In episode 44 of the Am Writing Fantasy podcast, Jesper and Autumn shared the results of a survey which asked readers about permafree books.
They are now back with an update on the survey results as many more responses has come on since episode 44, and in addition, Autumn have taken her book 1, Born of Water, off permafree.
What has happened to Autumn's book sales now that Born of Water is no longer available for free?
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Read the full transcript below.
(Please note that it's automatically generated and while the AI is super cool, it isn't perfect. There may be misspellings or incorrect words on occasion).
You're listening to the Am Writing fantasy podcast in today's publishing landscape, you can reach fans all over the world. Query letters are a thing of the past. You don't even need an literary agent. There is nothing standing in the way of making a living from writing. Join two best selling authors who have self published more than 20 books between them now onto the show with your hosts, Autumn Birt, and Jesper Schmidt. Hello, I'm Jesper.
And I'm, Autumn. This is episode 86.
of the Am writing fantasy podcast. And as promised this episode will cover the results after taking a book off Permafree like Autumn have done with her book. Born of water. Yes. I love running my life as an experiment to help other people as I seem to be doing constantly. Yeah. Yeah. But it's been actually quite a long while since we recorded, even though, of course, for, for the listener. Well, we released an episode last week and we are releasing one this week, but, but we have, we have prerecorded some episodes because of summer holidays.
Jesper (1m 13s):
So we actually haven't done this for a while, or I know it's been three weeks, so yeah. To everyone else it's been seamless, but for us it's been three weeks. So I'm so glad to have you back as I've hinted in the student Q and a that we just had before this that, you know, even though you did all your homework before you left and we prerecorded everything, I was still alone in charge of this ship. And there's always more in charge of a ship than you realize when you're like, Oh, I tried, I tried so hard not to bug you too much, even though I know you were on a staycation instead of a real vacation, but yeah, no, no, nobody is great being back.
Jesper (1m 55s):
It feels nice to get into it again. And even, even discovering out of our conversations before the recording, that there was a few things that I was supposed to do that I couldn't quite remember the context of anymore. It was a good vacation. So, I mean, how was it in Denmark? I mean, I know the couple of times that we emailed that you said it wasn't exactly summer weather over there. No, it feels the whole thing feels a bit odd, to be honest.
Jesper (2m 25s):
I mean, I guess I could say it's been fairly a fairly good vacation, but we didn't do any traveling of course, due to COVID-19 like the rest of the world. So we visited some friends, we had some family over and we did some day trips here and there with the kids to just go and do some stuff, that sort of thing, you know, but yeah, as you said, unfortunately, the weather has not been the best. So yeah, my wife said the other day that it doesn't feel like a vacation. It more feels like a very, very long weekend and that's actually a bit how I feel about it too.
Jesper (2m 59s):
And I'm actually sure that, you know, because we were also working from home home in this pandemic isolation and in the months leading up to the vacation, I think that hasn't helped on this feeling because it's all just sort of blurred together in one big mess there. So I don't know all in all it was okay. But I've had better vacations to be honest.
Autumn (3m 21s):
Well then I'm sure you didn't get to go any word too interesting, but at least, you know, the family's safe and you did get some time off and got to spend some time with your kids. So I, and the wife always nice. Yeah.
Jesper (3m 32s):
Yeah. That's good. I dunno. The last couple of days it's starting to get warmer like that. I said this yesterday to my wife as well. I'll bet you, once we get into the end of August, once we are fully back to work, then it will start getting really nice and really warm and wonderful. Right. In the last couple of days, it has actually started heating up a pit just as we return to work. And I don't know if that's, yeah, I don't know if that's why, but both the day before yesterday and yesterday I had really troubling sleeping.
Jesper (4m 6s):
What can a dozen of times it also last night? So I don't know if it's because it's getting warmer or something, but it's just really annoying. I fall right back to sleep. So that's, that's fine, but it's still interrupts the sleep rhythm. So I, yeah, I feel a bit tired because of it. And then I guess two days, 14 hours of work hasn't helped. I guess
Autumn (4m 33s):
You just put it this like marathon day, it's like welcome back by the way. You're an hour 14 of being awake and getting work done. So thanks for holding in there. And now you're recording a podcast. So talk about needing a vacation now.
