In this weeks interview I talk to Aubrey Rose about a wide range of things, including the benefit of self publishing authors working together. Aubrey has been a part of numerous box sets with other authors and often sees them make her more money than her standalone books. We talk about how she found other authors to do these box sets with, how she gets her writing done despite having a full time job, and why she turned down Montlake Romance (an Amazon publisher) in order to continue self publishing.
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Mexico – Something myself, Aubrey and Russell Blake have all had in common.
Aubrey Watt – another of her pen names.
Bookbub – Great when combined with a ‘price pulsing’ strategy.
Ereader News Today – Another successful marketing channel for Aubrey.
Pub Yourself – A self publishing community that Aubrey is starting where she hopes to help people self-publish.
Book Covers en masse
Aubrey wrote some 70 erotic stories and decided that she had to do her book covers herself as having a book designer do these wasn’t really going to be affordable. This taught her some serious design skills and now she is even designing book covers for her friends who write. We talk a lot abot the value of professional covers on RSP, but don’t forget that many authors on the show are doing their own covers, just make sure that you get a second opinion.
Aubrey is one of the many authors I have spoken who has built a self publishing career while doing a day job. She has systems which allow her to do this, she goes to a coffee shop in the morning and does her writing there, then takes the down moments at work to get covers done and do some other work. She lays out her process step by step so when she releases a new book she knows exactly what needs to be done and when. This helps make sure that everything gets done and on time. It is complicated and without a system in place it would be unmanageable. Having a system is essential if you are releasing many books and want to take some of the weight off – start writing down what you need to do and then you need to think about it much less the second time around.
In the third month she broke $1000 and is now realising that her writing is earning more than her day job. Currently she is in the position of realising that it might be worthwhile leaving her job to write full time as she is making more money from her writing.
Aubrey is part of a private community with 200 self publishing and hybrid authors authors, 50 of them are NYT or USA Today bestselling authors. It is a high level community and they are often working together to do things such as box sets, they are currently doing 2 or 3 box sets a month in that community.
Unfortunately this was a community that she was invited to join so it isn’t open to the general public.
These are a huge success for Aubrey. She says that she is actually making more money from her share of box set sales than she is from her individual books. When you consider how low cost these box sets can be and how many authors are involved, this means a huge number of them are being sold.
These are ‘price pulsed’ – the box set has its price decreased so that it jumps up the ranks and then increased when it is there to increase revenue. This is repeated as the book rises and falls in the Amazon charts. This is something that Aubrey does on her regular books as well. Doing price pulsing along with promotion (Bookbub) will give this maximum effect. She has seen some success with other email newsletters such as eReaderNewsToday.
Spending at the Start
Aubrey really viewed her writing as a hobby at the start and didn’t want to spend money on it as she didn’t expect a return. She did her own covers, didn’t pay for any editing or marketing, and just put the books out there. Even today she is managing with just spending money on marketing and website hosting.
She cuts costs enormously by using a great group of beta readers and a street team. Her mother is one of these and she is very careful when she reads through the work.
Aubrey has found that giving away books in competitions on Goodreads or on her own website is effective for selling books, but nowhere near as good as selling to an email list. When she does a box set with other authors they will give away a Amazon gift card together to encourage people to socially share about the box set and boost its sales rank. While this doesn’t directly lead to many sales it gets ranking which sells books.
Turning Down a Publisher
Aubrey was approached my Montlake Romance (an Amazon imprint publisher) and they offered her $5000 as an advance but would cut her royalties to half of what she would earn self publishing. She found that they weren’t going to offer her enough benefits and were going to restrict the book so she wouldn’t be able to do box sets etc. Aubrey was hoping they would give her great marketing and promotion, and while they said that might happen, they weren’t willing to make any guarantees. She spoke to other authors who had previously gone with them and the sentiment among them was largely that they wouldn’t do it again.
“Whenever I am bad at something I want to go and master it!”
“People are too scared to do their own stuff … that’s why some of these publishers are still in business”
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