Experimenting with Amazon KDP Select

Eggs in one basket

I made an important decision today. I determined that, as I really wasn’t selling many books through all the other book vending channels, I would put all of my eggs in one basket. That basket is Amazon, the great titan of the modern publishing world.

I have enrolled all four of my current works (‘Empire Under Siege’, ‘Phoenix Rising’, ‘Paradise’, and ‘The Bloody King’) in Amazon’s KDP select programme.

The KDP select programme works in two ways:-

1) It allows members of Amazon ‘Prime’ to borrow your book for a month through the ‘Kindle owners lending library’.

2) It allows members of Amazon’s new subscription service ‘Amazon unlimited’ (which they pay $9.99 a month for and allows them to read as many books as they like) to download your book.

What does this mean? I hear you say… Well, if an Amazon Prime member borrows your book or an Amazon unlimited subscriber reads more than 10% of you book, then you earn a share of the ‘KDP select global fund’. For the month of September the global fund stands at 3 million dollars with the average amount being paid for each book being about $1.80 (as far as I can tell).

The only downside is that you have to remove your book from all other vending channels. This is a bit of pain but it may be worth it… (I hope).

Will it work? Will this move generate additional sales? Who knows… But I don’t really have anything to lose as the books weren’t really selling through the other channels anyway 🙂

I feel like I am experimenting a lot with different things at the moment but I guess that is the lot of the indie author. I will report back on my little experiment when I have some useful data. In the meantime, if you are an Amazon ‘Prime’ or ‘Unlimited’ member, why not pop on over to Amazon and have a read of my books? 🙂

If you like this post why not ‘like’ it below? You could even follow my blog for updates (top right).

 

Do Amazon ‘giveaways’ increase book sales?

free

As a budding indie author I have spent the best part of the last two years researching how to go about self publishing my work. Purely and simply this is because I do not have the confidence (as yet, and frankly I don’t know if I ever will), to submit to a traditional publishing house. There are a plethora of posts on the internet from interesting and informative authors, who provide a wealth of information to a horde of avid readers that desperately want to get their work published and recognised.

One of the most discussed themes for getting more sales is giving your book away. To me this seemed like the silliest concept in the world.

Give my book away! I thought. You must be bloomin’ joking! I worked my ass off on it! Not to mention the fact that it cost a fortune to get a professional cover design and editing. That’s just an insane idea!

I maintained my initial view for a few weeks. That is until the sorry reality of the Amazon marketplace struck home. The truth is that it is really difficult to sell books, particularly in a genre like science fiction or fantasy (which I tend to gravitate toward). Believe it or not, far more romances are sold (not to mention the gazillion iterations of teenage angsty vampire books that are out there) than any other fiction. Fantasy and science fiction are by no means small genres, but there is another problem. It seems that a disproportionately large number of people (myself included) think that they should have a go at writing the next ‘Lord or the Rings’ or ‘Dune’. That has lead to a marketplace that is absolutely saturated. It is also a marketplace where it is very difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Not to mention the fact that if the Amazon algorithms don’t pick you up, your book, no matter how good, can sink to the bottom of the huge mountain of other wannabe Tolkiens.

Anyway. It’s difficult. Nuff said. To cut a long story short, I released three pieces of work (‘Paradise’, ‘Empire Under Siege’ and ‘The Bloody King’) and none of them were selling particularly well. Suddenly an Amazon giveaway seemed like a good way to go.

So, a few weeks ago, I posted a giveaway for my novelette ‘Paradise’. It is a piece of work that I am immensely proud of and it currently has ten reviews on Amazon with an average of 4.7 stars. These are real reviews from real people with no vested interest in giving me a good review at all (i.e. they are not bought on the internet or from friends and relatives etc).

There are two routes you can use to give books away on Amazon. You can reduce the price of your book to nothing on the other sales channels and then get people to write to Amazon, who should (eventually) price match the book. I used the second option, which is to enrol in the KDP select programme which gives you five days in any ninety day period when you can give your books away.

The problem I had was that I waited so long, that when I wanted to post my giveaway, my ninety days were almost up. I promptly panicked and visited a great website called authormarketingclub.com that lists a load of websites that will post your free book up to their readers (and include your free book in their newsletters). I listed ‘Paradise’, on all of the websites I could, as free from the next day. In retrospect this was a big mistake as many of the sites have submission deadlines and so did not feature ‘Paradise’ on their sites.

Over the next four days I tweeted like crazy about my free book and (probably mostly through this) managed to get about 400 downloads (although I must have driven my followers mad…). This does not compare well to the thousands that other authors claim to get, but it was better than nothing (I thought).

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The result of my massive giveaway? Was there an enormous boost in sales? Did I recoup all of the expenses generated in publishing my works? Do I now have a huge following of fans who are desperate to read my next book?

I saw a fifty percent increase in sales. Did they all result from the giveaway? Probably not (my sales were growing slowly anyway and I released the second book in the ‘Adarna chronicles’, ‘Phoenix Rising’ recently). Essentially, it was a small increase on a small number.

Finally. In answer to the question ‘Do Amazon giveaways work?’ I would have to say that, for me, the jury is still out. For this reason I am going to run another giveaway for ‘Paradise’, but this time I have done everything right. The postings have been submitted in advance. The giveaway starts on the 25th August and finishes on the 27th. Why not pick up a copy and see what you think?

