Does Jack Lockwood really exist?

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I’ve been trying to sell my two books on kindle: Rock’n’Roll Suicide and Doppelganger, the first two in the Jack Lockwood Mystery series.  I haven’t a clue how many books other people sell, but I sell hardly any.

A while ago I read a post saying that it was wise to price at 99c (77p) and, by doing this, more people would buy your book, even though a minimal price would hardly seem important.  He said it’s a psychological thing.  So that’s where I fixed my price.

I think he may be right.

About a month ago (I think) I put prices for both up to $1.99 (£1.37).  Since then I have sold two books.  Everyone seems to say that times are hard, and very few books sold, but I do feel that maybe if I hadn’t put the price up I might have sold more.  But who really knows, I haven’t the faintest idea, all you can do is try things and see what happens.

Rather like my idea the Jack Lockwood Diaries, of short stories on my blog, the idea being to entice people to read about Jack Lockwood and decide to buy one of the books.  A few people are following the JL Diaries blog, but not very many.  Yet you can Google Jack Lockwood Diaries, and there are several entries, almost as if I’ve breathed life into him.

That was my idea: to create a living breathing Jack Lockwood, who lives in a village in Kent and solves problems and has adventures, yet remains a likeable, yet lonely soul, searching for happiness and struggling to survive against the odds.  Someone who people wanted to read about.  I think it probably all takes time, maybe it’s just a question of plugging on and hoping.  After all, it’s better to have your books out there and some people reading them and giving them good reviews than just constantly be rejected by publishers and agents.

Kevin Ashman and Gail (@JenniOrbell) told me about Feed-a-read, who publish your book as a paperback free, as a print on demand, so people pay for it and you get a percentage.  It’s worth considering.  On the other hand I hate doing talks and trying to physically sell books (couldn’t do it), and who on earth is going to pay about £8 for a book by an unknown author?  Worse, if they paid as much as that and didn’t like it, would they doubly resent it and post a horrible review?

And reviews are another thing.  For Rock’n’Roll Suicide on amazon.uk I’ve got 16, 5* reviews, one 4* and one 2*.  So in their wisdom they’ve put one of the 5* and the awful 2* one right at the top, so the first thing anyone sees is “!!!!!This was a very childish novel!!!!!I didn’t like it!!!!!”  The most absurd and ridiculous review imaginable, yet there it is, for all to see, and it’s obviously putting people off.  I would very much like to take the 77p that she paid for the book and shove the coins down her throat as far as they would go.

And I got one proofreading job from a publisher, and was delighted so dropped everything to do it, as I really need the money.  And I’m happy to have now got two copy editing jobs from the same publisher, and feel really lucky (having applied to about 30 publishers months ago and heard nothing).  And I am stuck into these, with the result that I haven’t been RTing friends who have helped me on twitter, and some of them have been RTing me, so I feel really guilty about not returning the favour.  All I can do is make a big effort when I’ve finished (plus hope this nice publisher gives me more work).

When you realise how some people without a job or income at rock bottom are struggling, and being pushed further into poverty by the latest cruel cuts to housing benefit and so on, you realise how lucky you are to have any kind of an income at all.

Think I’ll probably cut the price again, and do another free promo.  But what happens if I then get another person who has read a free copy, does a nasty review and that gets put right up at the top of the page!

If that was to happen, there would be no 77p to shove down their throat.

See my website for all details of everything http://www.geoffreydavidwest.com

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16 thoughts on “Does Jack Lockwood really exist?

  1. Hi Geoffrey, brilliant post and comments. Totally agree about the price, I have always said this. I know we don’t make a great deal if the price is 77p and 99cents but who does unless they are lucky and get picked up by an agent. I would rather sell loads of copies at the said mention price than a handful at say, 2.99 or even 1.45. I have found that I sell lots more under a quid and dollar as readers go for the books under that price. Also the more you sell the more reviews one receives. Talking about reviews, the past couple of days, I have received a 1*, 2*, 4* and two 5*, you just have to take it on the chin. Isn’t it the beauty of personal views.

    About twitter, I 100% stand by it, it has bought me, firstly loads of great online mates, also sold books, received great comments, been interviewed on blogs and on radio. Also, as you know, I do so much marketing, people may say too much, but what is too much? I love that side and its so important to do so if you want your book, which is your baby to be seen. I also RT so much and then you get that in return. I just love to promote other authors or businesses. I think I would like to have a marketing company. Just a thought as I write this.

    Anyway, I hear where you are coming from, just keep at it. I am not saying I know it all, but marketing is so important.

