Why some ebooks sell and others don’t—lessons from #RT14


The Breeder series launched me from phase 2 to phase 3. It made the genre best seller lists and Amazon recommended Terran to its customers.

Why do some books skyrocket while others languish? What does an author have to do to get his/her ebook to sell?

Courtney Milan, a historical romance author who has a background in math and science, presented an excellent overview on how book sales occur. Her presentation was geared to indie books, but it also applies to ebooks released by publishers. (It does not apply to the print market, which she said is completely different). Her presentation was titled “Building a Sticky Digital Readership,” which she described as “Half-Assing Promotion (and Still Making Money).”

Selling an ebook boils down to a Catch 22: to sell books you have to sell books. That sounds like a no-brainer, but it was something I had noticed, but did not fully grasp at the gut level until I attended Courtney’s seminar.

If you can sell enough books to “catch the eye” of the Amazon algorithms, Big Brother Amazon will start recommending your book to potential buyers—and that’s when you sell books. In short, Amazon will market your book for you.

The reason some ebooks sell and others don’t is because Amazon promotes some books and not others. The ones Amazon promotes sell—and the ones Amazon doesn’t promote lag.  (This system also applies to other online booksellers, but since Amazon is the 600-pound-gorilla, Amazon is the one we need to care about.) That’s why author A can generate big sales with very little promotion and author B works her ass off for much more modest revenue. It’s not what you’re doing–it’s what Amazon is doing.

Courtney outlined four phases of book selling:

  • Phase 1 – Nobody knows your book exists
  • Phase 2 – A few people know who you are and vendor algorithms start to work for you (i.e. begin to recommend your book). You begin to sell books that you didn’t have to work to sell.
  • Phase 3 – Readers wait for your book. You hit the genre lists when your book comes out. Amazon more actively promotes your books.
  • Phase 4 – The vendors (real people at Amazon) know who you are and contact you to offer special promotional opportunities.

So how do you move from phase one to phase three or four? We’re talking about digital publishing here, both indie and e-pubbed, but let’s use the analogy of a print novel and the dying dinosaur of the independent book store (my analogy here, not Courtney’s):

Suppose you’re a new author and your first book has been published. Because you’re an unknown and the book store sells thousands of books, yours is shelved “spine-out” in book stacks. No end cap display for you. Nobody—unless they are specifically looking for you—will see your book. But say you work your ass off promoting it. You speak to a bunch of book clubs, do some book signings, and you get 20, or 30, or 50 people to go into the book store and buy your book. Now the clerks take notice. When customers ask for a book to read, the clerks say, “Well, book X has been very popular.” And more customers buy your book. And they recommend it to their friends. And now it’s selling so well, the book store puts it on an end cap. More people see it and buy it.

Courtney Milan

Courtney Milan

That’s what happens with Amazon algorithms. Once you can generate a certain magic number of sales, the algorithms will kick in and begin to recommend your book.   “People who viewed this book also viewed…” “Customers who bought book A also bought book B,” and “Recommended for you” is what sells books.

In phase one the relationship between promotion and sales is linear. Your sales are equal to the amount of work you put into promotion. When you promote, sales rise. Stop promoting, sales drop. You have to work for every book sold.

By phase 2, you begin to get a non linear response. You begin to get an effect that is greater than the effort you put into promotion because the algorithms have begun to kick in and your book is recommended to other customers.

My Rod and Cane Society spanking romance series put me in Phase 2. I worked my ass off promoting the books in the series. The sales were steady and modestly good. But with my sci-fi romance series, Breeder (book 1) and Terran (book 2), sales jumped exponentially catapulting me into phase 3, and I experienced the process that Courtney outlined. Here are the ways the Amazon has marketed my book for me:

A best seller label:

number one best seller 2

When Terran reached no. 1 in sci-fi romance, the book got a best-selling label.

 Called it a hot new release

hot new release 2


Recommended it to readers viewing someone else’s book

This the the listing for Sue Lyndon's book, Commander's Slave, but look. Here's MY book being recommended.

This is the listing for Sue Lyndon’s book, Commander’s Slave, but look. Here’s MY book being recommended.

Another recommendation on someone else’s book listing

My book appears as a recommendation on another author's book.

My book appears as a recommendation on another author’s book.

So what do you have to do to move from phase one to phase three and four? Basically, you have to keep pushing (promoting) until you generate enough sales to get the algorithms to notice you.  On Friday, I’ll share some promotion tips I gathered from the conference, and well as some of my own that I think launched me from phase two to phase three.

