C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

FAQs: Leverage free to move more books

The question comes up constantly: Is the exclusivity of KDP Select and giving away books (“selling” free) worth it? 

Can't have just one chip? Season One has five episodes. Get each one for 99 cents or get all of Season One at a discount for $3.99.

Can’t have just one chip? Season One has five episodes. Get each one for 99 cents or get all of Season One at a discount for $3.99.

For many, it’s not worth it, but maybe that’s because they haven’t combined enrolment in the program with other tools. When the KDP Select program launched, it was lucrative and an excellent tool for discoverability. Now? KDP Select is not easy and perfect certainly. For instance, top free books used to be listed beside top paid books. Now free ebooks are found by clicking a tab. That’s an important difference. It cuts down on happy discoveries by kismet. People who find free ebooks now are searching for free books (and quite possibly are committed to never paying for a book again.)

However, Amazon is where I move and sell books and get traction with new readers.

Some authors seem to have success moving books on Barnes & Noble if they sell romance or science fiction, but generally? The alternative sales platforms are far less helpful than Amazon and KDP Select.

For instance, sometimes I can’t find books on Apple that I know are there! It’s also a pain publishing to Apple at all unless you go through Smashwords or Draft2Digital. (I used to like Smashwords but now I’m past impatient with their failures to upgrade their site.) Meanwhile, I sell little on B&N. Sony isn’t worth the time it takes for me to format for them even though that’s just a click of a button. Kobo does some things well and they’re in many countries. However, Amazon is preferred because it works best for me. (Maybe it’s different for you but if you’re doing better on a platform other than Amazon, statistically you’re an outlier.)

The alternatives usually suck.

The other book sales platforms continue to refuse to steal the best ideas (i.e. promo coupons from Smashwords; user interface and customer focus from Amazon. And they still wonder why the Mighty Zon is the big dog eating their lunch. True, KDP Select is not a flamethrower anymore. It’s a six-gun. However, the competition is still trying to figure out slingshots, so going with Amazon exclusively 90 days at a time is still the best bet.

Yes, be careful of exclusivity.

When you in enroll in KDP Select, do not set it up to automatically renew. Reevaluate whether the program is working for you every three months and change tactics as necessary. If it becomes intolerable for some reason, we can bail out within 90 days.

To make KDP Select work, use the Author Marketing Club and Bookbub wisely to make the promotion go big.

I recommend doing no more than two days of free at a time. Have lots of other books to sell, preferably series or serials. Pump those promo days with the tools at AMC (like the free ebook submission tool.) Bookbub is probably the best PR tool available. It costs, but that’s because it targets readers interested in your genre so it works. You can promote sales of free ebooks or discounted books (under $2.99.)

If your goal is visibility, being in KDP Select is only one tactic in a larger strategy. Brace yourself for bad reviews from the one-star wonders. That tells you you’re reaching new people who don’t get you. Don’t worry. Others will get you and what you’re doing. Giving away books so new fans can find you isn’t the death of literature. Obscurity is our enemy. Get the most you can from KDP Select and use these tools to avoid wasting your promotion days.

I highly recommend serialization.

It’s working for me. Episode One of This Plague of Days promotes all the other episodes in the serial plus sales of my other books. I give away individual episodes. However, I don’t generally give away all of Season One except to book bloggers for reviews. This Plague of Days is a sprawling story that’s my investment in a long-term career so I give away the appetizer but sell the other courses. All my strategies are long-term strategies.

Who shouldn’t use KDP Select to promote their books?

I’d caution anyone with just one book to hold off on great expectations and write more books before waging major campaigns. Once readers discover they love you, have something else ready for them to buy.

Don’t go big if your book isn’t ready for prime time. More publicity for a bad book will make it go down in flames faster. Get back to the keyboard instead, develop, work with your editor or find a new editorial team.

If you already have a huge mailing list and a substantial fan base, you have more options instead of relying on KDP Select and exclusivity could hurt your sales figures (though I’d still consider it for one three-month contract period at KDP Select.)

If you find me unpersuasive and giving books away in the hope of finding new readers offends you, don’t do it. Gifts should be given with a light heart.

 

Filed under: Publicity & Promotion, publishing, This Plague of Days, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The “But At What Cost?” Miscalculation

John Locke has written a book: How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks in Five Months.* (I recommend it) How_I_sold_1_million_ebooks_in_5_months

LA Times writer Carolyn Kellogg wrote a piece that asks, “At What Cost?” Here’s that nonsense argument and my bit of nonsense follows.

The upshot is, Ms. Kellogg thinks Mr. Locke undersold himself. He sold a million ebooks, but charged 0.99 for many of them. She says he could have made a million of with higher pricing instead of making do in the $300,000 range. (A figure that would make many authors swoon.) There are many interesting observations in the comments section of the LA Times article that pick apart Ms. Kellogg’s worries very well.

Here’s my take away: I had never heard of John Locke until now. He used 0.99 loss leaders to sell a shit-ton of books. Yes, he “only” made 0.30 on the 0.99 ebooks, but  low or no pricing allowed wary readers to try him out. And now many more people know  about him. And I bought his non-fiction ebook which details his success so far. And I bought it for $4.99.

Kellogg is saying Locke was an idiot for leaving money on the table, assuming he could have moved so much and so quickly with a middle man trad publisher involved. Why would she assume that, I wonder? There’s no basis for it. The new world is not the old world and hers is classic old world thinking.

Now you know, if you didn’t, who John Locke is. And now you’re thinking, maybe I should buy one of his books and give it a try. Maybe more than one, huh?

*Thanks to Joanna Penn for her post on Mr. Locke. I love Joanna’s blog and podcast, The Creative Penn. Subscribe if you haven’t!  

Filed under: authors, DIY, ebooks, getting it done, links, Media, Publicity & Promotion, publishing, self-publishing, Writers, , , , , , , ,

Winner of Writer's Digest's 2014 Honorable Mention in Self-published Ebook Awards in Genre

The first 81 lessons to get your Buffy on

More lessons to help you survive Armageddon

"You will laugh your ass off!" ~ Maxwell Cynn, author of Cybergrrl

Available now!

Fast-paced terror, new threats, more twists.

An autistic boy versus our world in free fall

Suspense to melt your face and play with your brain.

Action like a Guy Ritchie film. Funny like Woody Allen when he was funny.

Jesus: Sexier and even more addicted to love.

For my author site and the Chazz network, click the blood spatter below.

See my books, blogs, links and podcasts.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 9,915 other followers

Brain Spasms a la Twitter

  • RT @CeeLeeMusic: If you call yourself a good Christian, yet defend Trump ripping children from parents and putting them in cages, causing a… 2 hours ago
  • RT @kurdistannews24: #BREAKING: Kurdish Human right activist & The secretary-general of the Future Syria Party,Ms #Hervin_Khalaf ,has been… 2 hours ago
  • RT @kurteichenwald: An ISIS flag has - literally - been raised again in the Syrian countryside. The ISIS flag. Flying again. Can you Trum… 2 hours ago
  • RT @ricedaddy7: Conversation with my parents: Me: Hi dad. Dad: Grandchildren? Me: I ate ramen with pork today. Mom: Grandchildren? Me: The… 2 hours ago
  • RT @MercedesGlobal: Lots of speculation about who was around Mr Trudeau security wise last night. It was RCMP ERT with one Toronto ETF memb… 4 hours ago
%d bloggers like this: