This article was originally posted 1st of May, 2020 on my previous website. Some references may be out of date.
Today I’m back with more Indie Publishing Tips! Covered in this article is how you can (and why you should) monitor your releases once they’ve hit the world, including social media content such as Instagram and Goodreads, how to monitor hash tags, and why it’s important to keep an eye on your stats and content on Amazon.
Okay, so I’ve been brainstorming some more Indie Publishing topics to discuss, but something happened today that made me stop and say “I need to address this.”
One of the pieces of advice (tip I’ve picked up along the way?) is to monitor your titles by periodically checking them on your purchasing platforms, goodreads etc. That way you can keep an eye on ratings, reviews, and how engaged your readership is. Low engagement means you probably need to change something, maybe your marketing strategy, or your cover, or blurb. Some how you are not holding the attention of the buying audience. Sometimes the problem is with the story itself, but often it’s just marketing. If no one is buying your title then it can’t be because of the quality of the writing, they haven’t gotten that far yet! They either aren’t seeing your book (marketing), they aren’t attracted by the cover, or the blurb doesn’t make them want to pick up the book and read it. You can check it on your Amazon product page (Or pay for a service like Kindleprenuer’s Amazon Sales Rank Calculator). (See Image)
Another good thing to monitor is the hash tags you use for your marketing. For example, most authors use their names, their title (i.e. #theladyofzion, #thekinsgtonchronicles, #samhainsorcery) or tags that relate to their work (i.e. #gracehaskiel, #angels #witchesofla #anastasiakingston). I have limited social media platforms (just Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads) and so I only use hashtags on my blog and Instagram. Instagram allows you to set your feed to send you content with specific hashtags, so in this case I would set my Instagram to send me anything with #gracehaskiel or #theladyofzion, so I can see if any bookstagrammers or fans are promoting the book, or criticising, or what have you. A lot of authors also use this feature during giveaways.
What happened this morning that lead to this article?
So this morning I was searching my books on Amazon (.com and .com.au) when I made a discovery. Someone has linked Samhain Sorcery (The Kingston Chronicles #2) with Fallen Angel (The Kingston Chronicles #1) by J. J. Foxe.
I’ve sent Amazon an email asking them to unlink the two books and to link MY books together but I feel I also need to address a couple of things:
- The Kingston Chronicles (The Kingston Chronicles #1) was published in 2017 by me. It wasn’t until after I published the book that I discovered Fallen Angel by English author J. J. Foxe on Amazon.
- Foxe’s book was published in 2013 (ironically on my birthday).
- When I google searched “The Kingston Chronicles” prior to publication (I always do this to try and keep my titles original, and not to be confused with other works) I didn’t find anything similar.
- After I published The Kingston Chronicles I discovered not only Fallen Angel (The Kingston Chronicles), but a newspaper in America called The Kingston Chronicles, and a cat on Instagram with its own account called The Kingston Chronicles.
- I’ve been using The Kingston Chronicles as a title since 2009, long before Foxe’s title was published, and long before I could have been aware of their intention to use “The Kingston Chronicles”.
- In 2019 I re-released The Kingston Chronicles with a new cover. Unintentionally it has similarities to Foxe’s cover (mostly in the colour scheme). The cover was changed due to industry feedback that the first edition was unlikely to sell well with the original cover. Both editions of the cover were created and designed by me, using my Photography and Digital editing skills. All images were photographed by me, fonts were free from various sources. Colour schemes were chosen as they are common to the Urban Fantasy genre and a good cover should fit in with the current market trends, so the target audience can easily identify them, and increase sale-ability. Similarities in font and colour are purely accidental. I found original cover too dark and lightened up the colours originally used in my artwork, that are common to the genre.
|Original Cover 2017||Right: 2019 Edition Cover|
After a rather massive panic attack, some hyperventilating, and some talking down from my family I did a bit of research. I was thrilled to find that you cannot copy-right a title so I hadn’t accidentally infringed on anyone’s copyright. I took some screenshots and saved them to my computer, including evidence of how long I’ve been using the title (because I’m paranoid and like to cover all my bases).
I also had a look at the differences in rankings between our two books (The Kingston Chronicles #1 by me, and Fallen Angel)
My The Kingston Chronicles is currently ranking in the US store at:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,216,654 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #2842 in Romantic Fantasy (Kindle Store)
- #3399 in New Adult & College Fantasy (Books)
- #3747 in New Adult & College Fantasy (Kindle Store)
Foxe’s Fallen Angel is currently ranking in the US store at:
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,707,472 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
- #73651 in Paranormal & Urban Fantasy (Kindle Store)
- #102167 in Two-Hour Literature & Fiction Short Reads
- #18517 in Two-Hour Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Reads
(Stats as they were on 01/05/2020)
Needless to say while I’m confident that I’ve done nothing wrong, and all similarities are accidental, I’m still a bit concerned about whether or not a legal case could be made against me. I’m fairly confident there is no case to be made, but I also have an anxiety disorder, and as an Indie Author I don’t have a legal department at the Publishing House I can go to for advice. Everything I do, personal or business-wise, I do in good faith and with integrity. I would never infringe on another person’s intellectual property rights intentionally. I want to be known for my writing not for negative actions.
There’s a few things I also want to mention:
- It is possible that Foxe does not know my title exists.
- It’s possible even if they did they wouldn’t care.
- It’s possible I’m stressing over nothing.
- Although Amazon say’s Fallen Angel is Book One of a 12 book series, Foxe has only ever released the one title in 2013.
- It is possible Foxe has no intention of releasing future books. I know several author’s who have had to let their dreams slide in favour of more lucrative paying jobs. Indie Authors write and release books for the love of it and the hope of making some money. It is not a get rich quick kind of job.
- Foxe’s book is listed on Goodreads (like mine are) but has no reviews, ratings, sign of readership, and no follower’s of the author.
- Although Foxe’s book is also Urban Fantasy it’s a different sub-genre so we are unlikely to share a readership. Foxe’s book is a UF Crime Fiction book rather than a Romantic Fantasy.
- I find it unlikely readers would confuse our two works.
- I am consistently putting out new works, with a third The Kingston Chronicles book planned for a Christmas 2020 release.
- I have a small following on Goodreads with reviews and ratings on all of my books.
We’ll all just have to wait and see what happens next. 🙂