If you’d like to be notified of the post, you can sign up to receive an email in the box at the top of the sidebar. You can unsubscribe at any time.

And now…a word from our sponsor…


Terran – (Breeder Book 2) ♥ Amazon buy link

After fleeing heartache on Terra, Tara Diehl has adjusted to male-dominated Parseon better than most until she is kidnapped by Alpha Marlix, a ruling commander. At first her tall, muscled abductor terrifies her, especially when he doesn’t hesitate to quell her struggle for freedom with some force. When her attempts to escape fail, she decides to seduce her way to freedom.

But out of seduction and subterfuge grow a true intimacy that cause Marlix and Tara to take action that drives Parseon to the brink of civil war, threatening not only their relationship, but also their lives.

Terran, the second book in the Breeder sci-fi series, is a “capture” romance involving a domineering but hunky alien, and a female with a bad dye job and an even worse attitude. Terran can be read as a stand-alone.




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95 Responses to Why some ebooks sell and others don’t—lessons from #RT14

  1. I love the word from your sponsor. Someone told me when I first started this words that have proven themselves over and over again: ‘nothing sells a book like a new release.” It’s true. Amazon’s promotion works – those also bought lists are better than any paid advertisement that I’ve seen. I’d love to learn more about promotion as I always half ass it – ‘oh, had a new release, should put something up to mention it’ is how it goes… I’d also be willing to spend money on promotion – but again, where and what makes sense? Looking forward to Friday’s post. Thanks for sharing all the info you gathered, it’s generous and appreciated.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Promoting takes a lot of effort at first. Enough to drive you crazy. But once Amazon starts working for you, it gets way easier.

  2. Gayle63 says:

    I really enjoyed Breeder and Terran! Good advice in thus article. 🙂

  3. Tara Finnegan says:

    Thanks for sharing that insight, Cara.
    I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that I find the whole promotional side of things a minefield. Not all of us are naturally inclined towards marketing, and need all the tips we can get. I look forward to Friday’s post. Hopefully I can pick up even more tips.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Marketing is a skill all its own, and it takes a while to learn what to do. As I mentioned, I’ve made a lot of mistakes–I learned from them–but it still didn’t teach me what TO do. That I learned from Breeder. And things change. You can be doing one thing and then a new trend starts and you have to switch gears.

  4. Loved this! I’d kinda figured this was how Amazon worked and that I was going to have to work my butt off… but I hadn’t counted on how big the promotion machine was and exactly what it entailed… thanks for sharing, Cara! I can’t wait to see the next post 🙂

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I think one reason I didn’t fully understand what was going on was because I’m an author. I read my friends’ books — so I haven’t paid that much attention to the recommendations.

  5. This is really informative and well-presented, Cara. Thank you.

    Any idea how many sales it takes to go from phase 1 to phase 2 or beyon?

    • Cara Bristol says:

      No, that’s still the big question. I suspect that it is relative to how other authors are selling. If sales are down across the board, it would take fewer books sales to launch you to the next level. That’s just my theory. I mention this in tomorrow’s post, but I think Bethany Burke is right. What happens early in a book’s release matters a lot. My guess is that a few hundred books sold (fairly quickly) would put one into phase 2. A couple of thousand would launch you into phase 3.

      When Breeder came out, my best sales rankingwas 1083–which Terran has not hit yet (it’s been in the 1200s). Yet Terran has been No. 1 in sci-fi romance while Breeder only hit No. 2. Why the difference? Well, Dean Koontz had a book out when Breeder released.

      • Rayanna Jamison says:

        I don’t know Cara, My rankings have held steady in the 10,000’s to 20,000’s for weeks, and the highest they ever got was 5,590, and according to novel rank, I’ve sold about 100 books so far. Yet, I have seen proof of amazon working for me. So there’s something to consider.

        • Rayanna—I’m not sure that novel rank is that accurate. You ought to feel free to email your publisher and ask for your sales numbers. I do, though I try not to do it every few hours. 🙂

          • Rayanna Jamison says:

            I just did this morning., and I was aware of that. But I had been waiting to email until they were back from RT. More than Double what Novel rank said. WOO HOO!