    I had to write this quickly as I have my 3 year old thinking I am a climbing frame.

    Cheers mate and a great post you have placed here.

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    1. Thanks David for your kind remarks and it’s a relief that you agree about price. I’m not naturally a salesman at all, but, as you say, it’s as nice to try and help others as it is to plug your own – in one way nicer. Has your 3-year old reached your head yet? Might get painful! thanks again.

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  2. Hello Geoff! I really admire your stoicism—the publishing/promoting world is one heck of a sludgy minefield! I’m sticking my head in the mud really–and just going with my enthusiasm for my story and not worrying too much about the selling element! That means I probably won’t shift many books, but then I’d rather sell a few to people who really resonate with my story than face the mob. Probably foolish, but that’s what feels right for my series. I have got as far as organizing a Facebook page for The Celestial Sea Voyages, and one under my own name, as well as the Twitter game, so we’ll see where it leads!
    Good luck with your exciting stories. I hope they receive LOADS if attention and SUCCESS!:)
    Marina

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  3. Thanks for looking Marina and I can understand your way of looking at things, and lots of people would agree with you. And also thanks for your good wishes. I’m going to check out the Celestial Sea, it certainly looks captivating, and gd luck with the Facebook page, Facebook is a mystery to me, but when you’re up at least I know how to ‘like’ it.

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    1. Thanks, my friend:) I would be honoured to have you look at my story. Facebook seems great for deepening friendships because you can have longer, private conversations, which is lovely–but possibly takes one’s eye off the whole ‘promotion’ game which works so well on Twitter. I’m not complaining though–I’ve already made some lovely new friends. What’s life without friends? I’m sticking out for quality over quantity; it’s what I’ll remember when I’m in my bath chair!:)
      Take care and thanks for chatting:)
      Marina X

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  4. Geoff, Amazon don’t ‘put the nasty review at the top of the page’ ~ it’s where it is (I haven’t looked!) because it was the most recent one. It’s an automatic thing, as is putting a review of 2 or 3 stars as the ‘most helpful critical review’. From my experience and research, most readers look at the overall rating when making a judgement whether to buy or not. I would imagine the reason why you haven’t sold many since putting the price up is lack of marketing, because you’ve been so busy! Which is good, right? Congratulations on the copy editing work! Also, tis true, many people have had a bad month. I know some people who’ve sold nothing!

    Re Facebook – best thing to remember is that Facebook is not a promotional tool, it’s a social networking site. Oh, sorry, have I said that before???!!!! To be truthful I don’t know how people reach writers on FB if they haven’t already been using the site; the people on FB who buy my books are either people I’ve known for years or friends of friends of people I’ve got to know on the site over time – long before Amazon KDP!! But if you want to get an author page just send me an email and I will talk you through it!

    Please, please, don’t bitch about bad reviews. People are entitled not to like your book! And I know I’m in a minority with that one too – most people disagree with me so I accept the shouting down with good grace!!!

    Answering your long email later today 🙂

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    1. Hello Terry yes thanks I understand. No, the rvw is at the top because it’s the ‘most helpful critical revw’, stuck there for eternity. Ironically, if I had another bad rvw that made more sense there’d be some point to it. I’m not moaning about it, fair enough. It’s that it’s the first thing anyone sees that seems wrong.

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      1. I really think you’re over-stressing about the bad review, Geoff. Some people have more than just one or two, and their books still sell. Most people just look at the Amazon page, and, as I said, look at the average reviews. If you get any review that’s 3 star or under, it’ll be there – it’s just something that you have to deal with if you put your books on Amazon; there isn’t anyone who doesn’t get some. Have a look at books that sell – then look at their reviews. You’ll see more than one bad one. Just try and forget about it ~ honestly, the only person who notices it all the time is you. It’s like when you have a spot on your face that you think is like a big boil but no-one else notices!! I suppose amazon does that because it’s fair that the prospective buyer will see the bad as well as the good, I dunno. As for the price thing – again, I think it’s just because it’s been a hard month for everyone, and because you perhaps haven’t had time to do much marketing.

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  5. Hi Geoff! I totally agree with Terry. Look at any review from a book that was on the New York Times best seller list for weeks on end, with thousands and thousands of books sold, and you will find those nasty one and two star ratings mixed in with the glorious 5* reviews. I have one really bad review and a another that’s not so good and they were very unpleasant to read. However, they have not halted sales of my book. Like you, I thought, oh, no! Everyone is going to focus on that one reviewer who used the term “Yuck!” in describing my book. However, I felt especially good about the nice reviews I received AFTER that one.

