Showing posts with label book freebies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book freebies. Show all posts

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Kindle Select - What Works, and What Doesn't (a follow on post)

Last month I ran two Kindle Select giveaways.  The first was for a copy of the Christmas poetry chapbook Blooming Red that I co-authored with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, and the second was for my novel Black Cow.  When I blogged about these last month I promised an update with the results of this and here it is.  Here are a few things I learned the hard way:

1.  Promote EARLY. There are a ton of sites that feature free e-books and all of them have unique subscribers who want nothing more than to download your book, but most of them require you to submit your book at least 2 weeks prior to the free day. If you wait until the day your book is free then you'll miss out on a lot of opportunities to get the word out to new readers.

2.  Make sure that your Kindle book is perfect.  When I converted Black Cow to Kindle format, a lot of strange typographical issues crept in.  For example, about 25% of my L's disappeared, leaving me with words like four for flour and fat for flat. I did check formatting but didn't do another proofread after conversion which meant that the fantastic results - nearly 2,000 downloads that I got for Black Cow - were, to a certain extent, wasted because all of those downloaded books were typo ridden.  I was able to get Amazon to agree to send out a link for all of those who downloaded the book to re-download a perfected copy, but it will take them another 2 weeks to get to that (if you've got one of the l-less books, a cleaned-up copy should be with you soon - sorry!).  When you're getting your work into so many new hands, it's important that this be your best work. Anything less is not only a lost opportunity, but can impact on your reputation.

3.  Be prepared to get a few negative reviews (especially if you don't do #2).  If 2,000+ new people are downloading your book, your book is bound to get into the hands of a few non-ideal readers.  Take it on the chin and keep smiling.  Not everyone will like your book and not everyone is your target market.  That's just part of the game.

Overall, both books sold copies in the days immediately following the free days.  That alone was worth it, as was the opportunity to get the word out and attract a number of new readers.  So I'm definitely planning to do it again.  In fact, Carolyn and I are having another go with our book of unconventional love poetry Cherished Pulse in time for Valentine's Day. All you do is go to on Jan 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15th and click.  This time, we've followed all 3 points above.  

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at http://www.magdalenaball.com.

Monday, December 10, 2012

KDP Select: good marketing or gimmick?

I thought about Kindle Direct Publishing "Select" for a long time - was it worth tying up my books to a single selling source? Do I want to give exclusivity to someone?  It was a moot question while the bulk of my work was with a traditional publisher, but when they went belly-up and the rights reverted back to me, I was now faced with the question of whether I would give it a try. If you're a self-publisher, I suspect you are too. So here are the basics:

  • The key element of KDP Select is that your e-book is available exclusively on Amazon for 90 days. You have to remove it from all other stores including iTunes, B&N, Nook, etc.
  • You are given the opportunity to promote your ebook for free for 5 out of the 90 days.
  • Your book is enrolled in the Kindle Owners Lending Library from which Prime members can borrow one book per month and you're paid (at near royalty rates) every time your book is borrowed.
  • KDP Select enrollment allows you to earn 70% on ebooks sold through Amazon’s new Indian store.
Is it worth it?  I'm still not sure. The free days and lending library are both pretty good opportunity to get your books into the hands of potential reviewers (though there's certainly no guarantee you'll get a review from those who've borrowed or downloaded your book) and to create word of mouth. For a relatively new or unknown author, this can be a very positive thing. In the long run though, it might do more harm than good to lock out readers from Apple's i-bookstore, Kobo, Sony and of course the ability to sell off your own website.  My own personal view is that it's a pretty good short term tactic to spread the word of new (or newly set up books) - 90 days isn't that long and once the period is done, and you've created a little buzz, you can then put your book elsewhere and open up opportunities for additional readers.




Of course, like anything, there's no point putting your book into KDP Select if you aren't going to promote it!  So how valuable it will be to you depends on how well you use it - how well you promote the free days and the lending to your followers, and ultimately, how good your book is!  If you entice your readers, they'll come back for more, and that's what it's all about.  I'm giving the free days a go with two of my books this year, and as part of your research, you owe it to yourself :-) to pop over to Amazon and download the copies during my free days.  For Christmas, there's the poetry book Blooming Red, which I co-wrote with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, available (just click on the book cover on the left) on the 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 of December.  It makes a great thoughtful, fast electronic Christmas gift for someone you care about so spread the word! Then there's Black Cow (just click on the book cover to the right) available between the 20th and 24th of December.  I hope you'll download a free copy of both of these books, and try out KDP Select from the users point of view. I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below, and do please share your own experiences with Kindle Select.

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at http://www.magdalenaball.com.

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