        • Cara Bristol says:

          I don’t have any information on the accuracy of Novel Rank. I do know that Amazon rankings fluctuate hourly. The higher the number, the greater the fluctuation. To get an accurate reading, you need an average. But how rankings equate to exact sales is not known. I’m not sure it can be known, because it rankings are tied to what everyone else is doing. Hypothetically, if you only sold 3 books and everyone else on Amazon sold only 2–you’d be ranked number one. If you sold 10,000 books and then doubled your sales, but Author B who’d sold 9,000 books tripled his sales, your ranking would drop even though you did every well. But that’s an extreme example, because with so many books on Amazon, the system is more stable than that. I think. This is just my conjecture.

          • I have to admit I am a NR junking and stalker. NR definitely under projects on sales. There is a accuracy window of +/- 10-20% until you reach around 3000 or so in ranking. Below that the inaccuracy increases exponentially.

            My newest release, Sweet Salvation, was sitting at 150 sales for the first few days on novel rank, but myAmazon ranking was around 1000 and I had 3 Top 100’s. I was scratching my head until my publisher emailed to congratulate me about 400 sales in 4 days–this was before the Amazon recommendations and also reads had kicked in which happes about day 4 or 5.

            I went back to NR and noticed that I also had one of these * sales estimates may be much higher than projected. This means books are flying of the virtual shelves and you have a hit on your hands. Woo hoo! An * on NR means its time to break out the champagne (in ebook sales figures that is) . So Rayanna, watch NR with a grain of salt, add 20% to your sales and you can bank on that, but live for the day you get a warm and fuzzy * then all bets and formula calculations are off.

            Great post Cara.

        • Novel rank is very inaccurate – it works solely by noting increases in your books’ rankings, which will only capture each sale if you are selling very few books. The more books you are selling, the more inaccurate novel rank is. It’s essentially worthless as a tracking tool.

      • I remember that Dean Koontz book being in your way! Maybe next time you need to see when he’s publishing a new book and plan accordingly.

        Any info on how key words in your blurb or tags helps sales and recommendations?

        • Cara Bristol says:

          I know right! Just my luck to put out a book the same time as Dean Koontz!

          Since key words can land an author in the Amazon dungeon, I would not be surprised if key words can help boost sales. What those words are, I don’t know.

          • Next year Dean Koontz will be saying “I better figure out when Cara Bristol has a book coming out so I don’t have to go head to head with her.”

  6. Susan Keene says:

    Excellent information. Thanks.

  7. Lisa Wells says:

    GREAT, GREAT, GREAT blog post. Thanks for the information. I love when I learn new stuff.

  8. Terri Meeker says:

    This offered a lot of terrific insight as well as some very practical suggestions for increasing sales. As a new author, this is one of the most informative posts I’ve read. Thanks for explaining the intricacies of amazon.

    I’ve read about book promoters who, for a fee, will guarantee a best-seller. For a few thousand dollars, they will buy up a few thousand copies of your book, launching you onto ‘the lists’ – where your sales become self-perpetuating. The practice seems shady and I couldn’t imagine how it would work. Your post explains how they gamed the system and, even better, how you can earn your status on those lists!

  9. Jen Wylie says:

    Excellent post!! Will be joining your mailing list 🙂
    Shared on my blog as you hit a lot of key points here.
    **Great post, especially for new authors. You DO have to get your butt out there and promote your fanny right off… at least for a while For those curious peeps, I’ve been published 4 years and I do promo pretty hard, but it was just this past winter I got into probably what she calls the start of phase 3- this was also when my 4th novel came out…though it’s not really mentioned there is certainly a ‘the more you have out the more you sell’ variable as well.
    I also can never stress enough the importance of reviews, which tie in to the Amazon algorithms as well and can get you on Top Rated lists.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Yes, newbies do have to promote their books. And in the beginning, it’s very time consuming. But you have to build your audience.

  10. Rayanna Jamison says:

    YAY! I must have at least made it to Phase 2 because Amazon keeps emailing me recommending that I buy my book!

    I agree with Natasha though, I would be willing to pay for promotion, if I could decide where to promote it, and what audience to target, so if you have any insight into that topic, i would love to hear it.

    Congrats on Terran making it to #1!

  11. LB Grant says:

    This is great info, Cara. I am so glad you blogged about it because this was one of the sessions at RT I had a conflict and didn’t make it to in person. Sounds like I missed a good one. The info totally solidifies some of the assumptions I had formed as an outside observer and as an aspiring author about to hit the marketplace for the first time, I feel like I have some really great information to help me. Congrats on moving into phase 3!! Well deserved. ~LB

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank you. This was the last session I attended at RT. This is what I’d hoped to get out of the one on Online Dating and Amazon Algorithms, but didn’t. I am so glad I attended this session. Other than meeting so many of my author friends, this session was the best thing about the conference. It was worth attending just for this seminar.