Jesper (4m 50s):
And when we returned from vacation, that the first thing you need is a vacation. Absolutely. I think that's typical though. So, but how has things been on your end over the last three weeks or
Autumn (5m 2s):
It's working myself to the bone on him writing fantasy. It's been good. I mean, we had our own, well I'll share my two big successes. And one is that I mentioned my Adam, my husband, Adam has been working on 105 year old wood and canvas coup. And we, he finally got it to the point where we put it in the water and it floated. So
Jesper (5m 27s):
Yeah, I saw, I saw you posted a picture of a, you say
Autumn (5m 31s):
Yes. Yeah. So I even got to take it out myself. So again, I think that was just so you could see pictures of it from, from the shore, but it was a very successful venture and it's wonderful to see this thing that came to us in really horrible condition. I mean, the canvas was rotted and falling off and, and it didn't even, he's not a huge woodworker. He's become a massively good woodworker in the last couple of months, learning how to shape Cedar into a canoe. And it is beautiful and it was paddles really well.
Autumn (6m 4s):
So that was a wonderful success. And then the other thing is, it was funny, cause we've just been talking about this with some of the students I've started. I usually wrote in the evening and I'd try to give him like 500 words while I recently said, screw checking the news and checking email. I'm going to sit down first, as soon as I get my cup of tea and I'm going to try to write for like 45 minutes. And I have top some days if I get a chance already to get in the evening, you know, for maybe a half an hour. And so I've been hitting like 2000 words a day by doing this.
Autumn (6m 35s):
So a story that in March was over a year old and completely stalled. If I got a hundred words in, I was felt like I was pulling teeth and really lucky. I'm five chapters away from finishing book one. So I feel I'm in the middle of the climax and it's very exciting. And I have lots of scenes already developed in the plot, pretty much developed for books, twos, and threes. The rate I'm going, I should finish before December, which means an early, late winter, early spring release for a trilogy next year.
Autumn (7m 6s):
Plus the books we're going to be writing plus some nonfiction. I'm thinking if everything pans out the way it's supposed to, I'm going to hit 30 books in 2021. I'm feeling pretty good about that. I'm just feeling really good to feel, to be writing again and be hitting my word count. So then for us, the summer weather is beautiful. The tomatoes are ripening and we're eating zucchini. Like it is the only available food source on the planets. It's become a bit of a joke whenever my husband goes out and comes back with zucchini, but Oh, you know, you can turn them into scones.
Autumn (7m 41s):
So I've been experimenting with zucchini quite a lot. It's been a good summer. I'll take it. I'm hoping August is also equally enjoyable and it was a little bit less stressed because I'm not the only one in charge of M writing fantasy.
Narrator (7m 56s):
Oh, a week on the internet with the am writing fantasy podcast.
Jesper (8m 1s):
So first things first, we want to give a huge shout out and warm, welcome to Janine and Eric who joined us on patron. Yes, I, it was a while you were away and we weren't recording. So it's one of those is at least a little belated, but thank you. And welcome. We're so happy for your supports. Yeah. So thank you so much to both of you without Patrion. And those of you who chime in with just a dollar a month, you know, I can't say for sure that we would keep these recordings going, but because of you, then we will, for sure.
Jesper (8m 39s):
So thank you a lot for that. And I said, I guess I should also say if, if you dear listener, haven't considered supporting the writing fences, you podcast on Petron yet we would love it. If you could click the link in the show notes and check out the awesome rewards that you Can get your hands on by joining us over there.
Autumn (8m 60s):
Yes. Please come join us. There's lots of great posts and tips and some really good perks, like the Q and a sessions we have. So come home, come over and see what we have.
Jesper (9m 11s):
Yeah. And I also wanted to mention something else a ahead of you might having something to add autumn. I don't know, but I wanted to mention that we received an email from our podcast host and they told us that we have now passed 10,000 downloads at the end writing fantasy.
Autumn (9m 29s):
So that's amazing. That's another big celebration. We have so much to just celebrate today. I mean, we're, we're recording this. We're actually on release day for three books. So this is just, just been a fantastic summer, 10,000 downloads. We're got books coming out new courses. This is just no wonder. We're both like what's what is this task that we're supposed to be doing about which, which of our many projects? Yes.