I will report back on the results of the second giveaway in a few weeks. Until then, would I recommend that you try it yourself? Hmmm…

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‘The Bloody King’ is FREE! (Everywhere except Amazon!)

The Bloody King final3last one for Marinbookworks

Hi All,

Just a quick note to let you know the my short story ‘The Bloody King’, a dark thriller set in London, is now free to download until the end of the month.

Rather amusingly, the only place it isn’t free to download is Amazon (sorry about that but I don’t want to make it perma-free as yet).

Please do help yourselves to a copy as a reward for tuning in to my ramblings for the last year or so. But please do be aware that it is very different to my other works.

I am doing this as an experiment to see whether it helps with attracting readers to my work. This is a slightly strange experiment because ‘The Bloody King’ is a thriller and my other work is fantasy or science fiction, but hey ho, it is all I have to give away at the moment 🙂

If you would like to help me with this experiment please do tweet about the free offer. I will then report back at a later date with the results!

Not sure how this will go as the market is absolutely saturated with free books at the moment, but you never know!

Here are the links to all the sites you can download from:-

‘The Bloody King’ on NOOK

‘The Bloody King’ on KOBO

‘The Bloody King’ on iTunes

All the best

Jason

‘Phoenix Rising’, book two of the ‘Adarna chronicles’ is out!

Phoenix RisingHi All,

Just a note to let you know that ‘Phoenix Rising’, book two of the ‘Adarna chronicles’ is out on Amazon now! I am delighted to say that it is complete. It should be up with other merchants over the next few days and the paperback is a week or two away 🙂

Why not head over to Amazon and check it out?

Best wishes

Jason

A bit of an update on ‘Phoenix Rising’ and other bits…

Hi all,

Today is a good day. I stated in my previous post that the editor had come back with some comments and I had a bit more work to do on ‘Phoenix Rising’. Well, I finished the revisions (and editing of the revisions et al) last night and sent them off to Mr Ed. Hopefully that means that the book is all set for release next weekend 🙂

Having thought ‘Empire Under SIege’ was hard work, I have hit new heights (and by heights I mean difficulties) with ‘Phoenix Rising’, but I hope that the results will make the effort worthwhile.

In other news, this week Candie Jean Blumel (AKA ‘the writing expert’) was kind enough to interview me on her blog. She asked a lot of insightful questions about the writing process and also about ‘The Adarna Chronicles’ and ‘Empire Under Siege’ in particular. You can check out her interview here.

I am now back to work, but not writing for a day or two. I am having great fun (rough translation ‘I am pulling my hair out!’) trying to put together a map of Adarna for ‘Phoenix Rising’…

Phoenix Rising

My guest post on ‘Fantasy Book Critic’

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Hi All,

I am really chuffed to say that the guys over at ‘Fantasy Book Critic’ have just put a guest post up on their site for me 🙂

In it I discuss the ‘Adarna chronicles’ and my influences and tribulations whilst writing. So why not pop over and have a read?

On a different subject, I thought I should update you on the progress of the next book in the ‘Adarna chronicles’. ‘Phoenix Rising’ came back from the editor with a few issues that need my attention. Whilst these aren’t major (the editor pretty much gave it a glowing report), they do require some time, and as you know, with an hour a day this is something that I do not have much of!

Sadly, the launch of ‘Phoenix rising has been delayed by a few days. I hope that it will be ready to go before the end of the first week in August! I thought the snail in the photo above adequately describes how I feel things are progressing at the moment… (I am working my backside off in the hour that I have but it still feels really slow…).

Anyway, that’s enough from me, I need to get writing (and editing and rewriting and sending off the rewrites to the editor etc etc….).

If you like this post why not follow the blog or twitter me up or some such thing?

 

Guess what? My book just won an award!

ECDA-GoldStar-Jun-2014   Ok, so, as the title of this blog says, my book ‘Empire Under Siege’ won an award today 🙂 In fact it got a gold star (I haven’t had one of those since I was at infant school!). It’s absolutely brilliant news for me as it is the first official recognition that the book has received. I have to confess at this stage though (and the eagle eyed amongst you will know already- as it’s written on the badge above) that the award is actually for the cover, rather than the writing, but you know what? It doesn’t bother me too much as I haven’t entered the book for any literary (or otherwise) prizes. I am just chuffed to bits that the excellent cover designed by the guys over at Deranged Doctor Design has received the recognition that (I think) it deserves! I have put a copy of the cover below just in case you haven’t seen it yet.The award is actually a runner up prize in the fiction category. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Joel Friedlander’s book cover competition, I would advise that you check it out (see how I put the link in there to the June competition results? Crafty, huh?). You may also want to check out the rest of his site, it’s full of great resources and advice for writers. I’ve written about the importance of good cover design before, when I had a bit of a crisis over my first publication, ‘Paradise’. Essentially, I think it is important, in the thumbnail picture led world of the Amazon store et al, to get a good cover for your work.

EMPIRE UNDER SIEGE Jason K. Lewis

EMPIRE UNDER SIEGE Jason K. Lewis

In other news, work on ‘Phoenix Rising’, book two in the ‘Adarna chronicles’ is progressing well and it has now been sent to the editor. Once it returns it should (well, provided the editor doesn’t tear it to shreds) be only a week or so before it is ready for release! If you like this blog why not hit the like button below, or follow me on twitter, or do some other digital jiggery pokery? 🙂