joanna asked a question that really stood out: Are you were leaving money on the table? I had no idea what she was talking about, because there was no way I could be guilty of such a thing. I replayed the chapter so I could catch all of her statement. I was shocked to discover she was talking about the different ways to monetize your book. She listed the many formats she uses for her books: ebook, paperback, hardcover, large print paperback and audio.

Hold up. I know about audio, I’m not there yet. So I gave myself a pass. However, I was guilty of not doing half of the other formats. When I publish a book, I generally only do ebook and paperback. I thought about doing a few limited edition hardcovers for some of my books, but hadn’t made the move. For large print paperbacks, I have to be honest, it never occurred to me to offer them, although some readers asked me about large print.

Joanna shared that her large print paperbacks account for a huge chunk of her print sales. My mind raced as she spoke and then she said the magic words . . . “Formatting is easy with Vellum.” I was hooked. Then she said there was a large market for large print paperback. I went to Amazon and found several large print romance books available.

Back to my question, are you leaving money on the table? Did you know large print books fetch a higher price for very little work? I created a large print version of The Good Girl Part One. I love how it turned out, but there were two minor issues . . . I forgot to include my website on the back cover and I had the wrong cover dimensions. I made the corrections and put my first large print paperback up for sale. I’m also strongly considering large print hardcover. Did you know there are still quite a few people who like hardcover books? I may not be doing audio books yet, but I can expand my revenue streams by offering two versions of the large print format: paperback and hardcover.

So here are the revenue streams for my books: ebook, regular print paperback, large print paperback, regular hardcover and large print hardcover.

Let’s take a deeper look at the proposed revenue streams (before royalty split) for The Good Girl Part One.


ebook – Free
Regular Print Paperback – $7.99
Large Print Paperback – $8.99
Regular Hardcover – $20.99
Large Print Hardcover – $25.99

The hardcover prices are estimates. Looking at the possibilities, means I’ve been leaving $55.97 (before the royalty split) on the table, because I’ve only been doing ebook and regular paperback.

Imagine if I sold ten of each of these formats for this book daily. (Use your royalty split to calculate a more accurate number.) Whatever number you came up with is correct and shocking. Now multiply those numbers by your entire catalog. I did my catalog number based on my royalty split. I wanted to kick myself.

Of course, hardback copies may not be for you. But why not offer a few as collectibles–that’s still a nice piece of money. Here’s another thought, maybe you do a series hardcover. I’ve seen them on Amazon and they fetch a nice sum. The possibilities are endless.

I hear you saying, “What about audio?” I’m not ignoring audio, it’s just not time for me yet. My plan is to do audio in 2023, but until then, I’m adding large print paperback, hardcover and large print hardcover to my inventory.

So I’ll ask again, How much money have you been leaving on the table?

See you next month.

~Tracy


Books by Tracy Reed

A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

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A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN

DESPERATE DESIRE

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DESPERATE DESIRE

FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE

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FIRST ENCOUNTERS OF LOVE

GENERATIONAL CURSE

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GENERATIONAL CURSE

GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

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GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS
GOD’S BOMBSHELL: LIVING A BEAUTIFUL SINGLE LIFE

INTENTIONAL CURSE

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INTENTIONAL CURSE
LOVE NOTES

MISS MATCH

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MISS MATCH

UNEXPECTED LOVE

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UNEXPECTED LOVE

THE FIX UP

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THE FIX UP

THE FLING

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THE FLING

THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

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THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

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THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

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THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW

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WHAT MY FRIENDS DON’T KNOW

WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW

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WHAT MY FRIENDS NEED TO KNOW

THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

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THE NIGHT I FELL IN LOVE

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Labor Day Replay

September 5, 2021 by in category Writing

Happy September and Happy Labor Day. I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. I apologize for replaying a post, but I’m on a deadline with The Good Girl Part Four. Interesting thing about this post is it talks about the series I’m working on…The Good GIrl. I’m also working on a couple of things I hope to share with you next month. Au revoir.

OOPS…I ALMOST DID IT AGAIN (September 2020)

Happy September. I’m pretty sure you already know what I’m going to say…I can’t believe we are nineteen days away from the first day of fall. 

Hope this makes you laugh. I was all set to talk about my experience with the review program at Hidden Gems. It wasn’t until I found my misplaced copy of my August post, did I realize that’s what I talked about last month. I had written three hundred plus words which I had to scrap. Now I’m stuck with either rehashing an old post or writing something new. I’ve opted for the latter, but find myself clueless.