Jesper (9m 56s):
Yes. So for sure, a huge thank you to everyone who listens to the new episodes that we release every single Monday here without you. There wouldn't be much point in sitting here in front of the microphone in the first place. So thank you a lot. And thank you for getting us to 10,000 downloads. And of course we hope that there will be much more to come.
Autumn (10m 19s):
Absolutely. I mean, we were already in deep discussion about our secret, what we're going to do on our hundredth episode. So that is coming up this fall. So that'll be really exciting to announce.
Jesper (10m 34s):
Yeah. Yeah. Anything else we need to cover?
Autumn (10m 37s):
Oh, nothing. I just, I know I've been giving a big shout out to our type of slayers for you guys. You know, this is the only one we're releasing this on a week or two. So this is not too far in the past, but as I said, it's release day for our books and just the feedback from the type of slayers, normally their help, but some of those early reviews and also just the personal notes that they put in when they sent in some of the little typos that they did spot for us, we're really touching and encouraging.
Autumn (11m 8s):
And we're exactly the reasons why we're releasing these books to know that, you know, these people signed up just to help us fix up the books right before publication. And they came out of it saying that, you know, words like that helped them tremendously help them find their passion again, for a story they were working on and solve all these problems. And it was just like, just, just, wow. It blew me on the way to know how much we are helping writers. And I'm just, thank you.
Autumn (11m 38s):
Thank you for sending in those notes as well as for your help for hitting today and being actually able to release the books.
Jesper (11m 46s):
Absolutely. Yeah. And of course, if the listener here has not checked out those books, then just go to wherever you normally book, if that's Amazon or Kobo or wherever and searched for one of our names and you will find the plotting books and the workbooks and the story idea book, all three of them just released today as we're recording this on the 3rd of August. So go and check that out. Okay.
Jesper (12m 16s):
So as we set up top, we're going to talk a bit about how it has gone since you took one off Permafree autumn. And, but I guess maybe we should just start out by defining Permafree. What does that mean?
Autumn (12m 32s):
Sure. Well, and I can also give you a time as long as a week, cause it's a good discussion of when a book is PERMA free, which means permanently free. So on Amazon, or actually to do this, you have to be wide, you have to be on Kobo and Barnes and Nobles. You have to be on all those platforms. And the book has got to be free, no signing up for an email list or anything. This is literally you just go to Amazon and it is listed as a free book permanently, not on a five day Kindle countdown, just free all the time, every day, 24 hours seven.
Autumn (13m 5s):
And my book board of water, I don't know how many readers actually or listeners actually know this, but for a while I was actually with a publisher. And it was when I got my books back in may of 2015 that I put a born of water, which had been initially published in February, 2012. I finally put it on permanently free on, in May, 2015, and it's been free ever since widely distributed any platform.
Autumn (13m 36s):
And so this was a big change to say something that has been free for five years, I'm going to put a price tag on it. And that's what I did this end of may. I made it 99 cents. Huge deal.
Jesper (13m 53s):
Yeah. And maybe also for context, we talked about whether or not Permafree books is like a viable sales strategy. We talked about that back in episode 44. So which was released on the 28th of October, 2019. So if, if you need some more context than I would say, go back and listen to episode 44 and then come back here and, and continue listening to this because there we explain a lot about the behind line thinking and strategy about why we don't think that Permafree books is a good strategy anymore, but we're not going to dive into all of those details here once again.
Jesper (14m 38s):
So if you want that, didn't go back to episode 44, but otherwise we're just going to focus on what was the results then from pulling a book away from Permafree and all of a sudden asking people to pay for it. But that is a great,
Autumn (14m 54s):
You know, groundwork for why. I mean, there's a lot of reasons why I would choose to do this. One is, you know, at five years into Permafree, the downloads were dwindling. It was harder to give away even a free book because it's been free for so long. There's no excitement about picking up a book. That's going to be free next month, when it's already been free last year, how many new readers was I really reaching? And we also had the survey and that was a pretty big eyeopener. And you have the results, some updated results from the survey.
Autumn (15m 25s):
And that kind of also got me thinking of really, should this book still be free? I mean, should a permit free be permanently free or should it be something maybe every couple years you rotate through as you open up a new series?
