This blog will be made up of posts that are of benefit to aspiring or published horse book authors. There will be a collection of how to’s as well as advice from already established authors.
This blog will be made up of posts that are of benefit to aspiring or published horse book authors. There will be a collection of how to’s as well as advice from already established authors.
Although you may write horse books because you love it, chances are it feels good when you earn from it, too! As you provide your books for sale, consider the ways you can earn the best possible return.
Let’s take a look at an example. An electronic form of a horse book that is less than 35,000 words may sell for $2.99 USD on Amazon.
If you are selling across various retailers, then you will no doubt be earning a 35% royalty on this $2.99. So for each book that is sold, you receive about $1.05. Shop around for the various retailers and find out what terms they are offering.
So how can you earn more than $1.05 for each book? One way is to make your books exclusive. I know that Amazon offer higher royalties for authors who are willing to make their books exclusive to Amazon. Your royalties will spike to 70% of the sale price if you choose this option. Of course, that means that you cannot make your book available for sale elsewhere.
You can start out by placing your book everywhere you can get it! If you find however that 50% or more of your sales come from Amazon, then it would be worth considering making your books exclusive to Amazon. In this way, you can cash in on the 70% royalties. If the majority of your sales are coming from other places, then this wouldn’t be worth pursuing.
So if we look at 70% of $2.99, we’re now looking at a figure of $2.09 or thereabouts. Great, we’ve doubled our royalties! Is that enough? Well that’s really up to you… but what if you could make it more? You would, wouldn’t you?
Amazon has an affiliates program where you can earn 4% commission on books. Now this is for all books that you encourage someone to purchase, through one of your affiliate links.
So as an author, why not sign up as an Amazon affiliate? Then whenever you promote your books, new releases, etc, people will be directed to buy via your affiliation link. When this happens, you receive 4% of the purchase price as a commission.
So! You release a new book at $2.99USD on Amazon. You make it exclusive and opt in to the 70% royalties option. Then you promote the book across your networks and people purchase it – score! On top of the 70% commission you earn through the sales, you also earn another 4% from people who clicked on your affiliate link.
Now in essence, Amazon Affiliates pay separately to Amazon for book royalties. But technically, you can earn up to 74% on your book sales, 4% of this being commission and paid out separately once you reach $100 worth of commissions. At the end of the day, you work hard to create your book and have it as a purchasable product. Don’t you owe it to yourself to earn as much from it as possible?
As an author, you may be struggling to write when you have time. Or perhaps only when ideas hit you, rather than a consistent amount of writing on a regular basis. As an author, you should plan to time your releases to fit in with what works best for making sales.
There are many articles out there that refer to the Amazon algorithm. It seems that search results for varying books or genres are influenced by their release date. There are references to new releases within the past 90 days and books within the past 30 days. In short: the more recent your release, the more likely it is to show up in search results for it’s associated genre/s.
So as an author, what can you do? Many would sum it up as release as often as possible! As you write a book in a series, it is important to be planning what follows on from this. You may even be able to have a few books on the go at one time. Try to organise your publishing in such a way, that you can scatter your releases over a 12 month period.
For example, you may be planning to release four books in a year. It may benefit you best to release these seasonally, each around 90 day’s apart. Or you may feel it is better to release them all early in the year, only 30 days apart. Either way, you’re still releasing 4 books, but you’re having a say on when they are available to the public. In this way, you can make use of the way Amazon – or other book selling platforms – run their search results.
To generate early sales, you can make books available for pre-order, too. Having finished 4 books is an incredible achievement! Try to be smart about when you release them to give your books the most possible exposure. Be sure to consider what you can do to raise awareness around its release, too!
As an author, it is important to have your own place online – a website. This is something that you can control yourself. You can determine exactly what you want on there. Although a few things are recommended:
Once you have a website set up, there are two places where you are going to want to make your RSS feed available. The RSS feed for this site is https://equineauthorsblog.wordpress.com/feed/. An RSS feed helps websites to identify current posts in your blog. Don’t know how to find this? Watch this 60 second video or read on here.
So what benefit is this to you? Entering the RSS feed onto these two sites means that anyone looking at your author pages also gets glimpses of the most recent posts on your blog/website. How cool! You don’t need to do anything – except post to your blog! As soon as you publish a post on your blog, the RSS is automatically updated on both your Amazon and Goodreads author pages – nice!
This is a handy way you can keep fans up to date without having to do more than post to your site.
Have I convinced you now? Today, find out what your RSS Feed URL is and head along to both Amazon Central and Goodreads to update your author pages :)
Do you have an author website? If so, you may be paying for hosting and a .com address, or maybe you are utilising a free service such as WordPress or Wix. Either way, there will probably be restrictions on how much data you have on the website.
This can be described as the amount of information on your site in kilobytes or megabytes. You may be aware that images take up many more kilobytes of space than text does. This is first done by uploading the image to your site. Let’s consider an example:
This website is free on WordPress. As a free hosted site, it is allowed to use about 3000 megabytes worth of space. Now one megabyte is equivalent to 1000 kilobytes. This space can quickly be used up by all of the Pin-able images that are added to the site. For each blog post, I create an image to include, so that it easily identifies what the post is about.