The crazy that is going on in the world has sort of zapped my creative energy. I never expected I would still be working on my book. A few weeks into 2020, I had a writing plan or production schedule. I also inflicted a little self pressure to complete and publish it by a certain date. 

Now that we are almost six months into the pandemic and shelter in place order, I find myself dragging. I love the subject of my book, except for the hole I think I plugged. It’s challenging continuing a series. Now that the book is complete and I’m doing another read- thru, I find myself referring to the other two books, when all I had to do was keep a series bible. Add series bibles to the long list of things I need to do.

Week before last, I reluctantly emailed my editor asking for a new editing slot. I’m pretty sure that was a given seeing I’d already missed the date.

This has been a challenge moving on to the next project. In my mind I’m already writing the next book, but that will have to wait until this one heads to the editor. 

I really think what’s happening is I’m not sure this is the best time [or year] to release book with an alpha billionaire. Or is it? Maybe I’m overthinking that readers don’t want to read. Maybe readers really want to read romance where there are no health boundaries [i.e., Covid 19]? Maybe they want to escape to a world where things were like they used to be. I feel confident in admitting I haven’t got a clue how to write a romance with masks and gloves. Social distancing would be easy. That would involve traveling back to a time where manners and courtship were the basis for romance.

I believe it’s time for me to get out of my head and get my butt in the chair and write. I need to tell stories that make people feel good. So they can escape the crazy around them and fantasize about what was and how it might possibly be in the future. 

Here’s my new plan as I head in to the fourth quarter. Send The Good Girl Part Trois to the editor by the end of this month. The second goal is to put the book up for pre-order on all platform except Amazon. This is a plan I can still live with.

Stay safe and see you next month,

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To Cliff-Hang Or Not

August 5, 2021 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed

To Cliff-Hang or Not

It’s August. Wow.  So far this has been a busy summer.  We have been cleaning our backyard, a task we’ve put off since we finished the last round of renovations.  We’re hopeful we’ll get it cleaned up so we can spend at least one weekend outside lounging.  I have this fantasy of sitting outside with a glass of wine and a charcuterie board reading and writing.  I’m very hopeful this will happen this summer.  I may even open one of the bottles I brought back from France.  

The other thing I’m hopeful will happen this summer is the completion of my book The Good Girl Part Four.  Man, this book is turning out to be way more than I expected.  

Mid way through writing The Good Girl Part Trois, I felt myself rushing to finish.  I was so confident I told readers that I would have everything tied up with Part Trois.  The joke was on me.  It’s amazing how characters have the audacity to tell you when their story is finished.  These characters made it very clear they were telling the story and not me.  

I figured I’d go with the flow and once I realized there was going to be another book, I told my readers.  I even promised it wouldn’t be long before the next book.  Again, the characters put me in my place.  

I have been working hard to bring this series to an end, but it seems like it’s not done.  As much as I don’t want to admit it, there just might be a fifth book.  I was faced with the possibility of a fifth book a few weeks ago.  So far The Good Girl Part Four is 97k+.  I was shocked.  I haven’t written a book that big since my first book.  And that was the first draft, which I later attacked with an electric saw.

So here’s my dilemma.  Keep writing and see where the story ends or end book four with a cliffhanger like the other books in the series.  Where I am in the story right now, I feel there’s a good six thousand more words…at least.  That would make the book well over 100k words…way too big, I think.

I’ve been kicking around the possibility of a fifth book long before the word count got this high.  When I was selecting cover images for the series, I held back one just in case.  So finding a cover won’t be an issue.  I’ve even been thinking about possibly using “book five” as an entry to a spin off series featuring Gabriella’s brother.  If I do that, it would allow me to tell a little more of Gabriella and Phillippe’s story as well.  

If I go with this plan, Part Four would definitely end with a cliffhanger.  Adding a fifth book to this series would throw a monkey wrench in my publishing plan for the balance of the year.  I really wanted to finish Unexpected Love Part Two this fall.  I also wanted to write a holiday novella.  Neither of which seem possible if I add a fifth book to The Good Girl Series.

The upside to adding a fifth book is I would have about a third of it complete.  I did a read through and found a good spot to end Part Four.  In doing so, it would give me a strong opening for Part Five.  Because of where Part Four would end, I’d have about thirty thousand words to start Part Five.