  12. VERY helpful post. Thank you! Now…to start the marketing….

  13. I was so overwhelmed at the number of offerings at the RT Convention that I didn’t make it to half of the ones I wanted. Thanks so much for posting this information, and I look forward to reading the rest of it! (Going to Dallas next year?)

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I don’t know yet if I will go to Dallas. I’ve been thinking about trying some other conferences. RT is overwhelming!

  14. I find your advice valuable and laced with good old common sense. Since it seems to be working for you I hope to apply your techniques to future projects. Every time I read your blog I come away ready to buckle down and work. Thanks!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank you. I’ve found the author community very generous in sharing information. I’m only passing on what Courtney Milan shared.

  15. Wanda says:

    Thanks for the info Cara. Since I don’t get to go to many conferences, it’s great that generous people like you share what you learn. I don’t have a release date yet, but I’ve started promoting already and hope I can generate some pre-buzz.

  16. Sue Lyndon says:

    This is a really interesting post, Cara. I wish I would have attended this workshop, so thank you for blogging about it. It’s great that once you get to phase 3 your books will sell more easily, even with substantially less promo. It frees up more time to write for sure!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      So true. Authors should take hope. It does get easier! But you have to go through the frenzy to get to the easy (easier) part.

  17. Amy Gregory says:

    Thank you so much sweetie! I knew it was all in the algorithms but hell…… 🙁
    Missed you, maybe I’ll make it next year!

  18. rollin hand says:

    It’s a positive feedback loop that Zon puts in place and as every engineer knows, the effect on output can be exponential. That can be a wonderful thing if that gets triggered because then it runs away on its own. The question is, how to trigger it? The companies that do promotion for a fee are indeed gaming the system. But Zon set it up that way so what do you expect? It’s a pump priming exercise. Like pulling the rope to get the lawnmower started. Once you do that it will run on its own. Once the Zon algorithm puts on on the front page, you get more visibility. And to sell books visibility is the key.
    So it makes perfect sense to me to jump start the algorithm by spending some seed money and buying copies. You are in essence buying preferred shelf space which is what food companies do with grocery chains.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I can see where that would work–until Amazon figures out people are doing that, and then they will change the algorithm. Remember when people could “like” a book? Authors had their friends like their books, and then that function went away.

      • I believe in playing fair. I don’t know exactly what he did, but my publisher got me on to the “readers who bought this book…” loop of another of his books, and within a week I was in phase 2; since then it was plain sailing. This article is right on the mark. I do know promotion but I’m even getting emails from amazon recommending my own book. This is nice!

  19. Cathryn Cade says:


    So happy to hear your stellar sfr is selling well. Go you! And I very much appreciate your generous sharing of what you learned at con. Thanks!

    Another sales technique that has worked very well for me is having a Free Read in the world of my sfr series. HEART OF STONE stays high on the sf>space opera and sci fi romance rankings and brings me lots of new readers.

    I’m sure many who download the book never read it or don’t care for it, but enough do that I can watch the surge across my Amazon sales chart, ie, Monday 100 people download the free read, Tuesday 50 people buy sfr books.

    I consider HEART OF STONE my ‘loss leader’ like a grocer selling those sweet juicy oranges for less than she paid to get customers into her store.

    And isn’t it fun to be writing now when so many readers are loving sci fi romance?

    Cathryn Cade

  20. Toni Sue says:

    Great advice, Cara! Thanks. Looking forward to the promo post.

  21. Sharon Davis says:

    You need to go to more conferences so I can learn from your posts! Excellent information, as usual.

  22. The problem is some authors use this information the wrong way. They turn into self-pimpers instead of being a person readers can relate to. I see too many authors now where every post you see from them is BUY MY BOOK! including posting that message on OTHER peoples’ Facebook profiles…which backfires on them. The best way to market to get Amazon to work for you is to build relationships with readers (Kristen Lamb details this excellently on her website and in her book, Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World. It’s a slow build, not a fast explosion. You want to find and build readers who will not only buy your books, but promote your books for you. Not because you ask them to, but because they WANT to. That means…

    …Writing good books.