Jesper (15m 40s):
Yeah. So maybe we could start that and then you can get into the results of it. Maybe we can start with the survey because as a preparation for episode 44, back then in October, 2019, we, we had a thinking that, you know, the Permafree strategy is a, it's a, well, I was about to say old strategy, but in publishing terms, oldest just means a couple of years, a lot of things happened a couple of years, but it's a couple of years old strategy. And our thinking was that I think that the Permafree strategies losing some of its allure and some of its effectiveness.
Jesper (16m 18s):
So we created a survey where we basically, instead of us being author speculating about it, we decided, well, why not ask the readers? So we did. And back then in episode 44, we shared the results of all the responses we got for that survey. And of course now we are in August, 2020. So we have gotten some more responses since then. And I can just go through them one by one here, just to bring everybody up to speed.
Jesper (16m 48s):
And then you can talk about your experiences and results afterwards. Yeah. So I w I would say first off before we get into the actual questions and answers that none of what we set in episode 44 has really changed. It's still the same. We've just got more volume on the responses, but the conclusions are still the same as I also expected when we recorded episode 44, I also said that I doubted that it would change, even though we got more responses, but we do now we have 575 responses.
Jesper (17m 25s):
So that's quite quite a good, let's say mock for, including upon. I would prefer, as I also said back in episode 44 to get a thousand, but well, we have 575, so yeah. Do with what you want, but I can just go over it one by one here, tell you the questions and then the answers, I think there was five. So the first question, yeah, the first question was, are you more likely to take a chance on a new author?
Jesper (17m 55s):
If the book is free and here 32.5% says, yes, I prefer to only pay for books written by authors. I already know while 67.5% says, I don't mind purchasing a book from an author I'm not familiar with if the book otherwise sounds and looks interesting. So that was already a bit, a bit interesting to see. Okay. So people actually don't mind giving a new author chance, even if they have to pay for the book. So at least for people selling their books, then that's, that's a good indicator to start with.
Jesper (18m 31s):
Absolutely. So we then funneled all of those who said that they prefer to only pay for books written by authors, that they already know. We didn't ask only that top of the respondees, a separate question, and we didn't ask them what if the same book from that same author you've never heard of had great reviews. Could that make you want to purchase the book, even though you normally only pay for books written by authors, you know, and then 66.3%.
Jesper (19m 5s):
Yes. That would make me change my mind, providing the book otherwise sounds and looks interesting to me while only 33.7% said, no, I simply don't want to pay for a novel, unless I already know that the author already know the author and question writes the kind of stories that I like to read. So yeah. Great reviews really matters as we can see from that questions. And of course we can come back to that, but born on water has a ton of reviews.
Jesper (19m 35s):
Autumn (19m 36s):
Yeah, I'll be mentioning that it helps, but it also actually caused a small problem, but we'll come back to that. I'll leave the tension right there. Now I'm curious as well. So then we asked
Jesper (19m 51s):
If you bought a book, is it the next book you'll start reading and here 40.3% says, yes. I usually start reading it as soon as I'm able, while 59.7% says, no, I often add it to my, to be read list and we'll come back to it as some later date. And then we asked the exact same question, but now we asked what if it's a free book? So we asked if you were downloaded a free book. Is it the next book you will start reading. And now we have 29.9% saying, yes.
Jesper (20m 25s):
I usually start reading it as soon as I'm able, while all of a sudden the 59.7% who before said that they added to the, to be read list. Now John jumps from 59.7% to 70.1% who says, no, I, I just add it to my, to be read list. So you're basically losing like a bit more than 10% of people there because it's a free book. They are much more, 10% modern, 10% more inclined. I know you can't say that, but 10% are more inclined to add it to a TUPE read list rather than starting reading it while as while they, and it makes sense.
Jesper (21m 4s):
Right? So if they pay for the book, they are more inclined to start reading it right away.
Autumn (21m 9s):
Absolutely. It makes sense. Definitely.
Jesper (21m 12s):
Yeah. So if we then assuming that people are adding stuff to dare to be reckless, we wouldn't curious how long is this to be readily then? So we ask people how many unread books do you have on your E reader? That being the Kindle, the phone, the nook, or whatever it is that they read books on. And we have 8.2% saying that they don't have any, they always finish their current read before they buy or add a new book. So that was only 8.2%.