    Also, I do lots of marketing, especially since that was my career for over 20 years and I know how it works. Aside from social media, I researched tons of different places to advertise my book for FREE and found so many that I was able to pick and choose what I felt was right for my book. I currently have my book listed on roughly 20 different websites. I think this also helped tremendously with my free promo that resulted in 5000 downloads in three days. After that, sales took off (and my book sells for $2.99).

    You mentioned you wanted to do another free promo. Perhaps you could do some marketing first. It all works together, while you’re sending the tweets of your free promo, the various websites are advertising the free promo to their customers. There are also places on Facebook that have daily posts of free or bargain books, same with twitter. Although marketing is quite time-consuming (I began 2 months prior to my free promo to set it all up) it is well worth it in the end. Here is a very useful link that lists over 50 websites where you can advertise your books. (I have only tried FREE advertising, not paid): http://savvybookwriters.wordpress.com/2012/11/04/part-2-45-more-websites-to-promote-your-book/

    I hope this helps, and I wish you much success with your next promotion!

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  6. Geoff, one more thing…some websites send out e-newsletters to their customers with books that are free/bargin. When my book first appeared in the newsletter, there was a big spike in sales. At first I didn’t know what had happened when 15 books sold in one day, but I quickly looked at the date of that newsletter and it coincided with the sales. So that is another positive aspect of marketing.

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  7. Hello Rose I had no idea about any of that, and yes please, I’d love it if you could help when I do a free promo, and will look at those sites and do all those things. I know, you and Terry are quite right about bad rvws, silly to dwell on it. And I had no idea you’d worked for 20 years in marketing – I thought you were about 22 from your photo. It seems as if marketing is the key to everything, the thing I’m not good at!

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  8. Hi Geoff

    I just stopped by your blog after you left a comment on mine and found this post particularly interesting.

    Ugh! The nasty review thing… well, I’m learning to rise above it at Amazon now. As long as they don’t personally attack me (like that one at Goodreads which she overtyped eventually so that no one else would see how rude she was!) then they can say what they want. Believe me, I still don’t like it, it’s hurtful, but I accept my book will never gel with every reader and there’s nothing that can change that.

    I’ve changed tactics with the marketing now. Yes, I still use Twitter massively for self promotion but I’ve decided now to spend a lot of time on my blog writing about things that appeal to a massive audience. I’m not sure how long I can come up with popular subjects but I will keep at it as long as I can. I’ve only had my blog/website at WordPress for a month and have already had 1000+ visits! My original website was just short of 1000 in 6 months. So, I’m impressed with those results. Most of the visits to my WordPress site were a result of my weight loss, free Kindle promo, and Fifty Shades posts. I’m hoping for a massive stream of traffic for the next couple of weeks with my THE ONLY WAY IS ESSEX posts which I have split in to Parts 1 & 2. The idea is to then tweet these popular blog posts daily and tag anyone appropriate. For instance with the weight loss one I tagged Paul McKenna since it was based on hypnosis, with Fifty Shades I tagged E L James, with THE ONLY WAY IS ESSEX a have a whole host of cast members and shops I can tag. Maybe someone I tag will retweet to their hoards of fans!!! With so many people visiting my blog I hope they’ll have a look around the website whilst they’re there and check out my book, maybe even buy it?

    I haven’t done a 77p promo. I have a problem letting all my hard work go for a pittance. I’d rather try other ways first. Even though I was disappointed with the download results of my free promo I’ve had quite a few fab reviews already so it has paid off in that way, but I’ve only sold 10 books since PLUS I dropped the price by £1.

    Keep plugging away Geoff. Or maybe step away for a week, clear your head, and return with a vengeance armed with new ideas! Good luck! 🙂 Rest assured I will RT like mad with any free promo you do in the future… IF you do. 😉

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    1. Very interesting Alice, and I think you’ve had a good idea doing the blogs. It’s also a good idea, I think, to choose popular subjects, as you have. I think you’re clever at marketing. As you say, it’s a question of looking at things in a fresh way, which you are certainly doing. Yes, my sales are low too, I think it’s same for everyone.

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  9. Goodness Geoff, there’s so much for us to do isn’t there and like you I find it difficult to fit it all in. Don’t dwell on the bad review – there are many people who believe that a range of reviews on a book is a good thing – it shows it’s not just your friends you are reading but you’re reaching a wider audience. There are some great tips and ideas in these comments – just need the 48 hours in a day to make use of them all 🙂

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