    Lather, rinse, repeat. For every good book you write, you’ll pick up sales here and there on your backlist. But for every promo whore author out there who thinks the only way they can makes sales is shoving their books in readers’ faces every chance they get, they’re actually hurting themselves. Why? Because do you like going to a backyard barbecue where the local insurance salesman is in your face every five minutes asking, “Can I sell you a policy?” No. So why authors do it online baffles me. They don’t realize that it ANNOYS readers.

    So just be a PERSON. Every once in a while, yeah, talk about your books. But it shouldn’t be ALL you talk about. It should only be a fraction of it. And believe it or not, that does work, long-term.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank you, Tymber. You raise a point that should be emphasized. All this predisposes that one has written a book that people want to read. And if you just turn yourself in to a commercial, people will do the cyber equivalent of leaving the room to get a snack. So for sure, you have to balance being a real person with being a marketer.

      There is no “quick fix” solution. One does need to keep an eye on the horizon. It does take time and the production of several good books to begin to sell. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

      But I don’t feel authors should be shrinking violets. As an author, I am an entertainer. Promotion can entertain and/or provide value. Does anybody complain about Super Bowl commercials? Does anybody complain that they won a $50 Amazon gift certificate?

      Be a real person, but strive in your promo to be a Super Bowl commercial.

  23. Lori Toland says:

    Thank Cara! I had a conflict and couldn’t go to this panel. This is awesome info and I shared it on FB. 🙂

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank you. I hate it when there are competing sessions and I have choose. That happened to me several times. I am SO glad I attended this one.

  24. Good post. (I’m a follower now.) I’m looking forward to learning more from you on Friday.

  25. Blondie says:

    This was very informative. I am not an author, just a reader. I use the “if you enjoyed this book, you might enjoy this one” list a lot. Congratulations on moving up and up

  26. Cynthia Sax says:

    Thank you, Cara!
    I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post!

  27. Jade Cary says:

    This is an area where I need some work. I’m not good at promoting, I don’t enjoy it. Yet, I have received those emails from Amazon recommending my own book to me, and I never understood how that happened. I also noticed that my books appear under ‘People who bought THIS also bought THAT’, and again, never knew how it happened. Still, the promo bits at these seminars seems to help me the most, and they are the ones I seem most to avoid, which of course is dumbdumbdumb. I’ll be better about it now that I understand it a bit better. Great job on Terran, glad you had a great time at RT14 (Celeste is a doll), and I hope to join you next time.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      It seems so obvious now. I noticed those things too, but didn’t realize what it all meant! I wish you could have been at RT–I would have liked to have met you.

  28. Thanks, very helpful. It made me wonder about buying copies of my own book (through the CreateSpace publisher purchase option) to take with me when I give talks. People do sometimes buy them, but am I messing with my own numbers by not sending customers to the Amazon website? Do the books I purchase as the author/publisher count? Hoping you have an answer for that!

  29. Annette Mardis says:

    Thanks for sharing this. I have a new book coming out in a few months, and I definitely need all the help I can get. There is so much advice out there that it makes my head spin. Some if it is helpful, and some if it is so vague as to not be of much value. I look forward to hearing about what worked for you. Congrats on your books, and I wish you abundant sales.

  30. Thanks for the info, Cara. I hope Amazon “notices” me pretty soon. Congrats on Terran being such a hit!

  31. J. J. Lore says:

    Thanks for the great post, Cara. Amazon is like this symbiotic organism that feeds upon itself! I reposted your post to one of my publisher’s author groups on Facebook and others found it helpful. After I’d done that link, I looked a little closer at your screenshots and noticed my new book, Bondmate, was listed in the ‘Customers Who Bought This’ scroll. Coincidence!

  32. Mary wehr says:

    Great post, Cara! Thanks for sharing.

  33. Laurel Lasky says:

    I love this post. It sounds like it’s harder to sell the book then to write it. I think I’ll stick to reading, enjoying and reviewing.

    Big hugs, Laurel

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank YOU, Laurel. Reading, and enjoying and reviewing are very important.
      We authors write for our readers!

  34. Great post Cara. I look forward to reading more in your upcoming post. Thanks for sharing with us!

  35. Marcia says:

    I am not a writer but this was an interesting article and have to say love your Rod and Cane series people have really slept on that series. I was just talking to some other readers about the whole Amazon recommendation system and my frustration with them recommending the same books to me over and over. So it was cool to get a look at why.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank you, Marcia. Glad you like Rod and Cane Society series and that you got something out of this post.