Jesper (21m 43s):
I believe that 19 and 17.7% says that they have between five and 10, 19% says that they have less than five, but then the whopping 56% of all the people says that they have more than 10 books in there to be read list. Wow. And this was exactly what we were concerned about when it comes to Permafree that people just download free books, stuff, them on their Kindle. And usually they just forget about it. They never get back to more than 10 books.
Jesper (22m 13s):
That's a lot just sitting there. You can't even remember that you had them after a while
Autumn (22m 18s):
Right now. Yeah. You open it up and you're like, Oh yeah, I don't even remember what that's about. Yeah. Because when you see the cover on your e-reader, you don't see the blurb, you don't, you don't know why you got it. You literally are just going off of a cover and a memory of whether or not it's the next book you read. Yeah.
Jesper (22m 38s):
And the question is just more than 10. So it could mean that they have even 20 or 30 books sitting around Kendall. Right. And they never kind of get to it. So that was the whole problem with the, and, and again, going back, maybe three, four, five years, the Permafree strategy worked really, really well because it was brand new. It was difficult to find Permafree books. So people just loved it and they wrapped the free books. They read them and they moved on to buy the rest of the series, which is the whole point of the Permafree strategy. Right. But the problem is nowadays a lot of people off of free books, I do it myself.
Jesper (23m 12s):
I have not pulled my book off Permafree, but that's more because of all the tasks related to do it. So I have too much else to do, but I really should be doing it. I'm preaching here on the podcast and also in episode 44 that you should be doing it, but I haven't done it myself. So shame on me. But yeah, I think this is the object of the property or the core of the problem, right? There's just too many free books out there. And then to wrap the survey up, we asked in your view, free books, more likely to be of poor quality than the you pay for.
Jesper (23m 46s):
And the reason we asked that was basically because at least within author circles, there's been different conversations, you know, on Facebook groups for authors and stuff like that, where authors have been speculating that, well, usually readers will equate the free books with poor quality. So we said, okay, fine. Let's just ask the readers if that's the case or not, and get it out of the way for once and fall. And actually 80.3% said, no free books can be just as good as those you, I pay for that leaves only 19.7% who says yes, in my experience, free books often suffer from issues with editing plot, characterization and so on.
Jesper (24m 30s):
So I think that sort of put that point to rest rate in general readers do not believe that free books should be of poor quality or is of poor quality,
Autumn (24m 40s):
Which I think is definitely a big wind for indie authors that we've come from that initial stigma when independent publishing was first out, that, you know, it just wasn't as good as the others, you know, the traditional publishers. I think we've overcome that. And we are indie publishers and authors are shining examples of how good writing can be. I agree. So, yep.
Jesper (25m 5s):
What's that update, as I said, the conclusions are exactly the same as what I shared in episode 44, we just have a bit of more bit more volume on the responses, but yeah,
Autumn (25m 16s):
Well, it's just awesome. So we had the survey that said, you know, permit we've from what we are seeing ourselves, we knew Permafree, weren't working as well. We knew readers were willing to pay for a book. I mean, it helps to maybe have the first book as a reduced price as kind of an intro offer. But you know, there's also this huge discussion out there of if you're only giving away free books, are you just teaching the people who are reading your books, that they should always be free? I mean, I know, I think every author who offers a free book has gotten at least a few people asking questions and saying, can I have the next book for free?
Autumn (25m 49s):
You're already giving one away. Why not give away the rest? And most of us hopefully stick to our guns saying, you know, that took two years of my life. And I was like, at least 9 cents.
Jesper (26m 0s):
Yeah. The only reason I can keep writing books is because some people pay for them. Right.
Autumn (26m 6s):
Oh. And so there was all these ideas going on in my head. We had this survey that was hard facts. I also happened to have joined. I want to give a huge shout out to Brian Cohen. He runs these amazing AMS as author challenges, which run for five days. And so just on a whim, I joined one because I used to run a lot of AMS ads, but when you're running a Permafree, it's really hard to offer that on Amazon. And I'm like, I hadn't been doing it recently. So I thought I joined it to actually work on AMS ads for my bundles and ended up talking to him quite lot about how do you run this for a Permafree?
