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Checklist for Successful Book Sales Campaigns

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No matter if you are organizing a book launch for your latest work (or your first book), planning your Goodreads Giveaway or if you prepare to have your book on sale, or for free for a couple of days:  these campaigns need to be well organized and promoted – and all that well in advance.

I have seen it too many times, that authors decide on Monday morning to have a book sale from Tuesday on and expect it to be a successful one. Or they hurry editing, formatting and slap a cover image together, in order to get the book on Amazon’s sales pages before Christmas.

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Start EARLY !!!
You have about three months to promote a new print book (paper back or hardcover) before the bookstores clear their shelves for the next bestseller. But if you can rack up enough pre-orders BEFORE the pub date, then you can kickstart your book launch. Once it hits the New York Times or other lists, then a couple of weeks on those lists become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Again: the more time you give your book to be listed on Amazon and other online retailers BEFORE your publication date, the better.
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The Minimum You Can Do To Make it a Success:

1. Write Several Blogs About Your Campaign Including Images
Tell potential readers the benefits, e.g.:

  • Low price or even free
  • Send as inexpensive gifts
  • Give them a great incentive for a review
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2. Write a FREE short e-Book About Your Book : )
Include all the sales links and an author biography, and if you will participate in Amazon’s “Matchbox”, bundles of print and e-book, explain your potential readers their benefit of ordering a “bundle“.
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3. Campaign Announcement
Cross promote your campaign: Always post and promote your event on your own website, blog and through email as well, so that non-Facebook/Twitter/Google+ users can learn about it and share your book sales campaign event without having to use these social media sites. What’s more: Use Twitter to generate buzz and use LinkedIn to leverage business communities and post the event to LinkedIn.

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4. Google+ Posts
Add your blogs about your book launch or your book sales campaign – not only on your own Google+ timeline and your author / book page, but also at the dozens of Google+ reader communities where you are (hopefully) a member.

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5. Tweets
At least one tweet per hour, each one in a variety of text and accompanied by a cover image photo of your book or photographs from book scenes or areas where it takes place. Sign up to several Twitter accounts. You can have up to five accounts. But don’t post the same tweets everywhere! And schedule well in advance, using Hootsuite or any other free scheduling service to find the best times to post on Twitter.

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6. Create a Re-tweet Button in a Free eBook
Give away the first chapter of your book as an immediately accessible PDF on your web page or on Amazon. Include a re-tweet button in several strategic locations in the chapter. This allows people who love what they read, to easily share with friends on Twitter.  When someone clicks on this re-tweet button, it shows a pre-crafted tweet that says: “I’m reading @……. new book: … Get the first chapter free here too: http://………” You get the idea?
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7. Announce the Campaign in Your Newsletter
It’s one of the reasons you ask your blog readers or website visitors to sign up for your newsletter: to inform them about specials and sales campaigns or book launches – beside giving them regularely useful and entertaining content.
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8. Most Important is to Have Your Event/Campaign on Google+
Google+ offers a great tool to invite people to your upcoming event. Are you still thinking about joining? Or are you one of the more than 300 Million users of Google+ yet?
Announce the event or book sales campaign on Google+ and also on Goodreads at least three weeks before the date. They both offer a free event function. A site that is very easy and fast to set up. Promote this event (can be real life or virtual) heavily on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, your blog and to your email list. And if your local newspaper, neighborhood paper etc. has an event page, or if they have an online version, get your event in! Search the internet for events/websites in your area and announce it there too.
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9. Create a photo contest
It can be a fun and friendly competition to get people excited about your book. And there’s no better platform than Social Media sites to do just that. You can call it the “Know my Book?” photo contest. All participants need to do, is to take a creative photo with the words “Know my Book?” or “Help Me Launch.” The three best images might receive the book or you can offer an additional first prize for a Kindle or a digital camera.

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Create Your Campaign Well in Advance
Give your event promotion enough time to spare, this also gives you time to notify / invite the people who you know are most likely to attend. With so many book sales to choose from, the key is to know your potential customers. Create your invitations, posts and tweets so as to reach as many individuals as possible with your marketing message.
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A Lot of Work You Say?
Yes, sure, if you see it as WORK. But if you like to write about your book, tell people about it, help your readers to find inexpensive copies of your book and to sell more books and get more reviews.  No one said that having a business involves only laughing all the way to the bank.