  36. Michelle says:

    great great blog Cara. I released my sci-fi at the same time Dean Koontz and Nora Roberts had a release as well 🙂 I’m signing for your newsletter. Congrats again on the success of Terran

  37. Ella Quinn says:

    I’m so glad you posted this, Cara! I missed Courtney’s class at RT. Thank you! Tweeted and shared on FB.

  38. Greta says:

    Hi, Cara.

    Thanks for the article!

    Two questions:
    1. Can you say more about keywords landing you in the Amazon dungeon? How do they work against you? (Newbie here.)

    2. Re Dean Koontz: is it definite that a release by a big author flattens other people’s sales? I might have guessed that when people are buying ebooks, a release that prompts them to shop means they pick up a couple of other things at the same time.


    • Cara Bristol says:

      Here’s a really good post about those forbidden key words:

      I don’t think that a big author having a big release will necessarily flatten one’s sales, but it will affect placement in the genre lists and one’s sales ranking. Obviously, Koontz will sell many more books than I will so he will be No. 1 and his ranking will be higher. But if Amazon still recommends my books to my audience, it may not affect me at all. On the other hand, if he and other big name authors take up all the top slots on the lists, I lose visibility. If you’re competing against authors selling tens (hundreds?) of thousands of books…well, it’s no competition.

  39. Another, very interesting thing I’ve noticed. I was at first rather disappointed, that after the first set of “Also Reads..” on my book’s page in amazon UK, all the books on the following 19 pages were quite obscure, books and authors I’d never heard of. That wouldn’t do me much good, I thought. But then I did some research and made some amazing discoveries. My book was on the “Also Reads…” of some pretty powerful authors and books. It was on Fractured’s list — which was Number One on Kindle Bestsellers. It was on Diane Chamberlain’s Summer’s Child, which replaced Fractured as Number 1. It was on The Husband’s Secret, and on books by Khaled Husseini and Adichie Chimamanda’s Half of a Yellow Sun. This was tremendous!
    From this I glean that Amazon does books a favour by putting them on lists of books that are selling, or have sold, better than they are. What a fabulous way of promotion! I couldn’t do it better myself. I myself have done virtually no promotion. My book somehow got into Phase 2 fairly quickly and is steadily rising in the UK Women’s Literary Fiction category, now at number 6.

    Another thing I figured is that when author’s get a recommendation of their own book in an email, it might just be that Amazon noticed that you’ve been checking out the book for a while but haven’t yet bought it! So not that impressive after all.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      LOL–you might be right. Amazon is saying, “you’ve looked at this book 50 times, why not buy it!”

  40. Thanks for sharing this information, Cara. I’m seeing a slight increase with my historical Shadow’s Promise thanks to Amazon promoting. My newest release, Stranger in his Bed, not so much. I’m hoping it takes off, but I’m also wondering too if the reason it’s not taking off is because it doesn’t have a Native American hero like Shadow’s Promise does. (shrug) Anyway, great post!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Maybe. Maybe readers fell in love with your Native American hero and wanted more of the same. Or maybe it’s something else. It leaves you guessing. Readers liked my contemporary spanking stories, did not like my paranormals (even the one with spanking in it) and loved my sci-fi. All you can do is keep writing.

  41. Kayla Lords says:

    That makes perfect sense to me. I’m still in phase one, but I’m seeing movement from guest blogging (and hopefully having something worthwhile to say). You’re right, though, you have to market your butt off until you hit the sweet spot and you’re CAN’T be a walking commercial – that’s the kiss of death for any kind of sales. One day, hopefully the Amazon algorithms will smile on me. Until then, I’ll keep on keepin’ on.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Good advice! I would also recommend building a network with authors who write what you write (erotica), and making sure that you do let your readers know about your work. I’ve noticed–in general–when authors worry too much about over-promoting, they’re often under-promoting.

  42. The problem is that I don’t have to sell a ton of books out the gate for my cozy mystery series and within a few weeks things are taking off. I wrote a new series, nope, I barely sell any. I even featured it on ENT and sold a modest 500 books, but went back down to one or two sales a day if I’m lucky. Same thing with my new paranormal serial. I haven’t been able to get it to take off like my main series. SO it’s not if you publish every 30 days because I’m doing that. Some books are just getting featured more and others not at all. I’m so frustrated because it makes me feel like I only should write that one series while I have other friends who do quite well with a new series.

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