Rather than take up lots of space by uploading these images to this site, I store them instead on Flickr. Flickr is a free image storing tool that allows you one terabyte (a lot!) of space for images. If you head along to this link you’ll see the many, many photos I have stored here for various projects. And just to give you an idea, I haven’t yet used 1% of the limit Flickr offers!
After I create an image on my computer, I go to Flickr and upload it. Flickr automatically makes it into various sizes. I click on the newly uploaded image and choose view all sizes. I am then able to choose the size image I want to use. Often I choose the small image. Once I am viewing this image, I then right click with the mouse and choose to copy image location.
Once you have this website address, you can then go back to your website and choose to insert an image / add media. In the url section, you paste in the image address and click ok. This automatically references your image from Flickr, making it show up on your website / in a blog post. Cool!
In this way, you can be sure to include an image or two in each page/post (images help to keep things visual for readers). You’re keeping readers engaged, but you’re not using up all your webspace – great! If you don’t have one yet, I encourage you to head along to Flickr to create an account and make use of it for images for your various websites/blogs. This is one account that you know you can go to from anywhere around the world and have access to all of your photos in one spot for promoting yourself as a horse book author. And of course, the fact that it is free is awesome, too ;)
You’ve published your book on Amazon and it is now making sales. Firstly, congratulations! Be sure to acknowledge your success in getting your book live for purchase. Now that you have it available for sale, have you considered making it available for people to borrow and read on Kindle Unlimited?
At the end of the day, it’s wonderful to be able to make sales and generate income from your book/s. You can do this in another way, too. There are people who pay a monthly fee on Amazon and they can ‘borrow’ eligible books over a 7 day period to read without it costing them more than the monthly fee they’re already paying.
For books that are made available in Kindle Unlimited, authors of these books get paid based on the number of pages that are read. This equates to about 0.5 cents per page.
Now, you may be doing the math and conclude it is not worth it. For example, a book that you sell for $2.99 on Amazon (and receive $2.06 at 70% royalty) could be 100 pages in length. Now if you times 100 pages by half a cent, what do you get? 50 cents.
If you consider it this way, you may tell yourself that it’s not worth making your book eligible for Kindle Unlimited. But what if I told you I make more each month through KU than I do through sales? Would you be interested then? At the end of the day, you write because you enjoy it and you want people to read your works, right? Then enrol in Kindle Unlimited!
People are already paying a fee to Amazon to be able to borrow and read an unlimited number of books, why not gain some of that money because people have read your book/s? It costs you no more, but it can definitely earn you more.
So how do you enrol? You need to head along to your bookshelf at https://kdp.amazon.com/ and sign in with your Amazon account. Then in your bookshelf, on the right hand side of your book/s, click on the ellipsis (…) and choose kdp select info. Go ahead and enrol your book into KDP Select and save. This will automatically put it in the category of Kindle Unlimited. As it says on their website:
“If you choose to make your book exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days by enrolling in KDP Select, your book will also be included in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). You can earn a share of the KDP Select Global Fund based on how many pages KU or KOLL customers read of your book”
Note a few things here! Your book has to be exclusively on Amazon. If you are selling it elsewhere as an eBook, you cannot enrol.
Originally I had my books across many selling platforms, but I found that the majority of sales were coming from Amazon. Because of this, I opted to make my books exclusively on Amazon, which resulted in higher royalties for me as well as the opportunity to earn from Kindle Unlimited. Be sure that you choose what works best for you!
As you start your endeavours as a horse book author, you may feel that you only have one book in you. Now let’s do a little activity. Think of your favourite horse book author. Now think of the one book that they have written…
But they haven’t written one book, they’ve written many, you say! That’s my point :)
Just so you know, my favourite horse book author is Elyne Mitchell of the Silver Brumby series. I loved these books as a child and still cherish reading them.
My debut novel was a standalone horse novel for adults – Horse Country. Following this, I decided to write a horse series for children – the Free Rein series. I can honestly say that the series sells much better. As people read a book, they are eager to know what happens next with the characters you have created. This is the great thing about a series – if they enjoyed the first book, they’ll want to buy and read the second. And if they enjoyed this… well, you get the picture.
To help your readers know that you’re not going to be a one hit wonder with books, I would strongly encourage the idea of having the second book released shortly after the first. Or if you’re able to, release the first two books together!
I was able to do this both with the Free Rein series for children and then in time, with the Thoroughbred Breeders series for adults. Generally, when people purchased books in these series when they were new, they bought the first two books together.
As a reader, there can be nothing more frustrating than to start a book and be dying to know what happens next, with no chance to find out. It may be years before you as the author get the motivation – or time – to release the next book in the series. Chances are, by this stage your keen first readers have lost interest, lost hope or moved on to other horse books.
If you don’t have a follow up book available for your series shortly after you’ve released the first, you’re missing out on sales.
I released the first two books in the Thoroughbred Breeders series in November of 2016. Luckily for me, an idea for one book, turned into bits and pieces of the first five books! Number 3 was released early January of 2017 and number 4 was released in April of 2017. For horse book fans, this meant at least they could follow these new characters over four different stories in the space of 5 months. And you know what? The release of book 4 prompted more buys for book 3. Cool, huh?
