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Last week I shared my results from direct marketing to Kindle readers through advertising and KDP Select.
I came down against the program overall based on my experience, but in today's guest post, Jeff Bennington shows us the opposite point of view and shares some brilliant results.
We are all experimenting in this new world of publishing. There are no rules and what works for one book, won't work for another, so it's important to listen to all sides before trying something yourself.
It’s no secret that Amazon’s KDP Select offers free promotion to authors who enlist in the program. But what many authors don’t realize is how effective this promotion can be.
Some of you may not agree with Amazon’s monopolistic tactics, and that’s okay. Some of you, however, have jumped in with both feet. As an independent author, I’m in favor of KDP Select. My first promotion brought me into Amazon’s Top 100 (#55 Paid) and completely transformed the sales of all my books.
Before I signed on with KDP Select, I was selling 97 percent of my titles in the Kindle Store, so the switch was a no-brainer. I had been working on a few marketing strategies, and quickly I recognized that KDP was the spark I needed to start a fire.
Now that I’ve had a chance to play with this program, I think KDP Select is the best marketing opportunity for authors, hands down. Here’s why:
The KDP Select program doesn’t care if you’re traditionally published or self-published.
Enrolling your book gives you a chance to show the world what you can do, no prejudices, no preconceived notions. This is American Idol for writers at its best. You place your book on the stage, and if the cover is great and you’ve earned a few quality reviews, you’ll move to the next level of judging. There isn’t really a system of pass or fail, but if readers find your book attractive, it’ll sell in the Free Store. And I’m not talking about hundreds of readers—I’m talking about thousands, maybe tens of thousands. Where else can you jump-start the promotion of your book like that?
It takes a lot of gears to move a book up Amazon’s ranking system.
Gears can be anything such as great reviews, multiple titles by the same author, a strong author platform, previous bestseller, number of copies sold, etc. All of these gears can influence a book’s rate of acceleration through Amazon’s ranking system. The more gears you have, the higher you are likely to climb. Unattractive covers, poor reviews, and badly written book samples can throw a wrench in the cogs.
The good news is, KDP Select can add gears to a book—again, as long as it is attractive at first glance. This, among other reasons, is why I strongly encourage authors to pay for a quality cover. Your cover is your first impression. Get it right.
NOTE: After your free promotion is over, your book will now appear on hundreds, if not thousands, of book pages, thanks to Amazon’s “Customers who bought this, also bought …” element of their sales pages. This translates into thousands of tiny billboards that you didn’t have before your KDP promotion.
Layered marketing can enhance your KDP experience.
In the past, it took weeks before a book was listed as free. Now, if you plan properly, you can schedule up to a five-day promotion that has the potential to spin your book straight to the top. Believe it or not, this promotion can build enough momentum for your book to move up the ranks when it hits the paid store. This is possible because of the quick turnaround from free to paid. Amber Scott, from The Indie Book Collective, calls this type of momentum “traction.”
HINT: You can increase the traction, or torque, in your gears by scheduling a sponsorship with Kindle Nation Daily (or other book marketing site) on the exact day your book returns to regular price.
Amazon’s Top 100 Free and Paid lists are the equivalent of a billboard in Times Square.
Making it into either list will not only give you thousands of readers in a matter of days but will translate into more reviews and more sales. In my opinion, an author should plan her KDP promotion with pinpoint accuracy, throwing everything she has into that two- or three-day promo, because the more gears you link to your book, the higher you’ll go. And if you can gear your book into the Top 100, it will be worth every penny!
Authors are reaching the top faster than ever before.
The ability to schedule a promotion of this magnitude is absolutely unprecedented. Amazon has already leveled the playing field between self-published and traditionally published authors. KDP Select has given indies more exposure because publishers aren’t as willing to restrict their titles to Amazon alone, thereby giving us a bigger piece of the promotional pie. Although there is no doubt that the market is saturated with free and 99 cent books.
From my personal experience, and by helping other authors hit the Top 100, I believe that Amazon has created the greatest marketing system available to authors in the history of publishing. If an author’s book has nailed the important elements like a good cover, tight plot, good reviews, and professional editing and formatting, she can promote her book on an international scale like never before, all on a shoestring budget. Several factors will determine how long you stay at the top, but getting there can change everything.
Here are the facts regarding my royalties since I joined KDP Select.
Now you be the judge if this program isn’t a revolutionary program…
September = $442
October 2011 = $133
November 2011 = $478
December 2011 = $10,156 (KDP Select opens)
January 2012 = $2,387
These are only U.S royalties and include my royalties from the Amazon Prime rentals. Obviously December will always be higher because of the Christmas rush. Currently, February is on par to match January but if $2,300 is my new “normal” than I’d say that’s pretty revolutionary.
If you have a long list of books that are selling in multiple outlets, you can always try one of your books to see how it fares for the 90-day commitment. If you are a new author, there is no better way to reach a large audience when you are starting from ground zero. But if you’re a new author and your quest for readers is coming up dry, I highly recommend the KDP Select program—it’s God’s gift to you.
Jeff Bennington is the author of The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe, Reunion, Creepy, and Twisted Vengeance. He is the founder of The Kindle Book Review, NexGate Press, and blogs weekly at The Writing Bomb.
The Indie Author’s Guide to the Universe offers 229 pages of motivation, encouragement, insight into indie publishing, Jeff’s marketing and selling strategies, and advice from over 20 bestselling independent authors.
Image: Flickr CC John Catral