Autumn (26m 45s):
And he gave me some tips. So I started running born of water as a Permafree and, and just a really, it's an incredibly low bid. Right. And so you're just kind of showing up at the tail end when everyone else is running out of money, you might show up at the end and you start getting noticed a little bit more and get some organic growth. And it was good. So it was something in addition to my normal normal marketing that I'd send out to advertisers like Freebooksy and all those places where you could, you know, send out your free book. And, but even those, I mean, those were really, I remember when you could get like 10,000 downloads by getting a Freebooksy offer.
Autumn (27m 20s):
And now it's like, if you get 1200, you're doing really well, giving away a free book is really hard, especially a book that has been free for five years. And then on top of all of that, I picked up a book, read through calculator. So I have a series born of water as the first of a trilogy, but then there's a second trilogy that starts six months after the last book in the first trilogy. So it's really six books. Plus I even have a companion and a compilation of short stories. So I'm talking about, I usually don't count those when I look at things like read through, right?
Autumn (27m 54s):
But technically I have an eight book series going on and jokingly with a few readers recently who found out, I had been thinking of a, another trilogy they're kind of prodding me along. So it might be even more. And I took all of my stats from 2019. So whole year's worth of stats of downloads and read through rates. And that's what I use that to calculate my readthrough rates. And I found that I was so happy. I had this book one and the read-through rate.
Autumn (28m 26s):
I could give away thousands and thousands and thousands of books, but my readthrough rate to book two, because it was a freebie is incredibly low. But after that, once I read book two, it was over a hundred percent, which made me laugh, who had read book three and then to go to the next trilogy, go ahead.
Jesper (28m 47s):
Now I was just to add, because that, that actually links up very nicely with what we were just looking at with the survey results, right? Because a lot of those book ones just ended up on to be read list. And that's why you have a poor read-through rate. Not because the book is poor, but because they never read it. So they never go on to book two.
Autumn (29m 6s):
Yeah. 4% was my readthrough. Larry, I think it was, it was incredibly small, but then book two, two book three, you know, it was a hundred percent. And then I would lose 60% to go to the second trilogy, which could be me. And it wrapped up very well. So maybe they they're done. They want to go to the other books. Quite normal. 60% is actually not bad. But then again, it jumped back to a hundred percent to finish off that trilogy. So we're talking about a really strong read through rate. When you add that up, considering how many times I had to give away born of water, giving away book earned me 41 cents for every giveaway.
Autumn (29m 46s):
And I had to give away thousands of books. So, I mean, we're talking about 41 cents for each giveaway, but if my readthrough wait between book one, born of water and it's book two, if that happened to be close to the second series where it was like 60%, I could actually earn $7 and 21 cents after off of every sale of book one, which also means I would have to sell a lot less of them to earn a lot more money, to be earning $7 and 21 cents off of every reader instead of only 41 cents off of every reader.
Autumn (30m 22s):
So there's a lot of stuff that I'm like, okay, wait, I'm playing with AMS ads. They're actually working. I'm selling more books. I have this book that has at, at this time, it was just under 300 reviews. It's now over 300 reviews. It's got a solid track record. I'm gonna, I'm gonna go ahead and try this. And I did. I let readers know that may was the last ditch effort. Last time you're going to be able to see this for free, unless you sign up to get it through like my newsletter.
Autumn (30m 53s):
I do have it still as a signup or that's one way to get it for free, but otherwise on all the platforms, it's a whole whopping 99 cents. But it's edited was may, was fantastic for book sales and for giving it away. It was like going back to the old days where people were picking it up left and right, because I was really shaking the tree and letting people know this is it. This is, this is it. This is the end of the run. It is time. This book is no longer free. So yeah, may was really fun.
Autumn (31m 24s):
And I was running just so people know all the steps for this. I was not just sitting there letting people know it was coming off a Permafree. I was running my AMS ads at this low amount to get those targets. I was starting to already gather those keywords, getting those books, getting everything ready. So that on June 1st, when I had, Oh, you know, you know how Amazon goes, I actually did it a few days before. So June one comes up and I can switch all those AMS ads over to a higher bid rate. I had everything set up and going, you know, over a hundred, I think ads already made.
Autumn (31m 55s):
And boom, I hit the ground running June 1st with a book that was 99 cents. And how do you think that, how do you think all of June went and for me, which, you know, it was probably a big hint that I asked that we record this in August instead of July.