As a reader, I’m of two minds when it comes to cliffhangers.  If I like the characters and the story, a cliffhanger will not stop me from reading the next book.  I have bought (at full price) into series without thinking about the price.  I can think of three series right now where I purchased deep into the series without giving any thought to the price.  Not only did I buy the books, but because I really enjoyed the series, I told others about the books.

I think if your readers are used to your giving them cliffs, it’s not a problem.  However, if you’re new to reading an author and are presented a cliffhanger it can be annoying especially if the next book isn’t available.  In the case of The Good Girl Series, each of the books ends on a cliff so I might be able to get away with this series plan.

Cliffhangers are a subject riddled with debate in the world of romance fiction.  Everyone loves an HEA (Happy Ever After).  In my writing world HFN (Happy For Now) and Cliffs are common.  No matter how hard I try, cliffs seem to be inevitable and dare I say, my writing style.

What would you do…end book four with a cliffhanger and write a fifth book or make part four a super novel?

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The Value Of A Free Promotion

July 5, 2021 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed

Happy July.  I hope you had a safe Fourth of July.

Last year before the pandemic I made a bold decision.  I wasn’t going to do any book signing events.  Let me clarify.  I wasn’t going to do any signings out of state and very few local events.  For me, it was cost prohibitive.    It isn’t my attention to sound pretentious, because I’m far from it.  

I do signings so I can meet and gain new readers.  I discovered I was doing more selling and not getting sales.  More specific, I was trying to convince people to buy my books.  I know that’s part of the process, but it was a little disconcerting when you see most of the other authors in the room making sales, earning out their fees and you’re going home in the deficit.  In some cases, not even getting new additions to my mailing list.

Of course there have been some incredible book signing exceptions.  My favorite book signing event and one I hope to participate in again is the LA Times Book Festival.  I love the diversity and atmosphere.  I’ve met some amazing authors and the readers are fantastic.  I met a reader who asked if I’d come to her book club meeting.  I told her if she invited me and I was available, I’d attend.   Ironically, she invited me to her book club a month before the shelter in place order hit California.  I had a good time at the meeting talking about a variety of subjects including my book.  Plus the food was amazing.  But here’s the icing on the cake.  One of the club members was someone I grew up with.  We hadn’t seen each other since we were kids.   Some of the ladies from this meeting are part of my reader group and mailing list.

Fast forward the pandemic and things changed.  There were no signing events.  I felt sympathetic to all the authors who had put out money for events that were cancelled or postponed.  I saw the occasional virtual signing, but let’s be real most of those events yielded few if any additional readers.  I set a goal to increase my mailing list.  That was one of the main reasons I did signings.  Now because of the pandemic I was forced to stand by my decision.

I searched for paid promotions and found a service I liked.  I did pretty good…up a few hundred new readers.  But shortly after the promotion the freebie seekers left. 

I have worked hard to grow my list.  It’s not huge, but respectable…3700+ and an average open rate.  I think I’ve lost about twelve percent pre-pandemic. 

I started participating in group promotions and that’s when things changed for my mailing list.  I started last year with 2379 readers.  Hallelujah.  However, prior to the pandemic at the list peak it was approximately 3000+/- readers.  In a matter of a couple of years, I’d lost about twenty percent of my readers.  I was upset, but found solace in knowing that was normal and there’s a good chance they were freebie seekers.

I set a goal to get my list to 3000 and started looking for promotions. I did a couple of paid free giveaways and newsletter swaps.  Those events added over 1300 readers to my list.  But like any free promotional event, there’s some loss.  So far, I’ve lost less than 200 readers, putting me around the 3700+ readers.

The other reason I am a huge fan of the freebie promotion and newsletter swap, is reviews.  I have asked my readers to leave reviews and some will.  I’m glad they bought the book, but it would be even better to read a review or even post a star rating.  After my first newsletter swap, I noticed a few new reviews on the book in the promotion.  But I really saw an uptick in reviews the second time I did a newsletter promotion.  I talked about this before.  I paid a service for reviews which was good.  I got forty plus reviews.  However, with the newsletter swaps the book I put up has more than tripled in reviews.  I’m on my way to my first 100 reviewed book.  Did I say that correct?  

Another plus to a freebie giveaway promotion or newsletter swap event, backlist sales.  I talked about this strategy before.  For me, it’s a matter of selecting the right book for the giveaway.  Let’s be real none of us wants to give away a book, but if me giving away a book hooks the reader they’ll keep buying until they’ve completed the series.  And if I’ve done my job well, they’ll pick up one of my other series.  When you look at it that way, heck yeah, I’ll give away a few books.

