I’ve been rebranded. Ouch! By Heather Haven

I have been self-publishing (or call me an independent publisher) for nearly a decade. It’s a lot of work, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am in control of me. I am my own destiny. But time marches on and what worked in 2011 doesn’t necessarily work in 2020. Destiny has taken a nosedive.

So I’m starting anew. My first book of the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries was published out of Canada in 2011. I wound up having three books of the series published by their house before I left. I had no quarrel nor falling out with them. It’s just that they moved their attention and time on to the next author in line and my books seemed to just languish in the queue. So in late 2012 I took my books back and decided to self-publish exclusively on Amazon. I now have four series going, a stand-alone, and an anthology published. But the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries has always been my biggest seller and accounts for over 95% of my sales. In the beginning, I made good money just being on Amazon. I used to say that while I might not be able to buy a yacht, I could certainly buy a sailboat with my earnings. I can’t say that anymore. At this point, I don’t think I could even buy a dinghy. Used. That leaks.

My ebook numbers started falling in 2016. In 2017 I took everything out of Amazon’s KDP (where I also made about 1/3 of my monthly income lending the books out and being paid page by page) and published them on Barnes and Noble, Kobo, etc. They did even worse! A year later in 2018, I brought them back to Amazon where they did slightly better but never as well as they had from 2012 – 2016. It was a continual decrease in sales. I had to face it. Something was wrong. Or was it? Had my time come and gone? I was in a panic.

About four months ago a fellow author, who writes two mystery series, told me about a marketing person who helped her increase sales dramatically. This person only handles books of a very specific nature. It has to be a series of four books or more, only ebooks, and sold exclusively on Amazon. Sounded right up my alley.

I hired that person and she is currently doing a new marketing approach for the Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries from top to bottom, including new book covers. It has not been cheap. But in order to make $$$, you have to spend $$$. Right? Right.

Revamping, redoing, rethinking, and reassessing has been my middle name for a couple of months. Everything is lined up, ready to go, and we will be starting a new marketing campaign exclusively on Amazon starting February 16th. The Alvarez Family is now a “fun detective cozy”  instead of a humorous mystery, with new keywords to draw in readers, hopefully. And the new covers are completely, COMPLETELY different than before, as are the blurbs. As, frankly, is everything.

So am I in a slump? Is this revitalization? Or am I a has-been? Stay tuned because I haven’t got a clue. Meanwhile, check out the new covers on my website at www.heatherhavenstories.com.

 

 

5 thoughts on “I’ve been rebranded. Ouch! By Heather Haven

  1. I respect the authors who put their books only at Amazon, but for me, I’ve been wide since the beginning. I have readers who thank me for being wide. I don’t have to panic if Amazon loses my books or sales or drops the worth of a page read, because all my eggs aren’t in their basket. Good luck with the re-branding!

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  2. Good luck with the experiment. I’ve found that greater percentages of readers on the non-Amazon e-book platforms buy my whole series than Kindle readers do after I run a promotion. And being one of those people who doesn’t buy Kindle books, I can’t bring myself to to go exclusive with KDP. But it’s worked for others, often as a short-term strategy. I’ll never buy a yacht, either, by the way. I admire your courage in taking the rebranding plunge.

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    1. Thank you, Amber. We do what we must do! In the past, I have done well in Amazon. I have other writer friends who have had your same experience, though. We’ll have to see how it goes now. H

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  3. Thanks, Carolyn. I’m totally out of touch with this, too, so it’s good to have someone take it over. But I’m giving myself a year. If it doesn’t work during that time, I accept being a has-been. That’s the way it goes.

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  4. Yikes! I think readers tastes change and technology. Algorithms can change our fortunes so easily at the whim of a person, or even a bot, and we’re left scratching our heads. I’ll be interested to see how your rebrand goes while my fingers are crossed for you.

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