Jesper (32m 10s):
Yeah. Well I can of course guests there, but it did not go as planned. No, no, but, but the, the thing is also with those AMS ads that you need time to build up the momentum do and, and, and just switching the apps on often doesn't do much short term. And also it also takes time before you have the apps running for a while so that you can add that. Or you can collect the data and conclude based on the data where to focus your next set of ads.
Jesper (32m 43s):
So, so it's more like I see AMS as very much like a continual optimization kind of effort, where, where you start out with a starting point with what you think might work as keywords and such. And then you run those. Once you get enough impressions on them, you will start seeing, okay, decent, these steps works. So then you can start building towards that direction. And over time you get there and you get some really, really well performing ads, but it takes time. And I think that that might be a bit of a misconception in general that some people believe, yeah, you just Chuck in a set of keywords and then you bid something and then you'll get sales, but that's not how it works.
Autumn (33m 24s):
No, and I, what I was expecting was something that was going to happen, like my bundle, the rise of horror there. So where you can get all, you get four books for in the bundle. And for that one, you know, it's a typical, you struggle basically to get Amazon, to spend your $5, your trying to get readers. It's a slow burn process. And I would definitely say anyone who wants to try this, you are in this for the long haul and expect the first months to be painful. You're learning, it's a huge steep mountain that you're learning and you're climbing up.
Autumn (33m 55s):
And if I have to admit having a free book and just like once a month slapping to free Booksy or these other places say, Hey, you know, promote my book. That is so easy. If you like easy street, stay with easy. This is hard. This requires time that you've got to make every single week and you've got to not be intimidated. And you've got to be able to either ask questions of other people or kind of be good at marketing and not easy to give up and solve the problems. So, yeah, for June, I, I had the opposite problem that anyone told me was going to happen.
Autumn (34m 31s):
I actually had to slow down the ads because they were spending like, like I was a millionaire and I could spend money like crazy, but they weren't all ending up in sales. Oh my gosh,
Jesper (34m 43s):
Where you're getting very high IO.
Autumn (34m 45s):
I was bidding at what Brian Cohen and his AMS ads challenge was telling me is a good bidding rate for a book in a series. So we're talking in the 30 cent range, not really high. This is pretty much standard first in a series. This is about what you should start at. And it was crazy cause people were clicking on it left and right, because it had 300 reviews. It has a very solid cover, but not, not that many people were buying. So you and I worked together and I tweaked the blurb a little bit, which helped, but it was still outpacing.
Autumn (35m 19s):
I mean, my happily, my total amount of book sales covered what I paid for Amazon ads for June. But there was a moment of Holy crap. I don't like seeing negative ROI is on a series that was my money maker up to this point. And my biggest conclusion is, yeah, pupils see a book for 99 cents. 300 reviews. Cover is decent. They click on it. You don't read much else. It doesn't matter what else, what my hook could say, they're just going to click on it.
Jesper (35m 52s):
Indeed. And that's of course the difference between the click through rate versus the conversion rate, right? So the click through rate is basically being determined by the number of reviews and the cover because that's the people, that's what people see when they see the ad. So they might see if you want to you, of course, it's possible to put in a bit of custom text in the app if people want to do that on the AMS app, but in general, it's the cover. And it's the number of reviews that will make people click. So that's the clicks. So you can have a very high click through rate, which will then indicate that your cover is good and your number of reviews is working in your favor.
Jesper (36m 31s):
But then once they arrive on the sales page, if we can call it that or a product page, when meaning the actual page on Amazon that shows the book and you have the book description and you have the biolink and all that, then there is two things affecting the conversion rate on that page. And that of course is the book description that factors in a lot to whether or not people. So they might've clicked on, Oh, that cover looks interesting. So they click on the ad, they come to the book page and then they read the blurb and it's like, what? No, this is not me. And then gone.
Jesper (37m 1s):
They are right. So that really needs to hook them, or it can also be the look inside. So if people check the sample writing and they scroll through the first couple of pages on the login side, on Amazon, and then they, if it doesn't engage them enough there, then that might stop the conversion as well. So they don't buy it. They don't click the buy button. Right. But yeah, it was just to give a bit of context for Lou in terms of things to look for.
Autumn (37m 27s):
And these are the things you have to be aware of. And there's also the fact that I am trying this on at, you know, targeted ads with targeted keywords that I've only been trying for two months and to get keywords that are really gonna fit in my book and reach the correct audience. It's going to take a lot longer than two months to really gather that data. So I'm basically spending a whole bunch of money to get keywords, and it's just getting confusing. I'm basically, you know, going to Facebook and say, Hey, you like books.
