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Monday, November 29, 2021

Finding Author’s Niche in Writing Stories

    I read an article in the past that said authors should write stories that are categorized in the most popular genres in order to sell the most books. However, I don’t necessarily agree with that philosophy for multiple reasons―mainly because it would be difficult to write about a subject that doesn’t remotely interest me. For example, the most popular fiction genre is romance, and it’s also the most competitive. If an author sets out to write romance fiction even though it may not be his or her strong suit, this course of action is a recipe for failure in my humble opinion.

    My belief is authors should write about things that interest them the most or write about things that they’ve experienced in life to a certain degree, and there’s also nothing wrong with researching a new subject that is intriguing and writing a story about it. However, writing in a genre solely for profit without a genuine interest in a given subject won’t translate into a good story, and readers will see through a poor attempt at creating a plot without any substance or passion behind it. In turn, book sales will fade away quickly in the long run because of mediocre or bad reviews even though the author might’ve picked the most popular genre with the most gross sales annually.

Romantic Couple

    A new author’s first question should always be what genre should I write in? My first book was in the nonfiction, biography, and sports categories, and I wrote about a subject that was an important part of my childhood―Little League Baseball. The book was roughly fifty pages long, and I touched on the various reasons why baseball had declined in my community as well as other communities throughout the nation. I sold a decent number of copies in the beginning and had a book signing, but I ultimately couldn’t sustain any momentum as sales disappeared completely.

    I discovered later on that I had a natural gift for storytelling and preferred to create content rather than research facts―to write organically instead of mapping out an outline or script to follow. Thus, my journey as a fiction author began, and I never looked back. I enjoy watching crime dramas, and one of my favorite movies is Heat. I also like watching sports, and I managed to merge the two themes together and created the trilogy titled The Chronicles of Brock Lane―my bestselling series to date.

    Finding one’s niche in writing is extremely important, and authors should write about things that they’re passionate about and not solely pick genres based on popularity in order to reach the bestseller’s list. Once authors choose their respective genres to write in―whether it be romance, crime, or urban fantasy, for example, then they can build their bibliographies and sell hundreds or even thousands of books per month.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Check Writing Is Unofficially Obsolete

    I recently visited Hawaii for the first time this past summer and had a great time with my wife and friends. We ate good, saw a couple of Hawaiian festivals, and stayed at a luxurious hotel with a spacious room that was across the street from the ocean and nearby all of the high-end department stores in case we wanted to shop. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that I’m from the Midwest (Chicago to be exact), and the flight was an eight-hour trip. However, this isn’t what this blog post is about.

    When I returned to Chicago a week later, I found out that my dad was in ICU suffering from kidney failure. My mom and brother didn’t want to spoil my vacation and felt it would be best if I didn’t find out until I returned home. It turned out that his kidneys were slowly deteriorating for quite some time and had gotten to the point where the meds weren’t working anymore. He had lost so much weight over the past year due to a lack of appetite, but I couldn’t figure out why until he landed in the hospital. He spent the entire summer in and out of the hospital and rehab because he initially refused dialysis, but it had ultimately reached the point that the doctors told him his only option to survive was to receive weekly dialysis treatments. Needless to say, he took his doctor’s advice and is doing much better.

Banking Without Personal Checks

    My mom and I had to expand our responsibilities in the weeks to follow while my dad was back and forth from the hospital to the nursing home―I had to grocery shop for my mom because she doesn’t drive and also help her around the house with extra chores in addition to mowing their lawn on a weekly basis. I also had to find time to manage my own household, and she had to take over my dad’s bills. It was then she examined his bank statement and learned that someone had bilked him for $4900―he’s old-school and not computer savvy, so he wanted to pay his water bill in full for the entire year with a check in the mail. He’s part of a shrinking minority of people who still write checks and unfortunately got burned for it. The bank had conducted an investigation and discovered that a woman who worked as a clerk with the Department of Water had used his banking info to create an electronic check to pay his water bill and pay herself almost five grand in the process. My mom had spent weeks trying to get a new checking account number and debit card for him because of red tape and the fact that he was incapacitated.

    My dad’s situation is a cautionary tale that reveals it’s no longer feasible and is extremely dangerous to write checks in today’s society. A clerk thought that it was okay to steal from him because he had enough money to pay off his bill for the year, and he was an easy mark to a cyber-criminal who can easily copy someone’s banking information off of a check for a quick score. Scam artists have permeated every facet of life to the point that something as simple as writing a check can cost a person thousands of dollars on top of countless hours trying to recover what was lost.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Changing a Book Cover Can Dramatically Increase Sales

    A professionally done, good-looking book cover is one of the most important aspects in creating a fiction novel. Readers do judge a book by its cover, and if the cover looks cheap, it will undoubtedly kill sales. Sometimes a book cover can become stale or too familiar to readers in the same fashion that an ad listing can become stale―the law of diminishing returns if you will.

    This especially holds true when an author’s bestselling book hits the wall and experiences a dramatic drop in sales. This will hurt the overall sales of the author because the bestselling book can function as a sales funnel to the other books in the portfolio. However, there’s a remedy to stagnant book sales for the indie author.

Book Cover

    Independent authors have the option of changing the front cover of their books that aren’t doing well, and in turn, this small adjustment can boost sales dramatically. For example, I started off with a basic-looking book cover for my novella titled The Root of All Evil, and sales in the beginning were steady, but not great. Sales would eventually pick up for this title in the months to follow, and over a two-year span, it gradually became my bestselling book to this day as it’s the first installment of a three-book series. I’m always looking for ways to increase my book sales, and I recently came up with the idea to change the book cover of The Root of All Evil. I was able to double the sales of this title in a very short time, and this carried over to the other books in my bibliography.

    When an author changes the book cover, it gives readers the illusion of a new book, or readers who ordinarily overlooked the old front cover may take notice to the new one. This is another sales growth hack that has helped me become a bestselling author on Amazon, and any author can apply this method in order to increase book revenue.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Slightly Lowering the Book Price Can Significantly Increase Sales

    A quick sales growth hack that indie authors can use to tip the Amazon algorithm in their favor and increase sales is to slightly decrease the sales price of one of their paperback books. An example of this is when Amazon lowered the price of my bestselling book titled The Root of All Evil from $6.95 to $6.78 a few months ago. This slight change in price caused a spike in sales that went on for several weeks afterward before the surge leveled off, and then Amazon changed the book back to its original sales price.

    Customers seem to respond positively to an irregular price that doesn’t end in .95 or .99, so I took the liberty of changing the price of my book back to $6.78 to see if the spike in sales would return. Needless to say, a slight spike in sales occurred, but not to the extent when Amazon implemented the change in price. However, the sales of The Root of All Evil remain consistent and function as a sales funnel for my other books.

    Applying this technique to the bestselling book of an author’s bibliography can be highly effective in driving even more sales, and in turn, this small trick will ultimately drive the sales of the other books in the catalog. There’s no guarantee that lowering the price of a book will make an indie author a success overnight, but it certainly won’t hinder his or her progress toward that goal.

Five Things I Learned After Self-Publishing My First Book

     I can remember how excited I was like it were yesterday when my first book titled What Happened to Little League Baseball in the Inner ...