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars
Or visit http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/
to advertise your new book, specials, your KDP Select Free Days or the new Kindle Countdown Deals.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 1,100 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.
Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing
http://www.111publishing.com
http://www.e-Book-PR.com/
http://www.international-ebooks.com/
http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Posted by on January 28, 2014 in Marketing

 

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Got an Unfair Book Review after Your FREE KDP Days?

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Then you are not alone. I heard this from many authors, and don’t even want to call them reviews – as these people totally ignore the rules how to write a book review – rather bashing authors and their work. Some people are hoarding free books, without checking them before, they don’t even read the “Look Inside” part on Amazon’s page and then, when it is not the right genre or a book in a series, or when it is too long or too short, they write harsh complaints, instead of writing a fair and professional review. 

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Just one example:
A great novel with 91 customer reviews, almost all in the 5-star range, received these negative “reviews”, after having the book up for two days on Amazon’s KDP Select.

1-Star Review
“I really can’t complain about this since it was a free book, but it…
By the end of the book, I didn’t like any of the characters….”

3-Star Review
“This was a “borrowed” book that I was able to get for being an Amazon Prime member. In a nutshell, this book entertained me for a few days, but I would not recommend it to a friend.”

90% of this books negative reviewers had not bought the book, one reviewer borrowed it through Prime Membership, the rest got it for free at Amazon’s KDP days, obviously without even reading the books description, nor the title headline (where the series was mentioned).  These reviewers just took their frustration out via an Amazon “review”, bashing the free book they had received on their Kindle.

Another example:
A #1 bestseller book in its category, with almost 5,000 !!! reviews. From the 281 “reviewers”, who gave 1-Star, only three of them had actually bought the book! It really seems to be a pattern that people, who download the book for free are very often writing negative reviews.

5 star: (2,802)
4 star: (1,023)
3 star: (554)
2 star: (278)
1 star: (281)
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Let your readers and friends decide if these negative reviews are helpful
Rating the existing book #reviews as “helpful” or “unhelpful” makes a significant impact! Voting for the most helpful reviews, your friends have the power to move them to the head of the line…

Amazon has this rarely used function: “Help other customers find the most helpful reviews” and “Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No”  

There is also another way to boost your book, in order to get more readers and reviews, which we explained in a former blog: “HIGHLIGHTS” in your book: A great tool in Amazon’s algorithm list for book popularity.

Laura Miller is a senior writer for Salon wrote: “Unless such a review is a spiteful slap-down written to gratify the un-examined resentments of the worst sort of reader, how welcome (let alone “useful”) can it really be?”  And think about it: “…it seems the more success you have, the harder some people are on you…”

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Funny, negative reviews
Bestseller author Rayne Hall just blogged about negative, but funny reviews she received, some are really hilarious. Have a look at her article, sampling some of the stupidities for her highly popular novel Storm Dancer (dark epic fantasy novel):

“This book is too long. I had to spend many hours reading it. I’m busy and have other things to do.”

“The character of Queen Matilda is not believable”.    There’s no Queen Matilda in the book.

Read more here: http://venturegalleries.com/blog/have-you-ever-received-any-negative-reviews-that-were-really-funny-most-authors-have/#sthash.F0yMmfCb.dpuf

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If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book heavily promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only a “token” of $1 / day for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/  Once you are on this website, click on Seminar to register.

Please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are 785 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and to StumpleUpon.

Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing

http://on.fb.me/TvqDaK
http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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How to Prepare for and Announce Your Free KDP Select Days

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In the last blog post “Free Days on KDP Select – is it for you?” the pro’s and con’s of joining Amazon’s KDP Select program have been shown.  Today let’s look at how to prepare and advertise the free days for your Kindle e-book.
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A month before your free days:

  • Make sure you have at least a handful of book reviews on Amazon
  • Update the books file and add some promotional links
  • Check that your book is in the right categories
  • Set up the best days for your “free” promotion
  • Write to all the free book websites and ask to announce your free days
  • Write an article about your books free days on your own blog
  • Raise the price for your book
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Twitter
A week before the big day, prepare a list with at least two dozen tweets (to post them at least every half hour), so you have them handy to schedule in Twuffer, Futuretweets, Hootsuite or whatever Twitter scheduler you use. Incorporate these hashtags into your messages: #FreeKindleBook, #freekindle, #freebook, #free, #kindlepromo, #freeE-books or #freeKindledays, just to name a few.
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Google+, Pinterest and News Release to blogs
Prepare lots of photos of you book cover, at least in 600 x 800 pixel (not the small one from your Amazon site).
Write a short description about your book and it’s free days with exact Amazon links for each country! and offer it to other bloggers, including your books photo. Do this at least a week before the free days, to give bloggers time to incorporate your article into their blogging schedule. A couple of them will post it, especially if you wrote guest posts for them before and you offer them a reciprocal.
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On your free days post your books cover and description several times on your Google+ site, with a variation of text and headline. Same with Pinterest, Chime.in and Facebook. Ask your friends on all these sites to submit it for you to their friends as well.
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Goodreads
Ask a couple of your peers at Goodreads to send out a book recommendation with a note of the free days to all of their friends (you cannot recommend your own books on Goodreads). Choose those with the most friends to reach a maximum audience.
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FREE Event ads
Both, Goodreads and Google+ have a free tool to advertise this event.
Just type “event” into the search function on Goodreads, and on Google+ you can see the event planner on the right hand side of your timeline. Set it up a couple of days in advance and send out an email, to all your peers, write about it on FB, tweet it several times before the free days begin and don’t forget to announce it on Pinterest with a nice cover photo of your book.
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Double-Check everything!
Make sure your dates at the free book lists are correct! Most of these posts are scheduled in advance so if your book is not free, you could be blacklisted. Double-check your Amazon ASIN number if the link is correct when you submit to sites (copy and paste from Amazon rather than type it in). You certainly can shorten your Amazon link, e.g. Amazon.com/dp/B008Y15YYO.  However, do not use any of these commercial link shorteners (bit.ly, wp etc. or Amazon affiliate links) for submission to promotional free book websites, they will not accept them.
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Announce your FREE Book on KDP Select days here too:  Google+  Community “Author Marketing Club”     bit.ly/1a827Xv 

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Here are ten sites where you can advertise your free days – often for free – t
here are certainly many more. 

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Twitter accounts that re-tweet your free books 

@DigitalBkToday
@kindleebooks
@Kindlestuff
@KindleEbooksUK
@KindleBookKing
@KindleFreeBook
@free_kindle
@FreeReadFeed
@freebookdude
@4FreeKindleBook
@FreeKindleStuff

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Amazon has an abundance of lists, such as Top Rated lists, Bestsellers List, Hot New Release list, Gift Idea lists, Top-100 lists for each category, “If you like this you may …” lists, “So you want to” lists and Top Rated Author Lists. When someone downloads your book (for free or paid), it moves up the charts. A lot more people will see it then, compared to before your free days.  Being more visible when the book is reverted back to a paid download, means more people can find it, and will results in more sales.  When people download your book, it starts appearing in the “People who bought this book also bought..” and “Recommended for you” sections, even more increasing visibility.

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Once the free days are over, start to promote heavily lending/borrowing of your e-book, in order to get Amazons Prime members to borrow your book.

Possible Tweets could be:

  • Did you know? Amazon Prime Membership allows you to borrow …..
  • Amazon Prime Members can borrow …. for free
  • The benefit of Amazons Prime Membership is: you can borrow ….
  • Amazon Prime Members in the UK and Ireland:
  • Amazon Prime Members in Canada: you can….
  • Amazon Prime Members in Germany:
  • Amazon Prime Members in Spain:

You get the idea…. Use the remaining weeks and months to further promote your books for lending. You will be paid for that!

Writer M.Louisa Locke reports:  “Having fewer free promotions increased the effectiveness of the promotions I did, placing the promotions near the end of the month did stimulate borrows, and publishing additional works did compensate for the lower royalties brought in by the first two books in the series.”  Good luck for your KDP Select promotion and let us know if you have more ideas how to publicize your book during this time.

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If you would like to get more support in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites – or to learn how you can make yourself a name as an author through content writing: We offer all this and more for only $179 for three months – or less than $2 per day! Learn more about this customized Online Seminar / Consulting for writers: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars   Or visit http://www.e-book-pr.com/book-promo/ to advertise your new book, specials, your KDP Select Free Days or the new Kindle Countdown Deals.