Heres some numbers.  Last year, I gave away 7416+/- books, but I gained 500+ new readers.  So far, this year I’ve given away 14276+/- books and gained 400+ new readers.  Plus, I earned reviews on all the books in the promotions and backlist at Amazon and Apple Books.  The pièce de résistance of this, during those events my books shot up the ranks…top ten in their categories in the Kindle Store, US and a few foreign markets.  I think the thing that surprised me the most was hitting the top 100 Free Romance in the Apple Books store US and Germany.  

I’m convinced because of the number of downloads and ranking, it effected the Amazon algorithm in my favor helping me sell my back list.  This jump in free downloads has increased traffic at Apple Books as well. 

If you ever get invited to a newsletter swap giveaway or a paid freebie promotion, do it.  The benefits far out weigh the imagined loss in revenue.  

Enjoy the rest of the month.

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Let’s Talk Print

June 5, 2021 by in category Pink Pad by Tracy Reed tagged as , , , , ,

Ingram Sparks for Prints

Happy June.  Let’s get right to it.  Let’s talk about print.

I finally took the plunge with Ingram Sparks.  I have been reading a lot of things on blogs and Facebook groups, plus a few YouTube videos about the service.  I have to be honest, the main reason I hadn’t tried Ingram was the set up price.  Let me preface this by saying, I dipped my toe in the Ingram water with a personal project and one for my lingerie business.  I liked the results, but they were mostly 4-color images.  These were my fiction babies and I would be sending them out to strangers who had no problem criticizing their print quality.

The other reason I finally took the plunge with my fiction is because I was a little disappointed in my last proofs from KDP.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not a fan of that black bar wrapped around the cover.  I wanted to see what a reader would see.  I also didn’t like the new order process.  Unless I did something wrong, I didn’t like not being able to order author copies until the book was live.  What if I wanted to make changes, what if I didn’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, I love selling books via Amazon, I just don’t like the proof policy. 

Discounts

I had used my Ingram NANO discount for my other projects and when I was ready to do these proofs it had expired.  A friend told me to check the Ingram Facebook group and other author groups for a discount code.  I went hunting and found a code.  Hallelujah. 

I never would have said searching for a discount would be easier than reformatting my books.  Take that back.  It would have been easy if I hadn’t wanted to add fancy chapter titles, but it was so worth it.  Even with the fancy titles, it still didn’t take me as long as it had in the past to format a book.  I am so grateful for the template I got from Kitty Bucholtz.  Now I use it for projects that require a lot more graphics and odd size books.  But for fiction, I’m a Vellum girl.  By the way, Kitty turned me on to Vellum. 

Concerns

The thing that really had me concerned were the covers.  I was prepared to have to do at least two or three proofs.  Why so many?  My covers have African Americans and it’s a little tricky getting the skin tones just right even with me submitting CMYK files.

I triple checked the interior files and was pleased with the digital proof.  Unfortunately, I made a mistake in the set up process with book one.  I accidentally selected white paper instead of cream.  I also had an additional page in books two and three and one typo.  I was so upset with myself.  However, I was elated with the finished product.  These books are so pretty.  Believe the hype.  Ingram is amazing.  I love my covers.  The colors are perfect.  I only had to do one cover test. 

Comparisons

I compared the Ingram books against my KDP books and there is a definite difference in the quality.  My books look very professional.  I know I sound like a novice first author, but it’s the truth.  I love my proofs. I have a few things to clean up before ordering author proofs and making the books available for sale. 

Bonus

A bonus to working with Ingram is more exposure.  I’m pretty sure I knew this, but it didn’t click until recently.  Using Ingram Spark means my books are available to small and independent book stores.  Which means I’ve just opened myself up to another revenue stream.  

A con against Ingram, due to COVID, their phone lines are down.  Customer service is via email.  They’re pretty good about responding in twenty-four hours.  One other con, shipping.  I thought since I was ordering three proofs at the same time, they were shipping from the same location.  In my mind that would have been one shipping fee and one handling fee.  Nope.  The books arrived the same day, but from different locations.  Con/Pro, I paid the same amount for one beautiful proof as I did for the multiple proofs form KDP.  

The next thing I’ll be trying is a hardcover book.  It’s safe to say I’m hooked on Ingram Spark for my print books.  

See you next month.

Tracy

The Good Girl Series

THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

Buy now!
THE GOOD GIRL PART ONE

THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

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THE GOOD GIRL PART DEUX

THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois

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THE GOOD GIRL Part Trois
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