Autumn (37m 57s):
Here's my book. And it's too much. It was, I needed to slow it down. And that was basically what I learned is I needed to basically just keep reducing my bid point every week until I got to the point where I got a positive ROI, which I did. Yay. I'm so excited. So I finally had my first month where, or my first week where I had a positive ROI. And of course this is difficult because I'm talking about readthrough rates. So I'm not looking at just the ROI on book one, I'm looking at how things are going for the entire series.
Autumn (38m 30s):
Are people reading through? Cause I am, that is going to determine my overall amount I can bid I've finally achieved what I was looking for, where I feel comfortable now trying to look for new keywords. So I'm still really at the beginning stages, but that was my biggest to me. It was my biggest hurdle is I just don't have the financial wherewithal to keep spending every ounce of money I'm getting from my books just to cover AMS ads. I kinda, you know, like eat and, you know, I'm a full time author. This is really kind of, you know, bread and butter for me.
Autumn (39m 1s):
So there were definitely those first month cringing pain of why the heck did I do this? This was so easy before, but now that I'm finally seeing income, again, I can start generating more ads looking for more keywords, starting to pull out the ones that are gonna work in the longterm. And I think that initial shock of being able to actually spend everything that Amazon, you know, that I want to throw at Amazon is going to be a good thing.
Autumn (39m 33s):
When I finally hit the right target. I mean, I might still work on the blurb a little bit. It's going to be a matter of checking out keywords, but once I have all the pieces in place, this could be really, really good. I just know it's going to be six months to longer, eight months, nine months a year from now, where will I be with this? I think it'll be in a really good place. And I'm, as I mentioned earlier, in this episode, I'm going to be having another series. I'm going to be trying all this again with fresh, with a series that has never been Permafree as well, but it's definitely been a learning curve.
Autumn (40m 10s):
And I think the biggest thing is just not having those moments of panic when, especially when you see income going out faster than, you know, you really had planned, I was expecting, you know, few sales, slow burn, trying to accumulate keywords like I was doing with the bundle. And instead I had, you know, the acetylene torch set on high. I was not prepared for that. You know, if I had hit all the right keywords the first time out and it had just zoomed off the rocket, that would have been fantastic, but that's not really realistic.
Autumn (40m 46s):
It wouldn't be a good learning session to be able to share with all of our listings. So what happens when you take your book off a permit for you? There has to be some pain involved, not just like there's one seller. Oh yeah. I had to do it this way, but I think, you know, I will definitely have to maybe put in our schedule or if listeners would like a check in, you know, let us know in the comments and we can check in again in six months or so and see how the process is going. Cause at this point now I am just trying to get, I had some ads that were not doing anything.
Autumn (41m 19s):
So I'm trying to wake those ads up and I'm just trying to keep that positive ROI going. But again, it's a series, it's a readthrough. So I have book I'm selling and there's going to be this lag before people get all the way through the series and I'll see the income it. So this is going to be a very slow stepping stone process. I mean, unless I win the sweepstakes or something and I have a million dollars, I can throw it a run, everything, you know, once to see it all get figured out.
Autumn (41m 50s):
And just a couple of months, I don't see that happening. I think this is going to take me a lot of time because I don't, I just simply physically can't dump a thousand dollars a month or more onto just AMS ads just to see what happens. Be really, if anyone is a multimillion out there and they don't know what to do with it, and they would like to help me run this experiment, I will have to spend your money when it's my money and my family, you know, I'm trying to take it a little bit slower.
Autumn (42m 22s):
That's fair enough. Yes. But I will say the conversion rate is up
Jesper (42m 28s):
Excellent. Next week we will look at the well known trips and fantasy and also evaluate if they are quote unquote, good or bad.
Narrator (42m 37s):
If you like what you just heard, there's a few things you can do to support the am writing fantasy podcast. Please tell a fellow author about the show and visit us at Apple podcast and leave a rating and review. You can also join Autumn and Jesper on patreon.com/amwritingfantasy for as little as a dollar a month. You'll get awesome rewards and keep the Am Writing Fantasy podcast going, stay safe out there and see you next Monday.