Please check out all previous posts of this blog (there are more than 1,030 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.
Thanks a lot for following:

@111publishing
http://www.111publishing.com
http://www.e-Book-PR.com/
http://www.international-ebooks.com/
http://bit.ly/VmtVAS 111Publishing @ Google+

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Free Days on Amazon KDP Select – is it for you?

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In Part 1 of this Amazon KDP Select article, lets look at pro’s and con’s of using free days and participating in the Prime Member Lending Library. Part 2, the next blog post will show you how to organize your free days and will give you lots of links for free advertising, plus marketing tips for your free days and beyond.

Authors are divided in praising or damning Amazon’s KDP Select Program. This book marketing opportunity may or may not work for your book. It can put your novel or non-fiction work in front of thousands of readers so, at the very least, it’s a great way to grow a readership.
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The Upside: Pro’s of KDP Select
You are allowed to select five “free” promotional days within the 90-day KDP Select period into the Lending Library, where the value of each borrow is currently $1.70. Each counts as a “unit sold” and helps your paid sales rankings. You might gain more reviews. Books with a greater number of reviews have a higher probability of being featured in book blogs.

Readers who are eager to download free books choose those that have more reviews because a higher number of reviews “validates” the book and indicates it is worthy of a download. They also suggest that in the readers’ eyes, this metric is more important than the ranking (number of stars) the book has because readers understand that some people may not like a good book and leave a negative review.
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Readership Explosion: With KDP Select, a new author can grow a following at an enormous rate, and will garner far more reviews than with sales that trickle in under normal circumstances through sheer visibility in the free KDP Select store.  After getting downloaded thousands of times, chances are you’ll reach more readers who will love your book and recognize your name as an author.

Amazon rewards sales with visibility. They treat free downloads the same as sales – according to their number of downloads, placing the author’s book cover in places such as “customers who bought this also bought” section, below other books purchased by those who downloaded the free book, and often in the same genre. KDP Select gives you indirectly promotion not only for the free book but also for the other books written by you listed on your Amazon Author page.

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Possible Downside: Con’s of KDP Select
You must commit exclusivity with Amazon for 90 days, which means that you must remove your e-book (NOT the print version!) from all other retailers and give up your e-book royalties from Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple iBook store and Sony’s Nook eBook store or wherever else you sell it. If you are earning more than 80 or 90% of your royalties from Amazon, then the decision to go exclusively with them for 90 days to enter the KDP Select program including Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is an easy one. An Amazon KDP Select Press Release explains that on average, by joining KDP Select, you can earn an additional 26% in royalties from the KDP Select fund, on top of royalties from your paid sales.

Leaving those other platforms, you are also giving up your current sales rankings on them. It could be very difficult to scale those bestselling lists again and reclaim your previous royalties from non-Amazon sources. If your royalty stream from Amazon is less than 70%, think twice if you really want to go with KDP select as you will loose significant royalties on other platforms.

You might also garner a number of negative reviews from people who would not normally buy your type of book, yet download it on free days. When they find out it is not to their taste or not what they expected, some of them seem to enjoy telling everyone why they did not like it.

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What to consider?
How well are you selling on your platforms? The more you are selling, the more likely you are to be on best-selling lists at Amazon, which greatly increases your discoverability and usually translates into higher lends and “free” giveaways – and therefore greater post-“free” sales.

On the other hand, you also might be well-positioned at your other online retailers. Which weighs more heavily? Being well ranked on Amazon or non-Amazon platforms?

Your ranking on Amazon is weighted more than any other platform, as Amazon represents the lion’s share of the e-book market. If you are already on a Top 100 Amazon Bestselling list in a genre, what would the increase get you? Would this increase bounce you into the Top 50 or even Top 10? On average, increasing your best-selling Amazon ranking will increase your royalties by about 7% for each page (Top 80, 60, 40, 20). If you sell well, you will lend well, and you will “give away” well. If you are not selling well, you will not lend well, or even “give away” well.

