SinC CCC Meeting Minutes
Minutes—Sisters in Crime Central Coast Chapter Meeting, July 28, 2018
President Barbara Hodges called the meeting to order at 10:05 a.m. Several visitors from Barbara’s local writing group attended and were introduced.
Business Meeting Discussion: Writers In Action
- The feedback on our writers’ workshop in May was consistently positive. Brian Schwartz had some good ideas for improvement the next time we offer a conference. Barbara would like to do another workshop next year, going further into the craft of writing and editing.
- We raised $535, netting $485 after sending a $50 gift card to Walt Reil for all his help at the PG&E Center.
- At the request of Victoria Heckman, Barbara gave a quick overview of KDP Rocket, a book-marketing research website for authors self-publishing on Amazon (kdprocket.com). Another site with self-publishing resources is IngramSpark (ingramspark.com).
- The biggest market for books right now is gift stores, and the only way to get books into gift stores is to have a wholesaler.
R Lawson (Rich) Gamble, a local chapter member, spoke to us about his writing journey and some observations about book marketing. Some of his “pearls of wisdom” were:
- Readers want engaging books. Amazon lists more than 39 million ebooks. A 500,000 rank or better for a book means an author is in the top 10 percent of sales.
- Be careful about choosing your category of book. Rich’s category is Native American literature (along with Craig Johnson, Tony Hillerman, Barbara Kingsolver, and others).
- Your goal is to get into the Top 100 of your category. You must be visible to sell books.
- Rich has been successful at sponsoring Facebook posts to sell his books. If he slips out of the top 100 authors in his category, he sponsors a post, which usually increases his book sales overnight.
- Preordering a book is a great tool for keeping books visible. Make sure Amazon knows about your book release well in advance so that readers can preorder it.
- According to Smashwords, of the top 200 bestsellers in 2017, 73 percent were romance novels. Thriller/suspense came in at 2 percent, and mystery at 1 percent.
- Of the top 1,000 best-selling authors, 75 percent have a website, 63 percent are on Facebook, and 60 percent are on Twitter.
- Free books get 33 times more downloads than priced books. Seven out of 10 best-selling series have offered a free series starter. The most common price point for indie authors was $2.99.
- The average book length is now around 120,000 words. Shorter books no longer sell better.
Priscilla Gruenewald, Secretary