And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m working on book 5 at the moment. The great thing about momentum is it builds – but you need to take those first steps. Have you worked on your latest novel today?
By Carly Kade
It isn’t always easy being a self-published equine author! There’s a lot of heavy lifting involved in getting a dream underway.
It can include so many different facets from time management (that’s right actually finding the time to write!) to deadlines to running promotions to generating publicity to website development to creating marketing materials to attending events to running social media channels to writing a blog and so much more. In this guest post for Equine Authors, I share a list of resources that have been priceless to me as a self-published equine author. I hope they help you, too!
Training Authors for Success
I highly recommend a visit to the lovely ladies over at Training Authors for Success. I’ve found their guidance unbelievably helpful. Their website offers a wealth of knowledge to help equine authors develop a foundation for publishing success from writing, editing, and then building a marketing platform to navigating the self-publishing process from book cover design to choosing self-publishing formats for your horse book. In addition, they address publishing decisions like obtaining a copyright to forming your own independent publishing company.
Shelly Hitz and Heather Hart of Training Authors for Success write helpful books, too. I love their Marketing Success Bundle because it contains FIVE books on marketing in one! It covers book marketing, promoting on Amazon, publishing audiobooks, marketing case studies, and publicity best practices for authors.
Make sure to gallop over and check out the Training Authors for Success website (linked above) to review a wealth of useful information for equine authors looking to self-publish.
As a self-published author, you’ll need to brand and market yourself in order for readers to find your horse book. MarketingProfs is an enormous resource for the equine author whether traditionally published or self-published! They cover all aspects of marketing from classic topics like branding and PR to newer phenomenon like social media and email marketing. Most importantly, it focuses on practical ways to apply the marketing lessons you’ll learn on their site.
MarketingProfs offers free and paid membership options. You’ll get access to modern marketing tools, training, strategies, articles, online seminars, discussion forums, and more. At the very least, I recommend signing up for their free daily newsletter. It’s full of trends and ideas that you can put to use right away. MarketingProfs is the go-to-place for fresh and relevant marketing advice to get your horse book marketing started off on the right hoof!
American Horse Publications
American Horse Publications is an association dedicated to promoting excellence in equine media. Members are equine publishing media, freelancers, businesses, organizations, colleges, and students.
Here are some of the benefits of AHP membership:
Interested in a membership? Watch this video about the value of an American Horse Publications membership then gallop over to their website to join this awesome group of horse lovers. Tell them Carly Kade sent you!
I learn so much from other the authors in the equine community and joining Facebook Groups has been a terrific way to connect with them. A couple groups to look into are Equine Authors United and Pony Book Authors. They are closed groups so you’ll have to ask permission to join. Once accepted, you’ll find the groups are a great place to ask questions and make connections with other equine authors. It was through these groups that I was invited to write this guest post for Equine Authors.
These groups are for building relationships and sharing information so remember to not only promote your books, but offer helpful information to your community, too. It is so important to support each other and share knowledge amongst ourselves. Equine authors are stronger working together. Here’s to writing horse books!
There you have it!
Now, it’s time to gallop over to one or all of these spur jingling resources and invest in your own development as a self-published equine author or better yet, spread the word and share this resource list with other aspiring equine authors. Chomping at the bit for more? You might, also, like my other guest post for Equine Authors called “Self-publishing Your Horse Book? Here’s 4 Reads You’ll Need!”
About Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning equestrian author from Arizona. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle! She writes fiction about horses, horse shows, western pleasure and a handsome cowboy or two. Her books are for people just like her … crazy about reading, horses and cute cowboys!
In the Reins, Carly’s novel inspired by the equestrian lifestyle has been an Amazon bestseller for more than 10 weeks, is an EQUUS Film Festival Literary Award Winner for Best Western Fiction, and has earned two Feathered Quill Book Awards in the Romance and Adult Book featuring Animals categories.
FictFact is a website that allows you to see all the books in a particular series by an author. It also helps you to read them in order!
So if you’re writing a horse book series – or two! – this is another great place to add your books.
Authorgraph is a great tool to be able to give your readers that little extra something. You can use a Twitter account (be sure to add @equineauthors to your list of followers!) to make use of Authorgraph. Otherwise you can login with an email address.
So let’s take a look at what is needed to set up an account and add your book/s.
As soon as your book is available for sale (or pre-order) it’s time to give it an online presence! Why not add it to Goodreads?
As soon as this is done, you can add it to lists on the site (why not add it to a list about the greatest horse books of all time?). You can also encourage your followers to add it to their to be read list to build exposure on Goodreads!
Let’s take a look at what you need to do to manually add your book:
You may notice in the rating details for this book, that although I have just given it a 5 star rating, the rating details list it as unrated. It takes a little while for the rating to go live on the system – don’t fear you’ve made a mistake! Instead, pat yourself on the back for adding your book to Goodreads, making it available to future fans and for giving it it’s first 5 star rating! Well done :)