Most successful seem to be authors with multiple books or a series of books out – they use promo days to give away the first book in a series, hoping that customers will come back and buy the other books from that series. There is no guarantee with this strategy, but if your sales at the other e-book online retailers have been stale, then taking a 90-day-gamble on KDP Select might be an interesting experiment. If you have six to ten book titles it’s easier for readers to find you. An author with so many books has probably grown his or her platform over the years anyway. But when you only have one or two titles, KDP Select is the only program which can accelerate the long, draining process of finding readers for your book.
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Goodreads has Giveaway Contests too:

Amazon’s KDP Select is not the only game in town: Goodreads has ‘Giveaway’ contests which is a great way to raise awareness for your books as well as generating sales and reviews. On average, at Goodreads 45% of giveaway winners will review your book – and getting good reviews is one of the best ways to improve your book’s chance of long-term success. Goodreads website offers plenty of advice on getting the most out of your giveaway contest.

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Plan your free days well ahead – at least one month!

  1. Get as many reviews as possible, free book listings often promote only books with a certain amount of reviews. And readers also check out the amount of reviews (not necessarily the stars), to find out if your book is worthwhile to download.
  2. As Amazon Prime Members tend to borrow rather $5.99 – $9.99 e-books, raise the price of you book short before you join KDP Select. To give away a $0.99 e-book for free or to offer it to borrow is a bit of a joke.
  3. Check out if your book is really in the right category. Compare with bestsellers in your genre.
  4. Updated your e-book file and include a page within the first part of the book, asking readers to leave a review for you on Amazon; include a direct link to your books’ page. Add a link to your homepage and add all of your other books as well
  5. Don’t use your promotional days on the weekend (especially Saturday) because people are typically away from their computers and spending time with their families on the weekend, especially holiday weekends. Weekdays are generally better and if you can have at least two days back-to-back you will have more time to build momentum for your promotion.
  6. Inform the free book listing sites a month in advance to have your book listed – mostly for free. Make sure you list PixelofInk, EReaderNewsToday and Digital Book Today. Read their submission rules carefully.
  7. Write an article in your blog about your free days, and ping / share a link to this blog post on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc. several times a day in a variety of headlines.

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More promotional tips and dozens of links for free e-book promotions in Part 2 of this series.
See also a great blog article “The Secret Anatomy of KDP” by James Calbraith, where he explains “The algorithm shows your book to millions of readers; there is no ad that reaches more people, no social network campaign. However…”

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If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts of this blog (there are almost 600 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it. There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Chime.in, Facebook, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks, Doris

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Amazon’s KDP Select Lending Program – Good for Authors?

free e-book lending with Amazon Kindle e-ReaderIn a recent statement Amazon disclosed that there are now more than 75,000 books in the Kindle Lending Library. Customers, who must possess both a Kindle device and Amazon Prime membership to borrow a book, borrowed books 295,000 times in December.

Authors earned $1.70 per borrow from a $500,000 fund. The top 10 authors earned an average of $7,000 each in royalties.

Most promising was the sales boost many authors received as a consequence of adding their books to KDP Select. The top 10 authors in the program saw a 30% increase in royalties received from sales of their books over the period. Including their earnings from the loan fund, their earnings from Amazon were up 449% on average from November – but again: only the top 10 authors.

KDP Select offers some obvious benefits, such as increased exposure, but also has some significant drawbacks. The exclusivity clause prevents many would-be lenders from selling their books through other vendors with self-publishing programs, such as Barnes & Noble or Apple.

KDP Select is a lending program that encourages self-published authors and publishers to make their work available exclusively in the Kindle Store for 90-day periods. It also makes their works freely available to borrow by Kindle users for at least five of those 90 days. Those who agree to both terms are eligible to take part in a $6 million annual royalty fund, which pays dividends based on each author’s share of total borrows during that month.

A happy independent author writes:
My political thriller RUNNING, centering on two women vying for the presidency, went from sales of about 2 books per month since I first published on the 4th of July to an initial KDP Select free day — 12/23/11 — when 8,500 copies were downloaded.  I made more than $5,000 in seven days of sales at the end of December, with prices ranging from $7.99 to $2.99.  With 508 “borrows” that month, I will receive an additional bonus of nearly $900 from the loan program. The KDP Select program helped my novel break out and put me on the best seller list at #1 in Kindle political fiction on the free days and #2 on the paid days. I would definitely recommend it to indie writers who want to jumpstart their careers.

Patrice Fitzgerald
author of RUNNING (now an indie best seller)

 

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